Thursday, November 29, 2012

JESC Reviews: Part 3

With less than 48 hours to go until the grand final in the Netherlands how do the last four songs on my list measure up?

Israel - Let The Music Win
Israel make their debut at the contest with a song that combines many of the bizarre elements of so many songs. While it sounds like a group of primary school children at first it then strangely picks up, and makes for a nice listen, which, if pulled off well live could give Israel a good finish on the score, however being sixth in the running order may not help it greatly and Georgia have yet to sing.
Verdict: Reasonable debuting attempt
Grade: C+

Denis Midone - Toate Vor Fi
This is reasonably boring JESC songs and coming after Georgia this just may not work on the night. However Moldova have had mixed results at JESC, so though this is predictable it could do well and the last verse could help it to leave some impression.

Verdict: Meh, middle of the road attempt not a challenger
Grade: D

Femke - Tik Tak Tik
This certainly is Netherlands showing that they believe people are gullable and just might fall for the same song again. Still I do like this one it does bounce along very nicely and the tik tak tik being sung in the back ground. I also like Femke, I think she is a charismatic singer. The problem for Netherlands is that they are just out shone in this competition.

Verdict: Could do very well but probably won't hit the highs of the last two years.
Grade: C

Lerika - Sensation
One way or another I think that this is one of the most promising songs in this years contest. Lerika has the experience of last year to build on, and she impressed when live last year despite virtually no support from Moldova itself. The song is polished and professional sounding and certainly will be a great cracker in the contest however it is very conceivable that this could go into a neck and neck race with either Azerbaijan or Georgia for the top place.

Verdict: Creditable winner with experience.
Grade: A

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

JESC Reviews Part 2

We'd all like a little extra time to do something, and with end of semester exams knocking on the door I sure am one of those people. Anyhow somehow I shall get these finished with the joy of Junior Eurovision and the  rehearsals to look forward to. Anyhow time to look at a couple more songs (and hopefully not shredding them to death).

FUNKIDS - Funky Lemonade
After the very successful Candy Music, Georgia appear to be trying a similar strategy this year. JESC is most unusual, as the winning country does not have to host the contest the defending champion appears to be more inclined to come back stronger. The song though does lack the impact of Candy Music, though the kids are cute, the song lacks a lot and gets a bit repetitive. Personally, it reminds me of the nineties
Verdict: Not a winner and not what we saw last year.
Grade: D

Anastasyia - Nebo
The strange staging is the first thing that stands out almost instantly at me. The song itself is difficult to like however maybe this is all just a weird package that when its all brought together will look great at JESC. Though the song picks up towards the end. The change to English is nice but still it is not quite what I was hoping for.
Verdict: Don't like it but stranger things have happened at JESC....
Grade E

Fabian - Abracadabra 
Belgium has stuck to the formula and gotten a catchy song that lacks a knockout punch to send to JESC. I like this one and I think that Fabian has a lot more charisma than many other JESC contestants will offer. The song is a good listen on the first hearing though my interest in it began to fade in it after multiple listens. While it is to late to say it now the song could be changed somewhat to substanically improve it with only minor changes.
Verdict: In spite of its faults it's a good attempt from Belgium.
Grade: B-

Omar and Suada - Girls and Boys
"Kids wrote this song". In your dreams, Azerbaijan, maybe a child was present in the room while this was drawn up, but seriously, pull the other one. However this is Azerbaijan's debut entry at JESC and it certain is going to be in serious competition to take the top spot and take yet another trophy to Azerbaijan. In compassion to the other songs that we have heard this definitely stands a head and shoulders about the others. It's catchy and has all the elements of a winner. However I would just question whether or not this is all just a little bit clinical, and it may not be in the best place in the running order.
Verdict: Strong song that will be in contention but not a definite winner.
Grade: A- 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Next Tranche of Melodifestivalen Artists

As many of you will have seen this evening the last of the Melodifestivalen artists were announced [bad day to announce it, I know]. However there is very few "notable names" coming through.

Caroline Af Ugglas is one that has caught my attention. Her song in 2009 was remarkable and I look forward to seeing what she has to show in February.

Ulrik Munther was one of the surprises in last years contest as I didn't expect him to score so low. I sort of feel the same way this time. Singers rarely do better when they come back for the second year running.

I'd give Sweden a great chance to win the contest again this year on home turf, but judging by the names that have come out I don't think that this will be a game changing Melodifestivalen. Though maybe I am wrong, only time will tell.

Back to JESC reviews tomorrow and if you were looking for a ticket to the final today I really hope that you got one.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

JESC 2012: Reviews - Part 1

It's hard to believe that another Eurovision year is nearly upon us. And, like every year, it kicks off with the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. This year, as you should know, Netherlands is hosting it. In the run up to the rehearsals here at the Best Eurovision Blog, I'm taking the time to look at the contestants and what they have on offer this year.

Egor Zheshko - A More-More
Belarus kicks off this years contest with a rather odd but catchy song for Junior. This is vocally pot on but may be hard to pull off on the night, though some might argue that he survived the national final so should put up a good show at Junior. Backing dancers are distracting and I think that they might be Belarus's acceptance that the song is not really that good. Personally I could see this doing very well with the juries on the night but I don't think it is a winner by any stretch. It bounces along nicely but does feel longer than 10 minutes.
Verdict: A good show and vocal but not a winner.
Grade: C

Lova Sonnerbo - Mit Mod
This is what I love to see at JESC. A simple song and good singer who capable of performing a moving performance of the song. However as much as I love it is difficult to see it doing extremely well at JESC and Sweden have entered more interesting songs than this to the contest and yet have not really reaped the rewards of it. So it is difficult to see this one doing extremely well.
Verdict: Strong song but lacks a lot, though I still love it.
Grade: B+

Igzidora Gjeta - Kam Nje Kenge Vetem Per Ju
At any level it is difficult to understand what Albania will send to the contest and sadly this year is no different. There song this year has a really promising opening but then descends into the dangerous hell that many we have heard so many times at JESC. Though Albania's light jazz song may have done well at grown-up Eurovision this one clearly is disorganised with the strangest combination of instruments I've heard in recent years. Not a winner, but maybe I've set the bar to high for a debuting country.
Verdict: Poor debuting entry
Grade: E

Compass Band - Sweetie Baby
The last review for today is for the Armenian entry. Once again this does not live up to my expectations but then again it is JESC. However this song does not work on any level. It sounds like a poor school choir and I just don't get what is good about it. However some parts of the song are ok, so I shall not tear it to shreds.
Grade: E

Disappointing first set of reviews, but you are more than welcome to disagree with me. Bring it on (Bitch!)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Portugal, What A Loss.

I'm genuinely gutted to see that Portugal has decided to withdraw from Eurovision 2013. Over the past number of years Portugal has become one of the most interesting countries at Eurovision and was one of the first western countries to start to buck the trend in 2008 when it came second in the semi-final of the contest in Serbia.

I've always looked forward to the Portuguese entry each year and while I rarely though they picked the right song, they always had a good song in my book.

I don't think there's a whole lot to say about it but I wanted to publish this post as it is an important country to me. Will miss you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Melodifestivalen! Whoop, Whoop!

So today we had the first 16 names for Melodifestivalen this year. In the usual style there are some there that I've never heard of before but there are some who are very interesting names indeed! Let's have a quick look:

Semi-Final 1
Cookies 'n Beans return with a song written by Fredrick Kempe. However the big name here in my opinion is David Lindgren who returns again this year. I liked him last year and I though his song was pretty good however I will be keeping a very close eye on what he produces for this year's contest. Definitely one to watch.

Semi-Final 2 
Semi-final 2 produces some very interesting names, particularly Tone Damli who is singing a duet with Erik Segerstedt. Tone is definitely someone who I am glad to see participating in a Eurovision selection process, however because it is Sweden it may be more difficult for her to get the vote out. The other major names in the semi-final is Jenny Silver, Pernilla Wahlgren and Hanna Helund. Interesting group of female singers who I would not have put together, but we shall see what happens. Lastly Sean Banan returns, meh I thought his song was good last time but I will be interested to see what he comes up with this time.

So any guesses who will be in semi-final 3 or 4?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A National Final On My Birthday

One of the strangest things that I can say about Eurovision this week is that this year for the first time ever there will be a national final on my birthday. Belgium this year have made an unusual decision to go from being one of the last national finals of the year to one of the first.

In case you haven't heard Belgium have picked their singer, Roberto Bellarosa, to sing in Malmo next year. Their national final is on the 16th of December. Anyhow, I have the delight to say that this is also my birthday which will be rather exciting. Of course, many people might go out for a meal on their birthday, not me, oh no, I have an accounting exam the next day.

It's going to be exciting.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Running Order Shock Reaction

There has been quite a lot of mixed reaction to today's announcement by the EBU about the running order being decided by the producers. So naturally I would like to add something to the debate:

Those who may have seen Ewan Spence's recent discussion about how Eurovision is very different from reality TV may have noticed that he concluded that the contest probably better reflects real life. It is fair and unbiased, unlike reality TV shows. The contest is organised so as to minimise the variables which may affect the outcome of the contest. Ewan also notes the importance of using random selections where certain elements of the contest may affect its outcome. I wonder did he understand what was around the bend.While some very influential Eurovision fans have stated that this represents a logical shift to make the contest more exciting, there has been widespread criticism of today's decision throughout the fan community. This is very understandable and should not simply be dismissed as ludicrous by those who welcome today's announcement.

Personally I cannot find a logical reason to oppose this. The running order draw has its limitations but on the other hand the running order can prove highly influential not just at Eurovision, but in many TV music competitions. The most obvious place where it is to be found is in Melodifestivalen, which despite its similarities to the Eurovision Song Contest can be considered a much more producer controlled show. There have been attempts to use the running order to the advantage of certain contestants.

However Eurovision is a very different scene. While in shows like the X-Factor contestants are bound by a legal contract to pretty much obey the show producers, Eurovision is simply not like that. Many contestants are supported by massive delegations who can ensure that every contestant is fairly treated. Like any major Eurovision decision the outcome of the rule change is likely to be difficult to understand until it is seen in practice. One major thought that pops into my head though is will the running order always be accepted? Is there any chance that a country might disagree with the producers? Maybe.

I strongly suspect that there is little reason to worry about this. This system has been seen at JESC since 2003. It could do a lot of good. However for many fans and this includes me, this move represents a change in the contest that hands power over to the producers of the show. This is not a trend that I can strongly support as it does mean a move towards a contest that resembles reality TV. You can call me a Tea Party Eurovision fan but that's just me. However for the moment I will accept Siste Bakker's point that there is little reason to suggest that the producers will be baised, unlike X-Factor, they have no stake in who the ultimate winner is.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mandatory Ireland Post

Though I am otherwise engaged tonight following other world events [Four More Years!], I did notice that RTÉ has quietly announced the mentors for Eurosong 2013. They are:

  • Mairéad Farrell
  • Shay Healy
  • Mark McCabe
  • Niall Mooney
  • Stuart O'Connor
I'll be honest and say that these are hardly the biggest names of the Irish music scene over the last number of years. This also means that RTÉ are sticking with the same strategy that they have employed over the last couple of years. The question is whether this will actually yield anything other than Jedward.

This mentor format has not really brought forward anyone other than Jedward over the last two years. It will be interesting to see if any real talent that may have been suppressed by the treat of Jedward. Only time will tell.....