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Don’t play that song again! Or did you already….

Posted by Caroline on February 25, 2013

We figured that given the success of Loreen’s bangin’ dance anthem Euphoria in Baku last year (and indeed the very reason that your Eurovision contest is off to Malmo this year), that a brace of club floorfillers would find their way into the line-up of this year’s contest – and indeed we haven’t been disappointed. For while 2012’s performers couldn’t get enough of big ballads (off the back of Ell and Nikki’s Azeri victory), 2010’s hopefuls favoured post-Fairytale twiddly folk nonsense and the class of 2007 wanted to out-Lordi Lordi, so 2013’s crop seem to be hellbent on emulating our Swedish siren. Well some of them anyway. To kick off, here’s Slovenia’s Hannah Mancini going all Skrillex on Straight Into Love. We quite like this but we cannot envisage many people west of Bulgaria will:

And here’s Ireland’s Ryan Dolan, who snatched victory from under the nose of Aimee Fitzpatrick in this weekend’s national final with this little number, Only Love Survives. This reminds us of what Euphoria might have sounded like if it had had a few ethnic drum beats thrown in. And had been sung by a man. Or possibly it just sounds the kind of thing Malta might enter in a particularly average year. Your choice:

Not to be left out, Germany have also gotten in on the act with their effort from Cascada (you may remember them – adoptsTroy McClure voice – from such hits as Evacuate The Dancefloor and Every Time We Touch) with their much-hyped entry Glorious (much-hyped in that we’d actually heard of them as opposed to most of the other finalists). The song’s already whipped up a bit of controversy back home where it’s been accused of ‘copying’ Euphoria – but we can’t think what they’re on about. I mean they’re both upbeat dance tracks, they’re both sung by women, and they’re both in Eurovision – well, stands to reason doesn’t it? They must surely be the same song. Well they’re not really since Euphoria is a strong, powerful dance anthem while Glorious to us sounds like something Tulisa might pull out of the bag for an X Factor semi-final. You be the judge:

To finish, here’s the Greek entry, the wonderfully-titled Alcohol Is Free by Koza Mostra and Agathonas (i.e that bloke with the moustache). This isn’t really a dance anthem at all (unless you count the sort of dancing you do after partaking of much free alcohol) but since it is a) marvellous and b) sounds like nothing else in the competition we figured we’d include it anyway, if only to convince you it’s not all about drum machines and glowsticks this year:

 

 

Posted in Eurovision 2013, Eurovision News, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Slovenia | 2 Comments »

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 »

Now then, where were we……?

Posted by Caroline on March 4, 2011

Well now, hasn’t it been a busy old week in Eurovision land? With another mega weekend looming, let’s take a look at what’s been happening over the past few days as the entries continue to roll in….beginning with Slovenia. Now we’ve been a little disparaging to the Slovenians in recent years, naming them as possibly the only country in the whole contest who are more useless than the United Kingdom (hang on, maybe that’s more insulting to the United Kingdom….) but this year they have really taken us by surprise with a very striking ballad. Vanilja by Maja Keuc starts off unassumingly, gets better and then builds to a very dramatic conclusion – made even better by the fact that the lady in question can really belt out a tune. It is, in short, the best Slovenian entry to grace a Eurovision stage since that warbly woman sung opera in 2007. But let’s be honest, that’s not exactly difficult…..

And keeping up the dramatic theme is Cyprus, who enjoyed a bit of a renaissance last year with the Cypriot band who actually came from Wales – and they’re hoping for similar good fortune in 2011 with San Aggelos S’agapisa by the tongue-twistingly named Christos Mylordos. Here he is strutting his stuff at the Greek final earlier this week. Reckon that’ll help them to get some points off Greece…..??

Speaking of Greece, we may be the only people on the entire planet that actually quite like their entry this year (chosen in a very odd final which lacked a studio audience and had a rather low-budget Poundstretcher feel about it. The surprise winner – triumphing over the favourite Nikki Ponte – was this chap, Loukas Giorkas, who’s brought his rapping pal Stereo Mike (possibly the best name for a rapper we have ever heard. Whatever next? Dolby Dave?) along for an offbeat effort entitled Watch My Dance. It’s a little bit Greek, it’s a little bit hip hop, and we don’t mind it at all. But whether or not it will do that well remains to be seen….

And finally in this crop, we have Slovakia, who are fielding the second set of twins this year (after Jedward), imaginatively named Twiins. Given that the Slovaks were this close to pulling out this year (and then changed their mind after realising it was too late to do so), it’s actually quite nice to see them in the line-up, but for that reason only, because frankly their song, I’m Still Alive, is wetter than a salmon’s swimsuit. Girls – the world really doesn’t need another Atomic Kitten, OK….?

Posted in Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia, Slovenia | 1 Comment »

That Was The Weekend That Was…..

Posted by Caroline on February 22, 2010

So, we’re midway through national finals season, and now the songs are coming in thick and fast, with another trio of, how shall we put this, varying quality chosen over the past 48 hours. Let’s get cracking with FYROM (Former Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia), who last year were neck and neck with the Netherlands as our least favourite song in the contest. And guess what? This year they are in the exact same position! Jas Ja Imam Silata is by Gjoko Taneski featuring Billy Zver and Pejcin and confirms that our theory that in the rest of the world it may be 2010 but back in Skopje, in musical terms at least, it is still 1987. There’s an attempt to modernise it with a Linkin Park-esque rap bit in the middle but unfortunately for us this makes it even worse as it just smacks of someone who’s put his brother in the band and given him something to do because his mum told him he had to. It’s not quite as horrendous as last year’s effort but to be honest that’s not saying much. Watch, endure, and try and remember that this is the same country that just a few short years ago were coming up with the uber-cool likes of Ninananja:

And so to Malta, whose all-consuming passion for Eurovision appears to be alive and well, if their national final was anything to go by: we watched it on Saturday night, all 14 hours of it (well it felt that long at least: by contrast we expect the UK final to begin at 8pm on March 12 and be all done and dusted by 8.02….).  Still, the winning song, My Dream by winsome Liza Minnelli lookalike Thea Garrett, was certainly worth all the effort as this is one of the better Maltese efforts of recent years, a simple, understated ballad that we suspect will get plenty of love from the juries. Quite why, however, Ms Garrett is mauled mid-performance by a man dressed as a giant seagull we have no idea. We saw him sitting nonchalantly, in costume, in the Green Room as the results came in, looking as though it was the most normal thing in the world to be sat at a table wearing a giant beak. Still there’s no doubt in our minds that with a good performance on the night this song could fly (that’s enough of that – Ed). Wonder if Birdman will be talking about it on Twitter (er, we’ll get our coats…….)?

Sunday evening brought us the Slovenian entry, possibly the first ever ‘mash-up’ in Eurovision history. Except Narodno Zabavni Rock by Anzambel Roka Zlindere and Kalamari appears to think that blending traditional accordion-based folk music with tacky 80s rock guitar appears to be a good thing. The resulting effort is kind of the musical equivalent of a tuna and banana sandwich, just wrong on so many levels. And yet, there is something strangely appealing about it – in  its own way it is as awful as the Netherlands yet at least the band looks like they’re having fun and they give it their all. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and their song has stuck in our head. Actually we’re obsessed with it. And that tuna and banana buttie is beginning to sound like an enticing prospect. Help???????

Finally – and we’ll include it in the weekend since it happened on Monday – comes Spain’s entry, Algo Pequenito by Leo Sayer lookalike Daniel Diges.  It would of course be all too easy to start poking fun at the ‘clockwork toy’-inspired backing dancers – but just for a change we’re not going to, since the song itself is so completely lovely we don’t want to:

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, FYROM, Malta, Slovenia | Leave a 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 »