Waking up this morning, I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach that I get when overnight, there’s been a development on the Eurovision front. It may be pathetic that it’s a similar feeling to that I get on Christmas morning or the day The Biggest Loser comes back on TV, but I don’t care, because when I leapt energetically out of bed, I would be able to hop on the old PC and find out a) Who had qualified from the first semi of Melodifestivalen 2011; b) The full line-up for Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix final; and c) The latest potential representatives from Latvia, Lithuania and my most beloved European country, Croatia!
MELODIFESTIVALEN: With no intention of saving the best until last, I’ll start with Sweden. If you read my previous post (which obviously, you did. I mean, as if you wouldn’t. AS IF!) you’ll be aware of how very dear to my heart MF is. It’s Eurovish’s slightly under-achieving sibling – not quite as glam and fabulous and wonderfully amazing, but still highly entertaining to follow. Last night’s semi was a strong opener, with four songs jumping out at me as awesome. Unfortunately, three of those four did NOT to make it either to the final or to the Andra Chansen round, although I have to admit, listening to those that did again, I did like them more than the first time, which is why I referred to this semi as a strong one several lines ago. If you can remember that far back!
Anyway, here’s the deal: the 1st qualifier was Danny Saucedo with In The Club. I had a feeling that even though the song isn’t that special (and is very repetitive, repetitive, repetitive…) Danny would qualify high. And so he did. I just feel you let me down, Danny. Your song is so generic! BUT….his performance was so very slick, and his vocals were flawless. I have to give him props for that.
The 2nd was Swingfly with Me and My Drum. I didn’t rate this song on first listen, but it actually worked well live, and I am now not displeased that it qualified. I liked the drummers in the background, but I didn’t like the guy singing the chorus because he looked like a hobo.
The second chance qualifiers were Jenny Silver with Something In Your Eyes, and Pernilla Andersson with Desperados. Jenny put in a spectacular performance, with great vocals, choreography and use of wind machine. I still think the song is clichéd, but it does get in your head in that typically schlager way. Pernilla’s performance was more subdued and far from stereotypically Swedish, but the song stands out. There’s a quality to it that makes me pay attention. Plus, it was the only Swedish-language song out there last night.
As a result of the above, my darlings Jonas Matsson, Rasmus Viberg AND Dilba (as well as the quirky Le Kid) missed out. I am still drying the tears as I write. Jonas’ performance was great – I especially loved the beginning. Rasmus looked like a lumberjack but belted out Social Butterfly with gusto. Dilba was diva-licious and Le Kid channeled Katy Perry with their cupcake and licorice allsorts props (as well as the lyric in their song which likens a relationship to a “teenage dream”). All in all, it was a really great show, and although I’m disappointed at a few of the qualifiers, they are growing on me with each listen. If one of them had to win MF, I’d actually want it to be Me and My Drum. If I could have had any song qualify first, it would have been Social Butterfly or Try Again. And if there’s one I don’t think should have gotten any further, it’s Danny’s. Sorry, but I think he should’ve stayed firmly in the club.
So that’s my brief wrap-up of MF’s SF1. OMG right? Uhh. Now on to MGP! (Are you keeping up with this?).
MELODI GRAND PRIX: Last night eight acts faced off against each other, each aiming to get their hands on one of the two remaining tickets to the Norwegian final on February 12th. The lucky two were The (aptly titled) Lucky Bullets, with Fire Below – a song that lyrically makes me feel is a message to she with the fire below to see a doctor ASAP – and Sie Gubba, with the ordinary tune Alt Du Vil Ha . Neither of these float my boat, so going into the final I’m hoping for a win from Aste and Rikke, Hanne Sorvaag or Babel Fish. Although Stella Mwangi/Helene Bøksle wouldn’t go astray. That means there’s a 62.5% chance of me getting my way! I like those odds. Let me know who your favourites are, from MGP 2011 or any of the selections, below or on Facebook.
THE OTHER GUYS: Latvia and Lithuania both had their first semis last night, whilst Croatia had its third. For all the details (that I don’t want to bore you with when you can get them all elsewhere) head to eurovision.tv, Wikipedia or the relevant broadcaster websites. I will mention Lithuania, because one rather familiar face just managed to advance to the final: Sasha Son. Yes, the man with flaming hands! He just squeezed in with two others in a field of fourteen, in third place, with his anthemic ballad Slogan of Our Nation.
Sasha’s just one of the many artists returning to the Eurovision fold in some way this year. Eric Saade is trying again to fly the flag for Sweden; Lena and Dino Merlin are back for another crack at the title; and Yohanna, Lauris Reiniks and Fabrizio Faniello are all fighting in their respective nations to be at Düsseldorf this May. I can only assume that for some, participating (or attempting to) in the contest is like getting a tattoo: you do it once, and BAM! You’re hooked. A bit like reading this blog, really. One witty and excellently constructed post is all it takes to get you addicted! Wink, wink.
Coming up: the second semi of Unser Song für Deutschland (Feb. 7th); the finals of Ireland and Azerbaijan, as well as Malta’s kickoff (Feb. 11th); and a day WAY too busy for me to describe here (Feb. 12th). Enjoy every minute of it, Eurovisionaries!