Happy Sunday! I felt a little more excited getting up this morning than on any other Sunday, because, as I’m sure you are already aware, no less than five countries picked their Düsseldorf entries last night! They are:
BELGIUM/ Witloof Bay/ With Love Baby/ This song reminds me of Latvia’s a capella effort from 2006, I Hear Your Heart, by Cosmos. That was a song I really liked, but unfortunately I can’t say the same for this one. It has its good aspects, including the fact that Witloof Bay really work the whole no-music thing to their advantage with great live vocals…but it’s just a little boring and high-pitched for me to praise it.
FINLAND/ Paradise Oskar/ Da Da Dam/ This entry is one of several song/artists combinations this year suffering from Tom Dice wannabe-itis. Unlike Tom Dice, this guy has little charisma and his song is no more impressive than that title would have you expect. What IS the matter with you Finland? Are you aware that you are not going to qualify this year either unless 90% of the countries you are up against forfeit the competition?
ICELAND/ Sigurjon’s Friends/ Aftur Heim/ Finally! A pleasant surprise! I had been quite sure that Yohanna would take out the unpronounceable Icelandic selection, especially after watching her incredible performance in the semi final. She is so amazing! But alas, it was not to be. What was to be was that Sigurjon Brink’s composition, performed by his friends in the wake of his untimely death a few weeks ago, would be the one. And I am really fond of it! It’s something different from Iceland, who has gravitated towards big ballads or club numbers in recent years. I can’t rule out the possibility that sympathy votes played a part (would the song still have won had Brink been there to perform it?), but I’m happy with the choice. Will it qualify? That’s another question altogether.
MALTA/ Glen Vella/ One Life/ The slightly effeminate Glen missed out on the top spot in last year’s Eurosong, so it’s nice that this year he’s getting his chance to possibly introduce those tight red pants he wore in his promo video to the world. As for his song…I think it might be a grower. The beginning reminds me of Fergie’s Glamorous, the verses are quite catchy, and although the chorus could be stronger, the overall effect is not unpleasant. I like it much better than their 2010 entry, but I’m still thinking it will be a struggle for Malta to reach the final.
NORWAY/ Stella Mwangi/ Haba Haba/ There are absolutely no surprises here. Haba Haba will go off in the Euroclub, and I think it succeeds Allez Ola Ole as the ESC party anthem of 2011. It’s such a fun song that I’m happy to say will likely sail through to the final. Stella is stellar (sorry, it had to be done) and has great stage presence, so I wish her good luck in Germany!
Let me know what you think of the latest entries below or on Facebook. I’d love some more support over there – remember, just search for Eurovision by Jaz and like me!
In addition to the above, there were also semi-finals aplenty Saturday night. Eurovision.tv has overviews of all of them, as does Wikipedia (we all know which one is the more reliable source) so head to these for the latest developments. I will mention the Latvia’s Eirodziesma briefly, because as you may be aware I am in love with Lauris Reinik’s entry Banjo Laura. I’d like to congratulate him on qualifying to the final last night. You can go all the way, Lauris! Woohoo! Yeah! Umm….hurrah.
Melodifestivalen had its 2nd semi, the results going down as follows:
1st qualifier: Sanna Nielsen with I’m In Love. When I first heard this yesterday I thought it was stereotypical, generic, and predictable – but still certain it would qualify. Watching her performance made me like it a little more, maybe due to the awesome prop she had or the fact that she’s so adorable I can’t dislike her. At this point I don’t want it to win, but I’m not disappointed it made the final.
2nd qualifier: Brolle with 7 Days and 7 Nights. I’m not a huge fan of this one. In fact, I’m not a small fan of it either. But I’m not worried, because there’s no way it’ll win the whole thing. Right?
Andra Chansen qualifiers: Loreen with My Heart Is Refusing Me, and The Moniker with Oh My God! I LOVE Loreen’s song. It was my favourite of this whole semi, but I did think if it got out it would be via the second chance round. She reminded me of a brunette Gaga with her bangs and costume. Her vocals were so good, and I hope she’s one of the lucky two to make the final. As for The Moniker…well, there are two songs in MF this year titled OMG and I know which the better one is. Having said that, I do see the appeal in this, and Andra Chansen is where it deserved to be.
Next up on the contest calendar: Poland’s final on the 14th; the Unser Song für Deutschland final on the 18th; another semi-final Saturday for five countries on the 19th; and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s song presentation on the 20th. Let’s hope for some excellent entries from those….