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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Calm before the winter (song) storm

This week brought a couple of live Eurovision preselection shows. It’s the last week in January before the national final/song presentation rush of February and early March.

Yesterday Finland chose their entry, “Työlki ellää.” I’m disappointed that it isn’t “Anastacia,” but it is still very good. I like the woman-in-fancy-dress-playing-accordion. So far it’s the first song chosen for Oslo that was memorable upon first listen, so that’s a good sign.

Norway had their second chance round, and while my favorites didn’t make it through, “Yes man” and “Jealous cause I love you” made it to the final. They’re both decent songs, thought I like the latter better.

The qualifiers in the third Slovakian quarterfinal were pretty good, and overall this looks to be a jump in quality over last year. “Z osnov” stands out as the most interesting qualifier in the the third semifinal, as it is a decent a capella song. As I’ve said before, I don’t care much for a capella but it has a novelty factor and is performed well. “Niečo máš” also stood out as a decent ballad. I didn’t like the qualifiers in the fourth quarterfinal as much. “Tón” was the most interesting out of that group, but not by much.

Next week is completely packed, with 10 live shows. Slovakia will have two semifinals, Azerbaijan will have their sole semifinal, and Germany and Sweden will have their first ones. The number of countries with entries selected will more than double by next Sunday, as five songs are selecting their entry: Cyprus, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, and Norway. As for predictions, I haven’t heard the songs in Cyprus and Denmark nor the performers in the Netherlands, but I predict “Don’t Wanna Lose You Again” or “Make My Day” for Norway or “Je Ne Sais Quoi” in Iceland. These are probably very unoriginal choices, however, and the “fan favorite” is never a guarantee to win.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More Scandinavia and Slovakia

This week in Eurovision brought another crop of semifinals and quarterfinals.

Slovakia had their first two quarterfinals. None of the qualifiers from the first semifinal are very interesting. The second one was much better. “Emotions”, “Paradise versus Babylon”, and “Blue Sun” are decent and have promise.

Finland had their third semifinal. I was pleasantly surprised that “Sydän ymmärtää” got the wildcard, but I like all three other songs that qualified to the final.

Iceland also had their third semifinal. This semifinal brought my favorite song of the Icelandic selection, which (no surprise here) is “Je ne sais quoi.” It’s very “This Is My Life Part 2.” I was very happy that it qualified. I’m less fond of the other song that qualified.

In Norway’s third and last semifinal, “Don’t Want to Lose You Again” predictably qualified. I like it somewhat, but not as much as other songs from previous semifinals. I do like the songs that qualified for the second chance round, “Tokyo Night” and “I’ll Take You High.”

Next week we get the first national final in a month, from Finland. My favorite is “Anastacia” so I hope it wins. In addition, Norway has a second chance round and Slovakia has two more quarterfinals.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

One more day of just semifinals

This week had no new national entries revealed or chosen, although some singers were announced. There were also a few more semifinals, from the same countries as last week.

Malta had their sixth and final semifinal, and none of the songs really appealed to me. A few days later they announced the running order for their final, and most of the songs I liked are in the final.

Moldova also announced the qualifiers to their national final. I don’t have a favorite out of all the songs at first listen, but there are some decent songs in there.

Finland had their second semifinal. I’m happy that “Love at the first sight” qualified, though I don’t like it live as much as “Anastacia” from last week.

Iceland had their second semifinal, and “One More Day” and “Gleði og glens” qualified. I like the first one better than the second, but neither are favorites.

Norway also had their second semifinal. I was pleased that my favorite from this semifinal, “Give It To Me” qualified. This song being my favorite was no surprise, since I liked this singer’s songs in the previous editions of MGP (although out of the three, “Always always” is my favorite). The other qualifier, “The Touch” is a sweet ballad but nothing really special. Since last week, “Make My Day” has grown on me and it feels most like a winner out of the songs so far.

Next week brings additional semifinals from Finland, Iceland, and Norway, and the beginning of the Slovakian selection.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Beginning of the busy season

First EuroSunday of this year! Last week I didn’t post because nothing much happened (just one semifinal from Malta) but this week was definitely more busy, with one song presentation and four semifinals.

Switzerland presented their song, “Il pleut de l’or.” It’s not bad but it doesn’t strike me as a winner, even with only three songs known now.

Malta had their fifth semifinal, and none of the songs really impressed me at first listen. “Euphoria” and “Hypnotized” show some promise, though.

Finland had their first semifinal. My favorite “Anastacia” qualified to the final, and it’s probably my favorite song remaining in their preselection, along with “Love at the first sight” which is in a later semifinal. “Anastacia” won the semifinal with over half the vote, so it’s definitely got a big chance to be the final choice. My other favorite from this semifinal, “You Don’t Know Tomorrow” didn’t qualify.

Iceland also had their first semifinal, from which two songs qualified to the final. “The one” is a sweet ballad that I could see do well, but I’m less thrilled about “Out of Sight.”

Norway had their first semifinal, and two songs qualified. The first, “Make My Day,” didn’t grab me immediately but like with Maria Haukaas Storeng’s song in 2008, it is not unlikely that it will win the national final. “The Dragontower” was a bit of a surprise, since it’s so BROOTAL and METAL. It’s always a pleasure to see some metal in these preselections, since it so clashes with the idea of what Eurovision music is, yet it’s not a mean-spirited parody of the contest. Always, it’s interesting to have songs with mythological themes such as this one.

Next week brings semifinals in the same countries that had semifinals this week.