Well alright, it’s not strictly speaking retro, although it’s the 60th anniversary year so there’s a lot of looking back at cheeses past. And tonight is the first semi-final, so what better time than to have the second part of my Eurovision review? Let’s hope there isn’t a whole raft of ballads or anything- oh. 😦
Azerbaijan– Elnur Huseynov: ‘Hour Of The Wolf’. YES ANOTHER BALLAD GREAT. Let’s remember roving EBU reporter Lynda Woodruff’s adventures in Baku which are much more riveting than this dross.
Cyprus– John Karayiannis: ‘One Thing I Should Have Done’. A banging techno classic in the making from- oh, who am I kidding, another ballad from some hipster douche. Next.
Czech Republic– Marta Jandová & Václav Noid Bárta: ‘Hope Never Dies’. Nice to see the Czechs return to the contest, though I’d have preferred something more upbeat than a budget Phantom of the Opera duet. Ach well.
Ireland– Molly Sterling: ‘Playing With Numbers’. The best of an abysmal lot this year. A few years of Jedward and Dustin the Turkey show they don’t want the contest to come home any time soon. Still, at least us superfans got bladdered on the ‘drink each time Johnny Logan is mentioned on the Late Late Show’ game.
Israel– Nadav Guedj: ‘Golden Boy’. Finally, something dancey from the home of Dana International. The lyrics are mince (‘I’m the King of Fun’?), and he might fancy himself as a budget Pharrell, but at least it’s catchy. Vote it through so we have something to jig about to.
Latvia– Aminata: ‘Love Injected’. Latvia had one of the most entertaining qualifier shows in Supernova, with its ad break beaver and quirky acts like the Grimes-alike MNTHA. But Aminata is just pure class. Striking video, powerful voice and it’s not a ballad, so I think this’ll go straight to the final.
Lithuania– Monika Linkytė & Vaidas Baumila: ‘This Time’. I confess I stopped watching their 12-part X Factor-style selection because a) it was getting boring, b) the stream was awful and c) the backing music sounded like Spirit Level by Brian Pern. By the end, in a ‘shock’ twist, the two finalists agreed to duet, so here we are. It’s actually pretty good, with a spot of Mumfords, a dash of country and a sprinkling of hunky YA novel soundtrack material Gianluca Bezzina. Also, diverse relationships in the video? Hell yeah.
Malta– Amber: ‘Warrior’. Not as good as the other Warrior, so instead I’ll remind the hardcore fans just how long we all stayed up last autumn during the qualifiers, watching the millionth advert for Mediterranean Bank or singing along to the Crosscraft jingle, an advert for a Comet-like place where hostages woo their kidnappers with electrical goods. Oh, Malta.
Montenegro– Knez: ‘Adio’. This is so-so, and definitely nowhere near the undisputed awesomeness of the Google Glass dubstep astronauts. But more than anything, the video really makes me want to visit Montenegro. Road trip, anyone?
Norway– Mørland & Debrah Scarlett: ‘A Monster Like Me’. Bah. ‘En godt stekt pizza’ was robbed in Melodi Grand Prix, a sublime mix of Avicii , Rednex and pepperoni that a dear friend tells me is a perfect slice of rural life over there. Instead, we get a cheap imitation Adele and a food fight. S’alright. Let’s have the pizza thing instead. Which is HIGHLY not safe for work.
Poland– Monika Kuszyńska: ‘In The Name Of Love’. Another ballad, but I have a soft spot for this one. Along with Finland’s entry and CF sufferer Bianca from UK’s Electro Velvet, Monika has a disability, having been paralyzed in a car accident. It adds something of a bittersweet tinge to the lyrics for sure. And it’s miles better than those milkmaids, right?
Portugal– Leonor Andrade: ‘Há Um Mar Que Nos Separa’. Festival da Canção tends to pick out slow, ponderous, fado-y things, but they did well with Leonor. Although I will just leave this gentleman here, with his early 90s Pebble Mill At One stylings, and let you imagine what the Vienna stage show would have been like.
San Marino– Anita Simoncini & Michele Perniola: ‘Chain Of Lights’. Poor old Valentina Monetta. They sent her three times in a row, and yes, she was responsible for The Social Network Song (Oh Oh Uh Oh Oh). This year’s offering is fairly inoffensive, but it just doesn’t have a hook. And that’s deadly in the qualifying stakes.
Slovenia– Maraaya: ‘Here For You’. I do love her ‘invisible sensor violin’ gimmick, and the song’s pretty catchy. Not sure it’s a winner, but I bet it qualifies for the final.
Sweden– Måns Zelmerlöw: ‘Heroes’. I bloody love Melodifestivalen. If this was on every Saturday night, I would happily abandon all UK TV. The production values are high, the music’s excellent and the comedy skits are mostly funnier than anything UK writers care to try. (I’m still proud of parsing one joke as a play on Swedish numbers. My linguistic game is strong.) You know what else is great about Melfest? This year they required that at least 50% of selected entries were written by female composers/lyricists, which is just peachy. Honourable mentions this year to the pastel Katy Perry nightmare Dolly Style and Kenny Rogers tribute act Hasse Andersson. Måns is certainly easy on the eye, and it’s a shame the shiny projected figures gimmick may have to change due to copyright wrangling. Song’s a grower, and if Sweden don’t qualify I’ll eat my rainbow-coloured editing hat.
Before the grand final on Saturday night, I’ll have finished a piece of Eurovision-themed fiction that may well involve murderous water horses. I won’t spoiler too much, but let’s just say you won’t be able to listen to Brotherhood of Man the same way again…