Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Final: Automatic Qualifiers

Engelbert Humperdinck "Love Will Set You Free"
Will the voice stand up to the arena? Englebert will make it do well. Top ten. Best result since Andrew Lloyd Webber. England will send nothing but octogenarians from now on.

Anggun "Echo (You and I)"
Certainly the worst French entry in recent memory. WTF is with the change of pace at the start. An instant turnoff. And with Indonesia ineligible to vote, this could be a Nul point!

Nina Zilli "L'amore è femmina (Out of Love)"
Who died and made you Amy Winehouse… oh, never mind. Smart bet for the winner. Lousy track from Italy last year scored well, so this is certain for Top Five. Great retro vibe (Lena, anyone) and Italian pop sound there. Genuine and very entertaining.

Sabina Babayeva "When the Music Dies"
Not bad at all. They can afford to host it two years in a row, but will they bribe everyone two years in a row?

Pastora Soler "Quédate conmigo"
You always feel like you’ve heard the Spanish songs before. Whispering is the new screaming.

Roman Lob "Standing Still"
They do try. This time it is The Fray-inspired ‘Standing Still’. Nothing wrong with it – I like it. But people will be saying ‘When’s Sweden on?’

Semi Final 1: Part One

Rambo Amadeus "Euro Neuro"
Crazy and destined to go down like a Trackshittaz sandwich. Rap, political commentary, T-Rex shout-outs and Zorba keyboards. A slim chance it may connect with people. But really will only get the Hipster Ironic votes. (Will not Qualify)

Gréta Salóme & Jónsi "Never Forget"
The return of Jonsi. The first of many ballads for the year. It has a very familiar sounding chorus; mostly meh (Qualifies)

Eleftheria Eleftheriou "Aphrodisiac"
Very Greek. Very Sakis. Not very creative. No one ever goes broke underestimating the public. Will qualify (Qualifies)

Anmary "Beautiful Song"
Meta-references in Eurovision songs can only be for sh*ts n giggles. It is forbidden to get self-referential when serious. (Will not Qualify)

Rona Nishliu "Suus"
Really dull, least engaging Albanian entry I can recall. A three minute warble. (Will not Qualify)

Mandinga "Zaleilah"
Continuing the tradition of female singers from Romania who don’t mind wearing not much on stage. Aiming for the Flor-de-Lis’ demographic from a few years back. Portugal not voting in Semi 1 but Spain is. Great sound. Trivia – the former lead singer of this band sang Balkan Girls in 2009. (Qualifies)

Sinplus "Unbreakable"
Another Swizz band – can they play live will be the big question. And do bands even work at ESC? It is not Unbearable, just Unremarkable (Qualifies)

Iris "Would You?"
This is [my version of] my time. Very Dianne Warren sounding. A committee-written soft-pop ballad. Banal and instantly forgotten. (Will not Qualify)

Pernilla Karlsson "När jag blundar"
Shades of Missy Higgins’ ‘The Special Two’ here. A very sweet ballad, will it stand out in the strong semi? (Qualifies)

Semi Final 1: Part Two

Izabo "Time"
If the verses of Bobby Darren’s ‘Dream Lover’ and the chorus of ABBA’s ‘Nina, Pretty Ballerina’ had a baby it would be this song. A bit of fun, sure – but minus almost your points for lack of creativity. (Will not Qualify)

San Marino
Valentina Monetta "The Social Network Song"
Ralph, give it up man! Can’t wait for 2016 entry about Twitter. So bad, it has to be a Eurovision song. Nothing else in the world invites these songs. (Will not Qualify)

Ivi Adamou "La La Love"
Entire chorus is the word “La” – if you’re going to do 90s euro-dance go the whole-hog. Very fond of this one. (Qualifies)

Soluna Samay "Should've Known Better"
Hooray, Johanna’s back! Hang on… A clear knock-off, but even diminishing returns on Johanna will get this to the Final and probably in the Top Ten. (Qualifies)

Buranovskiye Babushki "Party for Everybody"
Really infectious. Lot of fun. Big novelty factor. Little bit of mysterious voices of Bulgaria happening. Very Verka (that’s a compliment) (Qualifies)

Compact Disco "Sound of Our Hearts"
Perfectly good song but dull as dishwater. Like the forgettable track in the middle of an album, between the singles. The closest thing to a hook is the bridge which sounds very much like Feminnem’s ‘Lako je sve’ (Will not Qualify)

Trackshittaz "Woki mit deim Popo" Shake your bottom
Shake my arse off by laughing?! Will enough kids watch, not care that this is a LMFAO rip-off - and vote? (Will not Qualify)

Pasha Parfeny "Lăutar"
Carnival mood, swing style. Very catchy. (Qualifies)

Jedward "Waterline"
The first Semi finishes with a bang! The boys are back. Far more pop than last year. Their youthful exuberance and social media work might endear them to the Euro-crowd. A less challenging song than this year (one big note before the key change) so this is more within their skill-set. (Qualifies)

Semi Final 2: Part One

Željko Joksimović "Nije ljubav stvar"
Intro sounds like it comes from the Red Cliff soundtrack. Diminishing returns from Zeljko. This song lacks the warmth, structure and beauty of earlier ones. Will the audience reward his persistence (Judy Dench Oscar style) or finally say enough is enough? (Qualifies)

Kaliopi "Crno i belo"
It is very Eastern European (so maybe half the semi will switch off) and halfway in the crap-guitar starts. So the intro is 45% of the song? The chorus does have a hook to it, but that comes 2 minutes in. Strange (Qualifies)

Joan Franka "You and Me"
Sounds like backward country music – like it belongs to a Boags advert. Unpolished Sarah Blasko meets Missy Higgins (Qualifies)

Kurt Calleja "This Is the Night"
It’s not Malta’s night. Tip of the lid to current pop but basically a Rick Astley cover with one less octave than Rick covered. (Qualifies)

Litesound "We Are the Heroes"
Competant pop-rock. Certain to qualify. Wall-to-wall clichés and constipated delivery. Good for a laugh (Qualifies)

Filipa Sousa "Vida minha"
Out of the PIIGS, only Portugal and Spain are really trying to avoid the cost of hosting next year. But Portugal, did you need to try? A toilet-break song. (Will not Qualify)

Gaitana "Be My Guest"
If she can’t nail it live it will be dead last in its heat – so many danger notes. If she delivers it could rip the roof off – not a lot going on though. Half a point extra for the Na Na Nas. (Qualifies).

Sofi Marinova "Love Unlimited"
Poorer 90s eurodance of Semi 2. Will this get everyone sick of techno or normalise it, before Loreen appears. (Qualifies)

Eva Boto "Verjamem"
You know you’re halfway between Serbia and Austria when Opera sounds like Zeljko. (Will not Qualify)

Semi Final 2: Part Two

Nina Badrić "Nebo"
Similar to Edsilia Rombley (Netherlands) from 2007 if she was a screaming woman in a Zagreb karaoke bar. (Will not Qualify)

Loreen "Euphoria"
Loreen has the Kate Bush going on (a Swedish-Berber Kate Bush) – a very intense individual on stage and she will grab everyone’s attention. The song is possibly too techno for Eurovision audiences – it sounds like the remix of a fantastic ESC song. Dark horse for mine. (Qualifies)

Anri Jokhadze "I'm a Joker"
Oh boy! Includes the line “I’m a stalker” in the positive way! Sounds like Sergio & the Ladies covering ‘Prince of Parties’ by Flight of the Conchords. Will go down as well as Sergio. (Will not Qualify)

Can Bonomo "Love Me Back"
Intro sounds like incidental music to a gypsy circus scene from a Bond film. Vocals have the nasal delivery of Blue Café (not as good) (Will not Qualify)

Ott Lepland "Kuula"
The slow song from the school prom. Air Supply meets The Carpenters (Will not Qualify)

Max Jason Mai "Don't Close Your Eyes"
Wake up! Announces itself instantly. Old school Pantera-esque guitar and drum kicks in. Vocals are pop styled though! It is the sound of Slovakia, so that’s good – fulfils Eurovision’s charter. (Qualifies)

Tooji "Stay"
The stage act will be a tongue crawling out of a bathtub looking for a beer. Infectious chorus but best avoided (Qualifies)

MayaSar "Korake ti znam"
Will anything ever happen? How do these tracks win National Finals? Boring (Will not Qualify)

Donny Montell "Love Is Blind"
Good news – it’s not Happy Me Happy You. Bad News - it’s not We are the Weiners or Skamp. Ballad with a touch of 90s keyboards for first half, and then suddenly it’s a disco song. Dog’s dinner (Will not Qualify)