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There are other songs too, you know….

Posted by Caroline on March 3, 2012

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’:

Posted in Austria, Belarus, Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, Netherlands, Slovenia | 1 Comment »

The calm before the storm….

Posted by Caroline on February 5, 2011

So we’re on the brink of that point in Eurovision season when the trickle of songs coming in becomes a flood (we don’t even want to think about the last weekend of the month, when seemingly half of this year’s efforts will be chosen. And we will complain vehemently if the Maltese final next week is not at least seven hurs long). But sneaking in ahead of the crowd is this pleasant if somewhat forgettable ditty from the Netherlands’ 3Js, Je Vecht Nooit Alleen. Now we would love to see the Netherlands do well in a Belgium 2010 stylee – they have a long and illustrious Eurovision career and we know they have it in them. But somehow this song just isn’t doing it for us – it’s not that we dislike it, it’s just lacking, er, something. When we find out what it is we’ll let you know……

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Netherlands | 2 Comments »

The First Great Big Weekend Round-Up

Posted by Caroline 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 | 6 Comments »

For The Sake Of Completeness….

Posted by Caroline on January 11, 2010

….we bring you the demo version of the Netherlands’ entry, Ik Ben Verliefd (I Am In Love). You have been warned…..

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Netherlands | Leave a Comment »

Good grief, it’s the first song of 2010……!

Posted by Caroline on December 26, 2009

……a tad early, we venture to suggest – this is after all Eurovision 2010 we’re talking about and we’re still in 2009. Nonetheless it appears that Pierre Kartner, the ‘legendary’ songwriter that has been drafted in to compose the Netherlands’ entry for next year, is a quick worker, for he’s not only written the track but even unleashed a demo version of it on Dutch radio last week.

And having had a listen to it, we’re convinced that this is the song that will drag the contest kicking and screaming….all the way back to 1974. Because only Joy Fleming in a maxi-dress backed by a trio of tuba players could possibly make this sound more dated than it already is, from its jaunty backing track right down to the ‘sha la la’, ‘sha la lie’ chorus that signals a return to the dark days of nonsensical lyrics on the Eurovision stage.

To be fair, however, this is only the demo version of the song – and we’ll see exactly what form it takes following the Dutch national final on February 7, when six participants will each perform a different arrangement of the song, the winner taking their version to Oslo (we think, anyway, following a rather confusing conversation earlier along the lines of ‘so are they voting for their favourite singer? Or their favourite version of the song?????’ ‘And what if they don’t like the winning singer’s version? Will he or she have to sing a different version?????’ Enough already).

Either way we will reserve judgment until then – but if you want to hear the track for yourself you can do so here. Meanwhile, rumours that the final will feature a ‘Smurf’ version of the song sung by men in giant blue costumes who sound like they have inhaled one helium balloon too many in the Green Room have – been entirely made up by us for the sake of a cheap laugh. And on that note it is onwards and upwards to the impending Albanian final……

Posted in Netherlands | Leave a Comment »

Smurf’s Up!

Posted by Caroline on November 30, 2009

Now we’re not suggesting for one minute that the Netherlands’ out of nowhere victory at last weekend’s Junior Eurovision might have gone to their heads a little bit (although who could blame them if it did, since it’s the first taste the Dutch have had of Eurovision success since 1975, a time that even our editor is much too young to remember), but we’re not sure we’re liking the latest news coming to us from that part of the world.

According to ESC Today one Pierre Kartner, veteran songwriter and the Netherlands’ best selling composer ever, is all set to write the Dutch entry for Oslo 2010. Who he? Well, you probably know him better as Father Abraham, writer and narrator of that late 70s ‘classic’ The Smurf Song. Yes, those funny blue puppet things that sounded like they had inhaled too much helium before putting their voices to record. This does not bode well.

Of course Kartner has written other songs (he penned the Netherlands’ 1973 Eurovision entry for one) and it’s nice to see the country taking their 2010 effort  a bit more seriously, but we can’t help feeling a little uneasy about this. One of the Dutch commentators, Cornald Maas, has apparently suggested that Kartner could do for the Netherlands what Andrew Lloyd Webber did for the UK this year. Er, yes. But Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote Evita, Sunset Boulevard, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Phantom Of The Opera et al. Pierre Kartner, on the other hand, wrote this:

I think we’ll just leave it there, shall we……?

Posted in Netherlands | 1 Comment »

The Great Big Eurovision Experiment – 2009!

Posted by Caroline on April 9, 2009

netherlandstoppers

If you’ve been reading Eurovision Blog for some time (and if you have we congratulate you on your fine effort and for not throwing things at your computer) then you might recall last year we conducted a special experiment which involved sending interview questions by email to all the contest participants, to see how many would respond. Last year only four did – all hail Ukraine, Sweden, Moldova and Bulgaria (and a note to the rest of 2008’s participants: if you’ve finished with those questionnaires now could we have them back please?)

Anyway due to our, er, amazing success with last year’s effort we thought we’d try again this year, and sure enough within 24 hours we got some answers back. Step forward, Netherlands’ representatives The Toppers and prepare to shout “FIRST!”

This is what they had to say for themselves, incidentally…..

NETHERLANDS – THE TOPPERS

How does it feel to be representing your country at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest?

It is great! We hope we will bring success for Holland once again!

What are you most looking forward to about taking part?

Getting to the finals and hopefully win.
What can we expect from your performance? Are you planning a lavish stage show?

It is going to be an over the top spectacle with beautiful costumes and a great act.
Have you ever been to Moscow and are you looking forward to it?

No, this is going to be the first time and we are really looking forward to it.
Which of this year’s other songs do you rate?

We like Norway, France, England and Russia very much.

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

Favourite song of all time is Ding-a-dong which happens to be a Dutch entry.
What do you think about the debate over so-called ‘political’ voting?

If you look at the results of the last 5 years, you see that the best song has won most of the time. So we do not think it is a political question.


How do you think the return of jury voting might influence the final result?

Not! We think that everyone votes for the best song/act.
Why do you think Eurovision is still so popular, even after all these years?

Because it is the biggest musical event in the world and it just looks great on television.

Have you heard the UK’s song this year and what do you think? Any chance your country could give us some points this year (please…….? 🙂 )

Yes we have and we really love it. Our country will definitely award you some songs.

Posted in Interviews, Netherlands | 1 Comment »

The Great Big Weekend Round-up – Part 2

Posted by Caroline on February 2, 2009

Continuing with our look at the weekend’s Eurovision activity, here’s the Slovenian entry from Quartissimo, which was chosen in Sunday night’s national final. Two words: Rondo Veneziano?

And last but not least, it’s the Netherlands’ entry which has left us, frankly,speechless. If you ever wondered what happened to 80s sparkly-jacketed hitmakers Big Fun then look no further (stop that this minute – you know perfectly well they are called De Toppers and are huge stars in their native country – Ed). Oh OK then. We cannot possibly comment further except to say the words: your dad. At a wedding. Enough already….

Posted in Netherlands, Slovenia | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »