A big slice of Turkey with a side serving of Austria: our selection-hungry stomachs are ready for Super Saturday!!!

So you’ve heard that this weekend is a big one, have you? Well, yes, lady and/or gent, it sure is! The Academy Awards are on! Finally!

But who cares about those? Do you think Colin Firth will be suiting up and sashaying over to the Kodak Theatre tomorrow night just to pick up some shiny statuette? No. If he knows what’s good for him, he’ll be at home in his track pants, in front of his PC, keeping up to date with every development over Eurovision’s most fabulous couple of days (apart from when Eurovision itself is happening, that is). Two such developments now in the past are the selections of returning Austria, and ever-reliable Turkey! Here’s my take on the duo.

Austria’s pick, The Secret Is Love by Nadine Beiler, is a half-decent ballad elevated to a higher level by the vocalist. Nadine is amazing live, so we can rely on a great performance from her. But…what’s that? A siren? Oh, it’s the Cliché Police come to arrest the writers of this song for blatant over-use of the words peace, heart and love – in the same sentences. I hope they qualify if simply for the purpose of pepping up a country who had had so little luck in the ESC that they wanted out.

Turkey’s pick, Live It Up by Yuksek Sadakat, is not quite a Turkish delight in the vein of Athena, Hadise or my beloved MaNga – in fact, there is nothing remotely Turkish-sounding in it – but I can’t help but like this latest effort, and I’m not even a rock lover. It may be the first of their entries not to qualify to the final since…well, ever, depending on what it is up against. But I like it. And that’s what matters! I jest.

So there’s still not a likely winner in the bunch of songs we will see in Düsseldorf at this point. Will one of tonight’s national finals from Serbia, Moldova, Ukraine, Denmark, Estonia, and Latvia produce The One? Will Natalia Barbu, Zdob şi Zdub, Anastasiya Prikhodko or Lauris Reiniks get another chance at glory? We’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime, check out eurovision.tv for all the national final details.

I’m going to cover the last semi final of my favourite selection instead: Melodifestivalen. Yes, we have reached the fourth episode, and now only it and a second chance round stand between us and finding the Swedish representative. Tonight, the line-up is comprised of:

  • Melody Club/ The Hunter: I’m sure this will make a good opener for the semi, and although it ain’t my particular cup of tea, I’m predicting an advance here. For some reason it reminds me of the 2009 Swiss entry, The Highest Heights. Like I did that, I don’t hate it; I don’t love it.
  • Julia Alvgard/ Better Or Worse: I may have a bias towards this song as I heard it a few months ago, but when I did hear it that first time, I adored it. Brilliant song, great vocalist – L. O. V. E! But I’m not sure it will be as well received with the juries/public as it was with me. It may be a tad too slow to win them over, so I’m thinking it might miss out on a place in the final/second chance round.
  •  Lasse Stefanz/ En Blick Och Nånting Händer: One word for you, Lasse – BORING. Especially in comparison to his competition! I think I might actually have fallen asleep whilst listening to it, although I can’t be sure because the event wasn’t memorable enough…
  •  Linda Pritchard/ Alive: Apart from the lyric ‘something came alive’ which reminds me of Michael Myers rising up behind Jamie Lee Curtis (who thinks she’s finished him off) in Halloween, I quite like this track. I’m a sucker for a good ballad, and I would class this as so – basically because it was practically cliché free (and if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know how much I despise clichés).
  •  Anders Fernette/ Run: This is not half as infectious as Don’t Stop, the song that Anders was supposed to sing here but which got disqualified for being published too early by the…oh, you don’t need to know that. I like the chorus, despite how repetitive it is. But isn’t repetitiveness a staple of Melodifestivalen (no offence)? Its main downfall is that it stays at the same level from start to end.  
  •  Linda Bengtzing/ E De Fel På Mig: Very schlager! This one’s quite catchy, but not overly original, however I love that it’s in Swedish – there really aren’t many non-English songs in MF this year, and I love the sound of Swedish in song.
  •  Nicke Borg/ Leaving Home: WARNING: I am about to make an Australian reference that the majority of you will not understand. Here goes: isn’t this The Whitlams’ latest single? No? Fair enough. Anyway, no offence to T.Whits, but this song is almost as boring as Lasse’s. A cupcake without icing.
  •  Love Generation/ Dance Alone: The good news: these four lovely ladies do NOT shout out ‘RedOne!’ at the beginning of the song a lá Gaga. Plus, this being a fairly catchy club track with pedigree, should mean it qualifies. The bad news: It didn’t really meet my expectations. I thought it would stand right out from the rest and it just didn’t.

 My predictions for the two top ticket winners would have to be Melody Club and Love Generation, whilst I’m guessing Anders Fernette and Linda Bengtzing will have to battle it out in Andra Chansen.

Whether it’s Melodifestivalen that floats your boat, or one (or all) of the national finals happening around the continent this evening, I hope you enjoy them, and may the best song win each and very one of them. 


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