April 2009 Archives
Christina Metaxa: Firefly
It's already been mentioned that Christina doesn't have the strongest vocals in the world, but in case you missed that particular blog entry - this girl really, really, doesn't have the strongest vocals in the world.
Which is a real shame. In its studio version, Firefly has the vibe of something from the soundtrack of an angsty teen movie, the sort where a shy city teen discovers herself on a family holiday somewhere far flung and mysterious involving moody young men with long hair. In its live version, Firefly has the vibe of something Christopher Timothy has to put out of its misery five minutes before the closing credits of All Creatures Great and Small.
Sadly, this is a case of keeping it in the family rather than looking for the best singer. Christina's brother composed Firefly, so one can imagine the sulky looks over Sunday lunch if he'd gone for somebody else to perform it. If he'd had a tad more inner mettle, Cyprus would be looking at a greater chance of making it out of their semi. At this stage, it's by no means a given, although they do have the Greeks on hand to bail them out.
Boom Bang a Blog's three things:
(a) Cyprus has not appeared in a Eurovision final since 2005.
(b) Their best ever showing has been fifth, achieved in 1982, 1997 and 2004.
(c) Cyprus did host Junior Eurovision in December, where the presenters both had Cockney accents.
The following press release pinged into Boom Bang a Blog's inbox this morning from none other than BT.
"A major campaign was launched today by our most recent Eurovision winner Katrina, formerly of Katrina and the Waves, and BT, calling on residents of Liverpool to mobilise friends and family abroad to vote for this year's UK entry.
It's been twelve years since Katrina last brought home the top prize with her winning performance of Love Shine a Light in Dublin. After Andy Abraham suffered at the hands of tactical bloc voting last year, Eurovision has finally changed the voting system to give us Brits a fighting chance. BT's 'Eurovictory' campaign aims to seal the deal by drumming up support from the nation's international friends and family."
This is all just wrong! It goes on to say...
Lidia Kopania: I Don't Wanna Leave
For the second year in succession, the Poles are sending a flaxen haired lass (and at least this time her teeth aren't so scary) with a poignant ballad to win the hearts of the European viewer.
The only thing is, Iceland are also sending a blonde lady with a ballad - and the offering from Reykjavik is loads better than Lidia's tune.
When Lidia performed her triumphant reprise at the national final, her lungpower suggests she doesn't quite have the vocal capability to successfully navigate this song from beginning to end.
She now has the added problem of her slot in the running order preceding a favourite which the word 'hot' doesn't do justice to. If all those variable can help Lid make it through from Thursday to Saturday, then she deserves an extra gold star for that alone.
Three ickle tings:
(a) Poland was runner-up on its 1994 debut. If it had given Eurovision up after that one go, its average score at the competition would be a very enviable, possibly unbeatable, 166.
(b) A group called Man Meadow was one of the favourites to win this year's nomination. We're not entirely sure what goes on in a meadow called that.
(c) Po from Teletubbies does not come from Poland. But his house is in a sort of meadow.
This blog entry is directed at any bar/club/venue owners in the Liverpool area who can come to the assistance of 50 fans who, through no fault of their own, have had their preview event set for this Thursday (April 30) cancelled.
As previously reported, G-bar in the city centre was to be the venue for an evening where guests would vote on all the songs taking part this year, ESC-themed cocktails would be served and the night waould be bopped away in reet cheesy fashion to some Euro classics.
That was until this morning, when the event was cancelled.
But this was meant to be Liverpool's very first Eurovision event of its kind. Manchester and Birmingham have been staging such events with aplomb for years. It would be a disgrace if Liverpool looked a bit shabby, after all, this is a city which doesn't need lessons in having a good time!
If anyone can help restage the event, which is due to take place this Thursday from 7pm (I know it's short notice, but if anyone can throw a cracking do with a day-and-a-half to spare, it's a Scouser - and a Scouse bar).
Do you have a venue which can house around 50 people, has bar facilities and equipment to show videos on, preferably in Liverpool city centre?
If so, contact email@example.com and I'll put you in touch with the organisers.
Breaking news from Russia. A well-known clairvoyant has been gazing into her crystal ball - and handling photographs of each of this year's 42 entrants - to determine which act will walk away with the trophy on May 16.
Make of this what you will, but she has Jade and the UK as the act to walk away with the trophy, with Sakis Rouvas for Greece not far behind.
Now all we need to know is how many of this psychic's previous predictions have come true.
Intars Busulis: Probka
Last year they sent pirates. This year, they didn't even know if they could afford to enter until almost the last minute.
Fortunately, executives at Latvian telly had a dig around the back of the sofa and came up with enough loose change to pay the entry fee the EBU requires and the 2002 winners are back in for Moscow.
It would seem that the rush to get a national final sorted had an averse effect on quality.
The song which will represent Latvia in Russia is Probka, which sounds like a string of consciousness set to erratic rock riffs. In the absence of a chorus, various sections of the lyric are shouted out at regular intervals. It's definitely something which will appeal to the domestic market - and perhaps the rest of the Baltics, but would it be very naughty to suggest that Latvia definitely doesn't want to host Contest 2010?
Three little things:
(a) Brainstorm, Latvia's indiepop debut entrants in 2000, can count Bob Dylan among their fans.
(b) Latvia was the scene of the UK's nul points nightmare in 2003.
(c) Boom Bang a Blog definitely doesn't want Contest 2010 in Riga, either.
Igor Cukrov: Lijepa Tena
A mate of mine texted me on the night of the Croatian final. It read: "Croatia are sending a song called Beautiful Tena."
Although that context may be lost on many male readers, this isn't really the place to go into any further explanations.
Back to the song. Croatia used to be really, really excellent at picking superb pop songs for the Contest which were dramatically daft enough to zoom up the scoreboard into the lower end of the Top 10.
Sadly, they haven't done that sort of thing since 2006 - and the Croats appear to be veering towards a more Latin sound as the noughties progress. Latin can be perky and very Contest-friendly, but Croatia keeps going for the dull end of the genre.
With this opening the second semi-final - a heat which has one more song in it than the first semi - it's difficult to see how this will grab someone's vote from the off and cling to it until the 19th song has been performed.
The former Yugoslav nations do not have the same voting assurances as those from the ex Soviet era, so it's not as easy to predict how successful Croatia will be based on friendly neighbours alone. If this gets to the final, well, we'll be jiggered.
Boom Bang a Blog's three things:
(a) Croatia's rapping pensioner from last year should be drafted in to help with this.
(b) But that probably wouldn't help.
(c) We're still not explaining to the uninitiated what a Tena is.
Chiara: What If We
Here's one lady who just won't give up until that Eurovision trophy is firmly within her paws. Third in 1998, runner-up in 2005, the law of non-diminishing returns (if one exists) suggests that third time will, indeed, be lucky for Chira Siracusa, the most successful Maltese entrant ever.
Unusual than, that this song is written by a Belgian duo, but Eurovision has never been one for letting borders bar an entrant's way.
When What If We first won the Maltese final, it had a far more anonymous sound than that which you'll hear in the accompanying clip, which is the final mix. This led to many experts writing it off as, well, a bit rubbish and a bit of a pointless comeback for Valletta's warbling queen.
However, during a show in Amsterdam last week, with a fair wodge of this year's 42 entrants performing before a live audience, the crowd vote put Chiara among the top three - although do bear in mind this is a group of hardcore Eurovision enthusiasts voting, whose whims and fancies rarely reflect the public concensus.
But there's no denying that the polish given to this tune pre-Moscow is edging Chiara closer to that enclosure marked 'Contenders Only'.
(a) Chiara was beaten by Dana International at her first Contest appearance.
(b) Not physically beaten, of course. That would be wrong.
(c) When Jonathan King later told her she should have won, it made her cry.
Waldo's People: Lose Control
Obviously, this was inspired by the time the lead singer misplaced the remote for the telly down the back of the sofa.
Putting rock sensibilities to one side for the first time in four years, this rather excellent pop tune is arguably the Finn's best entry in years (yes, Lordi won, but that had more to do with costumes and pyrotechnics than a song). Thankfully, Waldo and his immediate peers don't seem to have too much trouble hitting the notes during a live performance either, so Boom Bang a Blog is sticking its lardy neck out and suggesting an easy slide into the final for this lot.
A rarity among its Europeers, this sounds like it was written more with the charts in mind than the Contest, albeit the charts at the opposite end of the noughties.
We would say this is going to be the most successful of this year's Scandinavian entries, but just wait until you hear what's coming up in the second semi...
Dem three things:
(a) Waldo will not be wearing a red-and-white-striped jumper, glasses and beanie hat on stage and the viewers will not be asked where he is hidden.
(b) This wouldn't sound out of place booming out around the pool in an 18-30 complex in Agia Napa.
(c) Finland is not an advisable destination to catch some 18-30 style rays.
Next Time: NeÃ Â¡to Ã Â¡to kje ostane
Take a look at these funky young trendsetters. If Next Time aren't careful, their groundbreaking long hair and rock sound could wind up catching on.
This, then, is the offering from FYR Macedonia for 2009. Until last year, the FYROMers could put forward any old tune (and often did) and it had a seemingly cast iron route through to the Saturday night final. In 2008, although the song was the 10th most popular choice with televoters, thus eligible for the final, the Swedes got the wildcard path in its place.
Somehow, wildcard or not, we can't see this song sifted in with the final mix. It's not often a statement like this can be made with alacrity - but it's even too dated for Eurovision.
Boom Bang a Blog's three things:
(a) The FYR stands for 'Former Yugoslavian Republic of...' and it is VERY important those prefixing initials are not missed off the name of the country.
(b) In 1998, the BBC recreated the FYROM flag (for the purposes of its Eurovision postcards) with an overhead shot of an red-and-yellow-striped umbrella.
(c) Whatever happened to that umbrella?