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Eurovision Sofa: The Songs – L to R

Latvia   Anmary                                                                                                           Latvia
   Beautiful Song                                                                                                    125/1
Latvia Hey everyone, lets look at how totally brilliant it is Anmary is singing at Eurovision. She’s even giving us her biography, born in 1980, same year as Johnny Logan was born (look at how she knows that!), and now she is singing a ‘beautiful song’ and everybody loves it. Hooray! Isn’t she totally brilliant? I mean, she even knows Sir Mick Jagger, her contact book must be overflowing, she is simply so popular! Because everyone loves this, it surely must win, yay for Anmary!
My Verdict: If you couldn’t tell, I was being a bit sarcastic.
Europe’s Verdict: Please make it go away Europe, please.


Lithuania   Donny Montell                                                                                         Lithuania
   Love is Blind                                                                                                       150/1
Lithuania In football we have a game of two halves, and well, something similar is going on here. We start with a rather dull ballad, and about half way through it turns magically into a rather dull dance act. And he thinks he’s clever that he uses a blindfold to represent how he find love to be blind. Oh the tedium.
My Verdict: Painful to listen to, for the whole three minutes.
Europe’s Verdict: Even performing at the end of his semi-final, this will struggle for votes.


Macedonia   Kaliopi                                                                                                   Macedonia
   Crno I Belo                                                                                                          150/1
Macedonia What’s this, another uninspiring and fairly average ballad in the second semi-final? Thank you so very much Macedonia. And then, you get a bit rocky, and your song becomes a lot better. Shame you couldn’t start with that, otherwise I’d be totally behind it.
My Verdict: It takes forever to get going, and is probably too late to make an impact.
Europe’s Verdict: I can’t decide, will probably miss out.


Malta   Kurt Calleja                                                                                                      Malta
   This is the Night                                                                                                 200/1
MaltaAs guilty pleasures go, this is, not exactly the worst to admit to. I am aware it’s poor live, quite clichéd, repetitive and so on, but I find it fun to listen to.
My Verdict: It’s on my favourites list, and I don’t care if no one else has it on theirs.
Europe’s Verdict: Not as popular for everyone else as it is for me. But Malta is the first opportunity that the second semi-final gets to get energetic, and this could do well.


Moldova   Pasha Parfeny                                                                                             Moldova
   Lăutar                                                                                                                   80/1
Moldova A personal grower for me, starting off largely indifferent, I’ve grown to actually find the song quite decent. Up-tempo and a very fun song, performed by someone who looks to be enjoying himself singing it.
My Verdict: Although it took its time getting there, I love it!
Europe’s Verdict: Assuming people love this first time round rather than the fourth, I can see this proving to be a very popular song, with a very memorable performance.


Montenegro   Rambo Amadeus                                                                                 Montenegro
   Euro Neuro                                                                                                         200/1
MontenegroAnd the award for ‘We’re not taking this seriously’ goes to Montenegro, congratulations for sending, whatever this is. They say it’s a song, but I’m not convinced. It opens the show on Tuesday night, and will be quite the introduction, but you just can’t see this doing anything. Especially since you can’t have live animals/naked women on stage with you.
My Verdict: Yeah, it does my head in.
Europe’s Verdict: It’s hard to guess the impact it will have, I doubt the juries will be thrilled with it. I suspect something similar with the public vote.


Netherlands   Joan Franka                                                                                       Netherlands
   You and Me                                                                                                           66/1
Netherlands The Dutch usually suck and they don’t care, and for once they don’t (relatively suck). As long as she doesn’t stick to that ridiculous Native American theme, which I find to be quite a bizarre costume choice based on the song. It’s a decent folk entry, but nothing more.
My Verdict: I find myself not caring much for it, but for the semi-final it’s in, it’s an OK entry.
Europe’s Verdict: Sorry Dutch folks, I can see you missing out once again.


Norway   Tooji                                                                                                            Norway
   Stay                                                                                                                      25/1
NorwayI couldn’t care less for this song, really is not for me and while the music style isn’t the same as Eric Saade, the performance and everything else is. Saying that, if it worked for Saade it could work well for Tooji, and the teenage fan girls will no doubt be jamming whatever phone line Norway get, potentially more so than Jedward. Despite my hatred of this song, this could worryingly do very well.
My Verdict: Not my cup of tea, and well, in a different postcode to my cup of tea.
Europe’s Verdict: Will be huge, could surprise itself into getting a great finish.


Portugal   Filipa Sousa                                                                                                Portugal
   Vida Minha                                                                                                         200/1
Portugal While I give credit for it sticking to its Portuguese routes, my God do I get bored a third of the way through the song. I could make the cup of tea I wanted from Tooji, and get back in time to see this finish, I find it that boring that quickly.
My Verdict: Dull, so very dull.
Europe’s Verdict: They may see it the same way as me, and with no friends to help them along the way, this could potentially finish last in their semi-final.


Romania   Mandinga                                                                                                   Romania
   Zaleilah                                                                                                                 16/1
RomaniaFun, upbeat and… bagpipes. I really do enjoy listening to Zaleilah, and so do most of Romania, reaching number 2 in their charts all the way back in September and appearing on several high profile shows (aside from, say, the Graham Norton Show). A really enjoyable song and should spark off interest across Europe.
My Verdict: So fun to listen to, and potentially dance to.
Europe’s Verdict: Will do well, will be a good top 10 bet.


Russia   Buranovskiye Babushki                                                                                  Russia
   Party for Everybody                                                                                                9/1
Russia There’s only one humanly possible reaction to this song, awwwwwwwww. The Babushki Grandma’s, singing part in their native Udmurt and part in English. The song is dreadful, they can’t sing and are horrible out of tune with each other… but still… they’re all so adorable, especially the small one. I just want to give her a hug.
My Verdict: It’s just so adorable. I could watch them sing it, but not listen to them sing it.
Europe’s Verdict: Will walk the televotes, and will be high up, but the jury vote might just knock it back from winning.

To FIFA And UEFA

Roberto Carlos had a banana thrown at him in the match between his team Anzhi Makhachkala and Krylya Sovetov today in the Russian Premier League.

In response Carlos did a dignified response, simply throwing the banana off the pitch and walking off down the tunnel. This despite the fact his team had used all three of the substitutions.

And lets not forget that Russia, in 2018, will be hosting the World Cup, the biggest event in football.

How can this be allowed? Fans who subject a racial abuse are going to be allowed a World Cup? One off incident, maybe I’d accept the fact that there is one idiotic fan in the whole country, who can’t keep his thoughts and views to himself, and ruins the reputation of a normally good, well behaved fan group in the nation. But no, this isn’t even the first time it has happened to Roberto Carlos. Earlier this season Zenit St. Petersburg fans waved a banana in the face of the Brazilian as he walked down the tunnel.

Then there is current West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie, who, after leaving Lokomotiv Moscow, had his former fans unveil a banner saying ‘Thanks West Brom’, with a drawing of a banana in the middle. And he has also spoken out since about the racial abuse he had while in Russia.

The same Russia hosting the 2018 World Cup.

Have Russia so far done anything to solve the problem? No, nothing substantial enough which is having any effect. As far back as 2004 the issue had been noted, especially among Zenit St. Petersburg’s refusal to sign black players, and nothing has been done by the RFU, UEFA or FIFA about any single incident. Nothing. Sure, a little slap on the wrist, if you do it again it’ll be a tiny bit harder. But nothing substantial, nothing at all. Just put a massive blanket over it every single time its seen to the whole world. After all, they are getting the World Cup, how lovely and thoughtful by FIFA. Who cares about the racial abuse that the fans chant, I mean, they are going to have big stadiums and host big matches which people will watch. FIFA have to do something about this, the act is disgraceful and every single time they put a clean sheet on it gets dirty.

And we can’t just blame FIFA for being blinded by money and forgetting all morals in choosing who to host a major international event. That is right UEFA, as you plan on sending 14 teams to Poland and Ukraine, you appear to have massively forgot about the hooliganism in the two countries especially Poland.

Poland has been described as having hooliganism worse than England in the 1980s. Fans have been killed, this years Polish Cup final ended in a fight between Legia Warsaw and the Police. It’s a disgrace, and once again, the major international players that should be looking after and solving these issues aren’t there. They are cowering in the corner frightened to alienate the Polish FA, after all, they did allow them to host Euro 2012.

How can FIFA and UEFA allow two nations, each with different moral issues, the right to host major international events? It doesn’t comprehend or make any sense for me. It allows for weak FA’s who refuse to take action on things the ability to get away with it, hey, the might get a World Cup out of it. England cleaned up its act, now (most of the time) the fans are civilised. Sure there is the odd chant which is suspect, but it doesn’t happen every week and it doesn’t happen all the time. Racial abuse and hooliganism doesn’t happen in rugby, cricket or tennis. Or any other sport for that fact, why should football be the example? Just because the sport reaches a far bigger fan base doesn’t give it any sort of excuse that racial abuse and hooliganism should be allowed. The fans who do this are not real fans, they are cowards. It is more than a sport but it ultimately should be played for the enjoyment of the fans and players. That can not possibly be achieved with the attitudes of the football authorities, especially in Eastern Europe. Both FIFA and UEFA should get out from behind the sofa, and make a stand. Forget all the bribery allegations that FIFA are in at the moments, they should also be taking a serious look at the events in Russia and Poland, and take a serious look in threatening the right to remove the host duties from them if they don’t get up and stop the racism and the hooliganism.

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.