Friday 20 November 2020

Bulgaria 2021 - Victoria - Ugly Cry

One of our biggest disappointments last year was that the continent didn't get to see the full splendour of Victoria's Tears Getting Sober, which, despite being a little less talked about than some of the more showbizzy numbers, was most probably Bulgaria's biggest chance of finally bagging a win. So we were delighted to learn that she'd be back again this season - despite being uncertain whether she'd be able to follow TGS up with something of equal incredible stature.

But judging by this clip that hit the airwaves today, she's on the right track. While not being as gorgeously glacial as her previous effort, her intense yet casual vocal still breathes out an edgy lyric that draws your ear closer to the speaker to try and work out what she's telling us. Although still being reminiscent of her American near-alike, there's marginally less of the blatant Elishisms this time - but we're not entirely sure at this point whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Our friends in the Bulgarian organisation suggest that this is just one of a number of potentially contending songs, so while it doesn't entirely hit the mark in the same way as last year's tune, it's still a crackingly understated little dark pop tune, and suggests that there's still better to come. I mean, who blows the best goods with their first tune in a long and gradual release cycle, eh? (That's a rhetorical question, Ms Aalto…)

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Albania 2021 - Kastro Zizo - Vallja e Jetës


So we finally got to see this live, and it was every bit as dramatic as we'd hoped - although with slightly less on stage personnel than we'd anticipated. But it also turns out that the boy Zizo is a slightly unsavoury character, with an unapologetic history of blackface and a somewhat dismissive view on Eurovision - all wrapped up in an ego that would struggle to fit into the Ahoy. So watch with interest, but do so with full knowledge that he's sadly a bit of a prat.


And finally we have some proper contenders! Woo hoo!

You can always rely on the Albanians to deliver a slate of dark, minor key pop songs, moody ballads and blokes with impossibly deep voices telling us about their hardships over jangly guitars. But the thing we look forward to the most each year is trying to work out which is going to be the most impressive in the live sphere. And this one's feels like it's just crying out for a monster of a live performance.

The thing is, now they've done away with their slightly cramped indoor FiK stage and are sending the whole show outdoors (In December? In Albania? Are they quite, and beautifully, bonkers?), the artists may just be given a little more room to mess about with the staging. And if there's one thing we know it's a song that begs for a visual.

This is also one song that we'd be really interested to see with an orchestra (if they're actually able to have one in the bleak Balkan winter, that is). It could go either way. All those stringy things could either add to already enormo-sound of the production, or totally knock the bold edges off - but we can't wait to find out.

We suspect that this is probably no winner unless the boy Zizo is some kind of massive star back home - but then again after all these years if there's one thing we've learned about Albania is that this is one show that you can never totally predict. But all the same, it's a big bold slice of noisy nonsense that stomps about just lovely. Can't bloody wait!

Friday 13 November 2020

United Kingdom 2021 - Dominic Frisby - I'm Going To Marry Gary

It looks like it's going to be a quiet old year here at Eurovision Apocalypse, what with so many of the acts already chosen, and what few national finals there are remaining being, for the most part, the more staid and fun free events. We suspect that we're going to be picking the few rare tasty morsels that do exist out of the straw at the bottom of the cowshed for the most part this term - which is why we got vaguely excited when this dropped into our mailbox last night.

It's long been the tradition for us to post the first competing song that we hear in a season - whatever it may sound like - just to kick things off. We'd even considered putting up Dami Im's dreary nearly-was effort - and we might still have to if things get sparse. But this chirpy little ditty made us seriously reconsider that tradition.

Taking just the song in itself, it's a whimsical little singalong tune, presented by a performer with an easy comic charm. The rhymes are just the right side of groan inducing, and the video is very nicely filmed and paced. However, the subject matter itself is where it become problematic.

Had this been performed by an act like Kunt & The Gang you'd know exactly where you'd stand with it (and if you've not heard of them before, tread carefully in your Googling!). But the middle-aged-blokes-down-the-pub mocking their mate for fancying a cross dresser really doesn't sit comfortably, and as innocent as their intentions may have been in order to chuck in a few lumpy puns, the way it's been received in the comments section only goes to underline these fears.

Clearly there's a few people in there trying to be deliberately ironic, but these sit uncomfortably alongside the cries of "Woke!" and "PC gone mad" in pre-empting its reception from the "lefties", which only goes to underline that however simple your intentions, as soon as you put something like this out into the public sphere, people are going to see it in the way that best suits their world view - however much that may happen to vary from your own.

But aside from all that, just sticking the words 'UK 2021 Eurovision Entry' in the title of your video is about as pointless as me mocking up a fake sticker and pretending I played for Zaire in the 1974 World Cup - that is unless the intention of this song was just to annoy or provoke the fanbase and trans community, which were that to be the case, would be even more puerile and mean-spirited than some of the jokes the video contained. 


Further examination into this artist's body of work suggests that this is very much his kind of thing. Oh well.