Saturday, December 12, 2015

Deep Purple - A Child In Time (Live)

While we're waiting for the X Factor UK results and to see whether we'll get to see American Idol's last series here in Britain, and wondering just who will be given the task of representing us in Eurovision 2016 (I recommend the Stereophonics), here is a really good live version of this track. Deep Purple In Rock was one of the very first albums I bought.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Eurovision 2015: The bookies' view

This chart will be updated through the evening and should provide an indication of whose chances are improving and who might as well give up!

Eurovision 2015: It could be all over for Sweden when the fat lady sings

With just a few hours to go, here's my best shot at some sort of prediction as to what we've got in store in Vienna.

Unlike previous years, there really isn't one stand-out song for 2015. Quite a few have their merits and, as rehearsals have come and gone, several have gone down well with the audience there but not always the same ones each time! There are good songs and good performances but not necessarily do the two come together, or, at least, few have so far and none have combined the best of both.

There is a clear Top 3 from which the winner is likely to emerge: Sweden, the almost permanent bookies' favourite to date, Russia and Italy. Now, on a normal Eurovision night, Italy would walk this with Il Volo having experience, lots of fans as they've been doing this for ages and it's a superb moody, operatic type of song that even people who don't go to operas quite admire and can be inclined to vote for. The trouble is that, so far, the three guys have not exactly stunned observers with their performance and it is all about the vocals; there are no marks for the nice suits.

Russia would love to win and give two fingers to Europe as it celebrates a year since annexation of Crimea and they have the absolute classic Euro ballad and a lovely lady to sing it. She sings it extremely well and has hardly put a foot wrong throughout the build up but somehow I feel she'll be pipped at the post by someone.

Sweden have a good late 80s number and some fabulous graphics on our screens and it may well be their night but I just don't see it. They'll get loads of huit points but I just feel the douze points will be dished out very broadly and they'll be close but not kissing the beard at the end. Actually, that's probably a good reason  why Russia might prefer to come 2nd after all. Not the sort of thing they'd want to show on the old Soviet Station Entertainment Channel.

After those three there are a couple who have been battling away all week: Belgium and Australia. Belgium have a weird song but an inspired young lad singing it and he has been one of those few that have really got high approval ratings from the people listening and watching. Belgium came from being completely ignored and maybe not even getting through the Semis to a definite contender for at least 4th place at one point. Australia also have a cool chap singing and it's a pretty current sort of track but I think it's a bit bland. He can sing and perform well but however hard he tries, and he will try, there's something missing in the whole thing. So, all those waking up early in Oz to watch the show will be disappointed, I reckon. And anyway, surely you can't invite some country on the other side of the planet to join in your 60th Anniversary celebrations and then let them win the prize for the night, do you? No. They wouldn't even get to host the damn thing next year so it would all be cocked up and some runner-up or, probably United Kingdom, will have to stump up the cost of it next time. I suppose we could give it to the Scots to host. They'd like that.

So it could be Belgium but that would require voting groups to be pretty young and spaced out. If they're old or don't like chocolate then they'll choose Italy or someone else.

That someone else might be from the third group: Estonia, Serbia and Norway. No, let's rule out Estonia and Norway straightaway. They have excellent songs and very good singers but Norway's is quite worryingly dark and we never do get to find out what he did as a child. No way can that be allowed to win and we're not going to humming that in the car on the way to work on Tuesday. Estonia's is nice an catchy but it's also pretty gloomy and it would take voting groups comprising near suicidal thirty somethings to give this douze points. It will do well, for sure but not well enough. That leaves Serbia. Now, the jolly fat lady that sings this has a sort of vive la difference approach and this is all jolly politically correct. Now we haven't got to sit through 2 minutes of Finland's special needs chaps croaking at us out of time and out of tune, Serbia is the natural choice for the do-gooders out there in voting land. Terrible song but when the fat lady sings it might be all over as she really can belt it out and many supporters of all sizes will like that. I don't but I have to accept it is a contender.

We're now down to the lower regions of the left hand side of the board and there are several scrabbling to make the Top Ten and in amongst these are a couple of possible winners. First, there's a 16 year old who looks about thirty eight singing about Mama for Israel. It may not be Mama at all but it sounds like that at the start. he also has the most annoying lyrics of the whole competition and we all know how well songs with crap lyrics do. Listen out for the Leave -Tel Aviv rhyme! He, like Belgium's lad, had lots and lots of audience approval and rehearsals have been great for him. Such a bad song, though. But still, he has a chance. I'll hate it happening after several years of reasonably good results but maybe it's time for crap again. If it weren't Israel then it would be rather more possible but as Israel seldom gets great support across the forty voting nations I think they'll finish up Top Ten and that's not bad.

The other contender in this batch is Spain. Now I love this one. It has a really powerful structure and all the key changes and expression that a big ballad type of number needs to satisfy lots of nation's older voters. It's my personal choice to win but I remember having similar enthusiasm for a similar Spanish entry a few years ago which got about eight votes in total and that was probably from Portugal. So I am wise enough to accept that Spain simply doesn't cut it with the rest of what comprises Eurovision for some reason my knowledge of history is too poor to fathom. If, however, the voters are also similarly lacking concern for whatever may or may not have gone before then this would be a strong contender. there are signs that the young lady performing has done a good job so far and is up there with Russia on the looks and voice front, possibly also the front front now I think of it too. So if Italy's boys disappoint and voters still disapprove of Big Red's antics over the year then Spain will be the nation that gets the ballad lovers votes and may be in with a chance after all.

Sharing the scrabble for the left side of the board are the old USSR states Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. They may dislike each other quite a lot but they dislike most of Western Europe as much so will be guaranteed not only to stifle the points tally for contenders like Italy, Sweden, Spain and the boy Belgium but also to award each other and Russia douze points as well as doling out the twelves to the likes of Slovenia and Latvia and maybe even Lithuania. It is for that reason that Azerbaijan always comes in the top five and even won once. They have lots of money and neighbouring states don't particularly want to argue. Even Russia feels it needs to keep in with Azerbaijan. So they'll do well. they won't win as it is not a good number at all but they'll get plenty of points.

Georgia has one of the sexiest girls on the stage and she'll be doing things with feathers and wings that may frighten us but it's all good traditional Eurovision stuff. And there isn't that much around this year so Georgia will be up there doing fine, maybe even beating Azerbaijan. Both will knock Armenia into a cocked hat unless some deals have been done behind the scenes. Armenia hold quite some sway from the southern parts of the old Soviet Union and, again, may do well with a terrible number.

So, who's left? Slovenia and Lithuania have lovely catchy Europoppy numbers. If they happen to perform exceptionally well then their sort of half-way-house status between East and West may just get them enough sixes and sevens to complicate the top part of the board. I feel it's unlikely. Slovenia were once very much fancied but their performances have been lacklustre when they needed to be really sparkly to work. All is not yet lost but I don't see them making the top spot now.

Oh, yes, then there's United Kingdom. I honestly have no idea how they'll do this year. we have had a disastrous run so far. Last year we tried the cliches but it was flawed lyrically and uninspired performance-wise. This year I think the couple will put on a good show and sing well but a 1920s style mixed up with slightly sad electro-pop may only appeal to half a dozen people in Latvia or Lithuania. I don't see any douze points coming our way at all but we won't be bottom.

Bottom has plenty of contenders already. This is the 'other' group. they're hardly worth mentioning as they're all pretty bad. Well, Montenegro isn't bad at all but it is extremely old-fashioned and with so few Baltic states in this year they simply won't get enough friendly support to win. Germany has a dreadful 1940s look and feel about it. Not a good look or sound. Apparently the girl singing is actually not the act that won the competition for the Germany entry this year. Austria have an appallingly boring band of blokes with 1970s hair. Clearly Vienna doesn't want the cost and inconvenience of this charade again in a hurry! Latvia, Poland and Portugal will both shout at you a lot. Good times to make some tea or heat up the pizza.

Romania, Albania, Greece and Cyprus are the others you'll hear but probably not notice. The Cyprus bloke is a pleasant chap and the song trundles along but unless he does something exceptional he will stay with the others in this bottom section where nothing is likely to happen, France have a nice song but you'll not recall anything about it afterwards.

Last in my commentary come Hungary. Hungary could have taken the whole show but keep messing up their rehearsals and voters appear to have given up now. At one point I might have had them as a potential winner but now I fear they might come last. Quite an extreme situation and they are worth watching as they might just upset everything on what could be a close night.

So a class performance from Italy, Belgium or Spain could make any of them top five. It'll be Russia in second place and hopes for a #1 slot could be all over for Sweden after the fat lady has sung. Serbia might just win.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Eurovision: last bets please

If you're looking for the best odds on Eurovision then the next few days are likely to represent the best opportunities. So far, all anyone has really heard or seen have been the tracks released on the promotional videos. These will usually be well engineered and, other than the live show performances, artists had the chance to fix things that didn't quite go right or notes that didn't get reached. The audition performances where they are playing or singing in front of a large audience can be more reliable but even then there could be a backing track that they may not be able to use in Vienna.

So, so far, we don't really know how well they'll sound on the Vienna stage, live, with just the permitted backing and band. The rehearsals will start early next week and that's when there will be some changes. Those who don't do terribly well will see their odds grow and there will also be those who are increasingly fancied after they do a good job. Good songs can turn to rubbish overnight and previously dull or uninspiring numbers can acquire a new lease of life or personality.

How the acts interact with the many journalists writing about the competition, and how local fans react will also either increase or decrease expectations and, in inverse proportion, their odds.

There are three clear favourites at the moment: Sweden, Australia and Italy. I am still not convinced about Sweden's entry winning but, yes, it is the sort of song that is highly likely to be up there in the Top Few. Australia I feel similarly about. I can see them getting plenty of votes just because absolutely no-one should worry about giving them a few points long the way but I don't see that many 12s. Rumour has it that the guy can and will perform well and the novelty value will almost certainly bring them some consolation of a Top Few place. Of the three I fancy Italy and believe that the three singers are experienced enough to create a good atmosphere and strong song on the night. Their video is pretty poor so, in a sense, they should only get better! It has been a while since an operatic number has won and this could be the year and Vienna would be a suitable venue for that.

The next three I believe would be Iceland, Estonia and Denmark. Iceland's entry is very catchy but well constructed too. It also has girls in off-white dresses and no shoes who seem to do pretty well. It is a bit of a copy of Emmilie De Forest's winning entry from a couple of years ago, though but it looks a very good bet for the Top 10 if not the Top 5 and odds are looking generous

Estonia are already well discounted and currently predicted to come 4th. Theirs is a powerful girl and boy song and I am pretty sure that will be well liked and hit the Top 10 although I would expect Iceland to beat them still.

Denmark seem ridiculously unfancied at the moment and I don't see why. They have a great, catchy and appealing number that could have been performed by One Direction and no-one would notice much difference. They have a fan base too. The guys look a bit clean and anaemic in the video and the two girls.could have been copied from the 1970s but if they all perform well and look a bit less chocolate boxy on the night this is a potential winner in my opinion. At odds of several hundred to one and around 8-1 just to make the Top ten this is well worth thinking about. If their rehearsals go well expect those odds to shorten massively. This reminds me, odds-wise, of The Netherland's Common Linnets last year. They were way out at 600-1 and came second.

The other Top 10 contenders are Lithuania, Spain, Slovenia and one of Russia, UK and Azerbaijan.

Spain's entry is classic Euro-ballad. Very strong song and if the girl who sings it looks more human and less photoshopped but still produces such a powerful and accurate performance then she ought to follow the excellent example set by Ruth lorenzo last year and get Spain back in the top flight. However, I also recall a gorgeous track either one or two years previously that only just scraped off the bottom of the whole thing. So Spain cannot be relied on for the popular vote for some reason.

Lithuania have a cheery number which includes kissing and that's always going to get some votes. It should do well across borders too, the country having quite a few friends in the Baltic as well as East European voters.

Slovenia's girl is quite sexy, an unusually scarce quality this year, sounds a bit like Lulu and several other more recent chart successes here and she is definitely one who will either do much better or much worse depending upon how she manages the stage on her own. Her cracked voice and slightly down lyrics may not please everyone but enough, possibly, for the Top 10.

Russia have what seems to be an almost manufactured song with all the right words in all the right places and most of the notes in the right register too. The singer is almost too perfect looking in another heavily air-brushed video and you just feel that old Big Red is trying too hard again. they'd so much like to win but I don't see this doing it. They always get far more votes than I predict so I guess they will be the one act that makes the Top 10 out of these last three but there were one or two notes that weren't quite right and something was missing in the one performance I've heard so far and that says that it isn't at all certain.

That means United Kingdom have a chance. I always think we ought to have a chance but recent years have not been good. Blue almost made the Top Ten a few years ago but since then we have done really quite badly. This year we're taking another big chance with a 30s style song that is quite unlike anything else that is in the mix this year. That's quite a good thing and, if the voters across the nations get it, UK could do very well indeed as I feel we would get a good flow of reasonable numbers from everywhere. However, a; less than inspiring performance, bum notes or just a mood that's not consonant with the rhythm of Electric Whoever will see them way over on the right side of the board once more.

If Russia bores us and United Kingdom annoys us then there's always Azerbaijan. No commentators particularly want to go back to Baku, though, and they do have some influence locally. The Azerbaijan entry is a bloke who sings remarkably well but he does have an odd shaped face. Great notes and all good traditional Euroballad that is bound to get marks from almost everyone. That's not just because they're a bit frightened of Azerbaijan but it is a good average number and will get good average votes. That might be enough, with Russia's twelve points to push them into the Top 10.

So now's the time to get some good odds on winning or things like Top 10 positions. Once you see odds falling next week for some acts then that may well be an indication that they've done well at rehearsal and, whilst they may still have Semi Finals to get through, if it's an act I've mentioned or you fancy then catch it before it drops further. After that, you have the Semi Finals when we'll get a very good indication of not just how people will perform live but also how they look like attracting votes generally. That's the second time odds will tumble and when you'll need to jump quickly. The third time, of course, will be on the night as they perform and the fourth and final time to get anything like decent odds will be when the first few actual votes are cast and we get a glimpse of real potential results.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

So who is going to win Eurovision 2015?

It is, of course, very early days yet and Sweden remain at the top of the favourites with the bookies, Italy's entry, which I would say is more likely to win, coming next.

Serbia, Cyprus and Georgia have seen pretty dramatic drops in their odds but they do still remain way out in the 200s or more!

Much depends who gets through the Semis. then the fun really starts as the acts will not only have been seen rehearsing live but also will have had to get some votes and we'll have a much better idea of how they'll do, with the notable exception of those through automatically. Those automatic finalists could well include the winner this year.

If the chart doesn't display as it should use this link instead.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Eurovision 2015: The Big Five + host + Australia

Australia?? Yes, for some reason best known to the organisers, Australia gets to have an entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. No, I don't understand it either but then we've had Israel, Turkey and Russia, as well as lots of USSR states of old too. I've always thought Russia's inclusion was stretching 'Europe' a bit but when they were being friendly and co-operative and all was sweetness and light it seemed OK. Israel has always been a curious entry too but you don't like to argue with either Israel or Russia do you?

Anyway, here are the last six entries. These all get automatic passes to the Final and so can chuck whatever rubbish they please at us and many time in previous years some have done just that. Not having to get votes to participate in the Final took away some of the care in choice of song sometimes. Again, I feel a couple of nations didn't try that hard. Make your own mind up.


There's a vaguely Bruno Mars sound and beat to this. It's an OK pop song and pretty modern but not very memorable or interesting. All at the same tinny volume. No shade. I guess it's all sunshine in Australia. The singer looks as though he might be part aboriginal which is neither one thing nor the other but it did make me realise that I hadn't seen a single non-white face throughout all the performances I've seen so far.

I don't think Australia will do terribly well. They may squeeze into the Top Ten on votes from people intrigued as to why they're in the competition - a sort of welcome or thank you gesture like you give the host nation.


They've got another performer with long hair and a beard but this one is a bloke. A pretty solid, passionate performance although the falsetto bit didn't do much for me. All competent enough but unlikely to fare well and it'll just be the nods of votes for the host nation that'll keep them off the lower tranches of the listing.


A strong and well-sung ballad in traditional French style. I think it is about the war and destruction of a village on the coast somewhere. I like French female singers and this is a pretty classic example although she is a bit older than the 60s ones I admire most. A few years ago France had a tremendously good song that the singer messed up on the night and it fell from being favourite that evening to bottom later that night. If this lady does well and she can somehow connect a bit better with the voters than she does in the video then France could do well this year.


German girls singing in English have a strange accent but that didn't harm Nicole a few years ago. This is a tedious track. Doesn't stand a chance, I'm afraid, despite the girl's intense efforts. There's just nothing there. Compare this to the preceding and following tracks.


I am sure I have heard of Il Volo before. That's more than I can say of any of the other acts this year. This group sing superbly and it is a good song too, in good, classic Italian style. The video is annoyingly totally irrelevant and puts one off the track rather than drawing us into it so that may mean it comes across better as the guys do it live on stage. If the voters are in a slightly more classic mood then Italy will easily take the prize this year. They are a definite contender. One of very few.


I have loved Spain's entries recently, especially last year's by Ruth Lorenzo and an earlier year which had a video with a horse and a pretty girl that I thought was amazing but not many others did. Here we have a very attractive blonde and a strong song too. It's good Euro stuff this and ought to make the Top 10 but votes for Spain have been few and far between for reasons I don't understand in the past.

United Kingdom^***

Well, when I first heard this I thought it was fun and UK doing something a bit brave and definitely an improvement on the annoyingly formulaic 'message' song of last year. We used to do so well in this competition but after several very dull years of ancient pop stars, dull performers and average groups we have become too accustomed to finishing up well on the right side of the board. This, I believe, will bring us back where we belong and should be a certain Top 10 and, for the first time in ages, I believe we have a serious chance of winning. It's a 20s or 30s tune, and if the two main singers do it well and have some nice backing there so that some effort to reproduce the video is feasible then they will get support from the voters.
Unless we have offended anyone we ought to do well. Oh, Russia. And that means null points from quite a few other nations too.

So, that's it. There go all this year's entries. 10 will be selected from each of the Semi Finals and then those 20 with these 7 will perform in the Final. Looking at the betting odds, there are predictions that some good entries might fall in the Semis which could have a serious impact on the overall results. I have y ideas as to the few potential winners now but the Top 10 eludes me at the moment. It's going to be a tough year and I may have to make several changes if the Semi Finals mess up my plans!

More about that later.

Eurovision 2015: Semi Final 2 track reviews

You can see all the second group of entries here. The remaining automatic qualifiers will be in my next post. You do have to remember that in videos the performers get several opportunities to get things right, they have backing tracks and all sorts of extra things available that simply won't be there on the stage for their live show. Some will manage fine and seem to be straight recordings of performances but others are heavily edited and show story lines that will be lost on the night.


A classic boy + girl entry that could have been from the 90s. It's a jolly affair and you'll remember two things: Round and round and round we go  and a kiss in the middle. Maybe a charming embrace at the end too which will gain them a few votes as you can't help but feel good with this one. Lithuania have had a pretty miserable showing so far but this ought to get them a place and maybe even in the Top 10 if the voters are in the mood.


Always (if you exclude the chicken) good songs and always (if you exclude JEdward) well performed from Ireland who used regularly to be up there on the left side of the board every year but who seem to have suffered recently for no reason I can explain. They have some wonderful singers and song writers. This is a very good album track but not something that will win Eurovision. It's quite mournful and I wonder whether she'll even get through the Semi Final.

San Marino***

This nation struggles to get into the Final most years. They have made some excellent efforts but perhaps they haven't many friends. I like the way this song builds. It's quite clever and has a message. It ends a bit too quickly but could be popular.


Girl with violin. Another girl with a balalaika or something like that. This is good and traditional Yugoslav stuff. the bloke in earrings and a jumper and jeans sings in Slav too. The four girls are very attractive. So far this stands out as the only 'national' entry of the old style that ever Balkan country used to enter. For that reason, if it stays unique, it'll be there and should do well.


I think I have been a fan of almost every Malta entry over the years. I don't dislike this one but it doesn't seem to have any hook or rhythm that we can hang on to. It's sort of hard work and they may struggle to make the Final. She tries to get us on board at the end but may have left it too late.


This is serious stuff. Excellent singers but they don't have the most watchable faces. It is a fascinating song and a very strong entry. It is the first track I've heard that is a potential winner. The video, whilst completely irrelevant to the competition, is disturbing.


Engaging rebel girl singer. Great track and performance but I am not sure how popular she will be across Europe. A few missed notes on her video don't augur well but I like it for all that. I doubt if it'll get anywahere.

Czech Republic

A serious number from two good singers. Both have large chests. It's a boring song and the bloke is a bit too gravelly. All the chord changes are there and it almost ticks all the boxes but i don't see it going far. Th local nations will like it but that's about it.


Something modern after a lot of heavy stuff from this batch of entries. Israel can do catchy. Too much of an 80s feel though in the lyrics. I'm A Golden Boy | Come Her To Enjoy | Before I leave | Let Me Show You Tel Aviv. Oh dear.


This gets an award for the most unusual start. A curious track. It needs to be performed as well live if it's to work, though. Latvia is one cool nation for music but the girl's voice is just a little tinny and this is maybe too avant garde for Eurovision. I wish her well but doubt it'll get far.


One of the most consistent in Top 10 appearances in recent years and also often chasing the leader for a while on the voting board, Azerbaijan have a knack of picking good tracks for Eurovision and a lot of money to give to juries if necessary. Once more they've done well but once more it will not be quite good enough for #1. This gets a bit messy as it progresses so may not make the Top 10 this year, despite its chord change and choir joining in towards the end.


One Step At A Time. Repeat. Not the Michael Ball track thank Heavens, though. This has more of an Emilie DeForest feel and look about it with the bare feet and off-white dresses. I suppose in Iceland there's too much white around already. It's a good pop song, if a bit repetitive. Many will like it and it is another that I think has an outside chance for the #1 spot.


The current favourite. Fantastic video but try to imagine the guy singing with no special effects. On of just a few modern tracks this year. It's OK but a winner? I don't think so. Top 10 yes. That We Are The Heroes Of Our Time is pretty catchy. The guy is a strong performer and good-looking. So maybe.


Quite a good song. It races along and has a modern feel with nice guitar backing. the singer is good and if she performs that well on stage this ought to bring Switzerland back into the competition. My Time To Shine.


A gentle ballad of a style that is easy listening and pretty pleasant without being boring. It is a real song with real lyrics. It may seem a little bland when compared to many of the other entries but, funnily enough, that could be its strength. Nice track. I'm predicting a bit of a surprise from Cyprus with this one. As long as the voters stay awake, that is.


Europop but none the worse for that. Effective Lulu sound-alike singer gets it across well and will presumably have more clothes on in the her live performance. Slovenia normally hardly get off the bottom of the betting lists but this deserves a few votes. Their best entry for a while.


A gentle runalong song by a nice singer. It's all just a bit 'nice' and that's all. It is quite predicatble and boring. Rather over-produced too. The video is good with an unexpected twist at the end. I won't give that away but if it turns out actually to be the case with this singer then that could well bring a few extra votes. Not enough to do that well though.

OK, that's all the nations that have to compete to get in the final. There are no obvious stand-out winners yet. So that means UK may have a chance after all! I often have trouble whittling down entries to reach a predicted Top 10 but this year I am having trouble actually finding 10. There are still the Big 5 + Australia, however.

Eurovision 2015: Semi Final 1 track reviews

Yes, it's that time again. All the entries can be seen and listened to and we can start to try and figure out whether there might be any surprises, just how good is that favourite and I can do some very complicated sums to ensure that I don't lose any money.

The video link above plays all the 16 entries in the first semi final. I may select a few later and promote them as my own tips for the Top 10 but for the time being I shall just add a few comments on each below.

This may be all you ever hear from me about many of them!


They've made a reasonable effort with this average 80s style song. It's not Wendy James, though, and just doesn't stand out, probably not making the final.


An interesting song that tells a story with a Celine Dion sound-alike, a younger girl and some serious bloke. A well-written track with a fine strong ending but I am not sure it'll grab the attention and votes it will need.


Why yiy yiy yiy. There, you'll remember that bit. Not quite the class act of last year's marvellous Common Linnets' runner-up but the low lands are trying again. With a decent female singer, neither young nor blonde, it has a catchy phrase or two but it doesn't win any awards for its lyrics. I sort of like it and do wish them well, although I am not totally sure why yiy yiy.


I remember Lordi winning and this sounds just like them, several years older. A bunch of strange old folk. They are all said to have learning disabilities, whatever that means. Brave effort and I don't think we have ever had this sort of entry before although some may have been verging on the insane. It's a punk band of sorts but not a memorable track other than visually being so weird. They ahve got a lot of early attention, though, and I suspect they my pick up quite a few votes just for the effort made. Remember last year's winner probably gained a significant proportion of votes for the statement being made rather than the song or singing. I dislike it but can't discount it.


Breathless Maria-Elena seems to be trying too hard. Greece always do seem to be in or near the Top 10 and ought to repeat that again with this solid song. It's not spectacular and gets quite confusing towards the end as you're not sure quite where the song is going. She certainly makes the most of the title. It's not a winner, though. If you want a pretty blonde in a nice dress, choose Russia.


The first three star track I've heard. A good song, with two excellent contestants who seem to know what they're doing. Why didn't you wake me up? should have been the title but it isn't. And the bloke's called Stig so he has to do well! I'm not sure it is a winner but I'll do my bit to promote it and see what happens.


They've struggled in this competition so far. This is much better, nice although not very memorable. It could be one of those that surprises us all later.


One of those songs with a message that people tend to like in Eurovision. It is quite strong. I can see this getting a good bit of support although I am not sure how popular Serbia is these days. I don't like it much at all but it has a similar quality to last year's winner from Austria that may suit the current Eurovision mood. First pretty definite Top 10 contender.


The first Top 10 likely entry that I enjoyed. A clever song, also with a message. I like the way it builds and if the individuals can repeat that excellent performance effectively on stage live then they'll get support. It all works well with 4 minutes on a video but with a silent background and just 2 minutes it may just fail. A possible surprise for everyone as it sits at over 900-1 at the time of writing!


No. From the start. Good violin, though. Then it starts to get catchy so perhaps it may have a chance after all.


Nice blonde girl with strange focus effects in the video that emphasis her blue eyes but also slightly disorts her mouth in a disturbing way. This is, though, a very strong song and she will, hopefully, be back in proper focus on the stage. You get the feeling Russia really do want to win this and, with more control over the venue for 2016, they can put a stop to all this beard rot. There is just something missing in this song to make it really special so I see it easily making Top 10 (subject to my not finding another 10 in the ones I've yet to hear) but not the top spot. Politics always seem to help Russia although this year hasn't seen them quite as warmly appreciated across Europe and could affect votes. Ukraine are nowhere to be seen this year. The song ends a bit strangely too.


A relaxed pop song with a likeable lead singer. This is the first that I would expect to appeal to younger viewers who have largely been overlooked so far. In the absence of any competition for their votes it could do well but I wonder if it is interesting enough to win. Much depends on how well the group can perform this live. Denmark have really been finding good tracks recently. Likely Top 10.


A good entry, well sung and written, but lacking something we can hang on to and remember. It's a pity as she tries hard to convince us to vote.


I just don't know what to say about this one. They start by going for the gentle, scenic ballad that often does well here and it then turns into quite a reasonable pop song. In many ways it's quite appealing. But will it even make the final? I just don't know.


A hard-looking woman, the sort that used to be all over Eurovision entries a few years ago. They were either gorgeous, soft and blonde or super-fit raven-haired, black-eyed tough women that were sexy but in a frightening way. This is top volume, top speed stuff from start to finish but it still just passes me by. They need Katie Melua back.

So that's the first Semi Final. I will look again at some of these. I haven't spotted an obvious winner amongst these. The bookies have Estonia, Finland and Russia making the Top 10 at present. In that order but none are favourites.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Ellie Goulding: Love Me Like You Do.

I have a feeling this track will prove to be better than the other 116 minutes of the film. Watch this climb the charts and stay there for some time.
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