January 2011 Archives
I have just listened to this year's Dutch entry for the first time. Saying that, I haven't actually listened to the full-on final Eurovision version of Je Vecht Nooit Alleen as it will very likely hit a watching continent's ears with Anglified lyrics come May. I wouldn't go so far as to say I loved it, the last song the Netherlands sent to Eurovision which I really liked was Edsilia Rombley's comeback anthem in 2007.
However, I didn't actively dislike it either. There is something very arena-friendly and in-the-moment powerfulness stirring beneath the surface of this tune which could be unleashed at just the right moment in Germany. There are still 39 other songs to hear but this could just be the song which gets the Netherlands into a Saturday night Eurovision final for the first time since 2004.
While the BBC's online Eurovision presence continually teased followers over the past 10 days about an 'announcement' that was due at some point 'soon' regarding arrangements for the British entry in Germany in May, it would appear their hand was forced last night to reveal the identity of the established act with hours to spare before the Sunday Mirror scooped 'em.
And that act is Blue. The boyband which came toegther a decade ago but parted ways by about 2005 is marking its 10th anniversary by representing le Royaume Uni with their own song, called I Can. There will be no national final, meaning the public will have absolutely no say in which song becomes the UK entry for the first time in more than 50 years of BBC participation in the event. There will be a one-hour documentary showing the lads preparing for Mission Contest which could very well be the first time we get to hear the song, even though it's not due to be transmitted until April.
There have been rumblings of dissent piped round the wires of the internet all day from fans who feel the no-national-final route is the ultimate sacrifice of democracy from a nation which perceives itself as a purveyor of freedom of choice for everyone. I am not one of those dissenters, I think this is a very good idea.
Did we mention that this one was a biggun?
It's not quite the draw for the running order, but this afternoon the 38 countries (Slovakia is back in it, they must have done their sums wrong the other day) who will participate in the semi-final phase of this year's Eurovision Song Contest found out which of the qualifying heats they will be performing in - and in which half of that heat.
Here is how that draw panned out. The list is purely alphabetical for each half, they'll get jiggied about into their respective performance slots come the draw for the running order in March:
Albania, Armenia, Finland, Georgia, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey
Azerbaijan, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, San Marino
Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cyprus, Moldova, Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine
Belarus, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, FYR Macedonia, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Romania, Slovenia
Spain and the UK vote in the first semi-final, Germany, France and Italy vote in the second. So if Ireland do send Jedward, they are likely to struggle for points from countries which won't get the joke.
The rumours have been rumbling about the interweb since before Christmas but it has been confirmed that X-Factor twins John and Edward, now known under the collective moniker of Jedward, will be one of the five acts competing to represent Ireland at this year's competition in Germany.
The Irish final has an interesting format this year - and one which could work very well for the UK - a group of established songwriting and production teams teams are pitted against each other, they choose the act, mentor them, come up with the best possible song for them, then aim to outshine all other comers at the domestic heat. Imagine the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Pete Waterman concept the BBC employed for the past two Contests, except they're fighting against each other for their song to be the one which goes forward to Eurovision.
It's just unfortunate for Ireland that the very likely winner of this competition will be Jedward.
It's just like the Forbes list. And when we say Forbes, we don't mean the Swedish cruise ship cabaret group who came last in 1977 with un dodgy homage to The Beatles. No, we're talking the influential Forbes magazine and its list of the 100 richest people in the world, most influential celebrities in the world, most talk show hosty with their own book clubby people in the world. That sort of thing.
Well, over at ESCInsight, the rather marvellous site by Boom Bang a Blog contributor Ewan Spence, a new list has been constructed which Oprah doesn't stand a very-worthy-self-help-book in a Home for People Determined Not to Help Themselves' chance of topping. It's the More than 100 Eurovision websites, links and online resources list, unleashed today by Ewan, who must have spent a fair few hours scouring the web for all things Contest-centric and deserves a pint of something warm and wet for his efforts if you ever bump into him in the pub.
You will notice that Boom Bang a Blog is listed under the much-envied 'More Fan Websites' section. I am relieved, I admit, as I expected it to be in the 'Load of Thrown Together Old Tosh' category, so a great big thanks to Mr Spence there. And no, before you ask, he's not related to Louis from Pineapple Studios. At least I don't think he is. Ewan? Are you?
And for anyone interested in all matters Contest, this list is going to be something well worth saving to your favourites folder as it's a mix of the sites with very vocal messageboard communities, the thoughtful bloggers and the more specialist sites which concentrate on things such as national finals or the sleeves that have covered every Eurovision 45 or CD single since the competition began (a personal favourite and one which came in very handy when compiling a Bluffer's Guide to Eurovision).
Of course, I hope you'll always have room in your USB connection for Boom Bang a Blog but as every good webmaster knows, if you let your visitors go without a fight, loosen those apronstrings and let them take their own tentative steps out into the cyberwilderness, they're sure to come back one day soon. Smiling.
Ooh, would you credit. A server problem stops me publishing a blogpost for a few days so it's already dated the moment it hits the web. Tsk.
Not long after I'd finishing tap-tap-typing the previous post, the news filtered through that Slovakia has now decided it can't afford to enter Eurovision 2011 so won't be in Germany after all.
That means 42 nations are taking part this year and the semi-finals are going to be skewiff again numbers-wise. And more importantly, the already cash-strapped people at Slovak telly will have to pay a fine for withdrawing AFTER the cut-off date.
Aah well, onwards with national final season we go...
FERVENT fans of the Contest of Song will already know this but it was confirmed shortly before 2011 chimed in that a record-equalling 43 countries will participate in this year's competition in DÃÅsseldorf in mid-May, just four-and-a-bit months away. And here are those 43 in glorious alphabetical order:
You will notice that Italy is very much in the fray for 2011, making its return after 14 years away. Some serious persuasion and coaxing has clearly been going on between the EBU and Italian broadcaster RAI as the Italians will now join Spain, Germany, the UK and France as a direct finalist tio make the infamous Big Four a far more rounded Big Five, an invitation I'd expected to be extended to Russia before now, perhaps it won't be long before we have a Big Six? As for the remaining 38 countries taking part, they will be split down the middle into a very democratic 19 countries for the two semi-finals.
If you are a British Eurovision fan, chances are you'll be aware of the speculation spreading across the internet in the past week or two that an unusually early announcement is imminent from the BBC regarding this year's Eurovision effort for the UK. What's more, people with their fingers in knowing pies are convinced the format to choose a song for Germany will be the one that worked for Sandie Shaw and sort-of-did for Lulu - having an established name perform a shortlist of songs with the public then choosing its favourite.
Two Welsh women in particular have been mentioned a fair bit regarding the identity of that performer, either Charlotte Church or Katherine Jenkins, with the former being the favourite for confirmation at some point in the next seven days. Also mentioned, but not too loudly, is one Pixie Lott, whose Cry Me Out would have been an ideal Eurovision entry last year but is perhaps just a bit too succesful at the moment to consider Mission Contest. However, even the BBC Eurovision Twitter feed is dormant, which would usually spark into life in the days before an announcement is due. Have some fans been given hokey information? Or are we really due some proper, proper Eurovision news? Jinkies, it's a mystery.
So, Boom Bang a Bloggers. All I want to know from you is, which of these three ladies would you like to see represent the UK? Will these rumours develop into hogwash or will the British fans in the Esprit Arena have a reason to waggle their flags with pride and vigour come May?
After last year, we really do need to start making something approaching an effort.