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Time-Warp Tuesday | A milestone sealed with a kiss

Where: The Hague, the Netherlands

When: 1976

Who: Brotherhood of Man

What: Save All Your Kisses For Me

I’m not exactly dying to mention this because I feel like I’m on the verge of a mid-life crisis, but tomorrow I turn 21 (sorry for the short notice – large and expensive gifts are appreciated but not required). Amidst all of the freaking out and all the cries of ‘where have the years gone? WAAAAH!’ I decided it would be appropriate to focus this Time-Warp Tuesday on the song that triumphed the year Eurovision turned the big 2-1 – in terms of contests held, anyway.

The twenty-first edition was won for the third time by the UK. Brotherhood of Man arrived in the Netherlands with an extremely cutesy song and even cutesier choreography up their puffy sleeves. Having drawn the short straw to open the show (not the shortest straw in the packet, but one that makes it much more difficult to win) they needed as many ‘aww!’ factor votes as possible. Fortunately for them they got enough, meaning the weeks of Kurt Calleja-esque foot swiveling, head nodding and intensive rehearsing to get that killer last line just right had paid off.

Watching BOM’s performance a) nearly forty years later and b) as a member of Gen Y, it does come across pretty dated and unfashionable. But personally, I can’t resist the sweetness. Save Your Kisses For Me is more effective as a heart-melter than a blowtorch, and considerably less painful. What do you think?

 

Selection Season Day 6: the Irish final in review, and who could win the ESC right now…

Sometimes it’s stressful being a Eurovision fan.

Right now we are in the eye of a storm of  national finals and song presentations, and I know I, as a blogger wanting to review and discuss as much as possible, am getting a little swept up in the flood of…wait, flood? I don’t know where I’m going with that weather analogy. My point is that it’s hard to know what to focus on at the moment – Turkey is in the process of presenting their song as you read; Austria and Ireland’s NFs are scheduled for Friday; Finland chooses on Saturday as Sweden holds their fourth semi; and for the Netherlands and Slovenia, it’s decision time on Sunday…and that’s only me looking as far as the weekend.

I’m going to (try to) accept that I can’t cover it all, which isn’t all bad because it makes some song selections a total surprise to me, rather than a disappointment when I discover the entry I was rooting for didn’t make it (which happens too often for my liking). So today I’m making the Emerald Isle my sole focus, as well as asking for your opinion on a small matter of 0% importance but 100% fun.* Let’s get to it!

 

* I won’t be asking for your opinion on my silly introductions. I know they’re rambly and boring, but I also know I have a compulsive need to tack them on to every single post…

 

Ireland’s Eurosong: is it a given?

As all of us who are not Amish know, Jedward are back for another bash at ESC glory (INSERT SQUEAL/GROAN HERE DEPENDING ON YOUR FEELINGS TOWARD IRELAND’S MOST FAMOUS TWINS). You would think that would make Ireland’s national final redundant, because surely there’s nobody Jedward can’t steamroll over with their catchy pop and ability to sound as if they can sing when in fact they can’t. If you do think that, you’re probably right. But I’m still hoping for an upset by a certain lady who also has some previous Eurovision experience.

There are five songs competing to represent Ireland on Friday night. Here they are, in running order:  

  1. Mistaken by Celtic Whisper & Maria McCool
  2. Mercy by Donna McCaul
  3. Here I Am by Andrew Mann
  4. Language of Love by Una Gibney & David Shannon
  5. Waterline by Jedward

My thoughts:

I don’t know what to think about Mistaken. It’s nicely ethnic and not too dated, but there’s something about Maria’s voice that irritates me – it’s almost like the song was recorded a few minutes after she’d had an asthma attack and was still recovering. Plus, the first half minute or so sounds like a parody of every Irish entry of the 90s.  

As for Mercy by Donna McCaul – well, here is a previous ESC entrant who has actually chosen to return with a better song (not that it was hard to improve on Ireland’s 2005 song Love? which Donna performed with Joe). Apart from the questionable lyric “you stole the key to my brain”, I really like this one. It’s dance, it’s catchy, and it has a key change. There’s not much more you could ask for.

Donna McCaul: one person, just as much hair product as Jedward

We know from previous experience (a.k.a. Bosnia and Herzegovina 2010) that fair to middling soft rock can qualify in Eurovision, which gives hope to Andrew Mann and Here I Am on the off chance he wins the final (by which I mean if Jedward and Donna are killed in a nasty shoulderpad incident). When compared to the four other potential Irish entries, this one ranks pretty high, but I don’t know how far it could go at the big show; although I would say it’s more fair than middling, and a lot better than B & H in Oslo.

Language of Love is…um. I think Una and David need to be sent the memo that all of this NF chaos is leading up to Eurovision 2012 and not a benefit concert circa 1992. If dated music and lame, clichéd lyrics were what the contest was looking for, the UK would have won two years ago. In case anyone’s forgotten, they did quite the opposite.   

Finally we come to Waterline. It’s no Lipstick, although if Jedward come back again in 2013 I’m sure I’ll describe their song as being ‘no Waterline’. It’s up there with the best in this selection, but I just feel that the obvious desire to win has disappeared due to the album-filler qualities this song possesses. It’s catchy pop again and I’m sure it’ll win by a landslide (the votes will flood in…get it?) but it’s not going to do what Lipstick could not at Eurovision.

My top five:

  1. Mercy
  2. Waterline
  3. Here I Am
  4. Mistaken
  5. Language of Love

My prediction: I would so love Donna to prove that Jedward can be beaten, but despite the fact I believe her song to be better than theirs, I just can’t see it happening. They’re by far the biggest stars of the bunch and they are performing last. It’s inevitable. I am, however, willing to eat my words if Jedward somehow lose the ticket to Baku to someone else.

 

So who could win the ESC right now?

I haven’t had much opportunity to gauge what fans are thinking of the 2012 songs so far. Are there some obvious favourites? Is it a ‘blech’ year at this point? I MUST KNOW! A-hem. What I mean to say is, please vote below and let me know what you’re thinking. Which country has what it takes?

 

COMING UP: Another Saturday post with my thoughts on Turkey, Austria and Ireland, plus previews and predictions for Melodifestivalen and more!

 

In focus: Denmark

It’s been a while (in Eurovision time) since Albania became the most recent country to make their 2012 entry official – but don’t lose hope! We are nearing the next national final, and after that the season is in full swing, with February looking as Frantic as usual.

The aforementioned ‘next national final’ is that of Denmark, and so, in my recent tradition of attempting to post more relevantly, I figured it was a good time to make Denmark the subject of my latest country profile. Here’s a look back at their loooooong history in the contest, with just a week to go until they choose entry #41…

 

DENMARK: THE STATS

ESC debut: 1957 (3rd place)

No. of entries: 40

Gold medals: 2

Silver medals: 1

Bronze medals: 3

Top 10 finishes: 23

Top 10 success rate: 57.5%

Top 5 finishes: 13

Top 5 success rate: 32.5%

Wooden spoons (last places!): 1

Semi final qualifications: 5/7

Qualification success rate: 71%

 

MY PICKS 

My favourite entry: Tell Me Who You Are by Malene Mortensen (2002). Yes, really. I will never understand how this, one of the early favourites, ended up dead last, even failing to beat Francine Jordi and the Greek Terminator (see my last post).

My least favourite entry: In A Moment Like This by Chanee & N’evergreen. Yes, really. There was only one artist with ‘green’ in their name that should have made the top 5 in Oslo. FYI, it was the Welshman singing for Cyprus.

More of the memorable: Dansevise by Grethe & Jørgen Ingmann (1963); Fra Mols Til Skagen by Aud Wilken (1995); Fly On The Wings of Love by the Olsen Brothers (2000); Never Ever Let You Go by Rollo & King (2001); and Talking to You by Jakob Sveistrup (2005).

Their best stage show: DQ by Drama Queen (2007), of course! If you define a great stage show as one that features a gigantic something or other (like Armenia do) then you’ll have to agree with me. If you also define it as one featuring a costume reveal or two, then JACKPOT!

Their best costume/s: I have to admit that Chanee & N’evergreen were well dressed. However I am giving this award to Jakob Sveistrup and his troupe of Merry Men. I wonder if they kickstarted the red/pink trend?

"MWAHAHAHAHA! In your FACE Chanee & N'everwhatever!!"

Their best vocalist/s: Hot Eyes (1984, 85 and 88) OR Ronan Keating (2009). I mean Brinck. Obviously.

What I love about Denmark in the ESC: They may be Scandinavian, but they aren’t even close to being a one-trick schlager pony (not that I mind recurring schlager. Or ponies. In fact, I’m very fond of both). Over the years there’s been everything from hypnotic ballads and odes to telephone operators, to retro pop, auto-tuned love songs and stadium anthems from Denmark – really, everything short of hard rock performed by masked monsters (Finland’s got the monopoly on that one). No matter what genre they gamble with, it usually pays off. After a bit of a slump in results during the mid-to-late 2000s, it looks like the Danes are back in top form with two successive top 5 results in 2010 and 2011. Could it be third time lucky in Baku? 

 

What’s your favourite Danish entry of all time?

 

Album review: Dreamy Dima Bilan

ARTIST: Dima Bilan

ALBUM: Mechtatel (2011)

  1. Mechtateli
  2. Changes
  3. Zadyhayus
  4. Ya Prosto Lyublyu Tebya
  5. Rocket Man
  6. On Hotel
  7. Safety
  8. Ya Sil’ney
  9. Lovi Moi Tsetnie Sny
  10. Po Param
  11. Poka
  12. Get Outta My Way
  13. Zvezda
  14. Slepaya Lubov
  15. Ya Prosto Lyublyu Tebya (DJ Fisun & i-DEA remix)
  16. Safety (Disco Fries remix)

I hate to begin with a cliché, but I can’t help comparing Dima to a good wine – he just gets better with age! My basis for saying that is all down to the saying itself as I can’t confess to being a wine person…but that’s irrelevant. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that Dima’s music appeals to me more and more with every album, although this is the first album of his I have gone (online) and paid money for, so you can guess where this review is going.

Mechtatel is Dima’s 6th studio album, and his 3rd since winning Eurovision in Belgrade. It starts off very strongly indeed with five slickly produced, catchy tracks. The first is my favourite of the whole album – the almost-title-track Mechtateli (Dreamers), a high-quality pop ballad in the mould of one of my all-time favourite songs by fellow Russians and Eurovision participants Serebro, Dyshi. It’s what sold the album to me in the first place. Zadyhayus (I’m Suffocating) is also an excellent song, one of several on the disc that make R & B and club sounds work together in perfect harmony (awful musical pun 100% intended). Safety, Dima’s unlikely duet with US songstress Anastacia – who, in a fascinating fact, performed the soundtrack to several of my school socials – is a little too Americanised, but I still get a kick out of it, and I do think his and her voices sound good together.

My other highlights would be Po Param (In Pairs); Zvezda (Star), which features Dima’s sister Anya; and Slepaya Lubov (Blind Love), which are all very different songs – one acoustic-driven pop, the next a haunting ballad, and the last a dance track that adds a Eurotrance flavour to the dance sounds that are dominating the US/UK charts at the moment.

Another bonus of the album is the accompanying DVD that features five music videos, plus a rather narcissistic photo montage of the man in various poses and stages of hair-poofiness. Watching it, you can learn a lot, including:

  • The fact that Dima obviously attended the Niamh Kavanagh School of Inter-Videoclip Self-Promotion, as the Eurovision trophy has a cameo and later, as he watches the music video for Believe
  • If you ever accidentally run him over with your car, he will not take you to court and sue you for every penny you’ve got, but will sleep with you instead
  • And that Bon Jovi must be a hairdresser on the side, because nobody else in the world could create the bouffant poodle-do that Dima sports in the Changes video.

There isn’t much I don’t like about Mechtatel – I do prefer Dima singing in Russian, for one, and I feel like the two remixes tacked on to the end are unnecessary. I also think the track Get Outta My Way is a bit contrived and lacks the ethnic edge that often attracts me to Russian pop. But all in all, I’m loving the album. It’s a polished and modern effort that was a while in the making, and that really shows. The DVD (minus photo montage) adds another fun element to the album, despite the fact that in this day and age we can go to Youtube and watch anything, anytime, anywhere. I’m giving it four stars!

Interested? Grab your copy of Mechtatel online at eBay or Amazon.co.uk, or if you live in a country that actually devotes more than one miniscule shelf of its music stores to world music (and that shelf contains 20 copies of The Lion King soundtrack) head there.  

 

COMING UP: Turn away, JESC haters! EBJ’s Junior Eurovision month is about to kick off big time…

Eurovision Challenge: Day 1

Favourite winner

 Almost there:

Rock Me by Riva (Yugoslavia 1989)

Fångad Av En Stormvind by Carola (Sweden 1991)

Nocturne by Secret Garden (Norway 1995)

Fly On the Wings of Love by the Olsen Brothers (Denmark 2000)

 

But my favourite is:

Wild Dances by Ruslana (Ukraine 2004) – If ever there was a winner that had it ALL, it’s this one! The costumes, the choreography, the classic, catchy song, and more hair-whipping than Willow Smith could dream of…brilliance.

 

The winner takes it all…but what happens next???

Here’s a few questions for you: do you keep up to date with the careers of any Eurovision winners? Are you still listening to their music? Have you become enough of a fan to like them on Facebook? Or have you forgotten all about them (shame on you)?

My answers vary, so I decided to do a little more research to see how some of the last decade’s champions have fared since they earned enough douze points to earn them a place in the history books (the ESC history books, that is: the most interesting history books out!). Here’s what I discovered…

 

Sertab Erener

Sertab in Riga, 2003; and her latest album Rengarenk

Winner of: 2003 (Riga, Latvia) with Every Way That I Can

Since her win, Sertab has released 6 albums and 11 singles. Her winning song went to #1 in Turkey, Sweden and Greece, but she has made limited chart appearances in the last few years – despite such prolific musical activity. Her singles that have topped the charts are Here I Am (2003) and Bu Böyle (2009), which both made it in Turkey. Sertab’s last official release was Açik Adres in 2009, which reached #3 there.

My pick for Sertab: Here I Am http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8atJYRVFWmc&ob=av2e

Listen to her latest single: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ke8xhFUr7k

 

Ruslana

Ruslana in Istanbul, 2004; and her latest album, Wild Energy

Winner of: 2004 (Istanbul, Turkey) with Wild Dances

Since exchanging her Xena, Warrior Princess leather for…well, more leather, Ruslana has released 4 albums and 12 singles. Her winning song went to #1 in Greece, Ukraine and Belgium, and #2 in Turkey. The majority of her releases since have been Ukrainian singles and have charted consistently, with Ring Dance with the Wolves (2005), Skazhy Meni (2005), Dyka Enerhiya (2006), Vidlunnia Mriy (2008) and Moon of Dreams (2008) all reached the #1 position. Her latest release is Wow (2011) which peaked at #7.

My pick for Ruslana: Moon of Dreams http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFkJLhgyQag&feature=related

Listen to her latest single: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFEDBrgYbkM

 

Helena Paparizou

Helena in Kyiv, 2005; and her latest album, Greatest Hits and More

Winner of: 2005 (Kyiv, Ukraine) with My Number One

Helena has released 5 albums, 22 singles and numerous EPs since triumphing in Kyiv. Her chart successes have been almost countless! Her winning song went to #1 in Greece and Sweden and she has barely been out of the top 10 in Greece since. Lately, she hasn’t charted charts as solidly as she did in the few years post-win, but nonetheless continues to be a hugely popular artist. She’s topped the charts in Greece and Cyprus with Mambo! (2005), and in Greece with Heroes (2006), Fos (2007), Mazi Sou (2007), To Fili Tis Zois (2007), Porta Gia Ton Ourano (2008), I Kardia Sou Petra (2008) and Baby It’s Over (2011). Her latest single is Love Me Crazy.

My pick for Helena: Baby It’s Over, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jBuniWjsgw&feature=fvwrel

Listen to her latest single: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEmFeyaS9GQ

 

Dima Bilan

Dima in Belgrade, 2008; and his latest album, Dreamers

Winner of: 2008 (Belgrade, Serbia) with Believe

Dima has produced 3 albums and 10 singles since ripping his shirt open in Serbia. Believe failed to make an impact on the charts, only just making the Top 30 in Sweden, and slipping in to the Top 100 in Belgium and Germany. Several of his other singles have reached #1 in Russia. His latest album, Dreamer features a duet with singer Anastacia, and the title track was the latest to be released in March 2011.

My pick for Dima: Changes, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tayy4Hiyn28&feature=related

Listen to his latest single: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3cd0OkaPP0

 

Alexander Rybak

Alexander in Moscow, 2009; and his latest album, Visa Vid Vindens Angar

Winner of: 2009 (Moscow, Russia) with Fairytale

Alexander’s record victory saw him catapulted to the top spot in Norway, Ireland, Russia, Finland, Greece, Sweden and Denmark, as well as making the Top 10 in the UK (an honourable achievement for a modern Eurovision entry!) and charting in Australia. He’s since released 3 albums and 7 singles. His first single after Eurovision, Funny Little World, went to #1 in Norway, but his latest Swedish-language single Resan Till Dig has failed to chart anywhere, unfortunately. Still, Alex scored a whopping great legion of loyal fans alongside his whopping great score in Moscow.

My pick for Alexander: Fela Igjen (feat. Opptur), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaH-VAC-fxs

Listen to his latest single: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elj2rrnqY7Q

Retrospective Reviews 2011: A to B

FINALLY! ‘Early next week’ may have turned into ‘the end of the week’, but the first of my five Retrospective Reviews installments is ready to be read. I won’t ramble on with a wordy introduction, because I think you know the deal: 43 countries, 43 looks back in time and 43 opinions on the songs, the vocals and the performances.

However…I do have a few things I want to let you know:

  • I’ve rotated Gimmicks, My Favourite Lyric, and Reminds Me Of throughout each entry, so they’re all a little different.
  • My scoring system is out of 10 for the song, vocals (based on those live in Düsseldorf) and performance, but with the final score, I’ve taken the average of those three scores, and rounded it up to match the ESC score system – i.e. if a country’s average was 8.7, I’ve rounded it up to 9 and given that country 10 points, which is the equivalent of 9 in that system. Whew! I haven’t done that much maths since high school! Still, it’s Eurovision-related maths which is a little more fun.

 

ALBANIA

My favourite national finalist: Pranë by Kejsi Tola

Song: Feel the Passion

Artist: Aurela Gaçe

Result: 14th in semi final

Reminds me of: Everyway That I Can by Sertab Erener

The best bits: This is a very unusual song that can’t really be pigeonholed – I guess that’s why Albania went with the eagle theme instead! I love the ethnicity and mystery of the verses, and the fact that the song does go somewhere, rather than staying put on a safe level. Aurela’s stage presence, along with her Rihanna-red hair, Nailene talons and the majestic LED graphic made for a powerful performance.

The other bits: The chorus is too shouty and aggressive for my liking. It especially grates towards the end of the three minutes, leaving me wanting some serious peace and quiet.

I give the song: 7

I give the vocals: 9

I give the performance: 8

Points for Albania: 8

 

ARMENIA

My favourite national finalist: Ayo by Emmy

Song: Boom Boom

Artist: Emmy

Result: 12th in semi final

My favourite lyric: “It’s time to win me in the ring of love”

The best bits: I’ll admit it: the giant boxing glove/medallion belt/dressing gown combo got me hook (pardon the pun), line and sinker! Yeah, it was cheesy – but I’ve always been more of a savoury than sweet type of girl. Plus, the song is catchy.

The other bits: It’s Armenia’s worst entry by far, as evidenced by its failure to qualify. The dated disco sound of the chorus may be catchy, but it doesn’t work the retro angle to its advantage in the way that Serbia does.  

I give the song: 6

I give the vocals: 5

I give the performance: 8

Points for Armenia: 6

 

AUSTRIA

My favourite national finalist: Oida Taunz by Trackshittaz

Song: The Secret Is Love

Artist: Nadine Beiler

Result: 18th

Reminds me of: Shine by Sophia Nizharadze

The best bits: There were two serious divas in the 2011 contest (of the “Da Vinci of the vocalists” kind, not the “Hurling phones at assistants” kind) and Nadine is one of them. I feel like she could yodel her way through the Macarena and I’d still be enchanted, though thankfully, her self-penned song is more pleasing to the ear than that. The presentation was simple, but all eyes were on her.

The other bits: Nadine’s asymmetric, yet somehow perfect hair makes mine look as attractive as Bon Jovi’s, circa 1988. So envious. The lyrics do cross over into cliché territory at times, as well.

I give the song: 7

I give the vocals: 10

I give the performance: 9

Points for Austria: 8

 

AZERBAIJAN

My favourite national finalist: N/A

Song: Running Scared

Artist: Ell/Nikki

Result: 1st

Reminds me of: Allt Jag Vill Ha by Josefine Ridell

The best bits: I love thatAzerbaijanwon this year when they were half as desperate to win as they were in 2010. This is a well written, nicely constructed, contemporary pop song that was elevated by an effortless, classy presentation.

The other bits: There’s always a weaker one when it comes to performing duos (though with Jedward it’s hard to tell which one it is) and with these two it’s clearly Nikki/Nigar. She’s an adequate vocalist, but when you compare her to the lovely ladies from Lithuania, Sloveniaand Austria, for example, she falls way short. I also have to say that whilst I’m happy for Azerbaijanand I know they won fair and square, I still can’t wrap my head around Running Scared as THE winning song. It’s too…nice.

I give the song: 8

I give the vocals: 6

I give the performance: 8

Points for Azerbaijan: 7

 

BELARUS

My favourite national finalist: N/A

Song: I Love Belarus 

Artist: Anastasia Vinnikova 

Result: 14th in semi final

Reminds me of: Born In Byelorussia by Anastasia Vinnikova

My favourite lyric: “…I’m writing a new song” (Oh, how apt!)

The best bits: Guilty pleasure. That’s really all I need to say…but I’ll say a bit more. I feel I shouldn’t like this, considering it’s basically a rocked-up copy of Belarus’ original (better) then disqualified song. But the ethnic snatches and sing-along chorus win me over every time.

The other bits: It’s basically a rocked-up copy of Belarus’ original (better) then disqualified song. Also, I heard someone say that the lyric “courage and my grace” sounds like “cabbage in my bed” and now I can’t think of anything else when I hear it.

I give the song: 8

I give the vocals: 6

I give the performance: 7

Points for Belarus: 7

 

BELGIUM

My favourite national finalist: C’est La Musique by Steve Linden

Song: With Love Baby

Artist: Witloof Bay

Result: 11th in semi final

Gimmick: 100% music free

The best bits: This song has definitely grown on me since it was chosen; something helped along by seeing it onstage in Düsseldorf, because it’s hard to deny the vocal talents of Witloof Bay! It definitely has variety going for it, standing out and being a lot less repetitive (repetitive repetitive) than most of the other entries.

The other bits: Those “whoa whoa’s” irritate me to the point of the “whoa oh oh oh yeeeeeeeaaaaaah’s” in last year’s UK entry – remember them?

I give the song: 6

I give the vocals: 10

I give the performance: 7

Points for Belgium: 7

 

BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

My favourite national finalist: N/A

Song: Love In Rewind

Artist: Dino Merlin

Result: 6th

Gimmick: The age factor

The best bits: Now that I look and listen back, this is becoming my absolute favourite. Bosnia and Herzegovina always brings something unique that just gets me (apart from last year). I think of songs like Lejla and Bistra Voda when I hear this, and how they give me goose bumps in the exact same way. Dino’s a class act and I wouldn’t mind having a granddad like him! No offence, he is only 48, after all. Supposedly.

The other bits: I have nothing bad to say about this. Although…if Mr. Merlin had brought his superb dancing skills from his debut performance to Düsseldorf, we so could have been going to Sarajevo next year!

I give the song: 10

I give the vocals: 10

I give the performance: 9

Points for B & H: 12

 

BULGARIA

My favourite national finalist: This one

Song: Na Inat

Artist: Poli Genova 

Result: 12th in semi final

Reminds me of: a song that the lovechild of Robyn and Pink would record

The best bits: Every time I listen to the first disc of the 2011 album, this is the song that I get stuck in my head. Poli’s not as POLIshed a vocalist as you know who from you know where, but her voice is raw and she belts this out like there’s no tomorrow (or a New Tomorrow, if you’re Denmark…GOD I have to stop these terrible jokes!). Overall, her song is strong, with enough pop to keep me interested and enough rock to allow for lounge room head-banging.

The other bits: A key change wouldn’t have gone astray in lifting this higher in the last chorus. But if you put that aside, what do Bulgaria have to do to qualify? Apart from sing about water, whilst wearing leather pants?

I give the song: 8

I give the vocals: 10

I give the performance: 8 

Points for Bulgaria: 10

 

So the winner of these reviews was Bosnia & Herzegovina…should I pit all of the top-scorers together at the end in one last 2011 battle? Hmm…anyway, look out for the C to G reviews this weekend!

Which is your favourite A to B entry?

Jaz x

What’s next for twenty-eleven?

Hello all!   

I hope you’re doing well wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. I’ve spent the last few days “studying” for my exams next week and wishing I could be blogging instead. I’m determined to keep doing so (the latter, that is, not pretend to study) all year round, but it’s a bit hard at the moment.

This is especially frustrating when I’m wanting to put up my retrospective reviews for you! I’ve been putting them together in bits and pieces, looking at the songs, artists and performances from 2011, in between doing what I’m supposed to, and I’m hoping to post them in installments from early next week – the first being countries A to B. So please come back to check them out and share your own opinions (subscribe to EBJ to get alerted…pretty please? Just go to the bottom of the page). In the meantime, why not relive my 2010 retrospective reviews from here: https://eurovisionbyjaz.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/retrospective-reviews-a-to-b/

In the (350 or so) days before Baku, here are some of the other posts I’ve got planned:

– Top 10’s: JESC to ESC, songs that shouldn’t have come last, and anything else I can think of!

– Articles: What does it take to be a runner-up in Eurovision? What have the last decade’s winners been up to lately? Plus, some contest questions that have to be asked…

– Time-warp Tuesdays: I’ll be shining the spotlight on a personal classic moment from the glittery ESC history every week, courtesy of Youtube, just for nostalgic fun!

– And of course, my take on all the developments from Armeniain the lead up to 2011’s other contest, Junior Eurovision.

To conclude, I’ll continue the randomness of this particular post by saying:

a)      I picked up my copy of the Electric Pictures documentary The Secret History of Eurovision today. From an actual shop. Finally, we Australians get something Eurovision easier! I haven’t watched it yet, but I remember how good it was from the broadcast in May, and if you do, or if you didn’t get the chance to see it, you can get it online right now. It’s stocked at www.dymocks.com.au and http://shop.abc.net.au/ for $30AUD, and both ship overseas. What are you waiting for?

b)      My first Time-warp Tuesday begins…now! Yes, I am aware it’s more like Forgotten Favourites Friday, but who’s caring? Let’s go back to 1989 and one of those runners-up…one that really should have gone all the way. It’s the United Kingdom, who back then asked themselves the question that they should be asking themselves more often now (the answer can be found in song form in their 2010 entry): why do I always get it wrong? This is from Live Report, and it’s one of my all-time favourites. Talk to you soon!

 

The top 20 most-played ESC songs on my iPod

 

In random order:

This Is My Life by Anna Bergendahl (Sweden 2010)

Lejla by Hari Mata Hari (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2006)

Lako Je Sve by Feminnem (Croatia 2010)

Tornero by Mihai Traistariu (Romania 2006)

Džuli by Daniel (Yugoslavia 1983)

Horehronie by Kristina (Slovakia 2010)

Die For You by Antique (Greece 2001)

Wild Dances by Ruslana (Ukraine 2004)

We Could Be The Same by MaNga (Turkey 2010)

Allez Ola Ole by Jessy Matador (France 2010)

Angel Si Ti by Miro (Bulgaria 2010)

Glow by Madcon (Interval 2010 – I think it counts!)

Rijeka Bez Imena by Maria (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2007)

Anytime You Need by Hayko (Armenia 2007)

Run Away by Sunstroke Project (Moldova 2010)

Follow My Heart by Ich Troje (Poland 2006)

Rändajad by Urban Symphony (Estonia 2009)

Cipela by Marko Kon & Milaan (Serbia 2009)

Se Pa Mig by Jan Johansen (Sweden 1995)

Nur Ein Lied by Thomas Forstner (Austria 1989)

 

What are your most played Eurovision songs? Let me know!

The 2011 split results revealed, and ranked!

THE FINAL

 
It wasn’t until July last year that the split results were released, so to wake up this morning and see that the EBU had made them public just a fortnight after the contest was a great surprise!
 
I’m wondering if you’ll be as shocked as I was by some of the entries that both the juries and televoters decided were worthy of their highest points…here’s a brief look at the final stats as seen above.
 
  • If the outcome of Eurovision was still decided by 100% televoting (as it was up until a few years ago), this year’s top 10 would have consisted of Azerbaijan, Sweden, Greece, Ukraine, UK, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, Russia, Germany, and Ireland. So not too different country-wise, but quite different position-wise!
  • And in a fantasy land (not mine) where Eurovision is decided by the pros alone, Italy would have won, followed by Azerbaijan, Denmark, Slovenia, Austria, Ireland, Ukraine, Serbia, Sweden and Germany.
  • That means the J’s and TV’s have just 50% of their top 10’s in common.
  • Azerbaijan and Sweden were very close with the fans, with just 2 point separating them.
  • The UK might take some comfort in the love they got from the televoters – all 166 points worth –  despite the fact that the juries didn’t rate them.
  • Fan favourite Denmark shockingly owe the juries their 5th place – not the televoters, who pushed them down to 18th!
  • The countries on the most equal footing are Lithuania, Iceland, Romania, Germany and Azerbaijan, who attracted a similar amount of attention from both sides.
 
 
Check out the split semi finals below (click them bigger):

SEMI FINAL 1

  • The juries got 80% of the qualifiers they wanted; the televoters got 70%.
  • You can see two very different winners from each group…both more than a bit stereotypical! The juries lavished the love on Lithuania, a grand, old-fashioned ballad belted out with gusto (and a bit of sign language, which was a nice touch, albeit stolen from Latvia’s 2005 performance) whereas the televoters couldn’t get enough of Greece’s ethnic-modern fusion (and perhaps their absurdly attractive singer).
  • Also expected is the popularity of Norway with the TV’s in comparision to its rear-end-of-the-scoreboard relegation with the J’s.
 
SEMI FINAL 2
  • Here, the juries, got 80% again, whereas the televoters got 90%. It seems the compromise is working out fair!
  • Once again, we can see two very different, but not surprising semi winners. The powerhouse vocals of Maja from Slovenia won out with the pros, whilst the Popular powerhouse performance/party anthem of Sweden got the TV’s dialling.
  • The viewers shared Anastasia Vinnikova’s love for Belarus, it seems.

 

What do you think of the split results? Were you shocked or surprised, or did you expect what you saw? Let me know down below!