I’ve already given thanks to San Marino this week, when I voiced my gratitude for their permanent instilling of an annoyingly catchy tune and terrible, TERRIBLE lyrics into my head (and the heads of countless others worldwide. ‘Facebook, uh, oh oh’. Sing it with me! No? Okay, fair enough…). But now I am forced to thank them yet again, in a way that is 100% sarcastic, in case you hadn’t realised. Because they are now the one country standing in the way of me making my top 42, something I couldn’t wait to do/to put in this very post so you could disagree with it and we could have a lively debate that ended in us never speaking again. But now, I can’t technically do that.* SM have been given a few extra days to come up with a new song, or re-write the lyrics of the original so they no longer involve the word ‘Facebook’ (and hopefully ‘cybersex’).
Despite this little hiccup, everything else has gone to plan with the last three empty song-spaces filled and the running order draw done and dusted – and that’s why I’m here. Welcome to the second-last Selection Season post for 2012!
* I’m still going to do it, basing San Marino’s position on the Facebook song. Let’s face it, what are the chances of the new song if there is one) blowing us away with its amazing-ness? Exactly.
Azerbaijan, Belgium and the UK pick their songs for Europe
Two were hotly anticipated, and one was…well, one was Belgium. The (again, almost) final three have been decided. All three had selected their artists beforehand, so it was just a matter of waiting for the songs, which as we now know are When the Music Dies, Would You, and Love Will Set You Free.* As my annual reviews are approaching (feel free to be excited by that thought) I don’t want to ramble on about these entries, but I’ll give you a vague idea of my initial impressions, in alphabetical order of course.
You can tell Azerbaijan doesn’t care about winning now they’re hosting. I’m not saying Sabina Babayeva’s song is bad, it’s just got a middle-of-the-road effortlessness about it that says ‘We’re Azerbaijan and we’re going to do well. We don’t need to try too hard.’ I like WTMD better than Running Scared, but that’s not saying much because, nearly a year on, I’m one of many still trying to accept that Running Scared won Eurovision.
You must excuse my rude-ish comment about Belgium earlier – it’s just that it’s a country one can’t expect too much of in the ESC. In JESC, sure, but not in the big show. Iris is a nice singer, and the song is a definite improvement on last year’s, but I just can’t see it going anywhere.
As for the UK…well, I’ve been surprised by the positive reactions Love Will Set You Free has been getting since the video premiered on Monday, because I’m not feeling it. Not yet, anyway – I’m prepared to give it time. There are some good elements there, the main one being that the song isn’t That Sounds Good To Me (automatic points for that), but if I had Tweeted my thoughts on it, I would have used the hashtag #takeitorleaveit. To see what hashtags I actually use on the actual Twitter thingy, why not follow me? If you already are, merci! If not, I’m @EurovisionByJaz and I am HILARIOUS. And I am sorry for that shameless promotion of this blog’s associated social networks.
* An EBJ Fascinating Fact: Engelbert Humperdinck’s entry takes the number of songs with ‘love’ in the title to seven, putting him alongside Bulgaria, Cyprus, Italy, Lithuania, Serbia and Turkey. In 2011 there were also seven, but in 2010 there was just one.
The running order draw: the last big event before Baku
Do you remember how I said most things went according to plan over the last week or so? Yes? Well, I lied – something you’d know if you watched yesterday’s running order draw. I had looked forward to it all day, especially since it was due to start at 6pm my time (usually if I want to watch any pre-ESC stuff it’s at a 3am timeslot. Ew.) so when 6pm arrived only to turn into 6.40 before anything actually happened. I (and the entire online universe) was naturally irate. The show must, and did, go on, however, and my excitement level was high as the first hand was thrust into the first fishbowl…and then my computer died.
To cut a long story short, when I’d finished sobbing into the keyboard and screaming ‘Why, God, WHY?!’ I got the PC restarted, caught up on the draw for Semi final 1, and got through the rest without incident.
I won’t type out the results, as I’m sure you’ve already seen them/know where to visit to see them. I do have a few things to say about it all, though. How unusual…
– How’s this for one of the weirdest contest openers ever: Montenegro’s Euro Neuro will be the first song performed in Baku in position 1, semi 1. As strange as it’ll be, I do count it as a blessing since it’ll be gotten over with in record time. Plus, Iceland will look practically like musical genius coming after it.
– Greece and Cyprus, in positions 3 and 12, are far enough apart to make me feel less like one of them will suffer as a result of their similarities.
– Finland and Ireland were the wildcard recipients of this semi, meaning their performance place was up to them. Finland chose 9 and Ireland picked 18, the final spot. Interestingly, Ireland also drew the wildcard in 2011, when they also chose last place for Jedward to perform in. Déjà vu much?
– Serbia has the honor of opening semi 2, and with such a strong artist and song it should work in their favour. It certainly did for fellow Former Yugoslavians Bosnia & Herzegovina in Düsseldorf.
– Ukraine and Lithuania were the wildcards this time. The former nabbed lucky number 7 and Lithuania decided on 18. That means we have to wait all the way ‘til the end to laugh at Donny Montell and his blindfold. Damn it!
– The UK drew the first spot in the final. How courteous that Europe is allowing the senior citizen to go before everyone else, just like on public transport! If Russia qualify, maybe they should be allowed to go second?
– The final will also see two lots of back-to-back Big Sixers – France and Italy in positions 9 and 10, and Spain and Germany in 19 and 20. Spain got to pick their place as the last wildcard country.
– Finally, it’s lucky for some and not so much for others, but what will 13th place do for hosts Azerbaijan? Time will tell…
For the first time, my top 42
You can’t stop me, San Marino! The lead-up to Baku is all booked out on this blog, so it’s now or never.
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
- San Marino
I will say that a lot of the songs are on the same level for me right now, e.g. Croatia – Iceland, and so the only songs I really dislike are the bottom three. I think we can all agree on the hideousness that is Montenegro. Why do Serbia always get it right when their old partner-in-geography get it so wrong?
A little ramble re: Language
With the official deadline past, all 40+ countries have had to decide which language they’ll be singing in come May: a.k.a. English or no English? For example, Serbia and Croatia have chosen to stay native, whilst Bulgaria’s Sofi will continue to sing in every language ever invented.
Only two songs have undergone changes at this point: Italy, who have settled on a similar English-Italian hybrid to their last entry, and Iceland, who have decided on the fully English version of Mundu Eftir Mér, Never Forget. I’m not a fan of English versions per se, but this year things aren’t too bad. I’m all for a hybrid, so Italy, bravo. And Iceland – well, it was always going to happen for you, wasn’t it? Last year I fell in love with the Icelandic version of Aftur Heim and then had trouble accepting the English one, but I’m not finding the situation as difficult with Greta and Jónsi. I still prefer the original, but you can tell the new lyrics have been thought about as they fit in nicely and even make a neat reference to the original title. The song is so full of instrumental drama it doesn’t rely too much on lyrics anyway.
NEXT TIME: My final SS post of 2012 focuses on the songs that almost got the golden tickets to Baku. Yes, it’s time for another Best of the Second Best list!