Junior Eurovision 2011 reviews: Part 1

I don’t think this warrants an introduction! 13 songs, 13 HILARIOUS (cough) reviews. Here’s part one: A to L!!!

 

ARMENIA

Dalita/ Welcome to Armenia

Sounds a bit like: Malenkiy Prints by Katya Ryabova (Russia 2009)

The good: Ah, Armenia. Or should that be, ah-menia? They are one reliable country when it comes to Eurovision, big and small (even if, occasionally, they can only be relied upon to use up Europe’s entire supply of red pleather on a giant boxing glove). This year, they have again gone with a novelty entry, but I think this one will actually work for them. Song-wise, I love it. It’s catchy, accessible (in sound and combination of Armenian and English), and has that nice ethnic edge that can lift a run-of-the-mill pop song to a douze point level. I know the ‘say yes, say no’ refrain is driving some fans crazy, but I’m into that too! 

Everything else: Aside from the costumes that are suitable but still bring back frightening memories of Scooch? Well, there’s the issue of a live vocal that is less than impressive, judging by the footage I have seen. I don’t take pleasure in being mean to children (not always, anyway) but it has to be said that Dalita is dodgy live. Hopefully, with preparation pre-Yerevan and maybe some clever backing vocals (which can work wonders, can’t they Jedward?) she can pull off a performance that’s kinder on the ear than her national final one, and closer to the super studio version.

The verdict: It’s no Mama, but it still ticks all my boxes. I give it 10 points.

 

BELARUS

Lidiya Zabolotskaya/ Angely Dobra

Sounds a bit like: Spit Angel by Mihail Puntov (Russia 2008)

The good: I like the way this song becomes something unexpected – from the first verse it sounds like it’s going to be a straight ballad, and then the beat kicks in. Lidiya’s quite the little vocalist, which is also nice, and it’s likely that she won’t appear onstage in a gold velvet smoking jacket á la Daniil Kozlov, which can only be good news. I also love the sound of Russian-family languages in ballads – it just works.

Everything else: This is a ‘vanilla’ kind of song that could easily get lost among its contemporary competitors, like the Netherlandsand Sweden, unless it’s performed really well and something very interesting is done on stage. Maybe it’s time for Belarus to not succeed in JESC – they have an impressive history, with 2 wins and 3 top five finishes in 8 participations, so this could well be a year for them to take a break from doing well…as involuntary as that may be.

The verdict: I like it, but I can’t love it, so I’m giving it 6 points.  

 

BELGIUM

Femke/ Een Kujse Meer

Sounds a bit like: Een Tocht Door Het Donker by Thor! (Belgium 2006)/ 1 Dag by Marissa (Netherlands 2008)

The good: There have been plenty of good retro and bad retro songs at JESC over the years – strangely, mostly from the Netherlands and Belgium. Luckily for the latter, I am acknowledging this as one of the good. Whistling is popular in music at the moment and here it is used to maximum advantage. Combined with the beat, it makes for a charming 2-and-a-half minutes that makes me wonder (as I do for many of the countries) why Belgium can’t send songs like this to adult Eurovision. Last year, Russianearly won JESC with a cutesy retro number. Do I think Femke has the potential to do the same? Yeah yeah!

Everything else: Ever since I read on Femke’s contestant profile that this entry was inspired by Eliza Doolittle’s Pack Up, I can’t help but feel it’s a little too derivative. Sure, I didn’t notice the similarities as first – but now I can’t NOT notice. Although, I do enjoy Pack Up…so maybe I’m just being picky on this one. Would it be even pickier to say that her fringe needs a restyle, pronto?

The verdict: It’s déjà vu, but in a good way, so I’m giving it 10 points.

 

BULGARIA

Ivan Ivanov/ Supergeroy

Sounds a bit like: Oki Doki by Bartas (Lithuania 2010)

The good: Every year there’s a song that I think is awesome, but not many other people do – the most famous instance being in May with Mika Newton’s Angel. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Bulgaria’s song hasn’t been too popular with fans so far, and as I think it is Fabulous with a capital F, it looks like I’ll be waving a solitary flag for Ivan. Yes, I think it’s a cracker! I accept that it’s very mainstream and American in sound, but I think that, combined with the native language lyrics, makes for a strong song that Bulgaria should be proud of (and should find a way to send to Baku with an older singer!).

Everything else: I don’t care what anyone else says, Ivan is totally Alex Sparrow Junior! Supergeroy has something in common with Get You as well; it’s the type of song you could do a backflip in the middle of. Not that I plan to, as excited as I will be on the night. But if your lounge room is big enough, then go ahead.

The verdict: Supergeroy is super to me! Douze points!

 

GEORGIA

Candy/ Candy Music

Sounds a bit like: the Bon-Bon girls got stuck in a time machine that took them right back to 1970s Bonbolandiya and they decided to write a song about it.

The good: I had to think hard about this. Georgia are really hit-and-miss for me in ESC and JESC, and when I compare this to their hit songs like Odelia Ranuni, finding redeeming features is difficult. If Lady Gaga released a disco song, this could be it (having said that, even if Gaga released a seventeen-minute recording of herself snoring it would go straight to the top of the charts). Plus I’m sure this will get some people dancing. Somewhere.

Everything else: Please let Candy take inspiration from Katy Perry for their stage show, and dance their way around giant Styrofoam licorice and cupcakes! That would be heaven in comparison to ANYTHING resembling the music video to this song. Two words: AFRO WIGS. 

The verdict: Hmm = 4 points.

 

LATVIA

Amanda Bašmakova/ Meness Suns

Sounds a bit like: something sung by a street urchin in Les Miserablés.

The good: I hated this the first time I heard it, but I have to say it’s turning out to be a grower. It’s certainly an unusual song, and in that it stands out from the other 12. Amanda’s another good live performer from what I’ve seen, so we won’t have to worry about that side of things.

Everything else: I still think this will be in the bottom two or three. It’s a risky song to take to Junior Eurovision, because it’s quite plodding, the chorus isn’t incredibly catchy and I’m not sure what can be done onstage to complement it, especially considering the subject matter. Do not, I repeat, do NOT dress up in a dog suit, Amanda!

The verdict: Weird, and a little bit wonderful. 5 points.

 

LITHUANIA

Paulina Skrabytē/ Debesys

Sounds a bit like: Det Finaste Någon Kan Få by Molly Sandén (Sweden 2006)

The good: Sigh. Another song that I seem to be alone in my affection for. I’m a sucker for a good ballad and I think this is a prime example. It’s very floaty and summery, and I love the sound of her voice (I also love her national final dress. I wonder if it’s manufactured in me-size?). I don’t think this entry will do very well, but that won’t stop me from singing along…just as soon as I learn the words. 

Everything else: Paulina’s performance position is almost slap-bang in the middle, and I don’t think that will help her. Also, I would consider a change of footwear before the final. Converse sneakers on blonde females (especially when paired with a dress) do not work well at Eurovision – just ask Anna Bergendahl.

The verdict: Lovely enough to deserve 10 points.

 

Whew! Seven down, six to go – but you’ll have to wait until next week for those. In the meantime, comment me, because I thrive on disagreement!

What do you think of songs A to L???

 

About Jaz

I'm Jaz, I'm 26, and I'm 110% Eurovision-OBSESSED. The contest is one big party, and I like to keep it going 365 days a year - that's why I write about anything and everything ESC on my blog. Come join the fun, and I promise you'll never have a nul-point experience! www.eurovisionbyjaz.com/

Posted on November 3, 2011, in Junior Eurovision, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Bulgaria needs like a really catchy bit to make it better, now I find it nice but too average. It’s very sort of cheap seeming.
    Armenia sounds nothing like Russia 2009? xD
    Omg YES to Georgia’s afro wigs. PLEASE candy theme.
    Everyone hates Lithuania because THIS beat Milita. 100% jury choice.

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  2. Nice review, Jaz, some of your thoughts about these songs are slightly different than me, but almost all are ‘acceptable’ by me xD
    The only exception is Bulgaria, as I don’t like the song at all… I give it nul points! And coincidentally you compare it with Alex Sparrow – which I dislike too, LOL xD
    Anyway you’ve done a great job! Can’t wait for your review of the next 6 songs 🙂

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  3. Nice reviews. I LOVE your Georgian review xD Totally agree
    Belarus sounds to me exactly like Spit Angel and Mika Newton’s song and I didn’t really like any of them (sorry xD) so I don’t particularly like this one either…but I don’t see it being forgotten..the jury might like it…
    My main problem with Bulgaria are the lyrics. Not that I speak Bulgarian, but once I read the translation I can’t forget what I read. (btw why does everyone hate Alex Sparrow? I love him xD?)
    A dog suit for Latvia would be so random xD

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    • Ah, I may have to check out the Bulgarian translation now…I have to say I’m a bit lyric lazy, and if something’s catchy I will love it. Gen X and the Baby Boomers must hate me.
      PS I don’t hate the Sparrowmeister (that’s what I call him…as of now)!!! Not my favourite of 2011 but there’s not much to hate on =)

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    • Well about Alex Sparrow, I actually don’t like his songs only… Alex actually have a good voice, he can sing live, but unfortunately his songs are sucks. Especially the Eurovision 2012. Hmm, maybe you can give me an example of good Alex’s song? 😉

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  4. Hi)I think Armenia do very good in eurovision,they are always at top 10(also in big and in junior eurovisions).so this years song is also very good and the girl is very beautiful))Femke is a very sweet girl and the song has also a chance to win!!! I think Rassia will win,couse Rassian song is the best this year!! also Ukrain,Belgum,Sweeden have chances to win!!

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    • Glad to hear you are a fan of Sweden (and Russia of course!). It looks like it might be a close one this year. Personally I think the Netherlands will do it =]

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  5. I hope I’ll be in the concert this year!! and hope to have a good time)) will you be there Jaz??

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  6. This was my favorite year of JESC! So many amazing songs that year. My favorites were Armenia, Russia, and Netherlands, but apart from Latvia and Macedonia, which were pretty terrible, Ukraine, slaughtered by vocals, Moldova, which I know a lot of people like but isn’t my cup of tea, and Lithuania, which was cute but too vanilla to go anywhere, it was a really good year. I was shocked by Georgia winning…it wasn’t a bad song and their vocals were amazing, but there were so many better songs (read: Russia, Armenia, Netherlands) that deserved to win. I was also surprised how low Sweden scored. I think Erik has a great voice and his song was good, but the presentation just ruined it.

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    • Mmm, Sweden could have upped their presentation in Yerevan for sure! Those arm movements the backing singers kept doing were especially cringey. I loved the song though, and Erik of course. He TOTALLY should have won Swedish Idol last year.

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