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Super Saturday! (well, all right, it wasn’t bad…..)

Posted by Caroline 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 »

Let’s All Have A Bit Of Fun With A Finn!

Posted by Caroline on January 31, 2010

Well several Finns to be precise. The fourth entry to be chosen for Oslo 2010 does indeed come from Finland, who have dispensed with all the heavy metal and breakdance silliness of recent years and come up with something completely different – Finnish folk music, to be precise. We know what you’re thinking – yup, here come the Fairytale clones,  and that reaction is kind of understandable.

But we can prove that the song, Tyolki ellaa by Kuunkuiskaajat (which we have no chance of pronouncing whatsoever so let’s just call them Kajagoogoo for now) couldn’t be further removed from Fairytale if it tried. For one thing it is in Finnish and we can’t understand a word of it. Secondly, it is sung by ladies – two very winsome Scandinavian ladies to be precise who we are slightly convinced are Jan Leeming and Rula Lenska in disguise. Thirdly, we can’t see them hightailing it around Oslo trying to get their photo taken with every Eurovision-related person of note in the green room.  Fourthly, it has an accordion on it which the aforementioned winner did not. Fifthly, they’re not wearing any shoes. Sixth – oh, we give up.

Still, we have to admit that we like this a lot – in much the same way as we liked Belgium 2008. In other words it’s very quirky, highly distinctive, and, er, doesn’t have a cat’s chance in hell of winning. See what you think:

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Finland | 3 Comments »

The Great Big Weekend Round-Up: Part 1!

Posted by Caroline on February 2, 2009

Since the weather outside has turned Arctic and Team Eurovision would have to dig their way out of a snowdrift just to make it up the road to Tesco, there’s no time like the present to take a look at the flurry of continent-wide contest activity that dominated the weekend. And what better place to start than with the UK:

Now we know this song has its dissenters and of course we won’t get any points because of our involvement in the Iraq war about 100 years ago, but we are going to stick our necks out and declare once and for all – this is a cracking effort from the UK (and we’re not just saying that for the sake of patriotism, bearing in mind just how utterly rude we were about Scooch in 2007). And while we are the first to admit we were very impressed by the Twins’ version on Saturday night, we also have to say the right person won.

Crucially though, this is the song that we think the UK has needed for such a long time – how long have we been bleating on about the fact that the best thing we can do is to send a soloist with a ballad, giving a simple no-frills performance and simply letting the song speak for itself? Quite a long time, actually. Now it’s happened – and we gurantee Jade will own that stage come May 16. And to all the dissenters: stop calling her the Poundstretcher Leona Lewis. Don’t think we didn’t hear you…..:-)

Next up, we have this little number from Finland’s Waldo’s People. We liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike, and then some….

Staying in Scandinavia, we have the Danish entry by Niels Brinck. Spent the entire duration of the song thinking, “hey, this sounds a bit like Life Is A Rollercoaster,” only to discover it was co-written by Ronan Keating (quite why we thought this we have no idea since Rollercoaster was written by Gregg Alexander, formerly of the ace one hit wonders New Radicals, but anyway….). This is a good solid pop song with the potential to do well, we think….

And finally check out this little number from Romania’s Elena Gheorghe. We didn’t like it at first, now – as with pretty much every Romanian entry for the past five years – we, er, do….

Posted in Denmark, Finland, Romania, United Kingdom | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »