Well, well, well…what a big, controversial week it’s been in the Eurovision-verse!
After Eduard Romanyuta’s questionable win in the Moldovan final last Saturday (Belarus and their completely-legit-for-once NF are seething with jealousy) we had a) Australia announce the artist we’re sending to Vienna, a choice met with a whole lotta negativity; and b) the winner of the German final decline the ticket to Eurovision on live TV. Forget about Days of Our Lives – selection season is where all the drama’s at this year.
I’m going to be giving my verdict on said drama right here, right now. I’ll also be revealing the results of the Andra Chansen polls you guys voted in to help me predict tonight’s Melodifestivalen qualifiers. Believe me when I say that I needed all the help on the planet (not that I got all the help on the planet, but I got a decent amount, and I’m very grateful. So, yeah. Thanks).
But first, let’s take a look at the upcoming events on the ESC calendar.
- TONIGHT: Portugal’s Festival da Canção final; Sweden’s Melodifestivalen second chance round; the United Kingdom’s entry reveal
- SUNDAY: Romania’s Selecţia Naţională final
- MONDAY: Poland’s entry reveal
- TUESDAY: Belgium and the Czech Republic’s song reveals
With three events taking place this evening, we’ve arrived at the penultimate Super Saturday in the lead-up to Eurovision 2015. Enjoy it for Portugal, Sweden or the UK – or perhaps all three – while it lasts!
What a Guy? Idol alumni to fly the Aussie flag in Vienna; not everyone’s happy about it
…and what shocking news that is. Since when did we all not agree on absolutely everything concerning Eurovision?
Since FOREVER, that’s when. But quite frankly, I’m appalled at the negative reactions to Australian Idol’s first winner Guy Sebastian being announced as Australia’s representative. It’s amazing how quickly people can change their tune when they don’t get what they want.
Guy wasn’t at the forefront of my mind as I waited for Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang to quit stalling and just tell us who it is, goddammit, on Thursday morning. But once Guy did walk out in his triple-denim ensemble (which he was totally rocking, by the way) I felt both relieved and excited by the choice.
In front of the waiting press stood an artist who had risen to fame through a TV talent show back in 2003, and had managed to sustain his popularity and success all this time via album releases and arena tours, plus a three year stint as an X Factor judge. There, he mentored two winners in a row, no doubt drawing on his own experiences to guide them.
Sure, it was clear during the press conference that Guy was no Eurovision expert, but he’d done his homework. And, since he had accepted the offer to participate and clearly saw it as an honour (which it bloody well is!) we know he’s viewing this as a positive career move – but, as he stated, it’s much more that that. It’s a chance for him to be a part of something special and represent Australia on an international stage.
As an Australian Idol tragic from way back, I will be proud to wave a flag – or a placard reading ‘GO THA FRO!!!’ which you’ll understand if you’re a fellow Aussie – for Guy come May. I remember being a 12-year-old reality TV fan, watching him warble his way through week after week on the show, never putting a foot wrong. I also recall voting (more often than I should have at $2 per phone call) for him to win the comp over bloke’s bloke Shannon Noll.
He did, and shortly afterwards he was off to London to fly the Australian flag in the World Idol competition (which was my first taste of anything remotely ESC-like, and I LOVED it). He didn’t exactly set the scoreboard on fire there, but I wasn’t too bothered since I was busy lamenting the last place of Dutch Jamai Loman. I wasn’t to know that seeing the Netherlands’ entry fail miserably would be good prep for my future as Eurovision freak.
Fast forward to 2015, and it’s clear that the World Idol experience didn’t affect Guy negatively. In fact, it probably prepared him for Eurovision as much as something un-Eurovision related could. He’s released seven top 10 albums in Australia – two of which topped the charts – and had seven #1 singles. His 2012 single Battle Scars, featuring Lupe Fiasco, charted in Scandinavia and the US, and scored the duo a performance slot on The David Letterman Show. Not too shabby of a career, is it?
And yet many people – including a lot of Australians – couldn’t be outraged fast enough by his selection as our ESC artist. They were also quick to compose articles detailing the many acts who would be ‘better for Eurovision’. Real classy, guys. Don’t give the man a chance to pick out and premiere his song or anything. Don’t wait for five minutes until he’s tested it out at Eurovision in Concert, or until he begins rehearsals in the Stadthalle and we see how the staging and song come together – just slag him off now because he’s not your ideal representative!
That was sarcasm, in case you were unsure. We all had preconceived ideas of who would be the most suitable choice, and no matter what happened, not all of us were going to be happy. But to be one of those haters who, in Guy’s words (a.k.a. Taylor Swift’s words) were gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate when it’s not going to change anything, is unnecessary. There’s a difference between voicing your opinion and just being mean. Would Guy Sebastian be my ultimate pick to represent us? No. But as it stands, we will be represented by someone credible, talented, current and versatile, who’s in it for the right reasons. And I reckon that’s quite a coup on behalf of SBS and Blink TV.
With the March 16 submission deadline approaching, we’re sure to hear the Australian entry in the near future. That’s when I hope fans will toe the line between voicing their opinion and respecting the opinions of those who disagree with them. I also hope that when it’s go time, Guy can defy the negative expectations and give Australia a performance – and result – to be proud of.
Germany: Winners aren’t always grinners as Andreas makes way for Ann Sophie
Aaaaaand rant over! Now I’m turning my attention to some controversy of a different kind, which came from an unlikely source – Unser Song Für Österreich. I swear, Belarus must be horrified that they’re no longer the perpetrators of the most scandalous NF in Europe.
Germany’s final came to an end on Thursday night with wildcard entrant Ann Sophie and Black Smoke taking out the top prize. Of course, that was after initial winner Andreas Kümmert shocked everyone watching, hosting and participating in the show by refusing to be crowned champ and handing the title over to her instead. How do you say ‘Oh, the awkwardness!’ in German?
If you want to relive the cringe-fest as it unfolded, you can do so here (with English subtitles). While you’re doing that, you might wonder why Andreas decided to enter USFO in the first place. Did he not think he had a chance of winning? Was he always intending to say thanks, but no thanks (or danke, but nein danke) if it came to that, or did it suddenly occur to him that he wasn’t ready for Eurovision when it DID come to that? Whatever the reason, he’s tossed Ann Sophie a massive bag of mixed feelings, I’m guessing.
It’s like Andreas was Miss Universe (if you can picture him in an evening gown with a plunging neckline) and Ann was runner-up, only for her to nab the crown when Andreas dethroned himself on the grounds of not feeling universe-y enough. She’d be thrilled to have it on her head, but she’d always know that she hadn’t been the judges’ first choice. You’ve got to feel sorry for her, having been put into a position like that.
Still, she will be taking the short trip to Vienna – as will Black Smoke. It’s the only USFO song I’ve listened to at this point, and while it’s not an indication of Germany being back at their Raab-driven best, it has a lot of pros.
It’s not a ballad (which has turned out to be a major plus this year); it’s a well-crafted pop song that could be on the radio pretty much anywhere right now; and it has a stylish and confident performer in Ann Sophie. With a bit of work on nailing her choruses, she’ll do just fine in May. I don’t think she’s got the goods to get Germany back on the left side of the scoreboard, but she could well outdo Elaiza’s 18th place with a song that has greater mass appeal than Is It Right?
That’s assuming Andreas doesn’t change his mind and demand his winning title back. You heard it here first!
Sweden’s second chance round is ready to roll + the AC poll results revealed!
Week 5 of Melfest has arrived right on schedule, which means nobody lost the stage as it was being carted cross-country. Helsingborg is playing host to this year’s Andra Chansen round with a difference. Instead of two songs fighting two battles each to win their way into the final, there’ll be four qualifiers tonight. Each must win just one duel to get the golden ticket they’ve been hoping for since being relegated to AC in their respective semis.
Let’s cut to the chase and review/predict those head-to-head musical fistfights, shall we? Remember, the predictions are yours and mine. Thanks again to all of y’all who voted in the polls.
Duel 1: Bring Out The Fire by Andreas Weise VS Forever Starts Today by Linus Svenning
WHO I WANT TO WIN: This is a tough one. I want to say Linus, but he lacks the vocal power and confidence that Andreas has in spades. Both songs are reasonably derivative, but catchy and well-staged. Hmm…I’m going to have to go with Andreas, based on the quality of the whole package.
WHO WILL WIN: With 73% of your votes, Linus. So I guess I’m in the minority, then!
Duel 2: Guld Och Gröna Skogar by Hasse Andersson VS I See You by Kristin Amparo
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Hasse brings some old-fashioned fun to the proceedings, but it’s hard to bypass Kristin’s impeccable and powerful vocal performance. If she goes to the final, she’ll have Jessica Andersson quaking in her stilettos for sure.
WHO WILL WIN: 76% of you say it will be Kristin. Look out, Jessica.
Duel 3: Hello Hi by Dolly Style VS Make Me (La La La) by Dinah Nah
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Hello Hi is my guilty pleasure of the year, but there is something about those three wig-wearing, pastel-clad dollies that irritates me. Dinah’s song is the equally dance-driven, but more sophisticated fighter in this battle, so I hope she takes this one out.
WHO WILL WIN: 71% of you believe Dinah will do it, and leave Dolly Style in her dust.
Duel 4: Det Rår Vi Inte För by Behrang Miri feat. Victor Crone VS Groupie by Samir & Viktor
WHO I WANT TO WIN: I was rooting for both of these in their separate semis, but now they’re butting heads, it’s Behrang, Victor, and apparently Malena Ernmann all the way. The addition of Malena seems like a random and slightly desperate vote-pulling tactic, but if it works, I won’t be complaining.
WHO WILL WIN: This was a close call, but edging ahead with 57% was Behrang and Victor.
So, to sum up, together we’re predicting that Linus, Kristin, Dinah and Behrang/Victor will progress from AC direkt til final. I’d be fairly happy with that outcome!
That’s it for another Saturday-night ramble, folks. I’ll leave you to your NF-viewing preparations as I undertake mine (they mostly involve pre-event napping…it’s hard work, but somebody has to do it).
Let me know what you think of all things Australia, Germany and Sweden down below – and your thoughts on anything else Eurovisual you’ve been dying to get off your chest. Just think of me as your official ESC therapist.
Seriously, I’ve put it on my résumé and I’d really like it to be true.