Sunday 25 March 2012

Georgia 2009 - Gay Stalin - I Want You Back

Think you've seen Georgian Jocker Anri Jokhadze somewhere before? Ladies and gentlemen, let me tweak your memories and reintroduce you to the quite astounding Gay Stalin!

2009 was the year when seemingly everything in the Georgian final seemed to be having a less-than-subtle dig at their burly neighbours north of the border, and we can only imagine they created this gem to raise some bushy eyebrows in the Kremlin.

But aside from all that nonsense, it's also fun watching the many, many costume changes not always going to plan!

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Thursday 22 March 2012

San Marino 2012 - Valentina Monetta - The Social Network Song (OH OH – Uh - OH OH)

If you listen really, really closely, that dull squeaky sound you can hear is a turd being polished...

Oh my San Marino... what have you done?

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Tuesday 20 March 2012

Slovenia 2012 - Eva & Nika Prusnik - Malo Srece

Although most of the attention in the Slovenian final went on the two songs in the superfinal, the Prusnik twins also had another couple of crackers up for contention - not least this little slice of Yugo-nostalgic shuffle pop.

OK, so their pasty beige shorts were a tad unseemly, but the song itself was an infectious, jazzy, Andrews Sisters-for-Tito kind of number. And on this kind of form, one suspects that this won't be the last time we'll be seeing this pair in the EMA - and maybe even, if we're lucky, the bigger show itself...

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Monday 19 March 2012

UK 2012 - Engelbert Humperdinck - Love Will Set You Free


So then, Engelbert's song for the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest has finally been revealed. We were torn whether it would be a Cash/Jones/Diamond style career reboot, or a return to the familiar crooning lounge style that made him the huge name (heh!) he is today. So what have we actually got?

Oh my... it's lovely!

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Friday 16 March 2012

San Marino 2012 - Valentina Monetta - Facebook Uh Oh Oh


Erm San Marino? Did you read the section in the rule book about songs containing brand names? (Or did they sneakily annul that one this year?) What's even worse is that our mad old German uncle Ralph Siegal wrote it. Whatever the heck were they thinking? A three minute advert for huge global business? With the range of arcane advertising licencing laws around dotted around Europe? That's surely never going to happen? Is it?

Oh, and the song itself? Cringeworthy cobblers!

We can only hope they've got a killer song on standby...

***STOP PRESS***

The EBU have posted a cease of desist order on this curious little ditty, informing them that they've either got to remove all references to the trademarked name of Facebook, or supply an entirely new song by the end of next week. It's a Crazy World, eh...

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Wednesday 14 March 2012

Sweden 2012 - Thorsten Flinck & Revolutionsorkestern - Jag Reser Mig Igen


One if my favourite things about the Melodifestivalen is that every now and again, something so intrinsically Swedish pops up that it leaves the rest of us in Europe scratching our heads as to what's going on.

This year's contest dealt us a rather skittish gentleman called Thorsten Flinck. As a noted actor, rabble rouser and general character he's both beloved and feared by the Swedish public - think a kind of mash up of Nick Cave, Ray Winstone and any murderer Paul Bettany has played - and his slightly smokey and unsettling shanty sailed through the second chance round and into the final.

As to be expected, the international juries hated it. But as the televotes started to come in and Thorsten had yet to register a score, for one brief, beautiful moment you could hear the collective worry of a nation muttering "Oh shit, we've sent Flinck!" under their breaths. Now that would have been a chuckle!

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Tuesday 13 March 2012

Russia 2012 - Farinelli Balls - Breath Away Song


As sophisticated a nation as Russia undoubtedly is, a limp popera tune about an 18th century castrato sung by a gaggle of pregnant goths and a man in a blouse sporting a floppy quiff was perhaps just a bit too high concept, even for them!

Friki spotters are going to particularly enjoy this one.

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Monday 12 March 2012

Greece 2012 - Eleftheria Eleftheriou - Aphrodisiac


I'm not saying Greece are skint or owt, but they held their national final under the escalators in a shopping mall.

For some reason My Lovely Horse keeps springing to mind. Still, I suppose they went for the most Greek sounding one of the four...

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Moldova 2010 - Pasha Parfeny - You Should Like


Moldova's selection is always packed with plucky triers who keep entering year after year in the hope that one day it might be their turn. So well done to Pasha Parfeny who finally grabbed the big prize after loads of half-decent stabs at it.

We've already mentioned last year's cracking Dorule elsewhere on these pages, but I'd all but forgotten his 2010 entry... until I watched this clip, that is.

Interesting staging there, Pasha...

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Sunday 11 March 2012

Moldova 2012 - Pasha Parfeny - Lautar


Three and three quarter hours it took to choose this, and as always, the result felt a little bit fishy at the end. Still, pasha's got a bouncy enough little tune, and the zombie kung fu brides backing him make it an entertaining enough little show. Could do with a trifle more song, mind, but we can't have everything.

But believe me, this isn't the last you've seen of the Moldovan final, oh mercy!

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Sweden 2012 - Loreen - Euphoria


The build up to Loreen's eventual coronation was enormous, causing a virtual civil war among the rank and file Eurovision fan. You either loved the song to the extent that you considered the poor lass the second coming of our good lady in blue, or hated her as if she was the devil witch from some kind of evil space dungeon.

So I feel kind of a bit out of place in that I don't really mind it, really. It's got a touch of that late 90s Ibiza beach party vibe to it, right down to the rather telling title - although I understand how to a good many ESC fans this still feels rather contemporary.

One thing's for sure though, from the moment it starts you just can't take your eyes off the gal. Whether her slightly kooky wind-blown spot of interpretive dance in her Nan's housecoat will go down well across the continent as a whole though is an entirely different matter.

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Romania 2012 - Bianca Purcarea - Don't Say Sorry


Imagine the scene. You've battled for the chance to represent your country at Eurovision. You're drawn last but one in your national final and as the night goes on, the nerves are building and your throat is getting tighter.

Finally it's your turn to perform. A whole nation are watching in anticipation, but as you start to sing you realise that you can't hear yourself particularly well. But it's OK, you'll battle through...

What follows is one of the most uncomfortable three minutes of the Eurovision season so far. I think the faces of the backing singers say it best. Poor, poor girl.

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Saturday 10 March 2012

Serbia 2012 - Zeljko Joksimovic - Synonym/Nije Ljubav Stvar


An open letter to Zeljko Joksimovic.

Now I'm not one of these moaning types who insist that you should only sing in your own language at Eurovision. In fact I've always held by the opinion that you should sing in whatever language you feel most comfortable in, and the one you feel will give you the best advantage in the wider competition.

But when you sing in Serbian it feels all dark and mysterious. You could be singing your phone bill for all we know, but it would still sound important and atmospheric. However, when you translate it to English we can pick out every cheesy rhyming couplet and some terribly cliched lyrical imagery. Heck, at times it sounded like an Irish entry, and we don't want that.

Do yourself a favour mate. Stick to what you know, and leave the stilted English to the lesser countries. It's much less cringeworthy for the rest of us when you do.

Lots of love, Roy D Hacksaw

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Friday 9 March 2012

Estonia 2012 - Orelipoiss - Zombi


Jaan Pehk's last couple of Eurovision efforts, including last year's fabulous grass solo, and his cracking little pop tune with Köök a couple of years before, suggested that his latest stab at Eurovision glory might be a cracker as well.

And while this sombre folksy ballad certainly had its merits, we suspect he shouldn't have got Mike Leigh into to direct the staging…

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Thursday 8 March 2012

Russia 2012 - Syostry Syo - Une Marionette



With all the attention and TV advertising showered upon the top three of Dima/Julia, rapper Timati and the fabulous nans, you may not have noticed that there were another 22 songs in the contest. So what actually came fourth, you might wonder.

This.

It appears to be two teenage girls arguing about an accordian – in French –  but I have absolutely no idea what the flipping heck is actually going on. See if you've got any idea...

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Wednesday 7 March 2012

Russia 2012 - Buranovskiye Babushki - Party For Everybody


The Russians have finally realised what the rest of the world has been saying for two years and sent the Nans! Finally a Russian election result that everyone (barring perhaps Dima Bilan) agrees with!

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Russia 2012 - Dima Bilan & Yulia Volkova - Back To Her Future


Here's the first sneaky clip of the song many are tipping to walk the Russian final tonight. I think someone's filmed it on a 90s mobile from under their coat, but you still get a general idea.

It's the standard mawkish and over-wrought minor key ballad that you;d expect, but that's the music of choice over those parts at the moment, so it's got to be in with a pop - especially considering the pure star power on stage.

I still reckon the turbo nans or Russia's top rapper Timati are going to give them a run for their money, though. Tonight's final is going to be a bloodbath!

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Slovakia 2012 - Max Jason Mai - Don't Close Your Eyes

So finally after months of not saying much and keeping their plans under their hat, Slovakia finally revealed their act. At least when the UK did that, to much derision from the fanboy rank and file, we came up trumps with one of the top selling artists of all time.

Slovakia, however, suprised us all with a nice chunky little slab of Soundgarden-lite sung by a cheekyly handsome looking rock cherub called Max Jason Mai (or Miro Šmajda to his nan). It's just about rock enough to keep the grumpy grounded emo daughters interested on Eurovision night, but scrapes in with just enough melody not to offend the pop fans too much as well.


How it'll do on the night is anyone's guess, but I kinda like it being there. It's nothing groundbreaking, but I still wasn't expecting that at all.

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Monday 5 March 2012

Armenia 2012 - Lucia Moon - Delicious Feeling / Call It Insane


What is it with Armenia this year? The lack of news coming out of the host country's nemesis neighbour is encouraging any nut job with access to a microphone to claim that they are the only true successor to the crown. And Lucia Moon here isn't helping any.

Just looking at her you kind of suspect she's American - and surprise surprise she is, also claiming to be Azeri born (from Nagorno-Karabakh, no less, which will please the hosts) and of Armenian heritage. I suspect this makes her think she's the perfect candidate for the job, when in actual fact she's more like that slightly worrying woman from the late night dispensing chemists doing karaoke in an empty bar. On her own. At 4am.

If Armenia choose this old tripe, I'll eat my dog.

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Cyprus 2012 - Ivi Adamou - La La Love


Been wondering why this year's Cypriot singer Ivi Adamou has preferred to mime at all her public appearances so far this year?

This video might help answer that...

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Sunday 4 March 2012

Romania 2012 - Electric Fence - Shunta


Nestling among all the usual turbo pop, plinky plonk and mawkish ballads in the Romanian final, you can find this splendid little joy of boisterous wonder.

Employing the the kind of hardcore folklore frequently beloved by their cousins next door in Moldova, this is a happy-go-lucky stomp riot that would light up any stage - and especially one plonked on the very banks of the Caspian Sea.

I'd love to see them send this to Azerbaijan, and fancy that it would do pretty well if it got there - but will the good people of Romania be brave enough?

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Saturday 3 March 2012

Lithuania 2012 - Donny Montell - Love Is Blind

Lithuania chose their song last night, and rather than picking the rather fabulous Vytautus Matuzas, they went for the pre-match favourite Donny Montell (or Donatas Montvydas as he's known to his mum). It's a well song but unremarkable song that starts slow, then pumps up to a fairly lame mid tempo disco tune at about the halfway mark. But this clip is worth seeing for two hilarious reasons.

In a move of arch literalism, our Donatas spends the first half of the song wearing a rather festching satin blindfold. Not only will I have to resist the urge of yelling: "a bit further forward mate. A little bit more..." when he's on stage in Baku, but I really kind of hope that a real life blind singer manages to win one of the remaining Eurovision berths, just to fuck up his show, like.

But better than that, when the song shifts up a gear at around the 1:30 mark he's briefly possessed by the combined spirits of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Nijinsky (the dancer, not the racehorse) for one of most laugh making ten seconds of the year so far. I hope he keeps that bit in when he gets to Azerbaijan!


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Azerbaijan 2012 - Sabina Babayeva - Our Love Song


To hear the teaser trailer for the home song, click here...

A micro snippet of this year's host song has just appeared on the official website for Azeri telly, and it's pretty interesting.

The few seconds that they're teasing with us offer up an eastern tinged jazz ballad that appears to be sung in the singer's home language. There's also no suggestions of the kind of hapless vocal runs she was prone to in her national final - but we wouldn't bet that there won't be any there. In fact we rather fear that there will be.

However, on this showing, it could be an interesting choice for the home town song - we'll be curious, if not a little frightened,  to hear the whole thing.

***STOP PRESS***
Sadly this isn't the Azeri song. Instead they've gone for a standard Disney ballad, with the predictable Whitney-esque howling. We sha'nt be showing you that here.


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Friday 2 March 2012

Sweden 2012 - Dead By April - Mystery


I have a dilemma with this song. In my normal daily punk rock life, this is a pretty ludicrous little chunk of pop metal. Sung by possibly the cleanest looking lead singer ever to sport a tattoo, it's nothing much more than a slightly turbocharged schlager with some bloke shouting every 40 seconds.

But in a Melodifestivalen context this is pretty amusing. The fanboys glued to the front five rows will be horrified by the song's noisier chunks, and the marginal stabs at metal conventions, like the chains and flames, will confuse and bemuse the voting nans at home.

It's lemon squash weak in metal terms, but somehow in a Eurovision environment it works near perfectly. Damn its eyes!

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Thursday 1 March 2012

Russia 2012 - The UPS! - Kiss


Russia's vast list of finalists was finally released yesterday, and while the names of Bilan & Volkova, Buranovskiye Babushki (the folky nans!) and Jet Kids are the headline names, this likely little bunch are the first to have made their song public. And a bouncy little number it is too.

Describing themselves rather sweetly as hooligan-pop, their crazy-legged burlesquey crunch  could make quite the stir on the big night, although drawn perilously early in the fourth slot, they might be sadly overlooked when it comes to voting time.

Still, we'll enjoy it while we can - if for nothing else than the guitarist's insane dance shapes!

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