It’s a great Sunday morning for Eurovision fans! Super Saturday is over and now we get to enjoy the fruits of its labor.
All in all I am pretty impressed with the results of the six national selections that took place. So here, in no particular order (okay, fine, it’s alphabetical) are the newest additions to the 2011 clan:
DENMARK/ A Friend In London/ New Tomorrow: I was pleasantly surprised by this song, considering I was hoping to see Anna Noa and Sleepless represent Denmark. It could have come from anywhere musically (though its ambiguity in that sense could be a good thing), but it is a nice anthemic pop-rock number and something a little different from the Danes. Right now I’d give it 6 points.
ESTONIA/ Getter Jaani/ Rockefeller Street: This song was always the one to beat in Estonia, and unfortunately for the other finalists, they couldn’t! It’s one of Estonia’s stronger entries, composed by Sven Lõhmus, the man behind Urban Symphony’s breathtaking Rändajad from 2009 – very catchy and fun, well performed and has the perfect balance of repetitiveness (needed to hook the voters) and diversity (needed to keep them interested). 8 points from me.
LATVIA/ Musiqq/ Angel In Disguise: I have a confession to make. I am 100% IN LOVE WITH THIS ENTRY! All thoughts of the runner-up, my beloved Banjo Laura have fled my mind (well, almost – I do still love that too) and I am thrilled with Latvia! What a great song, especially after their “effort” from last year, when Aisha the Bomb bombed out in the semis. The lead singer is quite nice to look at and his voice is…wow. Not that his looks/talents had any bearing on my decision to give this douze points! I swear.
MOLDOVA/ Zdob şi Zdub/ So Lucky: The group who brought us the drum-beating Grandmamma is back in the contest! This song is not a patch on their last, but I like it, particularly the softer parts when they aren’t shouting (about 5% of the song). I would have preferred Natalia Barbu, another returner, to win with Let’s Jazz, but she had to settle for second. And in any case, I’m happy to have ZsZ back on the Eurovision stage. 5, or possibly 6 points from moi.
SERBIA/ Nina/ Čaroban: There is a distinct lack of ethnic sounds in the contest at this point, with this song being no exception. The Serbian Duffy has been picked to sing for her country with this extremely sixties-retro track which I think will struggle in the semi. However, I do like it, not half as much as Ovo Je Balkan, but still quite a bit. Nina’s strong vocals are perfectly suited to it. 6 points once again.
UKRAINE/ Mika Newton/ Angely: This both gave me goose bumps and restored my faith in Düsseldorf, which at times has looked musically dire. It’s an amazing, powerful, haunting ballad sung to perfection by the angelic (how apt) Mika Newton. I’d like to think this could go all the way…in my head it certainly could. I’ve heard some people bandying ‘Ukraine 2012!’ about the place. Are they psychic? Maybe! Douze points for sure!
The standard had certainly been lifted now, with 26 songs heard. Let me know what you think of these six below or on the EBJ Facebook page! With any luck, the level will further increase tonight as Slovenia and Macedonia make their final decisions.
One country I feel sure it will increase with is Sweden, who had their last semi final last night, handing out two more direct passes to their final on the 12th of March. Once again I was surprised by the results, which is another way of saying that I was spectacularly wrong in my predictions. It was Linda Bengtzing with E De Fel På Mig, and (unbelievably) Nicke Borg with Leaving Home who qualified first and second respectively, whilst Linda Pritchard’s Alive and Love Generation’s Dance Alone get another chance to make the final. At this point there are only two songs in the Melodifestivalen final that I don’t like, and as I love all of those in the second chance round, the chances of Sweden bringing a great song to the table are good! Well, so long as other people are liking them too, not just me… I’ll have a prediction for Sweden’s Andra Chansen round up by the end of the week. With any luck it’ll be easier to predict than the semi finals!
So besides Slovenia and Macedonia, what else is up ahead? Well, on Tuesday, Belarus selects, followed by Greece on Wednesday. Next Saturday, whilst not half as super as this one, brings us the entries from Croatia and Portugal. In addition, there’s two more countries selecting in the week after next, plus several who haven’t given us any dates yet for their national finals/internal selection revelations (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Hungary, San Marino, Russia, et cetera), so keep an eye out for those!
And keep counting down to Düsseldorf!