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There are other songs too, you know….

Posted by Caroline on March 3, 2012

What with the Internet going into meltdown over the news of Englebert Humperdinck representing the UK in Baku, it’s all too easy to forget about what other countries have been up to on the Eurovision front – and so, without further ado, here’s yet another batch of tunes which have this week entered the fray. Let’s begin with Belarus, who actually picked their song a few weeks back but we didn’t bother commenting on it at that point since we knew they would change their minds. And sure enough,barely a fortnight after Alyona Lanskaya’s dull-as-ditchwater ballad All My Life had been chosen as the Belarussian entry than it was swiftly replaced by boy band Litesound with We Are The Heroes (which sadly bears little resemblance to the 2006 Lithuanian corker We Are The Winners). And we have to admit it is a considerable improvement upon Alyona’s effort although we’re still not entirely convinced that it will make much of an impact on the Eurovision stage. As for Litesound, well it’s fairly obvious to us that a better title for their song would have been We Are The Poundland One Direction….

Moving swiftly along we have the Austrian effort from the wonderfully named Trackshittaz (you can’t really go wrong with a name like that can you?) shouting their way through the rap track Woki Mit Deim Popo, or to give it its English title Shake Your Ass (erm, OK). Now given that the Austrians did a very public flounce from the contest over accusations of political voting a few years back, they clearly take their Eurovision prowess seriously – so perhaps they would care to explain why they have sent a couple of blokes rapping in tongue-twisting German surrounded by poledancers to Baku? Well given that it was either them or a lady with a beard called Conchita Wurst who does odd cover versions of My Heart Will Go On, maybe it’s a blessing – but for all its silliness (and we particularly like the bit where the lights go off and the catsuit clad ladies wiggle their assets in ultra-violet close up) we actually think this could be one of the surprise packages of the contest. In other words, it’ll either sink without trace in the semi-final or do an Alf Poier and soar to a top ten finish on the night. Please let it be the latter just so that jaws across the country can drop in abject horror:

And just when you thought things couldn’t get any sillier, let us move swiftly on to the Netherlands, who haven’t had much luck on the Eurovision stage of late – in fact they haven’t made it out of the semi-final since 2004. Now their song, You and Me by Joan Franka, actually isn’t half bad, a rather sweet, melodic little number that puts us in mind of Portugal 2009. So why, exactly, does she have to go and spoil it by dressing up like Hiawatha? Anybody….? Ultimately the only effect this has is to put a novelty spin on a song which really didn’t need one in the first place. Oh well, at least if it doesn’t make it out of the semis (and we would say it’s borderline at the moment), then Joan has no doubt secured her spot on those clip shows where we all get to point at the contest and laugh:

Finally in this batch we come to Slovenia, and this is a very interesting prospect indeed. Verjamem, sung by 16-year-old Eva Boto, is a big ballad from the people who bought you Molitva (as if you couldn’t guess) and it’s really rather good indeed – so much so that it is fast becoming one of our favourites this year. Could this finally be the song that brings the Slovenes their first ever victory? Well we wouldn’t like to say categorically (after all we thought Georgia’s Shine was in with a chance in 2010 and look how that did), but with a strong, non-gimmicky performance on the night we would be shocked if this wasn’t in the upper reaches of the scoreboard. Take a look for yourselves. Oh and Slovenia, we are hereby sorry that we kept calling you ‘the only country in the entire contest more singularly useless than the United Kingdom’:

Posted in Austria, Belarus, Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, Netherlands, Slovenia | 2 Comments »

Oh, those Belarussians……!

Posted by Caroline on March 5, 2011

To say our jaws hit the floor when we heard this year’s effort from the mighty nation of Belarus is an understatement. Having only recently recovered from last year and their majestic butterfly wings, possibly the most amateur-ish special effect ever witnessed on a Eurovision stage (yet somehow they still managed to beat the United Kingdom, what was that all about exactly?), this year’s effort actually rendered us speechless (and not a lot of things do that, we can assure you). Probably because we’ve never actually heard a disco anthem extolling the virtues of the former Soviet Union, which is exactly how Anastasia Vinnikova’s Born In Bielorussia sounded when we first heard it earlier this week.

Everything about this whole enterprise, from the song itself to the actual video clip, is so wrong that it somehow ends up so right – in spite of ourselves and the fact we have vowed to give short shrift to any song which sounds as though it might have been at home in the 1984 contest, we have been walking around singing ‘BIELORUSSIA, USSR’ very loudly at inopportune moments all week. Which has earned us plenty of funny looks on public transport but should give you some idea of the ridiculous effect this song has had on us.

But we can’t quite put our finger on what it is that makes this such a moment to treasure, in spite of the nonsensical song. The fact that she is singing a disco-tastic anthem yet is standing alone on stage swaying slightly (surely some dancers might have helped? Some choreography? Oh never mind)? The somewhat bored looking audience who appear to be sitting there in total silence with rather glazed over expressions? The shouty backing chants from what sounds like an entire army of Cossack singers, yet none actually appear on stage? That strange man watching the performance who seems to be doing a turtle impression throughout? (we would hazard a guess he appears to be enjoying himself because he is watching something else).

It’s all so ridiculous as to be utter genius….and we WOULD have even put Minsk 2012 down as a VERY long shot for next year were it not for the fact that some enterprising person somewhere has decided to change the lyrics to make it ‘more contemporary’. Yes! Gone are the bits about being back in the USSR! In comes some nonsense about being Belarussian and ‘feeling it in my mind’. Er, in doing so haven’t you just removed the unique selling point of the song?????? Yes, it was rubbish, but in its original version had a certain offbeat charm. Now it’s just a boring old disco track with some slightly self-promotional lyrics.

It’s not the first time that Belarus have done this of course – they had a cracker of a song in 2008 with Hasta La Vista, only for them to change it from a dance track to a rock song and promptly sink without trace. Of course Hasta La Vista may now be an appropriate reaction to Anastasia’s song, since we now predict that the Belarussians are going to come last. Or at the very least struggle to make it out of the semi-final. Better draft in that Cossack chorus, pronto…..

Posted in Belarus, Eurovision 2011 | 1 Comment »

Party Of Five….

Posted by Caroline on March 1, 2010

The national final season continues apace, and while we are having slight palpitations at the thought of next weekend, when songs are being chosen by the fistful, this weekend brought us another five to wine, dine, get to know and then invite back to our place for a nightcap. Let’s start with the Slovakian entry – and while we are the first to admit our hopes weren’t high after the long-absent central Europeans made one of the worst comebacks in contest history in 2009, we have to admit this one’s come as quite a pleasant surprise.  Horehronie by Kristina might come across as Ruslana-lite, and it’s not exactly world-class, but it’s still a damned sight better than we were expecting, and we might even venture to suggest this one has a chance of putting the Slovakians back in the final:

And so to Latvia. Now we’re convinced that one day the Latvians, the people who have in recent years brought us singing pirates, accapella singing accompanied by stick puppets,  Italian cod-opera and, er, that bloke who jumped up and down a lot last year, will at some point just enter a nice normal song and we’ll all be really disappointed that they have lost their ‘wacky’ edge. This year is not that year. What For (Only Mr God Knows Why) isn’t exactly a bad song as such, but the execution is so wondrously bizarre – singer Aisha (and you’ll note we use the word ‘singer’ in the loosest possible sense here) stands atop a giant podium initially in a dress that makes her look about nine feet tall, while a man playing an accordion wanders amid women in togas doing their washing. And that’s one of the more straightforward moments.  The whole thing reminded us curiously out of something from the musical Annie (only with slightly more grown-up orphans) and as such we can’t quite decide whether we like it or not. Still, if they don’t do well then the laundry ladies are more than welcome to come round to Team Eurovision HQ, since the washing machine is currently broken:

Then there’s the Bulgarian entry, Angel Si Ti by Miro, which in a shock move is a 2010 Eurovision entry which actually sounds like it was composed in 2010. It’s a bangin’ dance tune of the type we’ve come to expect from the Bulgarians in recent years, and the kind they seem to do so well, and if we’re being honest Miro is more than easy on the eye, with the kind of dazzling dental excellence that is seen on the Eurovision stage all too rarely. But of course we want him to get through to the final because of the quality of his music. Oh yes of course we do:

Belarus, meanwhile, slipped their entry in quietly with very little fuss and bother (are you listening, Malta??), so much so we almost forgot about it. Far Away by boy/girl group 3+2 is pretty standard Belarussian rock of the sort we’ve come to expect from them year after year after year after year (yawn. The magnificence of Koldun is beginning to look like a hazy memory), but it’s still a considerable improvement on last year’s effort.  Just one thing though, how weird is the audience for this one? Half of them look as if they’d rather be anywhere but watching yet another Eurovision entry which is likely to be on the next plane back to Minsk the second the semi-final is over, the other half just look a tad lost and puzzled:

And last but not least, we have the return to the contest of Georgia, following their controversial withdrawal from last year’s proceedings. This year’s effort is called Shine (we’re trying not to think about the Netherlands’ horrendous, similarly-titled effort from last year), a big epic ballad by the winsome Sofia Nizharadze. And we have just two words: potential winner. End of:

Posted in Belarus, Bulgaria, Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Georgia, Latvia, Slovakia | 5 Comments »

The Great Big Eurovision Experiment 2009 – Belarus!

Posted by Caroline on April 30, 2009

petrelfimovPetr Elfimov, Belarussian representative in Moscow – bring it on!

How does it feel to be representing your country at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest?
I feel the great honour to be the 6th representative of Belarus at Eurovision.

What are you most looking forward to about taking part?
I am looking forward to my new experience, new emotions, new friends and of course a high result!

What can we expect from your performance? Are you planning a lavish stage show?
We have to ask my stage boss, famous polish director Janusz Josefovich, who definetely will do something what will be in harmony with my song.

Are you looking forward to visiting Moscow?
Yes, of course! I’ve been to Moscow many times, I have lots of friends there. Several times in the year I usually have my performances in this great capital.

Which of this year’s other songs do you rate?

Eyes that never lie, I think 🙂

Which is your favourite Eurovision song of all time, and which is your favourite from your home country?
Of course I have to say about Abba! I like the song of Sertab and Ruslana. I was impressed by the performance of Marija Sherifovic, I like her song very much.
As a rock-singer,  I also enjoyed the performance and the song of sweet monsters from Finland – the Lordi band! I like the song “My Galileo” of the first representatives of Belarus at ESC Aleksandra and Konstantin. By the way, I was their backing vocalist at Eurovision 2004 in Turkey.

What do you think about the debate over so-called ‘political’ voting?
I prefer not to think about it, but to think about music, which can be the common language for all the countries.

How do you think the return of jury voting might influence the final result?
Maybe they will, but from the other side it’s always interesting to know the opinion of the both sides – people and professional jury.

Why do you think Eurovision is still so popular, even after all these years?
It’s a great event, great forum, where each country can represent all the best it has in the sphere of popular music and show-biz. Also it’s always interesting to know something more about the singers and stars from another countries. Apart of it – Eurovision is the greatest TV-show with the most professional international team, which works to show the Europe bright unforgettable spectatle.

Have you heard the UK’s song this year and what do you think? Any chance your country could give us some points this year (please…….?  )
I got the chance to meet Jade twicely – in Greece and then in Ukraine. I think she is a very talented singer and beautiful girl. By the way I am an admirer of A.L. Webber’s music and always dreamed to sing the part of Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, so I wish the best of luck to UK this year and will be happy if you will get 12 points from Belarus!

Posted in Belarus | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Caroline on January 26, 2009

And the fourth song to be selected for Moscow 2009 is, er, this charming little effort from Belarus. Could we have Koldun back now please?

Posted in Belarus | Leave a Comment »