Pick up your Eurovision remote and press the two backwards arrows until you’re in Jerusalem in 1999 and you might see a fellow named Dino Merlin rapping his way through the Bosnian entry, Putnici (one of my favourites of that year), with the aid of Beatrice. Now fast-forward back to the present and have a listen to the 2011 entry from the very same Dino Merlin, Love In Rewind:
It’s not a song that made me say ‘Wow!’ which is what I’ve been waiting for (and hope to get out of one of the nine countries selecting this Saturday) but I do like it. It’s one of those sweet, humble songs similar to those from Finland, Iceland, Romania, Spain AND Switzerland that seem to be trying to emulate Tom Dice, which is fine. However they are all beginning to sound the same, blending together and getting me worried that there won’t be as much diversity in this year’s contest as I have become accustomed to. Why aren’t more countries following Lena’s lead in sending up-tempo, catchy pop songs to Düsseldorf, or mimicking countries like Greece and Armenia who have the ethnic/modern hybrid formula down pat? If things keep going the way they are now, it may be a very bland Eurovision we settle down to watch in May.
Having said that, I think Love In Rewind is one of the better songs of this genre so far, joining the ranks of Iceland and Romania as my preferred ‘modest’ songs. Dino might be a little long in the tooth these days, but he still manages to be adorable onstage with his highly entertaining dance moves, which bring to mind the image of drunken Grandpa busting a move or two at his granddaughter’s wedding. No offence – I like it!
I don’t think I’m alone in believing that we haven’t heard the winner yet. In 2010, I heard the Azerbaijani and German entries for the first time and thought immediately that they were the ones to beat, and that just hasn’t happened yet…so naturally this fan is freaking out a little! I’m beginning to pin my hopes on the songs which have been picked, but not heard yet:
- I Can by Blue – I LOVE boy bands, having been a tween in the Boyzone / Westlife/ Backstreet Boys/ et cetera boom of the early 2000s. So the announcement of Blue’s UK representation understandably had me squealing like a twelve-year-old girl of today would at a Justin Bieber concert. The fact that their self-composed song was written before they were asked to go to Eurovision could be a good or bad thing, but I’m getting an overwhelmingly good feeling about this one. UK 2012 anyone?
- San Aggelos S’agapisa by Christis Mylordos – If Cyprus have done a Greece and not a Cyprus this year, things could look up. Last year was, in my opinion, the island’s best entry EVER and it should have been in the top ten. But it wasn’t, and so since it looks like Greece won’t be up to its usual standard in 2011 (listen to the national finalists if you don’t believe me), perhaps this song will fill the gap they leave behind.
- Sonniu by Amaury Vassili – Yes, I know it’s going to be opera-oriented, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to suck! Remember Alenka Gotar’s Cvet Z Juga from 2007 and Bonaparti LV’s Questa Notte from 2008? Both of those were anthemic and climactic yet still catchy opera (or in Gotar’s case, popera) tracks that I know a lot of people (including myself) were big fans of – despite their average finishes. Plus, neither of them were performed by overweight, balding, middle-aged men in frock coats. And neither is Sonniu…wink wink.
- I’m Still Alive by TWiiNS – My high hopes for this song are based on two main factors: 1) That these two sang backing vocals for the Czech Republic’s Tereza Kerndlova in Belgrade, but really should have shoved her out of the way and taken centre stage because they have much better voices – hence, they should be able to pull off a great live performance; and 2) The credentials of the songwriter Andreas Carlsson, who has previously composed hits for Britney Spears, Celine Dion and N*Sync (Bye, Bye, Bye and It’s Gonna Be Me included – OMG!). In other words, he has written every song on my iPod, so I’m expecting this to be good. Although I haven’t forgotten that Stock and Waterman also composed a bunch of hits in the past for big name artists, before they wrote a song for Eurovision that was a COMPLETE AND UTTER DISASTER.
So, to find out what the rest of you are thinking, here’s a gauge:
Take a moment to click your opinion in the time between now and the busy-ness of the week ahead…you know you want to!
UPCOMING: 23rd/ Bulgarian final; 24th/ Lithuanian final; 25th/ Austrian final/ 26th/ Latvia, Estonia, Denmark, FYR Macedonia, Serbia, Moldova, Ukraine, Turkey and Armenia all decide; 27th/ Slovenian final.