Now that the JESC 2012 season is over, it’s time for another one to begin – namely, the 2013 Eurovision selection season. A lot of stuff has happened since the last time I referred to something Malmö-related and now, and I’m itching to talk about some of it. Not all of it…I mean, unless you’ve got all day. No? Well then.
Belarus ready for Eurofest 2012
Knowing they aren’t likely to win Eurovision next year, Belarus evidently decided they’d try and win the competition for First Confirmed Malmö Entry instead (to Switzerland’s annoyance). Either that or they’re just making sure there’s enough time to thoroughly investigate and then dethrone their initial winner for cheating. Whichever. The point is that their national final is tonight. Hashtag woohoo!
The field is 10-strong this year, and its fairly high standard puts other line-ups to shame (to Switzerland’s further annoyance). Here are my thoughts on the entries, in running order. Only one – or possibly two since this is Belarus – will be vying for the ESC trophy in May.
1. I Wonder How You by Vitaly Voronko – The lyrics are silly, his voice and English pronunciations are strange and the song is seriously 90s…but I really (guiltily) like it. It’s just as summery and catchy as it is dated and off-the-wall. I know it has less chance of winning than Jessy Matador in a Dana International lookalike contest, but it’s already won a place on my iPod.
2. I Love Your Charming Eyes by Max Lorens – Aaaaaannd the award for Most Ridiculous Song Title of Eurofest 2012 goes to…this guy! If you love my charming eyes that’s great, but don’t write a song about it because that expression is used by absolutely no one and does not work lyrically. Also, Max sounds like he’s straining to get every word out, and I don’t think a burst blood vessel would be conducive to him winning. Having said all of the above, I do like this song.
3. Rhythm of Love by Alena Lanskaya – Say hello to the best song of the bunch, in my opinion (if you don’t want my opinion, I have no idea why you’re reading this blog). It’s a real shame Alena is still tainted by the whole winning-then-being-disqualified-due-to-rigging thing of last year, because this is a song that actually deserves to win. It’s a polished dance number with a whiff of Love Unlimited, and something unexpected from the woman who made me want to kill myself with her last entry.
4. Letter to Mother by Yan Jenchak – a typical Eastern European ballad very close to crossing the border into Blandsville USA. It’s not quite as depressing as Alena’s would-be-winner, but I’m in the mood for something livelier to go to Malmö, aren’t you?
5. Incredible Girl by Bever Band – I don’t know how I feel about these wacky, almost-novelty songs that crop up in every second national final. I do know that I prefer them when the singer has not been living on a diet of gravel and sandpaper for the last ten years, as Mr. Bever Band apparently has.
6. Catch Me Again by Daria – This is a sweet and sunny song with a retro vibe which for some reason reminds me of Satellite. It’s nice enough – certainly the happier, livelier sound I was looking for – but it doesn’t really impress me.
7. Secret by Uzari – This guy was responsible for one of my favourite songs in Eurofest last year, and again, I’m liking what he has to offer. This song is quite unusual, mystical even (it makes me think Lord of the Rings) and it seems to be better live than in studio, which would obviously be good for Eurovision purposes.
8. One Way Love by Alexey Gross – This song could easily have been ripped from Dima Bilan’s back catalogue, which is fine by me because I am a big Dima fan. The lyrics aren’t too clichéd (‘start’ isn’t rhymed with ‘heart’ in the chorus. Shocker!) and his English isn’t too accent-heavy. I would be happy if this won.
9. Save Me by Nuteki – As much as I liked Litesound, please can we not have another soft-rock entry from Belarus so soon? I’d call this one ‘inoffensive’ which is code for ‘yawn-worthy’. There’s nothing terrible about it, but nothing inspiring or original either.
10. Get Out of My Way by Satsura – I am so naming one of my kids Satsura. And if I don’t have any, I’m going to name someone else’s kid Satsura. That’s how much I love that name, but do I love the song? I think I could. It’s dance, but with toughness. Being the last song out and following on from r & b and rock may work for it.
My top five: I Wonder How You, Rhythm of Love, Secret, One Way Love and Get Out of My Way. There’s a 50% chance one of them will go to Sweden, and if that happens I will be a happy fan. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be Alena. As far as I know she had nothing to do with the rigging of her song last year, and now that she’s come back with something better and different she deserves the chance to make it all the way to Eurovision.
So who will win? If Belarus want the best shot at success, they’ll go for Alena, Daria or Uzari. I suspect the victor will be Bever Band (unfortunately), Daria, or Nuteki. In just a few hours, we’ll know for sure.
Belgium backs Bellarosa
For the second year in a row, Belgium has been quick to internally select a seventeen-year-old brunette as their representative (which worked so well for them in 2011). This time, it’s The Voice Belgique himself, Roberto Bellarosa. Everything apart from Roberto being a dude is looking very similar to last year, which worries me because, despite the promising pick of Iris, we ended up with the dreariest national final ever which resulted in the dreariest entry of Baku 2012. But I for one am willing to give them the chance to redeem themselves. Roberto has a lot going for him – he can sing (duh), he’s young and relatively fresh, and he’s a good-looking guy (kind of like a preppy Eric Saade) which I have to acknowledge despite being too old to think so. I just hope he’s more Tom Dice than Iris.
If the three songs he’ll be performing at the December 16th final are modeled after any of Belgium’s JESC entries, or his debut single Je Crois, that will be great. But even if he comes out and coughs into a vocoder for three minutes he’ll probably do better than Iris when he gets to the big show. Power to him.
The Melodifestivalen line-up complete
Everyone’s favourite national final (fact) and the one that will choose the host entry – and therefore the entry that will receive the wildest round of applause – has published the names, song titles and composers taking part in 2013. As usual, there are more recognisable names than not, and I cannot wait for things to kick off in February. You’ve probably seen the list, but here are the names I’m most excited about.
Yohio – despite being a Swedish teenager, everyone thinks he’s an Asian pop starlet.
David Lindgren – returning with the promisingly named Skyline.
Sean Banan – I loved him last year, bananas/bums and all. He’ll bring some slightly offensive fun to the program.
Tone Damli – she lost to Alexander Rybak in Norway’s 09 NF and recently duetted with Eric Saade. She’s got a partner for this too, and I’m already seeing her in the final.
Martin Rolinski – the former lead singer of Melodifestivalen pros BWO. If we can’t have them, maybe we can have the second-best thing.
Robin Stjernberg – Eric Saade’s former bandmate and runner-up of Swedish Idol in 2010.
Amanda Fondell (left) – and who beat Robin in Idol? Amanda. This girl has a really unique voice and her winner’s single All This Way (co-written by Darin, another runner-up, MF entrant and one of my favourite artists) is amazing.
Ulrik Munther – another returnee I loved last year. He came third and must be hoping to do better with a song co-composed by himself and Thomas G:son.
If you’re an MF fan, let me know who you’ll be rooting for come show time.
Malta’s list of choice
Shockingly, next year’s Maltese final will not include Fabrizio Faniello. He entered, of course, along with all the other singers on the island who enter every time, but was booted out at the last stage to make way for such repeat offenders as Danica Muscat, Richard Edwards, Racquela and Klinsmann. Those ladies and gents have all put forward good songs over the last few years, so I don’t mind the Fabrizio sacrifice too much.
The one name that I’m happiest to see made the cut is Kevin Borg, who participated in the 2006/07 finals before moving to Sweden and winning Swedish Idol in 2008. Malta is going to be an easier nut for him to crack than Sweden in terms of getting to the ESC, and I would love to see him there.
Cyprus is in, and they’ve got a name
Or have they? In the space of a few days, Cyprus went from possible withdrawal to confirmation, and an alleged internal selection was quick to follow. Giorgos Papadopoulos has been bandied about as their choice for 2013, but without an official statement, and most worryingly, without his name appearing on the ESC 2013 Wikipedia page, it’s far from carved in stone. As long as they’re going to be at the contest, I don’t mind who they send.
Who’s in and who’s out
So far, we have approximately 16 countries per semi final which is nothing to sneeze at. But with Portugal, Poland and Slovakia out and money troubles plaguing others (including Greece) this could be a more intimate Eurovision than SVT envisioned. I am surprised we’ve got as many as we do at this point, though, what with the scandalous running order situation. I’m guessing Greece will find a way to make it to Malmö (if they start now they could walk there instead of paying for flights) and with any luck we’ll have 40 confirmations in the near future.
I know all of the above is old news, but JESC month was a busy one and I just didn’t have time to discuss anything else (life can get so hectic sometimes). Thanks to Belarus, selection season is about to get underway, so it’s well and truly back to big Eurovision. At least for now, mwahahahahaha!
What’s been your favourite bit of 2013 news so far? Who do you think will win the Belarusian final tonight?