Dorijan Dlaka/ Zhimi Ovoj Frak
The good: Is this not the best song title you’ve ever heard? I Swear By This Tailcoat – genius! In addition to reminding me of Russia’s ‘06 winner, this song makes me think of Boy and Girl, the almost-winner of Minsk. But (and prepare to be shocked and horrified) I like this better than that. Not that I was overly enamored with Sasha and Liza.
Everything else: I hope Dorijan doesn’t swear by his tailcoat to win him song contests, because it ain’t gonna happen. As much as I want to defend this song, I can’t by saying that it’s exciting/interesting, because…well, it isn’t. I like it, it’s jaunty (that word does not get used enough!) but it doesn’t really go anywhere, and that could be reflected in a failure to go anywhere on the scoreboard.
The verdict: I’m still behind you, Dorijan, if only halfway. 5 points.
The good: This girl has a powerful voice on her that really suits this song, and this song is one that I’m getting into. It’s not as instantly loveable as most of the others, but it is interesting, and like Latvia, it stands out because of its differences. The chorus is great, mainly because it doesn’t see the need to repeat the title a hundred times, but also because of its cha-cha sound. Any song I can do my old high-school ball choreography to (in the privacy of my empty house) is a winner!
Everything else: I am uncertain about it in several ways – i.e. is it too old for JESC or just right? What kind of stage performance will work in its favour? And just what IS with that lyric that everyone is talking about? There are just so many questions…and that could be a dangerous thing.
The verdict: I have to say it: yes-yes. 8 points.
The good: Everything from 0.00 to about 2.45, I would say. That is, in fact, everything. You know when you’re listening to the ESC entries every year as they are picked, and suddenly one day, BANG! You hear the one that screams ‘winner’? Well, this JESC season, the Netherlands gave me that moment. I have witnesses to the fact that I knew Rachel would win the Dutch final, and I still think she can go on and wipe the floor with the other 12 tweens/teens in Yerevan. This song is catchy, contemporary, interesting and up-tempo, and ik ben verliefd.
Everything else: I’ve got nothing negative to say, so I’ll say something ridiculous instead – if there is a wind machine involved in this performance, watch out for Rachel’s bangs, because they look just the type to settle back down in perfect place when said wind machine is switched off (for all of 30 seconds until the next performance). Don’t you just hate people with that kind of hair?
The verdict: Having said that, I can’t hate Rachel, no matter her level of hair supremacy, because her song is brilliant. Douze points!
Ekaterina Ryabova/ Kak Romeo I Dzhulyetta
The good: I always worry about returning artists because their second songs are often much weaker than their originals. In this case I can happily say thanks to the rule-changers of JESC, for allowing Katya to come back with, in my opinion, a song just as good as Malenkiy Prints – which won her a shared 2nd place back in 2009. Like Lena ML, Katya has matured a lot in sound and look since her first appearance, so as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t matter that she getting another go.
Everything else: I did prefer the national final version of this entry to the most recent studio version I heard, which may well not be the final studio version, because every country likes to produce at least 173 different ones just for laughs. I’m also confused as to whether I do or don’t want that boy on the scooter to come out in Yerevan. I suppose it’s better for there to be a boy on a scooter than a reenactment of the Romeo and Juliet that ends less with pyrotechnics and a pose and more with suicide; NOT an ideal theme for a JESC entry.
The verdict: If I could, I’d give it 11 points, but I can’t, so it has to be 10.
Erik Rapp/ Faller
The good: As much as I wish there was a Sandèn sister representing Sweden again – there is a fourth one, isn’t there? Her appearance is inevitable – I’m pretty darn pleased with the choice of Erik, the first boy/man (manboy!) to give it a crack for the Scandinavian country I always love at JESC. This is a song that could stand up proud in big Eurovision. I’m really loving it, and I’m not a person who raves about the clubby songs that are all over the radio at the moment, that this could easily fit in with. It only loses the ‘Best Use of Oh’s and/or Eh’s’ trophy to the Netherlands.
Everything else: I worry that, as super cool as this song is (to moi) it could be too adult-sounding for the contest and so end up with a pitiful position – like Trust and Anders a few years ago. Also, there is no live performance available as yet, so we don’t know whether Erik can handle the vocals. There are some videos of him singing other songs at festivals on the Web, which he does fine, but they are much slower-paced than Faller, so it’s not a real indication…
The verdict: Chair-a-plane or no chair-a-plane, it’s douze points from me.
The good: Before I heard the Dutch song, this was the one that put my winner radar on high alert. I still think it has ‘Top 5’ written all over it, especially with such an infectious sing-a-long chorus that doesn’t need to be in English for everyone to sing along to. I think if the Ukrainglish version is what we get inArmenia it might have wider appeal, but generally, it stands out enough in any language to do well. In 2010, poor Ukraine came last (a position they are definitely not accustomed to) and I cannot see that happening again.
Everything else: If it wasn’t for a few other songs that have wormed their way into my affections to a greater extent, this would be my favourite. For some reason I am majorly looking forward to seeing the costumes, perhaps because of my obsession with flags. I’m hoping that, as in her pre-JESC performances, Kristall chooses to paint her clothes with PVA glue and then roll in a pile of assorted flags and glitter. Voila! A continental costume fit for anyone singing a song called Europe.
The verdict: 10 points.
Well, that’s all folks, as far as my 2011 reviews are concerned. Stay tuned though, because the JESC madness doesn’t stop here…MUAHAHAHAHA!!!