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Archive for March, 2011

And we’re off!

Posted by DINRIL on March 16, 2011

We have our songs – and now we have our running order – which is as follows

SEMI-FINAL 1 (Tuesday May 10)

Poland

Norway

Albania

Armenia

Turkey

Serbia

Russia

Switzerland

Georgia

Finland

Malta

San Marino

Croatia

Iceland

Hungary

Portugal

Lithuania

Azerbaijan

Greece

Good news for: Georgia, who have a plum spot sandwiched between two of the quieter songs of the contest; Croatia, who should stand out in between the efforts of San Marino and Iceland; Hungary, who coming after Iceland and right before two duffers from Lithuania and Portugal look like an absolute cert for the final; Azerbaijan, for getting the ever popular second last slot in a very competitive semi; and Greece, who after the poor reception their song has received frankly need all the help they can get.

Bad news for: Poland, since going first is notoriously tough and it might well have spiked their chances with their strongest song in years; Norway, since nobody has EVER won from a second place in either a semi-final or a final (they’ll probably still qualify in the same way that second placed Russia did last year but we’re sensing Turkey, Croatia or Hungary might nab the top spot that could potentially have been theirs); Serbia, whose pleasant but unremarkable effort may well be lost between notorious big guns Turkey and Russia;  and Switzerland, who will either stand out between the big upbeat efforts of Russia and Georgia, or simply vanish completely.

SEMI-FINAL 2 (Thursday May 12)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Austria

The Netherlands

Belgium

Slovakia

Ukraine

Moldova

Sweden

Cyprus

Bulgaria

FYR Macedonia

Israel

Slovenia

Romania

Estonia

Belarus

Latvia

Denmark

Ireland

GOOD NEWS FOR: Ireland, Ireland, Ireland, Ireland!!!!!! Jedward will be memorable enough as it is but who is possibly going to forget them from that starting position? We’ll be stunned if you don’t see them in the final. Also; Denmark, although frankly we don’t think they’ll need a great deal of help getting there (but having the penultimate spot won’t hurt); Estonia, whose already strong song will be even stronger for coming right before Belarus; Israel, simply because midway through isn’t a bad place to be at all; Sweden, who have done pretty well from performing eighth in previous years (well they won from eighth position with Carola in 1991. You don’t get much better than that); and surprisingly, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yes, they are performing first which sucks but when you look at what follows (Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, Slovakia) and realise they are actually the best of the bunch it should help their cause enormously…..

THE FINAL (Saturday May 14)

France 11

Italy 12

UK 14

Germany 16

Spain 22

It’s hard to properly analyse the running order of the final until it’s actually confirmed two days before the contest of course – but none of the Big Five should be disappointed with their positions in the running order this year, and the UK in particular should pat themselves on the back for getting a place in the second half of the show, away from the commercial break and more importantly not directly before the home nation. Or we could just breathe a sigh of relief that we are not performing second again. Until we know who will be before and after us we can’t rest on our laurels that much of course so for now let’s just stick with cautious optimism…..

 

 

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Posted in Eurovision 2011, Eurovision News | 2 Comments »

(Almost) the last round-up….

Posted by DINRIL on March 15, 2011

With the exception of whatever happens to be replacing Belarus’ Born in Belorussia, which is being ditched after revelations that it had been previously performed (and we can’t decide if this is horrendous news or actually saving us from a fate worse than, er, having to watch it on the night), all the songs for Dusseldorf 2011 are now present and correct. And so let us kick off the final batch with this effort – entitled Get You – from Russia’s Alex Sparrow:

Now we’re still scratching our heads over the authentic, er, Russianness of the name Alex Sparrow, because quite frankly with a moniker like that he sounds more like he comes from Middlesborough than Moscow.  (his real name is actually Alexey Vorobyov, it seems). The song is the usual slickly produced affair we’ve come to expect from Russia yet just seems yawningly ordinary to us. Sigh. It’ll make the final anyway because they are Russia and, like Turkey, could make the final with an orchestra of goats playing the national anthem on upturned saucepans. But enough, onwards we trot to Azerbaijan – and as much as Alex doesn’t sound very Russian, their song, Running Scared by Ell and Nikki, doesn’t sound very, er, Azerbaijani. In fact it reminds us a bit of Keane. Which is pleasant enough but suddenly the mighty heights of Always seem a very long way away….

Meanwhile, it’s time to welcome another returning nation, San Marino, to the contest, after they made an auspicious debut in 2008 with Complice, failed to register more than a tiny blip on the semi-final scoreboard and then promptly ducked out again for two years. But nonetheless we love ’em because they actually gave the UK some points in 2008. You remember 2008, that was the year Russia sent its answer to Justin Timberlake, we sent that bin man off of The X Factor and everybody wondered why we came last? Don’t get us started. And no this isn’t relevant. We just can’t think of anything else to say about this San Marinese entry. Except it is by Senit and it’s called Stand By:

And last – but by no means least – is the Swedish entry. Now here’s a song which is going to enthrall and infuriate people in equal measures. Enthrall because it’s insanely catchy, ridiculous, over the top and possibly the campest Eurovision effort we have heard for some time. Infuriate because – well, see above really. Still, whatever you may think of Eric Saade’s Popular, however much you try to ignore the fact it’s essentially a nursery rhyme with twiddly 80s-esque electronic bits in the background – we defy you to find any other song this year which will stick in your head like this one after just one listen. The only problem being that it then STAYS THERE. And won’t leave. Help us. We will admit, however, that we’re finding this song irresistible – and suspect it will get rather a lot of points on the big night. Let’s just hope Eric has found his other glove by then…..

And that, as they say, is that. Looks like we got ourselves a competition…….

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Sigh….if you want something done properly, do it yourself….

Posted by DINRIL on March 12, 2011

…..is possibly what Duncan James and the rest of the Blue boys may have been thinking when they took on the task of turning around the UK’s Eurovision fortunes this year.  And their road to the contest has been no easy one. The fact is, the reputation of the UK on the Eurovision stage has been so shot to pieces in recent years that whoever rose to the challenge this year was never going to be in for an easy ride.  We could have sent Elton John duetting with Robbie Williams featuring George Michael on backing vocals and everybody would still have told us that we were going to come last. Such is the perception of the UK at Eurovision in recent years – and who can blame us for thinking that, since apart from the momentary blip of 2009 we haven’t exactly done anything to change that opinion – that it was hard to see it changing.

But this year, we think things are going to be very different indeed. We are the first to admit we weren’t big fans of Blue, that it was a valiant if somewhat dated choice, that it could all fall flat etc etc. Well now we have had a chance to hear I Can. Several times. And we can honestly say that we absolutely love it. OK, so the lyrics are fundamentally nonsense and it’s not necessarily anything removed from the normal realms of boy band territory, but it’s also anthemic, has a killer chorus which will lodge in the heads of voters long after the final note has been sung, and if their performance on The Graham Norton Show tonight was anything to go by, they already have a slick stage routine worked out. More importantly, they seem to be giving it their all. None of the half-hearted, resigned to the dumper attitude that we went into the contest with last year where even Pete Waterman turned round and admitted we weren’t going to do too well, these boys are in it to win it. And it’s hard not to marvel at the difference.

But the most crucial selling point of the song, as far as we’re concerned, is the one which may well stand it in good stead on the night – the fact that while it may be memorable and well-performed, it doesn’t actually sound like a Eurovision song. What it sounds like – and this is something we’ve been nagging those folks at the BBC about for ages – is a good pop song which just happens to be entering Eurovision. Now didn’t we harp on about that last year, complaining that we had tried so hard to come up with what constituted a typical Eurosong that we had lost sight of what actually won the contest these days? Someone, somewhere clearly agrees with us.

Because instead of going for some cliched dated nonsense, or getting the public to vote in some ridiculous novelty act who might as well have ‘LAST PLACE’ stamped on their forehead because they have gotten it into their head that the whole thing is pre-ordained for Russia and their mates to win until at least 2024, the powers that be have dispensed with the idea of trying to enter a typical Eurovision song. And instead they’ve just entered a song. Which is what we suggested they should be doing in the first place. Now don’t you see how much better that is for everybody?

We can’t tell you how Blue will fare on the big night, of course – you’ll have to tune in and find out. But with the buzz that this song appears to have created around Europe – much of it positive – it looks as though this could be the year that the UK reminds everybody what a powerful force it used to be on the Eurovision stage. Better still, it could even signal a revival of interest in the contest in this country in the same way Lena made Germany fall in love with it once again. And if nothing else, that could finally make the public realise the error of their ways in not taking it seriously in recent years. Meanwhile you can guarantee we’ll also be backing our boys all the way to Dusseldorf. Because if we’re being honest, this is the best shot we’ve had at the Eurovision crown for a very long time.

Now if only we’d thought of doing this kind of thing sooner……..

Posted in Eurovision 2011, United Kingdom | 2 Comments »

Did you hear it? Did you…..??????

Posted by DINRIL on March 12, 2011

We are of course referring to Blue’s UK entry, I Can. But in case you didn’t…..

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Hungary Likes The Wolf!

Posted by DINRIL on March 9, 2011

And it’s a warm welcome back to Hungary, who were noticeable by their absence from last year’s contest (given that the 2009 performance was possibly one of the worst things in Eurovision history we quite understand them taking a year off to lick their wounds). Not much more to say about Kati Wolf’s effort, mind, except that it’s rather better than their last effort Dance With Me, she’ll be singing in English on the night (hence something incomprehensible in Hungarian becomes What About My Dreams), and, er, she came 6th in Hungarian X Factor. It is worth pointing out at this stage that had we sent our sixth placed X Factor candidate this year we would have ended up with, er…..Wagner. Let’s not even go there…..

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Hungary | 1 Comment »

Haven’t we seen you somewhere before….? (Part 2)

Posted by DINRIL on March 9, 2011

Nope, your eyes are not deceiving you. Dana International, the Israeli singer who famously won Eurovision 1998 in Birmingham, is the latest former champion who will have the chance to ‘do a Johnny Logan’ when she takes to the stage once again in Dusseldorf. It’s a pity that this time around her song – the snappily titled Ding Dong – isn’t nearly as catchy or memorable as her previous winner Diva, but even if the transgender pop queen has ‘gone a bit Leslie Phillips’ on us, she’ll probably still make a few headlines just by bothering to do it all over again:

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Mon dieu!

Posted by DINRIL on March 8, 2011

Goodness, France are really going for it these days in Eurovision terms, aren’t they? We can remember a time not so long ago when they basically sent the same moody Gallic ballad every year, sung in French (natch, none of this ‘English’ nonsense for our friends across the Channel) and didn’t seem to care whether they won or not! But they’ve upped their game lately with Patricia Kaas’s fabulous 2009 effort and last year’s Allez Ola Ole which was nonsense but so much fun we forgave them.

This year they have what we can only describe as the Marmite song of the contest. Amaury Vassili’s Sognu is a full-on operatic effort, in Corsican, which may well have the older viewers voting in droves but could well invoke scratching of head and a much-needed trip to the toilet among others. As for us, we can’t make up our minds as to whether it’s pompous claptrap or France’s best shot at victory since, er, their last win. On the one hand, it does stand out from everything else that’s on offer and the performance will no doubt be striking. On the other hand, Latvia tried opera in 2007 and earned themselves little more than a ticket on the next bus home.  And we just can’t imagine how the tone of the contest would plummet if we were faced on the night with, ‘So, that was some fabulously classy opera, beautifully sung by this young, renowned tenor. And now, here’s Jedward……’ Still, judge for yourselves…..

 

Posted in Eurovision 2011, France | 3 Comments »

And you can behave yourselves too!

Posted by DINRIL on March 8, 2011

Yes, that’s you we are referring to, Portugal. As if having retro sounding titles this year wasn’t enough, Portugal’s effort comes from the comedy sextet Homens da Luta, who have tried and failed to crack Eurovision before but this year somehow succeeded against the odds with Luta E Alegria.  Judging from the audience reaction at the Festival de Cancao after they had won, complete with boos and people walking out, this wasn’t the most popular of choices, and we can see why. Yes, we understand that Homens da Luta are supposed to be a comedic tribute to post Carnation Revolution performers but is anybody outside of Portugal actually going to understand that? Or are they just going to see yet another band in dodgy outfits singing a bad song that they can poke fun at for years to come? It has of course occurred to us that this has been chosen in protest by the people of Portugal at the fact they have never won the contest. Er, guys, keep on sending songs like this and you never will…..

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Portugal | 4 Comments »

Stop being silly!

Posted by DINRIL on March 8, 2011

Eurovision – at least on those Eurovision nostalgia shows on TV that like to point and laugh at those crazy Europeans circa 1976 – is renowned for its nonsensical song titles, those of the La la la and Bem Bom variety. Now we thought we had seen the end of that era, but it seems it is returning to haunt us in 2011 – firstly with Finland’s sweetly pretty but ludicrously named Da Da Dum and now, it seems, with Armenia’s representative Emmy, who is fielding a track called – wait for it – Boom Boom. Which not only has the song title of a bygone era but sounds like it comes from one too. Guys – it is neither big nor clever, OK? Let’s just hope now that Dana International doesn’t triumph in Tuesday’s Israeli Kdam with her intellectually challenging track Ding Dong, or we are looking at clip show fodder for years to come…..

Posted in Armenia, Eurovision 2011 | 4 Comments »

Our new favourite song…..

Posted by DINRIL on March 8, 2011

We haven’t been that impressed by the Croatian entries of late, at least not since Severina’s majestic Moja Stikla in 2006. This year however, following a national final which enthralled us and confused us in equal measures (all the singers perform a song each, then some songs get knocked out, then the singers perform different songs that the others sang previously, then the audience shriek like banshees, then someone else sings something different, etc.etc.) they chose Daria Kinzer to take the song Lahor to Dusseldorf.

Lahor means ‘breeze’, apparently. Yet for some reason the English title of the song is Break A Leg. Does someone want to explain that to us? Because apart from the fact that it fits nicely into the beat of the chorus we can’t think of any other reason for the title change.  And now we’re just even more confused…..oh enough already. Love this to bits,and the fact it ticks all the right boxes (right down to the key change) makes it a front-runner in our minds…..

Posted in Croatia, Eurovision 2011 | 5 Comments »