Monday, April 30, 2012

Dull, Medicore and Plain

Croatia perhaps has not had an outstanding Eurovision record over the last 3 or 4 years, and let's be honest they haven't ever seemed to try very hard. But the varied selection processes that they have engaged in suggests that they might actually want to do well.

Croatia surprisingly decided to run with internal selection process and selected Nina Badric and her song Nebo. This was a straight-forward choice for Croatia. It is a balkan ballad. However my problem with this is that it is as plain as plain could be. This is far from what you want in order to attract votes from outside of the Balkan region. This song really does not go anywhere.

I think that in a semi-final full of balkan ballads this is going to struggle to stand out and be heard the only advantage it has is the fact that it is on immediately after Slovenia. This means that people interested in the Slovenian entry might be awake enough to hear this.

Verdict: There is very little to said about this entry, and I think that it is one of the lesser entries in this years contest. The standard for Balkan entries this year is very high and I cannot see this as a standout song. There will be those who disagree but this is regularly skipped when it comes up on my MP3 player [No I don't have an IPod - deal with it].

Grade: D+

I could not help but wonder whether or not Nina is continuing her sex ban. Either way I doubt her husband is unduly happy.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Surprise!: More points to Sweden

While we have been giving some coverage and opinion to the results of the OGAE votes. However as the results seem to be pointing in one direction it seems aimless to continue giving coverage to Sweden winning each club. Full results are available over on

It is very unsurprising to see that Iceland is coming second either, fans have been behind both of these entries since the start.

The most interesting trend is the fact that the Netherlands came second in the UK but didn't score so well in many other fan clubs. I suspected that this would be the case as it seems that the fans would love the entry are mainly British. That is not to say that other fans [including myself] do not really like it but I think it is mainly peaking in the UK.

10000th Visitor

I'm not in a position to write out a very long review to night but for no reason at all we have had a very successful day here on the blog. We passed 10,000 visitors today around 8:00GMT and would like to use this as an opportunity to thank all our readers.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Do You Wanna Have CyberSex Again? Did I Ask For It In The First Place?

So San Marino have made what we call a booboo. What is that? Well its where you decide not to worry about Eurovision until two weeks before the deadline, bring in Raphal Sigel,  then hammer something that looks like an entry but with a few fatal mistakes. College students will be familiar with this approach.

The worst mistake you can make at Eurovision is believe that you need to be contemporary, and this exactly what San Marino have done.

Facebook The Social Network Song, is a total load of rubbish, sung by the wonderful Valentina Montetta who actually a great singer and this song sadly completely undermines her talent. It really is that Eurovision song that goes nowhere. Lyrically it is just dire.

And yet I have a certain affection for this song. It bounces along, it is a real guilty pleasure. But only at times, at times I really haven't the heart to listen to it.

In semi-final 1 there will be considerable competition for places in the final I really cannot see this going anywhere other than home.

Verdict: Far from my favourite but because it can be a guilty pleasure I'll give it a fair grade. Hasn't a hope.

Grade: C+

Friday, April 27, 2012

From The Frozen North

Without a doubt Iceland's national final generated a lot of interest and to be honest it has proven that you don't have to be Melodifestivalen to generate fan interest. The result of the final was a foregone conclusion but there was some surprise and shock when Greta Salome and Jonsi didn't win the public vote.

Without a doubt Iceland has entered a big ballad in this years contest. It has a great "raw" Icelandic feel to it, and really reminds me of the sort of Frozen North. Unusually, for a duet, both Jonsi and Greta work extremely good and not only work well together but neither are weaker than the other, a problem that often occurs in duets. The song is exceptionally strong however it does lack a final punch that makes me want to stand up with fists in the air (which I do at the end of a surprising number of anthemic songs).

The problem that I have with the entry is that despite how well it is scoring with fans, it came second with the Icelandic public in the televote, that doesn't fill me with confidence. The other problem is the early running order.

Verdict: These are pretty much the only two problems facing the entry. But two problems with an entry is far less than a good number of songs I've reviewed so far. If this takes off with the public there's no telling how far it will go. I do love it as an entry too. But sometimes in order not to be biased for something we have to be cruel.

Grade: A

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I know that things are falling behind here but while Eurovision may be just around the corner, for me, that corner is called college exams. Anyhow its going to take another ten days and then a further 3 days to get over the after exam party hangover. Anyhow there is a small bit of business to be talked about:

  • I've only just realised that the first semi-final of Eurovision is less than 4 weeks away. YAY
  • The good people running West-End Eurovision this year are going to streaming it live tomorrow night on their website.
  • Spain and the UK have announced the results of their OGAE votes, full results are over on escXtra. Unsurprisingly Sweden received both 12's. This leaves Sweden in the lead. Italy and Netherlands got the two sets of 10 points. UPD: As I was writing this I noticed that Finland and Croatia have also awarded 12 points to Sweden and Loreen. This now puts Sweden on course for a landslide victory - It's all starting to remind me of Norway 2009.
  • Finally Eurovision Croatia sent me over a video which I actually think is very heartwarming and nice to see fans out and about rather than simply on the internet. You can see it here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

"The Most Mature and Classy Entry This Year"

After making one of the most successful returns to Eurovision last year and the Gualazzi effect*, there was a huge unprecendented interest in San Remo this year. There has been a wild spread acceptance that San Remo is a vehicle which is  able to produce very high quality entries. Especially ones that will be of good enough quality that they will be able to score very well with the juries. Like last year Italy surprised everyone by deciding to send little known singer Nina Zilli and her song Out of Love.

After all the pushing and shoving that was involved in selecting the Italian enter this year (remember Per Sempre?) I think that Italy have actually come up with a song that they should be both happy and proud of. This might not be my favourite in the contest but it is very close. The song has some of the jazzy and blues overtones from last year’s entry. Noteablely Italy have also decided to send a song that use Italian and English interchangeably. Overall the song reminds of one that you might expect from an artist like Imelda May. I think that juries will lap this up.

Staging is going to be a key issue for this entry. Nina is going to need a lot of Charisma to pull off an entry like this. I’m not convinced that she will actually have this when it is required. The running order does not exactly help Italy but the song is strong enough to do very well if the performance is right.

Verdict: Not sure if they picked the right singer for this entry but all the same I think this another strong entry from Italy. The standard this year is a lot higher than last year and ultimately this will impact on how Italy do. However a top 5 finish is likely. Overall it could be the most mature and classy entry of the year.

Grade: A

*The Gualazzi effect is the way I explain how entries, such as Italy’s last year, which are not overly liked by fans when first picked but after a high score at Eurovision everyone thinks that they are amazingly good.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lots More News

  • Rona Nishliu has released her song Suus in English, the version is a bit more jazzy than her actual Albanian version. You can listen to the song here. Personally I think it is a masterpiece of music but I am in the minority who actually like the song.
  • Eurovision in Concert was last night. If you were at it I really hoped that you enjoyed it. If you weren't (like myself) then the photos and videos are now starting to appear online, check and 
  • Finally in other news, Norway's OGAE have declared their votes for Eurovision 2012, unsurprisingly Sweden and Iceland got 12 and 10 points respectively, with Serbia and Romania getting 8 and 7 points. This puts Sweden very firmly in the lead with about 13% of clubs declared. Iceland are in second position. 
Back to reviews tomorrow.

The Odds: Semi-Final 2

This year semi-final two has been definitely the less talked about this year. Despite this fact I think that the more likely winners of the whole contest are going to come from semi-final.

So how does semi 2 look. There are two broad appeal pop songs from Norway and Sweden. It is very likely that they will take two spots in the final. No surprises then that the three most likely songs to proceed to the final are Serbia, Sweden and Norway. Moving on then we have Bosnia, who may not have an amazing song put have   a great spot in the running order. Then there's Turkey who will surely qualify to the final.

So then we move into shakier parts of this semi-final Estonia are next in the bookies odds and I think that that is a very mean price for Estonia. I am not trying to say that I don't like it I just don't think that Estonia are certain qualifiers.

Slovenia is in 8th position which I think is a generous price for Eva Boto as I think her song is very good as a Balkan ballad. Belarus is 9th position and I am not sure if this is a qualifier, I think that the disco version is very strong but it looks like a non-qualifier to me.

The two songs that I think is Portugal and Lithuania. I don't think that Lithuania is amazing but it is hard to imagine that a last slot song would not qualify. I think that Portugal has one of the strongest compositions this year. Even though this is a tough semi-final for ballads and Portugal has many things going against it, I think this could be the surprise qualifier.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Eurovoix!

I throwing this up to say congrats to the Eurovision Blog Eurovoix. It's not like I go around handing these kind of things out but I feel as one of the youngest Eurovision bloggers online Anthony deserves some credit for what he has created. He started blogging on the contest back last April about two months before I got going. Enough said but well done.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Time To Look At The Odds

So we're currently in the depths of the dry period. Those who have survived this month can look forward to another few weeks sitting in a corner, rocking back and forth listening Mirakel over and over again. In the meantime I will endure to continue here.

So I have been waiting for a while for the semi-final 1 odds to settle down and now that they have let's see what they are saying. Denmark and Iceland are favourites to qualify, win Denmark and Russia favourites to win the semi. I think that Iceland is surprisingly low odds for a second position in the running order.

Then we have Russia, Romania, Greece and Ireland are then fairly close together. I think that all of these are quite likely to qualify.

Next up we have Cyprus, Moldova, and Albania. I'm not sure that Cyprus is likely to qualify but I think that juries will push Albania into the final. If you look at yesterday's post I think Moldova have only a 50/50 chance of qualifying.

Next up are the marginals these are Israel, Switzerland and Finland are for all going to be chasing for the last spots. I think juries will see the artistic quality behind the Israeli entry and push it into the final.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pasha Parfeny Brings Some Fun - We Just Won't Remember It

Without a doubt there was some surprise when Moldova selected Pasha Parfeny to go to Eurovision.  There was no clear winner in the Moldovan national final but usually when this occurs it means that one of the last songs in the running order will win the national final.

Without a doubt Pasha is keeping with the trend of Moldova of Moldovan entries. It is no doubt a fun song, it encompasses some bizarre costumes and general strange sounding music. The rhythms of the song have appealed to the Eurovision audience before .

So the song has a lot going for it. But has it actually? Judging by past Moldovan entries, which I have thoroughly enjoyed so far this is not as great as they were. Moldova has a great position in the running order. No. 17. However it is sandwiched between two other fun songs. Trackshittaz and Jedward are certainly going to put on a show. Whether Pasha and Moldova are able to keep up with them I’m not sure of.
As I have previously said, the song is not as good as previous entries from Moldova. It’s not one that I personally love. I can understand why you could love this but there is much better in this genre at the contest.

Verdict: This gives me the vibes of Cyprus in 1999. They had a strong song, but were sandwiched between the marginal stronger entry of Iceland and the amazing entry from Sweden and Charlotte Nilsson. The song is not one of my favourites but I recognise it as a reasonable entry.
Grade: C-

Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me About The Presenters?! (And Other Things)

Time for the Eurovision version of the Daily Mail's opinion column and some news reaction in brief.   
  • Strangely very few are talking about the presenters this year. Fortunately we are on twitter and found out about this. There's going to be two sexy women (how I have missed Eastern European ESC's) and Eldar - he won last year. Full report is here. I think what is interesting is the keeping of the three presenter format. [I wonder is that an EBU thing] anyhow I find that it does add to the production so no major complaints there.
  • Azerbaijan have made a video with all of the HOD's saying light your fire in their own language. I can't really comment on much of this except Julian Vignoles's [head of Irish delegation] saying "Lás Mo h-Solas" - which means light my light. With no disrespect to the south Dublin near ignorance of the langauge  It should actually be "Lás Do Thine" (note the Fada and Shebhu).
  • We now also know that Dima Bilan and Nigar will be part of the interval act in semi final 2. Suffice to say I'll hopefully have enough drank to not have to endure this - or at least not remember it.
  • Jedward have released their music video of "Waterline" - It's a bit weird, but still a fairly big budget production. Anyhow here it is:

Back to reviews tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baku Completes The Crystal Hall

While I try and get to the end of the college year, the blog has become a little quieter than usual. I am sorry about this but I will make up for it as Eurovision nears [and exams are over].

Today we learned that Baku has now completed the Crystal Hall and Azerbaijan have now started to reveal plans about how Eurovision will operate. A press conference was held today in Azerbaijan about most the completion of the hall. They also mentioned that buses will be the main mode of transport, and each delegation will have no less than two buses each available to them 24 hours per day.

SVT have also started their preview shows, looking at the first nine songs of semi 1. Full results are here. Some of the votes are interesting, particularly Finlands high score.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Romania: Catsuits and Folk Music: The Review

There was little surprise when Mandinga won the Romanian national final earlier this year. Their song Zaleilah had already been a huge hit in Autumn of last year. Their song is very light and summery which may play to their advantage. I have a theory that because many songs are selected in the winter there is a distinct lack summer hits at Eurovision. I do thing that a (proven) summer hit can do very well at Eurovision. While Spain might be an example I thought that their song was a little cheap sounding.

To be honest I'm not sure how to judge Zaleilah, I'm not really a huge fan of summer songs and I think that might be why I find that it is a bit instant for the first third listens, then just becomes annoying. I know that many fans don't agree but that's just my view.

The advantage that this song has is that it is coming after a rather drab two songs (Latvia and Albania) - those will be tough swallows for the normal audience. Romania have a historical record of 100% qualification. Staging is the strange thing, with the lead singer in a leather catsuit surrounded by a selection of folk singers, all in all I'm not sure of this entry but I'd should qualify.

Verdict: It feel just a little thin to me but on the first couple of listens I'd say it should pick up a couple of televotes.

Grade: C


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spain Finally Brings Some Class To The Contest

Today my internet keeps breaking so hopefully it will hold up long enough to get this post up. So it's nice to be back blogging after what has been an extremely busy but successful week., So we now turn our attention to Spain, and Pastora Soler. Fans were genuinely delighted to see that Spain had finally come to their senses and sent someone very well known to Eurovision. I have a lot of sympathy for Spanish Eurovision fans there are a lot of rather dedicated fans from Spain and I always think that they could deserve better than the last few years.

It was pretty obvious that Quedate Conmigo was going to win the Spanish selection. The song is probably the best one to show off Pastora's vocal ability it starts subtly and builds to a massive vocal crescendo. One which juries should lap up. I’m not convinced that on the final night it is going to blow the other finalists out of the water, but it should bring Spain a good place overall. The question is really where will the public put this song, I think it will feature in the juries Top 5 but the public could be loose cannons with this. 

The biggest threat to Spain is being surrounded by a number of ballads. On the plus side Spain is nicely located in the final, towards the end. This is a good position. 

Verdict: This is definitely a very serious entry from Spain, but I’m not sure though if it is generating enough interest to actually go somewhere in the final. If, like last year most of the favourites were drawn early in the final this could go down a treat, but otherwise there are ballads that could seriously challenge it. Personally I really like it but not as much as some of the other big five songs. Without a doubt though, Spain has come a long way.

Grade: B

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Third OGAE Declaration And We Have Schedule

I don't have time to write up a review this evening (again) I am sorry about this but please understand things are busy for me at the moment. It is unlikely that they will remain that way when the contest gets going in May but until then reviews cannot be guaranteed to appear, sorry. In the meantime today we will take a  look at the OGAE Rest of World who have declared their results being third club to do so. There were no huge surprises there, other than Albania actually receiving two points. Iceland and Sweden came first and second respectively and therefore receive 12 and 10 points.

The worldwide OGAE usually votes very differently to the other 38 clubs but this seems broadly in line with predictions. However it is still to early to look for real trends in the results.

Sweden are continuing to lead the field on 29 points. Iceland are now on 22 points.

In other news the schedule for Eurovision rehearsals has been released. Looking at it covering ESC rehearsals from Ireland will be rather easy given the tie difference. You can see the schedule here. 

Germany Plays It Safe

When the curtain was finally drawn of Eurovision 2011 last year, we all knew that it was the last time we would see Lena at Eurovision, at least for a couple of years. So that meant that Stefan Raab had to find someone new for Eurovision. The big question was: Who? Raab decided to return to the same format that Germany had used in 2010. Step forward Roman Lob.

I think that Germany’s choice this year was a very safe one. Roman is a solid enough singer and should be reasonable at Eurovision. He is not Lena but instead, more what I would expect to come from the kind of talent show that Unser Star Fur Baku is. The song “Standing Still” is a safe bet. It reminds me a bit of The Fray’s song How To Save A Life, except it is a little duller. The songs faults is largely in the arrangement, which leads to it depending on Roman as a performer, which is not really a great idea. This should have been spotted early on in the USFB format which is very flexible in the arrangement of songs.
As with any of the big 5 countries or Azerbaijan, we don’t know the type of songs that will surround them in the final however because they are in 20th place we can safely say that this is not a bad position, regardless of what surrounds it. The final will have a very high standard this year – no doubt about that in my opinion. I think that Germany’s song will be seen as being a bit below the standard.

Verdict: While I am not writing this song off by any means, I still think that Germany is vulnerable due to the ballad being below standard in comparison to the better ballads in this year’s contest. They seem to have bitten off more than they can chew, choosing an average singing through a talent contest and then giving him a performer driven song. Lena could pull off that mix but Roman is far from Lena. Personally I think it is a nice song to listen to – a couple of times - and not any more than that.
Grade: C+

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

OGAE Slovenia Presents Mad Set Of Results

I was somewhat surprised today to see that OGAE Slovenia announced a rather odd set of results.

They awarded Spain 12 points, Iceland 10 points and Serbia 8 points. The big surprise here is that Sweden only got 7 points. This surprised me as I expect that Euphoria would have a landslide score in the OGAE votes. Their votes did contrast a lot from Bulgaria but this is to be expected as Eastern European OGAE clubs often return more contrasting votes compared to western fan clubs. I think this is often very true when the club might not be a very big one.

The other noticeable difference was that many countries that received smaller votes were very different. Countries like Italy, UK and Russia all got their first points. It might to early to say but I think that there are very few songs that will receive a broad consensus from fans this year.

Anyhow this results keep Loreen in front on 19 points with Serbia just behind on 18. Cyprus and Spain are both on 12 points and are currently joint third. Full results are on

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Don't Cast Jedward Aside Yet

While I am currently in a total panic to finish a college project, I like most other Irish Eurovision fans spotted an article in today's Irish Independent, pointing to the download success that Jedward are having with their single across Europe. I also find Jedward fans account for a good number of my website hits, so I do like to keep them informed.

Many Eurovision fans have been quick to point out that Jedward's song is not as good as last years. I am inclined to agree with them, but that is only by my own music tastes. In reality Jedwards song, though generic, is a song that will appeal to their fans and people in their target base. Many people have pointed out that their song is like something One Direction would do. But they say this as if it is a bad thing. Songs such as Waterline or Popular (Sweden, 2011) or Stay (Norway, 2012), may not be very popular with Eurovision fans but as Eric Saade showed us last year songs (and performances) can never be completely written off at Eurovision. In fact despite huge negativity around his performance, Eric managed to come 3rd and lost the televote by only two points.

While there is a great standard in this years Eurovision, Jedward will ultimately stand out. Why wouldn't they? The news today that they are doing well across Europe shows their potential in Eurovision. The only other song to be doing well in charts is Euphoria by Loreen, who I think will win Eurovision this year. [Sorry Jedward fans]. The real acid test is how well they do in charts overall [i.e. not just download charts], however Ireland should be delighted by this news. It really does undermine the argument that they have a weak song, if you don't accept that then you have to accept it shows the shear number of Jedward fans already out there.

Finally, for the many Jedward fans who did not follow Eurovision last year. Those who did will remember that it wasn't until the rehearsals started that Jedward began to gain momentum. I think there has been a bigger reaction so far this year but there is still a long way to grow. Even though it has been ongoing for a long time, the race to win Eurovision has a long. long way to go yet.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

First OGAE Results are in.

I am not in a position to write up a full review of a song tonight largely because it is easter also Im typing this on an Xperia X8 so a 400 article is simply beyond my fingers.

Anyhow I noticed that OGAE Bulgaria have announced their first results for ESC 2012. Unsurprisingly Sweden topped the poll, and will be allocated 12 points. Serbia came second, Cyprus in third and Denmark in fourth. While Denmark might surprise some Switzerland was the big surprise coming in fifth.

The OGAE poll results are only a poll of OGAE Members while this might only represent a subsection of Eurovision fans it still is an achievement to win. In the last four years Sweden 2008, Norway 2009, Germany 2010 and Hungary 2011. So in a way - to be American about it, its like a Non-binding straw poll in a primary.

Full results are on, normal service resumes here on Tuesday/Wednesday.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

It's The Russian Grannies!

After three years of trying, fans finally had the delight of being able to say that Russia had sent Buranovskiye Babushki to Eurovision, aka The Russian Grannies. I was delighted to see them win – especially when they beat Dima Bilan. But what is so great about a couple of over-60’s getting up on stage and singing, well like every entry in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest it must be dissected by my good self, so hopefully through this review I will try and find out.
Buranovskiye Babushki will represent Russia in Baku next month. They won the Russia national final by a considerable distance and their selection has been broadly welcomed by fans [except maybe Dima Bilan fan’s –but there are very few of them. Their song “Party For Everybody” is a mixture of ethnic music and dance pop. As a song it has a reasonable melody, not an amazing one though. Lyrically it is very funny however as much of Europe does not understand the language they are singing in it will most likely be lost on them. While the song may not have limitations and not be the strongest Buranovskiye Babushki’s performance will most likely be well flagged and highly anticipated. I think the performance will make people sit up.
While I may have a huge amount of praise for this song it is difficult to imagine that it is good enough to win Eurovision. Eurovision is ever changing, as is entertainment in general. Since the “Susan Boyle effect” took place back in 2009 it has become more acceptable for older people to sing pop music. Buranovskiye Babushki rose to fame on YouTube, which probably means that they are well liked by a younger generation. The problem arises here. Semi-final 1 is wall to wall entertainment acts with very little room for ballads and midtempo songs. Buranovskiye Babushki will be competing against acts such as Trackshittaz and Jedward. I am not convinced that any of these countries are going to steam ahead, collecting all of the votes, I think that the votes will be evenly spread.
I also am concerned about how the juries will react to Buranovskiye Babushki. Juries tend to be very conservate by nature with little room for anything without talent. While I consider Buranovskiye Babushki to be very talented I am not convinced that the juries will see it that way.
Verdict: I think that this is going to be one of the strongest entries and performances in this year’s contest. I think that Buranovskiye Babushki have a large enough fan base to push them into the final but how they do there will be largely dependent on the reactions of juries to their song. Their song is not overly strong so it is conceivable that juries may overlook what is a fantastic entry.
Grade: A-

Friday, April 6, 2012

Belgium Opts For A Simpler Song.

By the time you read this I will be rural Ireland. So by one o'clock tomorrow I will hopefully have enough reviewing done that I have the blog backed up into next week but we shall see how it goes. So today I turn my attention to Belgium, who will be represented by Iris. In a very short, two song national final Belgium decided that Iris should go to Baku with the song Would You?

This is definitely an interesting song. While at times it might seem like a fairly boring and predictable song it is performed very well. The song unfortunately doesn't really build up to much but instead stays fairly static with a bridge in the middle where it goes all soft. Performance wise, Iris is actually able to do most things that you want in a song like this. However I really think that the dress makes her look like a 1950's school girl and I think if she wants to go for a final qualification she will have to be a little more edgy about the performance. This may mean that she has to add a couple of extra people to the stage, but that may not be a bad thing.

The song Would You? has received a mixed reaction from fans. I think that even though it is a simple [and I really mean simple] midtempo song, it does offer the listener a huge amount. Lyrically this may not be the most out there but as was pointed out by Miss Disco over on Eurotrash Freaks; Iris is only 16 yet she is singing about a very complex relationship. I think unless people were very nitpicky they would not pick up on that but  you never know.

While this might not be out standing when you put it up alongside the likes of Nadine Beiler last year, it still is a reasonable song. More importantly it is in a semi-final of very up tempo songs with no one covering the conservative jury types. That's where a song like this is going to pick up votes from. However Belgium are in an unfortunate position of having very few neighbours in this semi-final so I think more likely than not they will not qualify.

Verdict: Personally I think that this is quite a good song but it has limitations and probably will not make the final. The biggest problem I found while writing this review was that there was nothing to write about, which for me means that it is boring - Anyhow I still think that it is a good song, simple yes, but in a way that doesn't always show up at Eurovision anymore.

Grade: B-

Slovenia Proves That Simple Is More

This year Slovenia opted for the overly long and dragged out national final format. I didn't watch anything except for the results as they came in. Therefore I have very little to write in this part, the introduction.

Anyone who read our article on early fan favourites this year will remember that Slovenia came out very highly on the scoring. This was not because it slipped through on the back of confusingly simple mathematical models. No, it actually had a great score. So what is it about this seemingly understated song that fans are going crazy for, well let's take a deeper look.

Eva Boto will sing Verjamem in Baku next month [I love being able to say that]. Her song is an anthemic Balkan Ballad, very much of a similar style to what the Balkans were producing around the time Serbia won in 2007. The song has great vocals backing it, both Eva and her backing singers are well suited to the song. Verjamem is wonderfully anthemic and is sung with great passion and purpose. I'm not entirely sure that this will come across fully at Eurovision, but you never know. I love the changing music that backs the song particularly the drums that are constant in the background of the song. What I just love about this song though, is it is simple, but retains your interest, while at the same time it is very accessible.

The performance is pretty much what you would expect from a ballad, the singer stands there and sings with dancers in the back ground. If the national final performance is anything to go by the stage will hopefully remain rather brightly lit, which I like, as it is not this dark moody style of ballad we are used to. The dress of the backing singers is also strangely distracting. I would change it before ESC if I was Slovenia.

The biggest threats for this song is that there are so many Balkan ballads in semi-final 2. There is going to be a couple of surprises coming from this semi-final but I actually think that this could really do well. The simplicity of the song will help to make it more attractive to western music tastes and it will surely do well with juries in general. The song is not helped by being ninth in the running order particularly on account of being just before Croatia. Even though Croatia has a weaker song I think they might steal a couple of votes from Slovenia.

Verdict: I think that Slovenia have a really great song and will build on their success of last year. However their biggest challenge is to get out of the second semi-final and this will be no easy task. On balance I think that they will qualify. Personally I think this is the best Balkan entry this year.

Grade: B

Thursday, April 5, 2012

West End Eurovision Returns

As you may/may not be aware West End Eurovision returns, to the Dominion Theatre. On Thursday 26th April a variety of west end shows will battle it out performing a variety of Eurovision songs and will be judged by a jury. It's all in aid of the Make A Difference Trust. Here's the full details:

This late night show pays tribute to the Eurovision Song Contest and sees West End shows competing against each other singing past Eurovision songs, aiming to win the votes of the audience, the competing Entries judging panels and the celebrity judging panel.

Each participating Show must produce a fully costumed performance of a past Eurovision Song Contest song, which has not previously been performed in West End Eurovision, and an accompanying Video Ident. Film.

Previous celebrity judges have included: Graham Norton, Cheryl Baker (Bucks Fizz), Sally Ann Triplett (Bardo), Katrina Leskanich (Katrina & The Waves), Arlene Phillips, Frances Ruffelle, Sheridan Smith, Justin Lee Collins, Heart 106.2’s Toby Anstis, and producer, David Ian.

The show also features a special guest appearance by a past original Eurovision Song Contest entrant. Previous performances have included: Scooch, Nicki French, Bardo & The Original Bucks Fizz. 

P.S. I am really sorry about the background colours, I cannot get them to work right.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Beautiful Song, Dire Lyrics: Latvia - The Review.

Because of the earliness of their National Final Latvia actually generated quite a lot of interest in their song. After two semi-finals in January and a final in Feburary Latvia decided to send Anmary to Eurovision with her song “Beautiful Song”. The song tells of a singer who wants to write a song that will be a big hit and everyone knows it and hums it.

Really this is a shocking song. I didn’t expect this to win the national, and when it did, it was more disappointing than surprising. The song is fairly unremarkable, with a fair melody, but the lyrics are just dire. “I was born in a distant 1980, the year the Irish Johnny Logan won”. Does she really think that this lyric actually has anything to do with the rest of the song? Does she think that Irish people are so gullible to vote for a song just because it mentions Johnny Logan? The answer to both is that she is sadly, very mistaken. I think the lyrics of this song were best described by Ewan Spence over on the ESCInsight Podcast this is as close to My Lovely Horse as we’re going to get.

So if there is so much wrong with it why not just declare that I cannot stand it and put an NG at the bottom. Well, the truth is while I am not alone in saying that this is a pretty awful song there are many fans of this out there. This differentiates it from songs like Montenegro or Georgia while are practically fan-less [if you are a fan do leave a comment below]. Latvia has been praised in some quarters of fandom for sending a great song, while I completely disagree with most things these people say; it’s got a great melody etc. The song might have a great melody, but that’s all that going for it.

Latvia are in the first semi-final which is a rather entertaining one so I really think that it could struggle, especially in the face of very polished performances such as Ireland. I’m not convinced that the juries will give it enough support to bring it through to the final either.

Verdict: This is a really poor entry from Latvia regardless of what the fans might say. Personally I really dislike this song but I don’t hate it so I will pass the song with some qualifications [that’s what and E grade means, for your information.]

Grade: E-

A Swedish Song From Finland

After rather average results Finland decided to completely overhaul their selection process, they had indicated that they would do this at the end of UMK 2011. However what they replaced it with, an X-Factor style competition has had very mixed results as a national final selection process, so what have they sent?

Finland decided to send a song in Swedish this year, meaning that we will hear Swedish sung in the contest for the first time since 1998. The song "Nar Jag Blunder" by Pernilla Karlsson is a gentle piano ballad and is a great gentle song, rising and falling in wonderful musical arcs. It is subtle and is performed in a wonderfully understated way. Pernilla has a wonderful voice that is really suited to the song.

"This all songs well and good really" you might say. Well sadly as much as I do like this song I think that it has many limitations. It is not the most entertaining of songs, which is made clearly evident by need for a dancer to perform on stage. The song has no real end either, it just sort of grinds to a halt (no crescendo). It offers little in terms of a hook. Being in Swedish doesn't help that though. I fully respect Finland's choice to leave the song in Swedish.

This song has really is going to be under pressure to qualify in semi-final 1. Sandwiched between Belgium, who have another straight forward and uncomplicated ballad. Really it is difficult to see how Finland might qualify for the final when the public televote might be so against it. Why would they be against it? Well, I think being a dry ballad it might not exactly set the place on fire on Tuesday night half way through all of the songs. On the other hand it may stand out to more conservative voters, however I think they will drift towards Belgium.

Verdict: This might not drive the fans or the public crazy in the semi-final but in spite of its many failures it triggers something happy inside of me when I hear it. I'm not convinced it is a qualifier though.

Grade: A-

Monday, April 2, 2012

Standing Out In Glorious Black and White

Now that we are well past National Final season most Eurovision fans have made a decision to either leave Eurovision land completely [cowards] or carry on despite a huge lack of news clawing your nails into a desk. I am fortunate to have a very busy college schedule [no seriously, we actually do exams too] so that will keep me occupied until about three weeks before the contest. Anyhow in the mean time there is reviews to be written so here goes Bosnia & Herzegovina...

This year Bosnia & Herzegovina went with the usual internal selection announcing the artist way, way back then coming up with a song at the last minute [that's a bit of a head scratcher for me]. Maya Saar was selected for Baku. If you're not sure who she was, she was the girl playing the piano in Dino Merlin's song last year. Without looking to closely at her music I had assumed that it would be a rather bouncy song reflecting her performance last year.  But no, I was wrong. Instead Bosnia & Herzegovina decided to send a piano ballad. 

The song is definitely a subtle one. While there is nothing wrong with a subtle song, it may not be thing that people want to hear 17 songs into the semi-finals. However I think that the juries might like this. The black and white will play well if they opt for that at Eurovision. It sort of reflects like something out of "The Artist". The problem with this song is it looks to be building to a crescendo but then lets you down. But, on a personal  level I do thing it is a nice, relaxed song but it might stick out like a sore thumb in the semi-final, I'm not sure. The song is rather introverted and to stand out Maya will have to work to make a connection with the audience. I really think they should go with the black and white effects.

Semi-Final 2 is a very unpredictable one, and while history would suggest that Bosnia should qualify but strange events have happened before like Croatia not qualifying in 2010. In a semi full of different songs but a huge number of balkan countries I don't think that this is a definite qualifier, but it does have a great chance thanks to a good draw. 

Verdict: More than likely will qualify but still this is by no means a guaranteed qualifier, but it is a good song.

Grade: B-