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Archive for the ‘Iceland’ Category

Shall we do a round-up then?

Posted by DINRIL on February 12, 2012

Gosh, sorry for being so behind in the current round of Eurovision mayhem (except we’re not really because you will also notice we are including the results of tonight’s shenanigans here). Once again a little thing called life managed to get in the way of our ability to blog. But anyway, here we are, with a big stack of songs for Baku – beginning with the French effort. Now we rather put our foot in it last year when we suggested that the Gallic opera lad might just walk away with Eurovision honours – only for him to flounder hopelessly as a result of his frightened rabbit appearance on the night. We suspect that the lovely Anggun however will do no such thing with this odd but very likeable effort Echo (You and I). And is it just us or does this have shades of Georgia 2007 about it (which in turn means it has shades of Madonna?) You decide:

And so to Malta, who chose their entry last weekend in their usual understated, short (well by their standards anyway) final – which we once again struggled to make head or tail of. Who was that random woman playing piano at the start? Why did the introduction go on so long? Where was Chiara? How could Claudia Faniello possibly be snubbed again? Should we stop asking questions? Anyway, following a scoring process which was almost as exciting as the contest itself and seemed to feature random people from all over the continent, this man, Kurt Calleja, was chosen with his song This Is The Night. And you know what? Meh. Claudia was better. There’s nothing wrong with this song exactly – and we’ve made it abundantly clear in the past just how much we love Malta’s enthusiasm for all things Eurovision – but this is already shaping up to be a strong year, and we sense this song will struggle to make an impact. Eleventh place in the semi again, maybe?

So that was last week, now on to this week, and let’s start with Hungary.  And having produced one of our favourite songs of 2011 in the shape of Kati Wolf’s What About My Dreams (even if the lady herself – who appeared on tonight’s national final in verbose mode, was mildly terrifying), they haven’t done too badly this year either. This year’s effort is by Compact Disco (which might just be the best name for a band EVER) and is called Sound Of Our Hearts. We quite like it. That is all:

Norway, meanwhile, rejected the charms of folk band Plumbo (possibly because they sound like the sort of people you would call out when your toilet gets blocked) in favour of this chap, Tooji – aka ‘this year’s Eric Saade’ – with this song, Stay. And it is actually quite fabulous. Except of course it’s too soon for Norway to win the contest again. Isn’t it. Isn’t it?

And finally we come to Iceland, who have opted for a big dramatic ballad this year in the shape of Jonsi and Greta’s Mundu Eftir Mer. We’ll be honest, we weren’t expecting to like this. We didn’t like it last time Jonsi entered a ballad for Eurovision in 2004, in fact we hid under the sofa cushions and pleaded with the producers to make it stop. This, on the other hand, is a very pleasant surprise – it’s strong, it’s performed well, it has violins. Could we possibly have another Icelandic dark horse on our hands?

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, France, Hungary, Iceland, Malta, Norway | 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 First Great Big Weekend Round-Up

Posted by DINRIL on February 8, 2010

It’s official, the pre-contest season is in full swing, with no less than five – count ’em! five songs being chosen for Oslo over the weekend. Well actually, it’s four and a half given that one of them was the Netherlands but let’s not split hairs here. It’s all gone a bit Scandinavian round Eurovision way over the past couple of days, with only Sweden left in that part of the continent to choose their song (and with only about 4000 hours of Melodifestivalen to go we shouldn’t have too long to wait).

But anyway, where shall we start? The host nation, we think, and in keeping with recent tradition Norway are showing all the signs of a country that really doesn’t want to host the contest again next year. My Heart Is Yours is a competent but rather bland ballad performed by Didrik Solli-Tangen, a cute lad with a powerhouse voice and Jedward hair. Top ten, we think, but that’s about all:

Onwards and upwards to Denmark, who have chosen In A Moment Like This by uber-cute boy/girl duo Chanee and N’Evergreen (look, they hold hands and everything! What is not to love?????). We like this a LOT, albeit in a “we know we shouldn’t really because it’s actually cheesier than an entire plate of Wensleydale, but we just do OK?” kind of way.  Would be very surprised if this didn’t qualify, and we’ll even go so far to say that in a world dominated by this kind of stadium arm-waver nonsense (thank you very much High School Musical and Glee, you have a lot to answer for) this could do very well indeed in the final. So there:

Then we have the Cypriot entry, Life Looks Better In Spring, by Jon Lilygreen and the Islanders which, while not exactly floating our boat, has a kind of commercial mainstream quality that could help its chances. To us though it just sounds like an X Factor winner’s single waiting to happen:

And so to our favourite of the bunch, Iceland’s Hera Bjork with the song Je Ne Sais Quoi. A fabulous schlager stomper sung by a big, likeable diva(actually are we sure it isn’t Dawn French in disguise?)  in a superb frock. It even has a Eurovision-sounding title.  We will fall down in amazement if this doesn’t make the final:

And finally we come to the Netherlands. Now we’d already heard the demo version of Pierre Kartner’s song Ik Ben Verliefd (Sha-la-lie) and as such had refrained from passing judgment until we’d heard the version that would ultimately go to Oslo. OK, so now we have. And, er, we’re speechless. C’mon folks, we thought Papa Smurf’s song was ridiculous and dated to begin with, so who on EARTH decided that a version featuring a Wurlitzer organ and some rock n’roll rhythms, thus turning it into something that wouldn’t be out of place at the Grand Ole Opry (and possibly giving us the closest thing we will get to a novelty entry this year?), would be the thing that would drag the Dutch out of their semi-final doldrums? Even its singer, Sieneke, looks faintly embarrassed. Had this been 1984 and it had benefitted from the addition of some Hot Eyes backing dancers in frilly bloomers it may well have rocketed to the top of the scoreboard. Unfortunately for the Netherlands however, this is 2010. And if they get any points at all they can count themselves screamingly lucky. Still, kudos to the Dutch for acknowledging Pierre Kartner’s former triumph and actually voting for a singer who, for all intents and purposes, looks a little bit like a Smurf:

And on that note, we are off to stick our fingers in our ears and pretend it never happened…..

Posted in Cyprus, Denmark, Eurovision 2010, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway | 7 Comments »

And there’s more….!

Posted by DINRIL on February 16, 2009

It was another busy old weekend in Eurovision land – here, chosen on Saturday, is Iceland’s effort – a winsome blonde lass singing a ballad:

And here’s the song from Poland – a, er, winsome blonde lass singing a ballad:

Do you see a pattern emerging here…..?

Posted in Iceland, Poland | 1 Comment »