A surprising post (not): reviewing + predicting February’s final super Saturday

Hey hey, it’s Saturday! No, this post isn’t about the TV show of the same name that you will know if you’re a fellow Australian. It’s actually about Eurovision (shocking). At last, we have a Saturday that is truly super, with multiple entries being decided and one being debuted. As such, there’s no time to waste with long intros. I’ll make up for that next time with an extra long and extra boring intro, but for now…lights, camera, action!

 

Hungary…for Eurovision victory?  

dal2014

Since they rejoined the Eurovision family in 2011 (when the last memory we had of them was an over-tanned dance machine wearing the tightest pants ever manufactured) Hungary has been on form. Sure, they haven’t constantly hit the highest of heights, but they’ve qualified for the final every year since Kati Wolf of the Bouffant Hairdo, and made top 10-worthy magic with Kedvesem last year (still my one true love). ByeAlex got me excited to see what his country would produce next, and then so did all the fans who said the A Dal lineup for 2014 was über awesome. As such, I couldn’t resist having a sneak listen to the final eight, chosen after quarter and semi finals – despite my earlier decision to leave Hungary as a total surprise. So yeah. I did. And here they are.

  • Running Out of Time by Victor Király
  • We All by Bogi
  • The Last One by New Level Empire
  • Csak A Zene by Depresszió
  • Running by Kállay-Saunders
  • It Can’t Be Over by Fool Moon
  • Brave New World by Dénes Pál
  • A Legnagyobb Hős by HoneyBeast

The video of snippets I watched told me that yes, the level is pretty high. A few of the songs grabbed me immediately, and the rest stroked me gently on the shoulder as if to say ‘you could grow to love us’. If I had to pick favourites based on just a taste, these would be my most delicious picks:

Running Out of Time cute but not cheesy pop with a chorus that sticks.

The Last One – it’s kind of dance and kind of not. The mystery intrigues me.

Running – this guy did very well in A Dal last year, but I like this song much better.

It Can’t Be Over – I do love me some Group Cosmos, but if this wins it could well be the best a cappella entry to have graced the ESC stage.

So who’s going to try and out-score Kedvesem in Copenhagen? I guess a more important question is, should I step back and leave the predicting to those of you who’ve heard the songs in their entirety? I think yes. I would be happy for any of my preferences to win, so let me know below if that’s likely to happen, or if I’m going to have to learn to love something else. How high do you think Hungary can go at Eurovision this year?   

 

Hola, Mira Quién Va A Eurovisión!

That’s ‘Look Who’s Going To Eurovision’, if Google Translate is correct. I have to hand it to Spain for being extremely organised without seeming to be at all. They had their songs, they had their NF date, and we knew nothing about either of them until very recently. Since then, however, we’ve all listened to and passed mostly positive judgment on the five prospective entries, and tonight is the moment of truth. Which one of these ridiculously good-looking Spaniards will fly the red and gold in May?

L-R: Raúl, Brequette, La Dama, Ruth and Jorge, pretending that they don’t hate each other’s guts. Sweet!

L-R: Raúl, Brequette, La Dama, Ruth and Jorge, pretending that they don’t hate each other’s guts. Sweet!

  1. Más (Run) by Brequette
  2. Estrella Fugaz by La Dama
  3. Dancing In The Rain by Ruth Lorenzo
  4. Aunque Se Acabe El Mundo by Jorge González
  5. Seguir Sin Ti by Raúl

We have dance, we have ballads, and we have key changes. We also have a lot of awkward Spanglish which seems unnecessary, but that can be taken care of later (it better be *shakes fist threateningly*). There are great, good, and not-so-good elements in all of them, but there is one that stands out for me. If I had the power, I’d rank them as follows:

  1. Más (Run)
  2. Aunque Se Acabe El Mundo
  3. Estrella Fugaz
  4. Dancing In The Rain
  5. Seguir Sin Ti

Si – Brequette’s the one, as far as I’m concerned. I’m not convinced she could do a Pastora Soler, but her song is the only one that doesn’t put me off with something dated or cliché (such as the painful key change in Raúl’s song). It does bear a resemblance to a certain other song, and if it wins the cries of plagiarism will be heard around the world because that’s what people do these days (just STAHP!) but let’s face it, most songs do sound like other songs in some way (so JUST STAHP!).

Going by the predictions of the masses, tonight is ultimately a catfight between Brequette and Ruth Lorenzo, so it will be interesting to see how the results pan out. I do believe it will be one of the two that ends up on top, and even if that one is Ruth I can make peace with it. What about you? Who should Spain select and who should they steer clear of?

 

Sweden – have they saved the best for last?

It’s hard to comprehend that we’ve already arrived at the last semi of Melodifestivalen. Time flies when you’re enduring the agonizing wait between national finals that are actually final.

The Örnsköldsvik semi includes a lot of returning artists, i.e. Alcazar and last year’s surprise success, Anton Ewald (a.k.a. one of my many future husbands). But do big guns come armed with big songs? Listen and decide for yourself here.

  1. Blame It On The Disco by Alcazar
  2. Fight Me If You Dare by I.D.A
  3. Hollow by Janet Leon
  4. Raise Your Hands by Ammotrack
  5. Hela Natten by Josef Johansson
  6. Ta Mig by Linda Bengtzing
  7. En Himmelsk Sång by Ellinore Holmer
  8. Natural by Anton Ewald  

Stefan Mattsson (1)

I think Sweden has almost saved the best for last. This semi’s just a little weaker than last week’s, which I thought was the best so far. The returning artists are bringing it for the most part, and there are a few newcomer surprises too. Here’s my top 4:

Hollow – this is hard to compare to Janet’s last entry Heartstrings, but I think I prefer this. It’s a pop ballad that is less depressing than the title would have you believe.

Hela Natten – say hello to my hands-down favourite of the semi! Josef looks like a younger version of Darin (Swedish superstar/Melfest alumni/my beloved) and his song could have been lifted from a Darin album easily. His voice is different though, and if he’s a good live performer this could be amazing in the arena.

Ta Mig – Linda has swapped schlager for electronic pop with a rock edge, and it works for her. Song-wise, I’d rather E Det Fel På Mig (her last effort) but this has appeal.

Natural – Anton’s Begging was a surprise success last year, and he’s the favourite of favourites in this semi. Natural isn’t quite as original, but it’s a perfectly wonderful club banger. I hope his backing singers are up to the task of carrying him, Eric Saade-style…

Now, to predict. I’ve been trying to figure out why my Melfest predictions always feel wrong no matter how I configure them. I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t know how Sweden thinks, so I’m constantly uncertain. Oh well…embrace the uncertainty!

To the final: Linda and Anton

To Andra Chansen: Alcazar and Janet

I might be putting too much faith in the returning artist gimmick there. We’ll see. I’m actually hoping for yet another favourite + underdog pairing to go straight to the final. Anton and Josef, anyone?

 

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Europe…

There are a couple of other things happening tonight, but they’re hardly worth mentioning. All we’re getting out of them is THREE MORE SONGS, PEOPLE! Gosh! Why are you being so blasé about it?

Oh wait, that was me.

  • Latvia’s Dziesma final (another one as yet unfollowed by moi) is ready to roll with 12 songs in the running to represent. I’ve never considered Latvia’s NF one not to be missed, and in missing it again, all I know is that one half of PeR obviously didn’t take their Malmö fail too hard, since he’s back already to have another shot. And also that Samanta Tina is becoming the Latvian equivalent of Sanna Nielsen, so if she wins tonight I’ll take it as a good omen for Sanna.
  • FYR Macedonia is presenting their (freshly changed) song tonight after internally selecting Tijana Dapčević around the same time dinosaurs began to walk the earth. Instead of premiering the initially selected Pobeda, they’ll be premiering the English version of Tamu Kaj Što Pripagjam…at least from what I gather. It’s called To The Sky, which I suppose is a better name for a competition song than To The Bottom of the Scoreboard With Zero Points. My fingers are crossed for a gem.
  • Lithuania’s mammoth quest to find their entry/rep continues with show no. 456386858711…haven’t we all lost count? This time, something significant IS taking place, with the song (but not the artist) to be determined. That’s as far as I can see, anyway. It’s Confusion Central over there in Lithuania.

 

Yikes – I think that’s enough to satisfy even the most demanding ESC fan. The only bad thing is that, if you don’t want to fry your brain, you’ve got to choose which NF/presentation to tune in to. Whatever you watch, enjoy it, and may your favourite win! Unless it’s different to mine, in which case stuff you, I want mine to win.

What? Honesty is the best policy.

See you on the other side of Saturday…

EBJ Signature

 

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 February 22, 2014, in Eurovision 2014, Melodifestivalen and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. OMG Jaz it’s been FOREVER since I commented here last. Or at least it feels that way. 😛

    Anyway, you were lucky to not have followed Latvia. Not because it was bad; it was actually the strongest NF they’ve ever had. No, you’re lucky because you were spared the heartbreak of having two of your favorite songs for the entire YEAR lose to a joke entry. I’m still sad about that result.

    As for Melodifestivalen, the results were absolute nonsense, for me. Josef was my favorite too, followed by Janet and Linda. Of course since I/we like them, they all fail to qualify in favor of boring Anton (he really needs to stick to upbeat stuff like “Begging”) and dated Alcazar. I mean, I love “Stay the Night,” but this year’s song is lame in comparison. Ammotrack is just ugh and Ellinore was actually nice and the only one who deserved a place in the top four. This whole MF was somewhat disappointing, but I do have eight songs that I really like which is 25% so maybe it’s not so bad? I don’t know, it felt bad.

    FYROM’s song isn’t too awful and with a soaring live, it’ll be improved, but right now, it’s clunky, strange, and in last place on my list behind Belarus (sorry).

    The wrap-up for A Dal was really nice, especially since András has tried three times and this is by far his best attempt. It might be premature, but I’m getting winner vibes from him, especially if he tunes up his live performance. I really liked Fool Moon and just liked New Level Empire in that NF but I never really followed it closely.

    “Soy yo? Soy YO? SOY YO?!?!?” That reaction was classic. Ruth managed to bring a lot of life to her song even if she did over-perform quite a bit. It was nicely contrasted against Brequette, who was just crushed by the vocal expectations of “Más.” The other three songs were… there. If I had to pick one of them, it would be La Dama, but that’s only if I’m forced.

    Lithuania’s show actually didn’t happen, if the reports are true that it was postponed until Sunday to cover the presidential situation in Ukraine. But I honestly don’t care there, since I only follow NFs where an entry is being chosen and they’re still fussing with the song. Apparently that’s being settled this week so I’ll follow the final but none of this convoluted crap beforehand.

    Summing it up, it was a crazy day with a hectic Sunday, featuring shows in Azerbaijan and Belgium, where the first five hopefuls will début their songs. Can’t wait and so happy to be back. 😀

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    • Hello stranger 🙂

      I’m waiting to listen to the Latvian runner-ups…just putting off the possible torture of what could have been. I personally don’t mind Cake To Bake after a sole listen, but I would rather have had a “real” song from Latvia what with the almost-joke songs we already have.

      I feel like Melfest was a heap stronger this year than it was last year, which I expected. I measure how good it is on whether I’m prepared to part with money for the CD and I intend to do that this time!! But the results on the weekend did have me scratching my head. Anton was always gonna go through (despite Begging being infinitely superior to Natural) but I thought Alcazar were totally past it and would barely make Andra. BIOTD was basically Stay The Night 2.0. Hashtag what the. Oh, and I will NEVER GET OVER THE LOSS OF JOSEF. Performance, song, man-topknot and jacket that looked like an octopus had inked all over it = AMAZING!! Seriously. Devastated.

      FYROM are last on my list too! That’s something we can presently agree on.

      I agree about the over-performance of Ruth. Tame it a little, girl! She has the goods though. I thought Brequette performed well, and it sucks a little that it was so close between them. If Ruth had beaten her by a mile I’d be like ‘fair enough, Spain, fair enough’.

      I haven’t listened to any of the versions of the Lithuanian song, but it is gonna have to be damn good to be worth the zillion weeks of leadup. I have my doubts.

      This weekend is crazier, I believe! Brace yourself. I’m particularly keen for the outcomes of Eesti Laul and Andra Chansen.

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      • Oh dear, get ready for sadness in Latvia. My top is here… somewhere. http://1drv.ms/1c3eBnC
        Also, there’s my top for every NF that’s showed all it’s songs! 🙂

        I guess it was but I can’t really remember all that much about Melodifestivalen 2013. I wasn’t following it was closely last year. There are a few songs that I really liked but not as many as this year. And Josef was a really painful loss. Like EKO. And Little Great Things. And Sylvester Schlegel. 😛

        Woohoo! Agreement FTW!

        Lithuania’s song is super catchy with Vilija’s rendition and I personally think it’s the best one on offer but it might not be worth the insane process. But that’s your decision to make. 😉

        OMG, there are like seven shows. O_O I’m so going to die this weekend. I think it’s the biggest one I’ve ever followed! I can’t wait, though!

        Like

        • Well, if you do die this weekend at least you’ll die happy, amiright?!??

          I recall the fun times you and I had tweeting during Melfest last year (I think our 140-character reactions to Robin winning were as priceless as his facial expression). Can I look forward to that next Saturday?? I’m sharpening my wit and costume-criticising abilities in preparation.

          Like

          • Oh yeah. No better way to go out than on a high! 😛

            That was so fun! 🙂 I look forward to it. Also, expect a repeat of the same should Martin or Ellen take the win.

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          • I guess it’s just Ellen now, then…I personally will be tweetstatic if it’s Sanna, Oscar, or Panetoz (no matter how unlikely a few of those options might be). I have to admit, I’m also wondering what it would be like for an AC contestant to win for the second year in a row, namely Ms. Paparizou. Hmm.

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          • Honestly, I can’t see Helena pulling it off. However, if Panetoz manages a miracle, I’ll be more than ecstatic! I have absolutely fallen for “Efter solsken!” Well, now we have another joint favorite. 🙂

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          • I honestly can’t see Helena pulling it off either…it would be super weird/cool though, if another AC qualifier managed to win. Then again, it would make Robin less special, and we can’t have that, now, can we??

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          • Of course not! 😛 Even if she (or Linus, heaven forbid) pulls it off, I doubt she’ll look as adorable as Robin.

            Like

          • Not possible!! His face melts hearts faster than all the Buranovskiye Babushki combined!!

            Like

          • XD Yep, that’ll be a highlight of 2013 for a long time.

            Like

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