Monday, 14 April 2014

Part IV - Armenia

Ah I cannot believe my last blog post was 11 days ago! Time has been going by mega quickly, and we are now only 22 days away from the first semi final. Eurovision Season goes much too quickly for my liking! I've been listening to loads of classics recently, as well as my new favourite song 'Rainmaker'. If you haven't heard, it's Emmelie de Forest's new song and it's amazing. I have planned a blog post dedicated to out hosts for closer to the first semi final, but tonight the attention is on Armenia!

The Good Part IV: Armenia

Armenia have a very good record at Eurovision! Up until 2010 the Armenians could be compared to how we see the Azeri now - not just a certainty for the final, but a top 10 finish as well. And they surely deserved that reputation! Many fans argue that Qele Qele should have taken home the crown in 2008, Apricot Stone deserved higher than 7th in 2010, and one of my favourite ever songs in the contest, Nor Par (Jan Jan) scraped 10th in the 2009 contest. Inga & Anush are two of my favourite Eurovision artists and I absolutely love them - and their performance was brilliant. Truly Eurovision. Since then things have gone a little downhill. Emmy and 'Boom Boom' embarrassingly didn't even make the final in 2011 (even though we're all still going 'chaka chaka'), and following a boycott of Baku 2012, they sent a fan dividing song in 2013, 'Lonely Planet', which still somehow managed to accumulate 41 points when many thought it wouldn't even make the final. BUT many, many fans argue that Armenia are back to their best this year! And rightfully so, the artist is Aram MP3 and the song is 'Not Alone' - scoring top 5 in many pre-charts and for a long time, being the red hot favourite by the bookmakers (check out ESC Webs 'here' for a bookies update). So what makes Aram MP3 and 'Not Alone' so great?

To begin with, 'Not Alone' is one of those defining era songs - by this, I don't mean it's a classic, but I mean that from the first listen, you know it's around a 2013/14 song without hearing the other songs entered. I think it's very good because the composition is simple, the lyrics are direct and it breaks away in the middle to become more upbeat. Usually this results in disaster; fans don't like two songs in one, but it works in 'Not Alone' because the upbeat section still fits in with the lyrics and the early melody. I almost feel the first half of the song has a Zelijko Joksimovic feel about it, and we all know how well Serbia (& Montenegro) have done under him. How the song does at Eurovision will be extremely interesting - fans like this song across Europe - it's not necessarily their favourite song, but it's in many people's top 10's. I argue that the result of this will be interesting because it could easily divide your less dedicated audience: people who have never heard of this before may be put off by the sudden change in direction, and an older audience may be put off when the beat drops. Additionally, many first-time listeners often decide whether they like a song within the first minute or two; if they enjoy the ballad section then good, but if not, then very bad because what would rescue those voters is a fantastic staging, and in my opinion, Aram MP3 won't provide the best choreographed performance. How this is staged will pose problems; it could be quite boring if it's just Aram MP3 on stage, but tacky dancers, I feel, would ruin any magic created in the lyrics when the beat drops.

And then there's what happened at 'Eurovision In Concert' - if you missed that, where have you been!? If you missed that, then here's a quick summary: some potentially homophobic puns were made by Aram MP3 to Conchita Wurst, the infamous bearded lady representing Austria this year. Wiwi blogs covered the basics in this article. In my opinion everything got taken out of context, but then again, Aram should not have made a possibly homophobic remark to a contest with an extremely large LGBT fanbase, especially in the year we go back to Denmark, the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage. Will any of this matter come May? It's hard to say because a lot of voters will not be aware of what happened, but to get booed at Eurovision In Concert (incidentally the same day as Aram's birthday!) speaks volumes in his current fan status - and this is only an estimate, but aren't a lot of semi-final voters mostly the mega fans? In the UK they are anyway, and so alongside being drawn 1st in the hotly contested first semi final could prove to be problematic. However, friends Ukraine and Russia also compete in semi 1, being drawn 1st in the semi final hasn't stopped popular songs from reaching the final before, and at the end of the day, it's still a very good song! People questioning whether this will qualify is crazy - of course it will! But where this finishes in the final is impossible to tell...

My prediction is top 10. As a UK fan that may be optimistic - for Armenia are definitely big rivals for the top crown, and so it will probably challenge 1st. BUT... will I get in trouble for saying that if the Azeri's do bribe voters and jurors like some argue, then will Armenia even do top 10? Azerbaijan and Armenia aren't friends. Or is that a ludicrous thing to say? Please do share your opinions on the matter!

Good Luck Armenia! I'm glad to see your back to entering good records and back on track to taking the contest to Yerevan! Good Luck Aram MP3!

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