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(Almost) the last round-up, Part 2….

Posted by DINRIL 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 »

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 »

The Great Big Super Super Extra Large Weekend Round Up

Posted by DINRIL on March 9, 2010

Phew! What a busy weekend it was in Eurovision land. No less than seven songs chosen for Oslo. So instead of waffle, let’s get down to business. First up we have the Croatian entry, which is by Feminnem, who represented Bosnia and Herzegovina a few years ago with the oh-so-cute Call Me (are you keeping up?). They seem to have grown up a bit for this one, as Lako Je Sve is a dramatic ballad which we would like more if a) it didn’t sound so much like a cross between Molitva and Believe, b) it weren’t for the mad overblown posturing in the performance which reminds us of something out of a Shakespear’s Sister video c) they didn’t include that funny heart thing at the end and d) their frocks looked a bit less odd. Still, those in the know inform us this has a good chance of winning so we shall monitor it with interest:

Next up we have Ukraine, Vasyl Lasarovich’s I Love You. And the less said about this one the better, except to say that we’re very very disappointed in you Ukraine. And we wouldn’t be at all surprised if you didn’t make the final this year:

Ramping up the tempo a bit, we come to Moldova, who bypassed the much-hyped Pavel Turcu in favour of this,  Run Away by Sun Stroke Project and Olia Tira. ‘This year’s Waldo’s People’ is probably the best way of putting it:

And it’s back to the ballads with Portugal’s Filippa Azevedo, singing Ha Dias Assim. If ever a 1980s James Bond theme had been commissioned out to a Portuguese artist, it would probably have sounded something like this. And we can safely say that their record as the longest-serving country without a Eurovision win isn’t going to be troubled this year:

And finally, our favourite song to be chosen on Saturday night, Romania’s Playing With Fire by Paula Seling and Ovi. Let’s think why we like this one so much? Because of the double-sided piano? The operatics? The fact it’s NOT A BLOOMIN’ BALLAD? Or possibly because it’s just ridiculous and playful and fun and ever so slightly barking? Er yes, that’d be it. Plus of course they’re clearly the anti-Chanee and N’Evergreen, while Paula amply fills the ‘mammoth-haired East European diva’ role normally taken care of by the Ukrainians. This has to be in the final as far as we’re concerned:

Sunday, meanwhile, brought with it two more songs. Now we watched some of the Russian final and there were some pretty good tunes, including our favourite by the folk-singing grannies known as Buranovskiye Babushki – so quite why this turgid effort, Lost And Forgotten by the Peter Nalitch Band (or as we like to refer to them, Kings Of Leonid), got chosen is beyond us:

And last but not least we have the year’s most pleasant surprise to date, from Belgium. Now in common with their neighbours the Netherlands, the Belgians haven’t done too well of late, so much so we almost began to think they had given up. In other words this could have gone one of two ways. They could have gone the way of the Dutch and entered a load of complete nonsense or they could actually have gone back to the drawing board and thought about how they could possibly improve upon recent performances. And it seems – hurrah! – they’ve done the latter. Tom Dice’s Me And My Guitar, which in essence is the man himself, with a guitar, might bear a passing resemblance to Mark Cohn’s Walking In Memphis, but it’s a very likeable, simple song that has huge mainstream appeal and will go down a storm with the juries. Good move Belgium. You may just have gotten yourself your most successful entry in years:

Posted in Belgium, Croatia, Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Moldova, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Ukraine | 5 Comments »

Elvis Lives? In, er, Belgium??

Posted by DINRIL on March 16, 2009

After an uncomfortably lengthy silence,  the Belgians have finally come up with their entry for Moscow 2009 – in the shape of, er, Elvis impersonator Patrick Ouchene. Well there’s a first for Eurovision. Belgium, of course, never cease to surprise us (although usually it’s by singing in a made-up language) and this year is no exception – and it’s certainly a fun song which brings a little bit of rock n’roll to the fray, even if Team Eurovision is convinced it will finish absolutely nowhere. Meanwhile, rumours that Shakin’ Stevens is being lined up to sing backing vocals for Jade Ewen have been staunchly denied (STOP making stuff up already – Ed)

Posted in Belgium | 1 Comment »