MUSICAL MUSINGS | The weekend aftermath, my top 21 + help me predict Andra Chansen!
March may be upon us, but if you’re still reeling from all the jazz that took place on the last night of February – that is, the national final madness – I can empathise.
In the mind of Jaz right now, there’s chaos. But I know the key to sorting it out is to get it all off my chest, in a stream-of-consciousness blog post that provides a free steak dinner to anyone who reads it all the way through.
So let the thoughts on Saturday, a little of Sunday, and a few other bits and pieces, flow free. That includes yours, my friends. Be caring and get sharing in the comments!
Reacting to the news from an NF-antastic weekend (and beyond)
An announcement of our representative in ‘the first week of March’ is now an announcement that will take place this Thursday morning – via a press conference at the Sydney Opera House, no less. Shortly after 9.30am AEST (which is a slightly-earlier-than-I-would-prefer 6.30am for me) the world will know who’s flying the Blue Ensign (i.e. our flag) for the first, and I suspect, last, time in Eurovision history. I barely attempted guessing the identity of the artist before giving up on it, and all I really want is a good song, performed by a good singer, that I feel proud (rather than obligated) to cheer for. All my body parts are crossed for luck’s sake!
So, it happened. Not for the first time this selection season, a country chose my least favourite song to represent them. On this occasion, it was Aina Mun Pitää by Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (or PKN, now that we’ll have to type it on a regular basis). I don’t feel like I can sum up everything bulging out of my brain-box re: this entry in a few lines, so see the Finland-only section below for more information.
In a turn of events that shocked…well, nobody, Boglarka ‘Boggie’ Csemer took out A Dal with Wars For Nothing. Poor Kati Wolf didn’t even make the top four. Though Boggie was my least favourite entrant back when A Dal was about to kick off, and I would have ultimately preferred Kati, Passed, Ív or Spoon to be heading off to Vienna on behalf of Hungary, I am slowly coming around on her song. I know, I know, I was bemoaning how much of a lame message song it is just a few days ago…but I’m extremely fickle, okay?
Well, I’m happy even if nobody else is, and I’m praying that Eduard Romanyuta’s I Want Your Love makes it to Vienna. With Ukraine out of the contest this year and the Belarusian final being surprisingly devoid of scandal, it was Moldova’s turn to have a controversial winner who may or may not be dethroned. The mass amount of televotes Eduard and his so-2000s-it-hurts-but-I-freaking-LOVE-it number received is peculiar. But until there’s evidence that all is not legit, I say BACK OFF to the haters. And to all those slamming Eduard because he’s Ukrainian, not Moldovan – shame on you. Rules are rules, and a non-national would not have been allowed to compete (with the chance of winning) if it wasn’t permitted.
As predicted, Slovenia made the best choice possible, selecting Maraaya’s Here For You. I like the direction Eurovision is heading in, accepting more and more songs like this into the fold – songs that are current, have edge, and generally refuse to fit the stereotypical ESC mould. This particular one is more of a grower than an instant douze-pointer for me, but I expect it to grow on me in a big way over the coming months.
After a long period of buildup, Edurne’s Amanecer was finally premiered on Sunday, and responses have been divided. That buildup may be responsible for many fans’ expectations not being met. My expectations were fairly fuzzy, and after one listen of the song, I still remember the chorus and the fact that I rather like the rest. It’s dramatic, atmospheric, and very Spanish. I can see it being amazing live if Edurne can belt it out anything like she does in studio. For someone who knew Dancing In The Rain was good but was never that attached to it (that’s me) Amanecer is a step up. And, FYI, ‘amanecer’ is officially my new favourite word of all the words.
Melodifestivalen’s final semi ended in best case scenario-style for this Måns Zelmerlöw/boyband enthusiast. Mr. Zelmerlöw went direkt with the refreshing anti-Saade package of Heroes, his staging so minimalist yet mind-blowing, it was obvious he’s in it to win it, without it being too obvious (Mr. Saade should be taking notes). Joining MZW was the act I was just hoping would squeeze into Andra Chansen – JTR! Having followed them since their X Factor Australia days, trust me when I say the boys have come very far since then, and not just geographically. I still can’t believe they made the final, and while I don’t expect them to trouble the top of the scoreboard there, I am SO happy for them right now.
Oh, and Dinah Nah/Hasse Andersson are the final pair heading off to AC.
Now, for that Finnish rant I promised…
Finland’s choice: Weird or wonderful, ‘Wow!’ or ‘WTF?’
The hottest debate of the Eurovision year so far is the one still raging over Finland’s choice. My own initial reaction involved profanity, for which I blame shock. Shock at a song I never saw as a true UMK contender ending the evening victorious.
Reading everyone else’s reactions web-wide, you can find those who appreciate the punk genre and the message of Aina Mun Pitää; those who believe all the haters are being prejudiced towards PKN themselves; those who are prejudiced; and those who like the band but not the song. After learning a little more about PKN through these comments, I still find myself pitching my tent in the latter camp.
When it comes to Eurovision performers, I’m not fussy. I believe anyone, of any gender, culture, background, sexuality, height, age or disability status should have the right to compete, and feel accepted when they do. But if the song they are bringing with them isn’t to my taste, I’m not going to patronise that artist by pretending otherwise. As someone who can vote this year (I’m still wrapping my head around that!) I will not be voting for Finland, because I do not like PKN’s song. Based on what the guys have stated to the media, they would be fine with that. They don’t want sympathy votes.
That won’t stop them from getting some, and to a point, votes for a performer rather than for their song are part and parcel of Eurovision. We’ve all questioned whether Rise Like A Phoenix would have won the contest if Tom Neuwirth had sung it in a suit; or if any other song that Conchita Wurst had fronted would have won as easily. Of course, any votes Conchita pulled in that were unrelated to her song weren’t sympathy votes. They were personality and “character”-based votes. Had I been able to vote in 2014, I may well have texted a few in for Conchita because I think she’s incredible, and RLAP was a song that suited her perfectly and had a ton of impact.
Finland 2015 differs from Austria 2014 in so many ways. I like PKN as people, and I think it’s so great for them to be making music and getting it out on an international stage. But Aina Mun Pitää is far from being my cup of tea, and I’m glad it’s as short as it is so I don’t have to put up with it for three entire minutes.
We dodged a similar bullet back in Eesti Laul 2013, when Winny Puuh mercifully failed to capture Estonia’s allegiance. But now we’re directly in the line of fire, and there’s no side-stepping. It’s like narrowly missing being hit by a monster truck only to hop back up onto the sidewalk, trip over a crack and break your neck on a fire hydrant (we are clearly in some version of New York where monster trucks are part of routine traffic in this comparison).
So, if you ask me if Finland made the best choice in terms of Eurovision success by picking PKN, I’d say no. I respect that it IS Finland’s choice, and I think the country should be proud to have backed a group of people who can change some perceptions on such a platform. It’s also a positive for Eurovision to feature a wide variety of musical genres, and punk will certainly break up the ballads that are dominating the lineup so far.
However, I can’t help wishing that PKN had done just well enough in the UMK final to come second to Satin Circus. Their message would still have been received by an entire nation, which would have been wonderful for them, and the collective Eurofan-verse would have been more content. Well, I would have been, anyway.
Still, I wish the best of luck to PKN in their Eurovision quest. I hope they have a great experience in Vienna, and that there are enough fans of punk watching on to send some genuine, music-based points their way.
I just hope they don’t win. Helsinki 2016 = hell no!
For ranking’s sake…EBJ’s tentative top 21
Does anyone else have trouble arranging the filling in their song-ranking sandwich? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, allow me to clarify: I find it easy to decide which Eurovision entries I love, and which ones I hate, but everything in-between is often a big ol’ mess. I can never decide how to arrange the songs I don’t have strong opinions on.
Hashtag ESC fan problems.
Still, I’ve given this top 21 my best shot, but I am keeping the stone I was planning to set it my cupboard for now. Hit me up with your current top 5, 10, 15 or 21 down below!
1. Italy – Don’t expect Il Volo to be demoted anytime soon, folks. I’m in love, and the rose-coloured glasses are not coming off.
3. Moldova – This is total trash from an alleyway dumpster. But it just so happens that alley belongs to me. Get it? Because this song is up my alley?
6. Macedonia – Listened to this again after a hiatus, and now I think it’s underrated.
8. Malta – Amber’s Warrior has overtaken Nina’s at this point. Don’t ask why. I don’t have the answer.
14. Ireland – This one’s sneaking up on me as a possible future favourite.
15. Belarus – The revamped version is suffering from Litesound syndrome. Uzari and Maimuna deserve better.
18. Hungary – A few weeks ago, this would have been on the bottom.
21. Finland – As I attempted to explain above, what it comes down to is that punk isn’t my thing. That’s it.
Now that we know just over half of the songs that will compete in Vienna, we’re all wondering: have we heard the winner yet? I wouldn’t rule it out, but I wouldn’t bet on it either. Remember, Australia’s coming for you, Europe!
OMG, AC! Vote to help me call Sweden’s second chance round
Andra Chansen, the penultimate round of Melfest, is imminent. And this year, the process has changed, with the odds of making the final greater than ever for the eight participants.
Four of them will appear on stage at Friends Arena next weekend, which means it should be much easier to predict the outcome. Yet, somehow, it’s REALLY REALLY NOT.
Making a 50/50 choice has never been my strong point. SVT have done their best to pit animals of the same species against each other in the four duels – Andreas Weise VS Linus Svenning, Hasse Andersson VS Kristin Amparo, Dolly Style VS Dinah Nah and Behrang Miri/Victor Crone VS Samir & Viktor – and in doing do, they’ve made the duels very tricky to call.
That’s why I need your help. Yes, I’m talking to you (your hair looks nice today, by the way). So slip into your prediction pants and give me a hand in choosing which four songs are most likely to make it out of Andra Chansen!
Results will be revealed on Saturday. If you need a reminder of the songs with a second chance, all the performances are watchable here.
Now that’s taken care of, I think I may have said all I wanted to say. For now *insert menacing laughter here*. So if you’ve done your duty and voted in le above polls, you are now free to go about your daily business. If you’re anything like me, that will involve a) putting off important stuff in favour of revising your 2015 rankings, b) reading the entire archives of Wiwibloggs, and c) popping into the supermarket to buy Melfest-viewing snacks.
2 Responses to “MUSICAL MUSINGS | The weekend aftermath, my top 21 + help me predict Andra Chansen!”
Back again, and now it’s “all about the bass”, I mean all about “Melodifestivalen” and my favourite Top 20 list of the class of 2015 (up to now!).
So starting with Melodifestivalen the first 4 shows were fantastic as always and Sanna and Robin are awesome hosts this year. I enjoyed the 4 heats very much and I think the variety of songs is really strong this year.
And this is how my favourite list for the Melfest final looks like:
1. Mans Zelmerlöw: bringing the perfect show on stage; I love the animation part!
2. Mariette: my favourite song, loved it from the very first time I heard it. I like the sign language she does with her hands.
3. Magnus Carlsson: always a good contestant, bringing his best Melfest song on stage this year.
4. Jon Hendrik Fjällgren: I am a fan of ethno pop songs, this one sounding quite a lot like “The return of innocence” by Enigma, but a very good entry for the Eurovision stage.
5. Jessica Andersson: a nice song, but we already have enough ballads in the contest; this one would drown in the depth of Eurovision averageness!
6. Eric Saade: his show and performance is good as always, but his song does not convince me at all; “Popular” was much MUCH better. I can hardly see him Top 5 in the final this year.
7. JTR: this one does not hurt, but on the other hand not special enough to make a difference in the contest. At least they have sung live better than the “Groupie” guys :)!
8. Isa: a song we already heard in similar ways a million times before on the Eurovision stage. I did not see this even qualifying for the final and hope it won’t win.
So helping you in your AC decision for next Super Saturday I definitely go with Linus Svenning, Kristin Amparo, Dinah Nah and Behrang Miri feat. Victor Crone, seeing absolutely no alternative to these four competing in the MF final.
And finally, and most importantly here are my Top 20 entries of 2015 (by now!):
20. Belarus: Uzari & Maimuna – Time
I still can’t identify the song behind this entry! Somehow ridiculous, but I won’t stop trying!
19. Moldova: Eduard Romanyuta – I want your love
Was that a joke or a fun entry?!? I laughed as loud and long as the first time I heard Cézars’ “It’s my life”. This is so far from being sexy that it hurts!
18. Georgia: Nina Sublatti – Warrior
This “warrior” is not my type of song; it does not give me anything, so I am a bit indifferent, but the song is MUCH better than last year’s Georgian entry.
17. Latvia – Aminata Savadogo – Love injected
A strange song with too much shouting in my ears, and I did not get the message by now!
16. Ireland: Molly Sterling – Playing with numbers
Coming to the Llb’s, this is just a lame lady piano ballad which I can hardly see qualifying this year.
15. France: Lisa Angell – N’oubliez pas
Boring to the max! This could easily have been the French entry from 1987 or 1994! I predict a placement in the bottom third lower than twenty if not another last place!
14. Hungary: Boggie – Wars for nothing
The other side of the “A little piece” medal, exciting like a glass of still water! I am wondering if Boggie will borrow the same IKEA lamps from Dina Garipova for her performance in May. I can see this comming ;-)! I feel sorry this has won the “A Dal” competition, because I liked Adam, Zóltan and Kati so much more.
13. Slovenia: Maraaya – Here for you
No, this is not the Slovenian equivalent to Adele, that would be overrated, but her voice sounds good and her song is a grower in my ears!
12. Switzerland: Melanie René – Time to shine
For Switzerland very modern and up-to-date, and NOT a ballad, that could work in the semi! Again a grower in my ears!
11. Denmark: Anti Social Media – The way you are
Very, VERY radio-friendly and does not hurt anyone! I can almost hear this one on the radio in May, June, July, … but it’s not a winning song, not this time!
10. Cyprus: Giannis Karagiannis – One thing I should have done
This maybe is the male equivalent of an LLB, but I like it. One thing he should have done come May is change his glasses to not have the “Moran Mazor” effect on stage! OMG!
9. FYR Macedonia: Daniel Kajmakoski – Lisja esenski
It’s always a good thing if you like a song from the very first listen, this one still grows on me and gets better with every play.
8. The Netherlands: Trijntje Oosterhuis – Walk along
Again the most radio-friendly song of them all (by now!) and a definite qualifier, but I doupt she can repeat the success of the Common Linnets last year.
7. Serbia: Bojana Stamenov – Ceo svet je moj
I like this song a lot, but please don’t change it into an English version; it is good as it is!
6. Lithuania: Monika Linkyté & Vaidas Baumila – This time
Vaidas was my favourite artist from the Lithuanian preselection last year, so I’m glad he is returning (with Monika), and with a good song. But here anything can happen: from a qualification to the final and then a Top 10 placement even to non-qualifying everything seems possible.
5. Italy: Il Volo – Grande amore
Grande emozioni d’Italia – this is exactly what one would expect from Italy, so it is well chosen. But the song is a bit over the top, they should perform it in a more reduced way.
I am not sure if we have a winning song here, but it is definitely a strong competitor.
4. Iceland: Maria Ólafsdóttir – Unbroken
This year I am TEAM ICELAND again! This song is all mine and Maria looks good on stage. If she comes in a white or black dress being barefoot this can be the winning package, not?! Feel a bit sorry that they changed it into English, but that’s complaining on high level!
And now my douze pointers so far:
3. Malta: Amber – Warrior
Wow! The first time I heard this song it gave me goosebumps! And it reminds me somehow on Margaret Berger’s “I feed you my love” which I still love. If only Malta could manage to win only once?! I would be the happiest man in Europe if that happened, because Valletta is the most beautiful place to be, IMO! So I keep my fingers crossed for Amber.
2. Estonia: Elina Born & Stig Rästa – Goodbye to yesterday
This is my favourite song up to now! And saying that, although the “Eesti Laul” final was sooo boring and full of bad and average songs. And those hosts were horrible, looking like bloody amateurs! But the Estonians gladly voted for the right song. This song gives me the spirit of “Where the wild roses grow” by Kylie & Nick. And I think this could go all the way to the top in May… We’ll see!
1. Spain: Edurne – Amanecer
This can turn out to be the whole package for a win this year. And I would be very satisfied if another “Big Five” (Big 6 or 7) country would manage to win the ESC again. That would then be the proof that is possible that “Big Five” countries have the strength to win and that Lena was not just an exception.
At least I was blown away by the beauty of this song, and “Amanecer” is not just my favourite word, but also my favourite entry (by now!).
Sorry, but no space in my Top 20 for Finland this year, so I am with you, it would be my Number 21, because I also don’t like punkrock music, and I am not intolerant against disabled people. This song simply is crappy! But there always has to be a least place, hasn’t it? The only good I can see in the Finnish entry is that is is so short, hopefully that short that I miss it during my toilet break ;-)!
Now I’m through and done! Sorry for taking so much space and hope to read some more from you soon,
Wow, monster comment time!! I appreciate these. I’m also glad to hear you’ve been enjoying Melfest. I’ve been loving it – watched all the shows live for the first time this year – and I may cry a little when it’s over. On the inside 😥
I totally agree with you about Eric. He’s a showman, but when the song is so orchestrated it all comes across as try-hard. He’s pushing for the win, which is what Mans is doing too, but Mans has done it in a much more organic and understated way. Not to mention Mans has the vocal prowess that Eric does not, particularly when Eric’s dancing at 100 miles a minute as he always does (no glass-smashing this time though!).
I don’t think we’re in any danger of Jess Andersson winning next weekend, so another dreary ballad for Eurovision it shall not be!
I hope you’re right about Andra Chansen, although I wouldn’t mind Andreas Weise winning Duel 1, to be honest!! But I would especially like Dinah Nah to trounce Dolly Style, and Behrang and Victor (plus Malena Ernmann, apparently) to out Samir & Viktor. We’ll see how THAT goes…
Turning the gaze to Vienna: I think Moldova needs a lot of work, and a good haircut. Making sure the visuals are current would stop it from being too cheesy and too much of a throwback to late 90s boyband music (which I love, but I think this needs some 2015-ness injected into it for it to work). And Eduard may be pretty, but his voice is less-than-impressive. Maybe, like Eric Saade, he needs to focus less on busting out the dance moves and more on belting out the lyrics??
Yes – or should I say ‘oui’? – to France being super boring! It has ‘why bother?’ written all over it. The unfortunate thing is, it will probably do better than Moustache. I know you weren’t Twin Twin’s biggest fan, but you can admit that song was fun and not half as yawn-worthy as this one, right?
Agree on Switzerland. The best possible choice was made, and if they’re going to take Melanie out of that 2000s prom dress, I will eagerly anticipate her performance on the Stadthalle stage.
I really like Macedonia too, and also hope Serbia stick with Serbian! They always have in the past, so to switch to English would be breaking with tradition. But since they are coming back after a DNQ and probably want to try new tactics, you never know.
We’ll see Malta’s music vid on Monday, and hear if they’ve changed the song at all. I can’t wait! It’s one of my favourites too, still, but I hope they’ve made it more slick and current.
Elina and Stig remind me of Kylie and Nick Cave too! Especially Stig, vocally and a little bit personality-wise. They have a very interesting dynamic going on that sets them apart from The Common Linnets.
YES!! We are both on Team Spain. I hope it does well, but you never can tell. One year, Spain’s clawed their way into the top 10, the nex, they’re bringing up the rear. Amanecer is one of the only ethno-poppy songs we have so far though, so it should stand out.
I think you’ll definitely miss Finland if you use it as a toilet break! Maybe some of the song after it too.
Take as much comment space as you like, my friend. The more the better 😀