Bonjour and wilkommen to Day 8 of the EBJ selection calendar. On today’s agenda is my take on the latest five competitors from around the continent (if you’re European, I mean your continent. If you aren’t, I mean Europe. Obviously…) as well as the latest yays and nays from my end as I rank the songs so far. Don’t forget to let me know which songs are lighting your fire (slogan pun!) at the moment.
Finland, the Netherlands, and Slovenia: the weekend wrapped up
Last weekend saw the first three aforementioned nations pick their winners, and naturally, the only one I decided to predict I predicted completely wrong – but let’s not dwell on that.
After what was a surprise qualification for me in 2011, I don’t want to discount the Finns from qualifying in Baku, no matter how humble/unlikely-to-get-anywhere the song may seem. När Jag Blundar by Pernilla Karlsson seems like the kind of song that would have been left behind in a Melodifestivalen semi a few years ago, and not just because it’s in Swedish. Having said all of those things that may lead you to believe I hate it, I actually quite like it. This is partly because I love Swedish, and since we’re unlikely to get any of that from Sweden in the near future, Finland is filling the gap (provided the song does not undergo the usually dreaded English rewrite), and partly because it’s a quirky but sweet little ballad.
I’m also not going to say that the Netherlands will fail to make the final, because, to make things even more confusing with all these countries picking up each other’s languages/habits, they picked You and Me by Joan Franka which could well turn out to be the In Love For A While of 2012. If that’s the case, it would mean the Dutch would qualify only to limp along in last place when it comes to the final – but this is the Netherlands. They’d probably be happy with that outcome.
Now we come to Slovenia, or as I am now referring to it, sLOVEnia, who thankfully decided not to send a pair of twins with a song called Konichiwa (the title pretty much indicates the quality of the lyrics) although it would have been fun to have two sets of twins in Eurovision for the second year in a row. Instead they chose Eva Boto, another teenage prodigy who makes me feel both old and talentless, and what is IMO an amazing ballad called Verjamem. The song was composed by the composer of Serbia’s 2007 winner, which does comes across a bit, but Verjamem has a drama and magic of its own. Again, I’m praying that it’s kept in Slovene, but my hopes aren’t high considering Slovenia’s history.
Two more make up their minds mid-week
On Wednesday night it was Bulgaria and Macedonia who selected/presented their entries, and for me the feelings are mixed. Sofi Marinova and Love Unlimited will be flying the Bulgarian flag in Baku, and after just one listen, I have to say I’m pretty pleased about that. The song bears more than a passing resemblance to Mr. Saxobeat by Alexandra Stan (which would be representing Romania in my dreams) which means it’s dance and current, but still something different from Bulgaria. Will it be their first entry to advance since 2007?
Macedonia are also part of the Unqualified Since ’07 club, and as much as I want that dry spell to be over, I’m not sure about Kaliopi’s ability to end it with Crno I Belo. It’s not a terrible effort, but I just didn’t ‘get’ it the way I ‘got’ Bulgaria, and both of them I have heard just once. I’m labeling it a potential grower.
All of the above means…
…it’s time for another ranking, and THAT means it’s time to agonise over who goes where. It’s rarely hard to decide which songs you would be happy to never hear again as long as you live, but when it comes to the ones you actually like…well, it’s a different story. However, I think I’ve cracked it (for this minute, at least; my mind has already changed more times than Daria Kinzer did in Düsseldorf, although hopefully with less hideous results) having excluded Israel (I have heard the alleged song, but I plan to wait until it becomes the actual, confirmed song before I slot it in to a ranking), Italy (who may take per sempre to decide whether Per Sempre is their song or not) and Montenegro (the song of whom is apparently floating around the web but has so far eluded me. I don’t consider that a great loss).
What are your douze/nul pointers at the moment?
COMING UP: Two more songs, three more imminent finals, and a second chance in Sweden…