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Archive for March, 2012

(Almost) the last round-up, Part 2….

Posted by Caroline on March 29, 2012

Mopping up the last few songs of the year, it looks like we’re set for an almighty battle of the ballad birds in Baku. Or at least between Azerbaijan and Bosnia and Herzegovina that is. The host nation are fielding this effort, When The Music Dies, by Sabina Babayeva, which is OK in a sort of ‘we REALLY don’t want to win this again’ kind of way. We confidently predict a triumphant seventh place finish. Or something:

And here’s Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Maya Sar, weighing in on the big and dramatic front with Korake Ti Znam. It’s epic, it’s beautiful and….we wish we liked it more. If it’s any consolation, we do actually feel bad about not liking it more. And she will undoubtedly qualify for the final where Eurovision Blog estimates Slovenia will wipe the floor with all the other Balkan ballads:

Speaking of ballads, look here comes another one! It’s Belgium’s Iris, performing her entry Would You in a hall of mirrors which looks like a set nicked from Munich 1983:

But enough of all this balladeering, along come Greece now to pick up the tempo, with Eleftheria Eleftheriou (a name which we just know is going to give us no end of spelling problems in the run-up to the contest) and her song Aphrodisiac. Which sounds pretty much like every bit of Greek ethno-pop which has dominated their Eurovision track record since the dawn of time. We hereby predict Eleftheria will wear a short, sparkly skirt, probably be joined on stage by carefully co-ordinated dancers and sail through to the final for a slightly underwhelming mid-table finish. Yawn. Word to the Greeks: we realise you’re on a budget at the moment but seriously, originality costs NOTHING:

Posted in Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, Greece | Leave a Comment »

What have you got to say for yourself….Israel?

Posted by Caroline on March 29, 2012

Oh yes, it’s that time of year again when we ask Eurovision acts across the continent very nicely if they’ll talk to us. While some take no notice, issue a hollow laugh of derision and then take no notice, or demand a fee for their troubles (er, no) others actually quite like the idea, and do indeed take the time to answer our nosy questions. And first out of the bag this year are Israel’s Izabo, who not only deserve a big round of applause for being generally fab, but also for being the first Israeli act ever to face the Eurovision Blog interrogation. Over to the band’s keyboard player Shiri Hadar:

Introduce yourselves and tell us how you ended up representing Israel in Eurovision this year!
We are Izabo! A four piece band including Ran Shem Tov and Myself, Shiri Hadar, we are also husband and wife and just had our new baby girl 4 months ago, called Eli! Ran is the creator of the Music, he produces and Mixes everything aswell as playing Guitar and lead locals. I play keyboard, Jonathan Levi the redhead is our bass player and Nir Manzur is the crazy drummer. we all sing aswell. we are not really sure how we ended up representing Israel this year in the Eurovision to be honest, since its a very suprising choice to take us, being a left field band that are known to be more alternative Musicians. but we were very happy to hear that we were chosen, we believe Eurovision doesn’t have to mean you’re not a good musician. Remember Abba started there!!!! 🙂

Are you looking forward to going to Baku? What can we expect from your stage show?
We are looking forward, and working towards this trip. I think you can expect on the stage show that we will stay Izabo. We are a funk rock band and that is not going to change, we won’t be dancing dressed like clowns, I think being authentic is the most important thing, I hope people will relate.

Israel failed to make it out of the semi-final last year, how do you plan to change that this year?
I can’t say that it will change this year, all i can say is that we are doing our best for that to happen. all we can do is put on the best performance of the song on stage, and again, hope that people will relate to what we are doing.

Which of this year’s other entries do you rate? Since we’ve been working so hard, we didn’t have too much time to go over all the songs.. we really like the Turkish entry. and we know he loves Izabo aswell as he wrote us. England is interesting!

How have your fans reacted to your impending appearance in Eurovision? Have you also found that you now have a lot of new ones? Our fans were like us, suprised at the beginning, but everyone are loving it! everyone loves the song and being so supportive. all the “Music Lovers” around here are supporting us bringing something good to this show.

Ran mentioned in a previous interview that part of his family is from Azerbaijan. Did that influence your decision to represent Israel and will you be getting in touch with your roots while you’re there?
We didn’t know where the Eurovision is this year when we sent the song (hehe we’re not news type of people as you can notice) but when we realized it was amazing. I think it will be very interesting to see what the place looks like and even try and locate the area where Ran’s family grew up in.

You came over here in 2004 after the release of the Morning Hero EP, do you have any plans to play in the UK again?Yes most definitely!!!! We signed with 100% Records over in the UK last year. and a few months ago we released a free 3 track EP, which you could download in our facebook page:

Our first Single in the UK “I Like It” will be out this May! very excited about it. you can already check out the new video for the song over here:

The whole album “Life is on my side” will be released in the UK May 24th. After that we are planning to be in the UK as much as we will be wanted for!

Here in the UK Eurovision is regarded by many as a bit of a joke, an attitude which a lot of us are trying to change. How is it regarded in Israel? It’s pretty much the same over here in Israel. it’s a shame really. because Eurovision could be a huge celebration of great music from all around the world. I think it used to be that years ago.. but nowdays it’s less about the music…thats what we understand. This is why we believe we are bringing something different to this year’s ESC. Crossing figures that it will stick out and do a great job.

Have you heard the UK entry and what do you think of it, and our somewhat older representative? Any chance of some points? (please…..:)) Well, I don’t think that we will have too much input on the votes from Israel hehe…but i’m sure it will do great this year! We give your our personal vote 🙂

And finally, tell me why Israel should have the chance to host Eurovision in 2013 and which city would you choose to host it? Cause the weather here is the best in Europe? Great food? Amazing beach? All we can do is do our best and hope for the best outcome. either way, we are happy with the experience and with every new Izabo fan that it’s bringing along. it’s all about spreading your Music!!!

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, Interviews, Israel | Leave a Comment »

Rock Me Amadeus! On second thoughts don’t bother….

Posted by Caroline on March 27, 2012

Question: Is this the worst song ever in the history of Eurovision? Answer: Yes. Well possibly not but it sure is a contender. Montenegro, bring it ON:

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Montenegro | 1 Comment »

(Almost) the last round-up….

Posted by Caroline on March 26, 2012

First things first, we must apologise for the radio silence in recent days. While the rest of the Eurovision fraternity has been frothing about this that and the other, we have been engaged in a small trifle called ‘work’. But hey, there was only so long we could put off taking a look at the rest of this year’s entries, now that they have been chosen, so let’s get going with this little number from Slovakia. Now if you get get over the hair metal posturing and rather shabby looking set then this effort, Don’t Close Your Eyes by Max Jason Mai, isn’t half bad actually. So much so that we almost think the Slovakians could even be in with a chance of making the final this year. Mind you we thought that in 2010 and look how that one fared:

Next we have Portugal’s Filipa Sousa with her effort Vida Minha. Er, Portugal, you know how you’ve never actually won Eurovision? Well songs like this are the reason why, OK….? I mean we’re all for playing it safe, especially after what you sent to the contest last year, but in truth this actually leaves us longing for Homens da Luta to stage a comeback:

Time for something completely different now, and here’s Romania’s Mandinga with their song Zaleilah. Now this one really does tick all the boxes in the Eurovision book of cliches – wacky men playing the accordion, bonkers dancing, a lady whose clothes seem to fall off entirely by accident (in this instance before the first verse has even kicked in). Oh and bagpipes. And you know what? We bloomin’ well love it. OK, so sound-wise this is basically Cotton Eye Joe for the Facebook generation, but it’s so utterly joyful and catchy that we just can’t resist it. And we have a sneaking suspicion that along with Israel this could be one of those ‘dark horse’ entries which sneaks up the scoreboard when nobody’s looking and nabs about a zillion points:

Finally in this batch we come to the remarkably similar effort from Moldova (now there’s a surprise), Pasha Parfeny’s Lautar. Just a few things we would like to point out to Pasha here – firstly, you look like Colin Farrell, secondly the double checkered fabric look should really be avoided at all costs, and finally you, sir, are bonkers. How else do you explain the moment in this performance when you mount one of the dancers and begin riding her like a horse? That said we actually rather like this song, and you can pretty much guarantee they will exchange points with Romania, since both songs sound so remarkably similar and are the product of, how shall we put this, eccentrics:

Next up: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, and anyone else we’ve forgotten….



Posted in Moldova, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia | Leave a Comment »

Is there a dislike button?

Posted by Caroline on March 19, 2012

Poor old San Marino. Not only do they have to contend with being the smallest country on the Eurovision stage (and all the endless jokes about finding it on the map underneath a biscuit crumb), but they’ve yet to actually reach the final – and this year even their passage to the semi-final is proving to be a rocky one. Having announced late last week that San Marinese singer Valentina Monetta would sing the Ralph Siegel penned number Facebook  Uh Oh Oh (can’t imagine for one moment what it’s about), they have since been told that the lyrics of the song contravene rule 1.2.2.g of the contest. Whatever that is. Well actually it has something to do with the fact that mentioning Facebook in the song is tantamount to advertising.

So what to do? Well they could change the words of the song, but since it’s basically about Facebook and features the word Facebook approximately 48,000 times (together with the occasional not-so-subtle mention of Mark Zuckerberg) we have no idea how they would go about it. In other words, it looks as if they’ll have to scrap the ditty and come up with a new song instead. But that said, given just how utterly ridiculous said ditty is, are we sure they didn’t just make this rule up in order to allow them to find something better? Seriously San Marino, we know you’re the size of the editor’s thumbnail but is this REALLY the best you could do….?

Posted in Eurovision 2012, San Marino | 4 Comments »

Love Will Set You Free? Yes please!

Posted by Caroline on March 19, 2012

So after much speculation, gnashing of teeth and general dischord about the choice of Engelbert Humperdinck to represent the UK in Baku (to the point when we actually had visions of some of you marching down to the BBC wearing medieval costume and holding flaming torches), the veteran crooner’s song for the contest has finally been unveiled. Love Will Set You free, penned by ace songwriters Sacha Skarbek (OK, he co-wrote James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful, but nobody’s perfect) and Martin Terefe, was revealed on the BBC’s official Eurovision website this morning – and the reaction has been as divided as you might expect. Some think it’s a potential winner, others aren’t so keen. There are of course others who have clearly branded it the worst song in the entire history of music simply because it’s a UK Eurovision entry and we all know how clever and fashionable it is to knock those. But our thoughts on what they can go and do are not reprintable on a family blog.

And as for our thoughts? Well, we’re so glad that we decided to wait until we’d heard the song before we passed judgment on whether Engelbert was the right man for the job – and sure enough, our patience has been rewarded. For Love Will Set You Free is the kind of simple, gentle, back-to-basics ballad the UK should have sent years ago – and in a contest where ballads are two a penny, it stands out as one of the best (frankly if we were Zeljko from Serbia we’d be quaking in our boots at the thought of pensioner power). Of course the ‘nul points’ naysayers have been out in full force since it was revealed – but since a) most of them have embraced the Russian grannies while continuing to denounce our own singing pensioner, and b) would be fawning over this song like flies around a bun if it had hailed from the Balkans or Eastern Europe, we’re not listening to them either. The fact is, this is simply one of the best efforts the UK has fielded in years – and even if it doesn’t win (and against the likes of Sweden we’ll be honest it has an uphill task), at least we won’t be the laughing stock of the continent this year. And in case you have yet to hear what all the fuss is about look no further:

Posted in Eurovision 2012, United Kingdom | 4 Comments »

How very dare you!

Posted by Caroline on March 18, 2012

Much as we respect the right of anybody to change their minds about the song they have entered for Eurovision (otherwise known as ‘doing a Belarus’), we were shocked to learn this week that Italy had done just that. Yup, they’ve ditched the majestic ballad Per Sempre – which was one of our favourites this year – in favour of this effort, L’Amore e Femmina. Now this is a more upbeat tune, with more than enough uses of the phrase ‘boom boom boom’ to satisfy all those lovers of the ridiculous Eurovision lyric – and yes, we do quite like it (we sense if Amy Winehouse had decided to sing in Italian the result might have been something like this), but it’s just – well we think Per Sempre had top five potential, and we’re not so sure about this one. Still when Nina Zilli emerges triumphant from Baku on May 26 clutching the winner’s trophy feel free to tell us we were wrong:

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Italy | 1 Comment »

See anyone you recognise?

Posted by Caroline on March 14, 2012

Well you should do if you’ve been watching Eurovision for a while because this chap, Zeljko Joksimovic, finished in second place for the country once known as Serbia and Montenegro in 2004, singing the hauntingly beautiful Lane Moje. Since then he’s gone on to write the hauntingly beautiful Leilja for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which came third in 2006 – but we’re getting the impression he’d quite like to come first for once. As such he’s back for Serbia this year with this little number, Synonym, which was presented on a special show on Serbian TV the other night which featured Zeljko singing a back catalogue of his greatest hits before he finally got around to presenting his entry for Baku – and do we really need to tell you what it’s like? Just see above, basically.

The only main difference this time is he presented the song in English, and we’re still not sure if he’ll be going for that in the contest or sticking to his native tongue. Bit of advice here? We’d stick to Serbian if we were you, unless you really want the song to sound like something out of an overblown West End stage musical. Because in all other respects – and while we’re not entirely sure this will do as well as its predecessors – this is really very good indeed:

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Serbia | 1 Comment »

Ladies and gentleman, your winner. Maybe……

Posted by Caroline on March 14, 2012

So Melodifestivalen came and went with all its attendant hysteria, and when all was said and done the hysteria just continued apace, because there are an awful lot of people out there who seem to think that after choosing this song, Sweden have yet another Eurovision victory in the bag. And Loreen’s song Euphoria certainly has everything going for it – for one thing it’s super-credible, the sort of bangin’ club anthem which would doubtless have contest naysayers shocked to learn it’s actually a Eurovision entry and secondly it’s already topping charts all over Europe which mean it’ll be firmly entrenched in everybody’s minds a la Satellite when the big night comes. Plus we are kind of liking the fact that it looks like what might happen if Kate Bush decided to sing a Faithless track.

But is it really a sure thing? Well in any other year we would be saying yes, quite possibly, but let’s inject a note of caution here – this is one of the strongest song line-ups in years, and as such Loreen is facing a lot of stiff competition in her quest to bring the contest back to la Suede – and besides, let’s not forget how many of their songs have seemed like runaway winners only to then limp into fifth place, or similar (Friends in 2001, Lena in 2004, Carola in 2006, Eric Saade and his stupidly catchy nursery rhyme in 2011 – and let’s not forget the even worse fates dealt out to the likes of Charlotte Perelli and Anna Berghendahl) Besides, there is always the possibility that her funky dance moves may pale in comparison to the Russian grannies. But all things considered – and provided she actually makes an effort on the night and doesn’t just assume she can phone in her performance and automatically get 4000 points – then yes, we would say this is a contender. Now if only we could stop singing it:

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Sweden | 1 Comment »

Grandma, we love you, grandma, we do….

Posted by Caroline on March 8, 2012

So there we were trumpeting the fact that Englebert Humperdinck will be the oldest person ever to set foot on the Eurovision stage, and what do Russia go and do? They go and choose the only act in the world who are possibly even older to represent them in Baku. We first clapped eyes on this bunch, the Buranovskie Babushki – or to give them their English name, the Buranovo Grannies – when they were in the 2010 Russian final singing a catchy little number called Long Long Birch Track And How To Make A Hat Out Of It. And we loved them then. But never in a million years did we actually think they would triumph in a final which this year also included a duet between former Eurovision champion Dima Bilan and Yulia Volkova from Tatu.

But they did indeed, and their entry, the folksy dance track Party For Everybody might be as daft as a brush but it’s so much fun that you’ll be singing along in spite of yourself (although possibly only the chorus since the rest of the song is in a little-known dialect called Udmurt, spoken in the Udmurtia region where the grannies hail from. The six of them also wear traditional costume, are given to hugging each other on stage, and have a combined age of 742. Well almost. Actually the youngest is a mere slip of a thing at 43 and the oldest – whom we assume is that small smiley one in the middle – is 76, which knocks Englebert out of the park already since he is not 76 until May. (and speaking of which, do we not think he will now be spoilt for choice when he gets to Baku? We can just see all the green room antics now – The Hump surrounded by his harem of older Russian ladies, all of them discussing their corns and where to buy the cheapest tartan shopping trolleys before heading off together on a Saga holiday. Maybe next year we could even have a Junior Eurovision offshoot entitled Senior Eurovision. Let’s just stop there).

Seriously though, the reaction to these ladies has been pretty impressive, even reaching the British press, which given they generally only exist to poke fun at Eurovision and complain about the fact the UK never wins is remarkable. Even more remarkable are the number of fans who this time last week were up in arms about the fact we were being represented by a pensioner, yet don’t appear to have a problem with Russia being represented by a whole bunch of pensioners. Funny that.

Whether or not this wins remains to be seen but we have an odd feeling it’s going to do rather well indeed. Thus of course bringing joy to the whole of Europe and giving British TV clip show fodder in a ‘let’s all point and laugh at those funny Eurovision singers’ way for years to come. And here’s what all the fuss is about:

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Russia | 1 Comment »