Saturday 24 December 2016

Norway 1960 - Nora Brockstedt - Voi Voi

Seeing as it's Christmas, and that Albanian winner wasn't terribly memorable, we thought we'd give you a little festive treat, to reward you for another year's loyal service to the Apocalypse cause. This year we've dug deep into the vaults to bring you a delightful version of dear, departed Nora Brockstedt's seminal swinger Voi Voi - only this time she's got company.

Here she's joined by the Virginia vocal group The Deep River Boys, who were extraordinarily popular in the Scandis around that time, for a knockabout romp through her Eurovision fave. It is in turn funny, touching, and possesses a pay-off that's worth watching to the end for.

Happy Christmas to you all, and thanks for making 2016 our most successful year yet. Right, what time does Depi Evratesil start...?

Friday 23 December 2016

Albania 2017 - Genc Salihu - Këtu

Tonight we get to learn of the first confirmed entrant to Eurovision 2017 - albeit in a much more basic form that its eventual incarnation, most likely. And for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of listening to any of the songs yet, this one is going to be an especial treat for you.

It's slow, doomy, the time signature is impossible to pin to a wall, and at times it reaches uterly bewildering levels of complexity - and that's before the weird samples kick in. On top of that, its singer looks like he's just climed out of his nan's washing basket, but still it's one of the most fascinating and utterly engaging entries of the year - but still you won't be able to sing along to it ten seconds after it finishes.

This kind of song is usually just a curiosity for the locals (and musical trainspotters like you and me), but it's picking up a surprising amount of interest in the fan polls, and we should all know by now never to second guess what the Albanians see in a song. Oh what fun we'll have in Kiev if this wins tonight!

Thursday 22 December 2016

Albania 2017 - Franc Koruni – Macka

Anyone who sat through last night's first semi-final at the Festivali i Këngës will tell you that it was something of a long old slog through minor key ballads, difficult time signatures and an awful lot of memories from the eighties. So when this chirpy little chap popped up in his glittery jacket and his rakish hat it must have seemed like a gift from the pop gods - but only for a couple of seconds.

For dear old Franc here gave the appearance of a man having a three-and-a-bit minute fight with the orchestra.

It was a performance that began with big lumps in it from the awkward opening - with its empty seats and unfortunate camera obstructions - then took us on a rollercoaster ride through some half-decent, if not slightly out of time, rap, a cracking stompy bit in the middle, and a curious eighties showtune chorus - as our hero seemed ill-at-ease, under-rehearsed and half a beat behind the orchestra throughout.

Having said that, I can't knock him too harshly, as it's still one of my favourites from this half of the draw. I just hope that, if he's lucky enough to make it through to Friday, he polishes his performance up a bit - and they move whatever that was from in front of the camera in the opening gambit!

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Albania 2017 - Orges Toçe - Shi Diamantësh

Those of you with long memories for beards might just remember Orges here from the FiK final of 2011, where he surprised many with the success of his delightful little bit of French street jazz whimsy Mari. Well half a decade on he's back, looking a little more world weary than before, and growling out a song that wouldn't be out of place in Sanremo.

And while we're never entirely sure what they're singing about down in the deep South East, one can only assume that his gravely voice and tired eyes are carving out a tale of life's regrets and untold sadness. But hey, we don't read Albanian here. He might be singing out his Christmas list as far as we know.

But in what was a slow, morose and often difficult first semi-final at the Këngës, his was one of the few songs that really stood out - well, for the right kind of reasons, that is. More of the other sort tomorrow...

Sunday 18 December 2016

Belarus 2017 - Breeze Band - Zayadoshnik

While it doesn't appear to have broken rule one in the Official Eurovision Playbook (Don't Forget To Turn Up), or even edicts two and three (Don't Forget The Words, and Don't Fall Over - Even On Purpose), this little performance still manages to obliterate one of the major no-nos in all Eurovisionia. And it is this:

If you're going to insist on having a clever little visual maguffin going on throughout your song, ensure that: A) It doesn't detract or distract from the song itself; B) It's quickly apparent what is going on; C) It doesn't go on too long, and; D) The final pay-off really must be worth the three minute wait.

Oh, and it also helps to have a song that isn't a blood-slowing slice of tedious faux popera, too, but that might just be a taste thing. File under: What were they thinking?

Friday 16 December 2016

Belarus 2017 - Spasovka - Pripeyki Na Belaruskaj Move

You always need a great big bag of nans at this stage of the Eurovision process, and I have to say that these girls are some of the best we've had in a while. Indeeed, it's becoming something of a national finals cliche to have a row of locally-garbed seniors elegantly harking back to the old days in a dewy-eyed heart wrencher. But not these game old birds...

Yep, Spasovka throw caution to the win, get their heads down and storm through a turbo-fuelled rustic stomper in a proper rough-and-ready race against time. Do they go occasionally out of time with the music? Yes! Do their dance moves go a little askew from time to time? Of course! But is it three minutes of glorious earthy fun from start to finish? You betcha!

Indeed, this mob are less something that you'd find in local colour night in an expensive Minsk hotel, and more like something you'd stumble across in a village hall on the distant Ukrainian border, and we love them all the more for it!

Oh, and do forgive me my poor transliteration skills. I fear that I may have added the video replay information in my dodgy translation of the title. If you know better than me, please do put me right - but at least I had a go!

Thursday 15 December 2016

Estonia 2017 - Kerli - Spirit Animal

OK, so I think we can effectively cancel Eesti Laul, because Kerli's back. A lot of water has flowed under the crystal-crusted bridge since her last assault on Eurovision back in 2004, and now we see a singer at the height of her powers, the complete and finished article who's had hits across the globe, coming back to wave her glittery hand at the screen and hoover up the votes. But will her name alone be enough to carry her to Kiev?

Well the song itself is no world-beater. It's packed with fantastically parpy electronic noises and a terrifically bouncy chorus, but still plods along in a somewhat disappointingly pedestrian fashion. That's not to say that it's a bad song, however - and you just wait until you see the live show...

Because if you've not had the pleasure before, Kerli is a proper visual treat. Imagine something somewhere between America's Lady Gaga, Japan's Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and some astral pop fairy floating about between the stars. And if enough of her rabidly fervent Moon Children are packed into the hall Laul night will become something of a three minute Kerli show. I for one can't wait. The only way that she's not going to Ukraine is either if her home nation has finally tired of her, or the Kerli haters gang up against her in the superfinal. Both of which would be an incredible shame, because the girl is offering us the first proper bit of star power of the season.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Georgia 2017 - Tornike Kipiani & Giorgi Bolotashvili - You Are My Sunshine

So I went to bed after eating a little too much cheese last night, and I woke up in a basement squat  in Camden in 1991with this little beaut playing. I'm channelling Nitzer Ebb, I'm channelling Renegade Soundwave, I'm channelling Front 242 and a little bit of Senser, but I can't quite see who the act is.

Then suddenly I'm transported to a Spiral Tribe rave somewhere like Castlemorton, and I'm propped in a haze front of a speaker stack on the fourth stage and this flipping song is playing again. Then I wake up and realise that I've been enjoying a bit too much stilton, and I'd left the Soundcloud account with the Georgian songs on repeat play.

Yes, it might be a throwback to a far distant day when the punks finally worked out how keyboards worked and got into skunk, but I think I love it all the more for that. And yes, it's only got the same four words repeated over and over again, but that's surely the whole point! I suspect that it'll be just me an my ravey Valencian mate who will dig this one, but do let us have our fun. I know it's going absolutely nowhere in the contest, but I'll be having it on repeat for at least a week - and I'll be keeping off the cheese this time. Honest I will... Now where's my tie dye trousers...?

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Georgia 2017 - Trio Mandili - Me Da Shen

So, the other night I got wind that the fabulously folksy Georgian girl group Trio Mandili had thrown their hat into their national final ring. I was expecting more of the same of the minimal stripped back walky-singy schtick that has made their down home videos such a regular YouTube treat. So I was thoroughly disappointed when I discovered that they were doing a proper song, with instruments and everything.

For about twenty seconds.

Because this enthusiastically bouncy little gem is an absolute delight! Imagine the kind of songs that you hear coming out of the open window of every cab and local snackfood outlet everywhere east of Athens - only with more joie de vivre and pure unabashed fun than any ten of them put together. And then some.

I fear that this is perhaps a tad too niche to make a massive impact in their national final - especially as there's some decent sized pop rock acts and some massive frocky ballads up against them on the song slate - but I'd sooooo love this to get to Kiev. Imagine the larks we'd have!

Monday 12 December 2016

Ukraine 2017 - Alex Angel & Natasha Olejnik - Running For Love

Our boy Alex Angel had his live audition in Ukraine yesterday, and he bought a friend along to help him. And boy did she help. The faces of the judging panel as they watched this incredible three minutes are an absolute picture, I tell you!

As far as I am aware, this is the only video available from the auditions, so I'll just this curious slice of Ukrainian TV life here for you to, erm, enjoy.

You might not want to be watching it at work, mind. That's all I'm saying…

Friday 9 December 2016

Armenia 2017 - Alexander Plato - Faust Cantata

Our new Armenian best mate, Alexander Plato, took his final bow at the constantly excellent Depi Evratesil the other day - and oh boy what a bow it was! He strode upon the stage to a wash of fiery red light and curious camera angles, while the pianist whacked at the keyboard like he was teetering on the brink of a massive staircase. Then when our lad finally began to sing, his throaty tenor and intense stare left the judges, and indeed the audience, shuffling uncomfortably in their seats.

It was as though Lucifer himself had popped up from the depths for a bit of a singsong. It was quite simply one of the most gloriously confounding things yet seen in the battle to tread the Eurovision boards anywhere on this globe. Splendid work old boy - I hope this isn't the last we've seen of you, because I for one would love to see this beautiful, confusing racket squeezed into a big three minute chunk to confuse the heck out of the viewing population of Europe on Saturday night in May some time soon.

Who cares about results, this is art, love!

Thursday 8 December 2016

Georgia 2017 - Trio Mandili - Chryzantemebi

There's a list of Georgian acts doing the rounds. Twenty seven artists of varied repute, and not a single Sopho among them. At this point it is unclear whether it's a shortlist or just the list of people who applied, but there's a couple of pretty interesting names among them - and few more interesting than Trio Mandili here.

About as DIY as an act can get, TM are simply three teenaged girls, a rattly mandolele (I think) and a selfie-stick. Their videos are all of the girls just walking around their neighbourhood, singing folk-tinged tunes and mugging to the camera, and somehow they're absolutely teriffic.

Just imagine this on the big stage in Kiev. They'd start off on stage, then wend their way about the hall entirely filmed through their stick as the crowd go bonkers behind them. It would sweet, simple and absolutely engaging, and could cause quite a stir in the middle of all the usual flash bang business.

Come on Georgia, you've got be bold, and take a risk with this lot. It would be utterly fabulous!

Hungary 2017 - Peter Kovary & The Royal Rebels - It's A Riot

Them Hungarians like to mix it up a bit. Every year they deal us the usual fine and frothy pop confections, and a fistful of decent balladeers, but they also manage to squeeze in a small sprinkling of other stuff for the grown ups. We all know that they'll never make the further stages, but we're so glad that they're there to mix it all up a bit.

This year is no exception. So far we've uncovered the Satanic doom crust of Leander Kills, the worldsy beats of the tough lad gypsy man band Roma Soul, and this little bar room belter from Peter Kovary (and what looks like a band made up of his considerably younger relations).

OK, so it's some cheesy-assed pub rock shizz from a bloke who's clearly got a few too many Rival Sons, Black Spiders and Georgia Satellites records in his man bag, but heck, in this context it's like a new dawn of riff-heavy singalong nonsense. It's not great, but it's great fun, and it'll do us just fine until Leander Kills release their video!

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Switzerland 2017 - Ginta Biku - Cet Air La

You mention Eurovision to your average man or lady in the street and a very specific image springs instantly to their mind. Generally it's of a lusty lady in a swirly frock and touselled hair stamping about in front of a couple of lithe male dancers wearing almost no clothes to the sound of an insistant Europop beat. A little like THIS, in fact.

Fair play to the Swiss for trying something outside of their regulation mid tempo plod, but really, this is silliness by numbers. From the big build to the face reveal right through to the showbiz end, it's got the lot. I can almost see its trajectory now...

Instantly becomes a fan favourite, storms to a hometown victory early in the season and nudges the top of the betting from the early adopter money. Gets drawn in a relatively easy semi and everyone puts it in their top ten. Then come the big night, everyone at home totally ignores it in favour of something a bit better or a bit funnier and it comes an accidental last but one in its semi, with everyone wailing "How could this happen?!!" in complete and utter surprise.

It's written in the stars, so enjoy it now before it all gets too depressing. Unless one of the balladeers in black beats her in the local final, that is. Then it starts to get properly funny.

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Belarus 2017 - Pavel Pashko - Be Better

Never before has there been a more self-fulfilling prophecy of a song (unless you rather unkindly suggest Don't Play That Song Again, you wrong 'un!). It all looked promising to begin with. A decent-looking spooky lad with a massive quiff, beflanked by a pair of eyeballs-on-legs, looking every bit like a car boot Residents (look them up, pop fans), with a witchy lady looking menacing in the background… what could possibly go wrong?

Oh, the singing bit.

The man in charge of the microphones didn't give them so much as a minute-and-a-half. Boy they're getting stern - they allowed any old kak the full three minutes last year! I'll bet that it meant we missed a massive bit of showbiz in the middle eight too, curse them! Bah!

Still, all this underlines the fact that I really must be visiting Belarus one of these days. They look like my kind of people…

•••Stop Press•••

Young Pavel and his pals must have been reading my mind, because they've done a video to fill in the end of the performance!

See it by clicking here!

Spain 2017 - German - Fiesta

Spain are treating us top some rare delights this year, and every one of them is doubtlessly more fun that the shortlist they'll inevitably foist upon us.

Take the big gurning grin of German here. OK, so he may sing like a bricky after a long pub lunch, and the song itself does drift off into nowhereland from about the halfway mark before it just kind of fizzles out with a showbiz whimper at three minutes, but it's absolutely packed with charm and singalongability, and dare I say it, fun! What a terribly old fashioned concept.

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Belarus 2017 - Vitaly Voronko - What's Your Name?

The vids are back!

Forget all that Swedish business. The real Eurovision action was going down in Minsk today with the now unmissable live auditions. The last couple of years have thrown up all kinds of joy, so you'll be delighted this this year's bunch are every bit as unhinged, and that our unseen cameraman still prefers to zoom in on an attractive lady when there's all kinds of other action going on.

Case in point here. Vitaly's song man have covered all four major Eurovision food groups - bearded man in a superhero outfit playing the accordian; nice lady in a flowery frock strumming coyly on a dulcimer thingy; annoying mime artist in a kilt dancing like a berk; and, a ten foot polar bear playing a massive balalaika. You know, the usual stuff.

But while our gruesome foursome were stamping about wackily for all they were worth, letcherous cameraman got whiff of the nice lady and started to slowly zoom in, totally ignoring the other three as they gave their all elsewhere.

Although to be honest, in this instance I think he had a point...

Monday 28 November 2016

Spain 2017 - Joan De Son Rapinya - Ole Ole

This is what they want! The Spanish, gawd bless 'em and love 'em, are having another one of those open access qualifying berths that they're so excellent at, and it's brought out all the crazies and bedroom droners that this blog lives and breaths for. So far I've seen several pairs of beautiful bears walking hand in hand on the beach, a fair bit of flamenco bellowing, and some of the most ill-advised lyric videos you'll ever come across.

But this fella in particular has stuck in my memory - partially because he looks a bit like my mate Nik, but more because he's utterly batshit bonkers. Actually, I suspect that this fella is more of a character comedian than someone with genuine mental health issues, but like a car crash or a bad wig, you just can't stop staring.

The sad thing is, as naff as this is, it'll be a darned sight more entertaining than a good 60% of what they pick for the final 30, I'll bet you - and you'll certainly be singing it in your head for longer!

Saturday 26 November 2016

Finland 2017 - Zühlke - Perfect Villain

Last entry from Finland for now - but which do I choose? Should I go with the slightly sex pesty My First Band, who appear to be proud in their claim that they can kiss a lady's paradise so hard that they'd actually be paralysed afterwards. I'm not sure that you'd get too many positive swipes if you used THAT line on Tindr, lads.

Or maybe I should go with little Lauri Yrjölä, if for no other reason than that he's used the rather snappy epithet 'vastuuntunnottomuuden' in his song (it means 'irresponsibility', language fans). Would this make it the longest ever word in Eurovision history?

But no, in this instance we're going to pick the somewhat terrifying eyebrows of Zühlke. To be fair she makes a decent bat of a pretty dreadful lyric - all staccato delivery and powerful beltings in the chorus. But oh that chorus - it's a shocker!

"What would the X Men do?" she shouts, which is fair enough, I suppose, if not a little cheesy and awkward in a strong woman love song like this. But hold hard, it gets worse. "Would they lose their powers too, if their kryptonite was you?" Well, no would be the obvious answer, because they're a Marvel property, and from a completely different and unrelated universe to DC, which spawned the concept of Kryptonite. So unless the X Men are all quite unexpected relations of Kal El (which they're not), or Stan Lee has lobbied for some serious cross-code crossovers (which he never would), this is such appalling attention to detail on behalf of the songwriters that they deserve to lose all their shoes in a house fire.

And the saddest thing is that I bet they're really proud of that line. I can just picture them high fiving each other when they came up with it. These people!

Friday 25 November 2016

Finland 2017 - Club La Persé - My Little World

So then, if you thought the last couple of days of postings were a little off piste, you wait until you hear this one. Like four baby Leigh Bowerys after an explosion at the Wacky Warehouse, this high camp art collective are going to look nothing less than eye-melting on stage - it's just a shame that the song's a bit weak.

OK, so some of the more insistent catwalk techno is pretty damn good, but the constant 'dit-dit-doo-doo-doo' refrain and the over-arch proclamations don't quite make up for the world beating song I was hoping for to match their lively look.

However, I would advise a little further investigation into this mob, because some of their videos are absolutely cracking, they're a dab hand at catty interviews, and the fella with the blue pig's nose is called Mr C*nt. Only with a 'u' instead of a star, obviously. Well, think of the children. Although to be fair, most children swear better than me these days.

I'm also reliably informed by my Finnish friends that Persé relates to something more arse-shaped than its more familiar meaning in the West, so I reckon we're going to be in line for one heck of a show come UMK night. I just wish the song was good enough to match the look!

Thursday 24 November 2016

Finland 2017 - Günther & D’Sanz - Love Yourself

Oh yes, Finland is the gift that keeps on giving (at least for the next few days), and there is no bigger gift than that deadpan internet sensation Günther (from Sweden) and his (Spanish) mate D'Sanz.

You'll know Günther, even if you've tried to extinguish him from your memory, as the deadpan pout in leather behind the internet smash Ding Dong Song. More sharp-eyed reader may recognise D'Sanz from Operación Triunfo - we think. But together the pair make a strange brew - especially as there scarcely seems to be a Finnish follicle between them. But let us not complain, because dressed up on a big stage this could be a thoroughly splendid three minutes.

First up the G-man gives it his sexy porn star growl over some lively techno, before the D-man kicks in with the chorus and it all goes a bit BWO. Indeed, there's much less Günther than you would have hoped for, but of course, this gives him much more time to wander off about the place vogueing and posing, as he confessed to in this here video.

My Finnish pals tell me that they fear this is the hot favourite to win their ticket to Kyiv, and I must say I wouldn't be too disappointed - well, the Finnish delegation party is going to be a decadent belter if nothing else!

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Finland 2017 - Knucklebone Oscar & the Shangri-La Rubies - Caveman

So the UMK songs crept put this morning, and there's some very interesting songs on the list. Not very many good ones, mind, but that's not what we're here for, after all.

The one that grabbed out attention first though was this energetic little rock 'n' roll review. In the real world we'd be shaking our heads in dismay and peeping through our fingers in mild embarassment. But in this context it kinda works. Ugly little fella with a guitar, flanked by two buxom honeys, piledrives his way through a stampy slice of showbiz nonsense - if the live show for this doesn't knock your socks off this bloke deserves a punch!

There'll be more Finnish songs coming at you over the next couple of days, don't you worry!

Monday 21 November 2016

Ukraine 2017 - Kohlya Buchak - I Am Sexy

There's time in the whole Eurovision selection process that I look forward to with glee each year. It's that point in the process where performers who've got themselves into a wildcard round, or who have even just made the super long list, blag their way onto the local breakfast programmes to awkwardly display their wares. Our old mate Sasha Bognobov is an old hand at the game, while it seems in inescapable rite of passage in Estonia.

But now, it appears, that the concept had crossed the borders into Ukraine – and oh boy what a treat they've served us. After a slightly uncomfortable micro-interview the boy Buchak here launches into his flimsy discopop stomper, with a couple of winsome lasses who look like they've come straight from the gym behind them - all the while surrounded by the cosy pastels of the studio scenery.

It bounces along amiably-yet-unremarkably until two things happen. The first sees him break into some fractured English couplets in the chorus, one of which sounds as though he's calling my name (has he been told?), the other comes just a few seconds from the end, just when you're about to turn it off. We won't spoil the fun, but you'll be gnawing at your knuckle the moment it kicks in.

But do we think it's going to help win him votes in the Ukrainian wildcard round? I guess that all depends on who his parents are…

Saturday 12 November 2016

Ukraine 2017 - Aghiazma - Zombie Dogs

It just got pretty interesting in Ukraine. For a few weeks now there's been an open wildcard round, whereby you get to listen to a bunch of songs on a website and vote for your fave. All was going well, until the two songs leading the race were suddenly disqualified.

The official story has it that the management of the two acts had sullied the process by using bots to significantly up their votes. However, there are a few conspiracists kicking about who suggest that things aren't as simple as that. These people reckon that someone, for whatever reason, decided that these songs shouldn't be in with a shout of getting chosen for Eurovision, and arranged formthem to be binned from the list.

But whatever the truth, bith songs should consider the selves a bit hard done by. List leader Kuznetsov had a sweet slice of Chameleons-lite indie pop, while Aghiazma here is a far noisier confectionary. Alright, so the video looks like something Marilyn Manson would have rejected back in 1999 (no, seriously, it really is that dated), but the song's a crunchy goth metal stomper, with a singer I'd have loved to have seen stomping about on a real life national final stage.

So, dodgy move on behalf of the acts involved, or a slightly more corrupt manouevre on behalf of somebody else? You decide!

Monday 7 November 2016

Switzerland 2017 - Männerchor Steili Kressä - Für Eine Frei Zugängliche ESC-Plattform Beim SRF

One of the great joys of the Eurovision season was the official opening of hostilities from the glorious Swiss Drunken Men's Choir,  Männerchor Steili Kressä. So we were utterly crestfallen that this year we would be denied that pleasure by a change in system at Helvetica towers.

Not, however, as crestfallen as the lads themselves, who have produced a protest video to express their dark displeasure at being unable to show their people their shouty wares and suffer the first public rejection of the season.

In solidarity with the brothers, here's their protest in full...

Friday 4 November 2016

United Kingdom 2017 - Jonno Standish - Deja Vu

We have, it seems, become the new Switzerland. Every other day I'm getting sent a poorly made YouTube video of someone singing a lumpy pop song in front of some furniture - every one of them convinced that they, and only they, can reverse the trend and save us from yet more Eurovision shame.

As if things on this septic isle weren't bad enough already.

This latest iteration shows us a chubby lad in a suit playing pool and lustily belting out a number apparently destined for Bucks Fizz. How do I know that? The songwriter keeps telling us in a garish font throughout the video. This is how things are now, isn't it. Where did it all go so, so wrong...?

Thursday 3 November 2016

United Kingdom 2017 - Her Eyes Untied - This Love

You see, this is why the UK doesn't do very well at Eurovision these days. And that's not to deride the clearly very sweet couple performing this very sweet song. It's well structured, doing all the right things in exactly the right places, and it's sung very well, by two people clearly in tune with the meaning of the song. On paper it's a decent song. But, you know, something about it's just not right.

It's steeped in a cosy, Gloria Hunniford, Sunday afternoon from the old days kind of world. One that still exists in the hearts of nans, cake makers and pigeon fanciers across the land, but also one that doesn't really exist in the wider world of showbusiness any more. But still, somehow, that's the kind of view that a great many people on this funny old islands of ours fall back to when they consider what a Eurovision song should be.

I really don't want to diss the song itself - or indeed the strangely titled duo who sing it. It's just plain nice, and that isn't always a bad thing. But just imagine if you were sitting down on a Saturday night in May to watch a high energy turbo-fuelled pop show. Would this really leap out at you, grab you by the throat and force you to vote for it? Or would it simply make you do a warm sigh of cuddly love, before you popped off to make a cuppa?

Bless 'em for trying, and all - and there will be far worse songs that get to national finals around the continent, after all - but really, we should be thinking of a much broader scope these days. I still want to give them a big old friendly hug, though.

Wednesday 2 November 2016

United Kingdom 2017 - The UKR - Playstation Generation

Remember these boys? A couple of years back, the Surrey-based United Kingdom Of Rock hammered anyone who’d listen with their self-titled slab of pure old school English heavy metal. They got in their local papers, the Eurovision press, and on the desk of one Mr Guy Freeman (of this parish), who reckoned that Europe wasn’t ready for their Brit-centric list of classic rock references.

And now they’re back – and with a bang! This barnstorming pub rock pean to a youth distracted by technology features enough trade names to give a Eurovision fan forum basher an apoplectic fit of confused rage, and enough solid fuel riffs to have them reaching for their two page reference guide to guitars in Eurovision (Wig Wam? Not glam enough. Kabat? Not ugly enough. Lordi? Erm…?).

Of course it’s terrible, but terrible in that way we truly Brits enjoy. Carry On Up The Rock Club, with jackets sleeves rolled up and middle-aged men having the time of their lives. They’ve entered it in through the OGAE route, which means that it’ll be universally binned by the guitar-loathing glitterati, but that’s a shame. Because these boys, however awkward and old fashioned, would tear up that national final stage a treat. Surely there’s a slot for this kind of thing among the expected frocky ballads and mid tempo boy pop stompers?

And be warned, these boys never go down without a fight, so expect to see them crop up in publications big and small – from Wiwi Blogs to the Leatherhead Advertiser – across the next couple of months, gawd bless ’em and love ’em.

Monday 31 October 2016

Russia 2017 - Oleg Lihachev – Vladimir Putin Very Good

When that foolishly brave Slovenian laddie performed his parody of Russia’s great leader at half time during the EMA final we expected the worst – but we never expected anything this bad! We were thinking more along the lines of troop movements and rapid rises of polonium in the drinking water, and not this clumpy stomper extolling the virtues of the Russian guvnor.

However, we’re still not clear whether this is a straight up love song to the bloke in charge, a subtle parody that’s so localised that it’s beyond our ken, or some strange slice of CIA-subsidised propaganda designed to make us point and laugh. Heck, we’re probably getting ourselves on the watch lists of at least a dozen shadowy security agencies just by writing this. In which case – we have no prejudice here at Eurovision Apocalypse. We love you all with equal fervour (honest!).

However, the one thing that makes us suspect that this is just some bedroom loon trying to make a name for himself (or indeed some regional public access TV show’s ill-advised comedy skit) is that the video is festooned with banners saying “Song claimed to participate in the contest ‘Eurovision 2017’”. This is the Russian version of all those blokes in bad pub bands from the home counties who write to their local papers telling them that they’re going to be next year’s entry just because they sent a back shed demo of a song called ‘We’re Bringing It Back To England’ to: “The Eurovision, BBC, London”
isn’t it. Bless.

Thursday 27 October 2016

Switzerland 2017 - Sisters Of Duras - Us Biker Girls

This year's change in the Swiss selection process was supposed to halt these things. No longer were we to see endless strings of bedroom troubadours and witless pub bands parading their dubious wares across the internet, we were told. Boo! So thank heavens for the few bold acts who decided to advertise their wares via the medium of YouTube so that we could all share the fun. And boy, fun!

It's hard to know where to start with these girls. The plodding riff rock? The cheesiest of all Swiss cheese videos? The utterly bored look on the bass player's face? That drummer? THAT DRUMMER?!! Blend them all together and you've got a confection of the highest Dunning-Kruger quotient of the season so far. Oh yes, it's that much of a treat!

So press play, sit back and gawp at a rare treat in these new days of Swiss seriousness. That reminds me, I wonder what Männerchor Steili Kressä are up to…?

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Ukraine 2017 - Nataliya Piliponyuk & Dzoan Sereso - Serenada Ykraini

The Ukrainian wildcarders have been whittled down to the last 39, and as far as we can see, there's no sight of Alex Angel among them. What were they thinking?! But there are some other gems among them. After the themes of last year's winner, their local issues, and the frankly terrifying first heat of their national selection last time around, we were expecting a few songs that extolled the virtues of their home nation. And this folksy little warbler does that in buckets. Many buckets. Many buckets rough-hewn from rustic wood and carried by a lusty-yet-earthy maiden with flowers in her hair.

Oh yes, it's a song about the Ukrainian countryside (and a bit about the cities, too). Marvel at the blue skies, golden corn (and motorway bridges) in the video, as our wholesome lady guide sings us through the joys of her locale. It's a sweet song, but one that you suspect has serious undertones relating to their somewhat noisy neighbours. So we'll keep out of that particular fight.

One suspects that this won't be the last we'll hear of ilk from next year's hosts. This could be an interesting couple of months, to be sure...

Friday 21 October 2016

Switzerland 2017 - Alex Angel - Angels

And the award for this year's most persistent Eurovisionist goes to... Alex Angel. Yes, not only does he have two songs in the Ukrainian process, plus one very slinky video in our very own British song selection pile (OGAE division), but he's found a back route into the supposedly closed Swiss process and entered in for that too! Good man!

And this time his style of video has changed too. Not for this song do we have cavorting young ladies in shiny kit, oh no. This time it's all about war! Yep, this clip looks like an advert for both NATO and a dodgy arms fair with all kinds of shooting and exploding going off everywhere. Quite how the famously peace-loving Swiss are going to take to that is anyone's guess.

But they might enjoy the song, though. It's a hard riffing rocker with high pitched vocals, somewhat reminiscent of the national metal band of the Cantons, dear old lovely Krokus! We're loving Alex's industry this year, and are collectively looking forward to finding out where he's going to deliver a song to next! And October is usually so boring in Eurovisionia!

Friday 14 October 2016

Armenia 2017 - Alexander Plato - Monologue

After his initial performance proved so popular, delighting and bewildering Eurovisionia in equal measure, the lad Alexander Plato is scheduled to be performing on Depi Evratesil again this Saturday. And do you know what? We've got a sneak preview of the song hopes to be singing.

A regular reader of this pages noted that his previous effort would have been much better with a key change. Well this new piece has got them in bucketloads - sometimes shooting up the scales mid-word. Again, it gives us a wordy, opera-fuelled libretto, with occasional ventures onto the fringes of rock and prog, with difficult time signatures and soaring moments of some noisy beauty. Oh, and if the song's not to your taste, he takes his shirt off part way through. Something for everyone!

It's certainly not everybody's barrel of custard, and the judges will be ready for him this time, so we've got more than just our fingers crossed in the hope that he'll make it through to the next stage. But what a bold and interesting move this would be for Armenia to pick this chap. Do they have the nerve? Only time will tell!

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Estonia 2017 - Six Feet Club - Unetu Tartu

It's always one of my favourite days in the Eurovision season when the first list of Estonian performers hits the web. And today's that day. As far as I can establish, this is just a rumour list up to now, but its mix of old stagers (Ines, Ott Lettland, Getter Jani) and completely new names makes it a pretty believable selection.

Up to now there is just the one suggested entry that has any kind of physical song connected to it - but what a doosie that song is! Six Feet Club here offer up a chuggy, insistent groove telling us all about the night time in their home town of Tartu. It's kind of like a more laid back Rammstein, blended in with a post-rave Hawkwind, and we like it very much! The very nature of the song means that it's highly unlikely to so much as break out of it's semi, but it's already a fixture on the Apocalypse iPod, and we've been playing it non-stop all afternoon.

And if this is a precursor to the other Estonian goodies on display this year, well we just can't wait!


Upon chatting to Runo, the singer of this fine mob of noisemakers, we discover that they haven't quite decided whether they're going to enter yet. But I've tried to convince them! So that list is either a secret wishlist from someone who works at ETV, a work of slightly accurate fiction, or a mystical document of future portent. If it's the latter, I'm getting its author to pick me out the winner of the 4.30 at Kempton Park next week.

Sunday 9 October 2016

Armenia 2017 - Alexander Plato - Illusion

The Armenians, bless 'em, have totally changed their usual format, and this year opted for an open casting competition, Depi Evratesil. Only unlike most of these shows where a bunch of young aspirers stand nervously to a desk full of famous button-whackers, most of these can actually sing a bit. How terribly unfun!

That's why we were delighted when it got to Alexander Plato's bit. Every bit the image of the young Caucasian hipster, all bear and specs and man bun, it all started off OK, with him over-annunciating every syllable of a stagey, self-composed song, before he forgot the words and started to skat out all kinds of random sound particles with big boggly eyes.

What's that you say? It's supposed to sound like that? Really? Good man! To have the moxy to get up there on national telly and deliver this potential songmare to a panel of former ESC stars, then gain their universal approval is nothing but admirable. Admittedly, a few of them were visibly unsure if they were supposed to like it or not, but once them buttons started being whacked they all followed, as if some manner of strange brain disease was claiming them one by one. Excellent stuff!

We really can't wait to see what the boy Plato delivers us in the next round. Is he a one trick pony, or does he have something even more bamboozling in mind? The days can't roll by fast enough...

Thursday 6 October 2016

UK 2017 - Twisted Riö - Back To That

So today the BBC announced that they were ploughing the same furrow as last year, and that they would be opening up the Song For Europe submission process for all and sundry. Well, to be reviewed and cast asunder to the OGAE hordes for a single place at the top table at least. All other songs will be coming in the back way as usual. But it's a start, and you can usually find a couple of early adopters instantly creeping out of the woodwork.

Usually, of course, they're the kind of bedroom composers beloved by their nans, their nephews, and precious few other folks who seriously believe that it is they, and only they, who can save Eurovision for the UK - and damn those funny foreigners! So when the first name came up within minutes of the opening of the first press release, by a nice chap called Twisted Riö, we must confess we had our fears.

But those fears were instantly allayed, because our lad here has delivered a smashing little melancholic song about lost youth and long summers. And while it may get lost in the crowd of smash bash disco showstoppers, formulaic Disney ballads and songs about leaving the EU, it really is worth at least one of your ears. Because it's something you don't often get in the UK process - a sweet song sung simply and well.

Good luck, erm, Twisted. It's going to be a long old journey, but we hope you at least catch the ear of the people upstairs!

Wednesday 28 September 2016

UK 2017 - Meg Tapp and Charlotte Pergande - We're Sorry We Left The EU

OK, OK, so there's a lot for the more ardent Eurovision observer to pick holes in here. Yes, it was released into the public sphere a good three-and-a-half months before the legal due date of 1 September. But the girls here were clearly distraught about our Eurovision performance that weekend, and up to the point that I watched it, it had only gained 135 views, so that's hardly an advantage-making spot of previousness.

And yes, it does verge on the illegally political with all its talk of leaving the EU. But hey, 1944 and all that! Hang about? Rewind a little. They're apologising for leaving the EU on 18 May when it was at least another month and a bit before we actually left? These girls have got foresight. Heck, maybe we should give them a go, as they seem to be able to look into the future and pick out a result. We hope they had some money on it!

But while you can't fault the speed at which they hammered out this pretty well-put-together little tune (and heck, there's some better rhymes in there than at least 78% of the last five year's entries have managed), it is perhaps a little pleady. You know, the kind of thing that used to litter the first fortnight of the Swiss open process and has now begun to creep in over here. And nobody likes a pleader.

However, despite the fact that it was disqualified the second they pressed post, that the songs panders to a lot of the usual "no one likes us" nonsense that anyone with an abacus will tell you isn't actually true, and is just a little bit political, we'll give it an Apocalypse chance. Well, it's been an unusually slow September after all, and we've needed something else to cheer us up aside from that curious Alex Angel chap from Ukraine. Has Bognibov declared yet?

Friday 23 September 2016

Ukraine 2017 - Alex Angel & Victoria Ahadova - Song For Lovers

I think we've found ourselves a new hero. Not only is young Alex here the lead singer of noted Ukrainian metallists Black Angels, he's also got form on a whole load of casting shows, and is currently in dispute with his home nation's version of X Factor regarding a spot of alleged corruption and contract irregularity.

And what's more, he appears to be entering his entire repertoire into Eurovision this year!

After yesterday's spot of cod metal, we've just uncovered this actually-almost-decent tune that's reminiscent of some of Sparks's more less heard rocky output in the eighties, and some of that dirty London sleaze rock of the nineties.

One assumes that the poor lad is going nowhere near his national final. But that's a shame, because he's weaving pure Apocalypse gold with each new tune! Just don't watch his videos when you're Nan's in the room or you're at work, OK!

Thursday 22 September 2016

Ukraine 2017 - Alex Angel - Rock 'n' Roll Tonight

And so it begins.

What with Eurovision happening in Ukraine next Spring, to try and whip up a bit of excitement among the masses the host nation have decided to open up the contest to all comers and let pretty much anyone have a pop at entering a song. Yep, we've got a new Switzerland.

Rather unhelpfully, the competition's own website that hosts all the videos appears to be blocked to anyone outside of the nation - well, they wouldn't want any malicious interlopers helping them to choose a ropy old song now, would they. But there are still a few of the acts happy to share out their wares via the medium of YouTube. Acts like Alex Angel, here.

Looking every bit like the lead singer of Franz Ferdinand after he'd fallen down a well - for some years – his sneery, rock 'n' roll metal voice is clearly (or rather, nearly) modelled on that Axl Rose chappy, and the chugging guitars bring back to mind a whole host of terrible terrible bands who all wanted to be Gn'R back in the day (but who were all actually more like Poison). And this is just one of a whole slew of similarly-tinted entries that he's chucking his hat into the ring with this year - every one of their videos packed with half-hearted female ladies gyrating to the slack metal groove.

But as a season opener it holds much promise for a bumper year of Apocalypse gems. Eyes down for a full house, the game has just begun!

Tuesday 17 May 2016

United States of America 2017 - Nórnaäs - The Living Life

We all knew it wouldn't last long before them Americans wanted in. What with Australia having had a couple of goes, and our favourite show getting screened live over the first pond, the fascination has just exploded over in the colonies and they're clearly dead jealous that we won't let them have a go. So they've declared their entry for next year already! (Shhhhh, nobody tell them about the September rule!)

OK, so this was actually a bit of a spoof from the Stephen Colbert Show, but it was incredibly well observed, and would have made it to at least three of this year's national finals on its own merit. Wait a minute - did we just say "Stephen Colbert"? Yes we did! Somehow Eurovision got itself featured on a high-rating popularist American TV talk show. And when has that ever happened before?

This thing's getting a bit bigger than we ever imagined, right under our noses. Maybe the Americans will be wanting a go before long after all. Oh heck. Altogether now: "We're living the living life…"!

Saturday 26 March 2016

Hungary 2016 - Freddie - Pioneer (Live at the Igal Spa!)

The latest in our occasional serious of knuckle-gnawingly awkward PAs by Eurovision acts in the run up to the big show sees barrel-chested Freddie of the Hungarian parish perform his big hit to a swimming pool full of pensioners at a hot spa resort just south of Lake Balaton. Yes, you read that right. No smirking at the back, now...

One has to wonder how things like this happen. Was it already on his itinerary as a lesser-known local singer before his elevation to (temporary) national hero? Or did his over-active management think it was a great way to curry favour with the elderly of Europe? Either way, the poor lad looks like he just can't wait to get out of there, bless him.

But to his credit he gave it his all, even attempting to encourage an arms-in-the-air clapalong at one point - although he soon saw the error of his ways at the sight of the sagging bingo wings flapping about before him. Freddie, for possibly the most Spinal Tap moment of the year so far, we applaud you. You carried this off with some grace and humility. But what WERE you thinking when you agreed to this!

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Greece 2016 - Salina & Stavros Vanderwilt - Love Is A Game

Now that the selections are all done and dusted and the heads of delegations have had their shindig in the host city, it's traditional for a few waifs and strays to start crawling out of the woodwork saying: "This would have been my entry had I not been thwarted in some foul manner". You can almost set your clocks by it.

And who's the first on the list to declare their near miss or never was? Salina from Greece, that's who. Admittedly she was one of the names in the frame regarding the Greek berth from quite early on, but just this morning she's released this sweet-but-cheap little video with an accompanying note of explanation. The long and the short of it was that she was happy to submit this song for consideration, but that she insisted that it went through a national final process rather than being internally selected. Let's hope that's not quite as presumptuous of her chances as it reads, and also that it's not a dig at the chosen candidates Argo and their perfectly reasonable if not crashingly unpopular entry.

Well that's the politics, but what is the song like? Well it's a nice enough mid tempo he/she singalong, but it was never going to be setting any scoreboards alight in its own right - although I'll expect there will be swathes of Utopian land haters bleating out: "This is far better than that sheets Greece has chosen! A weeeener for sure!" Of course, this we can never prove. But I have my suspicions...

Monday 21 March 2016

Bulgaria 2016 - Poli Genova - If Love Was A Crime

So that's it. All 174 songs have been declared, and barring the odd bit of last minute spit and polish we pretty much know what we're going to be hearing in Stockholm at the start of May. So was dear Poli's song worth the wait? Well kinda.

Many in fandom have gone quietly bonkers at this last release of the season - much in the same way as the did for Croatia. But like their Balkan cousins, we're still not convinced it's got the showbiz to drag it much past halfway in its semi. It's bright, happy and well-produced, and Ms Genova's easy charm will help drag her up the table, but there's still something missing that we can't quite put our finger on.

Again, similarly to many this year, it's gone for the formula mid-tempo chorus, where a song with this build is just begging for something a bit more bouncy. Of course, the similarities of its chirpy samples to the hooks from a well-known Beiber song won't harm its chances any, but we're still not feeling it as majorly as we'd hoped - although it does feel set up for a lively and personable stage show come the big night.

So that's the lot then. Is this just going to be a two horse race between the recent big hitters of Russia and Sweden, or is there something unexpected waiting in the wings to do an Olsens? What do you lot reckon?

Russia 2016 - Sergey Lazarev - You Are The Only One (Live)

Word reaches us from our Russian correspondents of the first recorded live performance of the quite-probably winning song - and it's all looking a bit, well, usual. The video evidence doesn't offer too many clues as to the performance, but our lad Lazarev does appear to be phoning his show in here. Look at his eyes. He's not thinking of the gaggle of excitable folks before him, or a future full of Eurovision glory. He's thinking about his cab ride home, or where he's going for dinner tonight. See! Look!

Of course, we can't judge too much from this flickery little phone video. It appears to be taking place in either a shopping centre of a half-decent night club, so the limited stage space probably restricted him to the usual half-hearted PA show, with a small flock of grim-faced dancers staggering about soullessly like dead-eyed drug mules behind him. What choreography there was was grudgingly shrugged through by the lad himself, so we can probably assume that's not what we'll be getting dazzled by in the first run through in Globen.

Actually, you can tell that it's not a terribly prestigious show, as they can't even spell 'Stockholm' right on the backdrop. So don't expect this to be too much of a precursor to the big show - we're expecting augmented reality lizards and caves, fire-breathing dwarves and chimps in jetpacks. This fella's phone was probably a bit too zoomed in on old Serge to notice all of that! 

Friday 18 March 2016

San Marino 2016 - Serhat - I Didn't Know (Disco remix)

After the loud hoots of derision that came Serhat's way after the reveal of his grumbly gem, you'd have thought the mass ranks of fankind would have hated it whatever flavour it came in. But they're a spectacularly fickle bunch, as this new disco remix would suggest. Heavens, there's even a call for it to replace the downtempo plodder currently sitting in the box seat. But what does it have about it that make them all love it so?

Well for a start, it's different to the original - although to be fair, the rank and file would have probably loved anything shy of a full on grindcore cover better than they did the first option. And then it's disco - and not just any disco. Nope, it's that stultifyingly white European disco that used to soundtrack all the poshest Monaco boat parties and Joan Collins films back in 1980. This instant camp injection has gone down terribly well, despite the tricky time signature in the chorus that make it sound as though the beat has fallen down the stairs. 

I'd be very disappointed if they followed the baying of the mob and switched this out for the currently selected effort on the big night. The first-revealed song has go a lovely out-on-a-limb difference to it that I'm beginning to rather enjoy. No, let's save this for Euroclub where we can revel in its complete, slighty-ironic, out-of-date pop joy...

Sunday 13 March 2016

Sweden 2016 - Samir & Viktor - Bada Nakna (sign language version)

(Click here for an enjoyable eyeful...)

So the Samir & Viktor experience met with a slightly embarrassing end last night, as the juries hammer the poor pair, and the app-happy voters only gave it the most cursory amount of love.

But all of that doesn't matter, because we now have this. SVT's signers have always been a bit of a hoot, but this one knocks it out of park into a whole new level. For the first three quarters of the performance he swings about amiably enough, with his cheeky smile and easy manner making you scarcely look at the video at all. But then it gets to the last bit. Oh my...

I'd make sure you're sitting down for this, because it even made me, a dyed-in-the-wool heterosexual swoon just a little bit...

Saturday 12 March 2016

Serbia 2016 - ZAA Sanja Vučić - Goodbye

Want to see someone really, really overacting a song? Have a look at Serbia then. To be honest, I'm just a little bit scared...

UK 2016 - Jenny And The Giants - Star Trip Shooters

We're still getting the occasional UK near miss and never was dropping into our inbox. Most of them are the from the usual spring of Dunning Krugers, who are all amazed that their chirpy little tune about lard never made it to the grand final - well, it was they, and only they, who was going to save Eurovision for the UK after all.

But every now and again a half-decent little tunes pops out of the ether. Like this one. Although it was written for an upcoming computer game called DRM, it's makers thought that it was such a little pop belter that they would enter it for the UK's Eurovision shindig. Unfortunately, when they got there they discovered that they'd just missed the deadline. Shame!

Given what we now know about the selection process it almost certainly wouldn't have got there anyway, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have its charms. Think Helen Love in a shiny space suit, think techno Talulah Gosh, think Bis without the Glasgow accents (and if those references doesn't mean anything to you, do some looking up on YouTube - you'll thank me, I promise). Maybe they should have tried punting it to someone like Romania - we'll, if Hayley Everts can get to their final with a recycled ELO song, anything can happen!

Thursday 10 March 2016

Greece 2016 - Argo - Utopian Land

So, Greece then. When we heard that the artist was being chosen personally by some high ranking politician, we were immediately filled with thoughts of something martial - or perhaps even a bit old worldsy folksy. But then when we heard it was going to be Europond our expectations rose in both the 'awesome' and 'awful' categories. Y'see, when the now renamed Argo are at the top of their game, they can deliver some awesome angsty folk rock fusion. But when they're bad, they're pretty awful, offering little more than some limp sub-reggaeton slush. So which was it to be?

The lyric offered little clues - aside from the frequently repeated words "HIP HOP" scattered every few bars. This again filled us with both hope of something exciting, and dread of something potentially pretty cringeworthy. And then it arrived...

It's folksy opening passage filled us with the aforementioned hope, and its brooding rumble was surely going to lead us to something incredible...? Oh, it didn't. When the rap finally did kick in it proved a trifle toothless - an especial disappointment, seeing how great the Greek language is for spitting out the angry rhymes - and instead of peaking to something major, it just kind of petered out into something ploddy. What a shame. It's beginning to look like nobody wants to win this year. Hey, now there's an idea...

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Australia 2016 - Dami Im - The Sound Of Silence

Hello darkness, my old friend... It's still early, yet a tasty teaser for the Australian song just slipped out - and it's sounding promising. It's a few short seconds of moody build up, and unless the Aussies have gone uber high concept it stops at exactly the point that you think it's going to hit big - but it's still pretty interesting all the same.

Slowly, moody instrumentation grows, while the lass herself walks around a massive darkened building like she's part of a car advert. The clip's title suggests power ballad, so could we be in for a rare treat this year?

Of course, none of what we hear is necessarily part of the finished song, but they're doing the full reveal later on today, so we'll keep you informed as and when.


We've heard a minute now, and it's more of a stompy contemporary R'n'B ballad than anything especially epic. Top ten challenger, but nothing much more from what we now know. 

San Marino 2016 - Serhat - I Didn't Know

So San Marino, it appears, have become the new flag of convenience for anyone rich enough, or indeed dumb enough, to want to present a project of their own to the Eurovision masses. Why else would they be sending a Turkish singer performing a Turkish and Greek-written song that was recorded by African musicians in Belgium, and is apparently concepted and bankrolled by a musclebound French perfumier? Perhaps that's why they've just presented the ditty at Le Grand Hotel in central Paris and not San Marino village hall?

But all of that doesn't mean to say that it's not an interesting construction. After all, the song's writers Olcayto Ahmet Tuğsuz and Nektarios Tyrakis have got form - coming up with competition showstoppers like Hani?, Şarkım Sevgi Üstüne, Shake It and Love Me Tonight between them. And if the flamboyant Thierry Mugler is on board as the creative director it's always going to look pretty interesting. But what does it actually sound like? Oh. My Days.

We were expecting a big, beaty and bouncy party tune, with a hint of Lou Bega and Kid Creole, and a bucketload of cod swingtime stylings, but instead we got a grumbly, heavily accented slice of Leonard Cohen gloom instead, only without any of the art. We really weren't expecting that at all, and neither were any of the people commenting on the live Periscope stream either by the looks of it.

We were holding out a lot of wrong hope for this one as well. There's certainly nothing else like it in the show, that's for sure, and I suspect that we'll grow to like its dark charms as time goes on, but all the same - what were you thinking San Marino?! 

Croatia 2016 - Nina Kraljić - Lighthouse

Am I right in thinking that we hadn't had any allusions to the sea yet this year? It's easy to forget, what with Portugal and their constant songs about drowning sea men not being hear, but I'm pretty sure that, along with a song called Shine, this is the one thing that we've been missing.

And boy do they lay it on in shovels. Apparently we are Ms Nina here's shining light, saving her from peril on the stormy sea - listen, she's even imitating a foghorn at some points to guide our way to her...

But while this is one of the nicer Croatian songs in a while, it's difficult to see this troubling the bookmakers come May. Only a few songs left and still no immediate winner - who's next? San Marino you say? Oooh, that could get interesting!