Bonjour again, ladies and gents. It’s time for the second rambling, and this time around it’s time for me to stop using the word ‘time’ so much and turn my attention to the goings on of the last few days in Eurovisionville. Let’s get to it!
I I Ivi in La La Love
As expected, Ivi Adamou will perform La La Love in the first semi final (more on that later) in Baku, and I’m hoping to have got it out of my head just in time to get it stuck in there again when she does. I think most of us are pleased with this outcome, although what we aren’t so pleased about is Ivi’s appearance at the national final – an appearance made pretty much redundant by her failure to sing live. Unless I am much mistaken (if so I blame Youtube and my PC speakers) there was more miming going on there than at a sideshow carnival, and that worries me, because the only live performance of hers I have seen – from her time on The X Factor – was less than impressive. Just because you’ve been on a singing talent show doesn’t mean you can sing, does it Jedward? However, I am going to give Ivi the benefit of the doubt, because LLL is, in my opinion, another great song from poor overlooked Cyprus, and if she can put in a good vocal and visual, this could be the one that rockets them into the top ten for the first time since 2004. LLL also seems to be a musical love child of Titanium by David Guetta and We Found Love by Rihanna…but it did inherit the best of both its parents, I guess. Good luck Ivi.
The Land of Fire wants you (to light yours)
On Thursday morning, Jaz time (i.e. midnight) the host exchange/insignia/allocation draw/Long and Repetitive Speech ceremony was held in Baku, and for the first time I decided to watch it all unfold (i.e. I just happened to be awake and thought, ‘why not?’). It’s so rare that us Australians get to experience Eurovision anything at the same time as the rest of the world because if we wanted to we’d have to set our alarms for a god-awful hour. Anyway, the theme presentation and draw turned out to be quite exciting, although as alluded by my reference to speeches above, the first fifteen or so minutes were a little sleep-inducing – and awkward, as all over the world fans witnessed a massive technology fail. The less said about that, the better.
A fully functioning video introduced us all to the 2012 slogan and theme art first, which, unless you have been asleep for the last few days (maybe thanks to the speeches?) you will know is ‘Light your fire!’, and looks a little like this:
It’s so hot over here at the moment I kind of wish the slogan was ‘Take off all your clothes and pour a bucket of ice water over your head’, but I guess the whole thing is as appropriate for Azerbaijan, the Land of Fire, as it could be. The logo itself I’m not 100% sure about at this point. I do love me some orange, and fire is…good. Good for toasting marshmallows, and…stuff.
Maybe I’ll learn to love it.
Who went where?
Now on to the allocation draw, which was worth staying up for. The specific running order draw will take place in March, but for now we know which country is in which half of which semi. Here’s the deal:
– SEMI FINAL #1: Albania, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Montenegro, Romania, Switzerland (first half); Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Moldova, Russia, San Marino (second half).
– SEMI FINAL #2: Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Ukraine (first half); Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey (second half).
We also now know that Azerbaijan, Italy and Spain will vote in semi 1, with France, Germany and the UK casting theirs in semi 2.
Something else we now know is that splitting up the countries into ‘pots’ in an attempt to prevent partisan/bloc etc voting does not always work. As is stands, Greece will be able to vote for Cyprus, and vice versa; most of the Former Yugoslav countries will be able to vote for each other whilst poor Montenegro sits alone in semi 1; and Italy will be able to give San Marino a leg up. On the other hand, the UK can’t help Ireland get to the final and Russia won’t be sending any points to Belarus or Ukraine, so there will be some unpredictability. Plus, if the juries are as dominant as they were last year (remember the shock horror that was Turkey Not Qualifying?) those predictable exchanges may be further reduced. That’s one good thing about being a non-European fan – if there’s a good song or a crappy song, I don’t care where it’s from. I’ll vote for it if it’s good and I won’t if it’s crappy. Well, I would if I could vote.
Norway, Vol. II
Last but not least, it’s the second semi of Norsk MGP tonight, with eight more songs competing for three spots in the February final. Those eight are:
- Keeps On Dancing by Cocktail Slippers
- I’ve Got You by Isabel Ødegård
- Make It Better by Tommy Fredvang
- Another Heartache by Rikke Lie
- Crush by Malin Reitan
- Ola Nordmann by Plumbo
- You and I by Minnie-Oh
- Shapeshifter by Rikke Normann
My personal picks would be Crush, You and I and Shapeshifter. Crush is performed by a formerly tiny schoolgirl with pigtails, now a teenager who may or may not wear pigtails occasionally. Yes, it’s Malin Reitan, who placed 3rd in Junior Eurovision in 2005, and she’s back to have a go at the big ESC (I hope we see a lot more of this in the future). It’s a song with a very 80s vibe to it, but I still like it, and I can’t wait to see Malin onstage again.
You and I is also a bit 1980s-inspired with its electro-pop sound, but it’s definitely contemporary. I’m not sure it’ll pack enough punch live to qualify, but no doubt Minnie-Oh’s choice of face paint will be a talking point.
Shapeshifter is easily my favourite from this semi, although I may be biased because Rikke was responsible for my favourite song of the whole NMGP last year (Not That Easy with Åste). This song is completely different, a little more mainstream, but just as catchy and probably more likely to do well at Eurovision. The weirdness of the lyrics makes it stand out, and with Rikke’s great live vocal and performance position, it has everything going for it.
As far as my predictions for the three qualifiers go, I’m thinking it’ll be the generically pop-rocky Keeps On Dancing, the more traditional Ola Nordmann and Shapeshifter.
And that is all…for now.