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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Eurovision 2018 Preselection Blog Week 4

Destination Eurovision in France was something really special. It just goes to show what happens when you actually try, and take advantage of your musical talent. Other large music markets take note. Of course, it wouldn't be a great national final without a surprising result. Emmy Liyana was robbed by the public vote, with an amazing song “OK ou KO” and performance. And I liked Louka's “Mamma Mia” but since it came it last I might have been the only one. Side note: that was with them playing “Chained to the Rhythm” when the winner was announced? It's not like “Eva” didn't have a message. And Lisandro Cuxi would have been a phenomenal performer. The fact that the pool of songs and performers was so deep is commendable, and it will be hard for some other countries that usually have strong fields to compete. Like Jon Ola Sand basically said, please do this every year from now on.

Hungary's second semifinal wasn't as thrilling (but it's a semifinal, so that's okay). “Runaround” by Peet Project has a nice sax bit. Nene had a really mismatched look in their promo picture on the A Dal website where the women put such effort in their appearance and the men look like they just rolled out of bed – what double standards ( At least on the night they all dressed up to perform “Mese a királyról” and had kind of a “Loin d'ici” look.

Trying to keep up with Lithuanian heats makes me feel like Valdas Lacko in this week's third heat, so I don'.

And as for surprising results, how did “Safari” by Serena not make it through the second semifinal in Romania? It was the most contemporary by far and with a bit of polish on the stage show would easily have done well in Lisbon. Of course, it wouldn't be Eurovision on-season without a few shockers.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Eurovision 2018 Preselection Blog Week 3

Things are starting to pick up, but it's still very slow. Last year at this time we had the excellent Georgian final, but it's been a month since the first national final and no songs have been selected or revealed since.

In France, Sarah Caillibot had a lovely and again very French ballad in "Tu me manques". In Romania, Johnny Badulescu had a nice ballad in "Devoted". And in Hungary, Patikadomb had a peppy 00's throwback in “Jó szelet!”

Honestly the most exciting Eurovision competition appearance this year was the European Figure Skating Championships, with the appearance of 2014 favorite "Silent Storm"! How Norwegian, he should have gotten extra points for the song choice. And there was this ironic moment too.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Eurovision 2018 Preselection Blog Week 2

Another week passed and while there were a few televised audition rounds (namely in Belarus and Romania) and song revelations, the only country that had anything notable this week was a semifinal in France. France is turning out to have a preselection other countries would be jealous of. Of course it has a big music scene, but there are other big music markets that don't tap into the depth of their talent (U Know who). Maybe it's tapping into cool young performers and writers who don't have a stigma for Eurovision, or maybe it's its recent good results that attract quality.

"J'ai cru" by Ehla was very cool and French, and "L'un près de l'autre" by Noée was very pretty, magical, and French, and neither made the final but they would have been very attractive and instantly recognizable as French to viewers. "Jamais sans toi" by Phéno-Men was the kind of motown-inspired funk that has done pretty well in the contest in recent years, although it seemed a little too vocally restrained.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Eurovision 2018 Preselection Blog Week 1

Out of the light, like a star, like a hero, this blog will survive! It's that time of year again for Eurovision on-season, and can you believe that song was 10 years ago? I still don't regret putting it in 1st.

Now that last year's results have sunk in, it was still a fine winner that will become a classic. All of Portugal and the rest of the world wants to be there in person for Portugal to finally host if the ticket sales are any indication. Honestly the song I have listened to the most since last May is “My Friend,” so abandon all expectation of my taste.

As with the last few years, until all the Eurovision entries have been selected I will highlight one song from each selection that missed out, and sometimes might be better than the actual entry. In the interest of time I will mostly highlight finals, and only semifinals and heats when I feel like it, like Melodifestivalen because I am biased.

As always, Albania had their song selected before Christmas. Many fans preferred the power ballad “Pjedestal” which is one of the stronger songs among the selection, but on it's own it's lacking the memorability that would be needed to differentiate it from any other big-voiced ballad. My favorite song from the selection was “Tjetër Jetë” by Grupi Na & Festina Mejzini. It had a powerful soft-rock chorus, more powerful than the actual winner, a total earworm. I try to go about my business but at all hours ringing in my head is “NJË TJETËR JEEEEEEEEETË!”

In this dry part of the season (in more ways than one), there is always one constant: endless heats and semifinals in Lithuania. Evaldas Vaikasas had a nice ballad in “Blind” that should have gone through to the semifinal, but more so for his amazing outfit.  Meda Meškauskaitė's “Blood Roses” was hypnotizing and should have gone through as well, but maybe it needed different staging (more roses and more blood, less of that dancer). She and this song are too good to not pass through this early in the Lithuanian heats. I encourage you to check out her YouTube channel too.