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(Almost) the last round-up….

Posted by Caroline on March 26, 2012

First things first, we must apologise for the radio silence in recent days. While the rest of the Eurovision fraternity has been frothing about this that and the other, we have been engaged in a small trifle called ‘work’. But hey, there was only so long we could put off taking a look at the rest of this year’s entries, now that they have been chosen, so let’s get going with this little number from Slovakia. Now if you get get over the hair metal posturing and rather shabby looking set then this effort, Don’t Close Your Eyes by Max Jason Mai, isn’t half bad actually. So much so that we almost think the Slovakians could even be in with a chance of making the final this year. Mind you we thought that in 2010 and look how that one fared:

Next we have Portugal’s Filipa Sousa with her effort Vida Minha. Er, Portugal, you know how you’ve never actually won Eurovision? Well songs like this are the reason why, OK….? I mean we’re all for playing it safe, especially after what you sent to the contest last year, but in truth this actually leaves us longing for Homens da Luta to stage a comeback:

Time for something completely different now, and here’s Romania’s Mandinga with their song Zaleilah. Now this one really does tick all the boxes in the Eurovision book of cliches – wacky men playing the accordion, bonkers dancing, a lady whose clothes seem to fall off entirely by accident (in this instance before the first verse has even kicked in). Oh and bagpipes. And you know what? We bloomin’ well love it. OK, so sound-wise this is basically Cotton Eye Joe for the Facebook generation, but it’s so utterly joyful and catchy that we just can’t resist it. And we have a sneaking suspicion that along with Israel this could be one of those ‘dark horse’ entries which sneaks up the scoreboard when nobody’s looking and nabs about a zillion points:

Finally in this batch we come to the remarkably similar effort from Moldova (now there’s a surprise), Pasha Parfeny’s Lautar. Just a few things we would like to point out to Pasha here – firstly, you look like Colin Farrell, secondly the double checkered fabric look should really be avoided at all costs, and finally you, sir, are bonkers. How else do you explain the moment in this performance when you mount one of the dancers and begin riding her like a horse? That said we actually rather like this song, and you can pretty much guarantee they will exchange points with Romania, since both songs sound so remarkably similar and are the product of, how shall we put this, eccentrics:

Next up: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, and anyone else we’ve forgotten….



Posted in Moldova, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia | Leave a Comment »

Just talk to us already: Romania

Posted by Caroline on April 28, 2011

Enough with Jedward and their Sexy Utility Vehicle already. Let us restore some sanity to this blog, in the shape of the first ever Romanian entrant to take on the Eurovision Blog interview. All hail – Romanian Dave! Who is actually from Newcastle. But you get our drift….

Introduce yourselves, and Dave, tell us how a chap from Newcastle ended up representing Romania in Eurovision this year? Well I came to Romania as a missionary volunteer to help orphaned children and children with disabilities which during this period i met my girlfriend and decided to stay. After some time i was found singing in a karaoke bar by a friend of mine who offered me a job singing every week in a local shopping centre. This lead to meeting Gabriel Baruta who heard about an English singer in Oradea and I was offered to join his band Hotel FM. Together we competed into the most important international festival and song contest organized in Romania called CERBUL DE AUR (The Golden Stag) where we arrived into the semi final. After some period of being together Gabi had written a song for Eurovision which I found perfect for my voice and asked if he was interested in going to compete in the Romanian Eurovision preselection and he agreed. So that in 2010 we arrived on 2 place from jury and 7th place from public which brought us into 4th place in the final – winners being Paula Seling and Ovi. Again this year I asked if he was interested in going back and he agreed, this time we were glorious and won the National ESC Final.

Are you looking forward to going to Dusseldorf? What can we expect from your stage show? Yes I’m looking forward to Dusseldorf – I can’t imagine any artist in the competition, who isn’t :)) Our show will be very similar to our national final show as we don’t want to complicate things:))

Which of this year’s other entries do you rate? I rate Bosnia and Herzegovina as a wonderful piece along side Denmark and Finland. Everybody seems to be going towards this club scene lately and I think we should try to save some of the real music as much as possible before we loose it all and the world turns into computerised voices and effects :)))

Which is your favourite Eurovision entry of all time and which is your favourite from your home country? My favourite entry of all time must be Waterloo of course :)) I honestly cannot say I remember a good song from the UK :))

Here in the UK Eurovision is regarded by many as a bit of a joke (something we are aiming to change this year with our entry) How is it regarded in Romania? Yes as an Englishman I know myself how the English look at things and before I entered into the competition, I used to think the same and wasn’t too interested in the whole Eurovision thing :)) But now as a competitor it changed the way I think about it, and now my eyes are opened to just how big the competition is for singers. Maybe for us Brits it’s an old competition but for most of Europe and the singers competing its actually a huge way of getting noticed, and for foreign bands to get known. :)) Most artists around Europe are trying to get a foot into the UK and American market to start their career on a bigger level, which seems very hard to do these days, but with Eurovision they can be seen by the whole world which managers and music production labels etc etc maybe watching who may offer some kind of contract etc to help them further their career and move up the ladder in the music world and to try crack the UK and America or the world :)) In Romania the Eurovision isn’t such a big deal like the Swedish people for eg, but it’s watched by a large number of people :))

Why do you think so many people still love it so much even after all this time?  Well because it’s entertaining and the world is at war, (WHOSE COUNTRY HAVE THE BEST SINGERS ETC).. people are very nationalist and when their country wins they grow 10 feet tall :)) But this is only how I think things are and it is still a very competetive show with Europe’s best singers, Why shouldn’t it still be watched?

What will be the first thing you do if you win? If I win ill probably pass out first , then I’ll drink a beer or 2 after coming to to celebrate as for the last 8 months I’ve been on strict no drinking alcohol schedule :)) then I’ll begin planning on the next steps to get on some shows in the UK to try promote Hotel FM :))

  I’ve heard the UK entry and of course the UK have a great chance of winning this year with Blue, they sing well, the song is commercial and radio friendly and could sell well after Eurovision. People say it was a death sentence for them coming on Eurovision but I actually think it will revive them from their sleep that they have had over the last 10 years. I wish the UK good luck but I’m sure this year you dont need it :))

And finally, tell me why Romania should have the chance to host Eurovision in 2012 and which city do you think it should be held in? Well I think Romania has proven over the last years that they do have good artists and this year our song has a strong message, its a very positive song with a happy go feel to it 🙂 Also Romania have never won the Eurovision before so it would be an honour as an Englishman to bring here the trophy.

Romania has had it tough over the years and I think and it would be great for Europeans to come to Romania to finally see how Romania truly is but the most important fact is that we believe in our song and we believe in ourselves :)) If the Eurovision comes to Romania in 2012 I think it should be made in Bucharest the capital. Finally I wish all the contestants good luck and may the best song win :))

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Eurovision News, Interviews, Romania | Leave a Comment »

Introducing Romanian Dave…except he’s not really

Posted by Caroline on January 4, 2011

As 2010 came to a close, most of us might have been hugging random strangers at parties and entertaining everybody with drunken renditions of Auld Lang Syne, but in Romania they were far too busy choosing their entry for Dusseldorf 2011 to worry about such matters. And we happen to think they chose rather well. OK, so Change by Hotel FM is cheesier than an entire consignment of Jarlsberg, but it’s so upbeat and jaunty that we can’t help but love it (even though we shouldn’t really because it stuck in our heads after just one listen and now we can’t get rid of it, to the extent it will probably drive us totally round the twist by May. But anyway….)

We were however surprised to discover that the song is actually performed by a bloke called Dave. Well that doesn’t sound very Romanian does it (and in fact there is a sad shortage of Daves in Eurovision, although the last one we can recall won the damn thing for the Estonians in 2001).  Turns out Romanian Dave, as we have now renamed him, is welder-turned-singer David Bryan, a Newcastle native who now lives with his girlfriend in Romania and was discovered by Hotel FM’s manager performing at a karaoke contest.

But it would seem he’s not the only Brit who is hoping for Eurovision success in Dusseldorf.  Scottish teacher Nicola Barclay is in the running to represent Azerbaijan after making it through their preliminary heats. The 26-year-old, who is a PE teacher at the International School of Azerbaijan in the capital, Baku, made it through as a wildcard after the judges declared they were “amazed” by her vocal skills. Meanwhile British singer Lisa Maffia, a former member of So Solid Crew (remember them? Frankly we’re struggling to……) is rumoured to be in the frame to represent Bulgaria with her latest song, Shut Your Mouth.

All of which beggars the question: if these people are so keen to sing for other countries, why can’t they do it for the UK????? Surely it has nothing to do with the fact that the UK has become a byword for unspeakable naffness on the Eurovision stage thanks to songs which sound like they were composed on the back of a napkin two minutes before show time? Nah, course not. Anyway, here’s what to expect from Romanian Dave…..

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Eurovision News, Romania, United Kingdom | 1 Comment »

The Great Big Super Super Extra Large Weekend Round Up

Posted by Caroline on March 9, 2010

Phew! What a busy weekend it was in Eurovision land. No less than seven songs chosen for Oslo. So instead of waffle, let’s get down to business. First up we have the Croatian entry, which is by Feminnem, who represented Bosnia and Herzegovina a few years ago with the oh-so-cute Call Me (are you keeping up?). They seem to have grown up a bit for this one, as Lako Je Sve is a dramatic ballad which we would like more if a) it didn’t sound so much like a cross between Molitva and Believe, b) it weren’t for the mad overblown posturing in the performance which reminds us of something out of a Shakespear’s Sister video c) they didn’t include that funny heart thing at the end and d) their frocks looked a bit less odd. Still, those in the know inform us this has a good chance of winning so we shall monitor it with interest:

Next up we have Ukraine, Vasyl Lasarovich’s I Love You. And the less said about this one the better, except to say that we’re very very disappointed in you Ukraine. And we wouldn’t be at all surprised if you didn’t make the final this year:

Ramping up the tempo a bit, we come to Moldova, who bypassed the much-hyped Pavel Turcu in favour of this,  Run Away by Sun Stroke Project and Olia Tira. ‘This year’s Waldo’s People’ is probably the best way of putting it:

And it’s back to the ballads with Portugal’s Filippa Azevedo, singing Ha Dias Assim. If ever a 1980s James Bond theme had been commissioned out to a Portuguese artist, it would probably have sounded something like this. And we can safely say that their record as the longest-serving country without a Eurovision win isn’t going to be troubled this year:

And finally, our favourite song to be chosen on Saturday night, Romania’s Playing With Fire by Paula Seling and Ovi. Let’s think why we like this one so much? Because of the double-sided piano? The operatics? The fact it’s NOT A BLOOMIN’ BALLAD? Or possibly because it’s just ridiculous and playful and fun and ever so slightly barking? Er yes, that’d be it. Plus of course they’re clearly the anti-Chanee and N’Evergreen, while Paula amply fills the ‘mammoth-haired East European diva’ role normally taken care of by the Ukrainians. This has to be in the final as far as we’re concerned:

Sunday, meanwhile, brought with it two more songs. Now we watched some of the Russian final and there were some pretty good tunes, including our favourite by the folk-singing grannies known as Buranovskiye Babushki – so quite why this turgid effort, Lost And Forgotten by the Peter Nalitch Band (or as we like to refer to them, Kings Of Leonid), got chosen is beyond us:

And last but not least we have the year’s most pleasant surprise to date, from Belgium. Now in common with their neighbours the Netherlands, the Belgians haven’t done too well of late, so much so we almost began to think they had given up. In other words this could have gone one of two ways. They could have gone the way of the Dutch and entered a load of complete nonsense or they could actually have gone back to the drawing board and thought about how they could possibly improve upon recent performances. And it seems – hurrah! – they’ve done the latter. Tom Dice’s Me And My Guitar, which in essence is the man himself, with a guitar, might bear a passing resemblance to Mark Cohn’s Walking In Memphis, but it’s a very likeable, simple song that has huge mainstream appeal and will go down a storm with the juries. Good move Belgium. You may just have gotten yourself your most successful entry in years:

Posted in Belgium, Croatia, Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Moldova, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Ukraine | 5 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 »