Monthly Archives: marzo 2012

This is Europe not giving a shit. (Part 1)

Seriously, what happened to Europe this year? Apparently, just knowing that the Eurovision host city is even farther from Europe than Moscow made half of the countries think “Well, what the hell” and show it in their acts in some way or another. Or maybe nobody wants to host because of the crisis, I don’t know.

What I know is this year started in a really disheartening way. The earliest half of the songs revealed was (with the glorious exceptions of Iceland and Cyprus) an amazing display of boringness and mediocrity. Even if later things got back in track and we ended with a not-so-bad year (although it’s not, by far, as good as the previous two), I still have the impression that this year lots of countries. Simply. Don’t. Care.

So, to start with the first round:

(This will get updated lots of times until I end the songs of the first semi. If you read this and it’s still not finished, come back in a week or so)

Montenegro: Rambo Amadeus – Euro Neuro

This is Montenegro not giving a shit. I have to admit, though, I thought this would be a lot worse than it turned out. When I knew they had selected an artist named “Rambo Amadeus”, I thought the song would be an unphatomable piece of crap, and this… isn’t. It’s just the closest a song can get to white noise without being actual white noise.  I know, it’s supposed to have a deep message about materialism and stuff, but that message will never be heard when it’s so plain dead boring.

Iceland: Gréta Salóme & Jónsi – Never Forget

Yeah, they changed it to English later, but I’m posting the original, live version, because it’s gorgeous. Really, when a so minimalist staging can make something look so beautiful, it will do wonders  with lights and sequin and a little smoke. I SO want this to win right now…

Greece: Eleftheria Eleftheriou – Aphrodisiac

This is Greece not giving a shit. They’re broke, with riots, a fresh new president imposed by the same banks that led them to bankrupcy…  one would say that that, considering not even Stereo Mike could prevent them from reaching the top 10, they wouldn’t dare sending ANYTHING that had a chance of winning.

Guess what? They’re doing it anyway, because that’s how they roll. Even if they are so bankrupt they had to stage their national final in a MALL (that alone deserves its own post, by the way) . Helena… I mean, Eleftheria manages to put on an amazing act. Yes, it looks a lot like My Number One, but it’s original enough not to be a copy. And it’s just simply amazing. Are you sure about this, Greece? Because I love it, but I won’t love if the next contest is in the backyard of the OGAE Greece headquarters.

Latvia: Anmary – Beautiful Song

This is Latvia, clearly not giving a shit. There’s a reason I always follow closely the Eirodziesma: I know it’s gonna be full of amazing artists… and none of them is gonna win. Even if they don’t send the worst artist of the lot (Thank you, thank you, Latvia, for sparing us the Mad Show Boys and Disco Superfly!) , they chose a troll act without any personality about how ridiculous is Eurovision and how stupid we are for watching it. The most tragic part (besides knocking out one of the best songs I’ve ever heard without even revealing the name of the artist) is that I really like Anmary’s voice. I wish she had a real song for a change. What’s wrong with you, Latvia of the Brainstorm and Lauris Reiniks stunning quality?

I’m so mad at you right now.

Albania: Rona Nishliu – Suus

I’m not totally convinced about this, you know. Yeah, it’s a good dramatic ballad, and she manages to howl it conveying totally the feelings of loneliness and desperation any dramatic ballad needs, but… she tries too hard. Still, if she stands under a spotlight, with smoke and not a single fancy thing, it might work.

Romania: Mandinga -Zaleilah

This is Romania, kicking ass at not giving a shit! Here they are with drummers, bad English, bad Spanish, a guy with the best afro I’ve seen in my life and freaking bagpipes, all of that thinking they’re the greatest thing ever and almost making us believe they are. Oh, my, I love this!

Switzerland: Sinplus – Unbreakable

This is Switzerland and me not giving a shit. The song is not bad, just absolutely forgettable. Sorry, but bland rock has never been my cup of tea, and I really wish this was the only time in the year I have to say this.

Belgium: Iris – Would you?

Wow, we managed to get quite far before the first Disney Ballad popped up, but… yeah, we just had to have it. The delivery’s clumsy, though. She has a nice voice, but a bad singing. I’m still willing to give it a second chance in the semi, but only one.

Finland: Pernilla Karlsson – Nar jag blundar

This is Finland, so not giving a shit they’re sending a song in Swedish.. I like it, it has a nice flow, and a sweet ethnic flavour that doesn’t force itself on you, but I honestly don’t think this will pass. Also, Robyn Hood only distracts from the song. Make her go away, please.

Israel: Izabo – Time

Why does this remind me of Brainstorm? And why I ike it? The style is weird, the singer is weird,the song is weird, the singing is weird, but still I like it, even if I don’t have the slightest clue about how are they gonna put on a show with this.

San Marino: Valentina Monetta – The Social Network Song (Uh Oh Oh)

This is San Marino, not giving a shit by any conceivable definition and trolling everything that can be trolled and even some things that can’t. I’m usually not into troll acts, but this is so glorious even I have to admire it.

Here’s the full story: San Marino had originally sent this song with the title “Facebook, uh, oh, oh“. With music by Ralph Motherfucking Siegel and lyrics so bad that would put Rebecca Black to shame, and a video to match (and the comparison to Rebecca Black extends to the video). It took the EBU around five seconds to decide the song broke the rules that forbid commercial messages and give the country four days to change it or GTFO.

Then comes the best part: the lyricist did a hard brainstorming and retitled it “The social network song” and changed every instance of “Facebook” in the lyrics with things like “Hello”, “Oh oh”, “Network”, and my personal favorite, “Beep beep”. Without any other change. This is,ladies and gentlemen, the most epic trolling in the history of Eurovision. Sorry, Silvia Night, but you just were out-trolled.

Cyprus: Ivi Adamou – La la love

This might be the best song in the contest (well, second only to Iceland), and the fact that she clearly has the time of her life singing it just makes it even better, but… we still don’t know how the delivery will because the only live performance I’ve found totally sucks. Since it started as my favorite and my last two years favorites (Slovakia 2010 and Poland 2011) commited suicide in the semifinals, I don’t have very high hopes, but I’ll cross my fingers anyway.

Denmark: Soluna Samay – Should’ve known better

This is Denmark, thinking they give a shit. But I had to stop it after 1:30, so I don’t. Seriously, how can some people think this is gonna win? The only thing I like about it is the chav playing cello (That’s brilliant! How come nobody thought of that before?). But the song is… just not. The bad part is that another song in the national final had almost guaranteed a third top 5 for Denmark. The worse part is that it was the favorite of all but one of the international juries, and was kicked out by the Danish televote. Now if this sinks to the second half of the table, and I think it will, Danes will wonder why Europe doesn’t like them anymore. Well, duh!

Russia: Buranovskiye Babushki – Party for everybody

You know things are near rock bottom when Russia is not giving a shit. I think this stage is the same they used for their Junior Eurovision final, and they’re sending something fun, lovable, and that doesn’t stand a chance of winning. (But if they do don’t worry, people, it’s not like it’ll be the end of the world)

Hungary: Compact Disco – Sound of our hearts

Remember what I said about Switzerland? You can copy and paste it  here word by word.

Austria: Trackhittaz – Woki mit deim Popo

This is Austria giving a shit. And it won’t flush away. I’m not gonna say more because if I did, I would have to be mean.

Moldova: Pasha Parfeny – Lautar

Moldova NEVER gives a shit and it’s not like they were gonna start this year. They just do their thing, wether that is a sax player rubbing his crotch on his sax, a monocycling fairy, a drumming babushka or, like it’s here, literally riding Gaga girls onstage. And somehow they always manage to make it work in their own, very Moldovan way, like that hippie brother you love even when he’s making you facepalm.

Once you get through the weirdness, this song has a great tune. The lyrics… would be better in their own language.

Ireland: Jedward – Waterline

Because if this guys with some song and some show landed them their first top 10 in forever last year, the same guys with the same song (well, a little better, I admit) and the same show are gonna do the same thing this year, right?

Wrong.

Aaaand that does it for for the first semi.

The five countries that totally should pass to the final:

Iceland, Greece, Cyprus, Romania and, just for my evil pleasure, San Marino.

The five that better sink in oblivion:

Montenegro, Latvia, Austria, Denmark and Hungary.

Let’s see, five more to complete the finalists:

Israel, Moldova, Albania, Finland… and I’m sure Russia’s gonna pass, so…

The cutest guy this semi is the guitarrist from Sinplus, and the cutest girl is a tie between Ivi and Eleftheria.

Why we shouldn’t fear the Babushki

By now I’m sure all the Eurofans have heard about the Buranovskiye Babushki, but just in case someone has been living under a rock, here they are. Of course, they’re one  of those all-or-nothing things that sometimes pop up in Eurovision: you either love them or hate them. Like Silvia Night.

They have caused a lot of turnmoil because they appear high on the odds, sometimes even placing three (below Sweden, that seems to be the red hot favourite, and Denmark, that I honestly don’t know how can even place in the odds). People here and there say that a victory for them will prove that Eurovision is all a big joke and it has no credibility left.

But I don’t worry at all. I would be annoyed if they win (because there are at least ten songs I like better, even if this year is a lot worse than the last three), but I don’t worry about the future, credibility and all that of the contest.

Why?

Well, just let me quote some people:

“This was not a song contest, it was a show”

“The absence of talent and the mediocrity of the songs were where annoyance set in. Eurovision is a monument to drivel” (This one comes from an official broadcaster statement. They withdrew the next year)

If you don’t recognize these quotes it’s because they are from 1981. Yup, 31 years ago. The first one if by the Swedish representative, and the second one is from the French broadcaster. Both were caused by Buck’s Fizz victory. Yeah, that act that now looks cute and kinda childish. France returned in 1983 represented by another TV channel.

Eurovision has “lost” its credibility lots of times. And depending on who you ask, it lost it in different times. Of course, United Kingdom wouldn’t say their win was a blow to the credibility of the contest, but their first last placing was. And the second. And the third. And basically every time they place outside the top ten.

If you ask Sweden, on the other hand, the British victory in 1981 destroyed the credibility of Eurovision. According to them, the contest lost all credibility again in 2010, when they didn’t pass to the final, and despite having no credibility left, it somehow managed to lose some more in 2011 because they didn’t win. And don’t you doubt it will lose even more if they don’t win this time.

If we ask Malta, the contest turned into a show and stopped being about the songs because Marie N beat Ira Losco thanks to a dazzling choreography. And the same when Helena Paparizou defeated Chiara by exactly the same means. We could go on and on with this, but it pretty much can be summarized saying that the contest loses all of its credibility every year.

At least according to some people.

So… yeah. I’ll be annoyed if the Babushki win, but Eurovision has managed to survive lots of things in its 56 year history, and it can manage to survive a winner that relies exclusively on shock value. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before, you know. In fact, I think it will be dealt with automatically just by the way the contest works:

If you want to win the contest, you need to stand out, either by having a good song (like France Gall), a great voice (like Sertab Erener), shock value (like… yes, Lordi) or a great staging (like Ell & Nikki). If you don’t have any of this, you can try by sheer force of charisma, like did Lena. (You can’t have all of it together unless you’re Ruslana, by the way).

In a year full of ballads, like 2012, non-ballads will stand out and have higher chances of winning. But, what would happen in the worst-case scenario if the Babushki win? If the contest becomes a mockery, with all countries competing to see who can send the biggest troll and the most absolute parody, how long would it take for the public and juries to get fed up of that?

In a generous calculation, less than a year. In a contest full of jokes, a good and serious act would stand out more easily, and the pendulum would swing again to the other side. And that is in the worst possible scenario, most of times the contest keeps a healthy mix of seriousness and trolling (even if I’m not quite fond of trolling acts, specially when the trolling is really obvious, they’re neccessary for keep the contest fresh and not too serious).

The short version: Don’t worry. I don’t think the Babushki will win. And if they do, Eurovision won’t lose any credibility. And even if it lost credibility, it doesn’t need credibility. And even if it needed it, it would be recovered pretty quickly.

Besides, you shouln’t fear the Buranovskiye Babushki because you can easily outrun them.