Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Does Anyone Watch Lithuania? Why?

Sometimes I wonder if anyone actually follows Lithuania, being sandwiched in the national season with other greats like Melodifestivalen or Eesti Laul, but having heard the songs it is not as dire as one might expect.

The Independent   What does try to be a reasonable punkish rock song but fails in the process. It is a bit generic and old fashioned sounding but I like a trier. Grade: D

Multiks - Reminds me of Compact Disco in Hungary but is missing something important. It has no tangible edge and could fail trying to get it. Grade: E-

Beissoul - No. Just no. Are they serious that this got 12 from the jury and public? Grade: F

Alive Way - Very nice song. This relaxed and gentle style might do well at the contest if the competition is high energy, which it looks set to be. But this is a bit heard-before but I like it. Grade: C+

Vytautas Matuzas - Send a rapping midget in a wheelchair to Eurovision? This is not strong enough to really stand out on stage. I know that the wheelchair will attract some attenion but the whole thing doesn't seem to work. Grade: E+

Katazina - This was a rather difficult song to find on YouTube but when you listen to it you start to wonder does anyone listen to this stuff. There is nothing per se wrong with the song but it just doesn’t seem strong enough but in the scheme of things that is not unusal.  Grade: E

VIG Roses - Good song  but based on the songs that went before that is hardly saying much. Standard r'n'b music. Good looking women. Grade: C-

Bekeso Vilkai - Time for some slow balladly/jazz not entirely certain as to how this could do. I do like this though. Grade: B-

Monika - Ah, yeah in a final of virtually shockingly poor song this shines through, if this went to ESC it would probably go nowhere. But for a while each day I like to think that one day this kind of song will. Grade: A-

Donny Montell - This is a very strong song but is missing something. Grade: B-

DAR - Very easy to spell by all accounts. However this is a good old-fashioned Eurovision song that should not be let near ESC unless Lithuania want to be laughed at. Grade: C

Simona Milinyte - Amazingly this did not top the public or juries in the semi-final. It is still excellent Grade: A

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Bulgarian Saga Continues

Back in January Bulgaria held a semi-final bring 22 songs down to 12, now it is time to assess what remains and what might be going to Baku.

Steliyana Hristova's – Rap song. It’s what I'd expect but at this stage but I really think as rap goes this is good. Grade: C

Simona Sivano While this is nice, it feels like I've heard this song before just because with so many similar ballads it is very difficult to differencate it from all the other songs. Grade: C

Rene Ranev Nice to hear a rock style song in this contest. However this just doesn't go anywhere. Grade: D. 

Ivaylo Kolev Very nice start. Chorus is good enough. Great confidence and strength in the vocals. I like this. But it needs a bigger kick at the end. Grade: C+

Vyara Pantaleeva - Russia style ballad. Reviting. Not. Grade: B

Monika Kirovska - LOVING the almost Irish feel to this. Very gentle and nice song. Nice background music not ESC material. Grade: D

Svetozar Hristov - The video of the song does not exactly inspire enjoyment. Neither does the song. Grade: G

Todor Gadjalov - His voice reminds me a lot of Tom Dice's. As does the song. Needs a little something though. Good, but far from my favorite. Grade: D

Sofi Marinova - Bit generic given what I have heard so far. Still not bad but it just doesn't come up to the mark. Strange ending. Grade: C-

Ceco Elvisa & Daniela Love this kind of song…. I'm enjoying this. Grade: A (I know an A - I feel faint)

Desi Slava This starts the way that any Eurovision Song should. As you realise this is a step up from the songs that went before, you also realise that the song might be a little too big for DESS. Still like this. A lot. This has Bulgarian enty written all over it. Grade: B+

Ivaylo Kolev - Gentle and comfortable start. Confident Vocals. The verse leaves lots of room to build to a great anthemic song. It only bearly does this. So much room for improvement. Grade: C.

New 5 - If you can stomach the chessyness it is actually quite good. Needs something small to lift it. (If you think you’re a Eurovision Fan and you can't take the strongest of cheese you are not a fan). Grade: B.

What is most hilarious is that despite all this process we are going to be left with a rather average sounding song from Bulgaria.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Short Little Review Of Spain

Spain this year decided from the outset to send Pastora Soler to the Eurovision Song Contest. It was a wise move on their part. So Pastora now has three excellent songs to send to Baku but it is time we reviewed them.

Ahora O Nunca - Ahora O Nunca (now or never) is a somewhat old style Spanish Eurovision entry. That is not to say that it is not strong - I really love this song, but it is not the strongest here. It is wonderfully gentle and if there was a lot of high energy songs around it is could balence strong with gentle very well here. Grade: A-

Tu Vida Es Tu Vida - I'm not a huge fan of this song. I understand the need for an up beat song in this National final. However I still think that this would be a waste of Pastora's talents - she could do so much more with a ballad. Grade: C

Quédate Conmigo - I'd say that this is the strongest song out of the three here. It builds the way the song should and finishs in a great cresendo. Pastora should be really well able to show off her vocals here. It really is song that they should have sent Coral with in 2010. Grade: B+

So hopefully Spain might pick Ahora O Nunca but my guess is that they will choose Quédate Conmigo.

Buena Suerte Espana y Pastora Soler!

An American Indian And A Balkan Ballad For Baku

Tonight saw Netherlands and Slovenia both select their songs for Baku.

Netherlands selected a bouncy song for Baku sung by a Joan Franka called You and Me. It is rather cheesey. What was interesting was the consistent disagreement by the dutch with the results of the international jury. Given that it contained 100 members they represented a wide fan base so should have been listened to more. Joan won the televote with 53.8%. Netherlands are in a tough semi-final so their qualification is unlikely.

Slovenia have decided to not send a rather controversial act to Baku. (You'd know I wrote this while I was watching EMA). Eva Boto will sing a pretty Balkan ballad. I think it is better than Croatia alright, not sure how it fares out against non balkan songs. Anyhow here it is:

Two Shows Tonight - And It's Sunday

Tonight sees Netherlands and Slovenia pick their two songs and, believe it or not this is the first Sunday with two shows. Personally I am watching Netherlands [and I really love the song Chocolatte]. Their show is quite confusing with a combination of Dutch and International Juries with a televote.

I somehow forgot that Slovenia were picking their ESC song tonight. I am not paying any attention to it as I never liked the X Factor styled competition for picking an ESC singer - anyways I see what Slovenia come up with.

Brain Kennedy, who represented Ireland in 2006 with a song that would have done well in the 90s has hit out at Jedward and their Eurovision song saying that it is forgetable and he fears a Eurovision catastrophe. In my opinion this comment might have held water but really an 8th place last year it is really difficult to say how the twins will do. However even on my most pessimistic projections they should reach the final.

Another Eurovision Entry And Some Semi Final Results

Finland have decided to send Pernilla Karlsson to Eurovision. It is what we would call a "Brave" entry. It lacks something and then something else and then.... Anyway the song is called Nar Jag Blunder. The dancer would suggest that there is something for that you have to be distracted from something.....

Sweden surprised us all by deciding to stop Charlotte Perrelli in her tracks. She is now out of Melodifestivalen. Danny and Lisa went directly to Globen which was surprising for Lisa to get through. However Danny was not anyway surprising. His performance was vocally unsound and would be very difficult to do at ESC. However it is Danny and judging by the audience reaction he will be the one to beat on Saturday 10th.

Estonia and Lithuania also held semi-finals and I have not studied them in enough so do please read about on escXtra

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Night Where Two Show Songs Were Picked

For those who think that Eurovision has more to do with the song than the entertainment factor.

In Austria Trackshittaz won and I was delighted. It is a great song and was more entertaining than the bearded lady.

In Ireland JEWARD WON. As I'm sure your aware we are huge fans of Jedward for two reasons: 1. I suspect they could win Eurovision 2. Jedward fans give us a lot of hits. If another artists fans did this we'd also  support them, if I liked the song enough - we're fickle like that. Sadly RTÉ now

This really was excellent performance and I really liked the mixing. The big surprise was Donna's rather poor performance and Andrew Mann's very good performance which sort of changed peoples expectations of the outcome.

On other points my brother was watching the Late Late Show with me and he took some interest in the songs that other countries have picked. He normally is good to pick up on songs that do well in ESC. He thought that Denmark had picked a rather good song. He drew parallels between Soluna's song and Adele. He also was rather critical of the backing track behind Tooji's song but that may have been the poor sound on our TV. We will be hearing more from him at a later stage - once he owes  me enough.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Breaking News: Litesound To Baku

Eurovision fan's all over the world will be delighted to see that in fact LITESOUND rather than Alyona will go to Baku for Belarus after Alyona declared that the results had been riged in her favour. I must say it appears Ukraine has rubbed a bit of inspiration into their neighbour.

It's Time To Talk About Ireland

As an Irish Eurovision Blogger of course I have to cast the rather good Austrian selection to the side and favour the country that matters the most to my heart. Ireland this year have a national final that offers two returning Eurovision artists in the from of Jedward and Donna McCaul. We also have a rather strong national final line up by all accounts. At the start of the national final season I had expected the poorest national final imaginable to ensure a Jedward win.

It is time to examine exactly what Ireland needs to do and what is happening with our national final.

Tomorrow night The Late Late Show takes place at 9:35GMT/10:35CET so if your not on GMT you can look forward to a late night for this. I am looking forward to being able to finally watch a national final on the television. If your not in Ireland you should be able to watch it on the RTÉ Player.

So we have 5 songs my full review is here. Too sum it up here we go:

Maria McCool - VERY Traditional song, good vocals. Won't widely appeal. The people who like this music are too conservative to vote I do like it but not as a Eurovision song.
Grade: C-
Jury Prediction: 4th
Public Vote: 5th
Overall: 5th

Donna McCaul - Modern enough song, seems popular with a good number of Eurovision fans. Personally it is good but not amazing, it seems to lack a small amount of fluidity. I'm a little unsure if it will be as good live.

Grade: B
Jury Prediction: Either two points ahead of rest or well behind leader.
Public Vote: 2nd
Overall: 2nd

Andrew Mann - Slow rock is hardly going to be to the taste of the two major groups who will be watching the Late Late - Jedward fans and the arch-Conservative elderly Irish who always watch the show.

Grade: D
Jury Prediction: 3rd
Public Vote: 4th
Overall: 3rd

Una Gibney and David Shannon - This song has been a guilty pleasure of mine. However I think it more than likely won't challenge for votes. It is just a little cheesy and then some.

Grade: B+ [Because I do really like it for it's cheesiness]
Jury Prediction: 5th
Public Vote: 3rd
Overall: 4th

Jedward - Ok the bit that you've been waiting for: by far and away the big ticket item in Ireland has been Jedward returning to Eurovision. It probably has generated more interest in the Irish national final than normal and this may not be a bad thing. The bottom line here is that as the hot favorites to win the question is not are they going to win but how could they not win? Really I cannot see them losing the televote. The massive number of Jedward fans out there going to vote them through. The biggest block in their path is the juries but in reality Jedward  would need to be completely rejected by the juries not to win. However I think the juries will respect their 8th place finish last year and their international recognition and while they may not completely back them they will give them 10 points which would allow them to progress.

Grade: A
Jury Prediction: Leading by either two points or winning all juries
Public Vote: 1st
Overall: 1st

So really it boils down to will Jedward scrap through with two/four points or will they win across the board.
I know there will be many Eurovision fans telling me that Donna would be a far better choice but remember that Jedward fans account for a sizeable share of our readers.

It still is up to Jedward fans to ensure Jedward get a couple of votes on the televote so for get out their and

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Winner Normally Comes From Semi-Final 4....really?

So I'm just a little pushed for time this evening on account of the Irish National Final tomorrow [currently working on a personal post about that will be up later].

This year the big ticket match up was putting Charlotte Perrelli and Danny into the same semi-final but anyhow there's eight songs to be reviewed:

Charlotte Perrelli - This was way behind what I had expected from Charlotte. If this was not Charlotte I would say I really like the song but it won't qualify. What is that screen in the middle of the clip for.? The Swedes can be very strange when they vote and are very fickle. So I think we will be meeting Charlotte next week in Ardra Chansen. Grade: B+

OPA - Boring Greek song, not really fit for the Melodifestivalen stage, should come in last place. Grade: D-
Dynazty - Standard rock song on a pop beat. Nothing special in comparision to Death By April. I think this will either go to the final or Andra Chansen [it certainly won't be left behind]. Grade: B

Lotta & Christer - Two big ticket singers in the chessyest song I have heard in a long time. Picture a lump of really hard chesse and then multiply it a million times and you have the song. I still like it though. Grade: C+

Hanna Lindblad - Like her last MF entry this is a little too unorginal and popy to qualify. I still think that it is a reasonable entry but probably will not qualify. Grade: C

Axel Algmark - A strange kind of old style mixes with new style entry but the resulting product is not very impressive. Grade: D-

Lisa Miskovaky - A very good song but one which is unlikely to qualify. It is too dead sounding and lacking anything for the listener to catch onto. Grade: C+

Danny - Suffice to say Danny was the big ticket name for Melodifestivalen this year. His song is far from amazing. I think it is an improvement from In The Club but that might not nessicarly be a good thing. The stage performance clearly has a huge budget but I really hate these over gimmicky performances at Melodifestivalen when other artists don't seem to get such a budget. Grade: B-

So in spite of all of the hype around this semi-final, having heard the 32 songs, Melodifestivalen looks set to boil down to a three way fight between Loreen, Danny and Molly Sandén. I'm also going to toss David Lindgren into the mix as a dark horse.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bad Irish Accents, Mispronunciations But An Excellent Podcast

From time to time we find some nice articles and things, and normally, as those of you who follow me on Twitter know I retweet these. However I am very impressed with the Podcast from JOYEurovision by 94.9 radio in Austrialia assessing Irish Eurovision History since 1965. What I love about this is it contextualises the nature of Irish Eurovision Entries and why they were picked. The overall theme of Irish Eurovision history that I took from the podcast was that Ireland is a conservative country trying to find it's voice in an ever changing Eurovision.

As an Irish Eurovision fan I think that there are a couple of small points to mention largely to put the record straight.
  • The 1965 and 1967 entries are well respected in Ireland and are still remembered by people of that era.  
  • During the early nineties the shift in Eurovision juries preferences to more conservative tastes allowed Ireland who continued with more conservative tastes to flourish. Interestingly in 1996 the top three songs were all rather similar which reflected the jury voting patterns of the time.
  • Despite the feelings of many fans Ireland's winner in 1994 is one the most beloved of all our winners by the average Irish non-Eurovision fan with it topping many polls of the Irish Public in terms of our winners. It remains one of my top 5 all time Eurovison songs. 
  • Ireland only once gave 12 points to the UK and that was to Love Shine A Light, which a year from the Good Friday Agreement was hardly surprising.
  • Ireland only once gave 
However in spite of a couple of minor flaws the podcast is worth a listen if you have some time to spare. You might even learn a thing or two.

Turkey Presents It's Song

Can Bonomo has presented his song for Eurovision called "Love Me Back". It seems to be getting a reasonably warm reaction from fans who are women which apparently might have something to do with his good looks [as a heterosexual I have no opinion on the matter]. I'm not mad about this song it is not as clear cut and straight as I had hoped.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pay Attention The News Is On

If your wonder where the title comes from it is from Bill Bailey's Guide To The Orchestra, If you have a few minutes to spare do watch it.

Moving to other matters to do with the contest; of course in the usual bullet point from.
  • Israel's song has somehow appeared on YouTube and even the band seem a little surprised as to how this was leaked. They say that they are working on a final arrangement. You can listen to it here.
  • Turkey will present their song tomorrow, we're not really sure what to expect from it but, sure, we shall see tomorrow.
  • Apparently Charlotte Perrielli's song was release in part online. Sadly we didn't get to hear it and if you should have a way please email us - we'ed be ever so grateful. I am unhappy with SVT's poor handling of the leak. They should release all the songs at this point.
  • Maya Saar has revealed to escXtra Bosnia and Herzegovina will present their song on March 15th.
  • Nearly forgot to put in the delightful piece of inaccuracies on an LA times website have a look here. But seriously "European Idol" where do these gobdaws get their information from. 
  • Finally, Feminnem have finally come to an end after many years of great music. However I will always remember their great song in 2005.

Israeli Song Leaked!

Israel's Eurovision entry "Time" by Izabo has been leaked online. Even the band seem unsure how this happened and state that they are not finished the arrangement yet but for the moment here it is: - I'm really liking this.

I Think The Winner Is In This Semi-Final

Our Estonian reviews were actually a small bit more successful than I had expected they would be. Estonia have a reasonable semi-final this week unlike last week. So here we go:

Traffic - On the plus side to start at least the band's  name is easy to spell. The song however has a good accessible sound to it. Kind of the old style rock which should go down reasonably well. Grade: C+

Lenna Kuurmaa - This is an innocent but fairly dull song and performance. But it really does go nowhere. If I heard this in the lift I'd be bored. Grade: E-

Malcolm Lincoln - Bye is a better song than the one he sent to Eurovision last year, I really like this one but I can see it being stopped dead by the Estonian televoters. This really harks me back to the musicial greats of the sixties. Grade: A-

Tenfold Rabbit - First prize for the group who could think of a more bonkers name than Malcolm Lincoln. This reminds me of the Gibert O'Sullivan classic "Nothing Rhymed". There was nothing wrong with that song and there is little wrong with this one.  It actually builds quite well. Grade: B

Birgit Oigemeel & Violina - For the first time since I started writing these reviews I think we actually could have the Estonian song for Eurovision on our hands. This is by no means perfect but in a sea of techno where each song sounds like the last one this stands out. Grade: A+

Soul Milita  -Continuing  from my last comment here is another potential song. I would not be as mad about it as the last one but at least it is clear and uncomplicated. Grade: B

Mimicry - Returning to Essti Laul is Mimicry who have decided it is best to continue with boring over sythesised pop theme of this national final. Grade: B-

Orelipuss - Well I give you Estonia's answer to The Dubliners. They’re just not quite as good. Because this is a bit different to a lot of all the other songs this should make it through the national final without to much difficultly. Grade: A-

Teele Viira - Once again techno music, but this is a little better. While it is nice to know I still think that this is too much of the same again. Grade: C

Cat Eye - Well a song title such as "ride" won't lead to any inuendos at all. This actually is rather boring. It is rather monotone with little to offer. Grade: D

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Georgia Selects What Might Be A Song

Georgia has selected their Eurovision entry to make the short trip to Baku. Anki Jokhadze and his song (if you wish to call it that) I'm A Joker. My first reaction to this sing is that the public might give it enough votes to allow it to scrap into the top 10 in the semi-final. But the juries are going machine gun this down to the ground and this ought to call a halt to Georgia's unbroken qualification run.

The Next Four Eurovision Songs

 My, that was a busy day. This is my reaction piece to the finals that were held today. The reaction piece to the semi-finals is here. So here we have the four songs that were selected today:

At no earlier than 13:00 GMT Ukraine selected their entry sung by Tina Turner impressionist  Gaitana with song "Be My Guest" it is rather good too.

Next up is Croatia Nina Badric, with the song Nebo - I am unsure about this song but suspect this could be one of the weaker songs from the Balkans this year. (I wonder is she still off sex too).

Then Latvia delivered a disappointment of a result by sending Anmary with the song "Beautiful Song".

And finally late in the day, Italy came out with an excellent song by Nina Zilli. She was selected with the song Per Sempre. However it is not known if this is her song for Baku. I would love to see it in ESC.

Sweden Finally Gets It Right: Semi-Final Reaction

Because of the rather huge number of shows tonight my reactions are divided into two pieces one for the semi-finals [this one] and one for the ones selecting their ESC song [later].

Sweden: This evenings semi-final in Leksand finally brought me some happiness with the result. Over the last two weeks I had become concerned about the general way the final of  Melodifestivalen was shaping up. This week looked set to be another disappointing one until BANG out came Molly Sandén, looking very sexy and with a vocal performance to match. Her vocals were far more emotional and on key then the earlier clips and rehearsals would suggest. I was also extremely impressed to see them send Bjorn Ranelid and Sara Li to the final. It is an excellent song even if 99% of Eurovision fans dislike it. They also smartly sent Youngblood and Andreas Johnsson to Andra Chansen. Andra Chansen is shaping up to be a very tough contest.

Estonia: It would seem that Estonia have sent August Hunt, Loss Paranoias, Ott Lepland, Liis Lemsalu, POP Maniacs to the final. This does not appear to have gone down well with Eurovision fans, but because I did not watch the show I have no opinion but given my reviews I actually think this was a broadly good result.

Lithuania: Something happened in Lithuania you can read about it here: http://escxtra.com/2012/02/impressions-from-the-3rd-semifinal/

So that was the semi-finals.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Latvian Reviews In A Rush

Here is our orginal reviews of the songs in the Latvian national final tonight:

Samantha Tina & Davids Kalandija - At first I thought this was a simiple ballad but the chorus proved me wrong, the fact Davids does not come in until the secondd  verse does nothing for the song. However it is a little complex and the arrangement is good. The piano in the background is very effective. But I am still unsure if their voices actually work together. Grade: D-

PeR - Finally an easy name to spell. This is an odd song. You sit there and wonder just what is going to develop into. The trouble is the song is so repetitive I can't see this actually standing out. Grade: E-

Paula Dukure - That’s better, much better. This is a little different and actually sounds like ESC material,  however it would still need a good vocal performance, but listening to Paula sing she should hold notes on the night. Grade: C+

Ruta Duduma This stripped back and layed back song could do well if sandwiched between two fast songs. For the genre it is rather good. I am rreally liking the chorus. Grade: B-

Andris Abelite - Another song that came through the internet selection. The retro feel manages to stay on the right side of retro/dated. Though the song has a nice jazzy feel it does have real jazz strenght; think Raphael Gaulazzi. A little over repetitive. Grade: E+

Samantha Tina - While this song is good it just appears to be lacking something. Maybe we will feel it when we see it live. Grade: E

Elizabete Zagorska Sounds a little more Eurovision. It builds wonderfully well but then….The interlude between the verse and chorus feels just little a car crash that comes out of nowhere. The wind instrument in the background does not help at all. The verse is good though. Grade: D

Mad Show Boys Oh yeah! Here is a real folk song. However while I enjoy it, all that goes through my head is the Slovenian entry in 2010. I still think this is ok with sentiments from the beatles. Grade: B+

Trianas Park - All of the songs in this semi are just terrible and this really is no different. Grade: E+

Anmary Despite the title this is not a very beautiful song. The songs lyrics do not make much sense. The song is full of cliques however it seems very average and just needs to shift to another gear. Grade: E-

So hopefully Latvia will select The Mad Show Boys For Baku....

Tonight: It's Another Super Saturday

Today sees a huge marathon of shows across Europe. 4 Acts will be selected today/tonight we know one of those already that is Ukraine who had their final at the ungodly hour of 11:30 CET - here in Ireland that's 10:30 and I wanted a lie on more than I wanted to watch Ukraine. So I didn't see it but I have seen the winner. [full post later].

Otherwise two songs will be presented tonight - that's Italy [who I am very much looking forward to hearing] and Croatia. Croatia will have a special show at 20:00 CET which lasts one hour so we such hear the song around 21:00 CET. Italy will present their song as well tonight and I suspect that it could be very late tonight [after 23:00 CET] before we hear the song I am not sure what I will be watching tonight so I recommend watching the usual channels for information about Italy.

Latvia also will select their entry tonight in a dual final format. The first will be at 18:00 CET [about one hour from now] and the second super final will be at 20:00 CET. I will throw up the review shortly.

Sweden holds the third semi-final of Me.lodifestivalen tonight at 20:00 CET. You can read our reviews of it here.

Lithuania holds a semi-final too at 20:00 CET. Estonia holds one which starts at 20:30 CET. You can read our reviews of the Estonian semi-final here.

This may all be bit  confusing so I recommend the page that escXtra have developed.

A Slightly Poorer Semi-Final

Sweden presented their songs as is now a regular Thursday job. So here come the somewhat later than usual.

Youngblood- Generic boyband. What is more interesting is the beat of the song, which strangely is the exact same as Eric Saade's Manboy - I've checked. The song does not have quite as strong a melody but still I'd say this should go directly to the final because it is well positioned in front of some rather dull songs and there is very little in this semi to soak up the teen girl [except Molly Sandén]. Also having people often go for the beat over anything else so that figures. I was not the biggest fan of Manboy and the same is here. Grade: C+

Maria BenHajji - I like a tryer and this is a very sweet but unremarkable song. This will most likely stay at the early stage of the competition. Might struggle to be in 7th place. Grade: C-

Carolina Wallin Pérez - Very strange song, not helped by Carolina. Like the last one I cannot see how this could go anywhere in the semi-final. Grade: E-

Mattias Andrésson - A song that is best described as "fine". There is nothing extremely worng with the song but it could do with a lift. Grade: D+

Love Generation - Finally, something good. This is a tiny bit more rockish then I had expected, however the is a few problems with how the chorus works. It reminds me a lot of a pink song. But face it is Love Generation - that alone makes them great.  Personally love this but reckon this could struggle to make Andra Chansen tomorrow night. Grade: B+

Andreas Johnsson - Yeah, here we go again. For someone who said that he was finished with Melodifestivalen in 2010 he sure is back fast. This is more like what I would expect from Andreas Johnsson. It is largely more close to his 2006/7 entries but I still think that this just is not as good as they were. I think it sounds like Andra Chansen. Grade: B-

Molly Sandén - Molly Sandén: Sweden's answer to Miley Cyrus. Without a doubt Molly's popularity should carry her through to the final but this song is a little behind my expectations for this song. It is not as good as her 2009 entry Sa Vill Stjorna. The problem with the Sandén sisters is it all a bit soft and cuddly. I'd personally try something a little more rockish with this song but we have what we have let's see where this goes. Grade: B

Bjorn Ranelid & Sara Lis - There goes a time anytime you review things where you have to just put your credibility on the line and see what happens so here we go: I think this song is excellent. Yes, I have listened to it at least 40 times today but I still think that there is something very strnage about it that I just love. Everything about it works. As they say in the North: it's the way you tell'm. I don't fully understand why I love this all I know is I do. Grade: A

So as you can see I would love to see Bjorn and Sara go through to the final with Love Generation but I suspect it will be Molly and Youngblood. I would like to see Molly and Andreas in AC but suspect it will be Bjorn/ Sara with Andreas. I will post a Latvian final review if I find the time.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Roman Lob is Germany's Star for Baku

So we now no that Roman Lob will represent Germany in Baku. Smart watchers of this blog may notice that I have not given any time to Unser Star For Baku because I find Thursday evening finals difficult to find the time to watch. I guess what we were all looking for was what would Raab curn out after Lena. Roman is no Lena but still I don't think this is awful, I just don't know how it will do in Baku. This song could fade a little but with a good draw should do fine.

Each Song Sounds Like Three In One

Estonia have presented some very unusual songs that very difficult to make sense of so sorry in advance if there appears to be a few strange sounding reviews..

Janne Saar - This is a really good song then she suddenly ups the vocals by a couple of scales. If this was a in the music we'd be having a couple of schlagerorgaisms but in many ways it makes for great listening, strangely. Not sure how those vocals will be achieved live. Grade:B

Erasmus Rotterdamist - To quote Willie from the Simpsons "Why is it always the ones with the long names". Not really sure where this song is going though. Is there a fan base for someone shouting Estonian down a mircophone to a rather nice backing track? Grade: E+

MIA - That’s some serious techno. I don't like the fact that it doesn't really do a gear change in the chorus but otherwise it is very interesting and so orginial. Grade: C

Milky Whip - This song is about as strange as the artist singing. Very unsure what to make of it. There are some good parts but others I can harldly listen to. Grade: E-

POP Maniacs - Very odd starting song, but my instinct tells me that it is good but it does not give me a vast number of reasons to love it but I can live with it. Grade: C

Ott Lepland - A delicate and simple Estonian song, just for once I'd like to see them send this sort of song. His voice is good and clearly this will be good to hear live. It builds well to a nice cresendo. Grade: B+

August Hunt - That is what you'd call a sudden start but is the song actually going anywhere? No, unfortuately. It stays at the same pace the whole way through and that may not be the smartest idea as it makes the song a little boring. Grade: D+

Soundclear - This is actually worth a listen. Unlike many other songs in the selection this sounds very seemless and not like ten songs pushed together. There are a couple of sudden changes but overall this is not as tough to listen to as many of the other songs. Grade: B-

Liis Lemsalu - Modern Jazz? Well this is interesting and pretty entertaining. The chorus is a little more straight forward that other songs in the semi-final but could do well. Grade: A-

Loss Paranoias - Starts off by sound a little the same as the song in the earlier part of this semi. The chorus is very good and that is a missing theme of the night here. Grade: B

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Spain Presents Its Eurovision Songs

Today Pastora Soler presented her songs for Eurovision. I am delighted to see some strength coming from Spain, as someone who had Spanish shoved down their neck for six years I have a certain attachment to them as a country.

These two will be in the national final:
Quédate Conmigo

Tu Vida Es Tu Vida

Me Despido De Ti

Strangely couldn't find the other song Ahora O Nunca. If you have a link to a real one please put it in the comments. Either Me Despido De Tí or Ahora O Nunca will be part of the national final depending on the voting for each song.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

We Haven't Had News For A While.

So a belated Happy Valentine's Day to you all. Another Valentine's Day alone for me and...and...*sobs quietly*... now Belarus seem to have lost the ability to pick a good Eurovision song.

  • As I have previously mentioned Belarus today at the most annoying hour of 15:00-17:00CET they have not selected Litesound but instead choose Alyona Lanskaya with her rather uninteresting and unremarkable song All My Life. Best of luck to her - if she makes it through the semi's [that'll be the day]. However there are rumours the song may be changed.
  • Russia have moved their national final to March 7 (the more midweek selections the better at this stage).
  • Georgia will hold their National Final on February 19 [next Sunday] and have narrowed their selection from 13 songs all the way down to nine. 
  • San Remo in Italy is progressing this week and the first show should be over that this stage. I don't follow it because I'M NOT SUPERHUMAN.
  • Germany holds a final on Thurday and we will hear the song then too. 
  • Saturday is a mega national final day with 7 semi-finals/ song presentations and selections. Will talk about that closer to the date.
  • And finally two Canadian twins, Patrick and Chris have made an excellent video for Jedward's Waterline Song. Follow them on Twitter @cpVoros.

Belarus Selects Their Song Tonight

This evening Belarus will select their entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest. Unfortunately it is being held at the annoying hour of 16:00 CET which means I be in a lecture so I sadly will not be watching.

We are republishing our reviews here:

Alena Lanskaya - While this does not seem note perfect this is a good rockish song. LOSE THE DANCERS. Otherwise it would have a lot of potential when it gets to Baku. Grade:

Uzari - Uninteresting. Goes nowhere. Grade: G

Litesound - This is a little more schlager rock for me. The song has actually some depth to it. This could be a favorite due by picking up a few female votes and should appeal to males enough. I can really see this working in Baku. Grade: B+

Victoria Aleshko - A bit more dramatic, but a little too Disney. Needs a complete rework to have a hope in Eurovision but still can't see this being picked. Grade: D-

Gunesh has changed her song which is a good think because I was rather unimpressed with it. However I have not heard the new entry so I cannot comment on it.

Personally I think Litesound will win this comfortablely but I could be wrong - spent most of the weekend being wrong :(.

You can watch the Belarus national final via the eurovision.tv player (and I think you can rewatch it on that too but am unsure).

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Very Different Song From France

Every week I try to review a song (at least while we are at this stage of the national finals) with Norway and Iceland finished I am trying to expand my listening but for now we turn our attention to the interesting song sent by France to the Eurovision Song Contest.

France internally selected their artist as usual this year [it may be the last year that they can do so]. There was some surprise at the announcement of well known artist Anggun largely because she it a well respected singer in France. Her song was then presented as Echo (You and I) and the song did divide many fans. Some arguing that this is a masterpiece others arguing that this is to odd a song for it to do well at the Eurovision Song Contest. I agree with both sides and here's why.

Firstly the song itself is extremely strong. It has a great voice to sing it and is interesting in the constant whistle and low pitch of Angguns voice. It has some great moments it too. I personally feel it has a slight jazz feel to it. On the down side the song is interesting but lacks a crescendo.  Each verse in the main sounds the same as the one that came before it. While this may seem not to be a problem, another issue with the song is the lack of a hook, so the alternative is putting in a huge stomper of a chorus, which is non existant. Because the song lacks a verbal hook the only hook can be the song's whistle. This is not noticeable or unique enough for it to act as the true hook.

The next issue steams from the song's jazz style [even if it is pop] this leads to it becoming a little too complex for the contest. The first couple of times that I heard it I could not fully see the strange trust of the song. This could be a problem at ESC. If people do not see where the song is going they simply will not enjoy it. I think that the song would do better by starting in the semi-finals to allow people to hear it a few times.

However despite my criticism I still think that there are certain items that could give this song a competitive advantage over other songs. Firstly France does seem to be giving this song quite a lot of promotion. Second Anggun is a very experienced performer and will have a lot of stage presence. Thirdly, it is a very creative song which could lead it to coming in the juries top 5/6 which would be a big boost. Finally Anggun has a lot of fans across Europe particularly in countries neighbouring countries to France.

Verdict: On a personal level I think that this song is, on balance a very good one however there are many reasons why it may not appeal at Eurovision but an equal number to suggest it will. However France has often been to the forefront of the odds in recent years (2009 and 2011) and often comes out worse.

Without considering the song I would not be a big fan of a French win. They are far from the most popular country in Ireland at the moment. (Corportation Tax, Henry's handball, to name a few)

Grade: B

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Here We Go Again: The Odds Check

The good people over at Nicerodds have been good enough to try to tap into the Eurovision fan market by putting together the odds from many Irish, UK and Nordic bookmakers. Many of the countries that have not even detailed about their national final yet are given odds but we are not going to consider most of them yet as it just reflects a countries historic strength at Eurovision.

  • Going first to Austria where unsurprisingly Conchita Wurst the favorite to win, with (surprisingly) 3 punkt 5 and Trackshittaz lagging behind. I wouldn't be  surprised if there was a surprise winner in Austria but Conchita and Trackshittaz would be good in Baku.
  • Moving North to Germany where we see Roman Lob is the Hot favourite to win, given that he seems to be winning the qualifiers so far this is not surprising. It will most likely be him in Baku, and I do actually need to see him as I have not seen him performing yet.
  • Moving further north again to Sweden where Youngblood and Molly Sandén are favourites to progress from semi-final 3 but after yesterday it is clear we need to see the songs first. In terms of the winner of Melodifestivalen 2012 
  • So what about ESC? Sweden somewhat surprisingly are riding upfront possibly reflecting the strength of Melodifestivalen 2012. Serbia follows probably because of Zelio Zehomsomethingorother. We will have to hear his song first though. Otherwise the usual suspects are there, Azerbaijan, Armenia etc. Interestingly Ireland is quite high - 14/1 (reflecting Jedward being in our national final). Of the songs picked Norway is 14/1 to win with Denmark behind on 18/1 however one bookie is only offering 7/1 on Denmark making them the clear favorites at this early stage. Cyprus is 25/1. France, despite being well up on fan lists (not mine) is 50/1. The longest odds of a currently picked song is Malta on 130/1.

At Least Iceland Got It Right

So after the big night of Nordic finals and some others it is time to take stock again in what seems to be my Saturday Night routine.

  • Hungary have selected Compact Disco for Baku with the song The Sound Of Our Hearts. There is nothing to complain about barring the rather flat performance, review will follow in due course [think weeks not days though].
  • Lithuania did something and our friends over at escXtra have a wonderfully concise report here
  • Sweden - the problem with Sweden is that they have some excellent songs which they then don't pick. This annoys me. We were not remotely impressed with them sending Timoteij to Andra Chansen. Neither are we impressed by who they did send - Ulrik Munther [understandable] and David Lindgren [aimless] but continues the male theme of their final so far. I am starting to think they might send Loreen or if we are extremely lucky Love Generation <3. I am wondering if there might be a lot 
  • Iceland provided us with some delight by sending Greta Sálome and Jonsi with their amazing ballad which I cannot spell. Anyway we think it is extremely good and are very happy that they avoided rather poorer songs. Full review in due course [like Hungary, think weeks not days though].
  • Norway (sigh) - well let's just say I think they missed a massive opportunity to send a song that would be original and authentic. Instead they send Eric Saade Mark II. Tooji won the vote with 40%, with Nora Foss in second (21%), Bobby Bare and Petter Oien (20%) in third and Plumbo in fouth (15%). This is exact the opposite to how I wanted it to go. Better luck next year Norway. We would also like to briefly say a huge well done to Reidun Saether whose performance was amazing.
 So that concludes tonight but next week will be manic so we will be post regular updates. Azerbaijan will select the representative that has to do the least travelling to Eurovision tomorrow but we don't tend to pay to close attention to that.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Look Ahead To Tonight

All times mentioned in this article are CET for GMT subtract one.

There is a huge amount on this evening with 3 song selections and 2 semi-finals there is little reason to be bored. 

  • Norway kicks of in about an hour at 19:55 for their final pausing at 21:10 and restarting for the super final at 21:40. We are expecting a result from Norway around 22:45. We are hoping for a Reidun Saether/Plumbo victory.
  • Sweden gets going at 20:00 with their semi-final until 21:30. I think I speak for many fans by saying vote for Timoteij Sweden.
  • Iceland have a two hour show from 21:30-23:30 they will be the last country tonight to give us a song and we sincerely hope that it is by Greta & Jonsi.
  • Hungary kick off at 20:15 with a result expected around 22:00.
  • If your watching Lithuania their show is from 20:00-22:30.
So we have a long night in store. Time to get the dinner eaten and popcorn on and enjoy every minute of the  biggest Scandinavian weekend of the year. 

Vote For Timoteij!!!!

I was almost going to take an evening off blogging when I realised that the songs from Melodifestivalen still had to be reviewed. So before we head off to look at the live stream from Gothenburg here come the reviews:

Ulrik Munther - This is a direct appeal to the Justin Beber fans of Sweden. His sing is of the high quality that we have come to expect from Sweden. Why he has a mouth organ I will never figure out but I think this is pitched very well at the voters and should go directly to the final in Stockholm. At a personal level I think it is a good listen but think there is better in this semi-final. Grade: B

Top Cats - When I first started watching this clip of the song I could have sworn I was after watching The King by The Playtones. However unlike the Playtones this is not nearly as strong the song may be good for the genre but it lacks a sense of connectedness that we expect from songs. Very average entry which will struggle in Melodifestivalen. Grade: D-

Sonja Aldén - This is might be a case where we actually need to hear the whole version of the song. I'd be surprised if this clip was taken late in the song as the song has not built up at all. Every year some big name comes crashing out of Melodifestivalen and this could be that entry this year. I think it feels very cold and stagnet this is due to the lack of warmth and passion in the ballad but perhaps I could understand it more if I spoke Swedish. Grade: C-

Andreas Lundsteadts - After Alcazar split last year I felt that it was obvious that one of them would turn up at Melodifestivalen. This song is a little to sutble to be Alcazar and indeed it could cancal out with some of Mimi-Oh's vote. This might be a little over dramatically performed. It is quite radio friendly but I think this may not be good anywhere. It is a good song in certain respects. Grade: C

Timoteij - This was the song that I have been waiting for for quite some time. Of course this is the fan favorite in this semi-final however I think that it does offer everything that Timoteij are good at. However unlike their Norwegian neighbours the Swedes do not seem to embrace the ethnic pop to the extend others did. However if this doesn't go directly to the final it will be a surprise. If I could critise them I would say that their choltes don't exactly match up/ contrast from the song well. But this really is nit picking. Whether or not they win Melodifestivalen remains to be seen, but let us enjoy a great song. Grade: A+

David Lindgren - An over techno song which doesn't offer very much but it could come across well on TV. I don't whether this is way off of the mark or just a maybe. I'm not the biggest fan as you can tell. Grade: D+

Mimi Oh - A direct competitor to Andreas however I think that this works a lot better. Overall this subtle pop does not do very well in competitions however I think that this is well performed and colourful enough that it should hold up and possibly gain a place in Andra Chansen. P.S. I wrote up these reviews quickly and was listening to Mimi's song again and really it is very good. Not good enough to go to the final but I really like this one. Grade: A-

Thomas Di Leva - A Patient has escaped from the mental home in Sweden. Maybe seen singing crap pop songs that may have been seen in Eurovision during the 70's. Grade: D

I think I speak for many blogs around Europe in hoping that TIMOTEIJ <3! go through to the final, and while I like Mimi Oh I reckon it will be Ulrik Munther. The songs that get through to Andra Chansen are a bit harder to work out I think Mimi Oh and David.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I Could Hardly Wait: Ireland: The Reivews

In case anyone on Twitter did not notice Ireland revealed it's songs today. To be honest we have a higher standard than I expected from Ireland.

Maria McCool - This is a Sean Nós (Old Tradition) song, which comes from the long tradition of singing in Ireland. It be a style that the rest of Europe would not like and really this style of singing only exists in more remote parts of Ireland. As someone who would listen to this type of song outside Eurovision I think that this song is just a little average. The issue is in the way the bridge to the chorus builds but the chorus does not really develop beyond that level. Overall while I respect this genre of music I can't see it doing overly well on the Late Late Show.

Donna McCaul - Unlike the previous song this is very good and seems to have split fans down the middle between Donna and another two contestants who we will speak about shortly. Donna should be proud of coming back to Eurosong with a reasonably strong song. However while it appears strong I think that the chorus could be hard to replicate on the live show. Also I question if Donna while have the strong staging to lift the song unlike another contestant.

Andrew Mann - And here is the slow rock. I know some fans have hailed this a a great success but I think this is just a little poor in comparison to the other songs in this contest. This will most likely fad away in the contest. Don't like it personally. The Late Late Show stage most likely won't bring out this song at all.

David Shannon & Una Gibney - I don't think that this is a great song for Eurovision it is just a little too cheesy. However on a personal level I real like this song, and I look forward to hearing many times more. The advantages that this song has is that it has a great beat to it. I don't think it is enough to get them to Baku but they might steal a couple of votes off of Donna.

Jedward - What was one of the most anticipated entries of the year came just a little before four o'clock. It's Ireland's revenge for the Nice and Lisbon treaties, it's Jedward. So the song: Well it is good that's for sure and I think that it does suit Jedward. It was not quite what I had expected but it is a direct target at the age group that Jedward's primary fan base is in. The song itself it a tad generic but I think you could say the same about Lipstick. It is good with a nice chorus that is memorable; like Lady Gaga, Jedward's main appeal is their performance rather than music. That's fine too because they are performers. The question is how to perform this. I have no doubt that this will be performed well, however vocals are actually my biggest concern. This song, unlike Lipstick, does require a better standard of vocals or in Jedward's case really good backing singers to get them through the hard bits.

Overall we (Ireland) should be proud of what we have presented. The biggest problem is that unlike say Melodifestivalen where we see the performance as well all we have now is a studio version. This might be fine in Norway but in Ireland it is a chance to weed out poorer entries. In Jedward's case this is their biggest weakness for now. No doubt I will have more editorial on the matter of the Irish Eurosong, but I have to move on the more pressing matters for this weekend. And find the time to review the French entry.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Schlager, Leather Jackets and Plumbo

Norway Reviews
Owing to the strength of the Norwegian National Final we have built more solid reviews than thee ones that were there for the semi-final. We must stress that the grades given to the songs here may seem low but that is due to us employing a grading system that is really hard to do well in. It may seem tough but how can you separate some great songs otherwise? Their grades should improve in the Eurovision Reviews.

1.       Tooji – Tooji’s song Stay is definitely Eric Saade Mark II. From a distance he even looks the same as him (all he is missing is leather gloves).While I was critical of the strange sounds in the backing track I felt the entry worked well on stage. My guess is that NRK would like to see this at Eurovision. However its poor draw in the final will not help its chances. No doubt that Tooji can sing and perform this one. The song is doing well on my playlist as it is interesting. This could be a dark horse of the contest, but my guess is it has a 50/50 chance of making the superfinal. Grade: C+

2.       Reidun Saether – Without a doubt Reidun has delivered an excellent song written by the excellent Thomas G:sson. This is a difficult song to critise. While parallels between do exist between her song and Charlotte Pereilli’s entry in 2008 I think that Reidun is a more naturally good looking person unlike Charlotte who gave many Trannys hope. I like to think that this song could win but I think that there may be a slim chance of it. I also like to think that this type of song will win Eurovision somehow…one day. Grade: A+

3.       Lise Karlnese – I was pretty sure that this song would make it to the final through tele-voting in the semi-final and was surprised that it made it through. It is a good solid song and no doubt that Lise is able to perform. However after failing to make the cut with the tele-voters last weekend I think it has no chance of getting to the super-final. I do like this song though. Grade: B

4.       Plumbo – The newspapers in Norway are all saying that this has a very good chance of winning on Saturday and to be honest for a rockish/trad. song this is a rather well regarded by Eurovision  fans everywhere.  I love it because it is so anthemic and waving hands up in the air. The biggest threat that they face is running fourth in the draw and also the Norwegians may not back this if it seems that it is a dead cert. Grade: A

5.       Malin – Despite having a rather poor vocal performance in the semi-final Malin made it to the final most likely buoyed by votes from her own demographic which has an increasingly strong impact on National Finals and Eurovision. The song itself is annoyingly addictive but a little disjointed. However I think there could be a big enough vote out there for Malin that she could go to the super-final. It’s a longshot but I wouldn’t rule it out. Grade: A-

6.       Nora Foss Al-Jabri – Break out the Disney soundtrack and put this on it. This entry has Disney written all over it and this is both a drawback and positive for the song. It all is just a little to prefect for my likely. It is so perfect It feels like something is missing. After 1st place in the semi-final this could qualify but I also think of the three semi-final winners this is the weakest. Grade: C-

7.       Carburetors – I don’t see how this qualified in the first semi-final but to summarise it’s leather jackets and sunglasses to the rescue. As a rock song I cannot see this doing very well. The overly gravelly voice of the lead singer may not fare well in comparison to other singers in this final especially when they are singing before Tommy Fredvang. Grade: D+

8.       Petter Oien & Bobby Bare – I really liked this song when I first heard it but when I saw it live I just fell in love with it. This works better than any other song in MGP this year. It is quite clear that there is a strong bond and relationship between the two men – if you notice when Bobby makes a mistake Petter makes one too but overall it does not take from the song. The country feel is impressive and the song is high quality and has direction. It is music as it was meant to be. This is a challenger for the victory, and I wish them the best of luck. Grade: A

9.       Yassen & Julie Maria – I do not get this song. Sometimes I don’t like a song for various reasons but after a couple of listens work out why it has done well. Generally it has a good professional sound that I understand why people like. I cannot understand why people voted for them in the semi-final. I do not expect this entry to do extremely well but sadly you never know. Grade: G

10   Tommy Fredvang – Make it better is a straight forward but rather unimaginative song that is carried by the recorded vocals and performance. I do think that it is a nice one to listen to on the MP3 player but I’m not sure if it would transfer well to the European stage like we would expect it to. Not one that I am exceptionally impressed by but because of the place in the draw it could make it to the super final. Grade: C-

      Overall I would love to see Reidun Saether represent Norway at Eurovision with her wonderful song, but I am very impressed with Plumbo and reckon that they most likely have the best chance of winning. 

Doing Anything Tomorrow?

Well if your not then you may want to take a look at what is on tomorrow. Tomorrow from 1pm the Melodifestivalen songs will be appearing online. We are very much looking forward to seeing Timoteij.

Also more importantly for us Irish tomorrow we will hear all the songs in the National Final on The Mooney Show. You can listen to the show here on the RTÉ website. Click "Play now" in the What's on now tab. It will be broadcast at 3pm GMT/ 4pm CET. We aim to have some coverage of the show on Twitter. Follow us @besteuroblog. We look forward to seeing all the artists song but especially Jedward.

And if you're still not sick of Eurovision at this stage there is another show on in Germany. It is their quarter final of their Unser Star Fur Baku show so Raab may be very excitable.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Strongest Icelandic National Final In Years

Many Eurovision fans throughout the world have been surprised at the high quality of the Icelandic National selection compared with recent years. So as we are about to see their national final in action time to break out the reviews and cast the critical eye over Iceland:

Regína Ósk - An Icelandic R'n'b, which may or may not do well depending on how it is performed. It was performed well in the semi-final but I just think it lags a little in comparison to some of the other songs that are in the final. Grade: D+

Simbi og Hrútspungarnir - This reminds me of Father'n'sons in the first semi-final. But this has a much stronger Icelandic feel to it. It builds well and is pleasant to listen to. Grade: C+

Rósa Birgitta Ísfeld - Given the standard this just doesn't do it for me at all. It lacks a really tune, the singer does not covey anything that is required to make this stand out. Grade: E+

Blar Opal – As with many of the Icelandic song this one needs to be live to truly enjoy it. However I think it could be just a little unsophisticated for Eurovision. It is strong but in such a strong national final, will it stand out? Grade: B

Greta Salome & Jonsi - Starts deep and intense but then develops with what sounds like violins and thunder. Greta’s singing is very intense. This really proved itself when it was live. Given its position in the draw it has a strong chance of being the Icelandic entry. Personally I love this one. Grade: A

Heida & Gudron Árny -  This is one of my favourites from Iceland. We have seen from earlier that all the artists are able to deliver vocally and I think this may be even slightly better than their other songs. The loss of Greta Sálome here may not be a  good thing but she has decided to go with Jonsi on this one. There’s a vote of confidence in her song. But I would like to see the awkward moment when they get choosen for Eurovision and Gretá asks to rejoin them…..Grade: B+

Magni Ásgeirsson - A strange starting song that builds into something that you weren't quite expecting (not sure if that is a good thing). Parts of the song are really good but there are bits of music when he is not singing is not exactly keeping in line with the song and is a little surprising. Grade: D

And of course Jonsi & Greta Sálome are our favorites to win and we think they have a very good chance of it.