Two more tracks in the mix for 2011 after another Saturday

It’s another Sunday morning and we have another two songs to add to the 2011 field, from Italy and Georgia!

Let’s begin with Italy, and their first entry in fourteen years: Follia d’Amore by Raphael Gualazzi, the song judged to be the best fit for Eurovision from the competitors in this year’s salubrious San Remo Song Festival.

Now I haven’t listened to all of the San Remo songs, but I find it difficult to believe that there wasn’t a more suitable song for the contest among them than this. It is very Italian, which is nice, but there is just no hook, no contemporary sounds and nothing that will caress, let alone slap us viewers round the face and make us vote for it. The juries should respond more positively to it, but I don’t think that will be enough to get it on the left of the scoreboard. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still thrilled to have the Italians back in the fold. But when you remember how fabulous their last entry back in 1997 was, and compare it to Follia d’Amore….things begin to look a little bleak.

Not so bleak, thankfully, is the entry from Georgia, although the first thing I thought about it did happen to be ‘This is so un-Georgian!’.

Something I’m noticing this year is that many countries are trying to emulate some of 2010’s success (Tom Dice, for example, Finland-style), which always happens, but this year it seems to be more common. One More Day, by coed rock band Eldrine, is no exception, in its resemblance to MaNga’s silver-medal winning entry from Oslo (my favourite). Though it doesn’t have quite the same impact as We Could Be The Same, I’m really warming to it, even as a pop music freak through and through. It’s strong, well performed and has a nice riff, making it a cut above the majority of entries chosen so far. The fact that I wouldn’t normally associate a song like it with Georgia is neither good nor bad –  their debut in 2007 was an up-tempo, highly ethnic number, whereas their other two entries in 2008 and 2010 were powerful ballads that experienced varying results – so it will be interesting to see how this, something drastically different, is received.

Speaking of well received (oh, what a great segue that was), Melodifestivalen had its third semi final last night, a show that was all about Eric Saade, as I think we all knew it would be. It was a shock to nobody that he qualified first to the final, although who was directly behind him was a surprise to me: The Playtones, with their vintage slice of rock ‘n’ roll The King. Shirley’s Angels and Sara Varga made the Second Chance round, a relief to me as the former trio’s song I Thought It Was Forever has been in my head all night, and I have to confess I’m in love with it. The bad part of it all is that I was wrong again in my guesses of who would get where. For the third week in a row. Therefore I’ve decided that from now on I’m going to make my predictions for Sweden in the following manner: pick the one song that is obviously going to qualify, then pick three others which would be the last ones I’d ever imagine would advance, because they will be the ones to get through. Basically, whatever I think will happen will be the exact opposite of what does happen, so I have to pick what I want to pick and then pick something else. Got it? No? I can understand why.

Anyway, that’s a little of what went down last night – if you want to check out the ins and outs of the other semis, head over to Wikipedia or whichever Eurovision news site you prefer and see what happened in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Croatia.

Ahead of us we have a busy week that peaks on Saturday the 26th, where not one, not two, not three….but NINE countries will choose their artists and/or songs. Between now and that chaotic evening, if my information is correct, we’ll be hearing five more songs, with both the Bosnian and Cypriot song presentations taking place tomorrow, the Bulgarian final on Wednesday, Lithuanian on Thursday, and Austrian on Friday. Will there be a winner amongst them? Let’s hope so.

PS – This is for anyone who’s dying to hear the British song…I know I am! Apparently we’ll get to hear it on March the 11th (darn them for making us wait that long). That is also the day Blue are scheduled to appear on the wonderful Graham Norton Show. Putting two and two together and for once getting four, I take this to mean that Blue will perform the song for the first time on TGNS, which is apt considering Norton’s involvement in the contest. Here in Australia we are a fortnight behind the UK as far as this show is concerned (but we are up to date with Neighbours, mwahahahaha!) so I’ll be Youtubing the performance ASAP! But remember, you didn’t hear this from me…unless it’s true, in which case you totally heard it from me.

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