February 2012 Archives
Joan with You and Me, Boom Bang a Blog's bestest Baku battler thus far
NOT bad for a load of songs left in a skip outside the offices of Dutch telly. Nationaal Songfestival 2012 has just come to a conclusion and it was a really enjoyable, well-produced final. Six songs were separated in to three competing pairs, resulting in a trio of ditties going through to a super-final.
Any of the three would have been competent songs for Eurovision but my favourite by far came from Joan with the eventual winner, You and Me. Looking like one of the more oddball moments from The Sonny and Cher Show, Joan sang the indie/folk singalong in a mahoosive Native American headdress and was joined on stage by some backing musicians when the whole production moved up a notch. It got them cheering in the studio and this is just the sort of simple, loveable song that will get an arena reaching as one for a glo-stick to wave with rhythmic abandon.
It was France for a while, now it's the Netherlands sat confidently atop my 2012 Top 10. It'll take a fair bit of shifting as well.
Pernilla Karlsson sings När Jag Blundar, Finland's entry for Baku
AND so the selections keep on coming thick and fast, while one has been completely changed altogether - but more of that in a bit. While my palms were getting more and more moist-ridden at the prospect of a certain UK tabloid announcing the name of the Brits set for Baku (it's now looking increasingly unlikely that it's Atomic Kitten), over in Finland they had their heads down getting on with the business of actually choosing the act that will fly the blue and white flag in Azerbaijan. And they have settled for something rather ethereal.
I understand that Pernilla's När Jag Blundar (which is performed in Swedish) is already shooting to the top of some people's favourite lists. I can't pretend that it's at the top of my mine as I really don't feel that this goes anywhere. The Finns proved last year with Paradise Oskar's Da Da Dum that you can be both gentle, catchy and charming but while this choice isn't going to embarass the Finnish music industry on an international stage I'm not entirely sure it will have the majority of viewers rushing for the phone.
Right now, I can't see Finland making it to the Saturday night. But I take no pleasure in predicting such a blundar.
This *could* be the act representing the UK in Baku - but the Beeb hasn't confirmed anything at present
If this report is to be believed, girl band Atomic Kitten are to reform to represent the UK at Eurovision in Baku. However, note the word 'shortlisted'.
This has not been confirmed by anyone at the BBC and this is suspiciously unlike last year, when the Corporation rushed to announce that Blue were representing the UK to avoid one of the Sunday titles getting a scoop before they could announce it. Therefore I wouldn't go chalking their name on the list of known acts so far.
However, let's say it does turn out to be the Atomics (presumably the post Kerry Katona line-up). I saw them perform live at Liverpool's ECHO Arena as part of the 2008 Capital of Culture celebrations and they were absolutely brilliant - bags of lungpower. Member Liz McClarnon tried for the British ticket in 2007 but lost out to Scooch and Jenny Frost (who replaced Katona) was of course part of Precious who represented the UK in Jerusalem in 1999 with Say It Again. Natasha Hamilton has no Eurovision links as far as I know but she's got an impressive voice too.
However, I did always think Whole Again would be a rather good Eurovision entry.
Now all that remains is for the BBC to come along and say this is a highly radioactive pile of atomic bunkum...
Gaitana wins the (lunchtime) Ukraine heat with Be My Guest
Vitali Klitschko remains one of Ukraine's biggest sporting heroes, so the programme inviting viewers to vote for the song they wanted to see represent the nation slid back down yesterday's schedules to make way for the accomplished pugilist's bout with Dereck Chisora. Well, I say slid, it was KO'd southwards through the TV listings to hit the canvas at some point before lunchtime. I really don't know if this is the earliest a national final has ever taken place (although the Radio 2 semi-finals for the UK used to air at around 8.30am) but the atmosphere must have taken a fair whack to account for a boxing match.
Regardless, the winner is Gaitana with the first real bit of Eurotrash (besides Cyprus) to make up the 2012 field. And keeping up with the sporting links, the song Be My Guest seems to be an invitation to the watching world to bod over to Ukraine (and Poland) this summer and take in all the action at the Euro 2012 football finals. In the video, Gaitana gads about the nation, meeting small children in various unsuccessful attempts to make them dance like her, with the logo for the tournament popping up behind her shoulder rather often. It must be costing a bit to stage the event (Poland is not taking part in Eurovision this year to save a bit of cash) and at this stage it doesn't look like Kyiv will be the setting for major international competitions two years in a row. The president will be pleased.
Roman Lob wins Unser Star for Baku with the Jamie Cullum-penned Standing Still
Back when it was called Under Star fur Oslo, this was the show which discovered a young popstrel by the name of Lena Meyer Landrut who went on to win the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest for Germany. Lena's desire to defend her title put the successful Pop Idol-ish franchise on ice for 12 months but it returned to German screens earlier this year with, it has to be said, a bit of a whimper. The show has hardly fired the public interest at all in Deutschland, probably because they had so much fun hosting the Contest proper last year that this latest selection process all feels a bit kleine kartoffeln.
But despite that German telly did pull something surprising out of the bag. From the start, a young lad called Roman Lob (did he borrow that name from Bel Ami studios?) was picked out as the most likely winner and this evening he did indeed triumph in the Unser Star fur Baku final. The song Roman is taking to Azerbaijan is called Standing Still and is written by none other than trainer-preferring ivory tickling moptop Jamie Cullum.
I like it but despite its heritage it's all a bit ploddy and pedestrian at the moment. That said, the raw ingredients are there for this to be as successful and stand-out as Tom Dice was in the year Unser Star's... first star pupil graduated with flying colours.
Let's see what Roman can lob in to the pot (ahem) before May.
Alena Lanskaya sings All My Life, the song which won today's Belarussian final - but that doesn't really mean it's the one that's going to Baku
I really should be cooking the dinner what with it being Valentine's Day and me promising to cook something fancy. However, I was momentarily distracted this afternoon by the joys of the very oddly scheduled Belarussian national final which began at 3.45pm GMT. Now, I was out doing bits and bobs this afternoon (tip: don't go to M&S at 2pm on St Valentine's Day, it gives a new meaning to the phrase 'chock-a-block') so I only caught the tail end of the it and the only song I heard was the winner, Alena Lanskaya with the powerful but dreary All My Life. A group called Litesound were second and they had a gaggle of fans in the audience whose placards of support sagged further toward the floor the more the disappointment hit home.
In Belarus, the song which wins the national heat rarely gets to Eurovision. It's lucky if the title remains the same but sits atop a completely different melody. So please don't presume that the song above is what you'll hear Alena singing in Baku in May.
This could be a good thing. Even before Alena had finished the song a man spun down from the rafters to try and make her stop.
Tooji wins Melodi Grand Prix 2012 with Stay
I'm whispering this for fear of poking the jinx pixies with a particularly pointy stick but the internet at Boom Bang a Blog Towers seems to be back to its former strength after a few months of extreme slowness and weakness. Now that it has been given the digital equivalent of a restorative mug of Bovril I haven't been slow to play proper catch-up with the songs (and act without portfolio) that were chosen this weekend in preparation for all the fun in Baku in three months time. And we'll start with Norway. Before Saturday night, it was a band called Plumbo who were thought to be dead certs for Azerbaijan with their song Ola Nordmann but then a young behooded interloper by the name of Tooji strode into town and upset that party.
From the moment this was chosen, Stay has been compared to Eric Saade's Popular which finished third for Sweden in Germany last year. Other than he's a young lad with dark hair who has managed to avoid direct contact with the ugly stick thus far I don't think the similarity stretches much further than that. If anything, Stay is more like one of those Turkish entries that blends Western European pop with ethnic riffs. It all works very well indeed and although the melody doesn't lodge in your noggin in the way Popular did (I can hum the latter as I tip-tap-type here, I'm struggling to recall Tooji's tune if I'm honest and I last listened to it two minutes ago) I think the version presented at the Norwegian final is nought but a teasing taster for the big choreographic guns that will be unleashed in the Crystal Hall in May, where Tooji will no doubt be in a diamante-studded hoodie that will give him maximum smouldering-from-within potential. At this stage, I can't *not* see this in the final - but there are still more than 30 songs we haven't heard yet.
Kurt Calleja wins Malta Eurosong 2012 with This is the Night
I have a sudden urge to wash my hair with Gliss shampoo, put on an Ice Watch, make the Leaning Tower of Pisa stand up straight using nought but a vacuum cleaner then sit on a grey sofa with black and white cushions while telling all who will listen how fantastic the interest calculator at the Mediterranean Bank is. Not that the only five adverts Maltese telly seems to have access to had any subliminal effect on me while sitting through an arduous loop of them during the webstream of their national final.
As my internet connection at home is still none too reliable (it kept cutting out every 10 minutes or so) I only saw about half of the 17-hour broadcast where the island nation decided who was best to sing for them in Baku with my link snapping moments before the vital jury scores were cast which sent Kurt Calleja to Azerbaijan over the more-fancied Claudia Faniello. I did manage to see all of Kurt's number, This Is the Night, when my stream was thankfully uninterrupted and thought it had potential. However, it is very reminiscent of the similarly-titled song Sakis Rouvas took to Moscow three years ago.
It all seems like an incredibly long amount of airtime to find something which will fill fewer than three minutes of airtime in May but hopefully this will progress to the final from the semi stage as, once in an arena where the acoustics and sound mixing are handled a tad more artfully - and especially if sandwiched between a pair of ballads - this could do better than people think.