Thursday 31 January 2013

Finland 2013 - Krista Siegfrids - Marry Me

We've been strangely short of true frocky horrors so far this season, so it was reassuring to see young Krista tottering around in her wedding dress in a particularly literal reading of a knuckle-gnawing lyric.

But while at first look it feels like a right rotter, before too long it gets under your skin, and you start appreciating it in that kind of so-bad-it's-good kind of a way. And when at 2:20 she messes up her slut drop so gloriously that it changes the pitch of her voice, you'll be hooked - and feel a bit dirty for it, too.

Ordinarily you'd think this song wouldn't stand a cat in hell's chance in any reasonable final. But its fellow contenders are such a torpid bunch that it punches through all that normalness like a miniature fun riot. It couldn't get to Malmo... could it?

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

Norway 2013 - Gothminister - Utopia

When I first heard that those techno goth industrialists Gothminister were rumoured to be on the rosta for the third Norwegian semi-final, I bristled with delight. A cracking spot of dark and growly metallic EBM to scare the horses, I hoped.

Sadly, the reality turned out a bit less exciting, as Utopia is a serviceable but lightweight little number - kind of like an asthmatic Sisters Of Mercy mucking about with some schlager choruses. Indeed, you can almost imagine Loreen covering this song straight and everyone assuming it was one of hers.

But we mustn't grumble. If a song like this had been in the contest even ten years ago it would have been like hearing the Sex Pistols for the first time all over again. It's just a shame they didn't have the nerve to send something with a bit more poke.

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

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Germany 2013 - Ben Ivory - The Righteous Ones

Germany have gone uncharacteristically deep this year. In fact, their final is positively stuffed that you'd actually go out and see play. Perhaps now they've had a recent win they've stopped worrying about their track record and have decided to show us all their good stuff.

Witness Ben Ivory here. High camp dark electro, with a pseudo deep meaning to it – I could easily watch this fella all night. The video's got a bit of poke to it, too.

And I'm busting to see what he does with it on stage!

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

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Norway 2013 - Margaret Berger - I Feed You My Love

Now here's a curious and rare beast – a song from the Norwegian semi-final process that almost everybody approves of. This is also a bit unusual, seeing as it's a bit on the noisy side.

Take away the lovely blonde Norse lass in the middle and this could be sung by dark-eyed stiff-haired technogoth. But somehow the marrying of the dark music with the light, lilty touch of Ms Berger seems to work a treat.

It won its semi too, so this could indeed be the one to beat in Norway this year – although it's up against such an unlikely bunch that who knows what's going to happen!

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

Monday 28 January 2013

Germany 2013 - Betty Dittrich - LaLaLa

Well it would appear that Germany has provided us with our first bona fide pop gem of the season. Who'd have thought it?

A cracking 60s Europop pastiche, it's fantastically well-observed video starts with a cheery, Bridget Bardot flavoured jangle, before the hep cat dance routine kicks in, all drenched in glorious glockenspiel juice.

If I've got one criticism is that it goes on for about a minute-and-a-half too long, riffing as it does on the same theme, but if she gives it the same treatment live as she does on the video, we may well be seeing a bit more of this perky young lass.

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

Malta 2013 - Gianluca Bezzina - Tomorrow

You always know where you are with Malta. It's show time on the Island this weekend, so expect to be deluged with dark-haired ladies in shiny tops belting out either some third division Mediterranean eurodance, or a batch of big lusty piano bar ballads. Oh, and don't forget the perpetual fifth placer Klinnsman. He's still hopeful after at least fifty unsuccessful stabs. It's that kind of a good-natured place.

But there's one song that's been creeping under the radar that I've got a sneaking regard for. OK, so Gianluca may look like a Ferengi in a Christmas jumper, but his song's got a sweet jangly charm that's completely unlike anything they've entered before, and that I also fancy could do some business in the big show.

The lad himself seems incredibly likeable, so I wouldn't be terribly upset to see him knocking around in Malmo for a fortnight come May.

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

Sunday 27 January 2013

Norway 2013 - Haji - Shine With Me

(Haji, or at least his people, appear to have little in the way of a sense of humour, and have extinguished all traces of his MGP performances from the web. So until I track it down again, here's the far inferior recorded version. Curse them!)

Poor Haji. Last year, as part of United, he put in a decent, if not slightly bamboozling performance. The song may not have made the Norwegian final, but you can tell that the boy had a little something about him.

So one year on and out on his own and he must have thought he had a pretty good chance of bagging a seat at the top table of the MGP - particularly after the unexpected result the previous week.

Unfortunately things didn't go quite to plan...

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

Saturday 26 January 2013

Azerbaijan 2013 - Rövşən Əzizov - Eye Of The Tiger

Here's the return of the ebullient Rövşən Əzizov, star of last week's Azerbaijani selection. Since I posted a clip of his startling delivery of Hera Bjork's Eurovision hit, he dropped me a note so say hello, and he turns out to be quite the nice fellow. Very earnest, loves his music.

So tonight he sent me a video of another of one of his songs from the contest - a strutting version of Eye Of the Tiger. And man alive he gives it some. But once he's done, stay tuned for the extras - including his after match interview, and a quite astounding little film from his day job as a school teacher. It's the clip that keeps giving.

Let us know what you think of this new performance - but do remember that 
Rövşən is also a world champion in kempo karate, so watch what you say!

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

Thursday 24 January 2013

Estonia 2013 - Armastus - Young Girl

Estonia rarely let us down, and this year they're absolutely drenching us with the strange and the curious. Tenfold Rabbit from last year are back in it, but their unnerving, can't-take-your-eyes-away-for-a-second crown has been well and truly wrenched from their heads by the glorious Armastus.

It's a slow kind of rural plinky plonk that's so delightfully sombre it mucks about with your breathing, while you're never entirely sure whether you should be disturbed by the lyric or not.

I'd just love a song like this to get through one of these years. It probably wouldn't do terribly well in the big show, but you and I would be so glad that it was there!

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

Monday 21 January 2013

Estonia 2013 - Põhja-Tallinn - Meil On Aega Veel

More reasons to love Estonia. This spot of regional rap might look a bit like a local day centre community project gone wonky, but it's uplifting singalong will be rattling around your head all day upon one hearing.

It won't sound anywhere near as good once they've whittled the kids chorus down to four slightly embarrassed young women for the Eesti Laul semi-final, so enjoy it here in its full, unadulterated glory.

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

Saturday 19 January 2013

Norway 2013 - Gromth and Emil Solli-Tangen – Alone

Take a baby-faced light opera singer, the old drummer of Dimmu Borgir and a fat bloke growling, and you've got the first unintentionally funny genre mash up of the season.

Initially they try to trick us - Emil standing alone warbling out a plaintive melody, before the chunky riffs and double kick drum power in, and the aformentioned chunky lad gives it an embarrassingly lame death growl over a mildly symphonic metal clatter.

If you know your metal, it's cobblers. But there's still something a bit sweet, dumb and likable about it - and would you believe it's only gone and qualified for the final! The fan boys are livid!

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

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Azerbaijan 2013 - Rövşən Əzizov - Je Ne Sais Quoi

The fun clearly never ends in Azerbaijan's epic qualification tournament. With five shows a week, there's plenty of opportunities for pure Apocalypse gold. But it always seems to be the Eurovision covers segment that causes the most mirth.

Witness young Rövşən here. There's so many joys to choose from: the voice, the dance steps, the jumper. But for us it just has to be the knee slide when the key change hits bang on 2:30. Best single moment of the year so far!

Hera Bjork herself has been alerted, and is apparently both touched and amused.

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