Monday, April 30, 2012
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].
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
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.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
The worst mistake you can make at Eurovision is believe that you need to be contemporary, and this exactly what San Marino have done.
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.
Friday, April 27, 2012
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.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
- 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
Sunday, April 22, 2012
- 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 escXtra.com and EscToday.com
- 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.
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
Friday, April 20, 2012
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
- 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 eurovision.tv 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 langaugeIt 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
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
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.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
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.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
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 escXtra.com.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
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
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 escXtra.com, normal service resumes here on Tuesday/Wednesday.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Friday, April 6, 2012
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.
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.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
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.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
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.
Monday, April 2, 2012