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.