It’s the last February Saturday of the year, which also means that this is the final weekend of February Madness in the run-up to Malmö. Granted, it’s not that mad – we’re not even getting any final deciders tonight. But with an event-filled week behind us, a bunch of semi-finals about to kick off (including Romania’s, which is on the verge of breaking the Maltese record for longest show in the history of the world) and plenty of action taking place next week, one can’t really complain. And if you find yourself pining for some form of madness, there’s always the option of reliving Laka’s performance from Belgrade…or any of the bajillion other crazy-ass performances from the last six decades.
For those who don’t mind a degree of sanity, however, here’s some I prepared earlier.
A little bit of this, a little bit of that: news from the last seven days
– Alcohol Is Free: Greece’s new tourism slogan for 2013, or their latest Eurovision entry? In case you didn’t know, it’s the latter. Continuing this year’s trend for picking artists with impressively long and difficult to type names, Greece chose Koza Mostra feat. Agathonas Iakovidis to fly their flag in Sweden, with the aforementioned musical celebration of free booze. I would have been grateful if they’d sent a decade-old souvlaki to represent them just to have Greece in the competition, so the fact that they decided on actual human beings with a fun and ethnic (but not in a Helena Paparizou Version 35025.0 way) song is a big bonus. There are similarities to one of my all-time Turkish favourites, For Real by Athena, in Alcohol Is Free, so that’s also pleasing.
– In other shocking news, Ireland chose a single, non-hysterical man with a regular hairdo to go to Eurovision last night. It’s hard to remember what life was like in the pre-Jedward years, apart from the occasional flashbacks of a screeching bird with someone’s hand up its backside, but I’m looking forward to getting reacquainted with them. Again, I’d have accepted a crappy song just to have a Jedward break, but Ireland have chosen well. They’ve gone for Only Love Survives, a.k.a. electro-dance pop that would be lumped in with Slovenia and Germany if Eurovision was a Venn diagram. I don’t like it as much as Glorious, but it’s on a par with Straight Into Love which has grown on me a lot since my first listen. I can see a wicked stage show backing it.
– The Netherlands have revealed Anouk’s song title, and it’s Birds. It would sound more interesting if it was called Rhinoceroses or Three-Toed Sloths, but hey, she’s certainly talking it up. According to her delegation, though, it’s both too good for Eurovision and not good enough to do well – which if you ask me is just an excuse to cover all bases if they do fail miserably.
– The BBC has FINALLY broken their silence on what’s in store for the UK, if only to give us a date of announcement and a slight clue as to who will represent them. On March 18th a solo singer will put all the rumours to rest by failing to live up to them (probably). Odds are on Mika who would make me very happy, but my hopes are kind of…*gestures to feet*. We shall see.
– Finally, in random but exciting news (for me, anyway) I was lucky enough to be interviewed about EBJ and all things ESC last week by escunited.com, and the interview is now live. You can read it right here: http://www.escunited.com/home/interview-with-jaz-creator-of-eurovision-blog-eurovision-by-jaz/. While you’re at it, do check out the rest of the website. It pretty much has everything you could ask for, and the editors make a point of looking into the Eurovision impact all over the world, not just within Europe.
Melodifestivalen: three down, one to go
And here’s hoping it’s the best one yet (that really, really isn’t much to hope). I’ve been waiting for this semi to come for one reason, and two words: Ulrik Munther. He’s one of the favourites, and since I loved his song last year I had big expectations of him this year. I’m also keen to see Idol runner-up Robin Stjernberg (and see if he can beat the girl who beat him in Idol by getting out of his semi) and Terese Fredenwall. Here they are, with the rest.
- Rockin’ The Ride by Army of Lovers
- Must Be Love by Lucia Pinera
- You by Robin Stjernberg
- Trivialitet by Sylvia Vrethammar
- Bed On Fire by Ralf Gyllenhammar
- Jalla Dansa Salwa by Behrang Miri
- Breaking The Silence by Terese Fredenwall
- Tell The World I’m Here by Ulrik Munther
Sweden has saved their best for last. This semi is almost up to the standard of last year’s weakest, so yay, I guess. Here are my favourites.
You – I liked this because it didn’t go where I thought it was going to, and I like the way Robin turns the one-syllable title into practically an entire chorus.
Jalla Dansa Salwa – if it wasn’t biologically and logistically impossible, I’d think Behrang was the love child of Sean Banan and Jessy Matador. His musical stylings of catchy tribal-dance pop certainly suggest it.
Breaking The Silence – this is similar to the song that got Terese a place in Melfest, and just as beautifully sung. She’s not the best live vocalist from what I’ve seen, but I’m hoping she can pull off a decent performance tonight.
Tell The World I’m Here – okay, it’s not a patch on Ulrik’s previous entry, but it’s still got what it takes to win in a year of mediocrity. I am praying this gets to the final, even if it goes no further.
Now, who’s going where? If you’re looking for a likely prediction go elsewhere (I’m sure I don’t need to highlight yet again my lack of prowess in this field) but if you just want an opinion, this is what I’m thinking – Ralf and Ulrik to the final, Army of Lovers and Robin to Andra Chansen. Whether that happens or not, at least there isn’t any cringe-worthy middle-aged men who can slip in to the final when someone else deserved it more.
PS – this semi is not only being held in Malmö, but in the very arena that will host Eurovision in a few months. Imagine that sketch of the stage in the setting you’ll see tonight, with Petra Mede plonked in Danny and Gina’s place, and that’s a fairly accurate picture of what you can expect.
What’s coming up in February?
There isn’t much left of the month, but these are the scheduled developments you can look forward to:
24th – Russia’s Voice Dina Garipova presents her song What If. If she doesn’t have at least three grannies as backing vocalists, she’ll already have failed to live up to her predecessors.
26th – Spain choose the song ESDM will sing in Malmö, from a smorgasbord of three. I haven’t listened to any yet, so…yeah. How are they?
27th – Croatia and Macedonia present their songs, Mižerja and Imperija respectively. I’m not sure which I’m more curious to hear. I’m definitely hanging out to see if the age gap between Esma and Vlatko is more noticeable than the one between Ell and Nikki.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks, and make the most of the almost-madness.