passionpop: (sweet and innocent)
Sweden
Semi final 1
Artist: Ronin Bengtsson
Song: I Can’t Go On
Odds: $8.50 (3rd)

Word of the day
Nummer tre - Number three
When shit is not shit enough, it is a number 3




This starts so 1980s that it could have been in a Beverly Hills Cop film, and it doesn’t get much more recent from there. For the Eurovision performance the backing dancers should wear walkmans and at the end of the song they should each discard a cassette into the crowd with the song on it. Embrace the 80s.

Typically Sweden has a heap of Eurovision power behind their entry. The co-writers have all co-written Eurovision entries for Sweden. Robin Stjernberg also performed the song he co-wrote in 2013 which finished 14th. David Kreuger and Hamed K-One Pirouzpanah co-wrote the 2014 Swedish entry for Sanna Nielsen which finished 3rd, which is a reoccurring number for this entry. It is 3rd with the bookies and Robin finished third in Swedish Idol in 2008. Mmm number 3s

This song won Melodifestivalen despite finishing third on the popular vote and almost 200000 votes behind the most popular song. The international Jury loved his song and their votes destroyed the 7% advantage Nano had in the popular vote. Who cares what the people think though, this is Eurovision, not democracy.

In 1985 Sweden hosted Eurovision (after their 1984 win) and came third. NUMBER 3!!!


passionpop: (my ass)
Croatia
Semi Final 2
Artist: Jacques Houdek (Željko Houdek)
Song: My Friend
Odds: $101

Word of the day
Govno - Shit
Same shit, different year.



Croatia’s Homophobe of the Year for 2006 and nominee for Homophobe of the decade, Željko Houdek is a former Hairdressing student turned Gospel singer. Houdek has redacted his previous comments, and Eurovision 2015 showed historic homophobic comments are not an impedance to winning the contest, however this song is.

My Friend was co-written Tony Malm, who has worked with Eric Saade who represented Sweden at Eurovision in 2011, finishing 3rd. Houdek also has another connection to Eurovision after being the winning mentor on The Voice in 2015 for last year’s Eurovision representative for Croatia, Nina Kraljić. That song was not very good finishing 23rd in the final, though Nina did have a win… the Barbara Dex Award

Croatia is not known for great Eurovision entries and their entries rarely make the grand final. The songs have been so bad that Croatia did not participate in Eurovision in 2014 and 2015 and no one really noticed… Except Slovenia who were relying on Croatia for votes.

Croatia’s best result in Eurovision was 4th, a high they achieved twice, 1996 and 1999. In 1999 this high was only achieved through cheating, and no the duct tape used to hold up the skirt on the outfit was not cheating. All vocals must be performed live and the male vocals in this song were actually the on prerecorded backing track. The first hint that there may be prerecorded vocals was probably the audible male vocals and the distinct lack of men on stage.



passionpop: (completely)

United Kingdom
Final
Artist: Lucie Jones
Song: Never Give up On You
odds: $51

Word of the day
Bollocks.
Just Bollocks

 

Kirsten Stewart has changed her name and her career and is representing the UK. Good to see that she can almost smile. Almost

This song really needs a dance remix and fortunately someone has made one that isn’t bad. It is actually better than the original song. Is it too late for the UK to alter their entry for this Eurovision?

This years’ song was co-written by the winner of the 2013 Eurovision, Emmilie de Forest. The Year before Emmilie won for Denmark, Jedward were at Eurovision and they finished 19th. Lucie finished 8th on series 6 of X-Factor after being knocked out by Jedward, and that is the circle of life.

This year’s song is called never give up on you, which is a bit too close to Never Gonna Give You Up as a name for a song. The UKs entry in 1983 was I’m Never Giving up. With these songs, maybe the UK should… Give up…


passionpop: (my ass)
Netherlands
Semi final 2
Artist: O’G3NE
Song: Lights and Shadows
Odds: $41

Word of the day
Hou vol – Hold On
No, that’s Wilson Phillips



O’G3NE are a twofer, you get two for one. The won The Voice in 2014 as well as being Junior Eurovision graduates from 2007. So few Junior Eurovision contestants graduate to real Eurovision but would they have made it without being in The Voice and also in the 2016 De beste zangers van Nederland (The Best Singers of the Netherlands), probably not.

O’G3NE have had very little chart success in their own country. Their only top 10 single was heir winners single from The Voice, and they released two albums between Junior Eurovision and The Voice. It begs the question, why send them to Eurovision if no one in your own country will buy their shit? For that there is no answer.

Are the Vol sisters trying to be The Corrs, the Dixie Chicks or Wilson Phillips? It reeks of the 90’s so it has to be Wilson Phillips. Retro isn’t bad, which is why there are mid-range odds, but retro is not good. An OK song gets OK odds.

The Netherlands uses internal selections to decide on their Eurovision act, and has done since 2013. Prior to 2013 the entry was usually chosen through the Nationaal Songfestival. There were many exceptions, the first of which as in 1961


passionpop: (Default)
Montenegro
Semi Final 1
Artist: Slavko Kalezić Славко Калезић
Song: Space
Odds: $151

Word of the day
довиђења Dovidjenja - Goodbye
Please don't return with this crap next year.



What the actual fuck. This appears to be 3 minute community service advert warning kids on what happens when you do drugs. This song is also everything that can go bad at Eurovision. This could be as bad if not worse than Bosnia’s Deen from 2004.

This has the longest odds available this Eurovision and those odds are thoroughly deserved. A song this bad that is sung by someone who could not even make the live shows of X Factor Adria 2015 (the 4 country X-factor including Montenegro) could not be expected to even make the Eurovision final. The person at RTCG (the Montenegrin broadcaster) who decided on this song should be fired.

Montenegro uses internal selections to determine their participants for Eurovision. Maybe in 2018 they should take it to the people. Popular voting could not result in anything worse that what Montenegro is currently sending to Eurovision.

This year’s entry won’t end up with the least amount of points Montenegro has received at Eurovision. It would be hard to get less than the 20 points in the semi that Montenegro finished with in 2012


passionpop: (completely)

Belarus
Semi Final 2
Artist: Naviband (Navi)
Song:Historyja majho žyccia Гісторыя майго жыцця (Story of my life)
Odds: $101

Word of the day:
магія - Magic
no, not really



This song is entirely sung in Belarussian, despite the words майго жыцця (majho žyccia) sounding like “My country town”. I tis the first time Belarus has sung in their own language, or any language other than English. They needed to try a different tact because it is obvious what they were doing was not working.

This will be the 14th time Belarus has gone to Eurovision and they are largely there just to give Russia (and Ukraine) points. In the last 13 years Belarus has had one foray into the top ten and made the final 4 times overall. Even when they entered the competition as favourites in 2005, they still could not make the final. What chance are they going to have this year with a folk song?

Despite being pleasant and catchy, this is not a winning song and the bookies are right to keep this at long odds. 12 points to Russia though.

The best result Belarus has ever had in Eurovision was in 2007 and even the song they entered then was not great…

passionpop: (subliminal)
Cyprus
Semi final 1
Artist: Hovig
Song: Gravity
Odds: $67

Word of the day:
Puan - σημεία - Points
12 of them from Greece.



Gravity is the only song Thomas G:Son has co-written to appear in this year’s Eurovision. He has previously written or co-written Eurovision entries for Sweden, Spain, Norway, Georgia, Denmark, as well as last year’s entry for Cyprus and why would you not employ this guy as a writer? G:son won Eurovision in 2012 and out of the 12 previous entries that he has been involved with prior to this year, only one failed to make the final. Sure he has written about 70 songs that have failed to make it through various national selections, but it is only the ones that make it that count.

This will get 12 points from Greece because Greece always gives Cyprus points. Hovig is also well known to Greek audiences after appearing on X-Factor Greece in 2009. He is also the closest thing to a Turkish Cypriot that Cyprus will ever send to Eurovision, being of Armenian descent. Well Armenia is close geographically to Turkey…

This is not the first time that a song called Gravity has gone to Eurovision. This year’s Eurovision Hosts Ukraine sent Gravity in 2013. Cyprus’ Gravity is a better song, but Ukraine had a giant which scores bonus points.

This is far from the worst song Cyprus has ever sent to Eurovision. That award appears to go to the song from 1986


passionpop: (putting my foot in it)
Norway
Semi final 2
Artist: JOWST
Song: Grab the Moment
Odds: $81

Word of the day
øyeblikk - Moment
in a fucking moment



When Norway last hosted Eurovision in 2010 the theme was “Share the Moment”. This year they intend to Grab the Moment, with a song that has parallels to Lose Yourself by Eminem, just a bit cheerier than Marshall Mathers III.

The vocalist for JOWST for this song is one Aleksander Walmann (Åsgården), who came second in Norway’s version of The Voice, The Voice – Norges beste stemme in 2012. So when he sings the first line of the chorus “I’m gonna kill that voice in my head”, is he referring to his own anxiety or the reality TV show?


Odds of $81 seem a bit unfair for this song, but HipHop/Rap never does particularly well at Eurovision. Igranka from Montenegro failed to qualify for the final in 2013 despite putting on an awesome performance on the night. The only exception to the rule was the 2003 winner Sertab Erener who proved that neither rap not a slightly off key performance will impede the right song. Pity Norway is not sending the right song


The song really doesn’t matter. This is not a song contest; it is Just a game as said in 1973. If only the Barbara Dex award existed in the 1970’s…

passionpop: (sweet and innocent)
Spain
Final
Artist: Manel Navarro
Song: Do it for Your Lover
Odds: 151

Word of the day
controversia - controversy.
It would not be Eurovision without it.
 




Usually songs that do not go through the semi finals start at shorter odds and drift out after the semi’s are over. As part of the big 5 (with Italy, UK, France and Germany), Spain goes straight to the Eurovision final but is entering the event with odds of $151, currently equal with Switzerland, Montenegro, Albania, Malta and Slovenia and the longest odds available for this year’s event. This song is probably even money to finish last this year… which is understandable listening to it.

This song is a catchy little summer tune, but it is not a Eurovision song. The song the public voted for in Spain is much more Eurovision. Contigo by Mirela drew in the national selection with Manel Navarro, but the judges, which included a DJ connected with Manel, broke the tie giving it to… Manel. The crowd got upset and Eurovision got a sub-standard song. The crowds boos are evidence enough that the Spanish people still care about Eurovision even if the judges don’t.

Eurovision has the song that the Spanish people put third in their national selection. At least the people got to contribute to this choice. Come countries are told what their Eurovision entry is and don’t even get to pretend it is popular and diplomatic. At least Spain got to play pretend.

Spain has not won a Eurovision since 1969, when it was one of 4 winners (with UK, the Netherlands and France). If they keep doing what they are doing with the national selection, Spain will not win another Eurovision for a very long time


passionpop: (completely)

Latvia
Semi final 1
Artist: Triana Park (Triānas Parks)
Song: Line
odds: $81

Word of the day
noteikts - Determined
Six national finals means you're pretty bloody determined to go to Eurovision.



It is surprising that Latvia has ever won Eurovision, though the year they won (<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4GOSw7v0N0">2002</a>) was a particularly weak contest. There have been good Latvian songs but they were in much stronger years. This year is reasonable one a far as Eurovision is concerned, but ambient music probably won’t win.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5aPtzBhZBc">Triana Park’s performance on Supernova</a> (the Latvian national selection) is best described as 80’s inspired. This performance came after a 4 year hiatus from Latvian selection (previously Eirodziesmā). 2017 was Triana Park’s sixth attempt to make it to Eurovision. With a bio that emphasises their many awards it makes you wonder why getting to Eurovision is important to them.

Triana park was originally created by Agnese Rakovska and her father, Aivars (from the band 'Bastards'). Dad has left the band but still, that is some good parenting. Not practical perhaps. Maybe a house would be better than a band, but still, pretty cool.

There are many reasons why Latvia is lucky to have won one Eurovision. 2001 is certainly one reason why it is just the one

passionpop: (die bitch)

Serbia
Semi final 2
Artist: Tijana Bogićević Тијана Богићевић
Song: In Too Deep
Odds: $19

Word of the day
пролазан - Passable
which this song is. Qualifier certainly.


There is probably a medication Eurovision could take when song writers repeat on them. Serbia’s entry this year features writers who contributed to this year’s songs from FYR Macedonia and Bulgaria. This is probably the better of the three songs that Symphonics International has contributed to, even though the Bulgarian song is more popular with the book makers.

So, Eurovision is where you go if you have a heap of crap songs to offload. Ralph Siegal does it, Thomas G:Son, and now Symphonics Interntational. Who are Symphonics International anyway and why should we care? Also are imported writers really better than home grown?

Serbia has opted for internal selections the last 2 years after a couple of songs selected through Беовизија failed to qualify for the Eurovision final. They have also stopped sending entries in Serbian, which they did for 6 years after winning with Molitva in 2007 (so 7 times in all). Songs in native languages are great fun for fans. If you don’t know what they are singing about, you can make it up and often the made up definitions are better than the actual one.

In 2011 Тијана was a backing vocalist on one of the best songs Serbia has ever sent to Eurovision. Čaroban.

passionpop: (die bitch)

Georgia
Semi final 1
Artist: Tamara Gachechiladze თამარა გაჩეჩილაძე
Song: Keep the Faith
odds: $81

Word of the day
პოლიტიკური -Political
Something Eurovision is certainly not...



The presentation clip for the song that was provided to the EBU is filled with unsubtle political statements, which would have caused the EBU to not accept this clip, if they had balls. It would not have been the first time თამარა crossed paths with the EBU. Her first attempt to go to Eurovision in 2009 was withdrawn by Georgia after the EBU demanded changes to the song due to its unsubtle political commentary.

Keep the Faith has a bit of religious commentary, confusing ISIS with all Muslims and with the line “Who told you to hide behind the veil”. Georgia shares its borders with two majority Muslim countries, one of whom is competing in this years Eurovision and in the same semi as Georgia. Nil pois to Georgia from Azerbaijan.

The dress worn by თამარა in this clip is very close to that of a previous Eurovision entry. Conchita wore it better. The lights on თამარა’s at the end are a nice touch though.

Keep the Faith was written by Anri Jokhadze, who also wrote and performed the Georgian entry from 2012. He was more successful though when he was a backing vocalist for the 2008 entry.

passionpop: (southpark)
Malta
Semi Final 2
Artist: Claudia Faniello
Song: Breathlessly
odds: $151

word of the day:
ddisprata - Desperate
Really desperate to be in Eurovision... really...


There is no dispute with the odds given to this song. It is an average song that is severely over-sung. The only possible way this will qualify is if 8 contestants in the second semi suddenly withdraw, or are disallowed entry by the Ukrainian Authorities, or ze Germans... where ever Eurovision will be this year.

Claudia has been desperate to be Malta’s Eurovision entry, DESPERATE! From 2006 to 2013 she was in every edition of Malta’s song for Europe, sometimes with two songs. After a three year break Claudia returned this year with a song written by two of Malta’s most popular composers. Maybe the Maltese public voted Claudia through because they couldn’t handle another 8 years of Claudia in A Song for Europe.

Claudia’s brother has been to Eurovision twice, finishing 9th in 2001 and last in 2006. The last was deserved, and the 9th, well 2001 was a lean year. Fortunately Fabrizio realised he should quit. I hope Claudia learns soon too.

Malta quit Eurovision after 1975 only to return 16 years later. They needed that time away to improve… well everything. It could not have got worse.
passionpop: (beer and tits)

Iceland
Semi final 1
Artist: Svala
Song: Paper
Odds: $51

Word of the day
salerni - toilet
Where the paper for this song came from



Every Eurovision act has a Q&A given to them to add to their bio. Everything that needs to be known about Svala is in one question:
Do you have a (lucky) routine before you go on stage?
I bathe myself in unicorn tears and take a shot of snow on fire.

Whereas many artists in this year’s Eurovision were contestants on the voice, Svala betters them, she is a judge and mentor. A mentor is usually someone who is successful enough to not have to sell themselves as cheap talent in competitions like Eurovision. Maybe Svala is only going to Eurovision because her dad did it in 1995.

Most fans of Eurovision consider this song as the “what the fuck” song of the year. It will only qualify for the final if everything else that it is up against is shit, which is possible. It does offer a question though, why do so many female singers sing songs about enabling their narcissistic partner?

Once upon a time Iceland was that weird kid at school, trying hard to be like everyone else and failing. The song from 1990 was everything a Eurovision song should be and it still only managed 4th. It is good that they gave up trying…

passionpop: (big)

Italy
Final
Artist: Francesco Gabbani
Song: Occidentali's Karma (Westerners Karma)
Odds: $2.37 (current favourite)

Word of the day
Secondo - Second
Where favourites from Italy finish... at best...



When going into Eurovision you need a reasonable song and a good gimmick. Italy has the gimmick of the Ape Dance. It would just be interesting with how popular this song is, if they try to get other Eurovision entrants to copy it. It could be difficult if they ask Isaiah from Australia to do the ‘ape dance’ seeing being called an ape (monkey or gorilla) is rather offensive to aboriginal people.

Occidentali's Karma is a social commentary, a satire on western society. Comedy rarely works at Eurovision however this song is fortunate that it is also catchy. This song also grows on you the more you hear it. It is a shame then that this song will only appear at the final.

Italy’s main issue historically is their presentation. It has improved, but they could do more. This is not a song contest after all, it is an entertainment extravaganza… or some shit...

It is shocking that Italy has only twice won the grand prix that still has ‘song contest’ in its name. This year Italy is the favourite, as they often are. A favourite of Eurovision last appeared for the third time in 1966, and still never won.

passionpop: (drunk)

Bulgaria
semi-final 2
Artist: Kristian Kostov Кристиян Костов
Song: Beautiful Mess
Odds: $6.50 (2nd)

Word of the day
представяне - Presentation
Because this is not a song contest.


A number of countries are sending singers with a Russian connection. Even more are sending former Voice or X-factor contestants. Кристиян is the trifecta. Born in Moscow he was a finalist in Russia’s Voice Kids (Голос. Дети) in 2014, where he finished in the top 6, and then was runner-up in X-Factor Bulgaria (Екс Фактор) last year. All this has culminated to making him second favourite to win Eurovision with a Ho-hum song.

Last year’s song from Bulgaria was one of the best in the competition. It finished 4th and this was largely because the presentation was poor. This was not Poli Genova’s fault, her performance was great, but there was not enough money spent on set design and visuals and not enough consideration given to the camera work. It was like they though the song along could carry it, as if this is a song contest of something. This year’s song could be a Beautiful mess on the night if they don’t improve on the performance.

This song was co-written by some of the same composers that are giving us this year’s Macedonian entry. Another great fact is that Кристиян Костов will apparently be the first Eurovision entrant born in the 21st century. Many Eurovision fans will feel really old when they realise that.

A less beautiful mess from Bulgaria came from their second attempt in Eurovision in 2006. Let me Cry.

passionpop: (putting my foot in it)
Belgium
Semi final 1
Artist: Blanche
Song: City Lights
Odds: $8 (4th)

Word of the day
gevarenzone - zone dangereuse - danger zone
Highway to the...



Last year Blanche, then known as Ellie Delvaux, was knocked out of The Voice Belgique (one of Belgium’s two versions of The Voice currently running) just before the qualifying final. This year Belgium is sending her to Kyiv. The song was apparently initially written in an imaginary language with just the words City and Lights in English. Though it would have been the third time Belgium went to Eurovision with an imaginary language, in the end they decided to change all to English.

Female vocalists singing about ‘the danger zone’ go back decades. In She-bop, Cyndi Lauper mentioned “I can’t stop messing with the danger zone” when singing about masturbation. Redefines the lines “All alone in the danger zone, are you ready to take my hand”

Could a contestant from The Voice Belgique do a duet with a contestant from The Voice van Vlaanderen (Belgium’s other version of The Voice)? That could make for an interesting song. Not that this year’s entry is not interesting, it could just be less ‘same’… or more same. It could be anything.

Everyone enters a talent show contestant and sings in English now. The first time Belgium sung in English was 1977

passionpop: (southpark)
Lithuania
Semi final 2
Artist: Fusedmarc
Song: Rain of Revolution
Odds: $81

Word of the day
Taip - Yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah...




The highlight of this song is the subdued backing vocals at the end of the chorus when Viktorija Ivanovskaja is cutting sick with the “Yeahs”. The low-light is that this is considered Alternative music, yet there is a fair bit of Beyonce in there.

According to the supplied bio on Fusedmarc, “In 2005 they were called the Breakthrough of the Lithuanian Alternative scene”. What is Alternative? This has so many contemporary elements that it is hard to disassociate it from the mainstream. It is not even interesting like Rona Nusliu was when she represented Albania. Luthuanians can get interesting, but this is not an example of that.

Stasys Žakas job within Fusedmarc is to create the visuals, so this could yet produce something amazing. Pretentious maybe, but potentially interesting.

Fusedmarc is not first attempt at being less mainstream. We are all owed an explanation for 2002

passionpop: (big)
Slovenia
Semi final 1
Artist: Omar Naber
Song: On My Way
Odds: $151

Word of the day
vojno območje - Warzone
Somewhere Slovenia likes to send Omar...


Over the last 12 years he has released 3 albums and been jailed for sexual assault. The criminal conviction would cause him to be denied entry into some countries, but he can go to Ukraine while Russia (and potentially Armenia) may be denied entry. It is a strange world.

Despite his conviction for sexual assult, Omar apparently lives in the UK where he is a licensed busker on the London Underground (does he think he is Ed Sheeran?). Usually a conviction and sentence of over 6 months in the last 10 years meant you couldn’t enter the UK. Obviously the UK authroities don't google visa applicants.

The odds on this song are possibly a little cruel seeing this song is not that bad. There have been worse songs that have reached the top ten in Eurovision, and even won. This won’t win, it doesn’t have the political backing, but the odds should reflect that it will qualify for the final… it should qualify for the final… maybe…

Omar last appeared at Eurovision (with the same hairdo) the last time it was in Ukriane. He didn’t make the final then, and if you believe the bookmakers, he won’t make it this time either.

passionpop: (my ass)
Denmark
Semi final 2
Artist: Anja
Song: Where I am
Odds: $41

Word of the day
importeret - Imported
Fully imported...



This is the other Australian entry for the year. Anja was born in Australia, won The Voice Australia and has a longer bio on English Wikipedia than on the Danish one. Even the song writers are Australian. If it is ok to import a Princess from Australia, then you can import a whole Eurovision act it appears…

If you are going to co-write a song that you intend to sing, it is probably a good idea to ensure that it is all within your vocal range. The low notes seem to be a bit of a struggle for Anja. A better song could have shown why Anja as the only choice to win the third series of The Voice Australia.

This is like a Mariah Carey song without the loony, money hungry American. This could be good on the night or it could be spectacularly bad. Money ($41) is on good, not great but good.

Anja can sing, which would be useful if this was a singing contest, or even a song contest. Apparently it once was. Once upon a time being able to sing was a pre-requisite for entering Eurovision. 1962 was in that time.

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