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Eurovision Sofa: The Songs – A to D

Well, here we go then. A full and slightly comprehensive review of all 42 songs in this years Eurovision Song Contest split into four parts which will be posted inside the next four days. So, instead of the usual waffling, lets dive straight into it.


Albania  Rona Nishliu                                                                                                  Albania
  Suus                                                                                                                    150/1
Albania My ears, my poor, poor ears. I’m sure there’s a good song in there between the unbelievably annoying screeches and screams of Rona Nishliu, but those really turn me off a song I don’t care for much in any case. By far and away one of the songs I dislike the most, and it’s a shame because she is clearly a talented singer who is inflicting pain on my ear drums.
My Verdict: Run my friends, run far away.
Europe’s Verdict: Could do well with the juries, the fact it’s in Latin and is, well, quite annoying, could detract audience votes.


Austria  Trackshittaz                                                                                                  Austria
  Woki mit deim Popo                                                                                            150/1
AustriaOh the opportunities Austria have offered us this year, Trackshittaz certainly live up to their name. The name of their song literally translates to ‘shake your bum’, and you’d never guess what the main focus of attention was when they performed it in their national final. The rapping is worse than Daz Sampson and the only thing anyone’s going to like about this is their amusing name. And potential shaking of body parts.
My Verdict: Dreadful.
Europe’s Verdict: Will fail miserably, and thank God for that too.


Azerbaijan  Sabina Babayeva                                                                                    Azerbaijan
  When the Music Dies                                                                                             25/1
Like all good host nations, Azerbaijan have sent something so average that they just know won’t win Eurovision for the second time in a row. It’s quite bland, and by quite, I mean very, certainly isn’t knocking anything out of the park or striding for the win. In fact, the only way it’ll get close is the support of the home nation.
My Verdict: Not very good and easily the worst of the automatic qualifiers.
Europe’s Verdict: Will be on the right hand side of the scoreboard very easily.


Belarus  Litesound                                                                                                      Belarus
  We Are the Heroes                                                                                                66/1
BelarusIt’s a bold claim to sing ‘we are the winners’. When LT United performed it in the more literal sense, they came fairly close. In terms of this context, Litesound are more sure that they have sorted everything out and passed the tough challenge. I quite like it, it’s good enough and in a turgid semi-final, really does stick out like a sore thumb. Especially if it sticks with it’s slightly over the top sci-fi theme.
My Verdict: It’s not spectacular or special, but this is still my third favourite song in the second semi-final.
Europe’s Verdict: Has every chance of qualifying, but will become anonymous when mixed with the big guns.


Belgium  Iris                                                                                                                Belgium
  Would You?                                                                                                          200/1
BelgiumIris is 17. Slovenia’s entry Eva Boto is 16. Both are younger than me. What am I doing with my life? Well, I can tell you I’m not sending a decent, if not unspectacular song to Eurovision. And I won’t be expected to have just returned from appearing from a rather emotional, and dreadful, episode of Hannah Montana, in which she is about to propose to the guy of her dreams (who has been there for about 20 minutes). And I think she’s taller than me too, damn her.
My Verdict: Iris is arguably more talented, younger and taller than me, so, I can’t stand her.
Europe’s Verdict: Mediocre at best and will struggle to get out of its semi-final.


Bosnia-and-Herzegovina  Maya Sar                                                                          Bosnia & Herzegovina
  Korake Ti Znam                                                                                                      80/1
BosniaI presume you all remember the ridiculous piano player behind Dino Merlin last year? Well guess what, she is back! And this time, she can’t pretend to sing, mainly because she’s just singing an OK song. Just, OK. Nothing even special, just, OK.
My Verdict: So, so average I really don’t care much for it.
Europe’s Verdict: Could do fairly well in the semi-final, dependant on the neighbours voting in it. Then a poor showing in the final.


Bulgaria  Sofi Marinova                                                                                               Bulgaria
  Love Unlimited                                                                                                    200/1
BulgariaIf Bulgaria couldn’t qualify with a good song last year, God knows how they will qualify with this. While it seems to be an attempt at be a pain in singing in as many languages possible, it fails to work and ends up in, surprise, surprise, another bland, unimaginative song.
My Verdict: I don’t want to be enforced to listen to this on a regular basis.
Europe’s Verdict: Will get nowhere, and fast.


Croatia  Nina Badrić                                                                                                    Croatia
  Nebo                                                                                                                    150/1
Croatia While, like Bosnia, it should do well because of their neighbours in the second semi-final, there is nothing amazing that stands about this. The song feels longer than three minutes and just goes on, and on, plodding along like a limping horse. There are few redeeming features, Nina Badrić is decent enough, but the song is horrendously bland.
My Verdict: So dull. Croatia can’t get anything right can they?
Europe’s Verdict: As I’ve said, the Balkan-heavy semi-final should assist them, aside from that though, they’re going to struggle everywhere else.


Cyprus  Ivi Adamou                                                                                                     Cyprus
  La La Love                                                                                                            33/1
CyprusI hated this song to start off with, a seemingly never ending  stream of ‘la’s’, with an occasional ‘love’ thrown in when you least expect it. I still can barely stand it, but I do note there is a great chance for it to be stuck in everybody’s heads for a bit, like it has mine. Curse my stupid head.
My Verdict: I don’t like it, even if I can’t stop thinking about it.
Europe’s Verdict: Could be popular, it is catchy, bouncy, and very pop-y. Will qualify from the semi-final and will be mid-table come finals night.


Denmark  Soluna Samay                                                                                           Denmark
  Should’ve Known Better                                                                                       18/1
DenmarkI love Yohanna, quite literally. But with her absence in recent times I find myself drifting towards Soluna Samay, the Guatamalese-turned-Dane who is one hell of a good singer. Her song is just lovely and positive, and should do well even in such a strong semi-final.
My Verdict: I do quite like her. Quite a bit. One of my personal favourites as well, and would love to see her do very well.
Europe’s Verdict: Should go far, but might be just short to challenge for the win.


All odds are correct as of Sunday 13th May and all images are courtesy of the European Broadcasting Union.

If you agree, or more likely disagree, please do share in the comments.

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Team Lotus Extend Lead At Belgium

Belgian Grand Prix

Pre-Race

Despite three weeks which tempted the teams to change their drivers, no one decided to alter their driver line up. Belgian Jerome D’Ambrosio would race in his home race. Former New Teams driver for HRT, Bruno Senna, replaced Nick Heidfeld at Renault.

Qualifying 

A wet track at Spa tends to throw up a few surprises, and it was no different this year. Michael Schumacher’s crash allowed all of the six to move up one place, and this meant that Trulli would start 19th, followed by Glock. Home driver D’Ambrosio, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Daniel Ricciardo all finished behind the 107% mark, but were allowed to race based on the conditions.

However for the second Belgian Grand Prix in a row, Heikki Kovalainen made it into Q2. Taking full advantage from a bad call from Force India, he set the 16th fastest time of the session, pipping Paul di Resta into 18th, as well as also beating Kamui Kobayashi.

Kovalainen couldn’t do anything similar in Q2, but the pace of his car held back several other drivers, notably Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado. Maldonado’s subsequent penalty promoted Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock and D’Ambrosio up one position.

Race

Usually a rare thing for Spa, but it was a sunny day and remained that way for the whole race. The start saw chaos, Timo Glock rammed into the side of one of the Force India’s at La Source, causing him to get a drive through penalty. At the same corner, the two Team Lotus drivers came together, so by the end of the first lap, Ricciardo was leading Liuzzi, D’Ambrosio and Trulli. Both Kovalainen and Glock were forced to make a stop.

It remained this way until the Safety Car period, where Daniel Ricciardo unfortunately pulled over because of unusual vibrations. It was a shame for the young Australian, as the race was very much in his hands.

The Safety Car period bunched the remaining five together, and the lot of them all remained relatively close to each other for the rest of the race. Trulli and Kovalainen were able to jump Liuzzi, as was D’Ambrosio and Glock, in the pits.

Towards the end, the Belgian was forced to save fuel, although it was enough for him to finish in front of his team mate.

Jarno Trulli would win, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen. Their performance would be good enough to finish above Rubens Barrichello, however the Brazilian had been involved in a collision and had lost a significant amount of time.

  Driver Team Pos. Points
1 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus 14th 10
2 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 15th 6
3 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 17th 4
4 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin 18th 3
5 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 19th 2
6 Daniel Ricciardo Hispania Ret 0

Post-Race Thoughts

Jarno Trulli (14th) – “I had a great start, passing a few other cars away from the line but then the accident in T1 meant both Heikki and I suffered damage – him to his nosecone, me to the floor and I had to run the whole race with that damage, so to finish 14th after that is just fantastic.”

Jerome D’Ambrosio (17th) – “I’m very pleased how things went in my first home Grand Prix. There were quite a few incidents today so I focused on keep it nice and clean and in the end the team has another good two-car result. It’s been a great way to start part two of the season.”

Colin Kolles (Hispania Team Principle) – “This was a weekend where we needed thick skin to cope with all the problems that we encountered. We knew that Spa would be difficult. We were aiming at a two car finish, but it was not the case. It is a pity that Daniel was forced in to the first retirement of his F1 career and we must now work very hard to solve the issues.”

Standings

Drivers Championship

Just when things started to look exciting… Team Lotus go and spoil it again. Jarno Trulli extends his lead to seven points over his team mate. Both Virgin drivers move out of my newly created ‘win zone’, meaning they need more than a win to take the lead in the Championship. With D’Ambrosio finishing ahead of Glock, he is now only three points behind in that inter-team battle. Liuzzi finds himself in no-mans land, while Ricciardo remains level with Karthikeyan.

  Driver Team Points
1 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus 65
2 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 58
3 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin 52
4 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 49
5 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 28
6 Narain Karthikeyan Hispania 12
  Daniel Ricciardo Hispania 12
8 Karun Chandhok Team Lotus 2

Teams Championship

Hmm… boring again.

  Team Points
1 Team Lotus 125
2 Marussia Virgin 101
3 Hispania 52

Next Race

The final European race is once again at Monza, before the fly-away races in Asia and Brazil. This time last year, Timo Glock took the spoils ahead of Heikki Kovalainen. It is a race the Finn has previously done well at, scoring a podium at the track in 2008.

The track will feature two DRS zones, so passing will feature if they can stay close enough, and manage to stay in the race.

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.