What with the Internet going into meltdown over the news of Englebert Humperdinck representing the UK in Baku, it’s all too easy to forget about what other countries have been up to on the Eurovision front – and so, without further ado, here’s yet another batch of tunes which have this week entered the fray. Let’s begin with Belarus, who actually picked their song a few weeks back but we didn’t bother commenting on it at that point since we knew they would change their minds. And sure enough,barely a fortnight after Alyona Lanskaya’s dull-as-ditchwater ballad All My Life had been chosen as the Belarussian entry than it was swiftly replaced by boy band Litesound with We Are The Heroes (which sadly bears little resemblance to the 2006 Lithuanian corker We Are The Winners). And we have to admit it is a considerable improvement upon Alyona’s effort although we’re still not entirely convinced that it will make much of an impact on the Eurovision stage. As for Litesound, well it’s fairly obvious to us that a better title for their song would have been We Are The Poundland One Direction….
Moving swiftly along we have the Austrian effort from the wonderfully named Trackshittaz (you can’t really go wrong with a name like that can you?) shouting their way through the rap track Woki Mit Deim Popo, or to give it its English title Shake Your Ass (erm, OK). Now given that the Austrians did a very public flounce from the contest over accusations of political voting a few years back, they clearly take their Eurovision prowess seriously – so perhaps they would care to explain why they have sent a couple of blokes rapping in tongue-twisting German surrounded by poledancers to Baku? Well given that it was either them or a lady with a beard called Conchita Wurst who does odd cover versions of My Heart Will Go On, maybe it’s a blessing – but for all its silliness (and we particularly like the bit where the lights go off and the catsuit clad ladies wiggle their assets in ultra-violet close up) we actually think this could be one of the surprise packages of the contest. In other words, it’ll either sink without trace in the semi-final or do an Alf Poier and soar to a top ten finish on the night. Please let it be the latter just so that jaws across the country can drop in abject horror:
And just when you thought things couldn’t get any sillier, let us move swiftly on to the Netherlands, who haven’t had much luck on the Eurovision stage of late – in fact they haven’t made it out of the semi-final since 2004. Now their song, You and Me by Joan Franka, actually isn’t half bad, a rather sweet, melodic little number that puts us in mind of Portugal 2009. So why, exactly, does she have to go and spoil it by dressing up like Hiawatha? Anybody….? Ultimately the only effect this has is to put a novelty spin on a song which really didn’t need one in the first place. Oh well, at least if it doesn’t make it out of the semis (and we would say it’s borderline at the moment), then Joan has no doubt secured her spot on those clip shows where we all get to point at the contest and laugh:
Finally in this batch we come to Slovenia, and this is a very interesting prospect indeed. Verjamem, sung by 16-year-old Eva Boto, is a big ballad from the people who bought you Molitva (as if you couldn’t guess) and it’s really rather good indeed – so much so that it is fast becoming one of our favourites this year. Could this finally be the song that brings the Slovenes their first ever victory? Well we wouldn’t like to say categorically (after all we thought Georgia’s Shine was in with a chance in 2010 and look how that did), but with a strong, non-gimmicky performance on the night we would be shocked if this wasn’t in the upper reaches of the scoreboard. Take a look for yourselves. Oh and Slovenia, we are hereby sorry that we kept calling you ‘the only country in the entire contest more singularly useless than the United Kingdom’: