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More treats from the East….

Posted by Caroline on March 8, 2012

….or possibly not as the case may be. First in this quartet is the Bulgarian entry, Love Unlimited by Sofi Marinova, and are we the only ones to find this a tad bizarre? The song is upbeat and fun, the singer is dressed as though she is about to sing a Lithuanian Disney ballad, and is standing all alone on that great big stage with just a few giant sparklers for company. Surely a song like this demands a few dancers or at least something beyond static fireworks? Better liven it up a bit before Baku we think, otherwise it’ll back to semi-final oblivion for the Bulgarians. Again:

And here’s Estonia’s effort, Kuula by Ott Lepland. Not one of your finest hours, Estonia, it has to be said (and could you really have come up with something more different to Rockefeller Street if you had tried?????) Although we sense there could be a bit of jury love a la Lithuania 2011 heading in this one’s general direction:

And speaking of Lithuania, here they are with their entry, Donny Montell’s Love Is Blind. Now this isn’t bad once it gets going but we have some questions: 1) why does it sound like two songs stuck together? 2) In what way was this better than the dwarf rapper from the national final? 3) why, Donny, are you dressed like Zorro for the first half of the song? Fair enough if it’s a gimmick but don’t come crying to us when you fall into the orchestra pit mid-song on semi-finals night:

Finally we have FYR Macedonia, a little number called Black and White by Kaliopi. Or as we are sending here, the Macedonian answer to Bonnie Tyler:




Posted in Bulgaria, Estonia, Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, FYROM, Lithuania | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by Caroline 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 »

We Asked, They Answered: Estonia

Posted by Caroline on April 21, 2010

The frontman of this year’s Estonian hopefuls, Malcolm Lincoln, takes on the fearsome Eurovision Blog question challenge and explains that there isn’t really a Malcolm at all. Or perhaps there is. Oh we are confused…..

Introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you ended up being Estonia’s Eurovision representative this year!

Robin Juhkental from the band Malcolm Lincoln, age 21, from Tallinn, Estonia. At the beginning we had no aim to go to Eurovision, we did simply send a couple of our songs to the contest because already for the second year in a row Estonia is not searching “an Eurosong”, but a great pop song with a character. Therefore we are really happy that our song was selected by the viewers to represent Estonia!

What are you most looking forward to about taking part and what can we expect from your stage show?

I’m looking forward for getting a good experience and performing to such a wide audience. By the way, I get this ”stage show” question all the time and I really don’t understand why stage show is so important? ESC should be about excellent songs and music, not oiled bodies, dance moves or pyrotechnics.

Which is your favourite all time Eurovision song and your favourite from your home country?

Johnny Logan’s – ”What’s Another Year” is just brilliant and simple pop melody imo.
My Estonia’s favourite is 2003 entry – Ruffus with ”80’s Coming Back” – a really first-class song and would have deserved a better place than it got.

Which of the other entries this year do you rate? Many Eurovision fans have said it isn’t a great year for songs, what do you think about this?

Haven’t got much time to listen all the songs but I still have some time! 🙂

Estonia haven’t won Eurovision for a while. Do you have a strategy to try and reverse your country’s fortunes and bring the contest back to Estonia?

Last year Estonia received 6th place, which is not bad at all. Honestly, I do not have plans like these you were asking for… our aim is just to give a good performance.
Like the one we succeeded in Estonian final:

We’re big fans of your song at Eurovision Blog as it reminds us of the music we listen to outside of Eurovision season, similarly we have played it to some non-Eurovision fans who love it. Do you think it is an atypical Eurovision song?

Glad to hear that kind of feedback, thanks! Yes, I think “Siren” is definitely atypical for Eurovision. Which may also be an advantage 😉 So you are very welcome to share our Myspace among your friends:

And check out the video for “Siren”:

Eurovision always suffers from accusations of political/neighbourly voting. Do you think the new voting system with the re-introduction of juries has gone some way to changing people’s minds?

Hard to speculate, hopefully it will be about music not about neighbourly votes.

Is it true that your band name came from a question on Estonian Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Yes, it comes from one of the biggest fails of the show: a lady was convinced that there was a president called Malcolm Lincoln in U.S. Not Abraham Lincoln.
Do you find that people think Malcolm Lincoln is a solo singer as opposed to the name of your band?

It might possibly be so in the UK where Malcolm is a fairly common name 🙂 In essence, Malcolm Lincoln is my solo project, so it’s not very wrong to think of Malcolm Lincoln as a solo singer.

And finally……have you heard the UK entry this year and if so what do you think of it? Any chance Estonia could give us some points (if we asked nicely, since frankly we need all the help we can get……?)

Hopefully your nice song finds its fans and gets the votes it deserves! Good luck, UK!

Posted in Estonia, Eurovision 2010 | 1 Comment »

Curiouser and Curiouser…..

Posted by Caroline on March 17, 2010

Now we know we’re a little bit behind on bringing you the latest crop of songs, but they’ve all happened so fast and we’re so busy with actual – how shall we put this? – proper jobs at the moment that we’re fighting to keep up! Bear with us, we shall post everything as soon as we can, complete with salient comment. Starting with this oddball duo which weighed in over the weekend. The first song comes from Estonia, who surprised us all in 2009 after years in the semi-final wilderness, by producing one of the best songs in the contest (and they were duly rewarded with a top ten placing). But how do you follow a success like Urban Symphony? By, er, sending someone called Malcolm. Malcolm Lincoln, to be precise.  Doesn’t sound very Estonian to us. So we were relieved to discover that it’s actually the name of a group rather than an individual, a duo who have teamed up with backing vocalists Manpower 4 to give us this offering, an uber-quirky number called Siren. We’re not sure why we like this. The fact that in a year where everything is either very much ballad or uptempo this is actually neither? The fact it appeals to our indiepop sensibilities? That it’s physically impossible to dance to in a Radiohead Paranoid Android kind of way? Or simply that it sounds like nothing else in the contest? Oh yes, that’ll be it. Not sure how this one will do, or if it’ll even make it out of the semi-finals, since it might be just too offbeat for the tastes of your average Eurovision voter. But let’s hope not, for we maintain the final would be a richer place with this song in it. Meanwhile, rumours that Latvia are planning to send a singer called Colin in 2011, thus causing a collective nation to fall over in shock, have been staunchly denied…..

Also taking the path of all things weird and wonderful is Serbia, who we’re pleased to see have finally found their sense of fun after the string of very serious songs they sent to Eurovision in the beginning.Yes, Cipela might have been a load of old nonsense but it was entertaining – which pretty much sums up our feelings about this year’s effort. Ovo Je Balkan (This Is The Balkans) by Milan Stankovic is a daft but irresistibly catchy folk tune accompanied by mad dancing, ladies in headscarves and – oh yes – clothes falling off midway through the song.  It’s one of those ones you’ll either love or loathe, and the fact we’ve been walking around all week shouting ‘Balkan! Balkan! Balkan!’ at every possible moment (although generally under our breath on public transport) should give you some idea of where our loyalties lie. Stankovic himself does remind us somewhat of a Thunderbirds puppet, mind, with his uber-smooth skin and jerky dancing – but that aside, we have a sneaking suspicion this will sail through to the final. Mind you, we said that about Serbia last year…..

Posted in Estonia, Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Serbia | 1 Comment »

Another Great Big Round-Up!

Posted by Caroline on March 9, 2009

There’s been such a recent flurry of activity on the national finals front that we just can’t keep up with it all. So let’s just round up some more of the entries into one handy, easy to manage post – beginning with Israel’s effort from renowned chanteuse Noa and Israeli Arab singer Mira Awad:

‘Pleasant’ is the word which springs immediately to mind, and we’re not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but the partnership is certainly an interesting one. Whether or not this gets lost in the mix on the night is another matter entirely.

We doubt, however, that the Ukrainian entry from Svetlana Loboda is likely to be forgotten in a hurry…..

Now it could be just us but we’re trying to decide whether this is a complete work of genius or a total crime against Eurovision. Either way there is so much to enjoy about it – the comedy moustaches, the seemingly spontaneous drum solo, Svetlana’s ridiculously OTT outfit, the way in which one of the backing dancers is holding her upside down over his shoulders like some latter day caveman – that we’re prepared to overlook the fact that for all intents and purposes it is a tuneless wail of a song. We are, however convinced that only a Eurovision country as popular and successful as Ukraine could possibly get away with something like this – in other words Andrew Lloyd Webber, don’t even think about doing something similar in 2010…..

And onwards to host nation Russia, this year represented by, er, a Ukrainian, Anastasia Prohodko:

Now a friend of Team Eurovision reliably informs us that this is “very Russian” – which is all very well except it will have a hard time appealing to anybody west of Kiev. Are the Russians trying really hard to ensure that they don’t have to host again next year or are we beng a tad cynical?

And so, onwards, to the first Slovakian entry in years, a duet sung by Kamil Miculcik and Nela Pociskova:

And the less said about that one the better. Except possibly that Kamil looks scarily like the kind of actor you used to see in,er,special 1970s movies for the single gentleman. On that note, let us move swiftly on to Estonia’s Urban Symphony:

Now we quite like this, and think it could even be the song to drag Estonia kicking and screaming out of semi-final doldrums for the first time ever. Our only reservation is, that since we already have Norway and Slovenia strutting their stuff with fiddles, could this be one violin too many? Hope not, because we actually think this deserves to qualify.

And finally, we have recent winners Serbia, this year fielding twosome Marko Kon and Milan Nikolic:

And, er, frankly we’re speechless.Yes, it’s certainly nice to see the Serbs letting their hair down a bit after a run of very serious songs, but there are ways of lightening the tone and, er, ways of lightening the tone. And we’re not convinced that entering a gruff-voiced Michael Moore lookalike (albeit one who appears to have stuck his finger in a live socket before coming on stage) accompanied by some random bloke playing the accordion is how to do it. Let’s just say it’s “catchy” and leave it at that, shall we……..?

Posted in Estonia, Israel, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine | 2 Comments »