Thursday 29 December 2011

Albania 2012 - Rona Nishliu - Suus

Albania have chosen, and they appear to have sent a Gungan from Star Wars in some considerable pain.

Larking aside, they've gone for a really quite difficult ballad, sung fantastically, passionately and somewhat screechily, that will really, really annoy the Eurovision fan boys! Good work in my book!

I love it, but be warned - have fingers poised near ears, and remove all razorblades from the proximity before listening...

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips

Albania 2012 - Bojken Lako ft. Breza - Te Zakonshem

It's the 50th running of Albania's Festivali i Keneges tonight, a massive national song contest that in recent years has doubled as their Eurovision preselection, and sadly it's a forest of weak lady-fuelled ballads.

However, the few goths among us will be gladdened to see the return of the man mountain of gloom, Bojken Lako, with this cheery little Sisters Of Mercy meets Conan The Barbarian style ditty - heck, he's even got his very own spooky Xena-moll along with him. I'd love it if this got through, but sadly I suspect it'll be another silicon-pumped balladette - or the old bloke with the wig again...

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips

Thursday 22 December 2011

Belarus 2012 - Victoria Aleshko - Dream

Last night's Belarussian semi-final was a bit of a let down. The usually brually reliable Nuteki sent in a toothless and half-assed indie pop groove, livelyists The Champions crashed and burned and there were far too many ballads - and not enough bonkers folklorick tunes.

Of the five that got through to next month's final, only Victoria Aleshko's effort had any real standout moments to it. Her hair looked so huge that I could swear it had a couple of its own moons, and a weird chord sequnce at the end was unlike pretty much anything I've ever heard at Eurovision.

Sadly, the canned applause got suspiciously louder when her rival finalist Alyona Lanskaya performed, so the final looks like a done deal already. So enjoy this one while you can!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Azerbaijan 2012 - Hayyam Mustafazadeh - Molitva

Next year's hosts, rather than choosing some great national musical hero to show off about without having to worry about actually winning, are holding some manner of long and complicated casting show process to choose the singer for their hometown show. But of course, as we know from history, the winner isn't necessarily entirely the act that ends up on the Eurovision stage.

The winner of last week's show has got a bit of something about him though - if you happen to like over-serious men with voices so deep that all the birds fall from the sky when he sings. Witness his read-off-a-sheet version of that little Serbian lad's winning song from 2007, and watch your eye jelly rattle.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Sunday 18 December 2011

Slovenia 2012 - Nika & Eva Prusnik - Je Veux

Slovenia are attempting to follow up last year's relative success by changing the whole format of the EMA and turning it into a kind of X Factor style casting show. After ten heats they're down to the last four, and the competition is fierce.

The three solo singer are all pretty strong performers, but the sister act of Nika & Eva Prusnik have got unforced kooky teen charm by the bucketload, and come over every bit like Lena M-L in stereo.

They've sung some beautifully unhinged covers on their journey through the contest. including Satellite and a very strange version of Gangsta's Paradise, but best of all was this delightful stomp through French alt folkster Zaz's fab song Je Veux. If they get through and are dealt a song in this kind of style, I reckon they could sweep up an indecent amount of votes in Baku come May.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Saturday 17 December 2011

Belarus 2012 - Thriller - Message To The World

Belarus can usually be relied on for a few thrills and giggles, and this year they appear to be having a full and proper final. And while we're most looking forward to seeing what ace Russian screamo act Nuteki will have to offer, of the ones we've heard so far, this curious little ditty has made us smile each time we've seen it.

They're a curious hotch-potch of a band, Thriller, and their song is fitting to their random bus queue of a style. It starts off with the long slow build up of an Ibiza rave tune, but just when you're expecting it to break into the high energy pick up... well... it turns off in a very different direction to the one you were expecting. And then another 40 seconds on, it goes and surprises you again.

It's no winner, but it's a likeable and quaintly entertaining diversion all the same.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Monday 12 December 2011

Romania 1998 – Mălina Olinescu - Eu Cred

I was saddened to learn of the death by apparent suicide of Mălina Olinescu last night. She sang the terribly sweet Eu Cred at the very first Eurovision I attended back in 1998, and it's a terrible shame to hear of her passing. So let's have a look at her again in happier days…

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Sunday 11 December 2011

Switzerland 2012 - SinPlus - Unbreakable

So we have our first song for Eurovision 2012. A pair of pasty-faced indie poppers robbed octogenarian Lys Assia of her last big moment in life by wheezing across the line with a mere 17.8% of the vote in a very lacklustre Swiss final.

Many in the ESC fan community are praising Switzerland for sending a current and contemporary rock tune. Those few Eurovision fans who can name more than three guitar bands without looking at the internet, however, think it's a bit of a lame glue-together of the twosome's favourite bands - without any of the good bits. When you watch this, bear in mind that the song was edited down to two minutes for the TV - so imagine how much the full version drags.

I dearly want to like this, but they're really not helping. In their heads they're My Chemical Romance opening their blistering Reading Festival set this autumn. In reality they're more like that Miodio from San Marino in 2008 - and I fear they're garner a similar result.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Latvia 2012 - Mad Show Boys - Music Thief

Although at first this sounds like a lame spot of cod raggle tangle wackiness, on closer inspection turns out to be a rather well thought out hymn to nicking bits of other people's songs - which of course, we all do!

I'll bet some humourless fan boy tries to get it disqualified for plagiarism in a fit of completelymissingthepointitus...


Now with added live video from the Latvia semi-final! How many pop culture references can you spot in the costumes and stage set alone!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Friday 2 December 2011

Austria 2012 - Conchita Wurst - Unbreakable

Austria have just announced their list of competitors for their national final, and apart from the welcome addition of last year's cruelly robbed Trackshittaz, one act stands out a mile. Now this isn't the song Conchita Wurst will be singing on the big night, but it's a good flavour of what the singer is about.

Prepare to be dazzled... and slightly unnerved…

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.