SATURDAY SELECTION SHENANIGANS: A high-flyer from Belarus + Malta’s last hurrah
Overnight, three have become four. And four will have become five by this time tomorrow. You might think I’m referring to the formation of the Spice Girls, but it’s actually the Class of (Eurovision) 2016 that I’m talking about – it’s beginning to fill up, people! Belarus has chosen a song that’s destined to do worse than their latest Junior Eurovision entry, and Malta is about to do the same – so let’s have a debrief re: both.
WARNING: Ira Losco’s name appears a LOT in the latter part of this post. If you’re not an admirer of hers, you might want to avert your eyes.
Ivan a do-over…Belarus opt for Alexander Ivanov’s Help To Fly, dropping jaws in the process
Well, that result dropped my jaw, anyway – I can’t speak for the rest of you (mainly because my chin is still stuck to the floor, weighed down by a momentous amount of shock). My first major fail of national final season has arrived early, because I did NOT see Alexander ‘Ivan’ Ivanov’s Help To Fly (as it’s now known) as a potential winner in Belarus. I can say with confidence that it won’t be considered a potential winner in Stockholm, and I don’t expect it to outdo the last song sung by an Eastern European dude with long blonde locks that will be swished from side to side hypnotically but not hypnotically enough.
I just…don’t get this decision. Sure, Ivan has a decent live voice, but his song is a big pile of nothingness in my opinion (with an annoying chorus buried in it). It would take a giant glass box, an army of cartoon stick men, sixteen costume changes and a wind machine firing on all cylinders to even give it a chance of qualifying to the Eurovision final *she says, reserving the right to change her mind and assuming you won’t mock her if Belarus miraculously win the contest in May*.
Having said that, I think Belarus would have struggled to advance no matter what they’d chosen this year (in case you missed yesterday’s mini-rant, I was hardly impressed with what the country had to offer us, overall). I stand by my reckoning that Kirill’s Running To The Sun would have given them a semi-decent shot – but, at the end of the day, it’s a begrudging ‘Congratulations!’ that goes to Ivan and nobody else. Help To Fly is no Cheesecake (what is?) but I wish it the best of luck anyway…and I will try and muster up some smidgen of desire to see it performed live. Either that, or I’ll just use Belarus’ performance as my much-needed toilet break time.
Will you be heading off to the bathroom or the bar when it’s their turn to take on Eurovision 2016? Or does their latest entry rock your socks?
The Maltese final countdown: Is MESC 2016 Ira Losco’s to lose?
I wouldn’t say she’s a shoo-in to win, but Ira probably has the edge in the small group of fierce females who are still, realistically, in contention after last night’s semi. Ira’s That’s Why I Love You was booted last night (as per the rules, one of her entries had to be sacrificed at this stage), alongside the songs from Danica, Dario, Domenique (it was not a good night for the Ds), Sarah Crystal and Stefan (or, for that matter, the Ss). That means that I somehow managed to correctly predict 4 of the 6 non-qualifiers yesterday, which kind of makes up for my mishap with Belarus.
It’s time to make some more predictions already, with Malta’s list of Eurovision hopefuls down to “just” fourteen. In mere hours, only one act will remain. Who will it be? If it isn’t Ira, I mean.
- All Around The World by Deborah C
- Little Love by Franklin
- Under The Sun by Daniel Testa
- Golden by Brooke
- Flashing Lights by Raquel Galdes
- Kingdom by Christabelle
- Falling Glass by Corazon
- Fire Burn by Dominic
- The Flame by Jessika
- Alive by Jasmine Abela
- You’re Beautiful by Lawrence Gray
- Young Love by Maxine Pace
- Chameleon by Ira Losco
- Lighthouse by Kim
Okay – clearly, Ira is the fan favourite here. But with an overwhelming majority of the power in the hands of Malta’s (hopefully) esteemed jurors tonight, she does have a fight on her hands. I’d be happy to see her back in the ESC after all this time – especially if she has another glitter pouch stuffed in her jumpsuit – but how high is she in my MESC top 5? Find out right now (I know you were dying from the suspense…).
- #1 | Chameleon Yep. Sorry for being Miss Predictable, but despite this song being a bit of a mish-mash and failing to reach either its own potential or Ira’s, there’s something powerful about it. The chorus in particular is very catchy and very instant.
- #2 | Falling Glass I hated Corazon’s last MESC entry with a passion, but she pleasantly surprised me with this one. Falling Glass is a two-part song that doesn’t suffer from Crisalide Syndrome – i.e. it actually works well as a ballad and a dance track, and transitions from one genre to the other without any speed bumps.
- #3 | All Around The World I know, I know! This is cheesy, clichéd, and something the Spice Girls wouldn’t have touched in 1996 with a ten-foot pole. But it’s so darn infectious, and makes me think of being on a summer holiday to such an extent that I can taste the margaritas. I’m pretty sure I look a little tanner after every listen too, so thanks, Deborah!
- #4 | Young Love Is Maxine’s number an All About That Bass for the teen market? Yes. Is it appealing nonetheless? Yes. I’m not a huge fan of retro-pop, but the fact that this does hark back to a faraway decade makes it fresh and fun. Maxine has great personality and stage presence that adds to the package.
- #5 | Kingdom Christabelle’s Rush was far, far better than this (and I still wish she’d elbowed Amber out of the way and gone to Vienna in her place) but this is the best straight-dance song in the running.
When it comes to the winner and Warrior’s successor, I can narrow it down to three of my top 5. That’s right – it’s ladies’ night, folks. In order of likelihood, here’s the trio* I’d bet on if I was a betting woman.
- Chameleon Ira is more or less to MESC 2016 what Måns Zelmerlöw was to Melfest 2015. If it’s going to be a by-the-book kind of year, she’ll take the victory with ease.
- Young Love If it’s a ‘say what?!?’ kind of year, however, a newcomer to the NF might out-score the veterans. This song is current, memorable and well-performed, and I think there’s something in it for televoters and jurors.
- Falling Glass This is Corazon’s best attempt yet to represent Malta, so she’d deserve the trophy if she nabbed it. She is smack bang in the middle of the running order, so she’ll have to work hard to keep attention on her.
*Like last night, I want to slip in an extra prediction here to reduce my chances of looking stupid later on. So if the stars don’t align for Ira, Maxine or Corazon, perhaps they’ll do so for Christabelle.
I’m not seeing through the eyes of a respectable jury member here, so what do I know? If you’re keen to put your objective, non-Ira-obsessed juror hat on and predict the MESC winner for the year, be my guest. The comments section will feel lonely and abandoned if you don’t…AND SO WILL I #guilttrip.
I’ll leave you now to mentally and physically prepare yourself for the abovementioned Maltese final. It’s going to be a long one as always – but with any luck, we’ll have a decent result at the end of it.
As Adele says when ending a phone call, see you on the other siiiiiiiiiide!
3 Responses to “SATURDAY SELECTION SHENANIGANS: A high-flyer from Belarus + Malta’s last hurrah”
just a short recap of the Malta ESC from me about Saturday night’s show:
First of all, who told TVM to do a show just as long as the Grand Final of the Eurovision?!
I almost fell asleep in the final third! 😉
And then, about 50% of the show was advertising!!! I would put it this way: there were a few Eurovision songs between all these adverts. If the German state’s television had that much advertising, I would probably never watch it again?! Awful, just awful!
But I must admit that the product placement was cleverly done by TVM and fitted the MESC entries perfectly. Some examples:
“All around the world” was followed by a ‘travel agency’ advert,
“Little love” followed by the ‘Valentine’s jewellery’,
“Golden” followed by “Schwarzkopf Hair Shampoo”,
“Chameleon” followed by the ‘Irresistible Pizza’
and “You’re beautiful” had an ‘Leerdamer cheese’ advert (you guessed that already, didn’t you?) during Lawrence Gray’s performance!!! 🙂
So no one can claim that there was no connection to the competing songs. Next year they probably write the lyrics directly for the show’s sponsoring partners?! XD
But now my short ranking of the songs straight after the show:
14. ‘You’re beautiful’: Not really an hommage to James Blunt! I bet Lawrence sang it for a certain “Mother” of a former Belgian contestant, not? And yes, he looked like a waiter!
13. ‘Young love’: that was sooo ‘Meghan Trainor’ in all aspects, and I hate ‘Meghan Trainor’, so this was simply not my cup of tea, although I normally like retro-pop.
12. ‘All around the world’: I agree with cheesy and clichéed 90’s in a way Lisa Stansfield’s was not. The latter still sounds like a fresh pop song compared to Deb C.
11. ‘Flashing light’: Was I the only one who heard some weak vocals of Raquel? Wasn’t all bad, but really very repetitive!
10. ‘The Flame’: a good vocal performance, but the song wasn’t all mine! It sounded like ‘heard before a thousand times’. I saw a resemblance of Jessika to last year’s Scarlett from Norway, plus I liked her dress! Epic!
9. ‘Under the sun’: that wasn’t too bad, Daniel did not deserve a last place, IMO! But you can have the greatest performance of all time, if your song sounds extremely dated, it won’t help. And his lyrics were of a “Ralph Siegel” quality! Did I say ‘quality’?
8. ‘Golden’: Brooke’s vocal performance was among the best of the night, but somehow her song did not catch me, plus we already have Enida Tarifa with a similar style who looks like her doppelganger, doesn’t she?
7. ‘Falling glass’: I liked the song and Corazón’s really good vocal performance, but the dancers were disturbing. Would’ve been better without them, IMO!
6. ‘Alive’: Good song and live vocals, but the staging did not completely convince me! It lacked something focussed on the song, the stage performance was just average, although the song deserved more.
5. ‘Kingdom’: Christabelle was vocally on point and did a great show.That was probably THE perfect stage performance of the night. If only the song would have been more unique?!
4. ‘Lighthouse’: That was sweet, I like this song a lot, and I’m sure it would’ve been my favourite ‘silent moment’ of the Eurovision 2016, if it had won. Kim was lovely, but unfortunately not too memorable with her song.
3. ‘Little love’: Franklin had THE vocal performance of the night, probably his best performance ever in a Maltese national final! So I think that 3rd place was absolutely deserved. I’m sure he will try again, maybe next year with a greater song?!
2. ‘Fire burn’: the shocker of the night, at least for me! I think this is an amazing song, especially for Eurovision! And I did not see anything wrong in his performance, it all looked great, so that 13th place was quite a bad surprise for me. One of the best songs in this year’s line-up!
1. ‘Chameleon’: so your prediction was pretty good, congrats to that! I would say: the best song of the night has won the final! But I must also admit Ira’s vocals weren’t all perfect, and the stage could have looked a bit more ‘Invincible’ too. But for sure this now is ‘My Number One’ from the five entries we already have for Eurovision 2016, and I want to add ‘by a big margin’!!! So I am very happy about this result and hope for an equally great result for Malta at the ‘Come Together’ in May, they SO deserve their first Eurovision win EVER! 😉
Now I gotta get my Maltese flag ready for Stockholm! 😉
Bye for now and until next time …
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“It would take a giant glass box, an army of cartoon stick men, sixteen costume changes and a wind machine firing on all cylinders to even give it a chance of qualifying to the Eurovision final”
On order. Be patient.
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I’ll try! Bring it on, Belarus.