Wednesday 20 December 2023

Albania 2024 - Luan Durmishi – Përsëritja


Merry FiKmas, everyone! Yep, Albania's annual Winter warmer, Festivali i Këngës, is back once again in its traditional festive slot and delivering all the usual gravel-voiced ballads and angry looking ladies squeezed into ever-more restrictive garments. But there's always a couple of outliers who make you sit a little further back from your screens in a curious blend of delight and dismay. 

So witness Mr Durmishi here. Sitting grumpily on a box, he grumbles and artful lyric about the art of repetition while staring out the entire middle block of the audience through his bottle bottom glasses, all laid over a bed of austere minimal 90s Balkan techno. So when he does eventually stand up and start marching menacingly towards the front of the stage you'll swear you can hear portions of the audience bolt for the doors. 

This is exactly the kind of thing that we all watch FiK for, and if you never have, we really think that you ought to, too. The final's on Friday night, and we so hope this laddie makes it there, because in the words of the good lord Wogan, he'll most certainly scare the horses.

Wednesday 13 December 2023

Malta 2024 - Matt Blaxk - Banana

Well here we are again. It scarcely seems like five minutes since we were all getting excitable on Merseyside, but the songs and delights have begun to trickle our way again, so we're back for another season. Now it's traditional on these pages to post about the first song we hear, whatever it is. Sadly though this time it was Slimane's French thing, which even its most staunch supporter would confess is perhaps a bit too mid for this blog, so we've elected to debut our 2024 coverage with an old friend of Apocalypse.

Many of you remember will recall M Blaxk sudden transformation from a standard balladeer so a loud and sassy cringe inducer, and it's something that's kept us going through many an MESC competition over the years. But the lad has surely surpassed himself this time. As soon as we saw the title of his song many weeks back, be knew exactly how he was going to pronounce it - "Bah-Nah-Naaah!" - it just had to be. And when he's not over-annunciating his fruity title or telling us exactly who he is, our Matt is stomping about in a beautifully ungainly manner, and giving us a simple but silly dance routine to try to copy. But to be fair it won't be too tricky to replicate.

There are already those who are foolishly calling this a Käärijä copy. But they're silly dolts. Of course, our favourite Finn is going to encourage the less traditions funtime fellows to have a go at the contest this year. But our boy from Malta here has been ploughing this cheesy furrow for some years now, and is operating completely in his own wheelhouse. Just by law of averages, Matt Blaxk is going to qualify for the big show at some point over the next few years, so it might as well be with this big old slice of dumb singalong fun. Happy funtimes!