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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Eurosunday: 150th Post!

As the title states, this is my 150th post on this blog, which means I've posted around once a week on average, which makes no sense because I've posted so infrequently that I can barely remember what points I posted more frequently. Anyways, on to this week's Eurovision decisions.

This week, two songs were chosen/revealed. First is the entry from Belarus, “Eyes That Never Lie.” It’s a pretty good rock song sung by a teen idol type…I’m beginning to sense a pattern. I’ve only heard a live version so it has a chance to improve in a later version, but it’s nowhere near my favorite entry from the country (also not my least favorite either).

Just when I was really starting to like “Zauvijek volim te” Montenegro busts out something that sounds very poppy and exactly like the usual thing I like. I don’t know if it’s just me or not, but “Just get out of my life” sounds a lot, a lot like the disqualified “Innocent Heart” from Malta this year.

In Finland, the top song, “Speakerbox” used sign language in the choreography. The song itself didn’t make that big of an impression on me but visually it looks better and seems a lot more earnest than “The War Is Not Over” did in 2005. The other qualifying song, “Kirkas kipinä” made more of an impression on me, although it’s still nowhere near my favorite in the Finnish preselection. If Jari Sillanpää wins the ticket to Moscow, it might start to feel like a repeat of 2004, since Sakis Rouvas is the Greek performer (although I’d love it to be a repeat of 2005 with Chiara, Omar Naber, and Feminnem, even though I’m not too fond of the first two’s songs this year and I haven’t heard Feminnem’s song for Dora yet).

I predicted it last week (not that it took much skill) -- the United Kingdom sent the Emperors of Soul home. Personally, if it was up to me I would have sent them home just for singing a Billy Joel song, but that’s because I’ve been forced to listen to too much Billy Joel throughout the years. Jade’s spot in the bottom two was much less predictable, since she seems to be “the chosen one” of Your Country Needs You. The remaining three acts are all decent and assuming the song fits their voice, could do decently as well, although my favorite is definitely Mark.

The time has come for me to actually listen to the Bulgarian songs, what with the addition of the good songs as wildcards directly into the semi and final. Still, none of the songs really interested me. Here’s to hoping that something really great will be found in the final.

Norway held its first semifinal this Saturday. Unfortunately, I don’t have as many early favorites as I had hoped. I like “U look good”, but mostly for the lead singer’s outfit. It will probably grow on me by the final. I also like “Tricky” and really enjoyed the performance (by that I mean the outfits), but not as much as everyone else seems to.

Lithuania had their final quarter-final, and aside from maybe “From the distance” and “Kelias pas tave” none of the qualifiers interested me. Iceland too didn’t really have anything that interested me, although “Lygin Ein” was my favorite of their songs this week.

Next week three countries will have semifinals -- Iceland, Lithuania, and Norway. Six other countries will make their final decisions: Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom. I'd like to see "Det det" win in Denmark, and "Druga liga" in Slovenia (although I haven't heard all the songs yet). My favorite Finnish songs are no secret by now. None of the Romanian songs I've heard really excited me, unlike last year. And of course, I haven't heard the songs from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (song in the singular, in that case).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Eurosunday: Doctor Doctor, Make It Better!

First this week was Finland’s second semifinal, which I was anxiously anticipating. “Doctor doctor” was much better live than I’d imagined, which makes it all the more disappointing that it didn’t make it to the final. “Lose control” had a duller live performance (yes, even with the guys playing with fire, because the singers just kind of stood there in a mass) but at least it sounded good and made it to the final. “Surrender” also sounded great and the female singer had a fabulous outfit (purple dress + giant snowflake).

On the British side of things, I was kind of happy that Charlotte went home since she was the most nervous-looking, yet also felt bad for her for the same reason. I assume that since Charlotte was in the bottom two last week and eliminate this week, could the Emperors of Soul be eliminated next week, and the other member of the bottom two that week eliminate the next, and so on?

I didn’t really like either of the Icelandic songs that went through very much, although “Undir regnbogann” had a delightful performance with its 1/100th of a marching band. None of the songs from Lithuania this week excited me either, although if I had to pick one of all of them I’d pick “I dangu” -- and no, the outfits don’t remind me of anything…

Next weekend, things start getting exciting and busy. Belarus picks their song on Tuesday. Bulgaria, Finland, Iceland, and Lithuania have more semifinals. Norway has its first semifinal, and the United Kingdom continues to do its elimination-show thing.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Eurosunday: Broken Innocent Heart

I’m disappointed with the results in Malta, Lithuania, and Romania, as my favorite songs from each (“Innocent Heart”, “Ar tu mane matei”, and “Without cha”) were cut, but hopefully something else will interest me. Hopefully future songs from Lithuania and live performances in Malta and Romania will give me new favorites.

Moldova also trimmed their list down but luckily they all the songs that I like, including “Women’s winner”! Hopefully it will hold up on stage in the national final, whenever that may be.

Iceland held its first semifinal and I like “Is it true”. Finland held their first semifinal as well and neither qualifying song was bad, but they didn’t interest me much. I’m much more excited for next week’s semifinal.

I finally got a chance to watch some of the United Kingdom’s live show, and tuned in just as the voting was ending. I was surprised that the BBC was able to gather together a bunch of “unknowns” that look like they could stand a chance. Based on one performance, I like Mark’s and Jade’s voices and stage presence. However, it’s a little discomforting knowing that the song hasn’t been written yet, although I’m sure ALW can write a decent song quickly under pressure. I don’t know how I feel about Diane Warren as the songwriter. It shows that the UK is really trying this time, but it could also indicate that the song may be a middle-of-the-road non-offensive bland ballad.

Next week, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom will hold semifinals. As stated earlier, I’m really looking forward to Finland’s show -- I hope “Doctor doctor” and “Lose control” sound good live!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Eurosunday: Happy 2009!

It’s the first Sunday in January and you know what that means – first The Goggles do Nothing Eurosunday of the year!

There have been a remarkable number of selection shows so far, mostly from Bulgaria and Malta, that I haven’t had enough time to follow in depth except for watching each of the entries on Youtube once. I like Malta’s “Innocent Heart,” but that’s all that sticks in my mind as of now from either of those two countries. I’ll go back to their songs once the finalists have been selected.

Spain is again doing a selection through MySpace and I admit, I’m waiting for the 50 finalists to be selected before even thinking about sitting down and listening to all the songs.

Belarus picked its five finalists some weeks ago. Right now “This is my day” and “Fantastic girl” are my favorite of them.

Finland’s songs were revealed and it seems that the 2nd semifinal will be a Semifinal of Death, as my three favorite songs (“Doctor doctor”, “Lose control”, and “Surrender”) are being performed then.

Moldova’s songs were released and like the past two years, I have one immediate favorite, which is “Woman’s winner”. Its neighbor Romania’s songs were also revealed and there are a lot of good songs but no particular favorite after one listen through.

I’m mixed on how I feel about the United Kingdom’s new approach. They have a big-name songwriter but are choosing from a selection of unknowns for the singer, and the song hasn’t even been written yet. Still, I feel I should pay special attention to the United Kingdom this year because I have been harsh on them every other year, and they do seem to be actually trying this time around. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find any way to watch the first episode yet (are there any words sadder than “0 seeds”?) but once I do I will try to write about it.

Two countries recently revealed their songs: Albania and Turkey. Albania’s song, “Me Merr ne Enderr” starts off a bit like “Naj Svet Zakriči” from EMA 2007 and then on the chorus, and the key change especially, it reminds me a little of “Plan B”/”Mr. Nobody”. I will wait until the 3:00 edit to give my final word on it but this could become my favorite Albanian entry so far.

I’m indecisive about Turkey’s song, “Dum Tek Tek”. At first I didn’t like it, but it is too catchy to stop listening to. It feels like with the right visual performance it could easily do well because it sounds like a dance hit, and not just because of the d-word.

That’s it for this week (unless I finally acquire a copy of episode 1 of “Your Country Needs You”). Next weekend brings semifinals in Finland, Iceland, Malta, and the United Kingdom.