Monday, 21 November 2011

TVE! Please call Bernard...

Over ESC Insight, there was an article of the love of ESC by Australian Sharleen Wright. And while most people think 'Australian? What do they know?', the answer is that the internet has made the world smaller and people can learn about sorts of things and see all sorts of things.

So, other than highlight Johnny Logan, former Australian, I suggested an ESC party next year. Somewhere we can all pop along and enjoy the ESC. But now i have a better thought that I'm guessing Australian will love. Bernard Fanning is a resident of Madrid. There is limited chance that Bernie is going to write a song in Spanish or English (Span-glish) present it to TVE and come under the scrutiny of Spain and then Europe. But wouldnt it be fantastic??

I'll wake up now - never gonna happen.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

An old chestnut.

Every year we hear the dreaded words come from the fan groups. A word that springs terror into the hearts of artists wishing to gain entry into national finals, entry into the Eurovision itself, but only to bring them infamy and disgrace.

No, I'm not talking wardrobe malfunction or off key singing; it's PLAGERISM. Yet every year we have entrants that are accused of the deed causing disruption, embarrassment and in some case expulsion.

Expulsion can be a good thing for some. 1999 was a year where two songs were removed and replaced and co-coincidently the two artist made respective returns to the ESC with two very different outcomes. In 1999, we will never know if Corinna May nor Hari Mata-Hari could have rated higher than 3rd and 7th respectively at the ESC in 99, but they came back. Both as favorites, neither won.

While these two ended in disgrace there are others that have been investigated and passed through. Classic example is Italy's Fiumi di Parole which sounds remarkably like Roxette's Listen to your heart. Estonia's 2002 entry Runaway is reputed to sound like R. Kelly's I believe i can fly. Last year's Danish entry A new tomorrow by A friend in London was believed to sound like Sing for me - an entry from the Melodifestivalen from 2006. And you can pick a myriad of Swedish songs that sound like ABBA [not true - cheap shot : p]

Are they copies of the original or just a sound alike? That can be answered on a case by case basis, but why are the TV stations of Europe letting them through. They need to employ a music expert who can make these comments and hear the similarities and make recommendations. Why should the public vote for a copy of Waterloo that is called Something in your eyes? 

Maybe, the music industry is too lazy to come up with unique modern song that the need to copy. Maybe it is that the musicians of the past have been exceptional and bypassed the boundaries of music and the modernists have nowhere to go now? 

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Countries over the last decade - Last part

Only six more countries to reveal... and all but one have won the Eurovision Song contest. I'm sure you can guess.

Countries over the last decade - Part VII

So - only 10 countries left to count down to. Of the twelve, we have ESC winners of the last decade, others that are just consistent, and some that have had a mix.

Countries over the last decade - Part VI

How many of you are surprised so far?
No one - wise audience.
16 countries still to be names and placed; on with the show.

Countries over the last decade - Part V

So, 19 countries down, twenty countries to go.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

So you wish to make your way out of a semi final? - Points (continued...)

If you read the last post closely, you'll note that the top nine places, except one are not lucky places to land in a semi final. The exception of these is slot 4 quite surprisingly is the only place within the top 10. I should reveal that 6th missed out on 10th place on a count back.

So, 10th through to 19th:

A semi final win came in semi final 1 of 2010 (Tom Dice - Belgium) for semi final slot number 10 as well as another six songs that progressed to the final. The remaining songs came 12, 16th twice and 21st twice. The average for 10th is 81.75 - 5th of the 19 slots and a safe place to expect a final space.

Of all the places in the remaining draw, eleventh is the anomaly. With an average score of 59.00 and this places it 15th of the 19 spots in the draw. While no song has come last in a semi final, only three songs have gone through. Mainly, 16-17th place cane be expected.

2009 seemed to be a good year to be drawn twelfth; semi final one provided second place in the semi final and semi final two was the winner (Azerbaijan and Iceland respectively). 2010 was a good year too, both songs making the semi final. Sadly, this is all the good fortune for 12th; not other songs have made a final. The average points are 68.25 coming into 10th place, but only just.

These spots in the draw are prime real estate with only eight songs across these three placings of 12 semi finals that did not make the Eurovision Song contest final. I'm getting ahead of myself; lets go one by one.

Thirteenth is an unlucky number for some. Thirteenth has not seen a last place or winners, but they do have 8 of 12 successful semi finalist. The songs that have were unsuccessful were 2007, semi 2 of 2009 and 2010, and the first semi of 2011. The average points are 103.83; being the 3rd most successful place in the draw.

Fifteenth has a similar story to the thirteenth place with two exceptions - there was a semi final winner in 2007 (Serbia) and also a last place in the 2008 semi 2 (Hungary). Other than this again 8 of 12 success stories and 4 non starters (2008 and 2010 both semi finalists). The average score is 88.75; the fourth most successful place in the draw.

Fourteenth may seem humble and in no mans land in the draw. Let me advise you that it is a Eurovision semi final goldmine. The one and only entry that has not made the Eurovision final is that of 2007 (Poland). There was a winner in 2005 (Romania) and six others in the top 5 (2004, 2008 - semi 1 and 2, 2010 semi 1, both semis of 2011). The score average score is 108 - the top place in the 19 spaces.

These two have a similar story to tell.

Sixteenth had a winner back in 2006 (Finland) plus another 5 successful semi finalists. Sadly, this is also the place where in 2007, the Czech Republic came 28th of 28 songs with 1 point. Otherwise, 2 x 14th, 2x 18th and a 21st. The average points score is 70.00, the 9th most successful slot of the draw.

Seventeenth is lucky for the final, but in the semi finals it is a different story. Seven of twelve semi finalist have progressed to the final, including the Turkish entry of 2010 which won the 2nd semi final. Seventeenth doesn't have a last place recipient, but the remaining five songs came 11th (07), 12th(04), 15th (08-2), 17th (11-2) and 20th (07). The average for 17th is 75.58; the 8th most successfully place in the draw.

There have been only 10 semi final places at 18th (2010 had 17 entries per semi final) and from the ten not one entry won their semi final or came last. What we do have is five entries that finished either 2nd or third in their semi final (Semi 1 of 2008, all semis for 2009 and 2011), plus a fifth and 2x 9th to bring the success rate to 8 of 10 entries making the final. The last two places were 23rd in 2005 and 11th for semi final 2 in 2008. The average score for 18th is 105.50, the second most successful place in the draw.

In most places last in the draw, there are 9 occurrences of 19th in the draw.   Nineteen is the only spot of draw to have two winners; both coincidently for Greece - 08 and 11. The remainder are a second and two eighths, 1 of 13th, 17th, 18th and 19th. The average score is 81.33 and the sixth most successful place in the draw.

So you ask, how many points have been scored for each place in the draw. Here it is:
  1. 768
  2. 546
  3. 432
  4. 919
  5. 558
  6. 819
  7. 791
  8. 674
  9. 749
  10. 981
  11. 708
  12. 819
  13. 1246
  14. 1296
  15. 1065
  16. 840
  17. 907
  18. 1055
  19. 732

Friday, 23 September 2011

So you wish to make your way out of a semi final? - Points

It's a ruthless ESC world and 18 countries are usually left behind in the semi finals - 9 songs from each semi final going home to the wife and children, dog, cat, giraffe... you get the picture - home.

So there have been 12 semi finals contested over an eight year period with a varied number of participants - smallest 17 in 2010 and the biggest semi final in Helsinki with 28. Generally an ESC final will be up to 20 songs over two semi-finals nowadays. The placings after place twenty look like this:
  • 20th - 165.25 points (Four occurrences: 2004-2007)
  • 21st - 72.00 points
  • 22nd - 172.50 points
  • 23rd - 54.67 points (Three occurrences: 2005-2007)
  • 24th - 99.50 points (Two occurrences: 2006-2007)
  • 25th - 110.50 points
  • 26th - 197 points (One occurrence: 2007)
  • 27th - 4 points
  • 28th - 168 points
So where should you be if you want to score well in a semi final?

Countries over the last decade - Part IV

For anyone watching closely over the last 3 posts, there were errors in the sums and some of the countries have moved around a bit. Here is a recap to remind you all of were we are at:
  • 38th The Netherlands (4 ESC wins)
  • 37th UK (5 ESC wins)
  • 36th Poland
  • 35th Portugal
  • 34th Switzerland (2 ESC wins)
  • 33rd Austria (1 ESC wins)
  • 32nd Slovenia
  • 31st FYROM
  • 30th France (5 ESC wins)    
  • 29th Ireland (7 ESC wins)  
  • 28th Spain (2 ESC wins)  
  • 27th Croatia
  • 26th Lithuania
  • 25th Albania

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Countries over the last decade - Part III

Eight countries down and three countries that account for 16 previous ESC wins amongst them. Numbers 26-30 on the next page:

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Countries over the last decade - Part I

Many things have happened in the last ten years:
  • A semi final was introduced replacing the 'in and out', 5 year adherence and other crazy rules.
  • A second semi final was introduced when the number of countries escalated to 40+
  • Juries, while departed, came back in various forms
  • Orchestra still missing
Anyway, today I will begin the ranking of the countries in accordance to number of votes scored in the ESC finals from 2002 through to 2011. Some are surprising - others are obvious.
41 seperate countries have contested the finals in these 10 years; three of these have appeared once and I've removed them from the deliberations:
  • BULGARIA - 2005 - Water
  • ITALY - 2011 - Follia d'amore
  • MONTENEGRO - 2005 - Zauvijek moja (Montenegrin song as part of Serbia-Montenegro
Everyone else is fair game...

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Web link for your viewing

A Goddess Called Mehriban Aliye-wow!

This jewel is a tribute to the first lady of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva. I'm not certain if it is satire or a serious article about the most powerful woman of that country as I viewed the pictures; she does not smile. I figure that the author will provide some insight into the building of the Crystal Hall and the days coming to Azerbaijan's day of glory.

Yes, a statue seems to have been commissioned. It will be at the back of the Eurovision stage and will be presented as a prize to the winning country.Get Dana International to lug that monster onto the stage.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Junior Eurovision

I've been watching the ESC for a very long time. Over the years, there have been some very excellent songs and others that have not been. I watch and follow it religiously, but there is one thing I cannot handle - the Jnr Eurovision Song Contest.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Highlights of this years spokespeople

In the end, it was these people who provided the outcome to ESC 2011’s final; 43 odd people who read out the votes. Some of them are pan-European famous, other domestically, others are questionable. The star of the show was Anke, the voting mistress - next to her, the 43 peeps look like schmucks.

Here is a review of their one-two minutes of fame this year in order of appearance. I reviewed them on the mirror site on tumblr, but I'm giving you the abridged version as I could be pasting for days...

Saturday, 20 August 2011

While you are waiting

World Song Festival

The World Song festival is a contest held each year by a gentlemen from Norway who's name is Trond. It started in 1997 and each year a song per country is selected, semi finals run and then a final to chose the song of the year. At this time, the semi's have been run and 100 songs are available in the final, ranging from ones we know such as France and the United Kingdom to unknowns such as Abkhazia and Kosovo. This year Trond has included words and clips. Worth the visit.

Eurovision Champions 

My friend in New Zealand runs Eurovision Champions which he started in the early 2000s. In a hiatus, I ran the thing for 2 years on his behalf and then he took it over again.

The way this one works is each week we rate the ESC songs from a country 1-8, 10 and 12 and there is a winner that goes into a grand final, and wild card song, that goes into the wild card round to also go into the final. Reigning champions is the Ukraine's Shady Lady; previous winners include Apres toi (Luxembourg 72), Neka di ne svane (Croatia 98), Lane moi (Serbia 04), and Ja n'ai que mon ame (France 01).

A group of about 20+ people vote each week. Interesting to see the results each week.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

News so far

Here is a culimation of news so far towards ESC 2012.

~ The host city for ESC 2011 will be Baku. This is because there really isnt anywhere else for the thing to be held. Sietse Bakker and Ja Ole Sand recently visited Azerbaijan to ensure that the ESC will be housed in an appropriate building and to have another building as an alternative in case the forementioned one doesnt happen. The president wife is undertaking the task of supervising preparations.

~ The Netherlands have called for songs. They will have a national final in January in hope of reaching the ESC final since 2004. John de Mol is said to be organising something - a recent rumour had David Husselhoff entering this final, I don't believe that this is progress. Deadline is 30 Septemeber; artists known November 1.

~ Slovenia were quick off the block with a show called Mission Slovenia in order to again enter the ESC final. Recently, dates for auditions were announced as the last days of August. I'm guessing you can view that information of some sort of Slovene TV site.

~ Spanish artist Falete has offered to represent Spain next year. I will refrain from commenting on this news in order to remain civil.

~ Cyprus is rumoured to be having a lady called Ivi Adamou. There was to be an announcement, but I don't believe this has happened as yet, thus still a rumour.

~ Denmark will be holding their annual song contest in the Gigantium, Aalborg. [Note: not the most Gigantic stadium in Europe - unknown where it fits in the scheme of things]

~ December 20 2011 is the date that the Swiss will be choosing their song. It appears there will be an internet selection involved that starts September 1, but I guess there will be more new to ocme about that.

~ Bosnia and Herzgovina has opened a poll of who should represent them next year. Another rumour says they recycling a previous artist and are sending Hari-Mata Hari.

~ Israel will be competing in Azerbaijan. The complained about the dates and then there was fear of it being held in a Muslim country. Azerbaijan has announced that the participants are welcome and will be safe. Armenia has not confirmed entry to the 2012 contest.

~ Johnny Logan whinged that Jedward could not sing. Who cares? Personally, the former Australian has sour grapes. The rumour at the end of 2010 was that Johnny was to enter and they sent Jedward instead. : p In the meantime, Jedward have got a new show.

~ 'Morocco coming back to the ESC fold' says Bruno Berberes. Kosovo may not.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

ESC 2011: #1

This may be a small surprise for many people, and if you've been counting on your digits, you will have figured out who my favorite song was for 2011.
Some people will agree, others won't - but thats why it my list...

ESC 2011 #2: SLOVENIA - No one - Maja Keuc

[rating before - 8th; after - 1st]

Vanilla was the original name for the song that won the EMA (Slovene national final). They chose in their wisdom to present an English version at the ESC. Not that there were issues with the Slovene version, I think they wanted to appeal to more people.

So, here we have a woman who is fearless. Three minutes of controlled vocals, well choreographed and well supported by the four women. I absolutely love it and at the end of the finals evening was surprised with the final result. Damn voters.

ESC 2011 #3: SERBIA - Caroban - Nina

[rating before - 4th; after - 4th] 
The Serbs had a novel approach to selecting their song this year; a father and two daughters all wrote a song that could create the national final. The father, member of the band that sang for Yugoslavia in 1974, wrote a song called 'Ring ring ring'. Daughter number one, appeared at the Eurovision in 1991 as a backing singer for Baby Doll, wrote a rather dramatic song for herself. Daughter two, no ESC experience, wrote a pleasant ditty about a man.

To say that the three songs were interesting is an understatement. Other than the song from daughter number one who's song was quite a decent ballad, the songs seemed dated. She didn't win, because she looked like a vampire.

Caroban is a three minute piece of sheer joy. But in Dusseldorf, Nina was a little bit frightened and she was alittle all over the place. The background is too much and maybe something less striking was needed. But I love it. All the flaws and faults do not distract to the fact that this a sensation of a song.

ESC 2011 #4 : FRANCE - Sognu - Amaury Vassili

[rating before - 1st; after - 14th]

Hot favorites usually come through and do what are expected of them. Other times they sink like a stone. Amaury sunk.

The French chose this internally. First, they announced that it would be Amaury Vassilli singing for France, and then several weeks later, the song itself. When you hear it the first time, you think handsome man, talented and an exquisite song made specially for an adult audience of voters. The song went to the top of the betting with discussion of where to hold an ESC in France.

On ESC night, he was dress appallingly. The hair seems to be a trademark for Amaury, but to me it seems he just awoke from bed and presented himself on stage. He looked stressed and he sounded stressed and it was all so wrong. If only he did not have the pressure of standing alone with his background of angry clouds and thunder, maybe it would have been closer to a top ten finish.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

ESC 2011 #5 : LITHUANIA - C'est ma vie - Evelina Sasenko

[rating before - 19th; after - 3rd]

The Lithuanians chose to have a three semi-finals before the national final. Evelina won the ticket to Düsseldorf wearing the oddest collection of garments; some sort of black dress, a collection of golden hydrangeas on her right shoulder, a green curtain with a collection of random sunflowers.

Between February and May, Evelina squeezed herself into a decent dress, learned some sign language, and had her hair done. It made a distinct difference to the presentation. The song itself is wonderful and simple. This song was pitched at an adult audience, and has the elements of the theater.  While many others had fireworks and dancers, Evelina had dry ice. I can say it is the one song that had me on the edge of my seat and hold my breath.

ESC 2011 #6 : GERMANY - Taken by a stranger - Lena

[rating before - 16th; after - 10th] 
The Germans pipped everyone in naming an artist for the 2011 Eurovision - they named the winning artists to defend her title. I saw a short interview where Lena advised the reporter that she is performing for Germany again because she is an egoist. Every honest - very refreshing.

Germany held a Lena song contest and a number of songs were performed by Lena. In the end, a moody song called 'Taken by a stranger' was selected. I did not hear the other songs, so I cannot advise if it was the correct choice. I was surprised at the garments for the backing vocalist/dancers.

There was a surprise that these were present dancers again. Such a distraction, but the while it was being performed - I was completely enthralled by not only the dancing, but the dancing on the screens as well. I think that the credit for the performance is Lena. Lena was moody, seductive and completely in control of this performance. She is completely spellbinding in her three minutes, that you could watch her for hours and days.

ESC 2011 #7: AUSTRIA - The secret is love - Nadine Beiler

[rating before - 14th; after - 4th]

Welcome back Austria and what a song!

The Austrian started their search for an entrant with web-voting and this whittled the list down to a 10 song national final. A super-final of the top three songs on national final night ensured and The secret of love was the winner.

Nadine is remembered on ESC night for a few things:
  • She stood on a purply-black diamond on ESC final and night. 
  • She had the fringe of the night.
  • Had one of the most outstanding singing voices of the night.

Her song is exquisite - a wonderful celebration of fine music and song. At several points, it felt as if the song was going to become a dance number and half naked people were going to come forward and dance - but not so. It was lovely anyway.

ESC 2011 #8: AZERBAIJAN - Running scared - Ell and Nikki

I can't remember how they chose Ell and Nikki. I don't even know how they chose this song to represent them. I don't even know if the guy is Nikki or Ell. I can look into it, but I don't care that much. The song was almost a quiet song compared to the big show and dance songs we've seen in the past from Azerbaijan.

How wonderful and refreshing it was for them to sing a nice pleasant song. How great it was to have two people who can come on stage a just sing the song with some simple steps. Perfect.

ESC 2011 #9: HUNGARY - What about my dreams - Kati Wolf

[rating before - 2nd; after - 29th]

The Hungarians want to do so well at the ESC - but maybe they were trying too hard. They chose a song that Kati was familiar with, and they gave her a decent clip. The fans loved it; a potential winner. Didn't happen that way, and we should all have realised that we never saw Kati sing it live.

The song is a winner. It is such a good song that non-ESC listening people ask what it is you are listening to. Kati is a wonderful looking woman; the film clip shows that she can perform choreography and if the performance was correct, Hungary could come close. Painfully, on two nights in May, the song did not stand up.

Kati looked uncomfortable, sounded uncomfortable and the whole thing was too big for poor Kati. The song is lively and difficult to sing, but Kati didn't move from her spot, no dance, no movement, no steps. She could not sing that song to the standard it needed, and she looked silly standing trying to force out sounds. Her dress was wrong for the song and the lights on the back up people was strange.

I wished that this would improve from the semi-final to the final, and remarkably it did somewhat. But not enough for a credible result. Sad.

ESC 2011 #10: DENMARK - New tomorrow - A friend in London

[rating before - 27th; after - 12th]

As usual, the Danes put on one national final of 10 songs and a fine song comes out the other end.

It is the anthem song of the song contest, the song for everyone to stand on their seat and cheer for something they believe in: Love. Marriage. Babies. Freedom. Joy. Lizards. There is not a bad thing to say, except big ball - big nonsense.

ESC 2011 #11: ALBANIA - Feel the passion - Aurela Gace

[rating before - 13th; after - 16th]

It was December when they selected Aurela Gace to represent her country. Short woman who looked awkward and sang the living daylights out of the song Kënga ime.

At the ESC, a very good translation in English was presented. She again sang the daylights out of the song, but I was concerned by the flames and the fangs and the nails and the things in her hair. But, ignoring all this, magnificent woman - shame she didn't make the final.

ESC 2011 #12: FINLAND - Da da dum - Paradise Oskar

[rating before - 18th; after - 11th]

As always the Finns chose some song that is generally not going to set the world on fire - unless of course it is Lordi. So, they went with a pleasant song for a second year in a row and this one succeeded in making this years final. Mr Oskar was very competent in his presentation and he really looked very unfazed by the attention of the ESC. He came along, sang his song and then moved on.

ESC 2011 #13: SWITZERLAND - In love for a while - Anna Rossinelli.

[rating before - 10th; after - 15th]

It was December last year when they selected this little song in a border town between Switzerland and Germany. The punters thought it was a clever song, but nothing that would make a Eurovision final. They were wrong.

Switzerland making this year's final was one of the most fantastic stories of this year. Considering that they were one of the first songs selected for this contest, they watched everyone else find a song and still made the final. And why shouldn't it? Simple song, no fun and games, sung by a very competent woman with two blokes on sting instruments. So what it came last in the final and her performance was not up to the great one in the semi. Making the final itself was a major success.

ESC 2011 #14: UNITED KINGDOM - I can - Blue

[rating before - 6th; after - 17th]

The UK chose song and singers and then a flash clip was presented. On ESC night, they came dressed from the occasion and they sang their hearts out - or as much as they could achieve anyway. The 4 screens seemed so arrogant with their faces on them and so conceited in their performance. I don't know. Worse - the screaming one (I dont know his name - the one who kept making lippy faces) couldn't hit his notes and for me, spoiled the experience.

ESC 2011 #16: BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - Love in rewind - Dino Merlin

[rating before - 22nd; after - 20th]

I like this, but I'm not a devoted go out and buy the CD fan. It has an interesting bouncing, it has kooky kind of people there, an odd looking gent with a trumpet and there is reference to a household implement - the humble sieve (sito!)

Dino Merlin is a legend in the Slavic countries. He wrote the national anthem of his country and would be considered a national icon and treasure of Bosnia and Herzegovina. So all I must ask is what the hell is the national treasure of this country doing in the Eurovision Song Contest? Please, roll out the red carpet, throw flowers at his feet, place yourself on your knees, give Dino the Grand Prix and lets see Sarajevo next year.

His eminence was selected to represent his country for a third time - first was 1993, and then in 1999. This year he had carte blanche and presented his song in a quirky, over the top rendition of his song. It is a refreshing, honest, innocent song. Not much over the top, no spangly contortionists and items that explode on the stage. Well done.

ESC 2011 #17: SWEDEN - Popular - Eric Saaaaade

[rating before - 9th; after - 18th]

In 2010, Eric went into Melodifestivalen with Manboy and sadly did not win, and they sent a brilliant song that did not make the Eurovision Song contest final for the first time ever.

In 2011, Eric went into Melodifestivalen with Popular and sadly did win. If we are to compare the two songs, Manboy, as stupid as the title is and ridiculous it is for any man to sing, was day to night superior to Popular. 

Popular is still a clever song. The words, the idea, the method. Eric is a cheeky bastard and he could come out and sing the orbituary section of the newspaper and young girls, boys, and grannys will be salivating like he was the last chunk of ice cream in the hot desert.

I always wonder what some of these artist are doing between March and May, cause this is an exact copy of the performance in the semi-final. Possibly the only difference is there was one pane of glass broken versus three in Stockholm. Worse though is that there are steps from Manboy.

ESC 2011 #18: NORWAY - Haba Haba - Stella Mwangi

[rating before - 7th; after - 19th]

I love the Norwegian songs - I've always loved them (except that thing with the Colombian boy with the Chicago Bulls shirt - poor). Haba Haba - interesting, exciting, joyful, pleasant - but it was definitely not my favorite song from Norway this year. I was hoping for 'Not that easy' or 'Dance tonight'. It didn't happen.

Stella, cheeky little minx, presented herself at the ESC. I expected this to make the final and I thought this because there was great enthusiasm for it in the hall and they threw glittery paper into the air. So when it didn't I was surprised much like everyone else. Oh well.

ESC 2011 #19: FYRoM - Rusinka - Vlatko Ilievski

[rating before - 5th; after - 30th]

So, FYROM had a final that went for days, and in the end this was what came out. I must admit that the film clip had alot to do with me liking this song. The performance in the semi is why I like it less.

Other than Moldova, FYROM were the only other country that worse fancy dress to the ESC. I dont really know how they fit into the song seeing as Vlatko was dressed normally and the girl was somewhat normal as well. The performance was very clever, choreography was very lively, but at the expense the backing vocals were poor. It should have made the final.

ESC 2011 #20: LATVIA - Angel in disguise - Musiqq

[rating before - 24th; after - 21st]

TOP 20! Wooooo 

Two years in a row, the Latvians have come last in their semi final. Someone in Latvian TV must have thought that an effort was required. The Latvians do not have bad songs in their selection shows each year, it's just that the songs they have selected (something about a car crash in 2009 and some crap about God in 2010) were rubbish.

So this year - they had another selection of decent songs and the song selected is Angel in disguise. I'd like to mention Banjo Laura which came second and has now been translated into 50 languages, but I don't think it would have made the final.

Angel in disguise is a great song. The young man (he is in high school) who sings the song is very talented and has a wonderful tone. Everything about this song is decent, except the freakazoid who wrote the song, acts like an idiot through the singing of it and does a little rap. Why could he not stay behind the scenes like all good writers?

Monday, 8 August 2011

ESC 2011 #21: ITALY - Madness Of Love - Raphael Gualazzi

[rating before - 26th; after - 7th]

Madness of love was a song that came out of the young people's part of the Sanremo festival. The song that won Sanremo this year was a geriatric who spoke through the entire song and there wasn't a musical tone in his voice ever, and may have dropped mid song.

So, Italy. They came back and to make things much more interesting, came second. Raphael is very talented and I'm guessing that he can present this song in his sleep. I find this very strange that it came second, but I find it dreadfully bland and would rather run for the hills than listen to it one more time.

ESC 2011 #22: CYPRUS - San Aggelos s'agapisa - Christos Mylordos

[rating before - 26th; after - 22nd]

 The Cypriots had come sort of televised contest that selected the performer to represent Cyprus September 2010. The winner was Christos Mylordos. I dont really know anything about the writing of the song, but it's suppose to suit Christos.

Well, he sang the ditty quite well, moody as it is. I'm not sure how the lady with the ball of light fits in I'm not sure. Believe me there is no reference to demon woman in the lyrics.

ESC 2011 #23: RUSSIA - Get you - Alexey Vorobyov

[rating before - 26th; after - 27th]

Along comes another internally selected song from Russia. They kept it under their hat for a while, but it leaked out. Anyway, lively, excitable, upbeat... and if it was left alone it may have done very well.

So along comes a Russian language introduction, some over the top gymnastics and what should have been a credible contender became a farce. Personally, Mr Vorobyov seemed to treat this like a joke. What started out as a sincere piece of Russian was followed immediately by 'do you feel my heart beat you rope?' No, afraid not. I intermittent 'yeah' in though the song didn't encourage me either. I kind of felt Alex seemed to think he was better than everyone and that just ain't true.

ESC 2011 #24: SAN MARINO - Stand by - Senit

[rating before - 25th; after - 26th]

I was somewhat disappointed with Senit. The rendition of Stand by on semi final night seemed meek and shy - when it should have shown strength. I didn't like the hair and the dress. I saw a semi final and Senit was brilliant. I'm not sure what happened.

ESC 2011 #25: PORTUGAL - Luta É Alegria - Homens Da Luta

[rating before - 23rd; after - 25th]

When the Portuguese final came to an end, the audience booed. I don't understand why seeing as the televoters and the juries of Portugal chose this. Possibly because the song is dated and reminds of a time from the 70s, possibly because it is a joke entry.

Even though it is a song with a message, the tune is pleasant and you don't think of it as a song that is a protest. The placards and the megaphone are a classic sign of a protest, a clever idea to add the joy is a struggle in each language. not sure if they had others for the final, but we will never know.

ESC 2011 #26: SLOVAKIA - I'm still alive - TWiiNS

[rating before - 15th; after - 31st]

 Slovakia pulled out one of the lies of the year and I DO NOT believe that it could happen this way. Slovakia decided to withdraw from ESC 2011, but decided to stay in because the cancellation fee was larger than sending someone to Düsseldorf. Nah - crock. First things first there is a fee to be in the contest + the cost of sending the people to Germany. It is impossible that this combined fee is more expensive than a cancellation fee, and if it is, the EBU should be strung up. Let's look at it a different way, if you book a hotel, and then cancel within 24 hrs of your stay - you don't pay one and a half nights stay, you lose the cost of the night. Very curious.

What annoyed me more was that it made Twiins look cheap (cheaper than paying a cancellation fee), and these ladies do not deserve this. I was praying for them to exceed all expectations, make the final and win the ESC. But, it didn't happen. The song is pleasant, modern and something you would listen to on the radio. The twins looked good on the night; one twin can sing and the other can't, but there was nothing to be ashamed of for Slovakia.

ESC 2011 #27: ICELAND - Coming home - Sjonni's friends

[rating before - 39th; after - 13th]

Iceland chose an interesting song that is kind of country, kind of easy listening, kind of pleasant. Iceland had a selection of 21 songs that were whittled down to a final. The favorites were Sjonni's friends and Johanna for very different reasons. Sjonni sadly passed away days before his semi final - so Mrs Sjonni called upon his friends to sing the song. Johanna is the princess chick who was only beaten by Alexander Rybac from the 2009 ESC crown. Sjonni's friends won - Johanna was forth.

I was pleasantly surprised that this made the final; not because it's a bad song, but because there were so many other heavy hitters in the semi final - Turkey and Armenia missed out. It was never going to set the world on fire, it wasn't that type of song. It was just a nice simple song with nothing more exciting than a drummer on a saddle and the large man kissing the seated guitarist to his right.

If you go back to the Belgium discussion a few days back, you will find that I was complaining about their garments being completely different. Here I am going to be hypocrite and say that they really have worn something else. There must have been a sale on for jeans, shirts, blue ties and gray vests, but this is a minor point.

ESC 2011 #28: Ireland - Lipstick - Jedward

[rating before - 42nd; after - 8th]

I am not going to be popular with this one, but I loath this song. The Irish had a national final of five acts like last year. Like last year, they had 4 nobodies and a mega star. You do not need to be a clairvoyant to figure out that the mega star won.

So out come two young lads, who have a unique look, but cannot sing to save themselves. Gratefully, they had a good presentation and the best background presentation to any song, a clear vision of how they wished to present this song, and it worked.

ESC 2011 #29: TURKEY - Live it up - Yüksek Sadakat

[rating before - 11th; after - 35th]

Didn't the Turks fall from grace? From 2nd in 2010 to DNQ in 2011. But there is good reason - it was tired. The artists looked tired, the song was tired, the act was tired and in the end, I was tired.

This is where I am going to compare Manga with Yuksek sadakat, but I'm not going to. They should have thought it through and presented a new song with a new creative presentation instead of a similar presentation to last year to a different song.

ESC 2011 #30: ESTONIA - Rockefeller St - Getter Jaani

[rating before - 11th; after - 36th]

I was stupid. I was stupid because I listened to the cranks that said that this was potentially going win the contest and we would be visiting Tallinn again. But truly, if the song was performed in the polished way it was in the Estonian final, maybe the song would not be remembered as the 2nd worst in Estonia's short history.

I had a problem with her screechy voice, her cutesy performance, the two dumb backing singers, the lame dancers. It really was very try hard, and it got them nothing.

ESC 2011 #31: UKRAINE - Angel - Mika Newton

[rating before - 38th; after - 28th]

The Ukraine have for the second year had a national final debacle. So this year's fun goes like this: they held a national final and they selected a winner - Mika. Two days later, jury members slammed the outcome, there are allegations of vote rigging and all sorts of other malachi and Mika wants to sing something else.

NTR decided to hold a Super final between Mika, and the ladies that came second and third. Jamala, the lady who was second, withdrew and then the lady who was third, Zlata Ognevich, did the same. So instead of having the Mika super final, they just named her the winner.

Let's look at the ESC performance and how I enjoy the song: sound muted. Sand woman - brilliant. Who ever thought of bringing her sand box to the ESC was inspired. Mika: screaming, young cutey Mika. Running about telling people they are Angel's and not having a clue what an angel is or where to find one. Blander than the static on the TV, which is why we have and are extremely grateful for the magnificent sand box woman. And it came fourth... insane.

ESC 2011 #32: BELARUS - I love Belarus - Anastasiya Vinnikova

[rating before - 30th; after - 32rd]

I love Belarus begins with 16 yeahs in an aggressive forceful way sung by backing vocalists and a delightful Anastasiya comes forth and begins singing in a deep manly voice and fist pumping.

Belarus decided internally the song for this year's song contest; the song I am Belarussian was selected. You can view this song here in your own time. Sadly, this was disqualified and they came up with a new song as you can see above. I prefer the new one.

Here is my question; if you lived in a country where there was a dictator heading the show - would you be singing anything but I love Belarus? And seeing as this didn't get into the final with all the firepower and pyrotechnics behind it, you think Ana is hanging around Dusseldorf trying to avoid going home in case they send her to a Belarussian Siberia?

It's not so bad. But let's look at some lyrics cause it's always fun:

I love Belarus, got it deep inside
I love Belarus, feel it in my mind

Inside where? Stomach? Liver? Pancreas?

Feel it in my mind would mean a headache, and I dont think that is a pleasurable experience for her.

ESC 2011 #33: ISRAEL - Ding dong - Dana International

[rating before - 34th; after - 33rd]

Dana International was once a winner. In mid May, she presented with a song called 'Ding dong' and was left behind in the semi finals.

Israel usually selects a singer internally and then a song is selected via televoting. This year they had the artists submit a song and held a contest of 10 songs. So, Dana won. There were other songs, more modern and with better lyrics; they chose Dana.

The song was cleverly written and very pleasant I suppose. The issues was Dana International who appeared awkward and uncomfortable and at times not singing her song to the best of her ability. She wore a very interesting dress, more bread basket than frock.

ESC 2011 #34: POLAND - Jestem - Magdalena Tul

[rating before - 20th; after - 37th]

I'm not sure about something with this song: was it nerves or was she doing too much on the night? I'm going with nerves. It's a good song and regardless of the poor-ish out of breath performance on the night, I hoped it got to the final.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

ESC 2011 #35: GEORGIA - One more day - Eldrine

[rating before - 21st; after - 38th]

 The 2nd of the try-hard states presented us with Eldrine. They held a national song contest where the song 'One more day' was selected over several other songs. I will admit - I liked this song before the contest and expected it to do very well.

Notice the problems. Yes:
  • they are dressed as if they are going to a satanist convention.
  • the hair on that woman's hair is not her own.
  • there is little grasp of English amongst them.
  • there is little singing amongst them while the song was being sung.

I'd recommend singing in Georgian next year - the same former Russian countries will give votes and a few others that have no clue what is going on may find the song endearing.

ESC 2011 #36: SPAIN - Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao - Lucia Perez

[rating before - 40th; after - 39th]

Oh Spain - what happened to you? It is amazing that a country that supplies the EBU one of the highest entry fees into the contest and year after year absolute rubbish is provided to us. There is a great history of great songs and recently, nothing but toilet breaks and visits to make tea.

So the Spanish held their show - whittled down a selection of candidates down to Lucia, another lady and a band of out of tune teenagers who have not seen a razor. Was the best song selected - nah. But it could have been much worse.

I heard the song first and was pleased with the entry on it's own. It sounded cheery and happy and then they changed it. I think it was better before they made the changes and introduced the tin flute. I was looking forward to singing 'cheuro cheuro cheuro' on Eurovision night, but that was taken away too. Lucia looked so uncomfortable singing this song, and she tries very hard to make it relaxed and fun, but she looks stressed and uncomfortable. I didn't like the dress either - it looked like an off the rack number.

ESC 2011 #37: THE NETHERLANDS - Never alone - 3Js

[rating before - 40th; after - 40th]

In reflection, this song should probably be lower down in the list but let's just run with it. I think it's because I thought it had something before the event and then I saw it on stage.

July 2010: the Dutch were the second country to select the artist for the next contest (Lena returned for another go): the 3Js. A song contest of a few of 5 songs were chosen as valid entries to represent the Netherlands. The people (jury+public) chose this.

 When you watch the above clip, here are some questions you need to consider:
  • Was that suit purchased from an ice cream salesperson for a dare?
  • Do you think that the guitarists are trying to get their mug on the TV by constantly walking behind the singer? 
  • What a lame song; can we hear that Belgian song again?

I'm not sure, because I avoid it like the plague, but turn on your local religious channel and see if this sounds familiar. Don't get me wrong, these three men Jan- Japp-Japp possess talents that has seen them release albums. But this is a poor example, and im not convinced of the sentiments or the emotions - it looks like three men who are singing something. Nursery rhyme, shopping list, advertising jingle, 3Js entry to ESC. It came last in the semi final remember.

ESC 2011 #38: ROMANIA - Change - Hotel FM

[rating before - 40th; after - 41st]

New years eve 2010 - Romania had a long, long selection show to select a song.   There were 10 songs and they chose the best song. Really, they did.

Romania at one stage was one of those countries that were making inroads towards winning the contest coming third a few times in the last 5 years. But, the genre of music must have taken a step in a direction not anticipated by the people of Europe.

It's a weird style of song and sadly it is dull. It bops along I suppose, but it doesn't hit any extraordinary heights or anything like that. It's just there for 3 minutes of your life, and you aren't getting them back. (I already tried.)

ESC 2011 #39 - BELGIUM : With Love Baby - Witloof Bay

[rating before - 40th; after - 23rd]
Let’s get this very very clear from the outset - Witloof Bay are a very talented set of people and what they do is amazing. The fact that one of them can make noises to sound like a trumpet, beat boxing, drum kits and everything else is mind blowing. But With love baby on the night was equivalent to a rainstorm of paper cuts.

Belgium selected their entry by some sort of strange web-voting thing that whittled the entries down to 30 something, they had a few semi finals here and there and somehow this was selected. I have to say - I listened to these songs and there were better songs left behind, but they chose this.

Anyway, who dressed them? The ladies look okay, providing some style to the occasion, but there were two guys who looked like they shopped at the Salvation Army outlet store.

ESC 2011 #40 - ARMENIA : Boom Boom - Emmy

[rating before - 43rd; after - 24th]
Earlier this year, the delightful animal that is Emmy was selected to perform for Armenia. A song contest was created for Emmy and four songs were presented and a winner was selected.

Armenia is one of the try-hard states and you can expect to see a tree, a table, last year there was an apricot. Anyway, they decided best to have a boxing theme for this year's effort. With the combination of four gentlemen who danced about, Emmy sang for her life. Cutesy nuarnces, thrusting body movements, excitable  dancing, ropes that appear from the pants of men, excellent garments and it ended up short.
Problem: the song was god awful.

 Here is the chorus:
Boom boom, chucka chucka, your kiss is like a, like a
Boom boom, chucka chucka, your love is like a, like a
I wanna say that one thing is true (True)
I'm in love with you
Like a, like a what? A dog to a frisbee? The way a mother loves a son? If you listen carefully, she is in love with 'chew'.  Is chew an Armenian snack maybe sold at the local 7 eleven? Maybe advertising covertly within the words of this song... mysterious.

ESC 2011 - #41: MALTA: One Life - Glen Vella

[rating before - 35th; after - 42nd]
Malta is not one of my favorite countries - but they are better than they used to be. I was not a fan of their odd couplets, but I think I'm in a minority.

The Maltese people chose their song by the tried and tested Song for Europe contest which was littered with one song - one commercial break, and finally Glen came up in as the winner.
Good points - lively and modern-ish. Bad points - it lasts 3 minutes too long. Glen is a decent singer, but it's a song that goes nowhere and is bland and lifeless. They tried to give it something, but in a year where everyone has a gimmick, Malta's didnt work.

ESC 2011 #42 - MOLDOVA: So Lucky - Zdob si Zdub

[rating before - 41st; after - 34th]

Hats must be going cheap in Moldova this year and strange ones at that. They chose the entrant via a national final and this won.

The talent comes in form of a pretty girl on a unicycle. She pretends to play a brass instrument, she cycles about, she wears a funny hat. Unfortunately, there is also a band that is playing a song. Zdob si zdub are a popular band - they have played all over Europe. They participated in 2005 where they came in the top ten with a very likeable 'grandma beats the drum' song. People like them. As songs go, this years song is poor. I'm guessing there is like a click or something that likes it. Maybe people in pointed hats.

ESC 2011 #43 - CROATIA: Celebrate - Daria

[rating before - 36th; after - 43rd]

Anything that needs three dress changes within a three minute song to sustain interest is always going to be in trouble.

Croatia held a show to select a singer and somehow incorperated in a song contest as well. What came out of it came 'Lahor', which subsequently became 'Break a leg' which became 'Celebrate'. Again, three changes - more trouble.

To add to viewer grief, they added a man onto the production who I am describing as Willy Wonka from a horror movie (imagine sharp teeth). Daria looked completely uninterested, supposedly because she had no clue what was being sung, eyes glazed over and frowning. The approach of Willy shimming along like a swarmy snake and an impending dress change and you just want to look away in case he does something disgraceful to the poor girl. The last dress change occurred with the use of fireworks, but by then i had visited the toilet and put on a cup of tea.

Eurovision 2011

Cause i dont have anything better to do right now - i'm going to rate the songs of this years ESC. Starting at #43 counting down to number #1 in accordance to me. I rated the songs for something else i was doing in May before the shows and now I have complied a new list after. Somehow one plus the other will come up with a list. Just for your info, humour, interest… I’ll tell you how I rated the song before the show too.

Opening Credits

First post ever - daunting. This is not my first website through - started as a part timer with EuroActive (ancient history), then moved to EuroJunket which then became Euro)nation. Oh and I ran Eurovision Champions for two or three years for my mate Craig.  

Creating this website to add to the jungle of internet web pages of the crazy who comment on stuff - place silly pictures etc… Let’s see how we go