Eurovision Blog

100% Dedicated To Eurovision

Archive for the ‘Eurovision News’ Category

For what it’s worth – semi-final 2, part 2

Posted by Caroline on May 16, 2013

9 GREECE: Koza Mostra featuring Agathon Iakovidis – Alcohol Is Free

Aka the wish-fulfillment anthem for boozed-up holidaymakers everywhere, the Greek effort comes as a welcome antidote to the endless ream of ballads emanating from Eurovision towers this year. For Agathon and his kilt-clad Koza Mostra mates spare no expense when it comes to mad ska-tinged sax breaks, growled lyrics about free drinks and general lunacy. You just know it’s going to bring the house down on semi-finals night,  sail through to the final (well when has Greece ever let you down?) and probably do rather well when it gets there. Because as bonkers as it is, there is nothing else in the contest quite like it.

10 ISRAEL: Moran Mazor – Rak Bishvilo

Much has been made of Israeli singer Moran’s, shall we say, quirky image, from her Nana Mouskouri-esque specs through to her penchant for very tight-fitting, plunging frocks. But really, since when has being a dollybird been a pre-requisite to win Eurovision or at least come up with a half-decent song? Because that’s exactly what Moran’s done here, bringing the Israelis back to the sort of song they do best with this soaring, dramatic ballad. And she hasn’t half got a decent pair of lungs on her either. Of course those who like their Eurovision ladies a bit more conventional and sparkly looking may give this a wide berth – but ultimately we suspect the power of the song will see her through to the final. She certainly deserves to be there.

11 ARMENIA: Dorians – Lonely Planet

Armenia return to the contest after a year’s break with a song – penned by Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi – dedicated to the best-selling range of travel guides beloved of backpackers everywhere. Actually they don’t. It is, in fact, another earnest eco-ballad, albeit one with impressive credentials, and while it’s well-performed it’s ultimately a bit of a Marmite song, either inspiredly brilliant or deathly dull depending on your opinion. As such it’s hard to tell whether or not it’ll make it past the semi-final (Armenia having proven in 2011 that they are not infallible when it comes to making the final) – so much could depend on how those rock riffs and heartfelt lyrics translate to the stage.

12 HUNGARY: ByeAlex – Kedvesem

Here’s an oddity from Hungary, a low-key, quiet little indie song which isn’t so much sung as whispered by ByeAlex. There’s a part of us which wants to sit there shouting ‘SPEAK UP ALREADY!’ every time we hear him sing it. However there’s also a part of us which has been utterly won over by its simplicity and deceptive charm. Once again, in a ridiculously competitive semi-final, we’re not sure if it’ll have the required impact to make it through. But we would be utterly delighted if it did.

13 NORWAY: Margaret Berger – I Feed You My Love

If there’s one thing likely to throw the Hungarians off kilter and ruin their chances of qualification, it’s having a small quiet song stuck in the running order behind this Scandinavian titan, one of the favourites to win the entire contest. Yes, we know that Norway have won fairly recently and that it might be time to give someone else a go – but how can we possibly rule them out when they come up with a fabulous song like this? Everything about I Feed You My Love (with the possible exception of its title – but maybe she just misspelt ‘lunch’) works – it’s modern, moody electro pop, thoroughly up to the minute and performed brilliantly by the vaguely scary Ms Berger. Possibly the best song in the competition in other words and a dead cert for the final – although possibly a bit too mean and moody for the win (bearing in mind we are dealing with viewers who vote en masse for Russian grannies and the like). Still, stranger things have happened.

14 ALBANIA: Adrian Lulgjaraj and Bledar Sejko – Identitet

Those people still reeling from the genius-like screeching of Rona Nishliu in 2012 will be relieved to know that the Albanians are back on far safer ground this year – the sort of safer ground which was popular in about 1984, actually. There’s something very old-fashioned about Adrian and Bledar’s rousing rock anthem, putting us in mind of a Big Country album track or similar. Not that that’s a bad thing, for it’s certainly a very catchy and likeable tune – just one that’s not as memorable as some of the country’s previous efforts. We hope it does score a place in the final but in a very competitive field we’re not getting our hopes up.

15 GEORGIA: Nodi and Sophie – Waterfall

In a contest dominated by Disney style ballads this is probably the most Disney-esque of the lot – a huge, soaring epic number which might start off quietly enough but quickly builds to the sort of big, surprisingly powerful chorus that Eurovision audiences just love. We’ve seen this kind of duet a million times before on the contest stage – and the similarities to this and Running Scared are all too obvious – but if that can triumph then there’s no reason why, with a good performance and the attendant fireworks (not to mention the inevitable waterfall), this can’t too. Tbilisi 2014 anyone?

16 SWITZERLAND: Takasa – You and Me

Takasa’s path to the Eurovision stage has been a rocky one, after the band – comprising members of the Swiss Salvation Army – were told to ditch their name and uniforms due to them contravening contest rules. They might have returned with a new name and a white-shirted, black-tied look (obviously spent a lot of time coming up with that one then), but the song is still the rousing, anthemic same. Given its Salvation Army origins, there’s something unsurprisingly wholesome about the whole thing – it feels a bit like the kind of song the Brady Bunch might sing if they existed in a 21st Century Universe – but is no worse for that, while the band has the added novelty of 95-year-old bass player Emil, the oldest person ever to set foot on the Eurovision stage (and old enough to be Bonnie Tyler’s dad, doncha know). We fear it may get lost in such a competitive field, but it’s still our favourite Swiss entrant for a while.

17 ROMANIA: Cezar – It’s My Life

There are no words, really. When the dust settles on this year’s contest Romania’s Cezar is likely to be remembered – albeit possibly for the wrong reasons. For while his standard issue disco number starts off ordinarily enough, it’s not long before he unleashes his frankly awesome countertenor vocals on the world, guaranteeing gasps and laughs in equal measure – not to mention providing fodder for patronising ‘let’s all point and laugh’ comedy clip shows for years to come. The stage show, we’re told, is even more OTT, and frankly we can’t wait. Because while there is a sense of ‘so bad it’s good’ about this effort, we sense that without it the final would be that bit more boring.

Posted in Eurovision 2013, Eurovision News | 4 Comments »

For what it’s worth – semi-final 2, part 1

Posted by Caroline on May 13, 2013

Onwards and upwards with the second semi-final….

1 LATVIA: PeR – Here We Go

East 17 may have long since split up but their spirit appears to be alive and well and living in this year’s Latvian entry. Yup, as a cautionary reminder as to why sending rap to the contest stage is always a risky business, the former winners have weighed in with a well-meaning but ultimately dated effort which almost feels as if it comes from another era. Of all the Eurovision musical genres, rap is one of the hardest to get right, with the path to glory littered with the remains of those who tried and failed (Daz Sampson anyone?) – and for all the PeR boys’ enthusiasm this one just feels as if it falls wide of the mark, especially compared to Montenegro’s bizarre but oddly brilliant effort. In the annual ‘semi-final of death’ that is Thursday night, in which it’s anybody’s game, this looks almost certain to lose out. Must try harder chaps!

2 SAN MARINO: Valentina Monetta – Crisalida (Vola)

Have we forgiven San Marino for The Social Network Song yet? Good because its singer, Valentina – she of the Croydon facelift and the shiny Facebook coloured outfits (even though the song wasn’t about Facebook, honest) – is back for another try (what, they don’t have any other singers in San Marino?), only this time she’s taken a very different tactic. Crisalide starts off ordinarily enough, joining the ranks of the big flowery ballads that seem so popular this year – except all is not what it seems here, with about a minute and a half of amble before it turns out – it was actually a disco number after all!

Now, there is a school of thought which suggests that if the entire song had been uptempo it would have been a serious contender to win the whole thing, but in actual fact it’s the quirk which makes this so interesting – there literally is nothing else in the contest like it – and the fact it’s become one of this year’s fan favourites has only made even more of an attractive prospect. Provided Miss Monetta doesn’t squeak like a frightened kitten on the night San Marino could well be looking at their first ever final, whereupon they can exact payback on the at least the English contingent of the UK for that recent football field drubbing. Or something.

3 FYR MACEDONIA: Esma and Lozano – Pred Da Se Radzeni

We knew it was only going to be a matter of time before Macedonian gypsy singing legend Esma Redzepova set foot on the Eurovision stage, and now that time has come. The fortunes of the Macedonians in this contest have been mixed at best (although they put up an unexpectedly good showing with Kaliopi in 2012) but this year even if their efforts come to naught this is one performance you’re going to remember simply on the basis of its performer. Poor Lozano seems to barely get a look in as Esma chants and wails her way through some blistering bits of ethno-pop, lending character to what is otherwise a pleasant but rather bland song – yet somehow the combination works. Will it bring Eurovision to FYR Macedonia for the first time? Probably not. But it could still do a lot better than predicted.

4 AZERBAIJAN: Hold Me – Farid Mammadov

Hold me, just unfold me. Possibly one of the single greatest lyrics in Eurovision history. Not to mention a cautionary reminder of what happens when you translate song words into English. That said, there are an awful lot of folks out there who wouldn’t mind unfolding Mr Mammadov, with word from Malmo suggesting the only way his performance could possibly be improved would be if his shirt fell off entirely by accident midway through. And while we may be able to barely conceal our mirth when the chorus kicks in there is no denying this is a very strong ballad which ticks all the requisite Eurovision boxes. Dima Bilan soundalike? Check. Heartfelt performance? Check. Key change? Check. Big chorus? Check. You see what we’re getting at. In a contest dominated by winsome female balladry, Farid’s song really stands out – a simple but hugely effective effort which could well be jostling for attention at the very top of the scoreboard come Saturday night. The only issue is of course, do we really want to go back to Azerbaijan so soon after their previous victory or is it time to let someone else have a go? Then again if they keep coming up with songs like this we may not have a choice.

5 FINLAND: Marry Me – Krista Siegfrids

And speaking of ridiculous lyrics, hot on the heels of Azerbaijan comes Krista from Finland, with her heartfelt matrimonial plea to the object of her affections. In recent days the song has taken on a whole new significance since it became the unlikely protest tune of the contest – with the routine reportedly including a moment in which Krista kisses a girl in order to make a point about the country’s views on gay marriage -but frankly we’re more worried about the relentless way in which she seems to pursue her suitor. There are verses about her dieting, getting to know the in-laws and basically turning into Bridezilla – not to mention trying to rhyme ‘ladies’ with ‘babies’ – yet from the sounds of it she hasn’t even received a proposal yet, never mind set a date. In a ballad-dominated field this does stand out as one of the few genuinely fun pop tunes, and as such is likely to do well. But Krista, really, we’re worried about you. Didn’t you ever see Fatal Attraction?

6 MALTA:Tomorrow – Gianluca Bezzina

And so to Malta, whose enthusiasm for all things Eurovision never seems to wane despite the fact they have yet to win – and, in recent years, have failed to get within even sniffing distance of the left-hand side of the scoreboard. This, however, could be the year to change all that. Gianluca Bezzina’s quirky little tune, which somehow fought off competition from the seemingly unbeatable Kevin Borg in the national final, is the best Maltese entry in years (not to mention a refreshing change from their normal cheesy pop or MOR balladry), all ukeleles, cutesy lyrics about a man called Jeremy ‘who works in IT’ (you see what they did there?) and huge, megawatt smiles, mainly from your singer. In an ideal world this would win the entire contest – it certainly has the sort of ridiculous, irresistible charm that wins over audiences – but in the real world it’s possibly too slight to fend off the challenge from the massed ranks of Scandinavia. We do, however, predict a possible return to the top ten. And if they don’t get it they darn well ought to.

7 BULGARIA: Samo Shampioni – Elitsa and Stoyan

In their latest bid to escape the ignominy of semi-final hell, Bulgaria have turned to the only act ever to get them through to the final – duo Elitsa and Stoyan who soared into the top five in 2007 with their magnificent track Water. As everybody knows, though, unless your name is Dima Bilan or Johnny Logan, sending an act to the contest for a second time is almost always fraught with danger – for every Dima who has come back and done better, there are many any more who have found themselves floundering helplessly in the semi-final rejects pile. And thus it may well be the case here. For it’s not that Samo Shampioni is particularly bad – despite being a pale imitation of Water, complete with vocals that sound as feeble as a distressed kitten – it’s just that it’s not good enough. And in a semi-final which features an awful lot of potential finalists, this is one of the few songs which doesn’t even reach that stage. Better luck next year Bulgaria.

8 ICELAND: Eg A Lif – Eythor Ingi

It’s a very strong year for Scandinavia, with Norway, Finland and Denmark all poised to join Sweden in the final – but what of Iceland’s Well Eythor – who looks either like Jesus, Nathan James from Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Superstar or a young Mel Smith, depending on who you talk to – is certainly giving it his best shot with this slightly old-fashioned but otherwise rather lovely ballad, which ticks every bagpipe and key change box in the Eurovision cliches book but is none the worse for it. In fact it’s helped by his rich vocal tones and feeling of cosy familiarity – there’s something quite warm and comforting about this song, rather like a pair of old socks or a cosy sweater, although whether it’ll be enough to propel it into the final is another matter. Interestingly, this is Iceland’s first entry to be sung in Icelandic since 1997, although the fact everybody seems to think it’s actually called the Egg and Leaf song doesn’t really do the dialect any favours. As for its qualification chances, we’re on the fence. But it probably will make the final. This is Iceland after all.

Posted in Eurovision 2013, Eurovision News | 5 Comments »

For what it’s worth…the first semi-final, part 2

Posted by Caroline on May 8, 2013

SEMI-FINAL 1 – Part 2

9 MONTENEGRO: Who See – Igranka

There are some countries who, you get the impression, are destined never to win Eurovision no matter how hard they try. Montenegro, for all their best efforts, have generally fallen squarely into that category, probably due to their habit of sending songs which veer between forgettable and downright weird. However this year’s effort is a big improvement on Rambo Amadeus (well let’s face it it couldn’t be worse), which attempts dubstep on to the Eurovision stage courtesy of rap duo Who See – and the results are, shall we say, different. A bit of grime here, a bit of jaunty rapping there, some sexy ladies shaking their comely booties – you get the drift. Coming straight after a trio of ballads it’s guaranteed to stand out from the pack – all they have to do now is produce the kind of stage show which brings the house down and we could be looking at a surprise addition to the final line-up.

10 LITHUANIA: Andrius Pojavis – Something

This year’s attempt to sound almost exactly like The Killers (as pioneered by the sorely overlooked Swiss act Sinplus in 2012) comes courtesy of Lithuania – and we must admit as soundalikes go this is pretty impressive. Unfortunately that’s as far as it goes for us in terms of being impressed, for this is a weird mess of a song, which isn’t really helped by Andrius’s creepy weird vocals. It’s quirky, it’s odd and there’s part of us which would love to see how this goes down in the final. Back in the real world however, we would point out that someone has to come last – and barring any last-minute equipment failures or goldfish impersonations from Denmark this is looking like a likely contender for the wooden spoon.

11 BELARUS: Alyona Lanskaya – Solayoh

So Alyona finally gets the chance to represent Belarus at Eurovision, having been unceremoniously booted from the competition last year amid allegations of vote-fixing. Not that her path to the contest this year was a smooth one, having changed her song from her original disco-tastic contender Rhythm Of Love (hang on, the song was changed last year as well. And the year before when Born in Belorussia was swapped for I Love Belarus. Do you see a pattern emerging here?) Still, it wasn’t a bad decision on her part since Solayoh is classic Eurovision – or at least would be if it were being sung by Greece or Cyprus. It’s catchy and fun, certainly, and offsets its Mediterranean style hooks with a bit of Wild Dances-esque drumming, but you can’t help feeling it’s a bit odd coming from Belarus. Still reckon it’ll make the final, mind.

12 MOLDOVA: Aliona Moon – O Mie

We loved Moldova to bits last year so it’s nice to see Pasha Parfeny back this year, albeit as songwriter this time, for his former backing vocalist Aliona Moon (she being one of the odd backing singers in the scary tights from 2012). The national final saw her looking similarly quirky, in a giant dress which had patterns and colours reflected on to its skirt for the duration of the song, not to mention hair which stuck out to the side in a kind of ‘if the wind changes you’ll stay like that’ sort of way. But what of the song itself? Well as far as we’re concerned this is one of the underrated gems of the contest, a complex ballad (which works just as well in Romanian as it does in English) with plenty of dramatic flourishes that’s far better than many of its female ballad peers. With a good performance and a decent draw in the final this could well surpass expectatuons. Although knowing our predilection for prediction it’ll probably get about four points, all of them from Romania.

13 IRELAND: Ryan Dolan – Only Love Survives

We were never in favour of them in the first place but now they’re gone we have to admit we are missing Jedward. This year instead we have the cute, eager to please Ryan Dolan, singing a song which is, for want of a better word, unremarkable, despite its effort to cross Euphoria-like beats with a bit of ethno-drumming in a bid to sound different. We’re on the fence about this one since out of all the songs on offer, this is the one which is confounding us the most over its ability to make the final. A lot will depend on how it looks on stage and how he performs it of course. So maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps. Told you we were on the fence.

14 CYPRUS: Despina Olympiou – An Me Thimase

Is there anybody anywhere who is rating this song at all? It’s so far off our radar that we actually forgot who was singing after Ireland and had to look it up. The point is it’s not actually that bad, not exactly ground-breaking but decent enough. Unfortunately for the lovely Despina though, it is also on the dull side, especially compared to some of the showier ballads on offer – and for that reason, and without even Greece to save it in this semi-final, we fear it is destined to sink without trace. Cyprus, Eurovision Blog is very disappointed in you. Next please.

15 BELGIUM: Roberto Bellarossa – Love Kills

Here’s another surprise in the line-up – we have to admit when we first heard this effort way back in December we thought it was a bit limp to be honest, another Belgian effort destined for the non-qualification dumper. The studio revamp, however, has completely changed our minds – in fact it’s a thoroughly likeable, if slightly dated, bit of electronic pop whose chorus has a nagging tendency to worm its way into your brain and stay there. All Roberto has to do now is look a bit less intense and not sing ‘LORRRRRRRRRVE KEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELZ’ as he appeared to do in the national final and we could be looking at a Belgian return to the final. Not that we expect it to do much once it’s there, mind.

16 SERBIA: Moje 3 – Lubav Je Svuda

The first semi-final crawls to an end with something a little different from Serbia, who are clearly on a mission to prove to us that not all their entries are about bouzoukis or looking mournful (although let’s face it they seem to do better when they are). Thus we have girl group Moje 3 – a sort of pound shop version of The Saturdays, less two members – singing an upbeat little number about the angel, the devil and the girl they are fighting over. Possibly the only song in Eurovision history ever to reference fish food (and if you can think of another we would love to hear about it), this is one of those guilty pleasure type tunes which really will live or die by its performance. And on that basis we can’t tell you if we think it will get to the final. Much as we would like to.

Posted in Eurovision 2013, Eurovision News | 3 Comments »

For what it’s worth…..the first semi-final, part 1

Posted by Caroline on May 2, 2013

…..OK, so I know we haven’t actually updated a lot this year – one of the side-effects, unfortunately, of real life getting in the way (work, specifically on this occasion). The upside of all this is that I will be making up for this on the esteemed website of Metro newspaper in the coming weeks (rest assured links will be posted here). But that doesn’t mean this year’s contest has escaped our notice completely, and in an unprecedented burst of activity – otherwise known as ‘having a spare 20 minutes’ – here, in lieu of actual reviews, is what we make of the first batch of runners and riders this year:

SEMI-FINAL 1 – Part 1

1 AUSTRIA: Natalia Kelly – Shine

A muted start to the contest this one, courtesy of the lovely Natalia, this is a solid but potentially forgettable little number that, we fear, will pretty much seal its fate on the strength of its performance (since it doesn’t boast a whole lot of distinguishing marks). Pleasant enough, but she’s going to have to work for her semi-final place (although to be fair, she may not invoke quite the same level of reaching for the off-switch as Rambo Amadeus in 2012)

2 ESTONIA: Birgit Oigemeel – Et uus saaks alguse

Estonia missed a trick here, given they had the opportunity to send hardcore punksters Winny Puuh – who let’s face it wouldn’t have won the contest either but at least would have garnered a fair bit of attention (as only people who dress up as giant condoms on stage normally do). Instead, they’ve gone for this sweet but overly safe female-led ballad which does little to distinguish itself from the vast number of similar, Disney princess-esque numbers on offer. The likes of Russia, Ukraine et al are all doing similar this year. And given their efforts are both better and later in the running order we fear this one may sink without trace.

3 SLOVENIA: Hannah Mancini – Straight into love

Aka the pound shop Euphoria, there was a crushing inevitability that Loreen’s victory would spawn a few soundalikes 12 months down the line and sure enough here are Slovenia getting in on the act with their own rave-esque anthem. There’s nothing wrong with it, to be honest, but as is the case with so many of these identikit songs there’s nothing particularly remarkable about it either. Sorry Slovenia, we love you, but we may have to place this one in the pile marked ‘not a hope in hell’. Then again we’ve been wrong about these things before….

4 CROATIA: Klapa s Mora – Mizerija

The Croatians are pinning their hopes this year on a traditional klapa-style number to see them back in the final after a few disastrous years – and the result, while putting us a tad in mind of Latvia’s 2007 operatic shenanigans, or possibly one of those ‘poperatic’ bands you see on Britain’s Got Talent, is really rather charming. Given some of their more bombastic rivals, this one’s slipped under the radar a bit but its prettiness has certainly not been lost on us. A place in the final would be far from surprising.

5 DENMARK: Emmelie de Forest – Only Teardrops

Unless you’ve been hiding under a very large rock for the past couple of months, the average Eurovision fan will already be familiar with this hot favourite, and no doubt heard it over and over and over and over (and over and over) again. Since its place in the final is just a formality and it will almost certainly be at the top end of the scoreboard come May 18th, perhaps the question we should ask is: would it be a worthy winner. Well, it ticks all the boxes – flutey whistles, earnest lyrics, barefoot winsome singer, not to mention the inevitable anthemic chorus (and not to mention the fact that last time the contest was held in Sweden, Denmark won it), and at the end of the day yes, it’s a good tune.

And there’s nothing wrong with being the favourite either, someone’s got to be, and there are certainly worse candidates than this. It’s just that we can’t help feeling a pervading attitude that this one’s won already, and surely that defeats the whole object of having a contest to choose the winner, not to mention doing a great disservice to the other songs? Remember, a lot can happen between now and contest night, and who’s to say Denmark’s very own answer to Florence Welch won’t squeal like a frightened meerkat before falling off the stage altogether?

6 RUSSIA: Dina Garipova – What If?

From one earnest lady to another, as Russia swaps grannies for former Voice champion Dina Garipova. Now we all know Russia could send a flatulent donkey singing the Irkutsk telephone book and still make the final, but to be fair they very rarely submit a dud, and this one – all soaring vocals, thoughtful lyrics and predictable key changes – is no exception. Like Estonia it’s all a bit Disney princess at times but in a contest dominated by lady ballads this is one of the ones that stands out. And of course it will make the final.

7 UKRAINE: Zlata Ognevich – Gravity

Having opted for football anthem lunacy in 2012 Ukraine have slowed the tempo down a bit this year, with Zlata slap bang in the middle of a trio of strongly fancied ballads. This one (not to be confused with Defying Gravity from Wicked) is a bit more anthemic than its surrounding contenders, and throws everything bar the kitchen sink – opera, big choruses etc – into the mix in a bid to succeed. And the video is even more OTT (we had to turn off at the point when the unicorns appeared). A crushingly inevitable qualifier, an even more crushingly inevitable top ten finisher. If we’re not mistaken.

8 NETHERLANDS: Anouk – Birds

There’s a lot riding on this one, given the singular failure of the Netherlands to qualify for the final on about 47 separate occasions, and in a decision that really smacks of ‘what do we have to do to get through, exactly?’ they’ve sent one of their most famous singers to try and raise their fortunes a bit. And it’s a decision which seems to be paying off since Anouk is faring well in fan polls, is soaring in the betting and is generally putting the Dutch on course to secure their best result in years – deservedly so, given that it’s a lush and generally rather lovely ballad. Coming right after songs from Russia and Ukraine could potentially put it at a slight disadvantage, but we doubt it.

Posted in Eurovision 2013, Eurovision News | 4 Comments »

It’s back!!

Posted by Caroline on April 24, 2013

All hail the return of our favourite Eurovision oddity, the ESC Nation scoreboard simulator. Hours of fun guaranteed! (except in our case when the UK scored nul points on our very first attempt……)

Posted in Eurovision 2013, Eurovision News | Leave a Comment »

Don’t play that song again! Or did you already….

Posted by Caroline on February 25, 2013

We figured that given the success of Loreen’s bangin’ dance anthem Euphoria in Baku last year (and indeed the very reason that your Eurovision contest is off to Malmo this year), that a brace of club floorfillers would find their way into the line-up of this year’s contest – and indeed we haven’t been disappointed. For while 2012’s performers couldn’t get enough of big ballads (off the back of Ell and Nikki’s Azeri victory), 2010’s hopefuls favoured post-Fairytale twiddly folk nonsense and the class of 2007 wanted to out-Lordi Lordi, so 2013’s crop seem to be hellbent on emulating our Swedish siren. Well some of them anyway. To kick off, here’s Slovenia’s Hannah Mancini going all Skrillex on Straight Into Love. We quite like this but we cannot envisage many people west of Bulgaria will:

And here’s Ireland’s Ryan Dolan, who snatched victory from under the nose of Aimee Fitzpatrick in this weekend’s national final with this little number, Only Love Survives. This reminds us of what Euphoria might have sounded like if it had had a few ethnic drum beats thrown in. And had been sung by a man. Or possibly it just sounds the kind of thing Malta might enter in a particularly average year. Your choice:

Not to be left out, Germany have also gotten in on the act with their effort from Cascada (you may remember them – adoptsTroy McClure voice – from such hits as Evacuate The Dancefloor and Every Time We Touch) with their much-hyped entry Glorious (much-hyped in that we’d actually heard of them as opposed to most of the other finalists). The song’s already whipped up a bit of controversy back home where it’s been accused of ‘copying’ Euphoria – but we can’t think what they’re on about. I mean they’re both upbeat dance tracks, they’re both sung by women, and they’re both in Eurovision – well, stands to reason doesn’t it? They must surely be the same song. Well they’re not really since Euphoria is a strong, powerful dance anthem while Glorious to us sounds like something Tulisa might pull out of the bag for an X Factor semi-final. You be the judge:

To finish, here’s the Greek entry, the wonderfully-titled Alcohol Is Free by Koza Mostra and Agathonas (i.e that bloke with the moustache). This isn’t really a dance anthem at all (unless you count the sort of dancing you do after partaking of much free alcohol) but since it is a) marvellous and b) sounds like nothing else in the competition we figured we’d include it anyway, if only to convince you it’s not all about drum machines and glowsticks this year:



Posted in Eurovision 2013, Eurovision News, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Slovenia | 2 Comments »

And here’s your running order!

Posted by Caroline on May 24, 2012

So the draw for the remainder of the running order has been made, and faster than you can say, ‘well look where Sweden ended up, guess we may as well all pack up and go home then’, here’s how it’s looking for Saturday night….

1) UK


























See you on Saturday, folks….


Posted in Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News | 25 Comments »

Your remaining semi-finalists are….

Posted by Caroline on May 24, 2012

……as follows:











No Netherlands or Slovenia officially makes us sad bloggers. On the other hand let’s have a big YAY for Malta for making the final for the first time since 2009. And a big YAY to us for predicting it….:)

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News | 3 Comments »

The Great Big Semi-Final Predictorama Part 2

Posted by Caroline on May 23, 2012

All calmed down now since the events of last night? Good. Well don’t get too calm because we’re about to do it all over again – and as such, here are our predictions for the qualifiers in Thursday’s semi-final….


For it: Oh, just the fact that Zeljko is Eurovision royalty. You know, that small trifling matter. That and a damned fine song.

Against it: Very little to be honest – in fact this is probably one of the surest things this semi-final has to offer, to the extent that it would be a SERIOUSLY major upset if Serbia didn’t make it. Although frankly we think he would have to forge his words, sing the Lithuanian entry by mistake and fall into the orchestra pit to have even a remote chance of failing, and even then he would probably STILL go through to the final.


For it: Because all we’ve heard for the past couple of months is Loreen this, Loreen that, and then some. Let’s not detract of course from the fact that this is one of the best songs in the contest and – if they stick to the Melodifestivalen format – is likely to have one of the most eye-catching routines (OK so she’s not going to stand in a giant water feature while dressed like an extra from Star Wars but surely not everybody has to go down that road?) Fact remains, Loreen is another one of the surest things in this semi-final, to the extent that we reckon all she has to do to qualify is simply turn up on the night.

Against it: Well 2010 taught us that not even Sweden, bastions of Eurovision glory, are guaranteed finalists. And just because Loreen is the favourite doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll come out on top. But we’ll be honest, we’re optimistic.


For it: Because it’s one of our favourite songs in the contest this year (with, reportedly, one of the best stage shows), and we’ll probably have a tantrum if it doesn’t get through.

Against it: Turkey’s 2011 disaster proved that not even they are infallible. And Can Bonomo’s track could prove just a bit too quirky for voters. That, of course, is where the juries come in handy….


For it: It’s this year’s Popular. Only better.

Against it: Norway were one of the favourites last year, and look how that did. Tooji should make it, but he’ll have to turn in the performance of his life to ensure he doesn’t fall at the final hurdle.


For it: Because this is UKRAINE we’re talking about! Like, duh???? Plus it’s a football anthem, and the unexpected success of Jessy Matador for France in 2010 proved that actually those can go down a storm on the Eurovision stage.

Against it: As we have learned, even the most popular of Eurovision nations are not entirely infallible when it comes to qualification,. Ukraine have yet to miss out on a final – but there’s a first time for everything, and dress rehearsal word of mouth for Gaitana was decidedly mixed. That said, the sheer catchiness of the song – and the fact it’s one of the handful of uptempo tunes in a ballad-heavy semi-final – should tip the balance in her favour.


For it: One of our dark horses of the year, we’ve been slightly in awe of this song – and the power of 16-year-old Eva Boto’s voice – since we first heard it all those months ago. However much it sounds like Molitva (possibly a little too much, even), she deserves to be in the final.

Against it: The fact that seemingly every other former Yugoslav nation (with the exception of Montenegro, which we are still baffled by) has entered a big ballad this year. And all of them seem to be in this semi-final. Surely that means one or t’other will cancel each other out (even if they do end up all voting for each other….?) As far as we are concerned she is in though.


For it: It’s big and it’s ballady. And Estonia always seem to do well when they field that kind of thing (they also seem to do well when they enter bafflingly ordinary disco anthems too but let’s not dwell on that)

Against it: It’s a ballad-laden contest and they can’t all make it. And Ott Lepland’s position in the running order between quirky Turkey and upbeat Norway means he will either stand out from the pack or sink without trace.


For it: Quite simply because we love it. We also love the fact that Joan was a contestant on The Voice in the Netherlands. Why can’t we have people like that on The Voice over here? (it might even drive the viewing figures up). Yes, we know the song is dated and cheesy as hell and evokes memories of Eurovision past – but we still love it to bits. And there are a lot of people out there just willing the Netherlands to actually qualify for the first time since 2004. Honestly? We think this is the best chance they have had since then.

Against it: On very early in the semi-final which could count against them, and will people actually listen to the song or just see a strange woman dressed like Hiawatha? Fingers crossed that they do.


For it: Let’s be honest, the song is awful. But the performance is reportedly kitsch and sparkly and everything Eurovision fans love. And on that basis – and the fact it’s Georgia, and they’re not in the habit of missing finals – we think they’ll make it. But they wouldn’t have done if they had been on last night.

Against it: It’s rubbish. Is that good enough a reason?

And finally….MALTA

For it: We laboured long and hard over this decision (to the extent that we almost put Bosnia and Herzegovina in instead), but can’t help feeling that with a strong performance Kurt could get the sentimental ‘Malta haven’t been in the final for years’ vote along with the Netherlands. He’ll have to perform his little Maltese socks off though.

Against it: The song simply isn’t that good (not that it’s bad, just a tad average), and potentially could go the way of other Maltese efforts that were similarly average. But given the effort the Maltese put in, we’d rather that didn’t happen this year.


Bosnia and Herzegovina – this came perilously close to making the ten – and we wouldn’t be surprised if it qualified – but Maya Sar is in danger of being drowned out by other, better, lady ballads on offer. The penultimate place in the running order, coupled with ample chances for neighbourly voting, however, could see her through.

Lithuania – could be a surprise entrant into the ten, particularly due to the fact that Donny Montell is rounding the show off – and bearing in mind they pulled off a surprise coup last year. Not sure well the Zorro look will go down with voters, mind.


Belarus – well maybe the Poundstretcher One Direction do have a slim chance. They have after all pulled off surprise qualifications in the past. We’re just not buying it on this occasion. And we much preferred I Love Belarus in 2011.

Croatia – Nina Badric is a possible qualifier but once again we think she may be drowned under  a sea of superior Balkan ballads.

FYR Macedonia – there was a time when FYROM could simply play the Skopje phone book through a nose flute on stage and still make it through, but those days are now long gone. Kaliopi’s song is a bit of a screeching racket, and thanks to Albania qualifying we already have one of those in the final. So we suspect this one will miss out. Although if it does make it we will be the first to admit we were wrong.

Portugal – Filipa Sousa’s track is one of the ones we have barely listened to this year – probably because it’s rather dull. Will it make it through? We would say extremely unlikely. Never mind Portugal, same time next year eh?

Slovakia – this is possibly their best entry ever –  but Max Jason Mai’s metal mayhem may be a guitar solo too far for the more conventional voters. Still, we’re looking forward to watching him – and maintain that if any of the also-rans are going to cause an upset, it’ll be this one.

Bulgaria – er, no. And the less said about that the better really.

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News | 7 Comments »

Let’s talk about the running order….

Posted by Caroline on May 22, 2012

….because now all tonight’s qualifiers have drawn their places for the final, Saturday’s line-up looks something like this:

1) UK


























Good news for: Moldova, for starters – there was a lot of love in the room for this song tonight, and singing last is almost as good as it gets (singing second last is better of course even though Eurovision Blog disputes this is only of real benefit to you if you happen to be a favourite to start with – therefore if Sweden draw 25th on Thursday then it’s game over). Expect to see this dark horse in the top ten come Saturday.

Also good news for: Engelbert, surprisingly enough. Yes, we know he’s singing first and that’s a recipe for disaster etc etc BUT we have always maintained a lot will depend on who is singing in the so-called position of death at number two. We decided ages ago that something decent but unlikely to win like Switzerland would be a good second placed song. But in the absence of the Swiss Hungary must surely be the next best thing – as delighted as we are to see it make the cut, it is very much a ‘should be happy just to be in the final’ song and therefore its presence after us is unlikely to affect the Hump one iota. And aside from anything else, we are heaving a sigh of relief we didn’t get Russia.

And it’s even better news for:Ireland, who could do a lot better than we might expect thanks to their fantastic spot in the running order. Although we are still trying to figure out why Jedward are dressed in C3PO’s cast-offs. Rumours that their suitcase for Baku consisted of nowt but those suits and 1700 kilo of talcum powder remain unfounded.

But it’s quite simply outstanding news for: Pretty much every qualifier on Thursday. Because apart from two remaining spots in the top ten, some of the plum slots in the running order are all still available, including virtually all of the last ten in the line-up. This could be potentially fantastic for the strongly fancied likes of Sweden, Serbia etc – unless of course they draw fourth or fifth.

And it’s bad news for: Well Russia could have done better to be honest – the song will stand out anyway, but they’ll have a tough job now, particularly coming before the strongly fancied Iceland who succeeded in making your editor a bit misty-eyed tonight. That said, it does depend what is on before them – if the fourth and fifth slots fall to ballads, we are potentially looking at the most midtempo start to a Eurovision final ever – which, if they end up being the first uptempo act on, could benefit the Russians big time….

It’s also ridiculously bad news for: Hungary – OK so we might be happy with them singing second but they might not be quite so pleased. Still, someone’s got to….

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News | 3 Comments »