Copenhagen Reviews: Part 4 (Romania-UK)

I bet you didn’t see this post coming! Any number of topics could have been covered after the Copenhagen Reviews: Part 3, but I’ve gone controversial and chosen to critique the remaining nine songs in the Eurovision 2014 alphabet.

As usual, I haven’t even been tempted to watch any rehearsal footage (I’m not bragging – it’s just something I never do because I love the element of surprise) but I’ve seen some snaps and heard plenty of gossip from my preferred sources on the ground in Denmark. How everybody’s going to go is becoming a little easier to predict in what is still a very open contest. Perhaps the winner will be one of the countries I’m reviewing today. FYI, they are: Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. Check out my thoughts on this final group and then let me know what you think about their winning chances. San Marino’s got to be up there, right?

 

*Awkward silence*

 

Let’s start with Romania!

 

ROMANIA

Miracle by Paula Seling & Ovi

romaniaSounds like: a rejected B-side to Playing With Fire

Better than 2013: No

Top 10 material: Unfortunately, yes

IMO: I get the impression Romania think they’re on to a winner sending Paula & Ovi back to Eurovision. That their names and previous success alone will be enough to secure them what they allegedly deserve. Romania does deserve to win, as much as any other country – particularly those who’ve never had the honour. But Romania doesn’t deserve to do it with this song. Miracle never even comes close to living up to its title, and I have little doubt that Paula & Ovi won their NF because they’re Paula & Ovi, not because they had the best song on offer. The whole situation actually makes me angry. What we have here is a by-the-numbers dance track that offers nothing special, that’s made up of meaningless lyrics and has a ‘Let’s Show Off Paula’s Incredible Range, Shall We?’ segment thrown in for good measure. And just because this duo sang their way to 3rd place four years ago (which was genuinely deserved in my opinion) they’re coming into this contest with this air of entitlement that drives me crazy. Now, I have nothing against Romania – they’ve sent great songs in the past, and they have a lovely country and I’m sure, lovely people to their name. But this move has made me want to waggle my finger at the whole nation and say ‘Shame on you!’, like some teacher who’s just found the class delinquent carving swear words into the wood on his desk. The worst part is, I don’t have a completely terrible time listening to Miracle, and that makes me hate myself because I know, and have just articulated, how second-rate it is. It’s another entry that I assume will snatch away a place in the final from one that deserves it more. In spite of my unwelcome almost-enjoyment of the listening experience, I’d rather Paula & Ovi did a Dana International than a Dima Bilan.

Winner, loser or grower: I can’t even classify this, but I’ll give it 4 points.

 

RUSSIA

Shine by the Tolmachevy Sisters

russiaBest lyric: ‘Can you be a masterpiece of love?’

Better than 2013: No

Top 10 material: No

IMO: For the second year in a row, the ESC is being graced with the presence of Junior Eurovision alumni – only this time, it’s an act that conquered that competition. The Tolmachevy twins won JESC 2006 in Bucharest with Vesinniy Jazz, and eight years down the track, not that much has change. They still look pretty young, they can still sing very well, and they still dress EXACTLY THE SAME. Seriously, it creeps me out. Sadly (as I always get excited by a JESC artist making the transition to the adult contest) their song is different, but not for the better. In many ways, it’s more child-like than their JESC winner, leaving me with the overall impression that this is a Junior act trying to make it at a show it’s not ready for. I’m starting to wonder if there’s a curse related to the kids who try and do both – Poland 2010, Serbia 2013, and quite possibly, Russia 2014, resulting in zero qualifications. The twins have certainly been cursed with a mediocre song, making it a 100% record for me not loving any Eurovision-related song called Shine. It’s okay, pleasant even at times. It doesn’t offend anyone (except those who read too much into the lyrics about crime and crossing the line) and it verges on being catchy, although the cheesiness of the lyrics distracts me from that plus. The girls are vocally in sync, as you’d expect from two people who’ve shared a womb/room since forever. My main issue, aside from the whole ‘not ready’ thing, is that the song sounds like it was written decades before they were even born. It’s so dated I can’t even pinpoint the era it takes me back to (one that passed well before I was born). And that’s not what I want to see in Eurovision these days. There are songs that are retro in a nostalgic kind of way, and combine that with fresher sounds. But Shine is just old hat through and through, and whilst I appreciate the message they’re trying to send with it, nobody’s going to believe it coming from Russia at the moment. I’m torn over whether it’s going to go through because it’s Russia, or not because the song shouldn’t…and it’s Russia. Either way, I don’t want the twins to have a traumatic Eurovision experience. They’re only seventeen and they don’t come off as adult as past young’uns like Maja Keuc. Be gentle with them, Europe.

Winner, loser or grower: Grower. 6 points.

 

SAN MARINO

Maybe by Valentina Monetta

san marinoSounds like: San Marino thinks this is Eurovision 1974

Better than 2013: No

Top 10 material: No

IMO: We’ve all heard the saying ‘third time lucky’, and in life, it often proves to be true (that’s why I intend on proposing to Ott Lepland twice more by snail mail before I lose hope). San Marino is going for third time Maybe with Valentina, but I think the more realistic way of putting it is ‘third time no way in hell, to be blunt. I commended the Sammarinese effort to regroup after the Facebook incident and present Malmö with a new and improved Valentina to the one we all knew and tried not to laugh at. But even though Crisalide was a serious song, I couldn’t take the poor woman seriously having seen her in THAT outfit, doing THOSE dance moves, and singing THAT song. Now, on attempt three, I’ve stopped bothering to try and consider her as a contender. Now I’m just thinking, ‘You’re a lost cause.’ It’s time to move on and try someone, and something else, guys. Maybe reeks of desperation and mothballs (like it’s been sitting in the back of Ralph Siegel’s closet for thirty years). To be blunt again, it’s a stale snoozefest, and Valentina deserves better. But she keeps on being thrown songs that aren’t true to her style, and in this case, language. I know there are people out there who see this song as classically beautiful, and I respect your opinion, but to me it’s just a country clutching at straws, hoping to squeeze into the final because they’re the ultimate tryer. As far as I’m concerned, it’s never going to happen. I don’t mean never for San Marino, just not this year. We know they can produce stronger stuff – I personally loved their debut entry, and their JESC debut last year was retro, but creditable and entertaining – and when they finally find the right formula for Eurovision, they’ll qualify and deservedly so. This current formula is broke, so they need to fix it. Ciao once again, Valentina.

Winner, loser or grower: Loser. 3 points.

 

SLOVENIA

Round and Round by Tinkara Kovač

sloveniaSounds like: Say It Right by Nelly Furtado

Better than 2013: No

Top 10 material: No

IMO: Ethno-pop is in short supply this year, so thank you Slovenia for adding some to the buffet. It’s a decent serving (the food analogy ends here) if not mind-blowing. Tinkara – proud owner of the world’s most magical name – has a gimmick, and that is her flute, which adds a nice touch of haunting Slovenian-ness to a song that’s not particularly haunting outside of that. It may also have the benefit of making her performance memorable, if home viewers end up thinking to themselves, ‘That chick with the flute was good. I’m gonna send a vote or two her way.’ If there was no flute, HOW WOULD THEY REMEMBER HER?!? Ahem. Anyway, I really like this entry, but apart from the flute thing, it’s not that distinctive. It’s well-executed and competent, but for some reason even I don’t think it’s special. I have caught a glimpse of Tinkara’s dress and that looked pretty elaborate, but even with that in the mix I can’t see where all the votes for Slovenia would come from to get them out of their semi. The odds are in their favour to be a sure qualifier, but I see them finishing in the 11th-13th range as easily as 10th. For me, Hannah’s Straight Into Love was edgier and more exciting, although Round and Round will probably be vocally superior and, as alluded before, just as impressive in the fashion stakes (my thumbs are up for Slovenian style). If it gets to Saturday night it will also add much-needed variety of language to the proceedings. Basically, I’ll be pleased if it goes through because I like it, but I won’t be shocked if it doesn’t.

Winner, loser or grower: Grower. 7 points.

 

SPAIN

Dancing In The Rain by Ruth Lorenzo

spainSounds like: a big contender for fanwank of the year…

Better than 2013: Yes

Top 10 material: Yes

IMO: Spain has retreated back into Pastora Soler territory this year, considering that more likely to give them a respectable result. Pastora 2.0 = Ruth, a dark-haired, attractive (I may have a girl crush in progress) female who can belt out a ballad like nobody’s business. You may remember that I was a huge fan of Quedate Conmigo, all the while knowing it was a Eurovision-exclusive kind of song that those of us in the bubble would go crazy over, but that may not be so well received by your average, non-obsessive voter at home. I’m following the same pattern of thinking with Dancing In The Rain, only I wouldn’t say I love it. Like a bunch of other songs this year, it’s competent, pleasant to listen to and vocally commendable, but I can’t bring myself to rave about it. Lyrically and in the way it’s been constructed, it’s generic, and something you’d only hear in the contest or in a national final (hence what I meant by ‘Eurovision-exclusive’) which means a lot of fans are going crazy over it, predicting it as the auto-finalist that will finish highest. I’m not so sure. However, it is, I reckon, in the live performance where the song loses some of those generic qualities, and transforms from something I find a little flat into something much more lively. That’s because Ruth can sing so well, and knows exactly what she’s doing in a staged environment. Her time on The X Factor clearly made her comfortable with working the camera and owning her performances, and though she can take it to theatre-drama levels sometimes (i.e. over-perform) it’s still effective. She looks stunning on film, and even if some of those big notes test the eardrums of the live audience, us TV viewers will be spared. The juries will commend her vocal abilities and connection, so I guess it’s a matter of whether DITR is memorable enough to catch on that will determine her fate.

Winner, loser or grower: Grower. 7 points.

 

SWEDEN

Undo by Sanna Nielsen

swedenBest lyric: ‘Undo my sad’…what else?

Better than 2013: Don’t even think about making me pick. *points threatening finger*

Top 10 material: Yes

IMO: A disclaimer to begin – yes, I am fully aware that the majority of my comments about Spain up there↑ including the use of the word ‘fanwank’ could also apply to Sweden. The difference here is that I’m extremely biased about Sweden because I adore Sanna, adore this song and still relive the magical moment when she FINALLY won Melodifestivalen back in March multiple times a day in my mind. 95% of the time, Sweden is a country I support wholeheartedly in Eurovision. I don’t know if it’s because I follow Melfest and get very invested in my favourites (one of which usually wins) but for as long as I have followed it, I’ve loved every winner. Sanna’s Undo is therefore just one in an increasingly long line of Swedish reps that I have drooled over. I have liked her Melfest entries in the past, but for me (and I know there’s divided opinion on this) this is the one she deserved to win with – and no matter how narrow a victory it was, it was still a victory, so get over it already, Team Ace. This song gives me two very important things: a) feels and b) chills. OMG THE FEELS AND THE CHILLS! I know it’s unoriginal and by-the-numbers and blah blah blah, but this is the kind of ballad that gets me. Here, said getting has been helped along by Sanna’s amazing vocals. The woman can dip in and out of soft, delicate notes and big money notes like she was born doing it, with a constant clarity to her tone that is spellbinding. Also giving me goosebumps is the staging, in which a bunch of lights have never been used better. But to come back to the song itself – it may be repetitive and predictable, but sometimes that works. I feel like Sanna’s speaking to me on an emotional level (you may laugh if you want to). I don’t see the clinical side that those outside of Team Sanna keep mentioning. I see – or hear – beauty throughout. I even think ‘undo my sad’ is a hook that people will remember. Haven’t we all been referencing it on Twitter for weeks? The grammar policewoman in me knows it’s just artistic license, and that’s fine. Do I think Sweden will win next week as easily as they won the OGAE vote? Well, Sanna could be an Emmelie or a Loreen, who also won their respective OGAE votes; or, I’ll admit, a Kati Wolf, who won in 2011 only to be forgotten about in the actual contest. I still think Sanna has a spot saved in the top 5, but ultimately, my biased self will just have to wish her good luck and let Europe decide.

Winner, loser or grower: Winner. DOUZE POINTS!!!

 

SWITZERLAND

Hunter of Stars by Sebalter

switzerlandBest lyric: ‘I’m the hunter, and you the poor prey. Tonight I’m gonna eat you up.’

Better than 2013: Yes

Top 10 material: No                                                                               

IMO: The situation in Switzerland was situation normal this season – the powers that be whittled the submitted songs down to a small and quite frankly, crappy pile that made me think ‘Of all the contributions, these are the best you could choose?’. Then, they went and made the best selection they possibly could have under the circumstances, which went on to appear a bit weak as more and more other countries chose their songs. I’m always sad to have to say that, but on the positive side, ‘a bit weak’ is a far cry from how the Swiss entry usually comes off by the time the field is at full capacity. Hunter of Stars isn’t exactly a force to be reckoned with, but I have to confess, it’s won me over in the time since it triumphed at Die Grosse Show. It’s a charming little ditty in a country vein, and uses whistling to nice effect. It also has an amusing preview video that complements the laid-back, folksy vibe perfectly. When you put it next to other country-esque entries, it actually one-ups them in some respects. For example, it’s more fun and exciting than the Netherlands’, and less contrived than Malta’s both lyrically and melodically. Unfortunately, Sebalter has found himself in the same semi final as Firelight, who have a much greater chance of qualifying (and it’s unlikely both will go through). Speaking of Sebalter – he’s got serious personality (not to be confused with a serious personality a la Carl Espen) and he’s very charismatic and personable on stage, so he shouldn’t have any trouble connecting with the audience, either in the arena or through the camera lens. I hope his seemingly happy-go-lucky attitude means he won’t be devastated to be sent home after Thursday night. I also hope if by some chance he does qualify, you guys won’t refer back to this review and tell me what a moron I am for discounting Switzerland.

Winner, loser or grower: Winner. 7 points.

 

UKRAINE

Tick Tock by Maria Yaremchuk 

ukraineSounds like: a slower version of Britney Spears’ Toxic

Better than 2013: No

Top 10 material: Yes

IMO: It’s a running joke that either Belarus or Ukraine never send the same song/artist combo that wins their national finals to Eurovision. This year, though, they both have. OR HAVE THEY?!? That was my incredibly dramatic way of saying that my, my, haven’t Ukraine done a number on Tick Tock? With a totally different arrangement and revised lyrics, you can hardly call it the same song that Maria strutted her way through back in December. At first, this was an outrage to me as I enjoyed the tacky, trashy original version. It was infectious bubblegum pop, and they twisted and reshaped it into something unrecognisable that had much lamer lyrics in the chorus. Having had time to get accustomed to Tick Tock II, I still prefer the original, but I have been reminded that one should never assume Ukraine don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to the ESC. This revamp has been welcomed with open arms by the majority of fans, and it has classed up the whole affair, right down to Maria’s styling (in the video and from the rehearsal snapshots I’ve seen). Even if the song had been swapped out for three minutes of Maria inhaling helium and reciting the alphabet backwards, I’ve no doubt clever staging would have kept Ukraine’s seat in the final warm for them. A prop or gimmick for presentation purposes has propelled them to success multiple times over the years. Maria herself is a tribute to all of the women her country has put forward to the contest – she’s hot, fierce, and has the voice of a slightly promiscuous angel, which she will coordinate with precise choreography and make it look natural, if I know Ukraine at all. I’m not seeing another podium finish so soon for them, but the lower half of the top 10 is within easy reach of Maria’s manicured fingers.

Winner, loser or grower: Grower. 7 points.

 

UNITED KINGDOM

Children of the Universe by Molly

ukBest lyric: ‘Tastes like a bitter pill but I’ll just wash it down with the taste of something sweet that some doctor gave me now.’

Better than 2013: Yes

Top 10 material: Yes

IMO: Is it possible that the BBC have hit on the magic Eurovision formula for the first time in way too long? The short answer is yes. They could be onto a winner, or at least an excellent placing, with Molly and her Children of the Universe, which is thankfully not a cheesy ballad about the youth of today coming together to share and care and make us all physically sick (I’m thinking of a similarly-titled song from the Dutch NF a few years back). As a package deal, this entry ticks a lot of boxes: Molly is a) not a pensioner, b) pretty to look at, and c) a capable singer, and her song is a) current, b) unique, particularly lyrically, and c) easy to latch on to (Power to the people? You can’t tell me that line wasn’t made for being shouted out and fist-pumped to in front of thousands of flag-waving fans). This is, without doubt, the strongest total package entry delivered by the UK in an über long while. What I like most about the song is how each segment is interesting in its own right – the quieter verses make you listen out of curiosity for what’s being said and where it’s going, while the choruses are sing-along friendly and pack a decent punch. Molly’s voice, too, is interesting. She’s almost like the anti-Sanna, with a rawness to her vocal that adds edge to her performance. All in all, I’m really fond of this, though it’s not right up there with my favourites (I just called Molly the anti-Sanna, which is a huge clue). But I’m having trouble seeing it as a winner. I would love to see a UK contest for the 60th, but I think the UK should be very happy if they manage to make the top 10. We don’t know yet how this will be staged, but when Molly first found out she apparently got goosebumps just imagining it. Perhaps Undo was on in the background during the unveiling. The point is, there are now great expectations of staging to go along with those of how Molly will fare score-wise. I would love it if for once, everything could come together for the UK.

Winner, loser or grower: Winner. 10 points.

Well, with the UK done and dusted, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve officially reviewed all 37 members of the Class of Copenhagen, with three days to go until Semi Final 1 (!!!). Here comes the obligatory mini-ranking:

  1. Sweden
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Ukraine
  4. Spain
  5. Switzerland
  6. Slovenia
  7. Russia
  8. Romania
  9. San Marino

I don’t know about you, but even with a few extra days to go until the Australian broadcast kicks off, my excitement levels are through the roof! It helps that here in Oz we have our very own Eurovision Quiz Contest starting on Monday at 8pm on SBS2 (for anyone in the country who may not have known the details) and continuing until Friday. Also, tomorrow night, Molly’s Graham Norton episode is on air here, so I’m calling Sunday the unofficial beginning of Eurovision Week.

I’ll be back on Tuesday with a last-minute prediction special, including my final pre-contest top 37 (not even I know what that’s going to look like right now) so look forward to that if that’s something you’d normally look forward to. Until then, leave me with your snarky comments about and/or lashings of praise over the songs from Romania through UK. Although…if you’re a Paula & Ovi devotee, I’d rather not have that kind of language on this blog.

 

Merry (almost) Eurovision!!!

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 May 4, 2014, in Eurovision 2014, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Yes, the excitement is palpable. Thanks J, for nailing all the above, again. (Our tastes are not always aligned, though: e.g. your generosity in Part 3 to Lithuania still has me baffled.)

    IMO, it would just be so sweet if Switzerland were to get through: come on, Europe – “open the door, open the door … !”

    You may’ve noticed there are three “whistlers” this year: Switzerland, Ukraine and Denmark. It may be some sort of ESC record if all three are in the final (though I may have just jinxed Sebalter and Mariya – d’oh!).

    Speaking of records, I’m wondering whether this year’s 2nd semi-final will be the first time in any ESC Final (whether Semi or Grand) that NONE of the songs is entirely in a language other than English? If so, how sad that would be! (Thank goodness for Montenegro in SF1.)

    Ciao

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    • I would be worried if my tastes perfectly aligned with anyone else’s!!

      Switzerland are on the edge for me…I actually CAN NOT decide whether they’re going through or not. I mean, Sebalter may want Europe to ‘open the door’, but unless I’m mistaken he also feels their judgment, so…will it be negative or positive judgment?? Only time will tell.

      Whistling I like. You’re not wrong; Eurovision has gone a bit ‘Moves Like Jagger’ this year.

      Looking at the Language column in Wikipedia for 2014 is very depressing. English, English, English everywhere!! I definitely fear for a near-future contest where it’s a 100% English situation. Hopefully the likes of Italy and France will be around to stop that from happening.

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  2. United Kingdom: Some of the lyrics are weak, but everything else is pretty awesome. The bridge is perfect. (Besides you’ve sent Jessica Mauboy, and now I can almost pretend we sent Lorde. Cultural Bias +1 😀 )

    Sweden: I’m in favour of artistic licence, even by accident, as long as it works. This took a while to grow on me. However, my feels and, furthermore, chills, are for “Start a Fire” — or as you may know it, The Other Swedish Ballad 😉

    San Marino: My fave of the Siegel-Monetta trilogy. Disappointing and doomed, yes, but still a nice song in its own terms. Maybe I just prefer my ballads on the delicate side.

    Russia: It’s like waking from a pleasant dream. The music and writing are technically strong. Of course, it’s not Eurovision-grade material, but it’s nice. Here’s to fans not being jerks (a.k.a. self-indulgent counterproductive propaganda generators).

    Slovenia: It’s got many nice qualities, but isn’t satisfying. Love the black leatherette dress (Did Hannah influence that too?)
    Spain: Depends a lot on performance whether the ecstasy of the climax gels with the rest of the song rather than becoming random vocal combat. It’s too shallow and strident for me.
    Ukraine: Here are some syllables we’ll wrap in snazzy sounds and absurd staging … which is essentially all that normal people want from it so it’s all good. “Song?” Pfft.
    Romania: It’s got a nice beat you can dance to. And there will be lots of 20 second (plus) “vocal covers” on YouTube (probably already). Ukraine 2.0.
    Switzerland: Sorry. You’re very talented, but I’m not into it. Has an even chance to qualify, though.

    Looking forward to you final pre-contest post.
    Are you watching in real time or on delay? If you are in blackout mode I won’t bother commenting until afterwards.

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    • Hey, you never know – Lorde may pop up somewhere. Stranger things have happened (particularly at Eurovision!).

      I would be interested to see a variety of rankings for the Valentina Saga. Your fave is obviously this one…I think my ranking would be 1. 2013, 2. 2012 and 3. 2014. To be totally honest though, I secretly want to put the Facebo…er, I mean, The Social Network Song at #1. Guilty pleasure to the max.

      Re: Russia, here’s to fans not being jerks indeed! *clinks glass of vodka for girls who aren’t even old enough to drink yet*

      I love Tinkara’s dress too. I think we can safely say Slovenia = out of the running for Barbara Dex. Not that I usually agree with that, so you never know.

      Ukraine will be further unnecessary proof, no doubt, that this is not just a SONG contest. Staging has been their score booster on a number of occasions. I suppose you have to give them credit for knowing how it’s done.

      I am watching on delay, so it’s an internet vacation for me from when I wake up Wednesday. Feel free to comment any time though. I won’t check them until it’s safe. I assume you’re watching live?? In an ideal world I’d be following suit, but JESC and Melodifestivalen are enough 3am, in-bed, on-laptop events for me!

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  3. I think your Valentina preferences are the most prevalent, even down to (the dance mix of) ’12 vying for 1st place.

    Eh, the B-Dex award doesn’t mean what it used to. (But I’ll be curious anyway)

    Oh, I do give Ukraine credit. Winning is about playing effectively within the actual rules, not pretending the rules say something else. The reality is that a multilingual *song* contest was never strictly a practical possibility, so judging what it should be about is always a fuzzy consensus of conflicting ideas.

    I might see it live via internet, although that might not work out and I’ll be having a messier mixed experience.
    Incidentally, you might not have heard that the BBC show will be broadcast live here this year via SkyTV. For those with Sky. And a TV 😮 It could mean that ESC is about to become a thing kiwis are vaguely familiar with! There will be editorials! Somewhere! Just as well it has modernised a bit first — A cold open on the old show without past familiarisation would mean instant exile.

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  4. Hi Jaz 😀
    As much as I love Paula, I totally agree with you on Romania!
    I’ve been thinking about what you call the “curse” of JESC kids trying to do ESC a lot ever since I hear the twins’ song. IMO, just like with Serbia last year, their JESC entry seemed better done and more professional. And yes, I agree on the song sounding so old! I’m just sad because I want to see a JESC kid doing well at ESC..maybe Russia should consider sending Katya Ryabova next year 😛
    San Marino is just hopeless, from what I have seen not even the people who were obsessing over “Crisalide” last year like “Maybe”. Poor Valentina, but seriously I think ESC has had enough of her.
    I love Slovenia’s entry and I’ll be devastated if it doesn’t make it 😦 I really have no opinion on Spain other than meh..I’m pretty sure she won the nf only because of her X factor appearances and I’m ready to laugh when the UK won’t give Spain as many points as they would expect *insert evil laugh here*.
    Sweden, well, I’m not supporting it, but I like it, if that makes any sense. I used to really, really, REALLY dislike it but then I started to listen to it “ironically” to make fun of the ungrammatical lyrics and it grew on me xD I like to think of it not as a cheesy break up song but rather as a song about overcoming a stressful emotional experience and that’s why I grew to love the ungrammatical version so I’M NOT HAPPY WITH THE LYRICS CHANGE. Hashtag team ungrammatical version.

    Switzerland is one of my favorites this year…why are my favorites so hopeless? Good thing I’m not cheering for San Marino I guess xD I do find Switzerland more memorable than Malta but it’s probably just me…

    Lol at “a cheesy ballad about the youth of today coming together to share and care” that sounds like the worst song ever xD

    My ranks for these:
    Switzerland ❤
    Slovenia
    UK (yeah I actually have the UK in my top 10 for the first time in centuries)
    Sweden
    Russia
    Ukraine
    Romania
    Spain
    San Marino

    Can’t wait to see your full rankings 😀 oh btw , this is what my nails looked until today (inspired by the lyrics to cake to bake) http://oi58.tinypic.com/mx0p54.jpg it probably sounded more impressive than it actually was. My Eurovision week starts with me trying to paint the flags of my top 10 countries on my nails and I’m currently struggling with Montenegro’s eagle 😛

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    • I totally agree about the JESC entries! It’s almost like Nevena and the twins got them the wrong way around. I’m really interested to see if the fact that Russia ALWAYS qualifies outweighs the fact that Shine is weak. It has grown on me, but I still don’t think it deserves a place in the final. If it gets through I’ll just try to be happy that the JESC Curse is apparently broken.

      I would LOVE Russia to send Katya ASAP!!

      Yep, the ESC has had enough of Valentina. But has Valentina had enough of the ESC?? I really hope she decides to call it quits after this!! Surely three DNQs in a row will convince her to let someone else have a turn…preferably Michele Perniola as soon as he’s eligible!

      The Undo lyric change was pointless IMO. I’ve always loved that infamous line, and they only changed it at the end of the first chorus on the version I heard, so…whyyyy? If you can’t mess around with grammatically correct sentence structure in song then when can you?

      It’s so fun having your favourites be nobody else’s favourites, isn’t it? 😛 Still, Switzerland could do surprisingly well, you never know. I long for the day my #1 song wins.

      The cheesy ballad in question was, I believe, in the Dutch final in 2012. I wasn’t a huge fan of You and Me, but boy am I glad it beat THAT.

      OMG I love your Latvian nails!! I’m totally impressed. I will be even more impressed if you manage to nail (pardon the pun) that eagle. I bet you were annoyed when you realised how much you liked Montenegro and that you’d have to attempt that XD I would love to see the top 10 manicure when it’s complete. I can’t do mine ’til Friday, so I think it’s going to be a neutral Danish version to celebrate the host country.

      Like

  5. wschmidt1206

    … and this is my ranking of the last 9 entries so far:

    9. Russia: I absolutely agree with you! This song sounds so old that it is way out of time! Then the lyrics don’t fit to Russia this year, and this “Hanni and Nanni” twin performance is soo cheesy same as the song! Maybe they should try it with “an animal” on stage, that worked well for Sophie & Magaly (Luxembourg, 1980) too! But please don’t take a penguin or a turkey again, Russia! Be creative ;-)! If this qualifies and TEO from Belarus does not, I will eat a whole “cheesecake” in just 15 minutes; this year it must be the other way round, not?! No, No, No points for this one!

    8. San Marino: I liked “Crisalide” last year, and I think Valentina has a good voice! But this song simply isn’t good enough to qualify, if “Crisalide” even failed! It sounds like mid-80’s and those lyrics of dismay are just not up-to-date! I feel a bit sad for Valentina, because she deserved a better song to qualify this year! But I am quite sure this won’t happen. Sorry, but no points this year for Ralph Siegel!

    7. Switzerland: I am not a fan of the Swiss entry this year, but I think it’s better than last year’s song! I can hardly see this qualifying in the semi! IMO, it’s a song that you forget about within ten minutes! 3 point for “Hunter of Stars”!

    6. Ukraine: this song really is not a masterpiece! But it is nice and catchy, and I think it can easily qualify! To me there is something missing in that song especially in that new version, but it grows on me! Top 10 seems possible this year, but winning with this song would be just overrated, IMO! 5 points from Germany!

    5. Slovenia: I like this song more and more! The ethnic touch and the flute give it something special. And I appreciate that Tinkara sings at least a part of it in Slovenian language. That makes it even more epic! By the way, “Say it right” is my favourite from Nelly Furtado :-)! 6 points for this song!

    4. UK: I am biased with the UK entry! I like Molly Smitten-Downes and it is great that the BBC chose her and not again an old star from former times, already forgotten! But the song sounds somehow mid-90’s and not that fresh as it could be; and they won’t get the lyrics award this year! Let’s hope for a better result than last year, but I would not be surprised if it ends around place 20 either! 7 points for COTU!

    3. Romania: here I disagree! I love the combination of Paula’s and Ovi’s voices together! I loved them 2010 and I love them this year! I think they have a different but equally great song than last time! O.K., they musically sound a bit like “Euphoria”, but that does not bother me!
    This is the stuff that winning songs are made of, IMO! And I think the “Miracle” could come true with a win this year! If not for this song, Romania deserves a win for all the great songs they have sent in the past. And for our youngest nation in the Europeam Union this would be a great gesture! That would be very welcome! 8 points for it!

    2. Spain: I think Spain had a really high quality NF this year! My favourite was “Mas / Run” by Brequette, which sounded to me like a winning song! But I must admit that Ruth did the better performance on NF night! I think that a Top 10 placement will be guaranteed with this song too. I can already see her performing as the “little mermaid”, which is only a heartbeat away from Eurovision island! 10 points for a great song!

    1. Sweden: I am ‘Team Sanna’ too! I think it was the best song one could get for a good international placement in Eurovision from Melfest, although it was not my favourite song in Melodifestivalen, but my No. 2! And she desperately deserved a win of Melfest, trying so hard for the seventh time this year! I would not be surprised if we just go over the bridge to Malmö again next year ;-)! Sanna also reminds me a lot on Helene Fischer who will announce the German points this year! She maybe is the next artist to present Germany in 2015! So watch out for her ;-)!

    It was great pleasure to read all of your reviews and I hope you have an awesome Eurovision week this year! Enjoy the shows and read you soon! 🙂

    Like

    • I hope for your sake you don’t have to eat that whole cheesecake..although if Russia qualifies and Belarus doesn’t, I may be so depressed I’ll be eating half of the cake!

      Valentina definitely deserves better. But honestly, I hope she doesn’t come back yet again next year. That will be ridiculous. San Marino need to regroup.

      I wish more of Tinkara’s song was in Slovene, but at least we’re getting something! In a year where English is so dominant, any dash of a foreign tongue is welcomed.

      Romania deserve a win for sure, but not with Miracle IMO!! It wouldn’t be the worst possible winner this year, but I hope they eventually win it with something more original and meaningful.

      YAY!! I’m so happy that you’re a fellow member of Team Sanna. Out of interest, if hers wasn’t your favourite Melfest song, what was??

      Thanks for reading the reviews 🙂 Merry ESC to you too.

      Like

      • So finally I’m glad that we don’t have to share eating that whole cheescake in about 15 minutes :-)! But Teo deserved a better place this year than Russia or the Ukraine, IMO!

        Ralph Siegel already announced in Germany that he will return to the Eurovision next year with another female singer, but he left open if it will be Valentina or San Marino again! He also said that it was his biggest dream to start once again for Germany!
        My comment: Nooooooooooooooooooooo, forget about that!!! I think we will have to carry him down from Eurovision stage one day, won’t we ;-(?

        I am a bit sad about Sanna only ending up 3rd place, and getting no points from Germany :-(! At least I called for her and she would have deserved a win with that song, IMO! It reminds me so much on Toni Braxton’s “Un-break my heart” which is one of my favourite songs of the 90’s!

        But now, in memoriam Melodifestivalen 2014, here are my favourite Top 10 from the Swedish preselection:

        10. EKO – Red
        9. Janet Leon – Hollow
        8. Linus Svenning – Bröder
        7. Little Great Things – Set yourself free
        6. Josef Johansson – Hela natten
        5. Martin Stenmarck – När änglarna gar hem
        4. Helena Paparizou – Survivor
        3. Shirley Clamp – Burning alive
        2. Sanna Nilsen – Undo
        1. Ellen Benediktson – Songbird

        I loved “Songbird” a lot, but I think Sanna was the better choice for the Eurovision, I guess! And she did a really good job on the Eurovision stage in Copenhagen with a perfect vocal performance and an awesome staging!

        Finally, what do you think about the win of Austria and Conchita? I personally think that Miss Wurst won the contest and not “Rise like a phoenix” as a song, but I like that Austria got another Eurovision win after 48 YEARS of desperate waiting!!! I already can see the opening ceremony of “Birthday Eurovision 2015” with Conchita singing “Merci chérie”, accompanied by Udo Jürgens on the piano (ahaha!).

        My favourite performance in the final this year were the Common Linnets and the Netherlands! I think the song and their live performance were awesome. And as I am a big fan of Ilse DeLange for years, I think that second place is well deserved, and their best result since Edsilia Rombley’s 4th place in 1998!

        Hope you had a good time watching the ESC on TV and probably see you in Vienna in 2015 ;-)!

        Like

        • Aww, I was kinda looking forward to the cheesecake!! Maybe just a slice to celebrate Teo at least qualifying?

          Haha, I think the “carrying” (i.e. very forceful removal for the good of all mankind’s ears) of Ralph Siegel needs to happen well before Eurovision 2015. HE MUST BE STOPPED!! God. If he must come back, can it not be with Valentina? She and we need a break from her.

          I feel like I have to thank you for voting for Sanna! I wish I could have done the same thing. But I’m actually super happy with the bronze medal. I didn’t think she was quite going to reach the top, and I was worried things might go in the opposite direction actually (like Europe and the juries wouldn’t think Undo was as amazing as I do) so a solid 3rd, not very far at all behind 2nd place, sits very well with me. I reckon Sweden’s satisfied to have done great but not have to host the show again quite so soon – though I’m sure they’d have loved having the 60th. Plus, it would have been cool for them to win forty years after ABBA!

          I’m very pleased to see the likes of Red and Hela Natten (<3<3<3) in your Melfest top 10. I've been playing my album on repeat and it's proof that last year was just a host-country blip – weak like DMGP was this year (Basim and one or two others aside). I don't think any other song in Melfest '14 would have done better than Undo at Eurovision though. Sanna was 100% the right choice.

          I'd agree that if Conchita hadn't been fronting Rise Like A Phoenix, it probably wouldn't have won. But the act is all part of the winning package. I think she's such a wonderful person with a powerful message to spread, which hopefully was spread a little by her victory. And Austria doing a Germany 2010 (winning after years of terrible results) was amazing!

          Love your idea for the opening next year, btw…you might want to send it to the EBU ASAP 😉

          It was weird to hear 'The Netherlands!' repeated so many times during the voting sequence, that's for sure. Again, that's a country that hasn't done well at all recently (save 2013) so I'm thrilled on their behalf.

          I had a very good time watching the contest – I'm just sad it's over for another year. But bring on Vienna…if we are in fact headed there!

          Like

  6. I’ve decided to post this now, in case I don’t get the chance in the window between your next post and pre-blackout pillowtime.

    So, forcing my conflicting judgement modules to agree on a ranking they can’t even settle independently? It must be ESCmas Eve.
    I decided to stop when it got too scrappy, with plenty of good songs still to go.

    __ Super Besties __

    1. Azerbaijan : It’s finally happened. I have a favourite that could conceivably win 😮 Heart-meltingly beautiful, technically perfect, with a moving and believable message.

    2. Georgia : Only 2nd? As delighted as I am by their artistry and integrity, and the joy I feel in it, even I have to concede some aspects are not up to scratch.

    3. Royaume Uni (verse) : Mood shifts, Molly’s voice and demeanour, choir, drums. A good balance of class and edge, and thoroughly contemporary. This year’s Margaret Berger.

    4. Austria : Only a “sometimes food” for sure, but — and I very rarely resort to such terms — Oh-Em-Gee. Such triumph on so many levels.

    __ Top Shelf __

    5. Poland : Hip, knowing, and confident. The folk element folds in nicely, and Cleo covers all the bases as a performer. *slow nod*

    6. Malta : Bones = electrified. Just an all around warm and welcoming embrace. Music working as it should.

    7. Sweden : Clear, controlled vocals communicating the mood with a touch of fragility. Appropriate pacing and arrangement.

    8. Iceland : Beardy punk Wiggles. Simple music and skipalong lyrics, these guys are great. *cheesy double thumbs-up*

    Predictions:
    Top ten guesses for the win

    Malta — It’ll reach and hug the audience and the recap will grab them again.
    UK — So much is right about it, and so many want a reason to vote UK.
    Sweden — It won’t top jury or televote, but will be high enough in both.
    Austria — It can happen.
    Italy — The unexpected “obvious in hindsight.”
    Azerbaijan
    Norway
    Ukraine
    Armenia
    Spain

    Like

    • I find it hard to believe anyone has Georgia placed higher than you do, but it’s probably happened! I give it an A+ for originality and representation of culture.

      I think the way you described a lot of these songs encapsulates them perfectly! It helps if I agree, of course, but with Poland and Sweden for example, you pretty much said what I was attempting to say in my reviews in a concise package.

      I’m also glad to see I’m not the only one having trouble picking a winner. In previous years it’s been simple enough to choose two or three possibles, perhaps one if it’s a predictable year. But this year…my god. I’m not even sure about the five I have chosen. Still, this is a good thing. The show will be all the more exciting for it!

      Merry Eurovision!

      Like

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