Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Final of the 57th Eurovision Song Contest - the results!

Wow! What a show last night! In the end, the results threw some interesting and rather shocking positions, but there was the ever-so predictable 1, 2, 3 for Sweden, Russia and Serbia. Well Done to everyone though, I thought everyone was fantastic, even if I was using some acts as a toilet break last night (cough, Denmark).

Loreen took the crown with 372 points, which is much more than I originally thought. But lets be honest, she deserved it! Euphoria was a great song, very catchy, and hugely entertaining. It was a brilliant performance and I'm already excited for Sweden 2013! So glad for the Russian grannies as well, they were loved and they would always feature. And Zelijko from Serbia may not have had the best song, but hey, he's famous, we'll let Serbia off for that one! After a very underrated Caroban from last year, I'm very happy they were able to pull off a top 3 performance! Azerbaijan scored a very impressive 4th. I have loved Sabina and When The Music Dies since I first listened, so congrats to her!! A big shock though, Albania in 5th! And she got a few 12's as well! I was astonished. I could see the juries perhaps appreciating it, but I could not see Europe voting for it...nevermind, there is always a rogue one up there (Mika Newton from Ukraine in 2011 for example).

Down the bottom, Norway were unfortunate to finish last, I thought there were worse songs. But to be honest, Tooji was starting to get on my nerves so much that I'm kind of glad that he finished bottom. He had too big an ego for my liking. And the United Kingdom in 25th! I couldn't believe this! Yes, the song may have been very boring for many, and we did perform 1st, but it was the Hump for goodness sake! He's massive, isn't he? Perhaps the Eurovision audience has just got too young. Hungary finished 24th, and I can understand why. Sound of our Hearts never really set the world alight for me... Should've Known Better didnt't do too well for Denmark, which makes me kind of happy, I mean it was another slightly boring song if we're all honest. And poor France and Malta...very good songs which ended up not doing too well.

It's great news for the big 5 though! Despite poor finishes for France and the UK, Spain, Italy and Germany all scored a top 10 finish! This is excellent news. I have a feeling that one year we will all finish in the bottom 5 and everyone will start questionning our legitimacy as to whether we should be allowed automatic qualification. This might not be agreed by everyone, but yes we do deserve it! If it wasn't for us, the Eurovision wouldn't really exist, the EBU would probably have ceased to exist due to financial problems, and there would be such an uproar that I could see us all withdrawing from Eurovision. Now that would just be silly, but it would be damn right the end to Eurovision as we know it. Before you know it, it would be EASTvision as I couldn't see Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands sticking around either.

Anyway, back to the results, my favourite Moldova scored an impressive 11th place. I really thought he would feature, but nevermind, he was never a fan favourite anyway. Well Done Pasha! I think he should be proud of an 11th place finish! Jedward on the other hand...only 46 points! What were you thinking Europe? We all know they deserve better, but let's be honest, they'll be back next year! Ha!

I am looking forward to seeing the breakdown of Televoting and Jury voting. I have a feeling that the Hump could have done a lot better with the juries...and Sweden might not have done quite so well with the juries. But we'll have to wait and see! Also intrigued with Albania as well...

In the meantime, Austria, Albania, Belarus, Hungary, Netherlands and Sweden have already stated their intention to be part of ESC 2012. Will anyone withdraw? I can see the return of Armenia and Poland, but I don't think 2013 is a big year for any European country? I might be wrong, but they could all be back! And there is news, that if they get the funding, Liechenstein will debut next year. I hope they do, we could do with more western countries...surely the Faroe Islands could become a member of the EBU...and what about Monaco and Luxembourg? I think it's time for their return. And Morocco, I'd welcome them back, they could give Spain and Portugal some vital points. I think I'm getting way too optimistic now! Haha, brilliant if they could all compete though!

And have no fear readers, the blog won't be shutting down now Eurovision 2012 is finished! I'll be blogging all year round. In fact, I'm already preparing a list of my 100 favourite songs from Eurovision of all time. That'll cause some controversy on the site...haha!

Thankyou to all my readers in the past month! I hope I haven't annoyed any of you too much! And if you don't come back till next year, then see you in a year folks. I'm already looking forward to 2013...especially to see what famous act the UK represents us with after the flop of the Hump. Perhaps we could have a reunion of the Spice Girls? If they don't win, then there is something very wrong in Europe!

Chris :)
The biggest Eurovision geek who is still a teenager. I'll be 20 in a year's time. Now that's scary.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Final thoughts!

So here it is...after months of anticipation, excitement, controversy and MUSIC, the final of the 57th Eurovision Song Contest is upon us. What a year it has been since Ell & Nikki stole the crown in Dusseldorf, but I feel many will agree when I say that it has been another typical year for Eurovision.

Let's begin with the withdrawals of Poland and Armenia. Poland announced that they were withdrawing due to financial reasons. Which lets be honest, is fair enough seeing as they are hosting the European Football championships in a few weeks time. However, Armenia have a completely different story. Armenia withdrew as they were cautious about the safety of their participants. Armenia and Azerbaijan have had political difficulties for a long time. Let us not remember what happened in 2009 over the two countries...

Switzerland announced that Sinplus would be their representatives what feels like years ago...and finally, the UK were the last country to announce their participant in March of this year. And it was none other than huge international star, Engelbert Humperdinck. If I was Serbian, I definitely would have been annoyed about this. Zelijko Joksimovich is pretty famous, but has nothing on the Hump! And what about Sweden? Ever since we first heard Loreen perform Euphoria in Melodifestivalen, she has been hot favourite to take the crown. Their last win was 1999, and so is it right in saying they are long overdue a win? Probably not when you look at the Portugese record... Jedward were chosen to represent Ireland again, and even though they were not popular in the fan polls, they certainly stormed the stage with a performance that trumps Lipstick from last year. Kaliopi thought she would have another crack. In 1996, she didn't qualify in the pre-qualifier, and Crno I Belo was maybe not the best pick, but it proved to be successful with final qualification! And then of course there is Jonsi, returning with partner Greta Salome. Iceland were a fan favourite, and with a performance like that, I'm sure they can pull off a credible position this evening!!

So before we knew it, we were in Eurovision week! And even more controversy. I'm sure a lot of BBC viewers tuned in on Monday to see that documentary on Azerbaijan (cough, human rights record). Ott Lepland caused a storm when he missed rehearsals, but who could tell? Ott has an amazing voice, and hopefully Estonia can pull off a much better finish than Getter Janni's Rockefeller Street from last year!

The semi finals? Tuesday saw little shocks, but it was all on Thursday. No qualification for Eva Boto and Slovenia? It was a brilliant song but unfortunately, she couldn't quite make it. Through all the ballads, it's fair to say she was one of the better performances on Thursday... The Netherlands couldn't do it yet again! You have to feel sorry for the dutch. Joan Franka's "You and Me" was a cracking song, probably the best for years, but it still couldn't make it. Here's hoping for something even better next year, with a better draw! 3rd did them no good.

And now we are here. 20 mintues away and the final is about to start. I'm sticking to my guns, Sweden are going to win. But Serbia will cause them problems no doubt...and you cannot rule out Russia, Moldova and Ireland, who will no doubt feature. Pastora Soler was told to lose...could Spain avoid another bottom 5 finish? Let's hope so. The Big 5 all have amazing entrants this year. Could they all feature in the top half?

Good Luck to all countries and finalists! The final of the 57th Eurovision Song Contest begins 20:00 on BBC, 21:00 CET and 00:00 in Azerbaijan!


Thursday, 24 May 2012

The draw for the final!

01 - United Kingdom              - Love Will Set You Free      - Engelbert Humperdinck

02 - Hungary                           - Sound of our Hearts            - Compact Disco

03 - Albania                            - Suus                                     - Rona Nishliu

04 - Lithuania                         - Love Is Blind                       - Donny Montell

05 - Bosnia & Herzegovina   - Korake Ti Znam                   - Maya Sar

06 - Russia                             - Party For Everybody            - Buranovskiye Babushki

07 - Iceland                            - Never Forget                        - Greta & Jonsi

08 - Cyprus                            - La La Love                           - Ivi Adamou

09 - France                             - Echo (You and I)                 - Anggun

10 - Italy                                - Lammore e femmina            - Nina Zilli

11 - Estonia                           - Kuula                                    - Ott Lepland

12 - Norway                          - Stay                                       - Tooji

13 - Azerbaijan                     - When The Music Dies          - Sabina Babayeva

14 - Romania                        - Zaleilah                                 - Mandinga

15 - Denmark                       - Should've Known Better       - Soluna Samay

16 - Greece                           - Aphrodisiac                           - Eleftheria Eleftheriou

17 - Sweden                         - Euphoria                                - Loreen

18 - Turkey                          - Love Me Back                        - Can Bonomo

19 - Spain                             - Quedate Conmigo                  - Pastora Soler

20 - Germany                       - Standing Still                         - Roman Lob

21 - Malta                            - This Is The Night                   - Kurt Calleja

22 - FYR Macedonia           - Crno i belo                             - Kaliopi

23 - Ireland                          - Waterline                               - Jedward

24 - Serbia                           - Nije ljubav stvar                     - Zelijko Joksimovic

25 - Ukraine                         - Be My Guest                          - Gaitana

26 - Moldova                       - Lautar                                     - Pasha Parfeny

The draw for the final...continued...

Just like on Tuesday, the press conference is not only a post-qualifying chat with the winners, but it's where the draw happens for the final. After it's done, all finalists will know their position allocated for the final, and then we will be ready!! As I said on Tuesday, it's important to remember that the draw is vital! If you want to win, it's almost certain that you have to perform near the end. So here we go...

Lithuania - 4th

Bosnia & Herzegovina - 5th

Serbia - 24th

Ukraine - 25th

Sweden - 17th

FYR Macedonia -  22nd

Norway - 12th

Estonia - 11th

Malta - 21st

Turkey - 18th

NOW! This is very interesting indeed. Loreen grabbed herself a second half performance in 17th, but it's not quite near the end to give her such a concrete win...especially considering what is coming afterwards. Željko Joksimović is massive in Europe, he is ridiculously popular amongst Eurovision fans, and his fame will gain him many a point...he has also bagged himself 24th. This will very much play to his hands and he could steal the show (Kaliopi is relatively famous, and bagged herself 22nd, but if Crno i belo wins Eurovision then I will eat my own leg). Then again, Jedward could also steal the show! They are 23rd, have a really fun performance, and their fan numbers are growing in support rather quickly. They could steal the win, but if not, I expect they will challenge. And how about Moldova? Yes I am hyping it up at the moment because I love the song, but Europe will surely love it too? Lautar is really European friendly, and people will appreciate it all over Europe no doubt. Pasha Parfeny has an amazing performance which people will love, and it's obvious the juries are going to really like this. Moldova will perform last. People may have made up their mind by then, but Moldova could challenge also...and there is a chance that we may be off to Chisinau next year. NOW THAT WOULD BE EXCITING!

Also really chuffed for Kurt Calleja of Malta. 21st should fingers crossed get him on the left hand side of the voting scoreboard.

But anyway, I think in the end it will come down to Sweden vs Serbia. But then, I was completely wrong about Israel, so I could be completely wrong about that too. Italy are also favourites...and you cannot rule out those Grannies either! Mentioning the oldies, Engelbert Humperdinck is also going to be a stand out. Talk about the fame of Željko Joksimović, the Hump has 3 times as many fans in Europe! That should score the UK lots of points too (I'm hoping!!). 
Tomorrow (or Saturday) will feature a big update of the final, and how the running order effects each song. I'm sure I will have completely changed my mind by then on who I want to win anyway.

The 57th Eurovision Song Contest will start 00:00 in Azerbaijan, 21:00 CET, 20:00 in the UK. Hope you all have your plans sorted! :)

Second Semi Final: The Results

The second semi final is now over too! We are now ready for the final! It is rather exciting. We have the final 10 qualifiers from tonight, and here is a quick recap of who made it:

Lithuania - Bosnia & Herzegovina - Serbia - FYR Macedonia - Sweden - Ukraine - Norway - Malta - Estonia - Turkey

Again, I predicted 8 out of 10 right. I'm feeling pretty king-like at the moment, so sorry for being too cocky. I think most Eurovision fans like myself will still be shocked at the fact that Slovenia didn't make the cut! Slovenia had a very powerful ballad and Eva Boto had great vocals. They just didn't quite make it. I am sooo sooo happy for Kurt Calleja for making the final! Malta qualifying is another shock! Was a great advocate of This Is The Night, and a long time ago it was my favourite by a long way. I did decide to vote for him and it helped pay off. Well Done Malta!

The not so shocking moments...even though I didn't think Kaliopi would make it, she did. Unfortunatelty. I must just miss something with Kaliopi. She does have European name recognition, but seriously? I'd much rather listen to Rona Nishliu's whale sound effects on repeat than hear Crno I Belo. It's dreadful people! Sorry any Macedonian readers, I really do have nothing against you at all! Another moment which didn't shock me was Slovakia not making it. I predicted them to make the final, but perhaps not enough rock fans were watching in Europe tonight. It was a gamble, but it just didn't pay off. Nevermind. Max Jason Mai sounded like he was just recovering from laryngitis tonight, hence why he didn't make it.

This semi final has made me appreciate other songs more. I was nervous that Malta weren't going to make it, so I am delighted that Kurt has reached the final! I now like This Is The Night lots more again. I really really like Ott Lepland and Kuula (Estonia). It is a much better song than I remember. I feel even more sorry for the Netherlands. They had their best song for years and still didn't qualify. But this semi final has reminded of how certain Sweden probably are for that win. Loreen's performance is incredible, even if I don't want Sweden to win. I have decided that other than the UK and Ireland, I am completely rooting for MOLDOVA! Pasha Parfeny is brilliant, Lautar is a cracking song, and they put on a bloody good performance. A UK, Ireland, Moldova 1, 2, 3 please? Ha ha! Good Luck to all the finalists though! :)

Looking forward to this draw as well...maybe I won't be so certain that Loreen will win if she get's drawn fourth. We shall have to wait and see...

AND OH! Maria, Dima, Alexander, Lena, Ell and Nikki. Weren't they amazing? I really wasn't expecting a rendition of Waterloo. They were brilliant. Unlike Eldar's hosting skills. So glad Scott and Sara picked up on that in the BBC commentary. Robot! Anyway, they were great as usual! Not as great as Graham Norton though, who will commentate on Saturday. Literally buzzing for that!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The draw for the far...

So during the press conference tonight, the winners of the first semi final are allocated their position for the final...the same will happen on Thursday too...NOW, any Eurovision-phobes may be under the impression that where you perform doesn't really matter, but how wrong you are! If you don't perform in the last 8 (shall we say) then you really won't win at all. You have a chance of challenging the top 5, but no hope of winning. See why it's a bummer the UK will perform first!!

Romania - 14th

Moldova - 26th

Iceland - 7th

Hungary - 2nd

Denmark - 15th

Albania - 3rd

Cyprus - 8th

Greece - 16th

Russia - 6th

Ireland - 23rd

There is no point properly analysing the draw until all the countries have qualified. It gives a good idea of how it will go, and if 2 countries are similar, which will do better!

But what we can take from this is that Romania and Greece perform too close for both of them to succeed. I'm hoping Romania do better and I think Europe is too. As previously said, it doesn't matter where Russia perform as the Grannies will be remembered right to the end. But they have got 6th position. Their final result will be interesting. Ireland bagged a brilliant 23rd and Moldova took maybe one of the best places with 26th. I think both will challenge the top 5. I am in love with Pasha Parfeny and Lautar now...routing for Moldova all the way...and have been in love with Jedward since their first X Factor audition all those years ago...


And Good Luck to all of Thursday's semi-finalists. Once the draw is done, will Sweden be such strong favourites? 4th place is still up for grabs...

First Semi Final: The Results

WOW! The Eurovision Song Contest 2012 kicked off just under 3 hours ago and we are already halfway there to the final! Here's a quick recap of the finalists that made it to that grand final on Saturday:

Romania - Moldova - Iceland - Hungary - Denmark - Albania - Cyprus - Greece - Russia - Ireland

So I predicted 8/10 correct. Not bad going I don't feel. Hungary made it, which I wasn't too upset about. It is a nice song, and they did perform near the end so they stood a good chance! Albania also made it...not too sure why, but then there are a lot of Southern European countries in this semi, so perhaps some cultural voting had something to do with it. Austria didn't...which didn't really surprise me, they were after all an outside chance of qualifying. They performed near the end with a fresh yet different performance, it was just Europe didn't like it. And Israel didn't make it through! Well, okay, perhaps I did get Izabo completely wrong. They were either going to be a hit or miss and I was starting to convince myself they were a definite hit. But they were a miss. Nevermind, I never actually raved about the song in the first place, so should have trusted my ears rather than instinct...maybe the lead singer's awful fashion (I refer directly to the hoops) didn't help...

But what I have decided after this semi-final? WELL I am in love with Jedward even more...get ridiculously more excited than I thought I would when the Russian Grannies came on, and have decided that I am in love with Pasha Parfeny! He represents Moldova. I actually love him. Moldova are now one of my favourites! Lautar is a brilliant song...The Moldovans put on a bloody good performance...And Pasha Parfeny is pretty fit, let's be honest.

So glad Iceland got through as well! I somehow knew they would, but after performing second and still making it, they stand a bloody good crack at making the top 3, if not, winning the show. And that would make me very happy as I would win some money out of it. Oh yeah!

Well Done to semi-final 1 qualifiers! Good Luck for the final! Roll on Thursday and semi final 2!
When the draw for the final has taken place, I will update you!

The Eurovision Unofficial 2012 Winner Prediction

First Semi Final Qualifiers:

Second Semi Final Qualifiers:
Bosnia & Herzegovina

#1 - Sweden
#2 - Spain
#3 - Romania
#4 - Iceland
#5 - Cyprus
#6 - Italy
#7 - Russia
#8 - Serbia
#9 - Azerbaijan
#10 - Norway
#11 - Ireland
#12 - Moldova
#13 - United Kingdom
#14 - Germany
#15 - France
#16 - Slovenia
#17 - Estonia
#18 - Turkey
#19 - Denmark
#20 - Bosnia & Herzegovina
#21 - Austria
#22 - Slovakia
#23 - Ukraine
#24 - Israel
#25 - Finland
#26 - Lithuania

I suppose that will ALL change when the draw for the final has been released. I probably haven't even got the prediction of the qualifiers right. Predicting countries like Slovakia, Austria and Lithuania to qualify without Greece etc is a bold decision. But nevertheless, I believe this is how it will end up on Saturday night.

Predicition is based on a points system. Points were awarded on the basis of pre-poll winners, the draw, the performance, the song, the betting odds, the country's history in ESC, and who will naturally do better in front of all of Europe.

Sweden were the overwhelming winners...Spain edged just in front of Romania who edged just in front of Iceland. Despite finishing 24th on my prediction, I still would not be afraid of putting a bet on Israel to win. They are the real dark horse of this year's competition!

Once more, GOOD LUCK TO ALL :)

Automatic Qualifiers: Live Rehearsals

1) United Kingdom - I shall try not to be biased here, but Engelbert Humperdinck looks absolutely perfect on stage. He is accompanied by a male and female dancer, and a guitarist. The ballad is sung with such grace and spine tingling notes that people will naturally enjoy this everywhere. As we reach the end of the song people could get quite bored and so the dancers give us something to keep us intrigued ...but the focus returns to the Hump as we reach the end of the song. As I said, those spine tingling notes are brilliant. An elegant yet beuatiful performance. The Hump has name recognition and with a song + performance like this, he will surely do well. It's so aggrivating that he has to perform first!

2) France - This is also a very good performance. Topless (and sweaty) dancers always go down well with the crowds, and there is so much energy in this performance that I can see the song being appreciated for what it is all across Europe. There are some funky boxes and electrifying lighting, as well as Anggun's trail, which I thought was hair. Now I just think it's light material. If something upbeat performs before France, then it may struggle next to this. If this was in a semi final, I would say that it would be a strong qualifier.

3) Italy - Slowly going off this song so will try not to be too one-sided. But this isn't BORING. Literally, I was watching it, the next thing I know I was looking out the window day-dreaming. The performance is still playing now as we speak and I haven't even bothered to watch the end. I just know that I haven't missed anything good. Sorry Italy. Performing after France (10th) will do no favours to Nina Zilli. Once again, how is this third favourite? I would doubt this as a qualifier if it was being performed in the semi finals. Especially if it was performed in the first 6.

4) Azerbaijan - This is as stunning as ever. Sabina's vocals are beautiful, the dress is show winning, and the lighting effects (especially on the dress) are incredible! Just stunning.

5) Spain - Well Pastora Soler has just completely trumped Sabina Babayeva. And she does it ALL through the power of her voice. In the last 3 days, I have watched toooo many ballads (especially piano ballads) to remain completely interested. This had me hooked from start to finish. It's ridiculously emotional, and Pastora's vocals are sensational. There have been so many ballads, that it hasn't just been my interest which has gone, but the whole effect they have has gone too. This has brought them all back. This was incredible. A show stealing song no doubt. After watching this, I am literally gunning for Spain like never before. She performs 19th...can that mentality last for me and the rest of Europe till the end of song 26 though...?

6) Germany - A very strong vocal and very nice performance, and this works REALLY well in Roman Lob's favour. After watching the Spanish performance which blows you away, you kind of do want something that is easy listening, otherwise it is just too much at once. Standing Still is a slow rock song and so it naturally just works really well in this running order. I don't personally think this can compete with Spain but then again they are two very different songs and could both end up doing pretty well as they perform near the end.

WELL, THIS IS IT. That is all the song reviews...all the live rehearsals...and this evening it all kicks off. The First Eurovision Semi Final will begin tonight at 21:00 (CET) and for BBC viewers, BBC3 will broadcast the event from 20:00. Good Luck to all countries participating and to Baku of course! I am sure Azerbaijan are going to put on one hell of a show, which will just be mind blowing. There is one more blog post I will do before this evening...and that is who I believe will win...

Monday, 21 May 2012

Second Semi-Final: Live Rehearsals

1) Serbia - Well, I must say I am impressed. I was slightly too critical for such a big star when I gave the song it's review, and so I am sure this will make up for it. The fact is Željko Joksimović isn't just stood on stage singing, perhaps with a nice pianist...the guy is on stage with instrumentalists who get involved in the performance. It makes it so much more interesting, which is a good thing because the song, you can't deny, is a bit disappointing. I even got goosebumps at the first key change. That could've been because the heating isn't on, but nevertheless, a good start. I don't know how memorable this will be though towards the end...

2) FYR Macedonia - I really don't have anything against the Macedonians, but I still detest this song. Following on from Željko Joksimović, Kaliopi really needs to make her mark in order to be remembered. When it starts, I genuinely was already thinking, let's hurry this one up and get on to the next. It's another bloody ballad. When the rock music kicks in, I did get woken up and actually enjoyed the performance for a bit. Does Kaliopi know how to move though? Yeah she can throw her head back, but she didn't move her feet once I don't think...she could at least jump up and down during the bridge or something?!

3) Netherlands - THE HEADDRESS MADE IT TO EUROVISION! It's an odd performance though...I mean why is Joan Franka stood one side of the stage with a random tambourinist, while the other musicians are stood the otherside? Maybe they will actually do something when it comes around to Thursday night. I don't think this performance is that memorable, but the song will be nice relief from what we have just had, and the backdrop is pretty cool. I think what saves this is that headdress. It's a winner in it's own right.

4) Malta - FINALLY! Some true Eurovision here, with a bit of glam, some funky lights and an exciting performance which will get the crowds off their feet. Kurt Calleja actually does something, but so do the rest of people on stage, yet we still are mainly focussed on Kurt. His vocals seem to have improved drastically since the Maltese National Final and there is real life in this performance. It's cracking staging and this really took me by surprise. After a disastorous draw for Malta, they really are trying to make the most of it. However, it is still 4th...I can't say how memorable this will be in 10 songs time...

5) Belarus - Yesterday, I praised Switzerland for their brilliant use of putting on a performance or a rock song without stupid costumes and stupid gimmicks. Well Belarus do exactly the opposite. What on earth is the lead singer of Litesound wearing? Why on earth are their microphones made up of old material found in a garbage dump? It just makes it look silly. Like the background though. Didn't enjoy that, but I'm afraid for Malta, this will look really similar...don't know which one the European audience will prefer, but I stand a pretty good guess at Belarus (unfortunately).

6) Portugal - This really stands out, and Filipa is wearing a really memorable dress. It's all Portugal really need to get their mark down with this ballad as their are so many ballads in this semi final. Her vocals are incredible, and it's all in Portugese. Perfect draw coming straight after Belarus and before Ukraine. The only problem I can see from a European perspective is perhaps it goes on a bit too long? Portugal do exactly what they need to do though! It's really quite impressive.

7) Ukraine - Great entrance! Like a true diva! This is really good, loving the use of technology hear, and some great colours. Gaitana focuses on the vocal and not doing some silly dancing, which will score well with the juries because it's a brilliant vocal. I think Gaitana get's lost in the images of the crowds though...bit unfortunate. Still a solid performance that they have spiced up by doing something different with the staging.

8) Bulgaria - Sofi Marinova does NOTHING but sing. With a song like Love Unlimited, something needs to happen, but nope, it's jsut Sofi on stage. This is awful! Following Ukraine, Bulgaria really need to do something to show off too, and they need to do something to show that their catchy eurodance song is better than Ukraine's. All of it makes this even worse than it already is. Still, at least the vocals are a little more sharpened. One thing Sofi...lose those god awful hoops!

9) Slovenia - Slovenia have picked up on the fact that there are too many ballads in this semi final for all of them to even be remembered. They haven't done something stupid though, and have incorporated some dancers with a beautiful choreography into Eva Boto's performance. Slovenia should be very proud of this. The vocals are brilliant and really show off Eva's great voice. I can see this being a pretty firm qualifier at this rate.

10) Croatia - Seeing as there are so many ballads, Croatia successfully do something to spice up Nebo. The staging is pretty similar, but the performance is mixed up with some nice choreography. But the "nice" choreography isn't that much better than Slovenia's and the dancers take so much focus away from Nina herself that this performance feels a little lost. Still, I am completely comparing this to Slovenia and so without them going before this, Croatia would have been so much better. BUT, that is what the audience will do. and probably the juries too.

11) Sweden - So any chance of Croatia qualifying has gone. Sweden's Loreen's performance is incredible! I still am not as hyped up as everyone else over the song, but the performance of Euphoria is just amazing. Loreen really knows how to sing and dance at the same time, and the staging and choreography is so much better than it could have been. Yes, we already saw it during Melodifestivalen, but who needs to change it? It's so good! I mean, she dances like a witch in parts, and after studying commedia dell'arte, she definitely does dance like the witch character archetype...but it adds Euphoria a real natural and different element. At first, I was very much like, who is this random guy she dances with at the end...but the guy is needed to make sure we don't lose interest of Loreen dancing round like crazy for 3 minutes. Pure brilliance from the Swedes.

12) Georgia - Whatever Georgia do, they really have little chance of qualifying performing after Sweden...however Anri Jokhadze really does give it a good go. There are some pretty hot dancers, and Anri's start gets me pretty interested. He plays the drums and other instruments and I do actually enjoy it. BUT the song is absolutely bonkers so the performance needs to be absolutely bonkers too. However, it's not. The performance is too normal for the song and this really doesn't stand a chance of qualifying. Sorry Georgia! This will end Georgia'a 100% qualifying record.

13) Turkey - The dancers incorporate the theme of the song well, with their cool physicality of using their long cloaks to form a ship. The performance won't set the audience alight though and I really wasn't that fussed. I found the performance alright. Maybe its because after seeing Sweden, everything is now looking mediocre. Going after Georgia may not do Can Bonomo any favours either, comparisons could be made between the songs as they are both pretty Southern European. It's an alright performance. That's it, sadly.

14) Estonia - Beautiful. That is the only word to describe Ott Lepland's performance. Returning to the ballads is actually really really nice following Sweden, Georgia and Turkey. It's just Ott Lepland stood on stage singing, and not like Iris from Belgium in the first semi final. Ott has stage presence and his vocals are insanely good on this track. As I said, beautiful.

15) Slovakia - This is actually very, very good!! As a true hard rock song everything is in place to give a solid rock performance and that is what Max Jason Mai does so well. He seems to know exactly what to do, get out and rock it. Such a mix up from Estonia as well, which is brilliant for Slovakia, as this comes across really fresh and I really am starting to doubt if pre-polls will show for anything on Thursday as I think this could easily qualify. Rock is growing ever present and popular in Europe and Eurovision is starting to get more and more rock songs as the years go on. I think it'll defy the odds after such a strong performance, and Slovakia and MJM will qualify!

16) Norway - And again, another fresh sound...another different song and image! Starting with a back flip, you know straight away where Eric Saade is going with this. Damn! I mean Tooji. Sorry, I had to do that. Tooji has nothing on Eric Saade!! Still though, it's a well polished, slick and suave routine which will impress everywhere in Europe. Vocals seemed off key to me, but hey, maybe Tooji had a sore throat or something. I feel he needs to do something else to wow viewers though. Smash some glass perhaps? Ha ha. Very strong chance of qualifying.

17) Bosnia & Herzegovina - Beautiful! Again! It's just a piano and Maya Sar, and lucikly for Estonia, this is a ballad by a woman...Maya Sar brings so much elegance and wears a ridiculously glittery dress which is true diva and elegance at the same time. Stunning performance, thoroughly enjoyable. Beautiful!

I'm dreading this one already...

18) Lithuania - Okay, I take it all back! I hate the song, but Donny Montell pulls off a fab performance! The vocals are incredibly strong and he has fantastic stage presence. The staging is simple but effective. Not too sure why Lithuania have gone for the backdrop they have because it doesn't really fit but then again, I do like it. I actually really enjoyed that performance. Will Europe though? Soo soo glad it does go into upbeat, because this would have been awful as a ballad!

BEST performances: Sweden, Estonia, Slovenia
WORST peformances: FYR Macedonia, Belarus, Bulgaria
Most surprising: Lithuania
Least suprising: Norway (really enjoyed the performance, but just knew Tooji was going to do exactly this!)

Qualifiers: Serbia, Ukraine, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, Estonia, Slovakia, Norway, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Lithuania

Sunday, 20 May 2012

First Semi-Final: Live Rehearsals...

1) Montenegro - Any chance of qualification requires this to have brilliant staging. Not too sure what on earth is going on with the banner and the horse and so on, but then I have no idea what's going on with the song to be fair. The song is bonkers, they staging is bonkers, it's all just right. Brilliant staging? No. Montenegro need to go further if they want to qualify. I'm hoping they surprise us on Tuesday...perhaps it is a trojan horse they have with them on stage? Barack Obama could get out and start rapping too. Now that would be interesting.

2) Iceland - Sensational staging. So proud to have them in the sweepstake. The backing singers fill the space well, and the backdrop is brilliant. Jonsi looks pretty suave and Greta's violin playing is brilliant. The staging is perfect, there are no stupid gimmicks, although the stare off they have at the end makes me think they are about to go into a shoot off. Nevermind, that awful bloody pause halfway through has gone! Such a contrast from Montenegro...definite qualifiers!

3) Greece - Really nothing special. Thoroughly disappointed. With the media going round saying how she is nothing different, she really could have done something with the staging and mix it up. But she didn't. What on earth is with the shells? She could've least incorporated them into the performance!? Really regret raving about Eleftheria now. The dancing isn't that great either. I am really doubting as to whether this will actually qualify...

4) Latvia - So this is still as terrible as ever. Poor Johnny Logan... What get's me is that Anmary starts off by having a chat with the girls and then they all seem to get excited and it's very much teenage girl sleepover. Teenage. Anmary even mentions she was born in 1980. Anmary is not a teenager, so what on earth is she doing? I suppose the staging could have involved some terrible gimmicks, so at least it's pulled back. I expect there to be a horrible gimmick on Tuesday though, otherwise I will be disappointed.

5) Albania - The staging really suits this, and really is just solely focussed on the vocal, which by the way is just amazing. Rona Nishliu really pulls it off. Again, this is stripped back, but if it wasn't, it would be very much like "huh?" After watching it though, and I pray that Rona takes out the god awful luminous earring thing, I sort of think that she doesn't really fit the song. But let's remind ourselves of how bad the song is though. I would be surprised if this qualifies.

6) Romania - Apart from the fact that she can't really sing and dance at the same time, this will be a brilliant performance! It needed to be really fun and it is. From the glammed up instruments to the cheeky dance routine, Zaleilah really gets the staging it deserves. I'm slightly concerned about the fact that I am more interested in what the instrumentalists are doing than what the lead singer is doing, but that doesn't really matter. The juries might feel the same though, and they wont like that.

7) Switzerland - Switzerland do exactly what they need to do. They do not dress up as monsters, have anything creepy going on, or have some sort of weird female dancer parading herself around. They perform a rock song the way it should be performed. The lead singer is the main attention, there is some silly guitar playing, and the girl on double bass looks like she is trying to feature in "that" Robert Palmer video. Just one problem (again): DICTION!

8) Belgium - Love the song, she seems really sweet...but the performance is soooo boring that I'm afraid even I'll use this as a toilet break. Iris has absolutely no stage presence and this will be forgotten very, very quickly. The background is nice though. Bubbles.

9) Finland - I think Pernilla is under the impression she is Irish. She is wearing green with bright red hair. Only the Irish can pull that off. Ha ha. I take back my earlier negatives about this song, it's actually quite nice when performed live. Because Pernilla follows Belgium, she really needed to up the game to avoid looking like another lifeless singer stood alone on stage...and so the celloist adds so much to this performance that it pushes into a strong qualifier. The fire effects in the background are really nice as well. However, that is the problem. Everything is "nice". This performance will certainly not blow the roof off.

10) Israel - The song is fun and bouncy and takes me to the 70s. The performance matches this. It's fun and bouncy and has a 70ish feel to it. Loving the clockworks in the background and this is definitely a memorable performance. I told you that their experience would be immediately evident! This is similar to Switzerland's performance though, and kind of puts clouds over it sadly. The one problem I have is that the lead singer is theee scariest man with a really creepy smile. It freaks me out. Europe like weird though, don't they?

11) San Marino - Oh My God. Hahahaha! This song is just hilarious. So glad there is a laptop in this performance. Without the gimmicks I would have cried. This performance NEEDS gimmicks badly. The funny thing is, this is memorable. More memorable than others... I'll be watching this in enjoyment too. Okay, forget I said all of that, roll on Cyprus! Oh and... IT'S NOT EVEN A SONG!

12) Cyprus - This performance is slick and effective...there is a definite theme and Greece could really take a leaf from Cyprus' book. The dancing is good, then the dancing is great, and the use of levels is done really well too. Was kind of expecting something like this, but then the staging and performance is brilliant, so it doesn't really matter if I was expecting it or not. One down side...vocals could do with some sharpening...

13) Denmark - After Cyprus, this was incredibly dull. I have seen Soluna do this so many times already, and skipped most of the performance, expecting perhaps something else to happen. Denmark really does not benefit from going after Cyprus. It's sounds boring and the staging is pretty boring. I will give some credit though...Soluna's hat is cool.

14) Russia - The Grannies. They are amazing. The choreography, the costume, the staging, the's all there! I'm really annoyed though, because I can't see what's on the baking tray! I assume it is a baking tray? Anyway, memorable, amazing, and actually pretty fresh from all the modern commercialism we have already had. This song is going to do really, really well!

15) Hungary - After Russia, I'm really, really not fussed about what Compact Disco are doing. Especially because Israel and Switzerland were able to do it so much better... the performance needs to be a lot more exciting because the song goes on and on and on...not good! Also, does anyone agree that Compact Disco sound like they should be made up of adolescent boys? Sound Of Our Hearts feels too teenage for the ragged looking lead singer of Compact Disco.

16) Austria - This is surprisngly a really slick, professional performance. The choreography and dance take you by suprise, but it's balanced out by the pole dancers, and everything is so so much better than I imagined! This will really wake you up after Hungary have performed, and the LFX halfway through add even more "jazz". Trackshittaz really pull this out the bag! I can see Europe immediately appreciating this, and the good thing is, it's memorable. So if it qualifies, which I think it has a high chance of now, it could end up doing well. Austria's draw is perfect, and I really wouldn't be surprised when this qualifies. Love the performance, loving the song even more now! Brilliant.

17) Moldova - The song is really fun, and so is this performance! Pasha Parfeny brings it, the dancers bring it, the choreography brings it, there is no unnecessary stupid thing though, WHERE IS THE TRUMPET? Ha ha ha ha. No seriously, the end of the first semi final becomes fresher and fresher, and I think Pasha will really benefit from performing near the end. This isn't that memorable, but peforming second to last means this really will be a strong contender for qualification. I really enjoyed watching it, really like the song, and I am positive Europe will really enjoy this too...and will vote as it's near the end!

18) Ireland - Itsssssss Jedward!! COME ON! These guys definitely bring it to the stage. They have little choreographing, but they don't really need it, they seem to know that their doing, and if they forget, they just start jumping around. And that's what Jedward are all about! Love the fountain...not so much the cheesy Eurovision heart, but nevermind. It's a good performance, good staging, they follow on from Moldova well and finish the evening nicely. I don't know how the Irish government are affording that fountain though... hahaha! WELL, I think we can already presume these guys are in the final...will they finish higher than 8th though?

BEST of the evening: Iceland, Romania, Russia
WORST of the evening: Latvia, Belgium, Hungary
Most suprising: Austria
Least surprising: Greece

10 qualifiers...
Iceland, Romania, Finland, Israel, Cyprus, Denmark, Russia, Austria, Moldova, Ireland.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Ireland - 2012

Here they are...the's John and Edward.

I am a massive Jedward fan. I can't even do this review without any bias. I will summarise this REALLY quickly.
Jedward are amazing.
Jedward should win Eurovision this year.
Waterline isn't the best song, but its' better than Lipstick.
Lipstick was Jedward's entry for Ireland last year. They finished 8th.
Jedward had a small European fanbase when they entered last year. It has grown massively since last May, and now they have fans scattered all over Europe.
Jedward and Waterline have done poorly in the polls, but so what? Lipstick did, and everyone knows Jedward are all about the performance and what they do on the stage.

Song Rating: 10/10
Liklihood to win: 7/10

Current odds: 20-1                         ( (on average)

San Marino - 2012

Valentina Monetta. The Social Network Song. Oh Oh Uh Oh Oh.

I... I um... Yeah... What the... IS THIS EVEN A SONG!??? What on earth is this? I have never heard such Eurovision nonsense in all my time. I mean, is this serious? Or is this meant to be a novelty act? All apologies to Valentina Monetta for sounding rude, but oh my days, I can't even comprehend this. THIS ISN'T A SONG. It is someone singing about a certain social networking website. I just don't even know how to describe it. You are seriously going to have to listen to it for yourself to make your own mind up. I mean, you have poor entries, you have awful, terrible entries, and you have novelty entries. And then, this year, you have this. Who made up the San Marino internal selection jury? Like, were they all drunk? Even if you were drunk, you still wouldn't be able to justify choosing this. They must have been high, that's it. OR, Valentina Monetta could have been the ONLY choice for representing San Marino, and so they wouldn't of had any choice but to pick her. Goodness knows, this is just something else. I recently complained about the Belgian entry, and how Iris sung about things which usually 17 years olds know nothing about. Well, this might be a bit ageist, but surely the same thing applies to this? I think Valentina is about 37...and "social networks" are generally used by students mostly, and so why on earth is a 37 year old going to sing about cybersex and Facebook? I just don't understand any of it. Nothing about this song is good. But, again, IT'S NOT EVEN A SONG! Do you know what though? I am praying that this will qualify. It would be absolutely hilarious! If it won, that would make me even happier. Literally, this is SOO FUNNY.

Song Rating: 0/10                     (IT'S NOT A SONG!)
Liklihood to win: 0/10              (Armenia and Poland have a greater chance of winning. Eurovision fans will know what that is funny).

Current odds: 250-1                   ( (on average) (I know! ONLY 250 to 1)

Sweden - 2012

Well, here it is... the HOT favourite. Sweden are represented by Loreen and the song "Euphoria". Everyone is loving it: the bookies, the critics, the fans and so on. This is the first year in a while that we have had a favourite like this, who is destroying all the others. Euphoria will either challenge that "Fairytale" record, OR will do something similar to Popular from last year... be a favourite, but not quite win.

So wow. What a song. To be fair, you can see why this song is so popular, because it is brilliant. It does have that unbelievably catchy "uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh", and not in the way San Marino has. This doesn't feel like a cheap euordance song, this is a classy, well written and well composed dance song. Loreen has some amazing vocals which are really shown off in Euphoria, and this is a cross-cultural powerhouse anthem. But enough of me bigging it up. I think its now getting so popular that people are starting to not notice the bad parts of the song. One, it's bland. It's bland in the tune, as it is really competitive, and the lyrics are quite boring. It couldn't be a good acoustic song, let's say that, whereas Running Scared, Satellite, and Fairytale could. Two, Euphoria is way too "commercial" to win. Not commerical in the way that "Believe" and "Satellite" were because they broke away from the traditional commercialism in Eurovision, but this is too fitting to be a winner. Sounds crazy and a bit stupid for me to suggest, but I can't see people voting for this because it seems too perfect for Europe. If none of that makes any sense, then ask me questions on expanding what I mean, but for those that do know what I'm getting at, I'm sure you can agree. There is no doubt that this will qualify and challenge the top 5 places even if it does perform 2nd. Who knows, if it gets drawn 2nd in the final, this could be the first ever winner of Eurovision to have performed 2nd.

Personally, there is nothing more dull than having 5 countries left to vote and it's pretty obvious who the winner is, apart from when there is a complete runaway from the off. I enjoyed the 2009 voting, even though Norway completely stole the show. But voting such as in 2007, 2008 and 2010 was incredibly boring. It would be amazing if we could have a similar voting pattern to that of 1988 or 2003 please? I really don't want to have known that Sweden were going to win Eurovision, even before all the countries had chosen their representative. In fact, I think ever since Loreen first performed Euphoria on Melodifestivalen, Sweden have been hot favourite. How boring if it actually did go on to become a winner.

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

Current odds: 7-4                          ( (on average)

Romania - 2012

Introducing the band Mandinga and the song "Zaleilah"

Zaleilah is a mixture of different instruments and is sung in both Spanish and English. It is "another" catchy eurodance song, which to me, feels really summery, and will fit in well with the theme of this year's Eurovision, "Light your fire!". Mandinga are a well known band in Romania, and so they will be heard of in the neighbouring countries, and the sound is definitely southern European, and so will be popular in the countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and so forth. However, I think it is fair to say that Zaleilah will be popular pretty much everywhere because of how fun it is and how catchy the chorus is. People will be singing and dancing to this right throughout Europe and the fact is, this has done well in pre-polls, so naturally, we can tell its already popular. On first lesson, I am unsure as to whether this will blow the audience away though. For me, it was very much a grower and not a shower. And yes, that was meant to be cheesy. But anyway, right now, I love this song and I feel the Romanians should be proud of this entry! Romania have a horrible draw, in the first half of the first semi final, along with Greece and Cyprus, so this could be one of those songs that shocks everyone by not qualifying. However, I fail to see that happening. Romania have a 100% qualification record, and I really fail to see Zaleilah being the casualty of that. If this qualifies, it will show how popular a song it is though on merely first lesson...and will only grow into a more popular song by the time the final comes around. If it gets a good draw, not performing near Sweden in particularly, then Romania could well bag themself their first win. This song has the power to do that. The one slight issue could be the weakness in the singing. Dancing will have to be top notch.

Song Rating: 10/10
Liklihood to win: 9/10

Current odds: 16-1                   ( (on average)

Israel - 2012

So now we are in the last 5 song reviews. I have personally saved these last 5 songs because I have been really looking forward to blogging about them. First up, Israel.
The Israeli's will be represented by the band Izabo and the song Time.

Before I start, I literally couldn't believe it when Dana International failed to qualify from the semi's last year. I mean, the song was bad, but it was still Dana International - a previous winner! But nevermind, that was last year, this year is about Izabo. Izabo are very popular in Israel and the band is made up of pretty experienced musicians. This will definitely work in their favour in Baku. The song is pretty catchy, albeit a little different and not something you would listen to regularly, but nevertheless it is a good song. And plus, the genre of Time is pretty Indie Rock, and so it is unique to all other songs entered for 2012. I think the problem in the song might be the fact that it is just too different to be classed seriously and for enough people to like it for it to be a winner. I can't understand why it is doing poorly in the polls though, because it is such a better song than some of the other drool entered for this year. SO, overally, catchy and unique. How is it not doing so much better? I think the reason for that is because the hyped up fans like myself listen to the Eurovision entries over and over again, and as I have already admitted, I wouldn't want to hear this on repeat. Therefore, I think Time will naturally be popular when it gets played to an unknowing audience for the first time in 3 days. (yes 3 days folks!)

Israel perform halfway through the first semi final, and what's worth mentioning is that they perform before San Marino. As I said with Cyprus, anyone that performs near San Marino stand a much better chance of doing well because everyone is going to be laughing about how terrible a song that is. Izabo will be able to pull this out the bag through experience, and even though it's a risky decision, I am going to stand firm that this will qualify.

And believe it or not, I will actually put this as an outside bet for a win. Israel 2012 is a dark horse. If they perform in the last 5, they will either flop or go on to challenge for the win. And I do believe they will go on to challenge, because the ESC audience will naturally enjoy listening to this for the first time. And it is so unique, it will stand out! I could have got this all wrong, but so did the whole of Eurovision last year when the favourites included France, United Kingdom and Hungary. Did any of those finish in the top 10? Nope. Good Luck Izabo!

Song Rating: 7.5/10
Liklihood to win: 6/10

Current odds: 100-1                         ( (on average)

Friday, 18 May 2012

Iceland - 2012

Me and my friends have done a sweepstake again this year... I think the total is £40, which as a student, would be amazing to have! So I am keeping my fingers crossed for Iceland. That's the country I pulled out the hat. Iceland will be represented by Greta and Jonsi with the song Never Forget. No, don't get that confused with Take That's Never Forget. Very different songs!

This is very good song. It's emphatic to say the least. Personally, I find this too dramatic. And secretly, I preferred it in English. Nevertheless, it's a stormer! Greta and Jonsi will both pull off a really powerful performance and this year, Iceland really need it! They perform second in the first semi final, so they need to be remembered when it comes round to voting. I'm sure they will though, as this song is a truly memorable song. Something tricky about this song though, is what genre is it? I wouldn't exactly call this a ballad... it's too dramatic to be a ballad, but I suppose you could call this a guitar/violin ballad. Now, I do have a longer version, but I do pray that when they come to perform, they stop the stupid silence in the middle, which I assume is for more "dramatic" effect. The music does that enough, we don't need anymore. I think I am being too critical, Greta and Jonsi, it's fair to say, will smash this one in Baku! Their performance will be slick, moving, and powerful. And plus, I need to start being positive about this, in hope that it somehow defies the odds and ends up winning! I would love to win the sweepstake... ha!

I've got a strong feeling that this song will qualify fine, and with a late draw, will definitely challenge the top places. Maybe that's optimistic, but let me be, okay?! No, seriously, they could challenge the top 3 and end up finishing at least in the top 10 with a poor draw. There is noone really like these guys performing this year, and so their unique-ness shall give them juries scores alone. And because this has been popular in the polls, I'm convinced people all over Europe will enjoy listening to this. It just is a real shame that they stopped performing it in Icelandic.

Song Rating: 7/10
Liklihood to win: 9/10

Current odds: 16-1                        ( (on average)

This is well worth a bet my readers! My first bookies tip for this year!

Cyprus - 2012

lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala love...

haha! Cyprus this year have entered the song La La Love by Ivi Adamou.

Massively popular in Greece and Cyprus, Ivi Adamou is another former reality TV contestant who was chosen internally to represent Cyprus in Eurovision this year, and then the audience voted her to sing La La Love. I can see why, it's a very good song. It's really catchy and after one listen, you may find yourself singing "la la la la la la la" a good few hours later. Well, that is what happened to me anyway. The thing about this song is that it's not just catchy and well written, Ivi Adamou adds some very good vocals to it, and with the experience of having to sing live every week in a TV talent competition, then she will surely be able to bring off a brilliant performance in Baku.

A slight difficulty for Cyprus is qualifying for that final. They perform in the same final as Romania and Greece, with similar songs. However, they do perform in the second half, and have the bonus of performing after San Marino. Anyone performing after Valentina Monetta stands a decent chance of qualifying for the final. Cyprus haven't done well in Eurovision for what seems like aaages now and so I am really hoping that Ivi Adamou can change this. In fact, I'm pretty sure she will, because you can all see this qualifying for the final. It probably will do pretty well if it doesn't get a disastorous draw. La La Love has done well in the polls and is doing well in the bookies too!

Song Rating: 9/10
Liklihood to win: 7/10

Current odds: 20-1                                 ( (on average)

Belgium - 2012

Iris - Would You

Before I get started, I want to make you all know that I am fully aware this isn't that much of a popular song, and that yes, it's not the best. But I really enjoy it! I think this song is really nice, and really enjoy listening to. I know pretty much all of the words. Someone correctly pointed out that lyrcially, there is an issue. She is 17, singing about things that usually, 17 years old don't really know about. For example, "What would you do if my house was empty?" How many 17 year olds exactly own a house? It's a deep love song, and yes, it's another ballad. That is another huge problem. The fact is, Iris doesn't have the same depth in her ballad as say Pastora Soler or Sabina Babayeva. However, if her voice was more experienced and she was naturally older, this would be a much better song and would seem much more fitting. Wrong song at the wrong time I'm afraid. But despite all of that, I do really enjoy listening to this, and it is well written.

After watching some live clips of Iris, I don't think she will set the world alive, and performing half way through the first semi final probably means she will have a tough battle in front of her. Apart from that AMAZING song by Tom Dice in 2010, and that one that got beat by a single point in 2003, Belgium have failed to set the world on fire in Eurovision in the 00's. So I can't see this qualifying. But Good Luck to Iris. I'm hoping she can really pull it out the bag!

Song Rating: 7/10
Liklihood to win: 2/10

Current odds: 150-1                   ( (on average)

Hungary - 2012

Hungary will be represented by Compact Disco and the song Sound of our Hearts for Eurovision 2012.

It's a nice song. Similar feel to Belarus this year. Sound of our Hearts is a slow rock song with a chorus that's easy enough to sing along to, and after hearing it many times, you'll probably find yourself singing along too. I don't even know what the lyrics are, have no interest in finding out, but I always seem to try and sing along. The only bit I know for sure are "this is the sound of our hearts, if you listen.". Anyway, enough of me singing. Is this song a winning Eurovision song? Well, the funny thing is, it could be. But then again, winning songs tend to be really popular and this one isn't overwhelming popular enough to win. But on first listen, I could see audiences voting for it.

They perform near the end of the first semi final, and against the odds, I could actually see this qualifying. But it really won't win. If Hungary couldn't win with serious fan favourite Kati Wolf last year, then I'm sure as hell that Compact Disco won't be able to repeat the fate. Still they do have fans in quite a few European countries and they do have experience, so if they qualify, they probably will hope for a placing better than Kati Wolf's 22nd last year. Good Luck Compact Disco!

Song Rating: 5/10
Liklihood to win: 3/10

Current odds: 80-1                           ( (on average)

Montenegro - 2012

These guys will kick off Eurovision this year! It's Montenegro's entry, Rambo Amadeus with the song Euro Neuro.

Ummm.... well.... what can I say about this? Personally, I don't enjoy it and can see why it does poorly in the polls. However, I can appreciate parts of the song. It's a rap song. Albeit not the best rapping I have ever heard, but the quirky tune, and the humorous start does get me slightly interested. It's actually a well written song as well! And to top it off, there is a European feel to it. Forgive me, but I assume it is some traditional Montenegran instrument? If not, please do excuse me, but I think you know what I am getting at anyway. It doesn't make me want to dance the same way that funny Georgian entry does, but I could see my friends dancing to this drunk...if that helps Rambo's cause any more? Probably not. And that probably sums it up actually, not many people will take this seriously, and won't appreciate the actual content of the song. And to explain why I said I don't like it then, it is simply a song I don't enjoy listening to. BUT, it is fair to say that Rambo Amadeus is popular and will definitely bring it to the stage! He is an entertainer and I'm sure his performance will go down well in Baku! Haha.

As already stated, Montenegro kick it all off in Baku, as they perform first in the first semi final. That pretty much crucifies any chance of qualification to the final. They are yet to qualify for the final since splitting with Serbia and I fail to see Rambo breaking that tradition. Still, weirder things have happened in ESC and so we could be in for a shock (but I seriously doubt it).

Song Rating: 3/10
Liklihood to win: 0/10

Current odds: 200-1                     ( (on average)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Ukraine - 2012

The 2012 Eurovision Song Contest is now into a full swing of daily rehearsals and press conferences - and it's getting more and more exciting as the days go on! On Sunday, you should expect a BIG update of how both the rehearsals went, with hopefully some more indication of a potential winner. And on Monday, the day before it all kicks off, you should probably expect another BIG update, round-ing this year's pre-Eurovision nonsense up. And expect to hear who I think is going to take the crown too!

But right now, we are still focussed on the songs! The latest review will be of "Be My Guest", written and performed by Gaitana.

WOAH! What a voice! Gaitana really adds something brilliant to a song which is already brilliant itself. It is an updeat dance number, which has a ridiculously catchy tune, along with a "na-na-na-na-na-na-na" which is just as catchy! The lyrics are simple, but not bland, as they seem to work great with the melody and Gaitana's voice is shown off really well. Gaitana booms in her soulful vocal "From the bottom of my heart, I wish you the best, Now you can be my guest". Does it need anymore?

Gaitana is of Congolese descent, so I'm sure she is secretly praying that she doesn't do a repeat of Stella Mwangi from last year. For those of you who don't know who she is, Stella Mwangi represented Norway last year with the song Haba Haba. It was sung half in African and half in Swahili. Despite being popular with many Eurovision fans and doing well in the polls, it rather surprisingly failed to gain qualification from the semi-finals.  But I don't see any reason why Gaitana should be worried. Be My Guest is a much better song than Haba Haba! And plus, looking at that draw, you can see why Haba Haba maybe didn't do so well and not qualify. It performed near the start, which always make qualification that little bit more difficult. Be My Guest is in a slightly better position this year. It performs 7th in the second semi-final and will be followed by Bulgaria. Gaitana will leave a great impression on the stage, and I fail to see Sofi Marinova storming the show (if you didn't check out my thoughts on Bulgaria, then have a look hear:

And so what chance does Ukraine have of winning this year? Well I think Gaitana should make qualification from the semi-finals, but it's hard to predict how well this will do in the final. Again, it will depend on the draw I suppose. I mean, this could be an easy top 10 for Ukraine, or this could flop in the final, just like say Kati Wolf of Hungary did last year. And that was fan favourite! I don't know if the juries will appreciate this song, but they should definitely appreciate Gaitana's vocals! And I know there will be people voting for this all over Europe. But sadly, this won't be a winner, and that I'm almost 100% sure of.

Song Rating: 8/10
Liklihood to win: 5/10

Current odds: 66-1                          ( (on average)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Denmark - 2012

Introducing Sulona Samay with the song "Should've Known Better"

Before I start, the clip above is from Samay's first live rehearsal. It's getting so close now it's crazy!!

Anyway, I will try not to be too typical and moan a lot. I think it's purely because I am British. This song is a good song. Good might be a bit too strong, "alright" I guess. I certainly don't mind hearing it, and have heard a lot worse this year. I wouldn't particularly enjoy hearing it over and over again, and I'm positive that I won't remember this in a year's time (unless Denmark win of course). As I said, it's okay. I don't really know much about her, and can't seem to find much interesting background knowledge of Soluna. Anyone help me out? She seems to be experienced when looking on certain websites, but then again, did the Danish have any idea of who she was before she entered the selection process to represent Denmark for 2012? Probably not is my opinion.
In Eurovision, Denmark fair pretty well, especially in the last 2 years. That should help Soluna out. Also, they perform in the second half of the first semi. This is also good news, but I wouldn't imagine that would matter as Should've Known Better is a folk/country song which would naturally stand out as something different which most cultures could appreciate anyway. I think Samay will have no problem in qualifying, but it doesn't really feel like a Eurovision winner. Saying that, it is a different genre to the rest, and with recent history, a good draw could lead us to Copenhagen.
Soluna Samay does seem pretty cool, a bit more fresh, and so I'm hoping she fairs pretty well in Baku.

Song Rating: 6/10
Liklihood to win: 6/10

Current odds: 16-1                    ( (on average)

Albania - 2012

Rona Nishliu represents Albania, with the song "Suus"

I keep trying to like this song, but I just can't. I listen to half of it and then can't bare to hear the other half. It's another ballad, and so again, perhaps I am being overly critical because there are so many ballads this year, but all in all, this is just poor. It's not the fact that it isn't in English because I have said, I do love Spain, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herezegovina this year...its more to do with the fact that this song is just poor.

Albanians know of her, as she is a radio presenter and former reality TV contestant, but Europe doesn't really know her. So will the draw help her out? Probably not...5th in the first semi final. How about Albania in Eurovision? Well since their debut in 2004, they have not qualified in 3 out of the 8 contests, which is pretty fair going. When they get in the final, they fail to set the world alight, but have achieved 7th (even though that was their debut). So chances of qualifying? Small...but then again, the number of ballads in the first semi final is a lot smaller than that of the second, so that could help Rona out. Anyway, Good Luck to her for 7 days time! Yes, just 7 days now folks!

Song Rating: 3/10
Liklihood of winning: 1/10

Current odds: 150-1                              ( (on average)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Spain - 2012

NOW THIS IS WHAT I CALL A BALLAD. Passionate, Emotional, Strong vocals, Lively, Moving...just some ways in which I would desribe Quedate Conmigo by Pastora Soler.

I have very little to say, other than the fact that this song is just beautiful. It shows all these other ballads how it's done. Bring it on Pastora Soler!

Will this win? Spain haven't been in the top 10 since 2004 and their last win was 1969. It's been a while. The only other ballads that I can see giving this trouble are Love Will Set You Free (UK) and When The Music Dies (Azerbaijan) (and possibly that Serbian bore, because of the fame of the artist). Luckily for Spain, both the UK and Azerbaijan will perform before hand. If the Icelandic entry is classed a ballad, then that will also be troublesome for Spain, but if Iceland and then Sweden both get poor draws for the final, then we could be well off to Spain next year. Seriously. I am going to suggest it, ESC in Spanish sun. This has the power of Molitva. I have now even gone that far.

Song Rating: 9/10
Liklihood to win: 9/10

Current odds: 20-1                     ( (on average)

FYR Macedonia - 2012

Don't get me started, it's another ballad from a former Yugoslav country. Let's just say that.
FYR Macedonia have entered Kaliopi with Crno i belo.

People rate this song. People have voted for this song in the polls. They enjoy this. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? Nothing against the Macedonians, but I just really don't rate this. I think this is absolutely terrible. Yes, Kaliopi has a large fan base in her home country, and the former Yugoslav countries also rate her, but that will be the only thing getting votes as the song is poor. Maybe it wouldn't be that poor if there were less ballads this year and I wasn't comparing it so some real standouts, but I just can't see how people enjoy listening to this. Sorry Kaliopi. Will it qualify? I bloody hope not, but then again, at least that would give me a toilet break during the ESC. Performing 2nd, to be followed by lots and lots of ballads and much better songs. Not going to qualify.

Song Rating: 1/10
Liklihood to win: 1/10

Current odds: 150-1                  ( (on average)

Austria - 2012

Trackshittaz. Woki mit deim Popo.

These two have well established themselves in Austria, and are starting to make a real impression on Europe! Haha. On first listen, I just love it. It's hilarious, and you can't avoid the laughter when hearing "F*** him in the popo". But listening again and again just makes me think more and more, what the actual f***!!!??!?!?!??? It really isn't that good. And they aren't that good as rappers. The talent isn't the best, but you have to admit, they really do bring it to the stage. And as I said, on first listen, I loved it. So there we are, most of the ESC audience will only hear this for the first time on the 22nd May, and if it qualifies, the 26th May. But will it qualify? Well, the song alone just feels so amateur and novelty-ish that I assume half will see it as joke act that isn't to be taken seriously. The other half will probably appreciate the humour, however, I am unsure if this will inspire them to vote. Especially after seeing the draw for the semi final... they may perform near the end, but at the very end are two boys who haven't just got national name recognition. They have popularity steadily growing fast througout Europe...and will definitely be remembered from last year. Trackshittaz vs Jedward is a tough one to call, but on face value this probably won't qualify. If it does, it really isn't the end of the world, and I will actually be quite looking forward to seeing my friends watch this for the first time during at our Eurovision party.

Song Rating: 4/10
Liklihood to win: 1/10

Current odds: 100-1                  ( average)

Slovenia - 2012

Bloody hell it's come around fast! 8 days to go now and here is Slovenia 2012! This year is Eva Boto, singing the ballad "Verjamem".

Yes, you read it write... another, bloomin' BALLAD by a former Yugoslav country. Not that I'm complaining that much about Slovenia, cos this is a stormer! But don't think I'm THAT excited about Eva Boto, I seem to always skip this song even though I think it's a really good song. At just 16, Eva Boto may be unexperienced, but I think it's fair to say she neither looks like she's struggling through puberty and has a stage presence of that of an established star. Maybe that's a little too over-enthusiastic, and a little too biased, but you have to see where I'm coming from. I recently read a review of Verjamem, which said that it sounded like it should be used as the soundtrack during a medieval battle, and that did make me chuckle. Yes, I completely agree! Still though, Verjamem has to be regarded as a good song, which is much better than a lot of the other ballads entered for this year.

Slovenia in Eurovision? Recent history is poor. Top finish is 7th, which they have done twice since 1993,  but not once since 2001. Slovenia have qualified just twice to the final in the last 5 years, but I think this year, they will be able to do it again! Verjamem is much better than previous attempts in my opinion, and will perform in the middle of the second semi, which should hopefully put clouds over the other former Yugoslav ballads. Good Luck Eva Boto! I hope this is a start of a wonderful music career for her.

Song Rating: 7/10
Liklihood to win: 5/10

Current odds: 66-1                     ( (on average)

Friday, 11 May 2012

France - 2012

Anggun will sing "Echo (You and I)" for France in Baku.

I LOVE this song. This song really is edgy. It's really catchy. And a part of it sounds like a bit from Mario Kart. As well as that, Anggun is brilliant! She's experienced, she's sassy, got a great image, and sings in both French and English. All in all, France have really entered a class act this year!

Echo (You and I) is part of Anggun's 5th international album, and will serve as her lead single for the international music market. She has a huge fanbase and many people in Europe know her (forget the blind UK nationals of course! ha!), so Anggun will bring the points home for name recognition alone. But the song would naturally do well, as I have already said, it is edgy and fun. It really fits in with Eurovision, as does Anggun, who I'm confident will look right at home on stage in Baku.

France have had very little success in recent years. As well as not lifting the crown since 1977, they haven't finished in the top 5 since 2002. Even with a favourite (albeit controversial) last year, Sognu, they still couldn't pull off a good showing. I am personally hoping that Anggun can change this. She has the experience and will definitely be able to shine for France. She will perform 9th in the final, and so this could be slightly problematic. Still, I believe that it's France's strongest song for years, and even those who perform in the first half can still finish with a top 10 score.

Good Luck to Anggun! Paris 2013? Unlikely, unfortunately.

Song Rating: 9/10
Liklihood to win: 4/10

Current odds: 66-1                        ( (on average)