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Archive for February, 2011

One we forgot (or just one we would rather forget….)

Posted by DINRIL on February 27, 2011

…..is the Lithuanian entry, Evelina Sasenko’s C’est Ma Vie, which was chosen at some point in a dim and distant haze last week. Probably because we were left in such open-mouthed speechless horror at its abject screechiness that we just blanked it out of our minds. Er, guys – has it ever occurred to you why it is you’ve never actually won this contest? Would you really like us to explain…..?

 

 

 

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Lithuania | Leave a Comment »

My Big Fat Weekend Round-Up (Part 1)…..

Posted by DINRIL on February 27, 2011

Phew, what a weekend it’s been so far! Snacks have been consumed, drinks have been drunk and songs have been chosen by the bucketload.  And it all kicked off on Friday with Turkey revealing its entry for Dusseldorf. Now the law of averages dictates that since the Turks fielded a hairy man-band last year, 2011 should have been their year to send some winsome coiffeured diva singing a spot of ethno-pop – and as such, they have, er, fielded another hairy man-band. Yuksek Sadakat have come up with a decidedly retro sounding rock anthem entitled Live It Up, complete with guitars, bleepy keyboard breaks and somewhat dated lyrics which make lots of references to rock’n’roll and the radio. An acquaintance of ours claims to be ‘obsessed’ with this song, and while we wouldn’t go that far we do rather like its anthemic sound and pleasingly nostalgic feel, and we have no doubt it will breeze through to the final and stay there. But let’s be honest, the Turks could send a flatulent donkey playing the nose-flute for two and a half minutes and they would still make it to the final:

Also making a welcome return to the fray on Friday were Austria who bypassed the option of choosing a song by Sting’s son Joe Sumner in favour of  Nadine Beiler and her big ballad The Secret Of Love. There aren’t a lot of ballads around this year (well there’s Lithuania but the less said about that the better – more of that later however….) – possibly because so many were entered and flopped dismally last year – so this one could potentially stand out from the pack, particularly since Nadine has a strikingly good voice. But the song is as cliched as they come, right down to harmonies and appropriate key changes, and for all the world sounds as though it could have walked straight out of any mid-90s contest. Could be a popular one with the juries though, even if it does inspire fans across the continent to dash off for a toilet break:

Moving on to Saturday, the first of six countries to make their choice for L’Allemagne was Moldova, who in a ‘stick with what you know’ kind of way have once again chosen Zdob si Zdub to perform their song (you may remember them as the nutters who gave the country a smashing debut result in 2005 with Bunica Bate Toba, featuring a random pensioner playing the drums). This time around there’s no sign of grandma, and in her absence their song, So Lucky, doesn’t have nearly as much charm as their previous entry – but it’s not a bad little ditty nonetheless:

Estonia have once again come up with a fairly decent, contemporary sounding, could-do-very-well-indeed type of tune in the shape of Rockefeller Street by Getter Jaani. We promise to like this even more than we do already as long as she solemnly swears not to wear that dress in the semi-final:

Ukraine, meanwhile, provided an interesting viewing experience with an oddly subdued national final (where were the shrieking, appreciative studio audience?) which also featured a simultaneous English translation, at least on the bit that we saw. We particularly enjoyed the bit when the presenter, looking a bit lost and puzzled, told viewers, “We’re going to take a break for the news now…we’ll be back in less than 20 minutes.” Eh?????? HOW many minutes exactly?? And these people managed to organise and screen an entire contest? Or possibly they just fell victim to a spot of bad translation….but anyway it makes no difference because the winner, Mika Newton’s Angely, is about as dull a song as they could have chosen, and matters aren’t improved by the fact that she is engulfed by bizarre acrobatic dancers as she performs. Come on, this is Ukraine! We want to see mad glossy-haired divas cavorting about the stage or some other general weirdness, not this….!:

Serbia’s final featured a family of songwriters competing against each other for the Dusseldorf ticket – and eventually Kristina Kovac’s track  Caroban, performed by the elfin -haired Nina (is it just us or does she look a bit like a female Milan Stankovic?) triumphed. And actually we love this, with its distinctive 1960s tone, eye-strainingly colourful costumes and general goofiness. One for the final, we think – and anybody who complains it ‘doesn’t sound very Serbian, does it?” can bog right off this minute…..

Next up we have Latvia, whose voters bypassed the hot favourite Banjo Laura in favour of this little oddity, Angel in Disguise by Musiqq – or as we like to refer to them, Diva Fever of Riga. This isn’t actually a bad little song but the presentation is just baffling – you have a dance track on your hands, chaps, so why are you just sitting there? Either this is that trademark Latvian quirkiness that permeates every entry of yours, or you just don’t want us to know that you actually dance like a geography teacher at a sixth form disco:

And finally, we come to Denmark, and once again the Scandinavians have come up trumps with a corker of a song. New Tomorrow by A Friend In London pushes all the right buttons – big, scarf-waving harmonies, a chorus that sticks in your head and stays there, plus it’s very commercial and radio-friendly – and, we might add, one of our favourites so far. The only slight problem – from our point of view at least – is that A Friend In London just happen to be a four-piece boy band. Er……haven’t we come up with that idea already? We don’t want to put a dampener on the UK’s chances but if Blue don’t come up with something equally as good as this we fear that the Danish quartet just might wipe the floor with our boys…….

And on that note, we’re off for a long lie-down. Or at least until it begins all over again this evening with Slovenia and FYR Macedonia…….

Posted in Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine | Leave a Comment »

Adding to the motley crew….

Posted by DINRIL on February 27, 2011

…..is this year’s effort from Bulgaria, Poli Genova’s Na Inat. And for the first time in years they appear to have bucked the trend of going for a bangin’ dance track – although we remain unconvinced that this is a good thing:

Posted in Bulgaria, Eurovision 2011 | Leave a Comment »

Merlin, you’re wizard…….!

Posted by DINRIL on February 27, 2011

And so to Bosnia and Herzegovina, who have come up with one of our favourite tunes so far this year, in the shape of Dino Merlin’s splendid Love In Rewind. Dino you and your quirky musician pals rock – although you might want to consider investing in a new jacket before making your inevitable passage through to the final:

Posted in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eurovision 2011 | Leave a Comment »

Cheer up already!!!!!!

Posted by DINRIL on February 26, 2011

With Norway, Spain and the utterly divine song from Bosnia and Herzegovina (of which we shall speak in a moment) all pushing our Eurovision joy buttons this year, there had to be somebody there who was going to go all mean and moody on us. And that somebody is Georgia’s Eldrine, who barrel through their song One More Day (one more really bad day judging by the looks on their faces) looking so grim-faced and nu-metallish that this could really be a shock to the system if it finds itself sandwiched between Norway and Ireland. While this clearly isn’t a cheesy grin of a tune, we’re not sure quite why they look so downcast since this is actually one of the best songs of the contest so far.. Bet you’ll have plenty to smile about on the big night, guys…..:)

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Where have we been? Never mind that, where have you been….

Posted by DINRIL on February 26, 2011

……for the last 14 years to be precise? Because while we just went away on a short minibreak Italy have been absent from the Eurovision arena since 1997 – and only now, after 14 long years in the wilderness, have they seen fit to return. We’ve heard all manner of excuses as to why they left in the first place – that they wanted to focus on the San Remo festival (feasible), that there was some issue over the showing of commercials during the show (confusing), even that they didn’t see the contest as culturally sound (given this is the country that gave us Italian Stripping Housewives and Roberto Benigni, we’re saying this is unlikely). Whatever their reasons though they are back – and with Austria also returning to the fray this year, it’s beginning to look a lot like an old-school contest again. Something to do with it having been won by a Western nation and being held in Germany perhaps? Well we wouldn’t like to say……:)

As for Italy’s song itself, well we’d heard some negative word of mouth on Raphael Gualazzi’s jazzy effort Follia D’Amore, so we were surprised to find that we didn’t hate it when we heard it. We do sense, however, that this is the work of a country which has been out of the Eurovision loop for 14 years, and doesn’t realise that the contest has moved on in the time it’s been away. As such we can’t even begin to predict how well this will do in the final (for which Italy are automatically qualified, making the ‘Big Four’ into a ‘Big Five’) but what the heck, it’s just nice to have ’em back…..

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Italy | Leave a Comment »

Haven’t we seen you somewhere before…..?

Posted by DINRIL on February 19, 2011

OK, so when reigning Eurovision champion Lena Meyer-Lendrut announced she planned to defend her title in Dusseldorf this year we may have uttered a slightly hollow laugh of disbelief. But consider us chastened, because the winsome young lass who brought song contest glory back to Germany has only gone and done it again (which officially makes her their coolest ever participant. Did Nicole come back the following year for another try? NO) However it remains to be seen whether or not she can ‘do a Johnny Logan’ based on the song that she’ll be fielding in Dussedorf. Taken By A Stranger actually reminds us a bit of Satellite with its quirky lyrics, sparse beat and Lena’s distinctive vocals, only it’s a bit grungier and, er, not quite as good in our opinion. We have absolutely no doubt that her popularity and performance will win her points by the bucketload but somehow we just can’t see this doing the double. Oh well. Eurovision’s an expensive business and you didn’t really want to host it two years running anyway…..

Oh and while we’re at it another big five country, Spain, also chose their entry on Friday night, in the shape of the lovely Lucia Perez and Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao. And just when you thought nobody could possibly rival Norway for joyfulness on the Eurovision stage this year, along come the Spanish to prove us wrong, for this is about as happy and upbeat a track as we think you’re likely to get this year. And we’ll just gloss over how much it reminds us of Portugal’s 2009 effort for the time being, shall we…….?

On that note, Eurovision Blog is off on its hols (well, a long weekend anyway) for a few days. We shall return towards the end of next week with a belated round-up of this weekend’s action including (gasp!) the first Italian entry since 1997, which we await with bated breath……:)

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain | 1 Comment »

Wow! Who saw that coming……?

Posted by DINRIL on February 19, 2011

……we refer to what could just be Poland’s best entry in years. See you in the final, Magdalena Tul…..:)

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Poland | 1 Comment »

Super Saturday! (well, all right, it wasn’t bad…..)

Posted by DINRIL on February 15, 2011

So after a few tentative early entries, Europe has finally gotten around to choosing its songs for Dusseldorf en masse, and so as the dust settles on the first ‘super Saturday’ of the season, let’s take a look at what they have in store for us this year.

First out of the gate is Finland, who have clearly taken advice from the Tom Dice Book Of How To Do A Winsome Boy With Guitar Ditty (nope, we’ve never come across any such book but we’re sure it would be a best-seller). Thus we have the rather cute Paradise Oskar, singing a pleasant little number called Da Da Dam, complete with very odd lyrics about a boy saving the planet which while slightly irritating are still a step up from the legend that was the 1982 eco-anthem Don’t You Drop That Neutron Bomb On Me. Now leaving aside the fact that Da Da Dam will do absolutely NOTHING to convince Eurovision cynics that the contest has moved on from its heyday of nonsensical titles, we actually have a sneaking regard for this song, the closest thing we have to a ballad in the contest so far and easily one of the most melodic tunes yet. Proceed to the final forthwith, young man….

And  so to Malta, whose disappointingly short final (whatever happened to those five hour epics then featuring Chiara duetting with the entire music industry of Valletta??) resulted in Glen Vella’s One Life being chosen as their entry. This one is going to have to work hard to win us over because while it’s certainly not bad it’s also a tad run-of-the-mill. Unless it can distinguish itself from the pack, we fear the Maltese could be left languishing in the final once again….

As for Belgium, well it appears that their comeback may well have been the shortest in Eurovision history as this year they have reverted back to their old quirky self and, er, gone accapella. Witloof Bay’s With Love Baby features band members impersonating musical instruments, doing lots of finger clicking, singing in harmony etc etc in an attempt to convince us that this is a good idea, but to us it still sounds like the kind of thing you might hear as the cabaret act in Pizza Express of a Sunday afternoon. Of course Europeans may see the appeal that has thus far passed us by and vote for it in droves, but we can’t see it ourselves.  Did these people learn nothing from Latvia 2006??????

There’s a sad story surrounding Iceland’s entry this year, meanwhile, since Sigurjon Brink, the singer who was supposed to perform it in the national final, died unexpectedly and tragically in January aged just 36. As such some of his musician mates got together to perform the song in the competition under the name Sjionni’s Friends – and to the surprise of absolutely nobody the track, Aftur Heim, has won the ticket to Dusseldorf. Regardless of what you may think of the song (‘endearing in a Denmark 2001 kind of way’ was the general consensus around here), we think Sjonni’s friends have done him proud:

And finally to Norway, who have a gem of a tune this year in the shape of Stella Mwangi’s Haba Haba. Stella – who was born in Kenya but has lived in la Norvege since childhood, was the hot favourite to win the national final and judging by the rampant hysteria from the crowd as she triumphs in this clip, she was clearly a popular choice. This, along with Jedward (*hides) is the song we can’t get out of our head at the moment, but we’ll stop just short of saying this could possibly score Norway another victory so soon after the last one until we’ve heard a few more songs. We will say, however, that we will be utterly stunned if this doesn’t make it to the final. Or if we anything any more ridiculously joyful on the Eurovision stage this year:

 

 

Posted in Belgium, Eurovision 2011, Finland, Iceland, Malta, Norway | 1 Comment »

With a crushing inevitability…..

Posted by DINRIL on February 12, 2011

…….those Jedward boys have won the Irish ticket to Dusseldorf. Yup, the stack-haired twosome scored their ridiculously predictable victory on Ireland’s Late Late Show on Friday night, although it wasn’t nearly as much of a runaway win as one might have imagined. This could have had something to do with a last minute change in the voting pattern after 30 seconds of their track Lipstick was leaked online ahead of the contest.

Apparently this wasn’t supposed to happen, and so as not to give them an unfair advantage over the other four acts the voting was changed from 50:50 jury/public to just one-third of the votes coming from the public and the remainder from the regional juries (hang on, didn’t the BBC used to do this on Making Your Mind Up before deciding it was a very silly idea and the public couldn’t be trusted to choose a song that wasn’t about air stewards or didn’t sound like the song that won two years ago and was no longer fashionable? But anyway, we digress……)

All of which meant that the boys were neck and neck throughout the jury voting with the very fine Falling by Nikki Kavanagh, which would have been an equally worthy Irish entry had it won. And so it would have done if the entire thing had been counted on jury votes, since she was ahead of the gruesome twosome by the end. Still, never ones to be let down by their public except for that time when they voted them off the X Factor, failed to get their debut single to number one in the UK etc etc – Jedward eventually snatched victory from Nikki’s clutches when the scores from the public result were revealed and they were revealed to have the highest number of votes from the viewers at home – although ultimately they won by just two points.

And you know what? Against our better judgment, we actually quite enjoyed their performance. We’re still not convinced that they can sing a note, and will attempt to cover up the fact on the Eurovision stage by wearing very shiny jackets and jumping around a lot, but there’s something about this song that we think the massed ranks of Eastern Europe in particular will love. Could this potentially give the Irish their best result in years? We wouldn’t rule it out.

Oh, and for the eagle eyed among you, that backing vocalist with the red mohican is one Rebecca Creighton, who is (or possibly was, we lose track) in that X Factor 2010 ‘girlband’ Belle Amie. You remember, the ones that Simon Cowell put together from bootcamp and who miraculously managed to hang in there until about the fourth week, possibly due to their ability to look pretty in very short frocks rather than do any actual singing? (Actually we think we may have lost you at ‘you remember?……??????’)

But anyway. We grudgingly wish the Jedward boys good luck in Dusseldorf (remember lads, you’ll have to get through to the final if you want any support from your fanbase in the UK), in what was a very enjoyable national final – succinct, to the point, and all done and dusted in just over two hours without being filled full of mad performances from 47 past acts and dragged out longer than the director’s cut of Ben Hur. Take note, other nations…….:)

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Ireland | 1 Comment »