Friday, April 05, 2013

Eurovision 2013: The 39 Steps...

Quite a mixed bag this year - more so than in previous years although thankfully there seem to be no deliberate joke acts this year. There may be one or two that look like joke acts - Greece springs to mind - but I don't think anyone meant to come across that way.

There are a lot of very intense, serious people this year but no-one as intense as Albania 2012 with its unfathomable video of the kid with the chalk going round the room.

I'm beginning to get some favourites but so far only one stands out for me - and it's currently a 360-1 shot so I must have missed something or have been incredibly prescient! Thereagain - I did get Finland several years back!

OK, here goes: I'll do this in alphabetical order for no reason in particular, although it does give me more time to think of something to say about the UK entry.

Albania
This is not particularly good rock. Terrible lead singer. Just awful. Going nowhere.

Armenia
Some fine ideas about the Lonely Planet but a lousy song and awful performance. No chance.

Austria
All I wrote was 'boring'. I guess that sums it up.

Belarus
This is loud and the big foot-tapping number for 2013. It's easy to sing along to and there's a fairly good looking girl too singing about sunshine. One for the 'play again' list.

Belgium
Something reasonably modern but not a memorable track at all - more like something you might find on an album or a B side. Ok but that's about it, really.

Bulgaria
Bagpipes and some modern but traditional stuff. There's not a lot of this type this year so it could do well. Lots of drums as the track builds and reminiscent of the Ukraine winner. Another one to play again.

Croatia
Blokes singing and looking smart but in pain. This could appeal and is one of the best ballads for people who like this sort of thing.

Cyprus
A slightly pointless ballad and nothing like as fun as last year's entry. Well sung but it lacks anything special or that we can grab and remember to make it hit the top 10.

Denmark
This is the favourite with the bookies. A catchy number. The girl is intriguing - wearing a strangely unattractive grey sheet and no shoes, with what look like very short and bent legs. Maybe it was my screen. Odd, though, and I'm not yet convinced this is the winner. Denmark deserve a decent result after losing out big time last year and before that having a really good track trumped. It's certainly one for the 'play again' pile and we'll see how it goes from there.

Estonia
This has possibilities. It does go on a bit but will appeal to the nice ballad brigade. And it has that special note in which always gets some votes.

Finland
The oh oh ding dong bit let this down a bit but otherwise this was a very commercial number and could do well. It may not be for Eurovision but it is fun and well-performed could get some youth votes. Worth a play again.

France
Really French. You could tell right from the start. This is an interesting track, sung well, but it has no chance.

Georgia
A very sincere duet - a couple of slightly older people doing the singing. There's a direct pinched bit of A Moment Like This from Denmark! It could go down well on the night but needs to move along a bit quicker. It has quite a few of the ingredients to win. It's also a bit boring so much depends on the presentation.

Germany
The recorded version sounds pretty good but the live video performance could have been a lot better. This woman is looking old and not moving well, sounding breathless. This is one of the few really commercial tracks in the whole competition this year and has to be in with a chance. I just wish it wasn't so obviously following in Loreen's footsteps, and a bit lamely so. If Cascada can somehow roll back the years and bring this song to life then it has a chance - but only a slim one.

Greece
Sometimes Greece come out with some really commercial stuff but this year I have no idea what they're doing. This is a weird folk thing about alcohol being free. Fast and probably fun but pretty damn pointless and I don't see it doing well at all. But it is Greece and they always do reasonably well.

Hungary
A strange but quite appealing number. Hungary are good at that sort of thing. Quietly sung - with a nice whistle here and there. It would have been nice to know what it was all about and I feel it is missing a hook to grab the voters on the night.

Iceland
Strong ballad, well sung. Just boring.

Ireland
Ryan Dolan looks like he's been lifted from a boy band. Decent singer. Quite a heavy disco number, pulling down the Loreen thing again but a bit late, I fear. Excellent track in places but so are most of the others doing this electro-beat big ballad numbers this year.

Israel
So heavy and traditional - complete with phlegm consonants in this big ballad. Quite tiresome to listen to unless you're Israeli.

Italy
The ESC site track is hugely over the allotted 3 minutes. It takes a long time to build and get under way. In fact, at one point I was wondering whether it ever would. Finally it does and is quite impressive. Much depends on what they leave out on the night. I do like the way Italy comes up with some interesting tracks each year.

Latvia
This country often try hard to be different and had a cool ballad last year that took several people by surprise. I don't know what to make of this one, though. It's one of those unknowns. Fun but is that enough? I doubt it.

Lithuania
The guy has amazing eyebrows! They have a life of their own. Nice soft rock number - Jesus and Mary Chain and quite commercial - even hypnotic. I like it. It ends well too. Unlikely to win but definitely on the play again list.

Macedonia
What's going on? Some bloke starts with a 90s style song and then his mum appears in totally different style. I give up. This is rubbish. Maybe that's why it's 770-1 at the bookmakers.

Malta
Great fun track about Jeremy. Cheerful group but I'm not sure how the track will transfer to stage. It kinda needs the video for the story.

Moldova
Not a good song. Fancy electronic dress but the girl seems fixed to the floor in the video. Too much going on but nothing really happening.

Montenegro
Terrible track. Loud. This is going nowhere.

Netherlands
This is a strange song. Well sung but I have no idea what anyone will make of it and I can't imagine many voting for it. It has a sort of gentle rhythm but much depends on how she presents on the night. This is an odd one, quite fancied but I don't yet know why. Play again, I guess.

Norway
Another big modern Eurobeat number. This will have to grow on me - a sort of compulsory play again as, clearly some observers think it has a good chance, currently placed a clear 2nd favourite. So far, I don't get it.

Romania
Very serious stuff. Opera in jeans. One guy singing both the low and very high notes. It might have been better had they split that between him and a woman. Talented but bizarre. It'll get some votes but not mine.

Russia
So what's Big Red offering us this year? No grannies, thank Heaven. This is a long way from Ta'tu as well. It's almost something quite normal - lots of 'all together' and peace-loving stuff with big chord changes thrown in for good measure. Not the sort of thing you can imagine Putin approving at all. The video is well overdone but that doesn't matter. I can see Big Red being in the Top Few again this year.

San Marino
Serious stuff. One of few so it could collect much-needed votes for this little country to participate in the main competition at last. It has a key change too. I wouldn't get too excited, though.

Serbia
Three girls make a group. One I would not wish to meet on a dark night. This is an aggressive number as Euro women used to be. It could do well - if they can get their act together on the night. A play again.

Spain
Good pipes to start and an almost Irish-sounding intro - always a good move. Nice girl singing rather than shouting. This is a good song and if she performs as cheerfully on the night she'll win over a lot of hearts and votes too. Great. One of the few I actually do want to play again. My tip for the top.

Sweden
Nice young guy with a well-written, commercial track. This could get a lot of youthful support but his vocal is a bit strained in places and I'm not sure where it's going mid-way. It ends oddly, too. I don't see Sweden getting the double. But play again.

Switzerland
I don't understand this country's attitude to music these days. Another failed effort at a track anyone would want to play.

Ukraine
This is a country seldom far from the top in this competition. This year the beautiful Zlata brings us Gravity which is an odd mix of timing and difficult to sing along to. I'm not sure how this will do but I wouldn't be surprised to see it on the left hand side of the board at least.

United Kingdom
We have some extraordinary talent and lead music development and sales all over the world but what do we do for Eurovision? Last year we dug up Engelbert Humperdinck on some foolish belief that Europe liked a ballad and he had a strong following over there. He had one here too. In 1966. Now we move forward a few years and they've tightened the skin on Bonnie Tyler's face and squeezed her back into black leather. The video is fairly kind to her, mostly in profile, and the song is well-written and suits her. But it is so frustrating when we have so many current and good people! I didn't think Engelbert would have come last - although his performance was poor - so I don't know what to predict for Bonnie Tyler this year. I think she should be capable of a decent performance and that should lift her out of the bottom zone. There is no clear outstanding track this year so votes ought to be better spread and that will help UK's chances. It won't get them a top spot, though. But at least not bottom either.




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