It was a very 'empty' Saturday night tonight without any Eurovision finals and I think I had a little Melodifestivalen-separation-anxiety :))
So to fill the gap, between now and the end of March, I'll be randomly posting my thoughts on all of this year's Eurovision entries. There's a lot of them too, so here goes...
POLAND: "Jestem" - Magdalena Tul.
A lively and modern opening to this year's contest, although a little anonymous and bland. I get the feeling that there will be lots of visual trickery, not to mention copious amounts of PVC (!) to take the viewers' minds off the fact that this doesn't really go anywhere. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUyieVZEQTE
NORWAY: "Haba Haba" - Stella Mwangi.
No-one wants the dreaded second spot in the draw, so it's an even bigger shock when it's taken by one of this year's stronger entries. Of course the first semi-final is much weaker than the second, so Stella should qualify to the final where no doubt she'll be rewarded by a much better draw position. It's a catchy song and big-haired Stella is loaded with crowd-pleasing charisma, however could potentially be loaded down by her vocal shortcomings. If she's able to address her flat vocals by mid-May this has 'serious contender' written all over it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vskHRbkHbw
ALBANIA: "Feel The Passion" - Aurelia Gaçe.
With apologies to any Albanian readers out there, but ('Zharr e Ftohte' excepted) I've never felt that Albania has ever really brought anything remotely great to the ESC party. This doesn't convince me otherwise as it's not much of a song, however it could be one of those entries which could be propelled to the final by a big vocal performance. I wish it had remained in Albanian though - why does everyone feel the need to sing in English these days?
English version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9LE4cQcud4
Albanian version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVd0rMyUTU8
ARMENIA: "Boom Boom" - Emmy.
Aah, a good old fashioned Eurovision song title eh! Unfortunately Armenia has never been one of my favourite ESC countries of recent years either, as they are one of the most obvious recipients of 'diaspora-voting'. This is probably on the irritating side of catchy, but it is very catchy nonetheless and could pick up a few votes apart from the usual ones guaranteed to take it to the final. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSbCuhGPXa4&feature=related
TURKEY: "Live It Up" - Yüksek Sadakat
I know I'm biased as I've become a total Turkey-phile over the last couple of years which has included embracing its music scene, but apart from that I've been really impressed by some of Turkey's Eurovision entries in recent years, particularly the rock songs. So what if Turkey only need to turn up to be guaranteed a final place? At least they always try to break from the Eurovision norm. This is yet another rock-themed entry, it's maybe a little old-fashioned but does have some commercial appeal and I think it'll do very well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7D29knWErw
SERBIA: "Magical" - Nina
Well I suppose you can't accuse Serbia of sticking to 'type'. They've finally moved on from the dreary Zeljko-ballads via the bonkers "Ovo Je Balkan" to something completely retro. Yes, tonight we're gonna party like it's 1969. Or thereabouts. This retro-pop trend was quite popular a few of years ago thanks to Duffy and Amy Winehouse, however hearing something in this style now just sounds at odds with what Eurovision is trying to become in this new decade. Don't get me wrong, the song isn't that bad, it's just a bit too dated. Also what's with all these songs in English this year, even by countries who usually sing in their own languages??? English version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOKzBlamDrM
RUSSIA: "Get You" - Alexey Vorobyov
I choose my words like wise bloggers do ...and tonight I'm going to say that this is my favourite this year. Co-written by RedOne - and you don't get any more 'contemporary' than that, I guess - this has got hit song written all over it, and it's a very serious and catchy contender to go all the way and take the contest back to Russia in 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4z6t1Ch0g78
SWITZERLAND: "In Love For A While" - Anna Rossinelli
Every year you always get entries/artists clearly influenced by the previous year's winner, and this is arguably (although not obviously) influenced by Lena. It has some charm, with that Jason Mraz-feel to it, however it does grate in the last minute or so. But it's not the worst Swiss entry there's ever been....however here I go again with my gripe about English-language entries. Switzerland has four perfectly good national languages to play with - so why do they ignore them in favour of sending an English entry? I'm all for modernising Eurovision, but not when it's at the expense of language diversity. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unFGsb2uRhk