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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Angelic Super Saturday

This week a whopping twelve countries presented or selected their entry. Since it’s getting close to ranking time I’ll be brief so I don’t spoil it.

Bosnia & Herzegovina presented “Love in rewind,” which took a few listens for me to get used to but will probably turn out very nicely on stage.

FYR Macedona chose a more ethnic rock song, "Rusinka." Perhaps it's due to the audio quality in the clip I saw but I have no idea what's going on.

Bulgaria chose “Na inat,” a female-fronted rock song and a nice departure from their previous entries. Turkey also presented a rock song, “Live it up,” which seems familiar somehow, which will probably help its chances. Latvia chose “Angel in Disguise,” which is pretty good though I would have preferred “Banjo Laura.” Moldova chose “So Lucky,” which isn’t as good or memorable as “Boonika Bate Doba” but could have potential in the final performance.

Slovenia chose a strong power ballad, "Vanilija," while Austria, Lithuania, and Ukraine chose boring ballads,“The secret is love,” “C’est ma vie,” and “Angels.” Austria’s selection was particularly disappointing because the wonderful “Oida taunz” came in second place, which could have been the new “Dancing lasha tumbai,” in a good way. Ukraine too was disappointing as I would have preferred “Smile.”

Ukraine didn’t pick retro pop but Serbia did, with “Caroban.” Like “Smile” it’s sweet and retro but still sounds like it was made recently, and it probably has more potential since it doesn’t have strange vocal parts and genre shifts in the second half.

I was pleased with Estonia picking “Rockefeller Street,” a very mainstream pop song.
Denmark chose “New Tomorrow” which was predictably in the style of their past few entries. I would have preferred “25 Hours a Day.” As many have said, it does sound a lot like “Sing For Me.”

Sweden had their fourth semifinal and all the qualifiers were quite good but I'm disappointed that Melody Club only came seventh.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

One More Sunday

Five countries chose their songs this week, bringing the total number of songs presented thus far to fifteen.

On Valentine’s Day Poland chose “Jestem,” an upbeat and modern pop song. It’s good, but I preferred the runner-up, “Ktoś taki jak ty.”

Germany chose “Taken By A Stranger,” which isn’t as immediately appealing as Satellite, but isn’t at all bad.

Spain chose “Que me quiten lo bailao,” which is kind of weak but if it’s still a demo there’s opportunity for improvement. As it is it sounds a little too close to Portugal 2009.

Georgia chose “One more day,” which is a rock song and thus a bit different from the country’s previous songs.

Italy chose the “Follia d’amore” for their return. It sounds like an uninspiring jazz song to me, but it will probably be a jury favorite.

Four other countries had semifinal rounds. Estonia had their second semifinal, from which five songs qualified, including my favorite “The Storm.”

Latvia had their third semifinal, a second chance round. Two songs qualified, “Cinderella” and “Look Back At Me Again,” neither of which sound like winners.

Lithuania had their third semifinal, from which three songs qualified. Of the qualifiers, my favorite is “I will break free,” and “Be my baby” is nice too.

Sweden had their third semifinal, and although I think it was the weakest so far it had some good qualifiers. “Popular” is a little too “It’s Gonna Rain” and not enough “Manboy,” and also it really is a little reminiscent of Lili & Susie’s “Oh Mama” like various internet commenters have said, but it was inevitable that the teen idol would qualify. The other qualifier, “The King” is Kempe-does-rockabilly and though the aesthetic annoys me I can’t stop listening to the song; it is ridiculously catchy. The second chance qualifiers were more of a surprise. “Spring för livet” seemed a little dull to me and “I thought it was forever” seemed like a fan favorite that would flop, but I’m happy it qualified.

Next week: A lot more finals! I can't make predictions for all of them, but I'd like to see "Banjo Laura" win in Latvia and "Smile" win in Ukraine.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Oh My God: Again

This week marked the first Eurovision "Super Saturday" of the year, as 5 songs were chosen.

Early this week Germany had a semifinal in which 3 songs qualified for the final.

Ireland chose their entry on Friday, the modern pop song "Lipstick." This marks probably the first time that an Eurovision contestant had recently appeared in an RPG commercial. Will Jedward be bringing their DSes to Dusseldorf? Their song may not be the most highbrow but it was definitely better than the runner-up "Falling" which was too "Drip Drop" lite.

Latvia had their second semifinal during which five songs qualified for the final. My favorite, “Banjo Laura” qualified, as did my second favorite, “Angel In Disguise.”

Lithuania also had their second semifinal, from which three songs qualified for the final, my favorite of which is probably “C’est ma vie.”

Estonia had their first semifinal, from which five songs qualified, including the fabulous “Rockefeller Street” and “Baby Had You.”

Sweden had their second semifinal with shocking results, but I’m pleased with the qualifiers, “I’m In Love” and “7 Days and 7 Nights.” The second chance qualifiers were surprising but they were very well performed.

Malta chose “One Life,” a very average upbeat pop song. Maltese songs have lately gotten revisions before they go to Eurovision, so maybe this one will get polished.

Belgium selected “With love baby” and my favorite song came second in their selection. Unfortunately it is a very average jazzy a capella song.

Finland chose “Da da dam,” an acoustic guitar song with a nice environmentalist message. Some internet commenters have been comparing it to “Me and my guitar,” but I don’t see similarities beyond the singer’s instrument.

Iceland picked “Aftur heim,” a cheery song with a depressing backstory. Don’t know how well it will do in Eurovision but it’s better than quite a few songs picked so far.
Norway picked the fabulous and energetic “Haba Haba.” It’s defi
nitely the most interesting and memorable song out of the ten picked so far.

Next week: Georgia, Germany, and Poland select their entries, and a few other countries have semifinals.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Oh My God: Sweden and Others

This week there weren't any national finals, just a bunch of semifinals.

Spain and Croatia had semifinals this week, but no songs in competition were sung so I won’t review those.

Austria narrowed down their field of 30 songs to 10 in an online selection. I like 4 out of 10 of those songs, so there’s a good chance they’ll pick a good one.

Germany held their first semifinal and picked three songs to go to the final: “Maybe,” “Taken by a stranger,” and “What happened to me.” All of these songs sounded kind of like album tracks (appropriately so, since all the songs in this selection are the tracks on Lena’s new album), and the singles are probably in the next semifinal. Out of this group of qualifiers, my favorite was “Maybe” but not by much.

Latvia had their first semifinal and chose five songs to go through to their final. None of the qualifiers resonate very well with me, but if I had to pick a favorite I’d pick “You are.”

Lithuania had their first semifinal, in which three songs qualified. Sasha Song’s “The slogan of our nation” is definitely not his best song but it’s passable. “Days Go By” is also a saccharine ballad, but is more boring. “7th bus” is a decent retro rock song. The best of the non-qualifiers was probably “Candy Baby.”

Sweden had their first semifinal and picked two songs to go to the final and two songs to the second chance round. The first finalist, “In The Club” was really repetitive but not a surprise because Danny seems to be a teen idol type. The other finalist, “Me and My Drum” was a welcome surprise. The second chance qualifiers were “Something in Your Eyes”, which is an ABBA ripoff if there ever was one, and “Desperados.” I’m very disappointed about the 5th placing of “Oh My God,” as it was my favorite in the semifinal.

Norway had their second chance round and chose “Alt du vil ha” and “Fire below” to go to the final next week. I’m happy about the first, not so much about the second as it was my least favorite in the second chance round.

Next week: more semifinals, and at least 5 songs get chosen!