Sometimes it’s stressful being a Eurovision fan.
Right now we are in the eye of a storm of national finals and song presentations, and I know I, as a blogger wanting to review and discuss as much as possible, am getting a little swept up in the flood of…wait, flood? I don’t know where I’m going with that weather analogy. My point is that it’s hard to know what to focus on at the moment – Turkey is in the process of presenting their song as you read; Austria and Ireland’s NFs are scheduled for Friday; Finland chooses on Saturday as Sweden holds their fourth semi; and for the Netherlands and Slovenia, it’s decision time on Sunday…and that’s only me looking as far as the weekend.
I’m going to (try to) accept that I can’t cover it all, which isn’t all bad because it makes some song selections a total surprise to me, rather than a disappointment when I discover the entry I was rooting for didn’t make it (which happens too often for my liking). So today I’m making the Emerald Isle my sole focus, as well as asking for your opinion on a small matter of 0% importance but 100% fun.* Let’s get to it!
* I won’t be asking for your opinion on my silly introductions. I know they’re rambly and boring, but I also know I have a compulsive need to tack them on to every single post…
Ireland’s Eurosong: is it a given?
As all of us who are not Amish know, Jedward are back for another bash at ESC glory (INSERT SQUEAL/GROAN HERE DEPENDING ON YOUR FEELINGS TOWARD IRELAND’S MOST FAMOUS TWINS). You would think that would make Ireland’s national final redundant, because surely there’s nobody Jedward can’t steamroll over with their catchy pop and ability to sound as if they can sing when in fact they can’t. If you do think that, you’re probably right. But I’m still hoping for an upset by a certain lady who also has some previous Eurovision experience.
There are five songs competing to represent Ireland on Friday night. Here they are, in running order:
- Mistaken by Celtic Whisper & Maria McCool
- Mercy by Donna McCaul
- Here I Am by Andrew Mann
- Language of Love by Una Gibney & David Shannon
- Waterline by Jedward
I don’t know what to think about Mistaken. It’s nicely ethnic and not too dated, but there’s something about Maria’s voice that irritates me – it’s almost like the song was recorded a few minutes after she’d had an asthma attack and was still recovering. Plus, the first half minute or so sounds like a parody of every Irish entry of the 90s.
As for Mercy by Donna McCaul – well, here is a previous ESC entrant who has actually chosen to return with a better song (not that it was hard to improve on Ireland’s 2005 song Love? which Donna performed with Joe). Apart from the questionable lyric “you stole the key to my brain”, I really like this one. It’s dance, it’s catchy, and it has a key change. There’s not much more you could ask for.
We know from previous experience (a.k.a. Bosnia and Herzegovina 2010) that fair to middling soft rock can qualify in Eurovision, which gives hope to Andrew Mann and Here I Am on the off chance he wins the final (by which I mean if Jedward and Donna are killed in a nasty shoulderpad incident). When compared to the four other potential Irish entries, this one ranks pretty high, but I don’t know how far it could go at the big show; although I would say it’s more fair than middling, and a lot better than B & H in Oslo.
Language of Love is…um. I think Una and David need to be sent the memo that all of this NF chaos is leading up to Eurovision 2012 and not a benefit concert circa 1992. If dated music and lame, clichéd lyrics were what the contest was looking for, the UK would have won two years ago. In case anyone’s forgotten, they did quite the opposite.
Finally we come to Waterline. It’s no Lipstick, although if Jedward come back again in 2013 I’m sure I’ll describe their song as being ‘no Waterline’. It’s up there with the best in this selection, but I just feel that the obvious desire to win has disappeared due to the album-filler qualities this song possesses. It’s catchy pop again and I’m sure it’ll win by a landslide (the votes will flood in…get it?) but it’s not going to do what Lipstick could not at Eurovision.
My top five:
- Here I Am
- Language of Love
My prediction: I would so love Donna to prove that Jedward can be beaten, but despite the fact I believe her song to be better than theirs, I just can’t see it happening. They’re by far the biggest stars of the bunch and they are performing last. It’s inevitable. I am, however, willing to eat my words if Jedward somehow lose the ticket to Baku to someone else.
So who could win the ESC right now?
I haven’t had much opportunity to gauge what fans are thinking of the 2012 songs so far. Are there some obvious favourites? Is it a ‘blech’ year at this point? I MUST KNOW! A-hem. What I mean to say is, please vote below and let me know what you’re thinking. Which country has what it takes?
COMING UP: Another Saturday post with my thoughts on Turkey, Austria and Ireland, plus previews and predictions for Melodifestivalen and more!