Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Norway - 2012

Norway have chosen Tooji to represent them in Baku. He will sing Stay.

Now is it me, or does everyone agree that Tooji is a 2012 version of Eric Saade? The same image and a similar song. And because of that, I'm not that excited about this song. I had great love for Popular, and even though Stay isn't as good as Popular, it's still brilliant. It's just, I feel I saw the exact same thing last year so it's naturally not as good. The good thing for Tooji is that he isn't a direct clone of Eric Saade, and they both had different paths to reach Eurovision, and I'm sure this will work in Tooji's favour if they are ever compared in the media.

But I feel I have already said all there is about Stay. It's catchy and dance-y, which will go down well with the crowds in Baku, but as I said, it has a very "Popular" feel about it and I don't know if the juries will mark the song down on this alone. I'm sure the televoters will pick up for this song all across Europe, and who knows, a Top 5 position may be on the cards if Tooji gets a good draw. Performing 16th in the Second Semi Final means this song will no doubt reach the final.

Song rating: 7/10
Liklihood to win: 6/10

Current odds: 16-1         (oddschecker.com)

Monday, 23 April 2012

Moldova - 2012

The Moldovans have given some great novelty acts over the year, and I can say they are a guilty pleasure of mine! This year? Pasha Parfeny with upbeat number Lautar.

Yet again, the Moldovans don't disappoint. Lautar is just brilliant! The lyrics are simple and basic, but the song doesn't need deep or interesting lyrics. The jazzy tunes does all of that. In case you were wondering, Pasha is singing about a trumpet. It's all just crazy and fun, and takes me back to 2009 when a man called Alexander Rybak stormed the ESC with Fairytale. That song was simple with a fun tune, and it was so effective. Lautar isn't quite as good as Fairytale, don't get me wrong, but it does have something quite brilliant about it. As for Moldova in Eurovision... well they don't do that bad. since their debut in 2005, they have only failed to make the final once, and despite not achieveing a top 5 placing, they don't fair too badly. Pasha Parfeny is pretty unknown in terms of Eurovision, and will not have any name recognition in neighbouring countries, but we can probably rely on Romania (or Ukraine) to give them 10 or 12 points. However, in my opinion, Pasha won't need it as Lautar will score just fine on it's own. Not a winner, not by a long way, but the song is fun and catchy and will definitely feature in the final after getting a good semi-final draw (17th in the first SF). I predict Moldova will finish in the middle of the board... anything higher would be reasonable though!

Song rating: 7/10
Liklihood to win: 4/10

Current odds: 66-1              (oddschecker.com)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Estonia - 2012

And for Estonia this year, ballad Kuula by a man called Ott Lepland.

As mentioned, Kuula is a ballad, and will be performed in Estonian. Ott Lepland has fame in Estonia, winning a Reality Talent Show and having released albums as a child, and so he seems perfect for Eurovision; young, yet experienced. His recognition in Estonia should rub off on Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia, and could gain him some vital points if necessary. The song, when translated to English, has almost bland lyrics, but fortunately, they do not appear in any way boring when performed. Ott Lepland has a raspy, almost husky voice, which adds great vocal talent to Kuula. The ballad is sung with great passion and emotion, making it a really good song. Perhaps if the song went on longer, it could get boring, but 3 minutes is sufficient for providing something powerful and moving. Estonia have been unfortunate in recent years (Urban Symphony providing an anomlie to that of course, just pure brilliance that song!) but Ott will perform 14th in Semi Final 2. It differs greatly from the songs around it and so there is no doubt Kuula will stand out. With the experience Ott has, Kuula will be performed with power and grace, resulting in final placings surely for Estonia. Will it win? Unlikely to, but then it depends on the draw. I'm sure Ott is praying not to perform anywhere near the start, but could Ott compete with Roman Lob of Germany even if he does get a late draw? We'll have to wait and see.

Song rating: 6/10
Liklihood to win: 4/10

Current odds: 33-1         (oddschecker.com)

Bulgaria - 2012

Representing Bulgaria in 2012 is Sofi Marinova with Love Unlimited.

Sofi Marinova is huge in Bulgaria. She has been singing for a vast number of years, and is loved in Bulgaria. Some people view her as the greatest artist in Bulgaria at the moment. Neighbouring countries will definitely know of her and her fame will automatically count in her favour. The song? Love Unlimited is a catchy eurodance-like pop song with the lyrics "I Love You" sung in ten different European languages, as well as many other lyrics containing languages from many other European countries. Although it was stated the song was not written specifically for Eurovision, the multi-language effect gives me the feeling that this song was written with ESC at least in the mind. After hearing some live versions of the song, Sofi's vocals appear strained and in places, screechy, but her musical experience should not let her down when it comes down to the business, and I am sure she will pull off a good vocal performance. But, is the song good enough? Yes, the song is definitely catchy, but the song isn't strong and seems, well... "messy". The composition and lyrics all could do with some tidying up, and the lyrics feel stressed, as if the writers are trying to squeeze in as many languages as possible. Sofi will perform 8th in Semi Final 2, immediately after Ukraine's catchy song Be My Guest. Will Sofi Marinova be able to stand out and compete with Be My Guest? We will have to wait and see. If Bulgarian history is anything to go by, some Sofi Marinova fans may find themselves to be disappointed when the final comes round.

In my opinion, the song is hurrendous, so if you disagree, please explain why you love it so!

Song rating: 2/10
Liklihood to win: 2/10

Current odds: 66-1      (oddschecker.com)

Azerbaijan - 2012

Azerbaijan follow their win with When The Music Dies by the beautiful Sabina Babayeva.

Since joining the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008, Azerbaijan have proved to be an extremely successful nation. They have finished 8th ('08), 3rd ('09), 5th ('10) and of course won last year. Running Scared was definitely a brilliant song (I don't think it was the best song by a long way, but then I wasn't unhappy with their result) and Azerbaijan fully deserved to win after consistently entering a strong song. Could they win the double though? Well out to do that is Sabina Babayeva. She is a good artist, and like Kurt Calleja of Malta, has continually tried to represent her country for the last few years. With a similar team of lyricists and composers to Running Scared, When The Music Dies is another beautifully written and heartfelt song. It evokes emotions, telling the story of fighting for a love in a powerful metaphor. Double this with the power that Sabina pours into the song makes this song a sensation. There is no doubt that Azerbiajan will get more than 12 points from just Turkey, and the only thing that could keep this from winning is the draw. Azerbaijan will perform 13th in the final, and depending what performs before and after When The Music Dies will definitely determine how much Sabina stands out. But what you can't take away from Azerbaijan's 2012 entry is that it's purely outstanding and deserves a top 5 place at minimum. A lack of support in this years polls will prove to be nothing when Sabina takes to the stage. I would say Good Luck, but Sabina probably will not need it!

Song rating: 10/10
Liklihood to win: 8/10

Current odds: 28-1      (oddschecker.com)

Malta - 2012

Next for review - Malta! And this year, Malta have chosen Kurt Calleja with the song This Is The Night.

3 times lucky, this was Kurt Calleja'a third attempt to represent Malta in Eurovision, and this attempt is a good song. In my opinion, this entry is brilliant and is a great listen, however, Calleja has not got any name recognition in Europe and the song appears to be doing poorly in polls. The song is good, but I think all would agree, it has no wow factor, and isn't a stand out. Last year, Malta were agnosingly close to qualifying for the final last year, missing out by a mere point. In the last 5 years, Malta have qualified once for the final, and even then, finished within the bottom 5. This year, they perform 4th in Semi Final 2, in between Belarus and Netherlands. Combine this with the lack of wow factor, the fact that he is not well known, all means that Kurt Calleja is unlikely to qualify for the final, so has a poor chance of winning. I do not believe that this song will get the justice it deserves in the final, but Good Luck to Kurt!

Song rating: 8/10
Liklihood to win: 1/10

Current odds: 80-1    (oddschecker.com)

Bosnia & Herzegovina - 2012

Moving on to the second song I will look at, I randomly selected Bosnia & Herzegovina's 2012 entry.

And this year? Maya Sar and her song Korake Ti Znam.

Maya Sar is fairly well known in Bosnia & Herzegovina having a few hits over the last couple of years. Eurovision fanatics may remember her backing vocals on Dino Merlin's Love in Rewind from last years contest, which finished an impressive 6th. Whether the song was good or not, Dino was always going to attract lots of votes from neighbouring countries with his name. Even though Maya has name recognition in neighbouring countries, she may not get the same attraction in points as the widely famous Dino. However, we can probably rely on Serbia to give Maya at least 12! But to the song though! In my opinion, Korake Ti Znam has a similar feel to say Love Will Set You Free; it is soothing, classy and packed with emotion. The song is nice and enjoyable, but you can't really describe it with anything stronger than "nice". Will Bosnia & Herzegovina win in Baku? Probably not. The song certainly will get into the final, and with a good draw, will finish in the top half of the table, but not a Eurovision winner.

Song rating: 6/10
Liklihood to win: 3/10

Current odds: 60-1      (oddschecker.com)

United Kingdom - 2012

Being English, the first country I had to start reviewing was the United Kingdom!

So the UK entry this year? Old crooner Engelbert Humperdinck with love ballad "Love Will Set You Free"

And what to make of the Hump? Well there is no doubt about it, this entry is smooth, classy and packed with emotion. After hearing him belt out those notes, especially towards the end, it is fair to say the Hump definitely still "has it". In my opinion, this song has really got something great about it, but there's something quite not there. Difficult to put you're finger on, but the song is missing something. As well as that, is this song not a little bit too serious? It feels as if the UK is trying too hard with this song, which certainly is a change from say 5 years ago when the UK entered Scooch. Add that to draw of songs for the final, and with the UK performing first, a win for the UK seems unlikey. Nevertheless, you can't take away the fact that this song is a good, strong song. And on the night, there is nothing to say that the Hump will not do better than Blue last year.

Song rating: 8/10
Liklihood to win: 4/10

Current odds: 10-1    (oddschecker.co.uk)


Welcome to my unofficial Eurovision Song Contest blog!

With just around a month to go until the 2012 contest, I will be analysing this years songs, as well as looking back over history at some of the most memorable entrants (for the right and the wrong reasons).

There is no infringement of copyright intended. Unfortunately, some photos or videos I will post will not be my own, and I do not own the right to any of them.

Posts will include my opinion, and I would welcome you to express yours as well!

Enjoy :)

Chris - site owner.