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Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Day After

As another May draws to a close, another Eurovision has ended, and this year's winner was Sweden.
I'm very happy with the result, as it was my favorite of the year. All the fan and betting hype turned out to be right. Russia had a well-deserved second place. Besides a fun, happy song and performance, they had a feel-good story behind it.

I got 7 out of my predicted top 10 right. Missing out were Greece, Ireland, and Ukraine. Greece surprisingly got their worst result in years, and while it's possible there was a political motivation (maybe people in certain countries were reluctant to spend money on Greece), it's also possible that people just tired of their efforts. Ireland's result was surprising considering their massive following and good draw, although we'll have to wait and see the split public/jury votes to see if there's a difference there. Ukraine did better than Greece and Ireland but was still out of the top 10. I guess there wasn't much of an audience connection with it.

Another Eurovision season comes to close, with a great result. Now all that's left to finish off is the wait for the split votes, and to see how well the winning song does. Hopefully "Euphoria" gets on US iTunes and Spotify.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Semifinal 2 Reactions and Final Predictions?

I got 7 out of 10 qualifiers, not too bad. Croatia and Slovakia were just guesses and I probably shouldn't have expected them to qualify. It shows that YouTube views and being the sole representative of a genre can only get a song so far. Slovenia, on the other hand, I was very disappointed to see not qualify as this always seems to happen every time I really like the Slovenian entry (see 2006 and 2008). Of the qualifiers I didn't get, Bosnia & Herzegovina and FYR Macedonia were pleasant surprises, but Malta still puzzles me.

It must be time for some predictions for the final. It's hard to say who will win. The betting favorite and OGAE vote favorite is Sweden, but they're spotty as to actually predicting the winner. It's also my favorite too, which is a terrible predictor of the real winner. However, it is more popular than the other songs in the contest on iTunes in several countries, and it's currently #14 on Spotify (though it only seems to be available there in Scandinavia).

Russia has the most YouTube views on the official channel by far, followed by Turkey and Cyprus. The past two winners were the songs with the most views on the official channel, so that's a good omen for Russia.

It's hard to predict the top 10 in a field of 26. It would seem easy to just pick songs that are in the second half but last year, six of the top ten were in the first half of the show. However, in 2010 only three of the top ten were in the first half. I could make a case for 20 of the songs appearing in the top 10

Here is my prediction for the top 10 of this year's Eurovision final.


I put Albania in the place of "whatever ballad the juries like more" which I guess could be Estonia or even United Kingdom. Greece's spot in the top 10 is practically reserved at this point, as is Azerbaijan's, and they won't let hosting the show stop them from putting in a professional and successful three minutes of their own. Last year Ireland appealed to both juries and home voters and that should also probably stay the same. Italy is looking good and has a lot of hype behind it, and last year juries seemed eager to please Italy. Russia needs no explanation, and it will be surprising if it doesn't come top 5 in the televote. Serbia will be the ex-Yugoslavian representative in the top 10 due to the quality of the song, the popularity of the performer, and the draw (although I wouldn't complain if FYR Macedonia took its place). Sweden is because of the hype and the performance. Turkey is because of the social media popularity and that teenage girls who aren't into Jedward need some cute guy to text for. Ukraine has an amazing performance, and they also have an impressive record of coming in the top 10.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Semifinal 1 Reactions and Semifinal 2 Predictions

The results of the first semifinal weren't really that much of a surprise. I got 8 out of 10 right: I put Belgium instead of Albania and Switzerland instead of Hungary, and really only the second is somewhat surprising.

I won't be able to post tomorrow after the dress rehearsals, so here are my predictions now for the second semifinal qualifiers:


I was debating putting Georgia in instead of one of those songs since they have a good qualification record, but they have the lowest number of YouTube views out of all the songs in the semifinal, plus it's hard to see juries going for it. I would love for Bulgaria and FYR Macedonia to qualify for the final but I'm not sure how likely it is.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Semifinal 1 Predictions

Here are my predictions for the 10 qualifiers from tomorrow's show:


A bit of an explanation on Belgium: last year the juries pulled through some Disney-ish ballads (Austria and Lithuania) and I think Belgium's song this year is closest to that.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Top 5

It's finally time for my top 5 songs of Eurovision 2012. These are my absolute favorites of the year and I hope they do well. Tomorrow I'll give my predictions for the first semifinal.

5. Denmark  
Soluna Samay - “Should have known better" 

Reaction: This is guitar pop reminiscent of early Nelly Furtado. In Eurovision, it’s closer to Sweden 2010, but better, and it’s also better than the other recent Danish entries. It’s sweet and emotional, with not too cliché lyrics.  
Best Part: Bridge and last chorus  
Rating: 5/5

4. FYR Macedonia  
Kaliopi - “Crno I Belo”  
Reaction: A great rock ballad. It starts off soft and then becomes an energetic rock song, and finishes off softer. It has a very catchy chorus. It has some of the same energy as Turkey’s 2010 runner-up, but I like this one a lot better.  
Best Part: Shrieking high note before last chorus  
Rating: 5/5

3. Norway  
Tooji - “Stay”  
Reaction: This is a hands-in-the-air fun dance pop song. Nice ethnic string touches, plus very heavy synth. It has a very strong chorus. I love the “you better work!” in the bridge.  
Best Part: Last chorus  
Rating: 5/5

2. Slovenia  
Eva Boto - “Verjamem”  
Reaction: This is Molitva 2! It’s not as good as Molitva, but it’s 2nd only by a fraction. The ah-ah-ah parts are different but interesting. As with Molitva, the verses aren’t the important part, just that powerful spine-tingling chorus.  
Best Part: 2nd chorus  
Rating: 5/5

1. Sweden
Loreen - “Euphoria" 

Reaction: This is the best song this year, and a lot of people seem to agree. I can’t stop listening to it. The early part sounds like Ray of Light era Madonna (maybe “Nothing Really Matters”), but better. It’s a beautiful, catchy, and dynamic dance song.  
Best Part: First verse and chorus  
Rating: 5/5

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Beautiful songs

Rehearsals have started and my rankings are down to the final 10! Only 1 out of my top 10 has rehearsed yet, so who knows if one of these acts (or the other remaining 5) will have a performance that will change my and everyone else's mind.

10. Serbia
Zeljko Joksimovic - “Nije ljubav svar”
Reaction: Very Balkan ballad, a little Celtic even. It’s not as good as “Lane moje” but it’s better than “Oro.” A ballad that you would typically expect from him, starting off slow and ending powerful.
Best Part: Last chorus
Rating: 4/5

9. Bulgaria
Sofi Marinova- “Love unlimited”
Reaction: A catchy dance song with a multilingual message. The use of multiple languages isn’t cheesy or annoying as with Romania’s song in 2007, which did a similar “I love you in multiple languages” thing. This uses a greater number of languages and fits them together in the chorus better.
Best Part: I love you so maaaaach”
Rating: 4/5

8. Latvia
Anmary- “Beautiful Song”
Reaction:Too charming for its own good. In that special Latvian English. Just so goofy and earnest. Very catchy chorus. Remember when we were all excited about Banjo Laura last year? It’s kind of like that.
Best Part: Sir Mick Jagger
Rating: 4/5

7. Ukraine
Gaitana - “Be my guest”
Reaction:This is a very contemporary dance song. It has some of that David Guetta feel (some have said it sounds a lot like his “When Love Takes Over”) but that’s what’s popular now. Sure, it’s a song meant to promote soccer, but it works outside of that too.
Best Part: “I lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-love you”
Rating: 4/5

6. Cyprus
Ivi Adamou - “La la love”
Reaction: A poppy, clubby teen song. It has some nice ethnic touches with the strings on the verses. The highlight is the chorus, with a catchy melody and strong drums.
Best Part: Chorus
Rating: 4/5

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Better Ballads

It's time to get to ranking some of my favorite songs in this year's Eurovision. Here are songs 11-15.

15. Azerbaijan
Sabina Babayeva - “When the music dies”
Reaction: Like last year’s song, there’s not much Azeri about this western style ballad, but that seemed to work well for them. There’s something very Christina Aguileira about this song, maybe that it sounds similar to some of her songs as well as the belting. It does add an Azeri touch with the background singer at around 2 minutes in.
Best Part: Last chorus
Rating: 4/5

14. Bosnia & Herzegovina
Maya Sar - “Korake ti znam”
Reaction: A sweet, delicate ballad. It’s kind of slow to get warmed up, but beautiful when it hits it.
Best Part: Chorus
Rating: 4/5

13. Italy
Nina Zilli - “L'Amore È Femmina (Out Of Love)"
Reaction: Building on their successful return last year, Italy has another jazz-influenced song this year. This one is much sexier with great Italian/English lyrics.
Best Part: "You're an independent grown man after all"
Rating: 4/5

12. United Kingdom
Engelbert Humperdinck - “Love Will Set You Free”
Reaction: This is a pretty traditional ballad. It has a simple, memorable melody with an minimalist instrumental. However, it’s not at all boring and moves at a fairly quick pace.
Best Part: Chorus
Rating: 4/5

11. Iceland
Greta Salome & Jonsi - “Never forget”
Reaction: A very Nordic folk-inspired power ballad. It has a strong mix of traditional strings and electric guitars. The male and female voices work very well together.
Best Part: Final chorus/key change
Rating: 4/5