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Monday, May 09, 2011

Eurovision Song Contest: Germany and Norway

Well, we've come to the very end of my posting of all the Eurovision Song Contest songs, when Germany and Norway are done, I've listened to, had an opinion about and graded all of this year's 43 contestants in the competition. Now I'm eagerly waiting for the semi-finals, tomorrow the 10th of May, and on Thursday the 12th - and finally the big finally on Saturday the 14th.

Here's what I think of the two remaining countries in this year's competition:

Lena Meyer-Landruth – Taken by a stranger

Germany would have been in every single Eurovision Song Contest since the beginning in 1956 is it hadn’t been for the rules that EBU used for the contest in 1996 when all countries had to go through qualification to compete in the final, Germany didn’t get enough points. Since then of course, the EBU has changes their rules, and Germany is now one of the Big 5 countries (together with United Kingdom, Spain, France and Italy) which are the countries that contribute the most financially and thus are automatically qualified for the final each year. Germany has won the competition twice, in 1982 with the truly excellent song Ein Bißchen Frieden sung by Nicole, and again last year with the also great song Satelite sung by Lena Meyer-Landruth.
This year Lena Meyer-Landruth is back again competing for Germany with the song Taken by a stranger. The first time I heard this it was not at all what I expected from Lena. I very much loved the happy-happy fun song she sang last year, and I guess I thought she would come up with something like that again this year. But this is very different, darker, a bit jazzy, a bit strange… and I quite like it. Don’t think it’ll do very well in the competition, but I still think it’s a good song, and I like Lena’s voice.
Germany – 5 points

Stella Mwangi – Haba Haba

Norway has also been a quite eager participant in Eurovision Song Contest since their debut in 1960, and only missed out on 2 competitions. They’ve… or rather, since I’m Norwegian I guess the right term would be: We’ve won the competition 3 times: 1985 Bobbysock – La det swinge, 1995: Secret Garden – Nocturne, 2009: Alexander Rybak – Fairytale (which also is the winner song that's received the most points all in all and the most 12 points in Eurovision Song Contest history), all really great songs. We’ve also done very poorly in the competition, even failed to qualify one year, in 2007. Norway also has the dubious honour of being the first country to receive no points at all in a competition, that happened with Jahn Teigen singing Mil etter mil in 1978, and 3 years later we did it again with Finn Kalvik – Aldri i livet. One of my personal favourites among the Eurovision songs is our entry from 1993 when Silje Vige sung Alle mine tankar and came in 5th place.
So, this year then, what can I say… this is the 43rd and last song I have an opinion on in this year’s competition and you all probably thought I was saving the best for last… no such luck I’m afraid. I’m not keen at all on the Norwegian entry this year. Stella is not a very good singer I’m afraid and the song’s just… old, that’s how it seems to me, nothing new happening here, old and worn. But I have to be a little bit of a patriot of course, and even though I’m convinced that Norway won’t even qualify for the final this year, I still feel I have to give Norway a few points, just because, well, I’m Norwegian and it’s the Norwegian entry so:
Norway – 3 points

Eurovision Song Contest: Finland, Bosnia & Herzegovina and France

Paradise Oskar – Da Da Dam

Finland has only missed out on 6 competitions since their debut in Eurovision Song Contest in 1961. They’ve won it once, in 2006, with Lordi – Hard Rock Hallelujah, and they’ve failed to qualify for the final 3 times.
I really loved the Finish winning song of 2006. I admit, I never thought it would win, even though I loved it, because it just seem to be going too far, for Eurovision that is, but I was thrilled when it did win. For me Finland is one of the countries in Eurovision Song Contest that very often have strange entries, and except for the 2007 entry when Hanna Pakarinen sung Leave me alone, I haven’t really liked the Finish entries much.
And now, in 2011, we’ve got Paradise Oskar humming himself through a song, and I’m not a huge fan. This is not one of the strange entries though, to me it’s just a bit boring, but I do recognise that it’s not necessarily a bad song even though it doesn’t make it to the top of my list. Hard to say where this will end up in the contest really.
Finland – 4 points

Bosnia & Herzegovina
Dino Merlin – Love in rewind

Bosnia & Herzegovina has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest since 1993. Their best place is as number 3 in 2006 and their worst as number 22 in 1996.
Love in rewind is a bit… curious… I’ve had a hard time deciding if I like this or not, and ended up thinking I mostly like it, at least I like it more than I hate it, not one of my top songs this year though. For some reason I keep thinking that I might have liked this more if it had been sung in Dino Merlin’s native language.
Bosnia & Herzegovina – 4 points

Amaury Vassili - Sognu

France is one of the countries that has been in the Eurovision Song Contest since the beginning in 1956 and since then they’ve only stayed away for 2 years. They’ve won it 5 times, between 1958 and 1977, and their worst place is number 24.
France is one of the big 5 countries, that is one of the countries that is automatically qualified for the final (together with United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy) because of their financial contribution to Eurovision.
Except for last year when Jessy Matador sung Allez Ola Olé, I’ve never really liked much of the French entries in Eurovision Song contest. This year I recognise that Sognu is a huge song, sung by a man with a huge voice and he deserves credit for that, and I quite like that he sings in Corsican as well. Not bad.
France – 5 points

Eurovision Song Contest: Serbia, Slovakia and Denmark

Nina – Caroban

Serbia has participated in Eurovision Song Contest since 2007 and actually ended up winning, with Marija Šerifović – Molitva, in their debut year. Since then they’ve ended up in 6th and 13th place and not qualified one year as well.
I didn’t really care much for Serbias winning song of 2007 and I’m not a huge fan of their entry this year either. I like the 60s inspired stage and clothes in the video, and the song’s not really bad it’s just not much else either. One of those middle-of-the-road songs, but they do sing in what I assume to be their own language so here’s an extra point for that.
Serbia - 4 points

TWiiNS – I’m still alive

Slovakia’s been in the Eurovision Song Contest only 6 times since their debut in 1994. They’ve never done very well, an 18th place being their best so far, and for the last 2 years they’ve not managed to qualify for the final.
The twin girls (I assume that they’re twins since they look so much alike and the group’s called twins) singing this year is quite beautiful, they’ve got good voices and the song is nice, but that’s also all there is. One of those songs that slip my mind the second it’s over, it hasn’t got anything extra, and I’m not sure Slovakia will qualify for this year’s final either.
Slovakia – 4 points

A friend in London – New Tomorrow

Denmark has entered the Eurovision Song Contest 40 times since 1957. They have won the competition twice, in 1963: Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann – Dansevise, and in 2000: Olsen Brothers – Fly on the wings of love. Twice they’ve also not managed to qualify for the final.
I want Denmark to be good, as a matter of fact, after their entries the two previous year, I not only WANT them to be good, I expect them to be sensational, because in my eyes and my ears the 2010 Danish entry Chanée and N’evergreen – In a moment like this, is almost as good as it gets when it comes to Eurovision Songs, only topped by the 2009 Danish entry Niels Brinck – Believe again, which for me might actually be on my top 5 list of Eurovision Songs Ever! And even though they don’t rank as high on my list as the mentioned two songs, I also really liked the Danish entries in the 5 years previous to 2009, and of course the winning song from 2000 is just excellent!
This year then… I’m not impressed, it’s not a bad song, it’s quite good actually, but as mentioned, I expect more from Denmark now, they’ve spoiled me, and the song New Tomorrow is just good and nothing more, but perhaps that’s enough?
Denmark – 5 points

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Eurovision Song Contest: Croatia, Bulgaria and The Netherlands

Daria - Celebrate

Croatia has participated in every Eurovision Song Contest since their debut in 1993. They’ve come in 4th place twice, and twice they’ve also not managed to qualify for the final. One of my top 10 Eurovision songs ever is actually from Croatia, that was in 2005 when Boris Novković sung Vukovi umiru sami and came in 11th place.
Celebrate is another one of the songs that is neither here nor there for me. It’s a fast, happy party-song, but there is something lacking. There are better songs in this category this year than this. It just doesn’t leave a lasting impression on me.
Croatia – 4 points

Poli Genova – Na Inat

Bulgaria is fairly new to Eurovision Song Contest, first participating in 2005 and coming back for every competition since then. Unfortunately for them, they’ve only managed to qualify for the final once, in 2007, when they came in 5th place.
As with Croatia and their entry this year, this is one of those songs that I neither like nor dislike and one second after I’ve heard it I’ve already forgotten how it goes. But it doesn’t annoy me or torture me, and I will give it an extra point for being in what I assume to be Bulgarian and not English.
Bulgaria – 4 points

The Netherlands
3JS – Never Alone
The Netherlands is one of the countries that has been in the Eurovision Song Contest since the beginning in 1956. They’ve only missed 4 competitions in all those years. They’ve won the competition 4 times, the last time in 1975, with the great song Ding-A-Dong sung by Teach-In. Unfortunately The Netherlands has also failed to qualify for the final the last 6 years. Personally I think their 2003 entry was very good, when Esther Hart sung One More Night and came in 13th place, I also quite liked last year’s entry, Sieneke – Ik ben verliefd, which didn’t qualify for the final.
This year’s entry: now here’s a song that makes me happy, that I find myself humming after it’s ended and I want to hear it again. I don’t think it’ll win or even be in the top 10 though, it’s not that special, even though I quite like it, but I do hope that this will be the hear that The Netherlands finally again qualifies for the final.
The Netherlands – 5 points

Eurovision Song Contest: Romania, Iceland and Malta

Hotel FM - Change

Romania first entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994 and has participated 12 times since then. They’ve come in 3rd place twice, in 2005 and 2010, and their worst place is number 22. My personal favourite from Romania ended up as number 10 in 2003, Nicola – Don’t Break My Heart.
This year’s entry for Romania is just a bit too naïve for me. It’s not truly bad, the song is ok and doesn’t hurt to listen to, but still, it doesn’t really do the trick for me.
Romania – 4 points

Sjonni’s Friends – Coming home

Iceland’s first year in Eurovision Song Contest was in 1986 and they’ve only missed out on once competition since. They’ve ended up in 2nd place twice, in 1999 and 2009, 3 times they’ve failed to qualify for the final. I found it truly unfair that they didn’t qualify in 2007 when Eiríkur Hauksson sung Valentine Lost. I also really loved Iceland’s entry last year, Hera – Je ne sais quoi, and I thought it would’ve done a lot better than number 19 in the competition, what a voice!!
Being from Norway of course means that I am paying a bit extra attention to the participants from the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland) and often I find that I like them, probably because we have pretty much the same cultural background and history and thus also have the same music culture. And I also want them to be good! But Icealand, I’m sorry, this is probably a year when you won’t qualify for the final. The song is ok, but nothing more or less, even though I’m trying to like this.
Iceland – 4 points

Glen Vella – One life

Malta participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 3 times in the 70s, but after that withdrew from the competition. They had their come-back in 1991 and has been in every competition since. Their best places are as number 3, in 1992 and 1998, 3 times over the last 4 years they’ve failed to qualify for the final. One of my personal favourites is from Malta and was their 2001 entry, when Fabrizio Faniello sung Another Summer Night.
As usual I quite expected another huge ballad out of Malta, because quite often that seem to be what they do for Eurovision, and they really have some great singers on that tiny island. This year however, it’s not a ballad, and this is one of those happy, swinging songs that I quite like.
Malta – 5 points

Eurovision Song Contest: Poland, Ireland and Turkey

Tul - Jestem
Poland first appeared in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994, and has only missed one competition since. Their best place was actually in their first year, in 1994, when they came in number 2, in the last 6 years, they've only managed to qualify for the final once.
This year’s entry is one of those songs that I don’t hate, but don’t exactly love either, there are a lot of those this year. The song’s got a good beat and it’s just… ok.
Poland – 4 points

Jedward - Lipstick

Ireland entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 1965 and has only missed out on 2 competitions since then. They have won the competition an amazing 7 times, 4 of these victories came in a time period of 5 years: 1992 – 1993 – 1994 and 1996, which also was the last time they won. In the last 6 years, they've not qualified for the final 3 times, and when they have qualified they have not done very well. Some of the best Eurovision songs have come out of Ireland, like: Niamh Kavanagh – In your eyes (winner song of 1993) and Eimear Quinn – The Voice (winner song in 1996). And of course, Johnny Logan, the most winning artist in Eurovision Song Contest history is also from Ireland. He won the competition for Ireland in 1980 with the song What’s another year, and then again in 1987 with the song Hold me now. He also wrote the winning song of 1992, Why me?, it was performed by Linda Martin.
Ireland is one of my favourite countries, and just not in Eurovision Song Contest, it just is a great country where I love to go. And so much good music, good IRISH music, has come out of this country. I guess that is why I've always got so huge expectations that we’re going to get something great and IRISH from Ireland, but quite often I am disappointed, which is what’s happening this year.
The first time I heard Jedward performing Lipstick I just thought. NO! I want something else from Ireland, I hate this. Well, I've come to realize, I don’t really hate the song, it’s not bad, it’s not half bad actually, but it still nags me that this is Ireland and the song is not typically Irish so:
Ireland – 4 points

Yüksek Sadakat – Live it up

Turkey has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 32 times since their first entry in 1975. They’ve won the competition once, in 2003, with the excellent song Everyway that I can sung by Sertab Erener. They have never failed to qualify for the final, and their worst place ever is number 22. There has been some truly great songs that have come from Turkey in the contest: Athena - For Real (number 4 in 2004), Kenan Doğulu – Shake it up Şekerim (number 4 in 2007) Hadise – Düm Tek Tek (number 4 in 2009).
This year’s entry is also something I quite like. A light rock’n roll song, reminding me a bit about lots of stuff I've heard before, stuff I've liked, so that is maybe why I like this as well. Not the best song ever, but still something I can hear more than once:
Turkey – 5 points

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Eurovision Song Contest: Ukraine, Italy and Armenia

Mika Newton - Angel

Ukraine has been in every Eurovision Song Contest since their début in 2003. They have won the competition once, in 2004, with the truly excellent song Wild Dances sung by Ruslana. Their worst placement was number 19 in 2005.
As for this year, a bit too much screaming for my taste and a ballad that doesn't really give me very much, rather boring really.
Ukraine – 3 points

Raphael Gualazzi – Madness of love

Italy used to participate in most Eurovision Song Contest from 1956 until 1997, but after that they opted out of the competition, so 2011 is a come back for Italy. They have won twice, in 1964 and 1990, but the song I really want to promote when it comes to Italy in Eurovision is their act from 1958 which came in 3rd place: Domenico Modugno – Nel blu, dipinto di blu. It is hard to pick my number 1 of all Eurovision Songs ever, but this would be one of the top 5 candidates. Love it! Love it! Love it!
As for this year’s song: Italy has so many good songs and good singers, and they have had some great songs in the past, so I had quite high expectations this year when they’re finally back in the competition. But… It starts out quite well, a jazzy, swinging thing in Italian, and I’m thinking I quite like this, but… about a minute and a half into the song, the singer switches to English and jazzes it even more up, and it just doesn’t work. Sorry, Italy, after having stayed away for such a long time, I expected a lot more from you:
Italy – 3 points

Emmy – Boom Boom
Armenia first entered the Eurovision Song contest in 2006 and has participated in every competition since then. Their best place is number 4, in 2008, the worst is number 10 in 2009, which means that they have done fairly well in this competition so far. And I quite liked last years entry Eva Rivas – Apricot Stone, which had a very catchy refrain.
And that is pretty much what can be said for this year’s entry as well: I quite like it, and it has a catchy refrain. I would not be surprised to see Armenia ending up among the top 10 again this year.
Armenia – 5 points.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Eurovision Song Contest: Israel, Albania and Sweden

Dana International – Ding Dong

Israel first entered Eurovision Song Contest in 1973, since then they've participated in the competition 33 times. 3 times they have won the competition and twice they have not qualified for the Final. This year’s artist representing Israel, Dana International, has actually won the competition before, in 1998, with the song Diva. Personally I think that the winning songs of 1978 Izhar Cohen & the Alphabeta: A-Ba-Ni-Bi and 1979 Gali Atari & Milk and Honey: Hallelujah were better. My all time favourite Eurovision song from Israel though was in 1987 when two guys called Datner & Kushnir sang a funny song and did a Blues Brothers act along with it.
ut back to this year, when Dana International is once again entering the competition and the song is… ok… nothing more, nothing less, doesn't exactly bore me but doesn't exactly excite me either.
Israel – 3 points

Aurela Gaçe – Feel the passion

Albania’s first participation in Eurovision Song Contest was in 2004 and since then they've participated every year. Their best place ever is number 7, in their first year 2004 when Anjeza Shahini sang The Image of You, a song that I quite liked, twice they've not qualified for the final.
As for this year’s song, it’s one of those ok minus songs… Hard to grade because it obviously isn't good, but among those that are in the bottom half of the table, how bad is it really? When I first listened to it, I gave it 3 points, when I listened to it again today it just felt to noisy and annoying, so now I'm down to a:
Albania – 2 points

Eric Saade – Popular

Sweden’s first time in Eurovision Song Contest was back in 1958 and since then they've only stayed away from 3 competitions. They have won 4 times, the first time with the extremely famous Abba – Waterloo in 1974 and the last time in 1999 with Charlotte Nilsson – Take me to your heaven, also an extremely good song if you ask me. Last year was the first time Sweden didn't qualify for the final, and I worry about them this year as well.
I always used to say that Sweden would always have a good Eurovision song, much better than Norway, but in the last few years, I've not liked at all the songs that Sweden’s come up with. The last time they really had a huge favourite for me was when they came in number 5 in 2006 with Carola and Invincible.
This year it’s Eric Saade singing Popular. First of all, I have to state the obvious, the drumming on this song is taken directly from Boney M – Rasputin, just had to say it, because for me, I think it is the drumming that is so attractive with this song. Ok, so the song itself isn't THAT bad, it’s a fast, party-song, and the guy is handsome, but… I’m not too keen on his voice. I keep thinking, this song would've been a whole lot better with a better singer. It is hard to predict if they’ll go through to the final, the song is not half bad, but still reminds me of so much that’s been done before – but then again, it is very catchy and even though it’s not one of my favourites this year, this is still the song that I keep humming to myself all day through.
Sweden – 5 points

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Eurovision Song Contest: Belarus, Georgia and FYR Macedonia

Anastasiya Vinnikova – I love Belarus

Belarus had their début in Eurovision Song contest in 2004 and has been in every contest since then, though never done very well. 5 out of 7 times they've not managed to qualify for the final, but they did end up as number 6 in 2007 with Dmitry Koldun – Work your magic, which I didn’t find half bad at the time, I quite liked it. This year though:
The melody is not the worst I've heard, quite fast and rhythmic, but then the refrain comes... and honestly… I love Belarus??? What kind of a refrain is that for a Eurovision song, it’s just… I can’t see myself singing along with this song this summer, humming to myself whilst out walking I love Belarus…?? Come on! But as I said, the melody is ok, with some other lyrics this might have been a bit better, but for now:
Belarus – 3 points

Eldrine – One more day

Georgia has been in Eurovision song contest 3 times since they first entered in 2007, and I must admit they haven’t manage to make a lasting impression on me so far. They have ended up as number 12 – 11 and 9, and the song this year I don’t even think will make it to the final.
It doesn't start out too bad, but then Eldrine gets to the refrain, and it just seems like they’re trying too hard, and then there’s the rap… it seems to be one of the huge things in Eurovision this year, so far I’ve counted 3 – 4 songs doing that, and I still don’t care much for it. This song ends up being a little bit all over the place, but it’s got its moments so:
Georgia – 3 points

F.Y.R Macedonia
Vlatko llievski – Rusinka

F.Y.R Macedonia first entered the Eurovision song contest in 1998 and has participated 10 times since then. Except for the last 2 years when they didn't qualify for the final, they usually seem to end up somewhere in the lower half of the final list. And this year, well, I do think they’ll make it through to the final, how far up on the final list they’ll end I don’t know, but I'm pretty sure they won’t win.
I always give at least one extra point to the countries that sing in their own language, as they do with Rusinka. Huge parts of this song is actually not half bad, there is a part about two thirds in that I could do without, but other than that I find this song quite catchy and I can’t help but mostly like it.
F.Y.R Macedonia – 6 points