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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Gunther Is Back In Finland!

Yesterday Finland held a 10-song national final including two “novelty” entries that were actually notable and enjoyable. First, GUNTHER IS BACK! Along with D'Sanz, his song “Love Yourself” is more of the same. Gunther has not changed at all and we need a dose of him every couple of years.

Second, Club La Perse were carrying the 90's club kid look and life into 2017 Eurovision with “My Little World.” It was much catchier than it should have been and you can't say they didn't try.

The United Kingdom held their final on Friday which wasn't streamed internationally. “I Don't Wanna Fight” by Salena Mastroianni is notable for dropping the title of Ireland's 2013 entry. Did voters avoid selecting this song in order to avoid a similar result?

Next week: The final in Switzerland, and semifinals and heats from Hungary, Latvia Lithuania, Sweden, and hosts Ukraine!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Let's Go 2017

Happy 2017 and welcome to another Eurovision season on this blog! So about last year's contest - #noragerts on my top 5. If there's any song that I would have placed higher, it's Belarus, Belgium, FYROM, and Denmark. I would have placed maybe Hungary, Malta, and Norway lower. What an intense and exciting voting sequence. It was such a thrill to be able to finally see Eurovision on American TV! The downside though is that the commentators were obviously ill prepared, the picture was not in HD, and due to rights issues or something Americans cannot watch any of the YouTube videos from the live shows. I don't know if Google, Logo, or the EBU are to blame, but no matter whose fault it was it drained me of enthusiasm for revisiting 2016's contest.

2017 is well underway with three national finals having already taken place. As with last year, I will highlight one outstanding song from each national final that didn't make it.

Friday was a surprisingly good day to watch national finals, with Georgia immediately followed by Belarus. And both of them were surprisingly high quality.

Nutsa Buzaladze came in second place in Georgia with “White Horses Run”. She gave a suitably Eurovisiony performance with an unusual costume change in the first chorus (I still thought Nina Kraljic did great!). Imagine: if this had made it to Kiev, would they have horse holograms all over the stage?

My favorite song from Belarus was “We Should Be Together” by Angelica Pushnova – the schlager of the night, to no surprise. The standout performance for me was “Follow the play” by Vladislav Kurasov, 50% for the soulful falsetto, and 50% for that fringed jacket!

Albania again held their final late in December. None of the songs really wowed me, but “Osiris” by Flaka Krelani is interesting enough to listen to and look at.

Lithuania had their third heat yesterday, but “Fly” by Rasa Kaušiute from the second heat was sweeping and dramatic and should have made it through. The backdrop takes more than a little inspiration from “Rise Like A Phoenix.”

Next week has two national finals: United Kingdom, who haven't revealed any songs yet, and Finland, who have. I have a few favorites from that selection so there will be plenty to talk about. In addition, Hungary and Lithuania will have qualifying rounds.