February 2011 Archives
Musiqq: Angel in Disguise
Little did Musiqq know that the pantomime cow in their back garden was none other than an angel. In disguise.
Latvia started strongly at the Eurovision game then it all went a bit pants for them around 2006. I'm really not sure that this is going to help them raise that game.
In the past few weeks, the song which finished second in last night's heat, Banjo Laura, was considered to be a contender for the title in Germany but that's a scenario we will never get to consider. Instead, the public went for this, which is a bit moody and has some guitar in it, that really is all I can remember after three listens. Perhaps if it had been the first song I'd listened to today rather than the eleventh, I'd be more sympathetic.
That said, while I can still sing bits of the Danish entry to you, I actually can't remember the chorus of Angel in Disguise. This may well lead to Musiqq's downfall in May. Poor things.
Right, I am aware in a Painting-the-Forth-Bridge type scenario that although my update session is now done, Slovenia and FYR Macedonia are song-choosing this very evening. If it's alright with you, I'll bring you that little catch-up tomorrow.
See you then. Ta for reading - I always appreciate it.
A Friend in London: New Tomorrow
Someone got The Feeling album for Christmas a few years back...
Boom Bang a Blog may just have itself a new favourite. Getting it all done and dusted in one evening, unlike the rest of their Scandinavian neighbours, the Danes could very well be challenging for the big prize in May with this.
Sounding a lot like the sort of stuff you'll get from The Feeling (a band I have always wanted to see represent Blighty) this is an effectively simple song tailor made for an arena. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the entire audience is singing along as this builds to a crescendo. I almost wish I'd be there on the night to join in.
Really can't see this having much trouble progressing to the Big Saturday Night. And if Blue's song doesn't deliver when it gets its big airing on March 11, I may just be an adopted Dane for one night only on May 14.
And after that feel-good factor, there's just one more to go. If you haven't dozed off into Midsomer Murders yet, Latvia's on the way.
Mika Newton: Angels
Just about worth sitting through for the money note at the end
I'm not making the same mistake as I did last year. When something a tad similar won the Ukraine heat 12 months ago I write it off as deathly dull and highly unlikely to make it past the qualifying round. That same song went on to make the Top 10 in Oslo.
This is still a surprise winner as Jamala with her histrionic performance of the far catchier Smile was considered a safe bet for the ticket to the Esprit. Once again, it proves there are no sure things in this Contest.
I can't pretend this will ever be my cup of tea, but luckily for Ukraine, there are many countries out there who will lap up just about anything they send in to this competition. If this doesn't make the final, you can put my hair in pigtails and call me Angela.
And while I get used to my new moniker (just in case), you can count down the moments until Denmark get here. It won't be long.
Zdob si Zdub: So Lucky
'So Lucky' is not a phrase that springs to mind while having to sit through this
In 2005, Moldova made their Eurovision debut with a song about their gran getting a tad percussive. It did really well and rightly so.
Six years on and the lads are back, without grandma, with a song that narrowly won the Moldovan final last night, beating jury favourite and 2007 entrant Natalia Barbu by just two points. So Lucky is, sadly, just not in the same league as their first go.
It just sounds like they got together in a studio for 10 minutes one day and shouted the first thing they could think of down the mic, edited it down to three minutes then posted it off to Moldovan telly for consideration.
I have no doubt that Zdob si Zdub will be just as strong on stage now as they were in Kyiv way back when which will give them an advantage over some of the newcomers taking part this year. It just looks like they need their nan with them to tell them when it's best to rein it in. A real shame as the band is a lot better than this song.
We're almost there. Three more to go after this. next up, it's Ukraine.
That backdrop would make great wallpaper in my hall
It was a three-way family tussle in the Serbian final with dad and two of his daughters taking each other on for the right to claim the composer's bragging rights as the flight took off for rehearsals in Germany.
Anyway, it was one of the younger generation that came out on top with this very retro number. Retro but still very appealing. I can't pretend that Serbia has been sending some of my favourite Eurovision entries of the past few years, even their 2007 winner was a bit too earnest and hand-wringing for my liking. But Caroban is altogether different. I love it to bits.
Whereas the UK would be crucified for sending a song in this style to the Contest, Serbia has enough pals out there and is held in high enough esteem with the Important Fans to get away with having a bit of fun. I really can't see this having much trouble qualifying, although with a fair few more modern sounds in the mix this year it might trip up on the big night itself.
And someone else we wouldn't want to see trip up on this super Sunday of catchy-uppiness is the act from Moldova. They're up next.
Getter Jaani: Rockefeller Street
Lily Allen and Kate Nash are currently scrapping over who this intro really belongs to
Now, I'm conscious my curmudgeonly side could reach round and take over my typing fingers here as the one song I really took to during 2011's national final season so far has been Outloudz with I Wanna Meet Bob Dylan. They were beaten into second place at last night's Eesti Laul selection show by this. Which (grinds teeth) I have to admit (grinds teeth even further) is perhaps a far wiser choice (teeth now ground to fine white powder) than my personal pick.
Rockefeller Street is a great piece of pop which is likely to have the youngsters being forced to watch Eurovision by the grown-ups giving a slight nod of approval before responding to a text about who's said what to who on a favourite street corner.
It's also really well performed and is another feather in the cap for the Estonian final. Just as Turkey is now the go-to Eurovision country for stadium rock, this should be one's first port of call for the quirkier, indie approach. I really hope this does well in Germany, it deserves to. And while I go and bake a sympathy cake for Outloudz topped with a faithful recreation of the cover of Highway 61 Revisited made entirely of marzipan and Smarties, you'd best prepare yourselves for the coming of Serbia. And you won't regret it if you do.
See you in about sixty mins.
Nadine Beller: The Secret is Love
Ooh, now. It's all gone a bit American Idol
They're back. Four years after another flop which didn't make it past the semi-final phase, Austria have returned from a spot of harrumphing about Eurovision Nowadays and thrown themselves into finding a song which can do well in neighbouring Germany.
And they've gone for something which bears little comparison to Austrian entries past. No jokes about record companies, no comments about how badly we treat camels, no Tyrolean-style pop, instead, The Secret is Love is a big Transatlantic-style ballad with obligatory gospel choir backing that builds and builds and builds. It already looks and sounds very atmospheric at the national final stage and could do really well if Nadine can get all the right notes out at the right time in the Esprit in May.
This certainly stands out from the crowd assembled thus far. Austria, perhaps because it begins with an 'A', always did have a knack of being one of the first out of the pot at draw-time and thus struggled to stay memorable on the night of the big show. Nadine appears to have the material to turn this around whether she's drawn second or twenty-second.
So it's a big welcome back to Austria. We don't need one for Estonia, but we'll still put the kettle on for them. They're due round in a bit.
YÃŒksek Sadakat: Live It Up
And next up on the Top gear compilation album, it's YÃŒksek Sadakat
The approach the BBC is taking this year by putting forward one of Blue's own compositions as the UK entry without holding a national final is a system our pals in Turkey have adopted to great success over the past six or seven years.
On Friday, as has happened in other years, a section of the Turkish equivalent of BBC News 24 was given over to the premiere performance of the song. The group YÃŒksek Sadakat had been named as the Turkish entrants way back (although rumour has it that the megastar that is Tarkan would have been more than happy to sing for his homeland if Turkish telly execs could rustle up a fee that's about twice as much as their entire budget the entire Eurovision project. They couldn't).
Evelina SaÅ¡enko: C'est ma vie
This is not a clip from the 1911 Eurovision Song Contest. This is Lithuania's entry for the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest
Lithuania is an odd fish Eurovision wise. They often send some great slices of pop or even the self-parodying nonsense of 2006's We Are the Winners which scored them their best result to date.
Then they send this sort of thing. It's reminiscent of their 2008 effort Nomads in the Night which did absolutely bugger all in that year's semi-final in its operatic twirliness and drama. Cest Ma Vie looks very likely to go down the same road despite being the top choice of both the jury and televoting public in its national final.
That said, Evelina does sound as though she has the most reliable lungs of all the 2011 entrants chosen so far. When she's alone on stage in the spotlight of the Esprit Arena in May belting this out live for Europe's lugholes I may have to order a side salad of the words I've just typed to accompany a delicious slice of humble pie.
And what's this hovering into view on the horizon, about an hour's bus journey from here? Why, it's the song from Turkey. We'll be ringy-dinging with them as they arrive.
Poli Genova: Na Inat
Poli was devastated that a spiteful entrant had sellotaped her to the stage in a kneeling position
And so to Bulgaria. Ever since their first entry in 2005, they've only made into the Saturday night final once - although they did well when they got there.
This year's selection took a Fame Academy-style format, wth the Head of said academy having the final say on who got the ticket for Germany.
I didn't see the rest of the songs or singers on offer during this final but there must have been slim pickings as this is what the Headmaster chose to stay behind after final for extra German lessons.
I don't think this will worry too many of the other entrants lining up at the Esprit Arena in 10 weeks from now. But I've been wrong before.
And after the delights of Bulgaria, get set for Lithuania at around about Greenwich Lunch Time.