How Swede it is – will San Remo make up for some Spainful listening???

Last night, a trio of selections took place in Spain, Germany and Slovakia (which must mean they actually plan to turn up in Düsseldorf, right?) and once again, I was not impressed with the results.

Spain's 2011 hopes are riding on these fluoro shoulders...

Spain, as I suspected they would, ended up choosing Lucía Peréz, and her song is Qui Me Quiten Lo Bailao, also known as Todas As Ruas Do Amor in Spanish Rather Than Portugese. And yet, I just can’t get into it like I got into Portugal’s entry from 2009. It certainly isn’t the worst song I’ve ever heard, but maybe that isn’t a good thing – if something isn’t terrible but isn’t great, it’s bound to fall into that ‘average’ category that most of the songs selected so far have already done. Spain have a knack for choosing fun, light songs as their representatives, at least over the last decade, which is fine, but they often leave behind a cracking ballad in 2nd place, like they did last year with Coral and En Una Vida. And this year they’ve done it again, voting Auryn and Volver through to the top three (a band/song I professed love for yesterday) ahead of the others only to push Lucía forward when it came to the crunch. I don’t think it will pay off in 2011. This song is destined for 16th or 17th position…but if Jimmy Jump makes another appearance to liven things up, who knows? Maybe it’ll be a top fifteen finish for Spain.

Another country destined to lag in the final is the home country, Germany. In fact, I was so unenthused by the potential entries in the Unser Song für Deutschland final that I actually forgot it was happening last night and so failed to mention it in yesterday’s post. Oops (I say with all the sincerity of Josh Dubovie attempting to sing the praises of That Sounds Good To Me because he has to). We all know that Germany has no desire to win again so soon/foot the bill for a Eurovision extravaganza two years running, but couldn’t they have at least pretended to care about Lena’s fate this year? I know that isn’t a nice thing to say considering that the songs she has performed over the last few weeks ARE her new album, but seriously. That is all they are – album fillers. Dreary, lethargic album fillers sung by a girl whose funny accent was a great novelty a year ago, but is starting to get on my nerves now. Push Forward was my “favourite” of the bunch, so naturally something else – namely, Taken By A Stranger – won the right to represent Germany. I don’t usually have a toilet break song at Eurovision. No matter how much I dislike the song, I stay on my bottom, on my couch, and watch. But I may make an exception this year, because the thought of sitting their for three minutes watching her sing that, makes me cringe. I mean, what could Germany possibly have on stage to make that more exciting?


Now, you may think that I’m being particularly scathing tonight. And maybe I am. But I am getting very scared that this year will be a musical catastrophe. To cheer myself up, I think of the songs that haven’t been chosen or heard yet – more than half, including Slovakia, who last night internally selected I’m Still Alive by the imaginatively titled duo TWiiNS, made up of triplets (I jest) who have appeared previously at Eurovish in impossibly short dresses backing up the Czech Republic. That brings this year’s total of twins competing to two. Two more than most of the other years, in fact. Jedward and TWiiNS are in the same semi final, so it will be interesting to see if they both qualify, or have to console each other after a double disappointment (lame pun intended).

Something else I think about is Melodifestivalen, which is going along swimmingly and promises to give us fans something brilliant for Düsseldorf. The third semi is on tonight, featuring:

  • Lucky You by Linda Sundblad: Did I hear correctly? Linda is about to fill this guy’s cup? Hmm. That may be creepier than Lena painting her toenails and buying new undies for a guy and telling the world about it. As for the rest of the song – I’ll pass. Lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky….yes, we get it. You’re lucky, he’s lucky. We are ALL LUCKY!
  • Tid Att Andas by Simon Forsberg: A nice little ballad in the vein of Se Pa Mej, perhaps too humble to qualify. Nicely sung and constructed though.
  • Enemy by Sara Lumholdt: The verses/instrumental parts of this are great, but the chorus veers into some repetitive, unoriginal territory. I still like it, but it’s not 100% fab.
  • The King by The Playtones: These guys and The Lucky Bullets from MGP 2011 should totally get together sometime. Preferably somewhere where I can’t hear them. It’s not that I hate this song (or the retro sound of it), it just isn’t my thing, and I can’t see it grabbing too much attention.
  • No One Else Could by Sebastian: There’s something 80s about the sound of this that I’m not sure will translate well to younger audiences, plus it’s not very climactic. I see it as a Lens-esque album filler because it just doesn’t go anywhere. But I wouldn’t skip it if it came on shuffle on my iPod….
  • I Thought It Was Forever by Shirley’s Angels: Not what I was expecting! They thought it was forever, I thought it would be a very up-tempo schlager stomper a lá Jenny Silver. But I really, really like it. It is very catchy, and I hope the fact that it isn’t typically Melodifestivalen doesn’t prevent it from advancing.
  • Spring För Livet by Sara Varga: This song doesn’t really go anywhere, like Sebastian’s. But there’s something charming about it that I quite like.
  • Popular by Eric Saade: Let’s face it – this is no Manboy. But did anyone expect it to be? Despite that fact, Eric does not disappoint (or should I say Frederik Kempe, the prolific composer and lyricist of both of those songs?). Having said that, he could sing My Lovely Horse clad in knee-high socks, sandals and a Jacobean ruff and I would still think it was amazing.

It’s a strong semi, more so than last week’s, and it’s always hard to predict how things will pan out. But I’ll have a try: I’m putting my entire life savings on Eric Saade qualifying first, and I think Shirley’s Angels will be close behind. As for Andra Chansen, I’m seeing Sara Lumholdt and Linda Sundblad get there.

Also on tonight is the final of the San Remo Song Festival, where Italy will pick its entry from the finalists. I’m glad that it won’t necessarily be the winner that gets the ticket, because the winners often aren’t songs that work for Europe – they work for Italy, but picking the best fit with the ESC in mind is a good approach. Of course, it could just be that Italy is still casting a disdainful eye over the contest, and so don’t wish to degrade their winner by having them compete. But who cares? They are back and I’m loving it.

In addition, tonight look out for the Georgian selection, as well as Latvia’s own second chance round, and semi finals from Estonia, Lithuania and Croatia.

And keep your fingers crossed for some great entries over the coming week!

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