Wednesday 21 December 2022

Germany 2023 - Alexanie Und Das Pablo Paloma Tanzorechester - Showtime

It's happening far less often these days, but our friends in Germany have this year partaken in that thing that whispers utter joy into the Apocalypse ear - an open application process. And our regular agent Tristán has been having a deep delve into some of the more fringe elements for us. And oh what beauties he's found.

You've got the usual plethora of bedroom outsiders, some nice ladies who spend more time on the frock changes than the song's words, and a whole barrage of "Fire/desire/higher" rhymes. But there's one song in particular that's got right under our skin, despite its initial lack of promise.

It might be a right anachronism of a song, with its old time style, cheesy lyric and seemingly dated delivery, but as the performance continues it gradually digs its beautiful glittery claws into you and takes us back to a more simple, innocent age of showbiz. We won't lie, we found ourselves vigorously applauding the song when it finished with broad, beaming smiles on our faces.

There's no way on earth that German telly is going to begin to consider putting this even on their long list. But that's a shame, because can you imagine this on the big night in Liverpool? The place would go absolutely nuts. It would still probably come bottom three, but how much more fun would we have had than we did with their recent procession of beige nothingness! Bloody love this - and mostly for all the right reasons for a change!

Tuesday 20 December 2022

Albania 2023 - 2Farm - Atomike

It's usually a good sign when your message box fills up during a local qualifying show that you're unable to watch live. It generally means that either something of amazing beauty or deep batshittery has just appeared on some foreign telly - but in this instance it was very much the latter.

Albania's Festivali i Këngës is a glorious old show - now in its 61st year. But it's usually a bit light on the truly strange. Plenty of eccentric squawking and structurally impossible frocks, perhaps, but very little in the realms of the deeply strange.

Well old 2Farm here certainly put paid to that old maxim. We know that the song clearly has some meaning beyond our uneducated ken, and apparently got a bit locally profane from time to time too. But to an uneducated Western eye most of what we can see is three blokes in early middle-age doing a bit of an awkward art teacher's interlude in the school Christmas play.

It only properly kicks in when the blonde fella starts to growl at about the halfway mark, but it's a rare wonky delight from start to end. If anyone can fill us in one what it all means - please do!

Saturday 17 December 2022

Ukraine 2023 - Tvorchi — Heart of Steel


So we've got our first song for Eurovision 2023. But the song itself is only a fraction of the story here. Because despite suffering heavy bombing overnight, the Ukrainians still held Vidbir, their national selection show, deep underground in a city centre metro station that has been used as a bomb shelter since the beginning of the Russian hostilities. Indeed, so close were they to the tracks that you could hear the trains passing through every now and again.

The event itself though was slightly more impressive than the songs, though. Some solid but unremarkable  songs from Jerry Heil, Krut and OS Sound System that all had a distinctly Ukrainian folksy rave edges were narrowly beaten by this somewhat less than local feeling piece of soul-tinged electropop. But having said that, their show was great, and it seemed like a popular choice on the metro concourse, so you can't begrudge them their win.

One suspects, though, that this is going to test the theory of those dreary bores who have been rattling on about how Ukraine could send anything next year and win. If you're that convinced, you can still get 3/1 on them, so you won't be remotely scared to bung a ton on them for an easy win. Free money, right? But really, the only winner tonight was Ukraine itself, showing an indomitable spirit in the face of adversity the kind that few of us can even imagine. And for that they can only be applauded.

Monday 12 December 2022

Serbia 2022 (Junior Eurovision) - Katarina Savić - Svet Bez Granica


(Click here for a thing of sweet wonkiness if you can't see the panel above…)

Now we appreciate that a great many of you don't bother with the Junior version of our favourite show - well why would you, you hate kids! But in amongst the hyperactive rock 'n' roll kids and the cloying stage school brats there's always a few little treats to uncover, and this was our fave by a street yesterday.

Sweet and simple, while all around it was pounding the maximalism to the limit, Katarina here gently played with the music box motif in a gentle and old-timey tune telling us about how we're all one world really. There's still the occasional classic Balkan ballad interlude to keep the traditionalists among you happy, too.

But things take an unexpected and beautiful turn at the 2:10 mark. I won't give anything away, but unless you know what's coming we'd be surprised if you guessed it in ten goes! We're not just here for the insanity and bombast - every now and again something understated gets under right our skin. Although we're quite sure that normal service will be resumed soon.