Baku Reviews: Part 4 (Lithuania-Netherlands)

Lithuania

Love is Blind/ Donny Montell

Reminds me of: I’ll Be Back by 2PM

The good stuff: Who says disco is a no-no? Well, probably many, many people in this day and age. But I don’t pay any attention to those people, not any more – Donny has ignited in me a new appreciation for the genre. His song begins in a ballad-esque way, with the first chorus hinting at what’s to come. Then BAM! With a discarded blindfold and a cartwheel, Love is Blind is off into Disco Heaven. Sure, from then on it’s a big wedge of vintage cheese, but I’ve always been a savoury girl. Donny himself has it all – he can dance, he can sing, he’s probably wanted by the 2012 Lithuanian Olympic gymnastics team, and he’s not too unfortunate to look at. And so I’ll be hunting through my parents’ wardrobe for some flares and platform boots (and I might even find some of my mum’s) to don(ny) for Lithuania’s three minutes in the spotlight.

Everything else: Here’s a random question – why did Donatas Montvydas decide to adopt a rather Irish-sounding stage name? For all I know his real name means Donut Mountain, and that was the motivation, but to my non-Lithuanian understanding ears, ‘Donatas’ has a lovely ring. I’d say it was an attempt to snag more votes fromIreland, but he’s been Donny for years.

Winner, loser or grower: Winner – 8 points.

 

Macedonia

Crno I Belo/ Kaliopi

Better than 2011: No

The good stuff: Kaliopi, as you may or may not know, failed to advance from Eurovision 1996’s version of a semi final. Will she have better luck this time around, representing a country notorious for just missing out? We’ll soon see. This woman is a huge star in former Yugoslavia. She’s also got a powerful, gravelly voice to rival Nina Badrić’s, and that voice is well suited to this rocky number that has grown on me a lot since my first listen. I find the first part, which is the less rocky part, more listenable, but at least it goes somewhere (not unlike Lithuania) when it makes the transition. I’m expecting a well-rounded performance from Macedonia.

Everything else: Like many of this country’s entries, Crno I Belo lacks a certain special something that makes it a shoo-in to qualify. It’s good, but not great. It’s memorable, but not overly so. I guess, as Hera Björk would say, it’s missing je ne sais quoi. Maybe that will change when we come to the live show, with costume and staging coming into play.

Winner, loser or grower: Grower – 6 points.

 

Malta

This is The Night/ Kurt Calleja

Reminds me of: Everybody by Tanel Padar & Dave Benton.  

The good stuff: Poor Fabrizio Faniello again failed to win a third ticket to Eurovision this year, but his fans will be pleased to know he’ll be there in spirit. Kurt’s TITN is not only a reincarnation of 2001’s Estonian winner – it also bears more than a passing resemblance to Faniello’s entry of the same year, Another Summer Night. For all I know, Malta 01 and Malta 12 were composed by the same people (the tiny island is forced to recycle artists and songwriters all the time). In its own right, it’s a summery, fun song with a catchy chorus (who doesn’t love a bit of ‘eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh’?) that won’t be lighting any fires (the Azerbaijani tourist bureau will be disappointed) but should be mildly entertaining to watch on the night.

Everything else: This is the cheesiest entry of 2012 – sorry, Donny Montell – a fact ESC haters might latch on to when they launch their annual ‘Eurovision is crap’ campaigns. I think that is mainly thanks to the lyrics, which are on the Greece level of clichéd-ness. Also, as Maltese entries often do when they aren’t performed by Chiara, it’s lacking in something that would make it outstanding. I’ll be surprised if it qualifies.

Winner, loser or grower: Grower – 6 points.

 

Moldova

Lăutar/ Pasha Parfeny

Top 10 material: Yes

The good stuff: Bravo, Moldova, bravo. I am actually slow-clapping right now. This song is so much fun! It’s everything I look for in a Eurovision song (or listen for, I suppose): it’s infectious, it’s happy, it doesn’t take itself too seriously but it’s not a novelty song, it’s ethnic, you can dance and sing along to it…the list goes on and on. I’m expecting it to go down fantastically in the Crystal Hall, and likewise in my lounge room.

Everything else: Is there anything else I can say? I’ve pretty much laid all of my cards on the table. Although I should mention that, as you can see below, I haven’t given this the douze. That’s because, as much as I love it, there are a bunch of songs that just edge it out of my top 10 of the moment. I think the 2012 field is a strong one, and pretty much everything in my top 30 is much-loved, so Pasha, if you’re reading this, a) you must be desperate for stuff to do, and b) don’t be disheartened by the tenner!

Winner, loser or grower: Winner – 10 points.

 

Montenegro

Euro Neuro/ Rambo Amadeus

Reminds me of: A drunk guy at a wedding doing karaoke.

The good stuff: If I had to pick out one redeeming feature, I’d say the chorus. As much as the ‘eero neero’ irritates, it is part of the most listenable section of the song. As a result, the final thirty or so seconds are not eardrum-shrivelingly bad. Another positive, I guess, would be that Rambo lived up to expectation with the song. Having listened to some snippets of his back catalogue (I can’t bring myself to say ‘past hits’) when he was announced as Montenegro’s representative, I expected a song exactly like this – a.k.a. Man Rambling Incoherently To Music For The Longest Three Minutes You’ll Ever Experience (Oh My God, He’s Opening Eurovision 2012!).  

Everything else: Oh my God, he’s opening Eurovision 2012! That will surely be the strangest first act in a long time, if not ever. I’m sure you’ve figured out how I feel about this, but I’ll reiterate: it’s three minutes (though it seems more like 180 seconds) of a man rambling incoherently to music, about God knows what – or as Aisha would say, about what, only Mr. God knows. What is with Montenegro? If they withdrew from the contest because they weren’t getting anywhere, only to come back with a prime example of why they never got anywhere, then it was probably a waste of time.

Winner, loser or grower: Loser – 1 point.

 

Netherlands

You and Me/ Joan Franka

Best lyric: ‘Our love couldn’t handle time…’

The good stuff: For the first time in forever, the Dutch song has been labeled one to watch – that is, one that could possibly win the contest this year – and all thanks to a former The Voice contestant with ridiculously chiseled cheekbones and a penchant for Native American headwear. Joan’s You and Me is a charming, up-tempo, almost country-style song about her cougarish childhood tendencies (hello, she was five and he was three!). It reminds me a bit of Switzerland last year – it’s sweet, humble, and a little quirky. I hope it doesn’t suffer Switzerland’s 2011 fate in qualifying and then flagging in the final, but surely a ticket out of the semi alone would be like Christmas coming early for the Netherlands, who haven’t qualified since 2004 and who came dead last in their Düsseldorf semi.

Everything else: I want this, more than any other song, to do well – or at least to get somewhere. But I wonder if it isn’t one of those all or nothing entries that will either rake in the votes and blitz into the top 10, or fail miserably (kind of like Italy last year, and France last year if you count what people were saying before the contest). If you’re living in Europe (but not the Netherlands) please send a vote Joan’s way. Can’t you imagine how great it would be for them to be announced as one of their semi winners?

Winner, loser or grower: Grower – 7 points.

 

NEXT TIME: I shower a lot of love (and a smattering of ‘what were they thinking?’) on Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino and Serbia!

 

About Jaz

I'm Jaz, I'm 26, and I'm 110% Eurovision-OBSESSED. The contest is one big party, and I like to keep it going 365 days a year - that's why I write about anything and everything ESC on my blog. Come join the fun, and I promise you'll never have a nul-point experience! www.eurovisionbyjaz.com/

Posted on May 6, 2012, in Eurovision 2012, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Eh, eh, eh, eh, eh.
    :’D Haha. malta. but when you hear it you know.. okay it’s the eurovision song contest.
    But isn’t as good as eeeeeeeh, eh, eh, eh ljubice! (milan stankovic ftw. has the best eh’s (:)
    I also really like Moldova this year(:
    Macedonia is okay.. but I remember much better songs from them. (Karolina, Tose, Martin Vucic, the guy last year)
    and Montenegro.. yeah. If you listen often to the song and understand the language you will see that it makes sense what he sings but it doesn’t make the song,the melody or the voice better.

    Like

    • I totally agree. Milan had the best eheheh’s of all time!!
      I also agree with you on Macedonia. They aren’t the most successful of competing countries but they have had some really good songs over the years (better than Kaliopi’s). “Rusinka”, “Make My Day” and “Od Nas Zavisi” included, for me. And “100% Te Ljubam” (even with the awful, awful singing…)
      I believe that Rambo makes sense, but to be honest I don’t want to make sense of him!

      Like

  2. I saw Lithuania and winner in the same sentence and I screamed….not exactly of joy, quite the opposite in fact 😛
    *Random note* Google transtale translates his name as Emminem xD Anyway…to me this is way cheesier than Malta…but they both are cheese.
    Totally agree on Moldova!!! Yay 😀
    And Montenegro, well, I think it’s a clever joke entry…I kind of like it, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s good xD It’s like I usually hate this kind of entries
    but for some reason I can’t hate “euro neuro” xD
    Since I’ll be in Germany for eurovision, I’ll vote for the Netherlands for you 😀 (If I manage to activate my cellphone xD)

    Like

    • Come on, don’t pretend you don’t love Lithuania to pieces!! Jokes.
      Eminem….whyyyyy? I just tried it and it came up the same. I mean, they are totally similar artists, but it still doesn’t make sense…;]
      Ahh I’m jealous! You get to vote (and go to Germany). One for Joan would be much appreciated. We only need a gajillion other people to do one too and she’ll be sorted.

      Like

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