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SHOULD’VE KNOWN BETTER: Six 2018 OGAE Second Chance songs that probably should have been ESC entries…

Hey there! Remember me? It’s embarrassing the amount of times I’ve had to reintroduce myself on my own blog due to an accidental vacation, but I’m Jaz – still living, breathing and thinking about Eurovision 24/7 (or 25 hours a day, if Le Freak’s skewed concept of time works better for you). Yet again, “other stuff” has cut short my ESC rambling time lately (so annoying), but I’m back now and ready to try and keep it that way. Did you miss me?

I’m going to assume the answer was HELL YEAH and move on to today’s post. Now, if you’re a Eurofan who has a hard time letting go of songs you wish had won their respective NFs, then the annual OGAE Second Chance Song Contest is for you. I’m definitely the type to fall in love with music from Melodifestivalen, MGP, MESC etc, only to fall to pieces when something else wins. So naturally I jump at the chance to see some of those songs get a second chance at competing in and winning an international contest…even if it’s not quite on the same level as actual Eurovision.

The 2018 OGAE SCC is packed with excellent almosts from the most recent NF season, as well as a few glaring omissions (no Tayanna for Ukraine? Seriously?). If you’re not already familiar with the line-up, check it out here. The winner of this year’s contest – succeeding Sweden who won in 2017 with Mariette’s A Million Years – will be revealed in October. To help pass the time until then, I present to you guys my little list of competing songs that, in hindsight, really shouldn’t need a second chance in the first place. Basically, they should – or at least, could – have made it to Lisbon so they could end up losing to Netta.

Remember, this is a subjective subject. The likelihood of us agreeing on more than one or two songs is lower than Max Jason Mai’s pants by the end of his performance in Baku, but I’m happy to hear your opinions in the comments if you’re nice about mine!

 

 

Who We Are by Rebecca, Norway

Looking Rybak on Melodi Grand Prix 2018 (see what I did there?), it’s obvious that no one could have stopped Eurovision’s most spectacular point-scorer from making his comeback. Rebecca, with this magical power ballad penned by Mørland, came closest – and for all the guilty pleasure I get out of That’s How You Write A Song, I did have my fingers crossed for her at the time. I don’t want to say outright that Norway choosing Rybak over Rebecca was a mistake; after all, he did win his semi final and finish a respectable (for anyone other than a landslide former winner) 15th. But…I can’t help feeling like Who We Are (a song that shared only a title with San Marino’s entry, THANK THE LORDI) could have gone further, at least in the final. In a contest that wasn’t overrun with big belter female ballads, the song’s mix of mournful Scandipop and soaring anthem (with a hint of schlager, a whole bunch of magnetic moments and a kick-ass money note) would have had a parking spot on the scoreboard all of its own, one that meant it wasn’t competing directly with the likes of Fuego or Toy. What I’m saying is that I think Norway could have scored a similar result to 2017 with this one. As it stands, they have a decent shot of winning the OGAE SCC instead, so that’s something.

 

 

Royalty by Feli, Romania

This pick has more to do with Goodbye being the wrong choice than with Royalty being an absolutely amazing song that Romania let go – which is hard for me to say because I am a fan of Goodbye. The thing is, though, it takes an eternity to get going and when it does, it’s not exactly fun – which, in the wake of Yodel It, seemed kind of uncharacteristic for Romania. That ultra slow burn plus a creepy, nonsensical stage show (which I’ve discussed before here) led to Romania losing their 100% qualification record in Portugal. Feli’s Royalty, I’m pretty positive, would not have suffered the same fate. This track is tropical-tinged cocktail of fun from the second it starts, and it doesn’t waste time building up to anything because that’s not what it’s there for. It’s there to create a party atmosphere with a touch of empowerment for all my ladies out there (if we can’t strut out onto the dance floor to this song while kicking all thoughts of our ex-boyfriends to the kerb, then when can we?). Okay, so the staging and costuming would have needed an overhaul to make Feli’s package fit for the ESC, but that’s what the end of March and all of April is for. Vocally it was great, and the potential for greatness in everything else was there too. Missed opportunity alert!

 

 

Out of the Twilight by Sara de Blue, San Marino

Eurovision wouldn’t be the same without the plucky little microstate of San Marino making questionable musical choices every year – but even so, I think most of us wish they’d made the decent choice that was presented to them on a silver platter during 1in360. Dropping in via Austria, Sara de Blue was head and shoulders above all of her competition, even if it was mainly in terms of her FLAWLESS vocals that turned average ballad Out of the Twilight into an above average combo of all things hauntingly beautiful and powerful. It might have sounded a little passé on the Eurovision stage next to stuff like Lie To Me and Dance You Off – but presented in the right way, as an old-school lady ballad performed to perfection, there’s no way it wouldn’t have improved on the result achieved by the infinitely more dated (read: stale as a month-old loaf of sourdough) Who We Are. This is one of those NF winner VS runner-up situations that makes you wonder how on earth the final decision was made, and how sane the people were who made it. But don’t get me started on how the winner was decided at 1in360 (we’d be here all damn day). This isn’t the case with every song on this list, but for Sara’s sake I have to say that Out of the Twilight should have been sent to Lisbon, no question.

 

 

Lo Malo by Aitana & Ana Guerra, Spain

Speaking of countries that make dodgy decisions time and time again…I can think of at least three recent occasions when Spain has had us all shaking out heads in disbelief at what they opted to send to Eurovision – despite a pre-packaged success story being ready and waiting in their NF (which always ends up 2nd or 3rd). 2018 was no exception, with Spaniards so caught up in Amaia and Alfred’s amor that they overlooked an absolute banger Eurovision would have welcomed with open arms. Lo Malo could have been the latest Camila Cabello smash hit, but instead it was sitting pretty at the Operacion Triunfo gala and begging in Spanish to be crowned The One for Portugal. I guess it didn’t beg loud enough to drag attention away from the lovebirds making puppy dog eyes at each other. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-romance (in fact, I read it almost exclusively). But when an ESC NF presents you with a) a sappy ballad and b) a modern pop masterpiece, and asks you to choose one, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO GO FOR THE SECOND OPTION. Aitana and Ana were the duo we all deserved from Spain this year, and the pair who could have propelled the country out of the bottom five in the final. If there’s ever a time for the EBU to bend the September 1st rule, it’s when the upcoming ESC season arrives so we can have Lo Malo in Israel.

 

 

Compass by Alejandro Reyes, Switzerland

If you guys saw my list of NF favourites from the 2018 season, you’ll already know that I love this track, and in spite of being a Zibbz supporter I was hoping for the adorable Alejandro to represent Switzerland. In hindsight especially, this may not have been a bad idea. I’m still reeling from Stones’ failure to qualify, and when it comes to considering whether or not Compass could have done things differently…well, maybe, maybe not. In terms of the type of song I personally would kill to see Switzerland send to the ESC though (not literally, but give it a few years and I just might) this song is peak YASSS. Fresh, catchy, lyrically as unique as what JOWST comes out with and well performed, Compass might have lacked the attitude of the actual winner, but it made up for that with slick production – and a sense of being, to quote Mugatu from Zoolander (which I can’t say I’ve done on EBJ before) ‘so hot right now’. What I mean by that is, Shawn Mendes could have recorded it and teenage girls worldwide would have lapped that shiz up. Not everything at Eurovision needs to have Spotify streaming potential, but my ears prick up when something does…even if it doesn’t make it all the way to the big show.

 

 

Legends by Asanda, United Kingdom  

I know, I know…Asanda needed to up her cardio fitness like crazy before trying to sing and dance her way through Legends live (a problem not shared by SuRie). Had she gone to Eurovision, she also would have been in direct competition with Eleni Foureira and probably lost (another problem not shared by SuRie). Still, if we’re talking about a song that would have made more of a statement in Lisbon than Storm did – stage crasher aside – hers was the one to opt for out of the You Decide line-up. Sky-high on energy, dynamic and radio-friendly, it was pretty much in the middle of the Venn diagram between what the UK should send to Eurovision and what they actually do. I totally understand how SuRie (bless her and her awesome personality + social media game) won through instead, and I’m not saying she didn’t deserve to get the golden ticket. But in a parallel universe, Asanda nailed her vocals at the NF and headed off to join her fellow fierce, dancefloor-owning females in Portugal. Just think – if her stage show had been crashed, her version of ‘the show must go on’ might have involved punching the offending individual in the face, and that would have made great TV.

 

So, do we agree on anything? Which OGAE Second Chance songs for 2018 do YOU think should have made it to Eurovision back in May? Don’t leave me hanging!

 

 

 

 

RAWWWWRRRRR! An OGAE, JESC and ESC monster post!

The Eurovision world is a very busy one, and so whenever one is occupied with other things (things they would rather not be occupied by…unimportant things like university assignments) and is out of the loop for a few days, there is a LOT of developments to wade through. Luckily, I am more than willing to wade through them, if you are willing to excuse the miscellaneous massiveness of this post!

First on the agenda is the…

 

OGAE Second Chance Contest 2011

The results of this were announced last week. If you’re not familiar with the OGAESCC (as I affectionately call it) then get yourself over to Wikipedia pronto and bone up! It’s a fab-tastic annual event that gives the national final songs that missed out a chance to win something. Or just lose all over again. Either way, I’m always excited to see what went down.

This year’s winner – prepare to be surprised in no way – was the lovely Yohanna from Iceland with Nótt, a song that many thought was robbed of winning the Icelandic final this year. I wonder if this makes up at all for her narrow 169-point defeat in Moscow? It at least has to be a decent birthday present for her, as she turns 21 on Sunday. On behalf of everyone here at EBJ (i.e. me) I’d like to wish her a Happy Birthday. If you don’t come back to Eurovision soon, Yohanna, you’ll be dragging yourself onstage in a zimmer frame. I, of course, am allowed to say that, being a whole year younger than she is.

A-hem. ANYWAY, here is the Top 10 of the 2011 OGAESCC. Check out the full results at the official site, or my old favourite free encyclopaedia that rhymes with ‘Sikivedia’.

  1. ICELAND/ Yohanna/ Nótt
  2. SWEDEN/ Jenny Silver/ Something In Your Eyes
  3. ITALY/ Modà feat. Emma/ Arriverà
  4. DENMARK/ Le Freak/ 25 Hours A Day
  5. ISRAEL/ Chen Aharoni/ Or
  6. GREECE/ Nikki Ponte/ I Don’t Wanna Dance
  7. NORWAY/ Helene Bøksle/ Vardlokk
  8. SPAIN/ Lucia Pérez/ Abrázame
  9. GERMANY/ Lena/ Push Forward
  10. SLOVENIA/ April/ Ladadidej

Not bad, not bad…but if I were the judge, my Top 10 would have looked a little more like this:

  1. ISRAEL/ Chen Aharoni/ Or
  2. GREECE/ Nikki Ponte/ I Don’t Wanna Dance
  3. ICELAND/ Yohanna/ Nótt
  4. POLAND/ Anna Gogola/ Ktos Taki Jak Ty
  5. IRELAND/ Nikki Kavanagh/ Falling
  6. NORWAY/ Helene Bøksle/ Vardlokk
  7. FYR MACEDONIA/ Martin Srbinoski/ Ram Tam Tam
  8. AUSTRIA/ Trackshittaz/ Oida Taunz!
  9. SWEDEN/ Jenny Silver/ Something In Your Eyes
  10. SLOVENIA/ April/ Ladadidej

 

JESC 2011

This is where it’s all happening, with just over 7 weeks until the show in Armenia. So what’s ‘it all’?

– San Marino has withdrawn, taking the number of participants down to 13. Personally, I am crushed by this development. Let’s hope, as is rumoured, they’ll be sending a kid along to the 2012 JESC.

– The 2012 JESC which will be in the Netherlands? Yep, that’s the one! For the second time, the Dutch have won the right to host mini-Eurovision. Congratulations to them, but I was kind of hoping for somewhere new, like Malta (a bit out the question since Malta aren’t even participating at the moment).

– 2012 may be the second year in a row that the winning country has hosted the contest the following year, if my ‘THAT’S THE ONE’ radar is working properly. I reckon Rachel and Ik Ben Een Teenager can take it all the way! With all the songs selected and only 1 unheard, I think a lot of JESC fans will begin to make their predictions. Look out for my prediction special in November to see if I change my mind…

– Speaking of a full house of entries, Latvia, Moldova, and Sweden finalised the list earlier in the week, choosing Moondog by Amanda Bašmakova, No-No by Lerica, and Faller by Erik Rapp respectively. All I will say about those at this point (sans Latvia) is that the level is pretty darn high this year, a fact that both pleases me and irritates me (how many kids in Europe can sing and write songs anyway….pfft).

– Lastly, the draw for the running order has taken place, and Russia will open the show whilst Belgium will close it. In between them is Latvia, Moldova, Armenia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Ukraine, Macedonia, Netherlands, Belarus, Sweden, and Georgia.

 

ESC 2012

Believe it or not, some selections are already underway, and you can check out all the details at your portal of choice – ESC Daily, the official site…etc. I won’t rehash it all. However, I will take a look at the bigger picture, so far.

To everybody’s amusement, Slovakia have once again decided to not decide on their 2012 participation. I suspect they won’t be able to help themselves in the end – and by end, I mean the minute before the confirmation time. There are some countries that just thrive on torturing us fans who want to see enough for two semi finals so we don’t have to go back to one measly prelim.

I have the feeling Italy will be another torturer. They were welcomed back in Düsseldorf with open arms, so I think they will be in Baku, but they’re bound to keep us waiting. If you follow me on Twitter, you would already know this. Hint hint.

As of now, 31 countries have confirmed, including the Big Five minus France, as well as this year’s returning countries Austria and Hungary, who are obviously pepped up after both managing to qualify. Tentative selection dates are also coming through, and amazingly, February is not looking as manic as usual at the moment. Albania and Switzerland will pick in December, as normal – just why they feel the need to beat everyone else, I don’t know (I mean, Albania, Christmas Day? Really?) with the Bulgarian, Danish, Maltese and Slovenian finals set for January.

I want to draw special attention to the absence of Serbia from the list of confirmed participants. Having withdrawn from JESC, they better not be considering doing the same for big Eurovision, because if they did I would…I would…well, I would be very upset. Serbia’s one of my favourite ESC countries, always bringing something interesting to the table.

 

Well, I think that’s all there is to ramble on relentlessly about. Next week, there’ll be another Time-Warp Tuesday for you (who will I pick? Not even I know yet) as well as my first ever album review! Yay! It’s a pretty spectacular CD from someone who did pretty well in Eurovision a few years back….

 

See you then! 

Jaz x