Copenhagen Chat | My thoughts on the news of the week
Hola, amigos. It’s the middle of the week, and as of now, that means it’s time for me to belatedly weigh in on the Eurovisiony happenings that have made the headlines since it was previously the middle of the week. Although…nothing of note really happened prior to our first Super Saturday, so let’s just go from there.
Quite a lot has gone down since the weekend, and not just in the Land of National Finals. Sure, we’ve now got two more songs for Copenhagen, taking the total to six; and sure, Sweden’s Melodifestivalen has begun and that is SO MUCH YAY!; and sure, Spain has shocked us all by premiering some decent potential entries; but, we also now know who will present the ESC this year – more specifically, all three of them. Discussions of these developments are coming up, but for now, let me say this: please let those hosts put in a better performance than the last trio we had to put up with!
The hosts with the most (maybe) are…
*drumroll*…three people I’ve never heard of! Woohoo!
That doesn’t actually bother me. Some of the most entertaining hosts have been unknown to most of us before they took to the stage – e.g. Jaana and Mikko, Eric Solbakken, and Her Royal Funniness Anke Engelke. So give a great big benefit of the doubt to Lise Rønne, Pilou Asbæk, and Nikolaj Koppel.
Lise, Pilou and Nikolaj are not without credentials. She is a television presenter (handy) who has helmed Dansk Melodi Grand Prix in the past, á la Petra Mede, who hosted Melodifestivalen before Malmö; Pilou is an actor, so he’ll be used to making a script sound like natural dialogue; and Nik (as I am affectionately calling him since now) is a musician and former judge on Denmark’s Got Talent. All that sounds promising, don’t you think? I’ve never been sold by the trio concept, so hopefully this trio can change my mind.
Something Better from Finland, and a Swiss star-hunter
Then again, who cares if they don’t? It’s all about the music. Well, more about the music, anyway. And as I mentioned before, Super Saturday gave us two more songs to add to the small pile we already have which will be en route to Denmark in a few months’ time.
Finland’s UMK ended with Softengine’s Something Better on top, beating out fan favourite Sängyn Reunalla by Mikko Pohjola. As you’ll know if you read my last post, I didn’t follow UMK this year, but I did subject myself to snippets of the competitors before Saturday night. That decision has left me a little disappointed that the result wasn’t the other way around. The mod-rock style of Softengine doesn’t do much for me, whereas I thought Mikko’s song was a downright lovely ditty (or perhaps that’s the senior citizen in me) but time, in addition to healing all wounds and going by so slowly, changes things. Time and multiple listens. I may be proclaiming Something Better my first douze-pointer of the year this time next week.
Meanwhile, the Swiss chose the best of a bad, bad bunch in their Grosse Entscheidungsshow, opting for Sebalter’s Hunter of Stars to fly their flag. On the whole, this is a positive thing – it’s nothing like the lame lady ballad that it beat, and has a certain charm with the whistling and whatnot. I still think Switzerland can so much better though. It’s sad that this is the only half-decent outcome we could have had from them.
Exactly how half-decent is Sebalter? How could we figure that out…wait, I’ve got it! It’s TOP SIX TIME! Here, in a world exclusive, is mine:
Okay, so Seb is still on the bottom in my books, and I’m still totally on Team Cheesecake (which is surprisingly still the Belarusian entry). But with 30+ songs yet to be picked or premiered, this ranking is bound to change. Hit me with your personal top six in the comments, and the ensuing disagreements will no doubt keep us occupied until the weekend.
Melfest: it’s well and truly on!
It’s safe to say that Sweden is back. Maybe not back in a ‘we’re ready to win again, bitches’ kind of way, but definitely in a way that makes last year’s Melfest sound even worse than it actually was (bar Robin Stjernberg and a select few others). Saturday’s first semi turned out to be less predictable than I was expecting, with only one of the big favourites being voted straight to the final.
I’m talking, of course, about YOHIO, who no doubt won the night (but hopefully won’t win the whole thing) with To The End. But it wasn’t the Eurovision royalty that is Helena Paparizou who followed him – she was relegated to Andra Chansen alongside Linus Svenning’s beautiful Bröder. Newcomer/stand-in for Amandine Bourgeois in Malmö, Ellen Benediktson, scored the other ticket with Songbird. I have to admit, despite the Helena love I share with many other ESC fans, I consider this a victory for all the artists who think they haven’t got a chance against those who have been there and done that. Go Ellen!
With the wins must come the losses, and four songs are now out of Melfest ’14 for good. Only one of those had the power to bring a tear to my eye, and that was Alvaro Estrella’s Bedroom. Say what you want about a bad performance – I thought it was a-ok, and that the song was easily the best of the night. I mean, if Eric “I’ll smash a ton of glass to distract you from the fact that I’m not a very good singer” Saade can win Melfest, why couldn’t his former backup dancer qualify? Sob. The good news is that Bedroom has topped the Swedish iTunes charts, and that I intend to send the song into a radio station anonymously to try and elevate it to Gangnam Style status in Australia. Wish me luck.
What did you think of Melodifestivalen’s first installment?
Spanish surprises: the national final five
Following France’s shockingly impressive lead, Spain released the select group of songs that will be vying to represent them sometime in the near future (a date would be nice, Spain). I’ve given them all a listen, and on the spectrum of prospective entries, they collectively sit closer to the likes of Sweden than of Switzerland – a.k.a. hooray!
- Más (Run) by Brequette
- Aunque Se Acabe El Mundo by Jorge González
- Estrella Fugaz by La Dama
- Seguir Sin Ti by Raúl
- Dancing In The Rain by Ruth Lorenzo
I’m not saying these are the strongest songs on the planet, but they do take me back to those days when Spain sent ethno-pop year after year, and did well with it. Generally, the selection is poppy and generic, but there’s always room for poppy and generic songs to succeed at Eurovision. I reckon Spain has a chance here, if not to hit the heights of Pastora Soler, to at least improve on last year’s fail.
I’ll wait for a date before I think about reviewing them properly, but at the moment, my picks are Brequette, Jorge and Ruth. How about you?
Super Saturday #2 – what’s on?
There’s only one more song to look forward to this Saturday, but Malta’s NF is only the beginning of the action. Olympics fans like myself would add the start of the Winter Games in Sochi to the list of comps worth watching (it’s basically the Eurovision of the sporting world) but for those who are interested in the ESC only, look out for…
- MESC. That’s Malta’s Eurovision Song Contest. After a semi final on Friday which will, inexplicably as ever, only send 6 of 20 songs packing, 14 will be left to battle it out for the win. There’ll be two former JESC contestants taking part (assuming they both advance, and let’s face it – the odds are in their favour) but the only one I’m gunning for is Daniel Testa. His song One Last Ride has Eurovision written all over it, and not in a cheesy way. However, there is some fierce competition he’ll have to push out the way to make it…can he do it?
- Melodifestivalen semi final 2. A veteran of this NF, Sanna Nielsen is back for what seems like her millionth shot at representing Sweden, and this could be the one that gets her all the way. She’ll be joined by Martin Stenmarck (who was beaten by Helena Paparizou and many others in Eurovision ’05) singing in Swedish, and my personal gem Panetoz. Check out their hit Danza Pausa and then tell me you’re not excited to hear what they’ve come up with!
- Iceland’s Söngvakeppnin semi final 2 and Hungary’s A Dal heat 3. I admit to knowing nothing about either of these at this point, so whether they’re worth watching is up to you.
I’ll be back on Saturday to preview and predict MESC and Melfest, and complain about what an agonizing decision it is choosing between multiple national finals AND the Olympics. There’s something for you to look forward to.
Ahem. In the meantime, don’t forget to rank and ramble about results down below. If you don’t…well, I’ll be sad.
See you Saturday!
6 Responses to “Copenhagen Chat | My thoughts on the news of the week”
Okayyyy, my top six at the moment is as follows:
1) Ukraine (meh, I know it’s contrived but I love it!)
2) Albania (really really interesting song, lovely melody, hoping she pulls a Rona in Copenhagen)
3) Finland (loved the entire Finnish NF, and even though JASMIN MICHAELA SHOULD TOTES HAVE WON I do love Softengine’s song too. Plus eye candy, that lead singer = nom)
4) Belarus (it’s growing on me)
5) Switzerland (similar thoughts to you, it’s the best the could have picked but still nothing special)
6) Italy (this is horrendously overrated.. I love some of Emma’s other songs but this one is just inexpressibly bland and forgettable and it makes her voice sound awful and scratchy and nooooooo)
As for Malta, I haven’t listened to them all yet (shame on me, cos we should have previewed that NF by now *slaps wrist*) but I know “Hypnotica” is the fanwank one to watch, and of course Dainel Testa *JESC SHOUTOUT* 😀
You read my mind about Ukraine! They won’t disappoint come show time, I bet you.
Mourning the loss of Jasmin Michaela (in retrospect) for eternittyyyyyyyyyyyyy….well, maybe not that long.
Italy’s not impressing me that much either, as you could probably see. I don’t dislike it as much as you! I just wish they could have bent the rules and sent Non E L’Inferno, because THAT is what I want from Italy. Stunning stuff.
DANIEL TESTA MUST WIN MESC!!! I have this feeling, however, that he’s gonna come second or third, probably to Pamela/Jessika. But One Last Ride would be so damn good on the ESC stage, I’m telling you.
Speaking of Ukraine though… what the hell did they do to the song last night!?! (in the Maltese semi-final) Really hope that’s not the final version 😮
Kertakäyttösydän was pure fabulousness and it’s easily the biggest NF injustice since Jamala didn’t get selected for Ukraine back in 2011 😥
Ahh yeah, I’m sure Italy wont be my last place out of all 37, just whenever the majority of fans start raving about such a crappy song, I always feel like I need to be a bit more venomous than strictly necessary just to balance it out a bit!! 😛 Completely agree about Non E L’Inferno, would have been perfect. Or some of Emma’s other songs like Cercavo Amore or Senza Averti Mai. *sigh*
YESSS!! Is it just me or does he look a bit like Ross from Friends now? 😛 I’d be happy to see Daniel win.. I’d be happier to see Sophie DeBattista win because that song is just adorable, but I doubt she has much of a chance 😦
I haven’t watched Maria at MESC, and by the sounds of it I should keep it that way? Could this be the year Ukraine falls on its face? Its attractive but overly made-up face??
Jasmin Michaela = injustice. Jamala = not so much. Sorry, but I did not get that song! It annoyed me so much. I was Team Zlata and, believe it or not, Team Mika.
Daniel Testa will be David Schwimmer in thirty years for sure. I think he looks like Darin, who himself will look like David Schwimmer in twenty years. Three generations of Rosses!!
1. Albania. Clear favourite with plenty of things to interest me.
2. Belarus. Firm and simple rhythmic base, with a mellow and slightly tart filling. A pleasant snack.
3&4. Finland and Italy. Conventional rock. I find them tedious and undistinguished.
5. Ukraine. Slap-dash Euro-jumble. Weak composition and vocals, and she’s not even dancing.
6. Switzerland. There’s an enchanting country/folk song nearby, but this isn’t it.
But I’m always at odds with popular tastes — My favourite from the Finnish selection, “Painovoima,” was dumped at the first opportunity 😦
For Malta, I’m keenest on De Bee, Chris Grech, and Firelight. Best of the rest: Andreanna, Corazon, Pamela, Raquel, Sophie.
I’m glad to hear there is appreciation for Albania out there, even at this early stage. There’s definitely something special about it. Hopefully it’s more of a ‘Suus’ than an ‘Identitet’, results-wise. I’m also pleased by Belarus in second place, it being my #1 and all.
I would agree with your description of Finland and Italy at this point. I feel like Italy will grow, but it lacks the magic of their last three entries. If they could have sent Emma’s San Remo winner, things would have been very different.
I kind of feel your Finnish pain. I had a listen back, and Jasmin Michaela won me over. Not just because we share the same first name, I swear…
Unfortunately, most of your ‘best of the rests’ from Malta are out of the comp now. I really like Firelight too, but for me it’s Daniel Testa all the way!