There comes a time when one must gather up all the news-making developments from the glittery worlds of junior and senior song contests and collate them into one big, fat bulletin. That is, if one wishes to stay on top of things in any way, shape or form, as I do. Therefore, I have done exactly that for what will hopefully be your reading pleasure. I promise what’s ahead isn’t half as pompous as this introduction.
JESC – it’s (probably) happening!
It appears that Junior is no longer in jeopardy thanks to three more countries – including two debutants – stepping up and saving the day (as well as many of us from plummeting down to the depths of despair. Phew!
After a short period of uncertainty – i.e. musings of ‘will they, won’t they?’ usually reserved for Slovakia in big Eurovision and/or the sexual tension-filled relationships of soapie characters – Moldova have confirmed their participation. I can’t help wondering if they waited just to get back at Russia for stealing Lerika, and as we speak are planning on kidnapping Katya Ryabova and forcing her to represent them as further revenge. Stranger things have happened.
Whatever the situation, Moldova’s confirmation took the total of competitors up to 9, which was promising but not quite enough to ensure the contest would go ahead. Thankfully, and in a surprising turn of events, Albania and Israel both decided that they too will be shoving gussied-up children on to the stage in Amsterdam, which is very exciting news for two reasons. First, because there are now enough countries to make putting on the show worthwhile, and to use the current point allocation system. Second, because I just love the thought of a mini Rona Nishliu or Dana International, even though I know that’s not how the selection process works. Can you imagine Russia trying to find pint-sized Babushkis?
Yes, no, maybe
As a result of the above, Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine will be at Junior, with several countries still fence-sitting. Serbia are still pondering over whether a year’s vacation was long enough (FYI, it was, so come back!) whilst Azerbaijan and Italy have expressed interest in making their debuts – coincidentally the same kind of interest they expressed last year, which obviously amounted to nothing. But at least there’s hope for one or two more confirmations.
On the ‘no hope whatsoever’ front, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania are still out, gosh darn them, as is Macedonia. It was evidently decided that the risk of their artist’s voice breaking during JESC week was not one they were willing to take again. I say they should forget about that and just send a song that includes yodeling, and that way nobody will be able to tell. Besides, yodeling is an ancient Macedonian tradition, is it not? I swear I remember learning that at school.
Picking a winner
Decision time is imminent for Albania, Belarus and Georgia (who have already selected their artist – the group Shesanishnavi Otkheuli. All I know about them is that they are hard to type and even harder to pronounce) who will all pick entries in September. The national finals for Belgium and the host country – I’m sure I don’t need to tell you who that is – are set for October 6th, with all the songs (allegedly) available to listen to/trash online. From what I’ve heard so far I don’t know if I’ll have the strength to carry on and listen to them all, since there’s only so much squeaky bubblegum pop a girl can take. Sometimes you just want to hear something more original.
Speaking of which, since my last news roundup Ukraine have chosen something very strange original – at least by JESC standards. We all know there are two types of music dominating global charts at the moment: dance and dubstep. Russia have gone for dance with Lerika’s Junior entry, perhaps hoping that the Euphoria euphoria won’t have worn off by December and the voters will lap up another club anthem, even though Lerika won’t be crab-dancing during her performance (I’m guessing). But Ukraine…well, they weren’t satisfied with any old up-tempo fluff. Instead, they went for a slightly scary dubstep number called Nebo, to be performed by the teeny-weeny Anastasiya Petryk, the younger sister of Victoria Petryk (Ukraine 2008). I don’t want to say much about this entry, what with wanting to have something left for my proper reviews later, but I will say don’t get me wrong. It may sound like I hate this, but that’s not the case.
A very Malmö Eurovision
Moving on to the ESC now, I admit it. I was wrong. After Germany won in 2010 I was all for Berlin 2011, but in the end Düsseldorf won the bid. Two years later I went and made the same mistake re: 2013. The lesson here is ‘never bank on a capital’ and believe me, I’ve learnt it. Anyone up for Transylvania 2014? I can see the slogan now: ‘Vampires really ARE alive!’
Anyway, the host city may be old news, but I’m only just beginning to see it as part of the EBU’s evil/sensible plan to downsize Eurovision. Malmö is a city of just over 300 000 people – according to Wikipedia, so give or take a few hundred thousand – and the Malmö Arena can seat about 15 500, which is perfectly adequate until you compare it to the stats of this year’s contest in Baku. There the population is a smidge over 2 million, and the brand spanking new Crystal Hall seats 23 000.
I don’t honestly have a problem with curbing the contest – I mean, 15 500 is still a lot of people, and still requires plentiful toilet facilities – as long as countries are still being encouraged to debut or return to increase the show size in terms of competitors.
The numbers so far
Speaking of competitors, there are currently 25 lined up for next year’s contest: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. That means we can relax knowing there’ll be at least one semi final, even if all twenty or so still-TBC countries decide to boycott.
For Andorra it’s a definite no, but still on tentative ground at the moment are the Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Poland, Cyprus and Turkey. Turkey are apparently fed up with bloc voting, which I think is a bit rich coming from a country that often benefits from it. According to TRT’s head honcho, Sweden had won before this year’s delegations even bought their tickets to Baku, which means the contest wasn’t actually a contest, and I have to agree. I mean, it’s not like Loreen had a brilliant song and a groundbreaking stage show prepared or anything. And she did only win because she got a ton of points from such friendly neighbours as Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
Because it’s never too early to talk Melodifestivalen
You’ve probably never heard of Vapenbröder, Clara Klingenström, Adam Sagström, Tezza Ericsson, Calle Nilsson, Therese Fredenwall, Elvira Fisk or Chris Michols, but today one of them will be announced as both the Svensktoppen Nästa (Swedish Chart’s Next) competition winner AND the first known contestant for Melodifestivalen 2013. They’re all competing in the radio contest, which began in 2008, with original songs that you can listen to here: http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=3147&artikel=5226407. I was majorly excited to hear them until I remembered the golden ESC rule – only songs aired from September 1st are eligible, meaning whoever wins Nästa will have a different song for Melodifestivalen. Still, the current songs are worth a listen because they could be an indication of what will end up at Sweden’s epic national final. Based on them, my personal favourite is Therese, but ultimately, as long as nobody likely to bring clichéd soft-rock or depressing ballads to MF (i.e. Calle or Chris) wins I’ll be looking forward to what they’ll offer us come February.
That’s about all for today, folks. I hope you didn’t experience a news overload. I’d like to think if you did, you’d have stopped reading it a long time ago and wouldn’t be reading this, but one never knows.
I seem to have slipped back into my pompous ways. That’s a cue to leave if ever there was one.
COMING UP: another Time-Warp Tuesday and a rather random top 10.