SUPER SATURDAY #1 | So many semis, so little time (a.k.a. SEND HELP!)
Are you ready to rumble, NF-watchers? You’re going to have to be (says someone who’s far from being ready herself) – because the first of February’s four Super Saturdays is upon us!
Tonight is just one example of why the word ‘February’ is often paired with the word ‘frantic’ when Eurovision fans are conversing. If you want proof, a) you’re very demanding, and b) here it is, in the form of this evening’s epic programme of events:
- Finland’s UMK – the first semi final
- Hungary’s A Dal – the third quarter final
- Iceland’s Söngvakeppnin – the first semi final
- Lithuania’s Eurovizijos – the fifth show (of approximately five hundred)
- Sweden’s Melodifestivalen – the first semi final (*screams*)
- Ukraine’s Irritatingly Untitled Selection Process – the first semi final
Basically, there are a lot of firsts, a third and a fifth on this particular Saturday. Plus, there’s the kickoff of Latvia’s Supernova to look forward to tomorrow night, featuring Samanta ‘I’ll Still Be Attempting To Represent Latvia When I’m Dead’ Tina, and a song composed by none other than pocket rocket Aminata. These are busy times, y’all. What exactly do other people do on the weekends?
I can’t answer that, but I can tell you what I’m about to do, right here, right now: talk semis. Reviewing, ranking and predicting NFs is practically mandatory at this time of year, but I’m currently unable to go too in-depth (what with work/Stockholm prep/life in general keeping me otherwise occupied). So I’m limiting myself to the most appealing semis on this occasion – and for me, that’s those from Finland, Ukraine and Sweden. So let’s get on with criticising and complimenting what’s on offer from those countries on Super Saturday numero uno, shall we?
Finland: OMG, it’s UMK!
Okay, I’ll level with you…UMK isn’t a huge drawcard for me come NF season. While Melodifestivalen is my pinnacle of the period, feat. about ten hits to every miss, UMK = about five hits to five misses, each and every year – but that’s just due to my musical taste, I guess. Still, it’s always an interesting final to follow. This first semi has proven no different. Here are the competitors for this evening:
- Thief by Clemso
- Draamaa by Eini
- Evil Tone by Mikko Herranen
- Shamppanjataivas by Pää-Äijät
- No Fear by Saara Aalto
- Ain’t Got Time For Boys by Stella Christine
Only half of the artists/songs above will remain in the running to represent Finland after tonight. That’s the kind of culling I admire (as opposed to the Malta-esque, more or less pointless kind), but when it comes to 50:50, I’m bound to make the wrong decision. So I want to emphasise that there’s a very clear divide between my personal favourites in Finland so far, and those I’m predicting to qualify.
My top three Thief, Draamaa and Shamppanjataivas. Yes, I’m serious. Thief is the type of laid-back (so much so it’s comatose), tropically-influenced R & B that I love when it emerges from somewhere in Europe, so Clemso would have my vote…you know, if I could vote. Draamaa is very catchy, and I enjoy the eighties vibe of it. It also sounds super-cool with Finnish lyrics (IT’S SUCH A MAGICAL LANGUAGE). And Shamppanjataivas…ugh, I know I shouldn’t like it. But it’s fun, and a little silly, and Pää-Äijät wear those brilliant sunglasses in the music video. I wonder if there’s any of those for sale on eBay?
Which three are going through, though? Draamaa, Shamppanjataivas and No Fear. I really dislike Saara Aalto’s song, but everyone else seems to think it’s the baboon’s bollocks, so No Fear should be a safe bet (I just hope to heck it doesn’t win the whole show). Draamaa, if it’s well performed live, is my credible choice. Shamppanjataivas is my not-so-credible choice, because remember Ostarilla?
Those are my thoughts. How about you – are U into UMK? Who should make it out of this first semi, and who should be sent packing?
Ukraine: They’re back, and bringing it big time!
Well, well, well! Doesn’t this make the Belarusian NF line-up look/sound even worse than it was when it took place?
That’s the impression I get, having listened to as many of the below semi-finalists as I could find without putting in any effort whatsoever (it’s been a long week, and I am beyond scouring lower than the surface of the internet for anything).
- I Am Free Now by Anastasia Prikhodko
- Helpless by The Hardkiss
- Tin Whistle by Tonya Matvienko
- I’m Insane by Vladislav Kurasov
- Hold Me by Lavika
- 1944 by Jamala
- Inner Power by Aida Nikolaychuk
- Never Again by Svetlana Tarabarova
- Every Monday by Brunettes Shoot Blondes
At first glance, the names in this semi-final are the more underwhelming out of Ukraine’s two semis (what with the second installment including NeAngely and Victoria Petryk). Even with Russian ESC alumni Anastasia in the mix. But ermahgerd, guys…there’s some GREAT stuff in here. In my opinion, of course.
Only three of the nine (yes, I agree, that’s way too few) will qualify to the final. Here’s the trio I’d most like to see advance, based on what I’ve heard so far:
- Helpless The Hardkiss are the pre-show favourites, and they’ve got the goods to back that status up. Helpless isn’t my top pick of the semi, but it’s excellent – unique, unpredictable, far from formulaic, and totally devoid of eye-rolling Eastern European melodrama. Alt-pop, meet your new role model.
- I’m Insane A song title like this doesn’t exactly garner great expectations. But I do love a good man-ballad (so long as it’s minus the melodrama I just referred to) and this one is served with no cheese – not a good thing when it comes to food, but definitely a good thing when we’re talking music.
- 1944 Back in 2011, Jamala’s Smile contorted my face into anything but what the title promised. I didn’t dig it at all. But 1944? Well, it’s incredible. Different to her previous effort in every way, it’s mysterious, edgy and haunting. I think it’s something Ukraine should seriously consider sending to Stockholm.
But since when did anything in this department go completely in my desired direction? I’ll give you a hint: NEVER.
So, which songs are actually going to get somewhere? Helpless, Inner Power and Every Monday. Granted, I haven’t clapped ears on Every Monday, but it just sounds like the kind of thing that would progress. I don’t rate Anastasia’s chances with her dreary power ballad, so I’m putting my prediction eggs in the baskets of The Hardkiss (obviously) and Aida Nikolaychuk (there’s a promising snippet of her song online) instead. Jamala is the act I most want to make it, but with just those teensy three spots available in the final, the odds are against her. Still, I’m hoping that she’ll go through given that I’ve discounted her (my powers of anti-prediction are second to none. What I say doesn’t go!).
Which songs/artists do you think deserve those three tickets tonight? Can any of the first semi final participants top Ukraine’s result recorded during their last Eurovision trip in 2014?
Sweden: Melodifestivalen kicks off with a semi, live from the Scandinavium!
FYI: I am aware that Sweden comes before Ukraine alphabetically…but I HAD to save the best until last. So get over it.
HOLY HOTPANTS, IT’S MELFEST TIME!!! SOMEBODY SLAP ME!!!
Melfest really IS the best (it rhymes, so it must be true). The greatest NF on Earth is coming to you live from Göteborg tonight, and it’s been drama-filled already, thanks to a very un-Sweden-like scandal.
Ja, we must all take a moment to bow our heads on behalf of Anna Book, who was disqualified from competing this week after her entry Himmel För Två was revealed as the Swedish version of an entry from the 2014 Moldovan final. Oops. SVT’s got to be embarrassed about that oversight. They have tried to lessen Anna’s trauma by allowing her to perform as a guest tonight, but that could just be awkward as heck – we’ll see.
If she hadn’t been given the boot at the last second, here are the six acts Anna would be battling against:
- Bada Nakna by Samir & Viktor
- Mitt Guld by Pernilla Andersson
- Ain’t No Good by Mimi Werner
- Rik by Albin & Mattias
- Constellation Prize by Robin Bengtsson
- Don’t Worry by Ace Wilder
Based on the content of this inaugural semi, this edition of Melfest is going to be better than Sweden’s last post-win program in 2013, so that’s a relief. But I do feel we haven’t heard the best stuff yet. With Ace Wilder performing in the plum position, we may have heard Sweden’s Eurovision 2016 entry, however. Would I be happy if that were the case? Find out in the next sentence or so.
My favourite four Bada Nakna, Rik, Constellation Prize and Don’t Worry. Ace’s song is actually my favourite *gasp*. I love the mix of retro styles that somehow manages to be completely contemporary. I just worry (ironically, given how many times Miss Wilder told me not to) that her weak live vocals will drag it down. I can’t help my affection for Samir & Viktor, despite Bada Nakna being inferior to all of their previous releases – they’re too much fun. Rik is a bit too repetitive and not as awesome as what I expected to come out of an Albin/Mattias partnership, but I love them as a duo so much, I’m willing to ignore the song’s flaws. And Constellation Prize has a heap going for it, including a catchy harmonica riff. I think it might go further than many other fans do.
So, who’s going direkt? Bada Nakna and Don’t Worry. Samir & Viktor are going to open the show with a bang and with their torsos on display (obvs) and I think all of the app-users are going to lose their collective minds. Assuming the app works this year, I think popularity will push them through. Ace Wilder will win this semi by a landslide though, no doubt. Don’t Worry is the clear standout, and her story of defeat by Sanna is still relevant. Girl is back with a bang, and will be advancing even if she sings like a strangled street cat (like she normally does).
And who’s off to Andra Chansen? Ain’t No Good and Constellation Prize. Country music is often well received at Melfest, and Mimi has a toe-tapping fusion of country and pop to offer that has its audience, I reckon. Constellation Prize should really go direkt, but I think it will slip back into third based on the lack of abs, pecs, and general affable douchebaggery on display in Robin’s performance.
What about the others? Rik 5th, Mitt Guld 6th. Somebody has to lose, and I think Pernilla’s song is too sleepy not to. Rik will struggle to squeeze into the top four.
Honestly, I could be here all night long chopping and changing my predictions. But that wouldn’t be very entertaining for you, would it? What will be entertaining, I’m sure, is the level of my incorrectness. Will we be wrong together, or do you have a different take on what Melfest’s results have in store for us tonight? Let me know below.
I’m going to have to say a speedy ‘Catch you on the flip side, peeps!’ (apparently I have morphed into a fourteen-year-old boy from 1999) now, as I need a nap before tuning into Melfest at THREE FREAKING A.M. my time. It’s worth it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to complain about it.
Whether you’ll be glued to the SVT stream (in which case I might see you on Twitter for some fun times) or you’re opting to check out the action in Finland or Ukraine, etc, enjoy. But don’t have too much of a good time. This is only the start of the Super Saturdays – you need to conserve your energy!
Happy viewing (and pre-show predicting).
3 Responses to “SUPER SATURDAY #1 | So many semis, so little time (a.k.a. SEND HELP!)”
here’s my (very belated) short analysis of the Saturday night semis a.k.a. SUPER SATURDAY ramblings:
Finland: Ladie’s night in Finland’s first UMK semi! I’d take the “Draamaaaa” (more magic a’s, please!) by Eini of those three, since it was the one I liked most lady-wise. My favourite of them all was (surprise, surprise!) “Thief” by ClemSo who sadly did not qualify. But I already have “some fear” that it could be Saara Aalto finally winning. Oh noooo (prefer the a’s to the o’s!)!!!
Hungary: I’d be happy if the Kállay Saunders Band returns to Eurovision stage; again they have a pretty good song, IMO! But in my secret “empty room” I want Freddie to succeed and go to Eurovision! Whatta voice, whatta man! I’m blinded by the light!
Iceland: no question – Greta Salomé is great, but her song is not too overwhelming this time, but still good enough for Eurovision, methinks!
Lithuania: we can shorten or stop the Lithuanian selection process right now! I just say: I want my Donny bag, I mean ‘back’! I still love love love ‘Love is blind’, and this year his song’s even better, IMO! Definitely a qualifier and top 10 material, if you ask me!?
Ukraine: “mysterious, edgy and haunting” = brilliant song – that is exactly what I heard out of “1944” by Jamala! I absolutely agree to your words, and I want this to win! Seriously, can the Ukraine really vote for anything else than this amazing song? I’d say ‘no’. That’s THE ONE, a potential winning song 2016! Goosebumps!!!
AND, to save the best for last (as Vanessa Williams would say):
Sweden: firstly, my personal highlights of Saturday night’s first semi:
1. ‘YAASS, ROBIN’! (You know what I mean!) Best song of the night went ‘direkt till final’! My moment of pleasure! 🙂
2. Petra explaining the Eurovision 2016 slogan with a Måns photo (haha)! I always knew he is multi-talented, ahem!
3. Stina Ekblad and her recite of the ‘greatest’ song of all-time which is “Groupie” XD! (I had a laughing attack for about 15 minutes, or so!) That was soo “Hurz”, I loved it! Ah-mahzing!
But now, on with the 6 songs:
1. ‘Constellation price’: as I said above, best of Melfest semi 1 songs and my clear favourite of the 6! I’d also say this is the only one from the first heat I’d like to see on Eurovision stage!
2. ‘Rik’: a big round of applause for very good live vocals by Mattias, and Albin wasn’t bad too! Only their stage performance lacked something that makes you want to watch more of it, a bit chaotic! But still, I want them to go till final!
3. ‘Don’t worry’: I’m not a big fan of Ace Wilder, but I must admit it was the best stage show of the first semi. And the song’s so damn catchy that even my “anti-Ace” Me likes it. It has a good beat and Ace definitely had some vocal coaching in the past two years. Much better than her first Melfest attempt! I only fear that I will get bored by this song soon, come Eurovision!
4. ‘Ain’t no good’: sooo clichéed country, that I thought it was a bit OTT! But then, Mimi did everything right: good vocals, an enjoyable stage performance, and she looked really pretty!
i would’ve loved to see her (at least) going to Andra Chansen.
5. ‘Mitt Guld’: not a bad song at all, but this was not very memorable, I’d say too ‘invisible’ to go somewhere. I was glad she did not come with another “Desperado”, although this ballad wasn’t enough to impress much.
6. ‘Bada Nakna’: I have nothing against ‘Bada Nakna’ in general, just against two buddies who can’t sing (especially Samir!) and their awful “Ballermann” hits! And if you can’t sing and have an awful song, then you have to nail it at least with your performance, IMO! But what they did was like ‘driving with the brakes on’. Just to take off the shirts to compensate your very bad vocals simply isn’t enough for Melodifestivalen. Totally embarrassing and I felt ashamed that they qualified to A.C.! This might be enough for the next ‘spring break’ party, but then, only after 3.0 permille of alcohol level!!!
Final statement: I don’t think we have already heard and seen this year’s Eurovision entry for Sverige (well, I hope we haven’t!). I am already excited what the next three Saturdays will bring?! 😉
Until then and have a good week,
P.S. As you see, it worked! I mean watching all Eurovision semis available at the same time. I’d recommend to give it a try ;). And if you fail to do so, you simply stay with Melodifestivalen, the (2nd) greatest show on the planet! Say YAY!!!
Hej da Jazofestivalen!
My NF viewing commenced this weekend with the one that matters most, Melodifestivalen. Right away they highlighted my desire to take a Melfast Dance Class 101, as they do every year. And I didn’t know Sandra Bullock could sing, dance, and speak Swedish!
Unlike Norway’s MGP contestants, which I made the mistake of listening to for the first time right before Melfest -a lot of null pointers there sadly, the first heat/listen of MF 2016 came off pretty clean in my ears.
My “Direct to Final” were Robin and Mimi/Ace and Andra Chasen would have been the loser of the Mimi/Ace duel. Yes, that is three votes for four spots if you do the math.
Samir & Victor have carried through as the novelty act for two years now (Ace was the 2014 version). “Bada Nakna” is heaps better than “Groupie” alas I can translate and had an idea of what was coming (off) before it was over. My outlook would be more favorable without, as you say, “general affable douchebaggery” and gimmicks.
Pernilla “Mitt Guld” Um, perhaps it would have fared better in a different heat? *whispers “I doubt it”*
Mimi “Ain’t No Good” The first of two entries with a country feel and I fell for it. Nothing like channeling a little Shania Twain (doesn’t she still live in Sweden?) and I’m alright with that. I did find the vocals rather breathy and difficult to understand for the first half of the song. For example, Mimi didn’t say anything about being horny, the lyric is “my mama warned me”. I’ll admit that thought even though the true lyric was obvious by then end!
Albin & Mattias “Rik” I can’t get into this. Ballads in French, Spanish, Macedonian, Italian, Serbian, etc. I can find a sweet spot, but rap in any foreign language has yet to break down barriers in my ears.
Robin Bengtsson “Constellation Prize” A no doubt direct to final before we were halfway through the song. Everything country-like that annoyed me about Heroes was resolved with Robin and (was he or wasn’t playing?) his harmonica. Oh and those eyes and the way he was dressed like he’d be right over to take me out to dinner after he was finished vanquishing the rest of the field.
Ace Wilder “Don’t Worry” But I do because I don’t know what to make of you Ace! What is your exact talent? Besides being credited with co-writing Margaret Berger’s “Scream” I haven’t seen (or tried to find) anything noteworthy. A battery-powered toy monkey clapping its cymbals together is still better than “Busy Doin’ Nothing” imo.
Harshness aside, “Don’t Worry” turned out to be damn catchy and more believable than the 2014 mess. The squares would be cooler if it wasn’t freshly reminiscent of “Heroes” gadgetry, though that was way more animated. The back beat sounds similar to one of my favorite NF tracks, Natalia Barbu “Let’s Jazz'” Moldova, 2011.
Lastly for tonight, LAS KETCHUP on MELFEST, whoopppe! I love condiments. And the dance does work much better standing up. Maybe Petra will practice and have it perfected by the final. 🙂
LikeLiked by 2 people
Have fun going mad working out how to watch all the SFs at the same time – it’s a quiet evening for me as I don’t tend to be bothered with them! I suppose that Belgium sort of had a SF but there were no clashes – I’ll wait for all the Finals!