Sunday, February 12, 2012

Meanwhile over in Norway and Iceland....

With Super Saturday underway, one thing became clear - you can't watch everything at once. Especially when you're trying to watch "Who Dares Wins" on the telly at the same time :) Having given Melodifestivalen my full attention for 90 minutes this meant that I couldn't tune into the first part of Norway's MGP final.

It was certainly a diverse line-up - Tooji and Lise Karlsnes' lively dance-pop, Plumbo's folk-rock, Reidun Saether's schlager stomper, Malin's Glee-pop, Nora Foss Al-Jabri's Disney film ballad (written by Christian from A1!), Yaseen & Julie Maria's rap, Tommy Fredvang's rock/pop, Carburetors' metal and Petter and Bobby's country song.

Yes, in the words of the big dude in the cowboy hat, things change. Eurovision's national finals are moving with the times and you can now find some very contemporary songs in the line-ups. When I saw Tooji last week, I immediately screamed "Eric Saade clone!" However his song, "Stay" is much more contemporary than "Popular" and I had a feeling it would do well, although the general opinion in blogland since this year's MGP started was that a win for Plumbo with "Ola Nordmann", a song which would probably have limited appeal outside Norway - was a foregone conclusion. Then the superfinal happened and the voting turned out to be more exciting and nailbiting than we could have imagined. For a little while it looked as if a Nora win was on the cards but towards the end there was a surge of votes for Tooji, his tears began to flow (which was a bit tiresome..) and "Stay" was on its way to Baku! Which I'm very happy about.

So having had one eye on the Norwegian voting, and one eye on the Icelandic final, I could now totally focus on Songvakeppni Sjonvarpsins. The show was moved out of the TV studio into a lovely theatre. Not for them the arenas or balloon-waving of Melodifestivalen or Melodi Grand Prix. Whilst I love them, I also love the refreshing down-to-earth normality of the Icelandic adventure. Heiða and Guðrún Árný, two ladies in floaty toga-style dresses kicked off the show with "Aldrei sleppir mér". There was someone missing from the line-up, as writer Greta Salóme Stefánsdóttir decided to focus her attentions on singing her duet with Jónsi.

Of course I was cheering on Magni Ásgeirsson who delivered yet another passionate performance of "Hugarró". However I was realistic enough to know that he wasn't going to win, as there was one very obvious (and very good) winner.

"Stund með þér" was a nice little interlude by Rósa Birgítta Ísfeld, a little reminiscent of Duffy or Amy Winehouse but completely different too. Although her styling was definitely another "WTF???" moment.

As was "Hey" by Simbi og Hrútspungarnir, which is still unspeakably bad, one of the worst songs I've ever had the misfortune to hear in an Icelandic selection.

Next on stage was Regína Ósk with "Hjartað brennur" which was a pretty decent song although I ranted and raved all through it about wanting Euroband to get back together. Maybe some day...we can dream can't we?

Ah, now to "Stattu Upp" by the energetic (if a little amateurish) boyband Blár Opal. It's probably a better presentation than in the heats, but I still didn't like it enough as a winner. I still can't listen to it without thinking of "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz.

If Stattu Upp was a little too lightweight, then how about something more substantial like, say, Greta Salóme and Jónsi performing "Mundu eftir mér"? It's a strong performance although I' not ashamed to say that I'd have preferred Jónsi singing it on his own. But give Greta her due, she's a serious musician and she adds the all-important ethno-drama element.

Songs over, break followed break, recap followed recap, then for some reason I lost the stream and missed the voting and the announcement of the winner. When I tried to get the stream back on the Icelandic TV website, there seemed to be more recaps, or was I just hallucinating by this time??

Anyway I'm pretty pleased about how Super Saturday went...although very tired after all the multi-tasking!!


Raquelita said...

I'm happy too- we need more Saturdays like this! I thought Stattu Upp had a touch of Dynamite about it too actually.I certainly don't think it would do the UK any harm to send a similar sort of song.

I see what you mean about Jónsi as well.I love Greta but ESC would never see anything more dramatic and intense than Jónsi singing that on his own!

I really like Tooji's song.Along with Mundu eftir mér,it's the only one I've liked on first listen.I do feel that he's more Haffi Haff than Saade though :)

Laura (EuropeCrazy) said...

I know I do lots of whingeing about the state of modern music but yes, we should send something modern! Watching all the national finals with their big productions and enthusiasm just makes the UK look more backward than ever, when it comes to Eurovision. I've never known a country like this one with such a stigma about the contest.

Hope Iceland and Norway do well, they deserve it. I'm liking "Stay" more and more with every listen as well.