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Eurovision Sofa: Grand Final

© Alain Douit (EBU) , Peter Van Den Berghe (EBU):  The winner of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest

*Looks at predictions. Looks at results. Throws predictions in the bin*

So, after 2 weeks of build-up, Europe has managed to decide that probably one of the worst live songs is the best one! Only in Eurovision.

Maybe I’m being too harsh on Azerbaijan, I did say right from the start I loved the song, and I still do, the studio version. But on the night it was nowhere near the best song, I need more than two hands to count who was better than them.

But let us start at the bottom, poor old Switzerland and Anna Rossinelli. In the end, the song was just too nice, but too finish that far off 24th and not that be that bad a song is very unfair for her. Elsewhere in the bottom five there were three main shocks for me, the two fan favourites of Estonia and Hungary and a personal favourite of mine, Finland. Kati Wolf was for more impressive in the final than the semi final. I think she was hampered by a lack of movement on the stage and the horrible dress, but this should have still done far better. Estonia never appealed to me live, but Getter Jaani did improve her singing, but she just wasn’t good enough to do a half decent song justice. Poor Finland, Tom Dice finished 6th for Belgium last year, Paradise Oskar finished 22nd with arguably a better rendition when it was just him and a guitar.

The rest of the right hand side of the table only has one major talking point, France. Amaury Vassilli came in as favourite, the person the bookies thought might be up and around the winning positions, and he ended up 15th.  He never performed on the night, the big stage and he struggled. He didn’t get in the right key and it failed to pay off. Massive upset.

Elsewhere there was the dreadful finishing of Russia, and if you compare this year’s effort to last year’s which made ‘My Lovely Horse’ look like a potential Eurovision winner, this could and should have easily done better.  At least it shows the bloc voting isn’t just for dodgy Russian songs anymore. Romania finished just behind them, notably gaining no votes from the United Kingdom, and making me think I may have been the only person in this country to vote for him (interesting and slightly pointless fact, the countries I have voted for in the last two years have both finished 17th. Yes I did vote for Bosnia last year and yes I loved it). Iceland did Sjonni proud, and sadly didn’t do better than 20th.

Just outside the top 10 were the trio of the United Kingdom, Moldova and Slovenia. All three of those positions are probably the only ones I agree with. I thought Zdob si Zdub could be the dark horse and get votes because it was just so blooming awesome. I liked Slovenia (it might have been because of Maja Keuc) and United Kingdom didn’t deserve anything more really.

And to the top 10. Nice to see the host nation put some effort into it and get a good result on their home soil, which doesn’t happen enough. Georgia surprised me, because it wasn’t all that good, neither was Greece (god damn that diaspora) which if it probably didn’t have that rap wouldn’t have won it. Though, thank you everyone for making sure Ireland didn’t get anywhere near it. It was probably me predicting them to win. And Dino Merlin, he sure improved for the final and if it wasn’t for that ridiculous decision to mime the piano…

Moving up and in 5th was Denmark, for me the best song on the night. The fact that the lead singer ran all the way down the catwalk and back again didn’t affect anything vocally this time. This should have won for me.

Then, in 4th, Ukraine. How many people were voting for the song (I’m thinking about 5%), the country (possibly 30%) and the sand artist (65%)? I won’t lie, this song is really forgettable because of the sand artist. I promised I wouldn’t do that for the second live show in the row but I did. I’ll give her full credit, it is massively impressive. The song wasn’t.

Into the top 3 was Eric Saade and Sweden. This was the favourite before the rehearsals and then one by one was written off during them. But, almost like he was sandbagging, he performed, and even the glass box smashed on time to make it work. The whole thing worked well for him, and I’m not going to lie, this isn’t a bad song live to finish third.

2nd were the returning Italians and I reckon 0% of the experts I followed on the internet expected this. Out of nowhere, the song France could have easily sent, got itself into second. Probably mainly down to the jury vote, but it is fantastic to see this sort of jazz number get a good enough reception from the televote as well to get itself into second place. Fine result.

And all of that leaves us with Azerbaijan. Credit to Elgar, he is a brilliant singer and if he sung this by himself I would have agreed with the result. But it isn’t, Nikki is a awful singer. Its known that one day in the next few years Azerbaijan were going to win, they are consistently sending good songs into Eurovision, it’s just a shame their first victory will be this one.

So that is it, Eurovision 2011 is all over. And we have 54 weeks before it happens all over again in Baku (assuming they can find/build a venue, sort out the issue of visas and don’t get the privilege taken away from them from not letting Armenia in the country). Plenty of countries can take positives (such as Belgium, who with an a cappella number, finished 11th and were only one point off qualification, how?!!) and some negatives (Norway, the Netherlands). Thank you to everyone who have read my blog posts over the last three weeks or so, if you have suggestions for improvements or general comments, please do tell me any way. I’ll keep talking about Eurovision some way or another throughout the year.

See you all from Baku, from my sofa.

Eurovision Sofa: Grand Final Preview

And just like that it is almost over. In just a few hours time we will know the winner of this years Eurovision Song Contest and where we will be heading to do all of this all over again in 2012.

But yet no one has quite the idea of who will go on and win it. It is hardly like 2009 where everyone new it was Norway’s weeks before the event, or last year, where it was certainly between two countries. This year, any of about five or six could feasibly win, and I don’t think I would be disappointed or surprised with any of them doing it.

The draw for the final has been kind to the neutrals, it certainly has put out a level plain field and only one or two songs have benefited by their positions. The winners of draw must certainly be Azerbaijan (19th), UK (14th) and Serbia (24th). Azerbaijan is probably getting a good mark for the late draw, similar to Serbia which sticks out and I promise you you will not forget it. UK has the advantage of following France, Italy and Switzerland, and having Moldova (the ‘crazy’ song) after it. My only concern for the UK is from all accounts in rehearsals and especially in the Jury voting final they have been very, very poor. I don’t think the other two will go on and win either, Serbia is only going to attract a small audience and the female Azerbaijani singer still isn’t all there.

For me the favourites are going to be France, Ireland, Finland, Denmark and Germany. I want to add Iceland onto that list, I really do, because it is a fantastic song, but I just don’t think it is going to have enough. The problem for Ireland is that the three main pop songs in this are all bunched together, obviously Jedward, as well as Eric Saade and Getter Jaani. For me the one with the bigger appeal is Jedward (sadly) and the two others, despite being favourites in the run up, have barely sounded good at all. Finland and Denmark are struggling from an early running order, I don’t think it is going to affect Finland that much, its going to stand out by a mile, with its simple use of a bloke, a guitar and giant spinning Earth. France is strong no matter what and I think being in her own back yard will help Lena a lot.

The rest of the top 10 will feature the previously mentioned UK and Azerbaijan, but for me, and I’m sorry to everyone who takes Eurovision seriously, but Moldova is just BRILLIANT. It is nice to have a good time in a song and that’s what I’m seeing in ‘So Lucky’, so what it doesn’t feature Epic Sax Guy, they have crazy cone hats! I want this to do well, oddly enough, even as someone who wants more people to realise this isn’t just a light entertainment programme. Yay for contradicting myself. Who cares.

Bosnia and Herzegovina unfortunately managed to draw position #2, this is bad because a) no one has ever won from there and b) people have finished last from there than any other position. Despite the fact that I love the song, you can’t possibly hate Dino Merlin, it wasn’t too impressive on the stage, and sadly, this may struggle. Or at least, not do as well as many people are figuring.

So what about if we look towards the bottom? For me I reckon Lithuania, Spain, Italy, Greece and Georgia. Personally, Spain is my guilty pleasure of this years final and I do want this to do better than it will inevitably do. Italy is a jazz based song but will struggle, its only for a niche market after all. Lithuania remains for me deathly boring, and disappointed me by qualifying ahead of say, Turkey. Greece still ruined their song with rap, and I don’t care for any diaspora, this won’t do well. And Georgia, just isn’t that good.

I simply can’t go the whole post without mentioning Romania, of course I am going to vote for this. I love the song and I love where David Bryan comes from, but I can’t see this having any severe impact on the rest of the competition. (May also vote for Iceland, depends if I can remember to vote before the last 10 seconds this time).

There we are, quick, not covering everyone, but that is my preview. And after some thought, here is my final predictions for it (please, please note, just because I predicted Jedward will win, it does not mean I like it. OK?)

Pos Final
1 Ireland
2 France
3 Denmark
4 Germany
5 Finland
6 Azerbaijan
7 Russia
8 Moldova
9 Austria
10 United Kingdom

It all starts at 21:00CET on all good national broadcasters.

Eurovision Sofa: Semi Final Two

imageAnd all that is left is the final 25. A further 9 countries have been told that they were simply not good enough and now its all down to the finals.

I’ll get my clear and obvious bias out of the way first. Romania, with a singer from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, North East England, qualified. Get in there, what a result, wooooooohhoooooo. Simply brilliant on the night I thought and it was impossible not to like. Trousers possibly needed a bit of work on them.

And lets calm down a little bit now, it did feature very few shocks and 9 out of the 10 finalists I can see how they got there. The odd one out is Moldova, who, with their crazy hats and similarly crazy song somehow managed to find themselves in. They had the energy and certainly enjoyed themselves out there. It wasn’t Epic Sax Guy (who is?). But, really, better than say Bulgaria, or even Latvia.

Those two countries were the ones I was most impressed with on the night, but they both failed to qualify. I personally hadn’t rated Latvia for a while but they showed up for the semi final and slightly disappointed they didn’t get through. Bulgaria for me was a top 5 song on the night, the lack of them in the top 10 also makes me slightly sad.

The expected qualifiers of Estonia, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland all put out good performances. Sweden managed to get their fantastic glass explosion working this time but frankly, it doesn’t really fit in well. Estonia wasn’t too bad albeit it did sound a bit shouty towards the end. Ireland was vocally terrible, but we expected that didn’t we? They had so much energy they could power Ireland for a year. Denmark for me was the best, and despite the insane decision to run all the way down the catwalk and back again, which ruined about two lines of the song vocally. But apart from that look like the country to beat.

Sadly, the rather lovely TWiiNS didn’t make it. They were even worse than Jedward in terms of vocals, probably needed one or two more close ups. Just saying.

My final thought is this, the Netherlands sent there best possible chance in years to qualify yet they didn’t make it. Will they ever qualify out of the semi final? And will they keep bothering with Eurovision considering their results?

Eurovision Sofa: Woah. Are We Heading For a Car Crash?

Take any look at Eurovision odds and you will see France topping more or less everyone of them. But just below lie Ireland, and this year, no matter how much you love or loathe them, they’ve got a hell of a shout to make it victory number 8.

There was a time when all Ireland could do was win, 4 wins in 5 years in the mid-90s. Ireland almost became the unofficial home of Eurovision. Victories in 1992 by Linda Martin, 1993 by Niamh Kavanagh, 1994 by Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettin and 1996 by Eimear Quinn. But since then the Irish have struggled to make any impact at all. The best finish for them this millennium was 6th at Stockholm 2000. They have failed to qualify three times since the introduction of the semi final, finished last in the final in 2007 and second to last just last year. It got to such a stage they sent a turkey to compete for them.

So this year RTE said, you know what might just work, Jedward.

That same group who divided everyone in the 2009 British X-Factor. When I say divided, you had the teenage girls…. and everyone else. Yet the did alright and in the end got every single person in Britain talking.

Also, they have 12 points in the bag from Britain. And hey, for once it isn’t down to political voting (it’s not just Eastern Europe doing it people, we just, have less countries to do it with), as frankly the duo is going to deter a lot of people from voting for it because of who they are. But many others are, as I’ve said earlier, those teenage girls (who I am slightly hoping won’t be reading this, my poor comments) will vote in the droves and with 23 other nations hoping to get all of the other votes, the spread is going to allow this to go through.

That of course depends if they make it out of the ‘semi final of death’ and it really is down to how the rest of Europe sees them. I said in my preview they could be seen as a breath of fresh air, a bubbly, infectious pop group with an annoyingly catchy song, or a breath of polluted air, a pop group that’ will simply fall flat on their faces with an annoying song.

My own opinion is a bit of both, you can’t deny that John and Edward are bubbly and infectious and that is going to be popular with some of the voters. The song itself is a difficult one to call, as its basically the same 30 seconds repeated six times. Yes, it is annoying, and after one day when it just wouldn’t leave my head I seriously had thoughts of going to sleep and not waking up until May 15th.

But it is memorable, it has a fantastic running order in the semi final and assuming it gets a nice enough draw in the final, might be enough to challenge for the win.

One worry for them though must be the fact this won’t appeal to everyone. Unlike, for example, Romania, which is a toe tapper and generally upbeat and fantastic in most departments. Like almost with France they share the issue, and both songs are the polar opposites to each other. It will be interesting to see if Ireland or France could pull it off.

Eurovision Sofa: Semi Final One

image

And so it begins.

And for nine of them its over before it could really get going. So where did it all go right and where did it all go wrong?

The biggest shocks of the night certainly can be awarded to Turkey and Norway. Stella Mwagani is probably a bit easier to explain why she didn’t qualify, and I reckon it might have a lot to do with her vocals. She isn’t an impressive singer and that might not have gone down well with the jury vote, which is responsible for 50% of the vote. On the night itself it wasn’t that much better, and I really had expected this one to stand out being all cheery and happy. But that never came from Norway, and after an underwhelming start by Poland, the stage was all set for Stella to go out and give it all, and it just never happened.

Turkey and Yüksek Sadakat though, I really can’t explain what happened. Sure it wasn’t as good as maNga from last year, but I (and many others) had this down as nailed on qualifier and certainly was all set to do well on Saturday. What happened? Really, anyone out there? It baffles me, maybe it was the ridiculous outfit he had decided to wear, or even it just didn’t appeal to the masses (which surprises me as it certainly was different on the night and a better song than the other rock effort, Georgia). And now, poor old Yuksek has the unfortunate tag of being the only Turk not to qualify for the final.

Many people are also counting Armenia in this category, but despite nicking half the set of Rocky III, this was never good in the first place.

So those were the shocks that failed to qualify, what about the big surprises who did qualify? For me the big two I didn’t see coming were Lithuania and Georgia. Lithuania for me sent me to sleep first time I listened to it and still sends me asleep to this day. But like Armenia last year, they found something to keep (the male viewers) interested. Georgia certainly pulled out the stops and for me, probably scraped through in 10th. How anyone, jury and viewers said this was better than Turkey though shocks and astounds me.

Elsewhere on the night I was disappointed by Kati Wolf and Hungary, who vocally was off the mark but did enough in the end to run through.  I reckon though improvement could made here and it still could be good. And sadly Croatia’s two costume changes both went without a hitch, leaving only Sweden with the risky gimmick remaining.

Overall I’m delighted for Switzerland and Iceland, who probably put out there best performances and I do like the songs themselves. Performer of the night certainly goes to Paradise Oscar of Finland who ended up getting my vote, and has the tough gig of opening the final itself. My only fear it is hardly going to be memorable being the first one out, but it’s a stunning and simple performance and I’ll be more than happy to give another vote to him on Saturday.

Finally, the BBC’s decision to have Sara Cox as ‘host’ is a horrible one and does not work out at all, she is trying far too hard to interact with the audience. Scott Mills isn’t too bad but his insistence to talk over the songs from the ‘Big 5’ slightly annoyed me. Also if the hosts in Dusseldorf could try and be less funny (because they aren’t), that might be helpful too.

So, we now have 15 confirmed finalists, 10 more will be decided in the ‘semi final of death’ on Thursday evening.

Eurovision Sofa: 5 Reasons Why the UK Can Win

“That Sounds Good To Me” in the end sounded good to no one at last years Eurovision, even the traditional votes from Malta didn’t happen. And it deservedly finished dead last, a position that the United Kingdom have found themselves all too often of late.

But people of the UK, it is time to come out from behind the sofa at the party in the living room of European nations, stand up on the coffee table and look down at the rest of them smiling like a mad man, and slightly drunk, screaming that we are the best. So this is why we can win Eurovision:

1. Internal Selection (and taking it seriously)

For me, as much as Eurovision should be down to the public, you have got to remember some of the things the British have sent to Europe. Jemini, Scooch and so on (in all fairness to Josh, he was doomed no matter what). So this year, the BBC decided to get something decent out there and chose Blue. Reducing any chance the British voting public taking the Mick.

2. And They Selected Blue

Three number one hits in the UK, the first British entrant since 1996 to have had any sort of #1 single prior to Eurovision. These guys have stadium experience, can actually sing and hey, have a history of good songs too.

3. Blue Are Popular Throughout Europe

I’m not sure if anyone had seen the BBC documentary ‘Your Country Needs Blue’ (still pun of the year), but they mentioned the fact of their huge status across the continent, especially in western Europe. And this will help the UK get votes from places other than Ireland.

4. ‘I Can’ is Alright Too

Okay, I’m hardly their intended audience, but this is bang on what I’d expect from Blue. Its catchy, its strong and if sung well, sounds good too.

5. It’s Not Jedward

Optimism people, it could be far, far worse. At least our entry is a proper song rather than relying on glittery costumes, handstands and general pazazz. We have a stronger song, and they certainly have a marmite duo.

So there we are people of Britain, be happy we have Blue.

Eurovision Sofa: The Songs (S to U)

So, part 4 of my preview of the songs for this years Eurovision, starting with San Marino and ending with grand ol’ United Kingdom. Lets roll.

San Marino: Stand By – Senit
They are only in it so Italy don’t score nul points. Oooh, you big cynic. Well, maybe. San Marino isn’t that bad. A nice song by a very talented singer for sure, but I do think this could work well being in the middle of two dance songs from Malta and Croatia. Right on the edge of qualification.

Prediction: Shame for the returning Sammarinese, but I can see this one just missing out. 

 

Serbia: Caroban – Nini
Graham Norton: “And now we are going back in time to the 1960s for Serbia’s entry by Nina. Look, it is just like watching Austin Powers all over again. However the retro feel isn’t going to work in my own opinion.”*

*Opinion of me, not Graham Norton.

Prediction: Ooooh I’m not sure why I’ve decided to put them in squeezing into the final, but apparently I have. Must have done it at 3am.

 

Slovakia: I’m Still Alive – TWiiNS
Slovakia decided that this year one good looking girl just wouldn’t be enough to qualify with a poor song, so they decided to send two that looked exactly the same. Double the hotness double the points? God no. But hey, the video has football in it… although that might be them trying to bribe to say nice things about it. Its not a memorable song for me, but I’ll still be alive at the end of it at least. I hope.

Prediction: Miss. Though I imagine the twins themselves may prove to be quite the hit.

 

Slovenia: No One – Maja Keuc
Its like The Silence, once its off our screens, everyone will magically forget about it. Until the round-up, when they come and again and we can continue this all night. Its nice, but not memorable. Nowhere near it, and just as it happens, people are going to forget to vote for it too.

Prediction: Going home early for me.

 

Spain: Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao – Lucia Perez
Its a standard little pop song here. Though, I will admit, actually one of my favourites this year. I feel like I’m celebrating and having a damn good time. Good times!

Prediction: I really want to say top 10, but can’t see it. Sadly. Damn you rest of Europe.

 

Sweden: Popular – Eric Saade
Eric Saade attempted to win the Melodifestivalen in 2010 but could only finish 3rd with Manboy, which in my eyes is a stronger song than Popular. And with the way Popular is being built up, if that had been sent it could have done very well. Popular isn’t too bad.

Prediction: Could be hit and miss, but I’ll follow the crowd and say this will be massive. Top 5.

 

Switzerland: In Love For a While – Anna Rossinelli
You go onto the YouTube video for this song and you’ll notice there are a few dislikes. Honestly, I can’t see how you can dislike this song. Its a sweet song sung by a cute girl which is easy to listen to and easy to look at. But it just doesn’t offer much more than that overall.

Prediction: It’ll get through the semi final and languish in the bottom half of the final.

 

The Netherlands: Never Alone – 3JS
I feel for the Dutch. The come year in year out and never make it out of the semi finals, and they’ve tried everything. 3JS (not to be confused with JLS) are this years latest attempts by the Dutch just, possibly, to reach the coveted grand final. Its similar in a way to Denmark, soft-rock, but its actually OK. Nothing more really, but OK. Not as bad as some of their previous efforts and is borderline qualification.

Prediction: Inevitably going to give it the kiss of death here… but the Dutch will qualify.

 

Turkey: Live It Up – Yüksek Sadakat
Somehow, maNga snuck up on everyone last year and finished second behind Lena. Turkey, obviously thinking that worked well for them, have decided to send back something similar. Although it is a bit less hard rock than last years (having watched rehearsals I can say that, for example, there is a girl doing gymnastics rather than a metal robot with a chainsaw one program error from killing everyone in Oslo). But this is a good song and although he may be slightly older, Turkey are going to be fighting for the win.

Prediction: Top 5 without a doubt and maybe, just maybe, even more.

 

Ukraine: Angel – Mika Newton
It wouldn’t be Eurovision if it didn’t include a Ukrainian disaster in the national final. Mika Newton won, but claims of vote rigging ensued and in the end, somehow, the dullest song in Dusseldorf is here. Its just a boring ballad really and I can see this one struggling.

Prediction: Zzzz, won’t go far.

 

United Kingdom: I Can – Blue
Jemini, James Fox, Javine, Daz Sampson, Scooch, Andy Abraham and Josh Dubovie. Jokes. The lot of them (for the record Scooch deserved nil points, if it wasn’t for that pesky block voting stuff from Ireland and Malta…) Those will sum up Britain in the 2000s, but when Jade Ewen finished 5th in 2009 you realised there was hope for us yet. And despite last year’s step back, this is a jump up a few more steps to gaining credibility again. After realising going to the public was probably not sensible, the BBC chose internally and one of the most popular boy bands in Europe, Blue. Hell, we’ve got points already just because they are Blue. The song is strong again, typical boy band material. You know what, I’m proud to be supporting Britain at Eurovision again this year, because this could do very, very well.

Prediction: Win! Well, nearly, at least.

Predictions

To sum up who I feel will qualify for the semi final, well, here it is (I won’t do the final because I genuinely keep changing my mind every four minutes.

Pos Semi Final 1 Semi Final 2
1 Turkey Estonia
2 Hungary Sweden
3 Azerbaijan Ireland
4 Poland Denmark
5 Norway Bosnia and Herzegovina
6 Russia Romania
7 Iceland Bulgaria
8 Finland Austria
9 Switzerland Netherlands
10 Serbia Moldova

So there we go, I’ve looked at all 43 songs and you can expect from tomorrow some indepth thoughts on certain songs and Eurovision itself. Bet you all can’t wait. If you’ve agreed, disagreed, shout at me in the comments as per usual.

Eurovision Sofa: The Songs (L to R)

We have passed halfway in previewing the songs at this years Eurovision Song Contest.

Latvia: Angel in Disguise – Musiqq
In one of Eurovision’s great ‘I think you probably should have sent this instead’ moments, Latvia missed out on a possible chance of winning with Lauris Reiniks’ Banjo Laura, which was unique and brilliant and what were the Latvians thinking? Instead they sent something average, not going to go far at all. It doesn’t stand out in the crowd of songs in the similar genre of rap-rock (which I repeat, is a dreadful idea). Maybe they’ve sent me in a sulk, hell I’m more annoyed that they didn’t send Banjo Laura than Iceland not sending Yohanna.

Actually, no, no I’m not.

Prediction: Knocked out in our old friend the ‘semi final of death’.

 

Lithuania: C’est Ma Vie – Evelina Sašenko
Last year they failed to make the final with the frankly awesome Eastern European Funk. This year they will fail to make the final with the complete opposite to that. While that was fun and enjoyable, this makes you want to turn the TV over and happily sit through three minutes of The Only Way is Essex.

Prediction: Not to inspire anyone this. Suppose its fortunate there are a bad songs in that semi final.

 

Macedonia: Ruskina – Vlatko Illievski
It was going well for 30 seconds of this song. Nice little intro, beat and sound to it. The remaining 2 minutes 30 seconds of it and we are forced to deal with the graining sound of singer Vlatko Illievski. Its horrible and rough and I am not a fun and in general has put me off the song. Shame.

Prediction: The singer to get on everyone’s nerves and fail at the first hurdle.

 

Malta: One Life – Glen Vella
Nothing really to say about this. Simple dance song which is just average and a tad dated, will struggle to have any real impact.

Prediction: It’ll be close, but will miss out on the final.

 

Moldova: So Lucky – Zdob și Zdub
A year on since Moldova gave Europe the SunStroke Project and Olia Tira, featuring of course Epic Sax Guy. Despite mustering only 22nd in the final (how?), everything following this by Moldova would just seem weak. Zdob si Zdub gave Moldova their best ever finish in 2005, but its going to be near impossible to recreate that this year. Its a poor attempt for a rock number, but hey, they’ll have some fun doing it by the looks of things.

Prediction: Are you seeing a trend here? Like Malta, will be close, but in the end not good enough to get through the semi final.

 

Norway: Haba Haba – Stella Mwagani
Ahh, the fans favourite. Not a position that has always worked well in the past (hello Kate Ryan). Yet this is an upbeat, happy, joyful song that really makes you want to dance. I know you’ll want to. No one will be looking. And you’ll end up voting for it too. Possibly.

Prediction: Oh finally, this one will be popular and get up and around the top 10 positions.

 

Poland: Jestem – Magdalena Tul
If you are watching from the semi finals, this will be the first song you will hear. And it certainly is a decent one to start off with. It isn’t strong enough to win, or get near the top 5. But it is one of the best Polish entries in recent years, but it could be a tad too generic, which might let it down in the end.

Prediction: To be mid-table in the semi finals and mid-table in the final.

 

Portugal: Luta E Alegria – Homens Da Luta
The first time I watched this, I simply thought to myself, “What the hell is going on.” After various follow up viewings, I’m still not sure. It looks like the Village People have went into a protest march. Actually, that isn’t far off the truth. The song is a protest to the current economic situation in Portugal and the government itself, and is sung by six comedians. Not singers, comedians, inspired by revolutions which happened in the country in 1974. It’ll be bright, colourful, totally insane and 100% rubbish.

Prediction: Who knows, some people might like it, which might be just enough to lift it from nul points to 1 point.

 

Romania: Change – Hotel FM
Screw the United Kingdom. Lead singer is David Bryan, from Newton Aycliffe, near Darlington, in the north east of England. And for anyone who knows me, that makes him automatically awesome. If it makes the final (or should that be, when) it will get my vote. But personal bias aside, its still a very good song. Catchy, toe-tapping, and I like it. Won’t do as well as Paula and Ovi did in 2010, but it’ll do itself justice. Not bad for a karaoke singer.

Prediction: Its going to get through the semi final and be in the bottom half of the final score board. However, if I put biased goggles on, its going to win with a record margin.

 

Russia: Get You – Alexej Vorobjov
Well, it isn’t as bad as last year at least. I suppose it isn’t shoddy really in the end, its OK. Will do well because it is Russia.

Prediction: Since its Russia, it’ll get through the semi finals and score points from the expected countries in the final.

 

You know where to argue if you disagree.

Eurovision Sofa: The Songs (E to I)

We’ve already had a look at the songs from the nations beginning with A through to D, so lets go straight into looking at another eleven songs at this years Eurovision.

Estonia: Rockefeller Street – Getter Jaani
getter_48v6085 I’m still in a sulk over Malcolm Lincoln finishing 14th in the first semi final last year. This is no Siren, though to me, that would be tough to achieve. If I put my sensible hat on though, I’ll find this is an alright entry from Estonia. I’m looking at the odds though and see its the second favourite. Its upbeat, positive and you are going to enjoy the chorus. My only negative is the performance itself, which seems poor in the Estonian Final, though I’m sure will be ironed out for Eurovision. Also, Getter Jaani (who seems to be a magician, watch the video) reminds me of one of my substitute History teachers, which is slightly off-putting.

Prediction: Is definitely going to fight for the title. And will be fighting in the top 3 for victory.

 

Finland: Da Da Dam – Paradise Oskar
Tom Dice finished 6th with his just him and his guitar last year. This is a better song and is following the same principles as Dice. The message is simple, young lad called Peter and he wants to save the world from the mess it has found itself in. Its straight to the point and certainly has a deep meaning rather than just a wishy washy pointless love song about someone you can’t have but you really love. Da Da Dam is nice, sweet, lovely and so is the sound of the singer. In the BBC Preview show Your Country Needs Blue (brilliant pun by the way BBC, worth the license fee) it said this sort of song won’t work. Yes it will. Prove them wrong Oskar, prove them all wrong.

Prediction: Ahh, so what, it isn’t going to win. It’ll scrape through the semi finals and finish on the right hand side of the board on finals night, but it shouldn’t.

 

France: Sognu – Amaury Vassili
amauryvassili_fredericalenda-cropped Look, I’m 17. There is no way I should like this. It is in Corsican not English, it is an operatic song and is sung by a French bloke. Yet I like it. Maybe I’m just impressed. But on the grand scheme of things, opera is going to struggle at Eurovision. Despite it being, pretty good, it is going to be hard to appeal to the masses. It’ll stand out at least and I fear its the only thing that might go in its favour on the night.

Prediction: Another one looking good for the win. So far the bookies favourite and is good for a top 3.

 

Georgia: One More Day – Eldrine
The song was going well, a good bit of rock, I was even thinking that it might get itself into the final. And then, oh dear, they decided to put a rapper in it. It doesn’t work, at all. Bizarre mix and ruins everything.

Prediction: It’s a tough song to sell and I can’t see it happening in the first semi final.

 

Germany: Taken by a Stranger – Lena
It is a rare thing for a host country to enter a song which wants to win the competition back-to-back, but Germany have decided to do it. Coming back is Lena, winner for them last year, and Taken by a Stranger is a different beast to Satellite. Although I feel it is a better song, it doesn’t have the same grab to it as Satellite, which won’t appeal to the voting public. It falls down here, despite the song being unique and pretty damn good, it just looks like it will lack the spark to inspire votes.

Prediction: Sadly it won’t be back to back wins for Lena, but looks good still to finish in the top 10. Which for a host country is a good effort.

 

Greece: Watch My Dance – Loukas Giorkas feat.Stereo Mike
Oh Greece. You usually provide us with something memorable, something actually worth listening to and watching. I loved This Is Our Night and OPA, it was an outrage they didn’t finish higher up (UK votes tend to agree with me as well, both times Greece got the 12 points). But this isn’t. The rapper, Stereo Mike, is not very good at all, and in fairness, Giorkas is slightly better. The two however don’t really mix well and it turns into a disaster of a song.

Prediction: For the first time, Greece aren’t going to make the final.

 

Hungary: What About My Dreams? – Kati Wolf
img_9448 Hungary have decided to return in style. Well done MTV. This is a fantastic dance song which is certainly one of my favourites. Kati Wolf is an impressive singer and the dance beat itself isn’t too shabby either. I’m going to put my neck out here and say, if this is in the last five in the running order come Saturday night, this is going to win.

Prediction: As I’ve said, last five on finals night and this will win. Otherwise, I expect a top 3 finish.

 

Iceland: Coming Home – Sjonni’s Friends
Originally, this song was to be performed by Sjonni, however during the Icelandic selection process he sadly passed away. In tribute, his wife and a group of his friends decided to go on and sing this in his memory. It went on to win in Iceland and represent the country, beating former runner-up Yohanna in the process. Coming Home is also a nice enough song, its a sweet little number and with the back-story it has, might find itself being a popular song in Germany.

Prediction: Impossible to predict this one and it all depends on how Europe sees it. It’ll either finish 14th in the second semi final or go out and win it.

 

Ireland: Lipstick – Jedward
This song is brought to you by Marmite. Runners-up in the British reality TV show X-Factor, Jedward have decided to take a crack at Eurovision. I know many, many people who hate them (I may be included), the singing isn’t great and my God is it repetitive. Annoyingly though you can turn that on its head and also say those are good things. You aren’t going to forget this song. It is memorable and will get people talking, which in the end is only a good thing. Turning it again though, that didn’t help Dustin the Turkey. This will either be a massive hit or a massive failure and it depends on how they portray themselves to Europe in the semi final. For me though, they could be huge.

Prediction: Impossible to predict this one and it all depends on how Europe sees it. It’ll either finish 14th in the second semi final or go out and win it.

 

Israel: Ding Dong – Dana International
Dana International won the Eurovision Song Contest way back in 1998, in Birmingham. Ding Dong feels like it belongs in that same competition. Its a poor attempt from a previous winner, feeling very dated and just generally a very average song.

Prediction: Shame for a former winner to put out such a weak song, this isn’t going to make it out of the semi finals.

 

Italy: Madness of Love – Raphael Gualazzi
img_7564_b Italy’s 13 year strop with Eurovision is over as they, as part of the ‘Big 5’, return in Dusseldorf. The entry isn’t too shoddy either, a nice little jazz number from Raphael Gualazzi. It gets you going but jazz is a genre that rarely performs well at Eurovision, and while I imagine it will pick up points, it will only be the lower numbers (apart from when we get to San Marino, of course).

Prediction: In a strong year from the ‘Big 5’ I can see this performing the worst of them. Won’t make the top half, but just below mid-table for me.

 

As ever, if you agree or disagree, please do yell in the comments

Eurovision Sofa: The Songs (A to D)

A record 43 songs will be performing in Dusseldorf and I, the kind chap that I am, have decided to give you a run down of all 43, in a nice alphabetical list which is hopefully easy to follow. Links to each song can be found under the country name. Naturally if you don’t wish to have the songs spoiled, then don’t read on or click any of the links.

Albania: Feel the Passion – Aurela Gaçe
To use a favourite expression of mine: meh. Its not the nicest song to listen to, it feels forced and shouty and it isn’t a nice thing to have in a song.

Prediction: Not going anywhere from the first semi final. Easy miss.

 

Armenia: Boom Boom – Emmy
emmy_final_02 A cheesy pop song over a Greek/Turkish bed. It’s poor, it has been done before, it offers nothing new and nothing I’d actually want to listen to again. The lyrics are also dreadful. This won’t get far.

Prediction: Like with Albania, this is staying in the first semi final and I don’t think anyone would miss it.

 

Austria: The Secret is Love – Nadine Beiler
This isn’t too bad but unfortunately found itself in the ‘semi final of death’ (a term I have just made up). Nadine is a good singer and its a fine ballad, nothing too spectacular however will see this low down the order in the final. Which isn’t the end of the world for the returning Austrians.

Prediction: Might just squeeze into the top 10 in the ‘semi final of death’, will end up finishing in the top 20 come the final.

 

Azerbaijan: Running Scared – Ell and Nikki
img_9876_2 Name a bad Azerbaijan entry to Eurovision. Hard isn’t it. That’s probably because there are none. Sure they’ve only been in since 2008 but its clear that they want to win Eurovision and they sure do put out some good stuff. Running Scared is not an exception either, its a good song that I really do like. Very friendly for the radio and generally in my eyes it is excellent. Ell is probably the superior singer which is the only issue, although Nikki is alright to look at (she has a bit of Louise Redknapp about her) which will partially make up for being not the greatest singer. I adore you Azerbaijan. You have my vote.

Prediction: Putting personal preference aside, this might not be enough, but still good enough for a top 5 finish.

 

Belarus: I Love Belarus – Anastasia Vinnikova
vinnikova_03 Is this a Eurovision entry or a promotional song for the Belarusian Tourist Board? The lyrics have already been modified once because they promoted political views, and ultimately the title and the lyrics come across as arrogant and self centred generated for propaganda about Belarus. This isn’t going to impress the viewers and no matter how decent the song and beat is, I hope it fails miserably.

Prediction: Last in the second semi final. Hopefully with nil points as well.

 

Belgium: With Love Baby – Witloof Bay
Risky business from Belgium, acappella. I do honour their attempt at trying this out at Eurovision and the immense ability they clearly have to have to do it in the first place. However this can only flop in my eyes. This isn’t a song for Eurovision and is aimed towards a niche amount of people. Will be lucky not to finish last.

Prediction: Second to last in the second semi final. Shame I suppose.

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Love in Rewind – Dino Merlin
dm_img_12 I love this song. There is something about it that makes it fantastic. It might be the feet stomping and the clapping or the general feel that it puts a smile on my face when I watch it. Dino Merlin has done a good job here and really hope it gets into the top 10. Will probably do it easily if they get rid of that pianist, or actually give her lessons.

Prediction: You know what, top 10 finish this. Just top 10, but that is still a damn good result.

 

Bulgaria: Na inat – Poli Genova
This could be easily mistaken for a Pink song. I imagine Pink would do alright with this in the charts as well, as it isn’t too bad. It’s a nice little guitar powered pop rock song and might do well in a live performance.

Prediction: Will make it through the semi final but not get very far up the leaderboard on the Saturday.

 

Croatia: Celebrate – Daria
Anything that starts with ‘Friday’ naturally has me concerned, but thankfully this is far better than what you hear from Rebecca Black. Its a good dance tune with light lyrics and a lot of strong energy that will work in the clubs around Dusseldorf but not the stadium. When compared to other songs of the same genre, such as Hungary, it doesn’t quite seem as memorable.

Prediction: May, just, miss out on a top 10 in the semi.

 

Cyprus: San aggelos s’agapisa – Christos Mylordos
the5421 In the end this tries to be too many songs at once, and it struggles to pay off. I think it gets better towards the end and it is unknown how it could perform on a live stage. But in the ‘semi final of death’ I can’t see it making it out. Also, the music video for this seems to have been made in the 1980s and features the worst female actress of all time, which may have put me off slightly.

Prediction: Can see this finishing low down in the semi finals.

 

Denmark: New Tomorrow – A Friend In London
Come on boys, come on girls. You know it isn’t original, and it really lacks something towards the end of it, but this has the potential at least. The song reminds me of Coldplay, and while that might put some people off, I happen to like their music. Probably at the state it was in at the final though will find it mid-table come finals night.

Prediction: Will qualify easily, and be around or about 10th place.

 

I shall place part two (of four) up on Saturday. Till then, if you disagree with my suggestions, yell loudly at me in the comments and criticise me for not knowing a thing about anything. Or if you agree, do the same.

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