Batch No. 2 of Reviews and the Beginning of the 30 Day Eurovision Challenge

One of the things that always ends up exasperating me is the fact that I can never finalize a list. For example, if iTunes decides that I’ll listen to the Norwegian entry five times in one day, that might give that song an advantage over another entry I like more and consequently, my list changes. There’s also my unending desire to design, and redesign, and redesign, brushing aside my ultimate goal of consistency.

Right, graphic design isn’t the topic of this post (hopefully, at least). I’ve had enough of that in the past few days. I’ve got eight songs up for review tonight (I’m writing at 0:02 my time) and some other stuff so let’s go!

ESC 2013 Reviews: Places 34-27

Country Song Artist Place Last Year
Azerbaijan Hold Me Farid Mammamov 5th
Ukraine Gravity Zlata Ognevich 27th
Moldova O Mie Aliona Moon 36th
Macedonia Pred Da Se Razdeni Esma & Lozano 25th
Albania Identidet Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko 26th
Israel Rak Bishvilo Moran Mazor 9th
Romania It’s My Life Cezar 19th

Starting from the bottom, like always:

There’s always that one entry that ends up as the bottom song on everyone’s list. Last year, it was either Georgia or Montenegro and the year before, it was Croatia. This year, it seems to be Romania. And, while I don’t care for Cezar’s divisive vocal, the song itself if passable Eurodance that would not be out of place in the Euroclub in Malmö.

IBA decided to hold the largest KDAM selection ever with 30 songs and a Second Chance round. While most of the songs were pretty forgettable and bland, there were five songs I preferred to this one. Moran’s vocals are quite laudable and, as a vision impaired person, I also like her glasses. However, the song is just okay. Sort of generic.

Albania is one of those countries, like Montenegro and Italy, that almost never sends a typical “Eurovision” song. And that can either end well, like for Rona Nishliu last year or it might not, like for poor Rambo Amadeus. This entry is more like the latter. It’s a quality song but just isn’t my taste.

After picking a song and presenting it in late February, the team in Macedonia decided to swap their entry to this song, which sounds like it was cobbled together in about one day. Belarus faced a similar problem in 2011 and we all remember how much of a failure that was (15th place in a weak semi-final). I predict the same for this entry, even though Esma’s parts sound EPIC.

Former backup dancer turned singer Aliona made the almost-unheard of change to Romanian after winning her NF with the English version of her song, which had the best line of the 2013 season: “The Maya were not so wrong, it’s the end of the world. It’s done. Cause you are gone.” Aside from losing that gem, the song just is a tad too repetitive.

While everyone else fangirled over this, I wasn’t very impressed. But that was with the “unfinished” national final-version. The team behind this certainly did a good job at polishing the song, but in the process, they took a lot of personality out of the song, pulling it even further down my list. But with Zlata’s gorgeous vocals, Ukraine will have no problem.

When they hosted last year, everyone thought that Azerbaijan was finally done with trying so hard to win by sending Swedish imports. Well, they’re still trying, only now they’re using songs from Athens rather than Stockholm. This is super bland and I hope it struggles in the final. However, this formula of a pop ballad did earn them victory in 2011, which faced the same problem we’re facing this year concerning how open the field of songs is. Hopefully, that nightmare is averted and the top 10 is filled with quality songs.

Hmm, this reminds me of something. Something really wonderful and successful, but far better than this. Ah! “Quédate Conmigo” déjà vu? Yes, this is another G:Son song (I hope he takes a break soon) but this doesn’t even come close to approaching the intensity and emotion that Pastora Soler brought to Baku last year. Georgia was obviously striving for a result analogous to Ms. Soler’s (10th) but, with their competition, they’ll be sorely disappointed.

The Euro-Challenge: Days 1-3

Right, so I’m going to do the 30 Day Eurovision Challenge. However, since my Eurovision online presence is separate from my general one (this blog notwithstanding), I’ll end up doing this in chunks, for efficiency’s sake. Also, for most of these, I’m limiting myself to contests including and after 2008, since that’s what I’m most familiar with. I hope to expand my breadth of Eurovision knowledge soon. With that out of the way, here are my prompts for the first three days:

  1. Song from your favorite contest.
  2. Least favorite winning entry.
  3. Favorite winning entry.

Day 1: Pernilla Karlsson – “När Jag Blundar” (Finland 2012)

Out of the six years I can choose, my favorite contest was by far 2012. So, to save my favorite song for another category, I’ll kick off with my second placed number: Pernilla Karlsson from Finland! Pernilla sang “När Jag Blundar” (When I Close My Eyes), which was a touching ballad about a mother’s love for her children. In the difficult first semi-final, Finland finished 12th, failing to qualify with either the televoters or juries. I have a very loving mother so whenever I hear this song, I’m touched by her love. It’s just fantastic. The only thing I’d change would be the staging, as in the first rehearsal, the Finnish delegation had a beautiful shade of ice blue that would’ve worked so much better than that awful red.

Day 2: Dima Bilan – “Believe” (Russia 2008)

Again, from the past five winners, my least favorite would easily be Russia 2008. There’s nothing overly offensive about Dima Bilan’s winning song, but the fact that it beat amazing songs like Portugal, Iceland, San Marino, Serbia, etc. to get there isn’t okay at all. Also, “Believe” is the perfect case of the epidemic known as “Eurovision English,” where singers, predominately from Eastern Europe, sing in English with ridiculously thick accents.

Day 3: Loreen – “Euphoria” (Sweden 2012)

While I love most of the winners, something about our current champion just really floats my boat. Enough’s been said about the fabulous Loreen already, so I’ll just leave you with my absolute favorite performance of “Euphoria” at the MTV World Stage in Göteborg (Gothenburg for those who don’t appreciate superfluous Swedish) in June 2012. Enjoy.

Peace all.

-Nick

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Posted in 30 Day Eurovision Challenge, Eurovision 2013

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