passionpop: (putting my foot in it)
With about 30 hours until the second Semi, it is time to go through the 18 songs with artists who were allowed to enter Ukraine.

Spoiler alert

Serbia: This years fashion statement is no pants. Now featuring Hungrybum.

Austria: He is mooning us

FYR Macedonia: She does seem sing the truth. she will dance alone.

Malta: White is he preferred colour for dresses this Eurovision. I hope this does not qualify.

Romania: is that her dress? did she pick it up at Supre? and what is with the penises on the stage... oh they are canons...

The Netherlands: Sister Act. it is a bit of a snore.

Hungary: Bottom 4.

Denmark: Where I am is on a couch at 3 am. Where you are is a nutjob nation. Don't get them confused.

Ireland: Showing that this is the weaker semi. If he was dying to try, maybe he should... just a little harder... try that is.

San Marino: Not the worst outfit Valentina Monetta has ever won at Eurovision, but close.

Croatia: The backdrop is Jacques singing a duet to himself. Maybe thats the secret of the song. he is his only friend.

Norway: This song is looking like an easy top 10 entry from this semi, and not on its merits...

Switzerland: Some Eurovisions this could be the Barbara Dex, but there was stiff competition from the first semi.

Belarus: Better than last years Belorussian song, but that was not heard. There is so much stage going to waste here

Bulgaria: This guy was an X-Factor runner up. remember that with every note he misses. He got that far...

Lithuania: besides blending into the backdrop, the vocals are well executed and this will likely get through.

Estonia: interesting white dress. Hope at least one of them can get the notes in the semi.

Israel: ouch stop the high notes... quit, please, give up.... please get the backing singers to sing the high notes...

 

I think only 6-7 songs deserve to qualify from this mess going by these rehearsals. the other 3-4 slots should be given to countries from the first semi like Finland. who were better than at least 88% of these songs
 

 

 




passionpop: (sweet and innocent)
Israel
Semi final 2
Artist: Imri
Song: I feel Alive
Odds: $151

Word of the day
נראה טוב - Good looks
Alone are not enough to win Eurovision




After doing his apprenticeship as a backing singer for two years at Eurovision, Imri is now the lead performer after winning הַכּוֹכָב הַבָּא (The Next Star). Not bad for a failure from The Voice.

This song is a typical gay anthem dance track that you would have expected to hear at any Pride after-party around the world for at least the last 10 years. It is a little dated. Even for Eurovision, this is dated. It will get some votes but not many if the odds are to be believed.

Is this song a love song, a stalker song or a victim anthem? Is the subject a narcissist or a reluctantly accepted substitute? English teachers unite and dissect this song for the benefit of disengaged and ungrateful students everywhere. It won’t make them less ungrateful or disengaged but it would give you a sense of achievement, surely.

In 1981 Israel sent an apparently heavily pregnant singer wearing a tent. Tents were the fashion in maternity wear back then. Thankfully fashions change and so do AV equipment. Luckily no one tripped on those cables.



passionpop: (subliminal)
Switzerland
Semi final 2
Artist: Timebelle
Song: Apollo
odds: $301

Word of the day
Dieu - Dio - Gott -God
The only thing god-like is the title.



Timebelle were formed as a boy band and that they remained until they added a female singer Miruna Manescu and Timebelle made it to Eurovision after their second attempt in the Swiss national selection, Die Entscheidungsshow. The only hope that Switzerland can realistically have for this song is that it won’t finish last in its semi like Switzerland have the last 2 years, and even that there is not much hope of.

Timebelle could have had Yodel It! as their song for the contest. They chose Apollo and Yodel It because Romanaia’s song for this year’s event. Timebelle could have been a Romanian entry. There are 2 Romanians in the group and their producer is also Romanian. It was Timebelle’s Producer who wrote the Romanian song.

Dovas, the writing trio who wrote this song (Elias Näslin, Alessandra Günthardt, Nicolas Günthardt) are possibly best known for writing the 2013 winning song in Swedish Idol and it shows. This song sounds like an Idol winners single. It is not a real song. Perfect for an event that is not a real song contest

Since Eurovision started in 1956 Switzerland have been to Eurovision 57 times, this year will be 58 and this was their song in 1959

passionpop: (sweet and innocent)
Austria
Semi Final 2
Artist: Nathan Trent (Nathanaele Koll)
Song: Running on Air
Odds: $151

Word of the day
Laufen - Running
Away
 




Nathan appeared in German X Factor in a group called Boyz II Hot which got knocked out before the top 10 after performing ‘When Will I be Famous’. Nathan was also in the top 33 for Unser Song 2017, the German Eurovision selection but had to withdraw after being announced as the Austrian representative. Germany’s loss has not helped Austria much.

The odds less reflect the song than it does the fact that is it pretty much a forgone conclusion that Italy will win this year. Running on Air will get votes and should make the final as it is a simple tune that is likeable and the singer a good looking little rooster, but something crazy would have to happy for this song to win… which is possible because Eurovision is in Ukraine and that is a nutbag nation.

This is not a mindless love song by a former ‘talent’ show contestant. Love isn’t mentioned in it all. No love, peace or hand-waving… why would this be sent to Eurovision.

This year’s entry was chosen by internal selection; however that is not always the case. In 2004 Austria had a national final called song.null.vier which included the 1976 winners, Robinson and Waterloo. When Robinson and Waterloo came second they tried to take it to court to challenge the result. Even if the 2004 was better than the 1976 one, it would have probably been best not to send it.


passionpop: (sweet and innocent)
Romania
Semi final 2
Artist: Ilinca ft. Alex Florea
Song: Yodel it
Odds: $34

Word of the day
cântăreață – singer
The all important one



Yodel it claims to be featuring Alex, but he appears to do more vocals than the ‘lead’ artist, Ilinca. Ilinca is a former Voice (Vocea României) and X-Factor contestant (X-factor as part of a girl group) so she is far more important than poor Alex. maybe if he sung more rather than rapped he would be more than a small feature.

Before there are claims of cultural appropriation, this song was offered to Timebelle, who are representing Switzerland this year. Timebelle are two parts Romanian though and their producer, who is also Romanian, is the writer of Yodel it. It might still be cultural appropriation after all.

Yodel It! was first in the Romanian national selection by a long way. The song that came second was by Mihai Trăistariu who is best known as the 2006 entrant for Romania and the Romanian Mariah Carey (for his vocal range that is slightly less than Mariah’s). By the performance he was lucky to come second.

Romania was sadly missed from last year’s Eurovision after being disqualified for non-payment of fees to the EBU. Though we missed Ovidiu Anton last year, we have has many highlights from Romania. 2002 was not a highlight


passionpop: (sweet and innocent)
Estonia
Semi Final 2
Artist: Koit Toome and Laura
Song: Verona
Odds: $41

Word of the day
Just teile - Just for you
Especially...



Like the play this song refers to, this song is a tragedy. It is better than rapeface from last year, but that doesn’t say much. This year’s Entry could almost be a Stock Aitken Waterman and in parts the male vocal even sounds a bit Jason Donovan. Tragic.

Not one but two repeat offenders are representing Estonia in 2017. Koit Toome represented Estonia in 1998 and Laura Põldvere in 2005 as part of Suntribe. The songwriter is also a repeat offender having been a writer on Suntribe’s 2005 entry as well as Estonia’s entries in 2009 and 2011. Sven Lõhmus songs have not got better over the years. Some would say they have gone downhill since 2009.

Laura has been desperate to return to Eurovision, taking part in the national selections (Eurolaul and then Eesti Laul) 3 times as a solo artist. She also released a compilation album of all her singles from both her albums. When your record company does that it is usually because they are desperate to make some money out of your nearly non-existent career.

Koit was only 19 when he first went to Eurovision in 1998 and finished 12th. He probably wont reach those lofty heights this year.

passionpop: (my ass)
Hungary
Semi final 2
Artist: Joci Papai (Pápai József)
Song: Origo (Origin)
Odds: $34

Word of the day:
huszonkilenc - twentynine
How many artists Pápai beat in A Dal to end up in Eurovision



The odds on this song are rather generous. This song has to beat eight other entries just to make the final. Sure the Gypsy connection will get him a few votes (from stolen mobile phones) from all across Europe, but will that be enough to qualify? Computer says no.

Pápai is a talent show reject. He made the top 16 on Megasztár (a Star Academy/Idol rip-off), but was in the group of 4 singers who failed to make the finals. This has not stopped Pápai achieving success in Hungary. Well he has released a few singles, if that is successful.

The translation of the song into English shows it is a rather interesting song. It is about how he loves a girl but then fins out he is not white enough for her. Instead of turning to skin bleaching creams, he turned to song writing and Eurovision is blessed to feature his talent.

Hungary's best result was at their first attempt at Eurovision. Though they have come close to their 4th place that they achieved in 1994, they have never surpassed it. that record will stay intact until next year at least.

passionpop: (Default)

San Marino
Semi Final 2
Artist: Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson
Song: Spirit of the Night
Odds: $101

Word of the day:
ripete su di voi - repeats on you
like a questionable pasta sauce




Ralph Siegal
has returned to San Marino and Eurovision with a song that harks back to the era when he first appeared as a song writer at Eurovision. San Marino’s song this year is a lot more upbeat than that first Siegal song for Luxembourg in 1974, but Eurovision was a different contest then. It may have even still been a song contest in 1974.

Another returnee is Valentina Monetta, who keeps saying when won’t return to Eurovision, but here she is. After performing Solo in 2012, 2013 and 2014 (and announcing the Sammarinese votes in 2015), Valentina is now doing a duet with American Jimmie Wilson and this should qualify for the final, after all Valentina’s results at Eurovision were progressively getting better before she completed her series of entries.

Valentina and Jimmie both have a background of reality ‘Talent’ shows. Valentina appeared in the first series of Popstars (Italy) and Jimmie was on the third series of Must Be the Music: Tylko muzyka in Poland. Neither were winners, they were not even close. This song has long odds of $101, which again, is not even close

Out of the three performances on Eurovision, arguably the best was 2013 when Valentina returned to Eurovision after having such a rubbish song to perform in 2012, and showed she was a classy singer. She doesn’t have the used tampon hair that she wears in this year’s Eurovision presentation clip, but she has the red dress…


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: (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: (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: (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: (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: (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: (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: (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: (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.

passionpop: (completely)
Ireland
Semi final 2
Artist: Brendan Murray
song: Dying to try
odds: $51

Word of the day
Baile Dúchais - Hometown
Somewhere he probably should have stayed...


It is good to see that there are still castrati in Ireland and surprisingly Brendan is only 20. Hopefully he will look his age with the right lighting.

Brendan is from an almost unknown boyband called Hometown who, after releasing one album decided to pursue solo projects. Hometown was managed by Louis Walsh, who has also managed reputable boybands like Westlife and Boyzone, as well as Jedward.

The Swedish music factories are well represented in this year’s Eurovision. Usually the bio of the writer lists all of the current pop artists they have written for, and Jörgen Elofsson’s is no exception. Additionally to the usual pop stars his bio includes Agnetha Fältskog, which achieves a lot of Eurovision kudos and is great but even cooler is that he wrote “True Survivor” for Kung Fury. With all that cool stuff, I guess he would also have some seconds filed away and Ireland was happy to take one off his hands.

In a year where we celebrate diversity, in some ways it was not as diverse as 1972. 1972 was a year of diverse languages, including from Ireland.

passionpop: (my ass)

Macedonia
Semi Final 2
Artist: Јана Бурческа Jana Burčeska
Song: Dance Alone
Odds: $29

Word of the day:
талент - Talent
there is not enough of it.

At the age of 17, Jana appeared on Macedonian Idol and she finished 5th. After she performed Blondie's "Call Me" she was evicted, which was understandable after hearing her rendition. I hope over the last 6 years Jana has learned how to sing.

Dance Alone is not as challenging as anything by Blondie. Generally Swedish music factory stuff is reasonably simple. The problem is that the song sounds like about everything else. It sounds like an ad for a Toyota Corolla. Maybe they can incorporate that into the staging. There has been an Ice rink, pole dancers and giant double piano on the Eurovision stage, why not a small car...

I can't help think that when a bunch of Swedish Music factory writers provide a song to a third rate Eurovision country it is because no one else wants it. This song ends on a rather depressing note, which isn't what one wants from a dance song. I couldn't see Kylie or Gaga performing it. I guess that makes it perfect for Macedonia.

Macedonia doesn't appear to be a well of talent.and they like depressing songs like this from 1998

passionpop: (die bitch)

Russia
Semi Final 2
Artist: Юлия Олеговна Julia Samoylova
Song: Flame is Burning
Odds: $21

Word of the day:
пропаганда - Propaganda
Take out of that what you will.



Julia may not be allowed into the Ukraine due to politics, which there is none of in Eurovision. Her ban is due to her going into Crimea in 2015 to perform at a gala concert, which is a completely political ban. Some has suggested that the song was picked because if its title and to raise the ire of the Ukrainian authorities. Well it wasn't picked for being a great song, thats for sure.

After coming second in Фактор А (Faktor A), The Russian X-Factor, Julia has had moderate success, though she was known in Russia before Фактор А. Julia had won a number of competitions and was also in a group called TerraNova, who were (heavy) alternative according some translated articles. Perhaps Julia is best known for being part of the opening ceremony at the Sochi winter Olympics... Interestingly Sochi was the location that it was rumoured that Russia would use to host this years Eurovision had they won last year.

Russia determined their song and performer using an internal selection, which is not unusual. Russia has not let the people vote since 2012... for their Eurovision representative at least... That was the last time there was a Presidential election in Russia, but I couldn't comment on the voting.

So Russia's song this year is 'Flame is Burning' and in 1995 they gave us a Lullaby for a volcano, which is along the same theme though I like the hair from 1995 better.

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