free web site hit counter

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Revisiting the Rankings: 38

 Overrated: Israel 2007
Unlike the song I had ranked below this one that year, this one doesn't stand up to repeat listenings. It barely stands up to one. It has a good message but that just isn't enough.

Underrated: Belgium 2010
It's still not close to being my favorite from that year, but "Me and my guitar" was well performed.

Trivia: This is the only ranking in which I've seen two of the artists perform live (Teapacks of Israel 2007 and Compact Disco of Hungary 2012), and both in the same calendar year of their Eurovision participation.

Other songs: Turkey 2008, Poland 2009, Georgia 2011, Finland 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Revisiting the Rankings: 39

39th place was last place in 2010 and 2013.

Overrated: San Marino 2008
The other songs in this position might have some charm in their odd way (yes, even "Narodnozabavni Rock"), but this one is just gloomy and dull and forgettable. Other songs from this year were underrated.

Underrated: Ukraine 2007
Forgive me! When I first ranked this, it was only available in a low-quality live version. After hearing the studio version and watching the live performance, I became a believer. At first it seemed like just a joke, but it's actually pretty edgy. The top YouTube comment rings the truth.

Trivia: San Marino and Spain were both in this position twice.

Other songs: Czech Republic 2009, Slovenia 2010, San Marino 2011, Spain 2012, Spain 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Off-Season Series: Revisiting the Rankings: Intro and 40-43

It's one week after Eurovision 2013. Most fans are burnt out, unless they're occupied uncovering various scandals. To keep this blog going during the off season, I present my project:


Over the next few weeks I'll go back over my eight (!) years of ranking the full 37-43 songs, rank by rank, and add any opinions that time may have changed. In each ranking, I will highlight one song I could have ranked higher and one that I could have ranked lower, plus any extra opinions.

Here are the first four rankings. The first was only represented in two years and the next three were only in five years.

Overrated: Belgium 2011
If I could make this song occupy a ranking higher than 44, I would. Nothing makes me rush to skip a song like “With love baby.”
Underrated: Estonia 2008
It probably deserved its ranking then too, but the absence of silly novelty songs in recent years has given me nostalgia goggles.
Trivia: I completely forgot the name Kreisiraadio until just now.

Overrated: Latvia 2009
See above. If I coud rate it lower I would. Grating, it deserved the place it got. The icing on the cake is the camera getting in the shot.
Underrated: Montenegro 2008
This one was actually kind of cute and catchy, though far from polished. There are at least ten songs from this year I'd put below this one if I redid the rankings.
Trivia: The worst part about the performance of “Questa notte” is definitely the combination of the top hats and jeans. Doesn't work on stage, and especially doesn't work in real life.
Other songs:Romania 2011, Belgium 2012

Overrated: Slovakia 2012
Max Jason Mai may have had more interesting hair, but the #42 ranked “What If” from Belgium was a more interesting song.
Underrated: Malta 2011
I may have not unintentionally listened to this one more than I care to admit.
Other Songs: Montenegro 2007, Moldova 2008, Denmark 2009

Overrated: FYR Macedonia 2009
Completely unmemorable, and Denmark's song that year was just a little better.
Underrated: Spain 2008
I don't care anymore that it was disrespectful. At least it had a beat!
Trivia: Any time an American Doctor Who fan says that the BBC is the best, you can point to the United Kingdom's 2007 entry as proof to the contrary.
Other songs: Moldova 2011, Netherlands 2012

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Eurovision Final Reactions: Hashtag Denmark

It's all over until next year! Denmark won, as the Oracle of the Total Eclipse of the Heart Predicted!

I'm very happy that my top 4 were all in the top 10. Poor Ireland ended up in last place despite a really great performance. Most of the singers actually sounded pretty good

The host was good and having one host cut out a lot of unnecessary akward banter, but the humor was odd. I realize it might not be too far from the comedy writing in Melodifestivalen that just passes me by because I don't understand Swedish. Eric Saade as the green room host was kind of funny, as someone who finds hashtag jokes funny.

I have an off-season series of posts planned that I'll start before the end of the month.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Semi 2 Reactions

Wow, my predictions were pretty off! I predicted Israel, San Marino, and Switzerland to get in, which they didn't. Instead, Finland, Hungary, and Romania qualified. I'm surprised but not entirely disappointed. This result will make for a very entertaining show on Saturday! The show itself was great, definitely more "Eurovision-y" than the first semifinal.

I checked the #eurovision tag on Tumblr and the reaction there is Iceland = Thor and Romania = gay dubstep Dracula. I would say that's an accurate description, except Cezar can't be a Dracula because he's wearing a cross (unless the rules changed post-Twilight).

Tomorrow I'm going to take a break from Eurovision land to see some "real music"...then again one of the bands includes a singer who the British public passed over in favor of Scooch in 2007, so it can't be thaaaaat hipster (yes it can, see location).

I'll put my prediction out there and say that like everyone else I think Denmark will win. It's both a fan favorite and an iTunes hit in several participating countries. Not to the extent that "Euphoria" was last year, though. No Eurovision songs are in the top 100 "everywhere" on Spotify, while this time last year "Euphoria" was comfortably in the top 10. Still, it's good enough. If you want to get superstitious, here's an omen: the last time Sweden hosted Eurovision (2000), someone who had a hit with "Total Eclipse of the Heart" represented the United Kingdom and Denmark won. Could it be a repeat?

Good luck to all the performers on Saturday!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Semi 2 Predictions

Time for some non-expert predictions! Again, these are based on my opinions of the song, fan hype, and assumptions on how this year's voting system will work.

Here are my predicted qualifiers for the second Eurovision semifinal tomorrow:


Nine out of ten of them came easily to me, so it will be extra embarrassing when one of those doesn't qualify. The last one was difficult, so of the eight remaining songs I picked Malta as it was in English and didn't have a potentially off-putting performance or outfit.

As always, good luck to all the competitors!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Semi 1 Reactions

Wow, what a result! I got 9/10 qualifiers right, and missed Lithuania instead of Serbia. None of the ex-Yugoslav countries qualified! All of the ex-Soviet countries qualified!

I'm not particularly gutted that Serbia didn't qualify. The performance was definitely bizarre. Montenegro, too, didn't qualify and had a bizarre performance. That might be an effect of the new voting system in which all songs are ranked instead of the top 10. I can see juries placing a performance like that towards the bottom, pulling it down more. That doesn't bode well for say, Romania in the second semifinal.

The show itself was very good. The camerawork was better than usual, with less faraway shots at bad times. The postcards were cute, and I particularly liked the Dutch one.

After a day of watching rehearsal videos on Youtube I'll post my predictions for the second semifinal tomorrow night.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Semi 1 Predictions

It's time! In less than a day ten songs will advance to the Eurovision final and six will not be reprised.
I almost went to bed without writing my predictions for the qualifiers. I based them on personal preference, fan hype, and distribution across the draw. I am probably way off but at least it's impossible to get less than 4 out of 10 right. Also, I left some of my more favored songs out so I really do hope I am wrong (particularly for Croatia, Montenegro, or Slovenia)! Here they are:


Good luck to all the performers!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ranking Is Free

My top 5 Eurovision songs of the year!

5. Serbia
Moje 3 - "Ljubav je svuda"
Reaction: This is a bouncy pop song that doesn't feel very fresh or relevant, my usual criteria for top of the ratings. There's just something oddly magical sounding about it. The verses sound like they're floating on air.
Best Part: "Malo volim, malo ne volim"
Rating: 5/5

4. Greece
Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis - "Alcohol is Free"
Reaction: How do you say "pick it up" in Greek? This is some fun ska with a Greek flavor. It has an aggressive yet playful masculinity. Its subject is outside of the typical love far of the contest, yet still relatable. Who doesn't love an open bar?
Best Part: Instrumental solo after 2nd verse
Rating: 5/5

Emmelie de Forest - "Only Teardrops"
Reaction: This one is the big favorite this year for good reason. On top of a solid composition there's flutes and drums that conjure memories of Eurovisions in the middle of last decade while remaining fresh.
Best Part: "Only teardroooooooooooops oooooooh" in the last chorus
Rating: 5/5

2. Netherlands
Anouk - "Birds"
Reaction: This is my favorite Dutch entry since following the contest, maybe even since farther back than that. It's beautiful, dark, and haunting. It seems like it could be from another time but timeless rather than dated. Sure it's depressing, but by the last chorus the melody becomes uplifting.
Best Part: "That's why birds don't fly"
Rating: 5/5

1. Norway
Margaret Berger - "I Feed You My Love"
Reaction: Speaking of beautiful, dark, and haunting, this song does it perfectly. It's the closest this contest gets to Gaga (maybe that's just visually) but it's its own thing. It has the most solid melody of the year. Its lyrics are mysterious and even a little violent.
Best Part: Final line
Rating: 5/5

Tomorrow I'll post my predictions for Tuesday's semifinal.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

It's My List!

It's May already! Time for the bottom half of my top 10. I could say "I would be happy if any of these songs won the contest," but that's not really true. Some of these aren't quite "right" for a winner, but they're the songs I enjoy listening to the most, so here they are.

10. Iceland
Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson - “Ég Á Líf”
Reaction: This sounds a lot like (Leonard Cohen's) “Hallelujah” meets “I Am Cow.” That's not a bad thing! Those are good songs, and this sounds good too, without being entirely too derivative of those others.
Best Part: last chorus
Rating: 4/5

9. Romania
Cezar - “It's my life”
Reaction: I don't care what anyone else says, this is in my top 10. The perceived issue with it is the disconnect between the singer, his voice, and the song – if a woman was singing it surely more people would like it, even if the voice was the same (he sounds fine). It's a cousin to 2009's "La voix" with a little 2013 touch (that dubstep break again, which is very silly here but in a fun way). Super catchy and campy.
Best Part: The switch to the countertenor high part (most people would call this the worst part)
Rating: 4/5

8. Russia
Dina Garipova - “What If”
Reaction: It feels so calculated. from another country it would be the product of a goofy average lyricist fumbling around with English and their idea of an Eurovision song, but from a country that really puts effort into the quality of their entries in the past decade, it seems like a phony appeal to vaccuum up votes from people who love a saccharine peace message. This isn't “Peace Will Come” or even this year's “Waterfall.” The melody is also the most attractive Swedish-penned tv-winner pop ballad.
Best Part: “Together we can make a better place/on this little light in outer space”
Rating: 4/5

7. San Marino
Valentina Monetta - “Crisalide (Vola)”
Reaction: This starts off as a pretty, above average ballad, and is helped by the Italian language. Two-thirds of the way through the song, the song gains intensity and becomes a power ballad. The strings, electric guitars, and wailing make this part of the song seem like it was just made to be sung in a high wind (possibly it was). The ending is one of the best in the contest.
Best Part: Ending/last 20 seconds
Rating: 4/5

6. Moldova
Aliona Moon - “O mie”
Reaction: This ballad is wonderfully dramatic. The chorus is a little similar to “Lautar” from last year but with more impressive held notes. The bridge is especially dramatic and fantastic. The English version from the national final also has some surprisingly creative English as a foreign language lyrics.
Best Part: Bridge
Rating: 4/5

Next week, my top 5! Plus predictions and reactions to the contest itself.