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!