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Eurovision Sofa: The Songs – S to U

San-Marino   Valentina Monetta                                                                                San Marino
   The Social Network Song (Oh Oh – Uh – Oh Oh)                                                   200/1
San MarinoHmm, there appears to be a lot of traffic ahead. Oh, I see why, there’s a massive car crash with this song up ahead.
My Verdict: I do quite like her. Quite a bit.
Europe’s Verdict: Why would anyone want to intentionally vote for this? Why? WHY?

 

 


Serbia   Željko Joksimović                                                                                          Serbia
   Nije Ljubav Stvar                                                                                                  14/1
Serbia No one seems to be talking about this, and I’m surprised. Serbia have the countries who can vote for it, and a song that’s pretty good too. He came close to victory with Lane Moje back in 2004, and his song this year although of a similar quality, can equally challenge.
My Verdict: Not a personal favourite, but it is memorable. 
Europe’s Verdict: At least the second semi-final gets a good song opening it. Should qualify and be in the top 10 at worst.


Slovakia   Max Jason Mai                                                                                            Slovakia
   Don’t Close Your Eyes                                                                                        125/1
Slovakia In a year totally devoid of any decent rock songs, Slovakia have of course sent a rock song that is far from decent, it’s painful. It doesn’t appeal to the proper rock fans, and gets rather shouty for a good time too. Ahh, it could’ve promised a change from the ballad’s, but it’s not getting there.
My Verdict: No, no, or in tribute to this song, NO. 
Europe’s Verdict: I can’t see anyone who will want to vote for this, or listen to this.


Slovenia   Eva Boto                                                                                                     Slovenia
   Verjamem                                                                                                           100/1
Slovenia She’s 16 and she can sing like that? I give up, just what hope for me is left? Sigh.
My Verdict: It’s annoyingly good.
Europe’s Verdict: I wouldn’t be surprised if this got out of the semi-final, and is a lot better than the other ‘Just old enough not to qualify for Junior Eurovision’ song from Belgium, and quite charming in another context. Could easily do a Switzerland on the Saturday, but I’m sure Eva won’t care about that.


Spain   Pastora Soler                                                                                                    Spain
   Quédate Conmigo (Stay With Me)                                                                        18/1
Spain In a strong year for the big 5, it’s hard to believe this song I find to be one of the weakest. It’s not that bad, Pastora is one hell of a singer, I just find the song waning my interest half way through. But, for Spain certainly, this is easily their best song in at least a decade.
My Verdict: Why did Spain start taking this seriously?
Europe’s Verdict: This could be a huge hit with the juries, but will fall short. Still going to be good for Spain. Which in fairness, is usually being higher than 16th.


Sweden   Loreen                                                                                                         Sweden
   Euphoria                                                                                                                 7/4
As fan favourites go, this is right at the top threatening to go into a league of its own. Yes, it’s a song that is going to do well, and a song that is unique at this years contest, but it relies on a lot on the stage performance. Thankfully for Sweden, that part is unbelievably brilliant. Everything but together and this will go down incredibly well.
My Verdict: It isn’t one of my own favourites, but I can see why everyone else loves it. 
Europe’s Verdict: Should be pushing for victory.


Switzerland   Sinplus                                                                                                     Switzerland
   Unbreakable                                                                                                            125/1
Switzerland It took me quite a while to realise the chorus was ‘Swim against the stream’, rather than ‘somethingsomethingsomething’. I want to like it, but it’s too middle ground, and two Swiss people struggling to be clear in speaking English.
My Verdict: I can’t even sing aloud to it… not that I would want to, of course.  
Europe’s Verdict: In such a strong semi-final, this could get left behind


Turkey   Can Bonomo                                                                                                 Turkey
   Love Me Back                                                                                                       33/1
Turkey After mixed success in the rock genre the last few years, Turkey have returned to a more ethnic and ‘Turkish’ song. A lot about this is relatively charming, if not a bit annoying to listen to it after quite a few listens. It should be unfeasible to see Turkey fail to reach the final again.
My Verdict: If only I hadn’t kept on listening to it! Though the two time listens it needs should be fine for everyone else.
Europe’s Verdict: Practically has the Eastern Europe vote in the bag, could be mid-table on finals night.


Ukraine   Gaitana                                                                                                        Ukraine
   Be My Guest                                                                                                         40/1
Ukraine Ukraine, being Ukraine, do well at Eurovision whatever they send, and that’s not going to change this year or many years in the future. The saving grace is at least they do send good entries (or something to distract us from the fairly average ones, looking at you Mika Newton), and Gaitana is sending a catchy, fun and a high energy three minutes to Eurovision
My Verdict: Enjoyable and fun to listen to.
Europe’s Verdict: They’re practically guaranteed a top 10 finish already, this could keep pushing it up for a dangerous result.


United-Kindom   Engelbert Humperdinck                                                             United Kingdom
   Love Will Set You Free                                                                                          20/1
United KingdomWell, well, well. As ingenuity goes, the BBC may have surprised us all, no one expected Engelbert Humperdinck, no one expected anything to good from it either. But, for the second year in a row, the internal selection has come up good, yet fails to be brilliant. It’s a song that can go anyway and everyway possible, but hey, at least I’m not embarrassed with it.
My Verdict: It’s good, at least. 
Europe’s Verdict: Who knows? Won’t win but a good performance should be on the cards.

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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: 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.