Wednesday, April 06, 2005

ESC - my verdict as of today

Marks out of 20....

Austria 16
Those of you who remember Dr. Buzzard's original Savannah band from the late 80's will recognise this somewhat quirky and appealing song. It isn't immediate by any means, but the performance is strong, and it should nake a distinctive and worthy start to the semi-final. Will it qualify? Quirky often misses out in Eurovision - look at Belarus last year.

Lithuania 7
Simply horrible. Sounds like a rock-chick version of Swedish schlager. Cliched and unpleasant

Portugal 16
This is an uplifting and well-constructed song, with a soulful feel, and on the studio version it is well sung and punchy. The best uptempo song in this years contest

Moldova 4
Joke entry, yes? The obligatory 'heys' in the background, a song with no melody to speak of , a group who look like a bunch of 70's rejects (one of a few who that description could be applied to). Vile.

Latvia 20
This is my favourite in the whole contest. Its gentle and acoustic, well sung and easy on the ear, with a wistful and memorable melody and lyrics. It could either bomb completely or do very well indeed - I'm hoping for the latter!

Monaco 17
Classic French chanson, old-fashioned and charming, with a very fussy and complex orchestration which you either like or you don't. I love this sort of thing - always have , always will.

Israel 14
Can't quite decide about this one. I liked it on first hearing, but its not my favourite ballad by any means - like so many Israeli entries, it has that 'inspiring anthem' feel about it which ends up sounding more overblown than anything else.

Belarus 5
Nothing could have been worse than Boys and Girls (except the Norwegian entry) buty this nearly manages it. A cliched kebab-shop pop song with execrably bad singing and pronunciation.

Netherlands 19
Great stuff! A real big production soul ballad, sung by a singer with real vocal talent. It isn't a typical ESC ballad, though, and it will be interesting to see how something firmly American in style fares.

Iceland 8
What a disappointment. Selma's 1999 contest is a cheerful pop song, but this sounds like four songs in one with no discernable tune or structure - its a mess, basically. And she's not the best singer in the world - this seems to have a lot of fans, but if there's any justice, it will stay in the semi.

Belgium 17
See Monaco above. Pure chanson, nothing special of its kind, but I like this sort of thing, and he sings well

Estonia 7
This has the greatest amount of Jemini-potential for this year. There is something notably inept about this performance, of a trashy and predictable song. I suppose we can be pleased that theyve opted not to wear rustic clothing in the manner of last years entry, but this is a very poor entry.

Norway 0
Imagine a group sounding like Bon Jovi and looking like the Sweet towards the end of their career. This has nothing whatsoever to commend it. Loud, tuneless, utterly pathetic. Noise for losers.

Romania 8
Oh dear. I thought (hoped) that this sort of retro-disco nonsense had disappeared for good after Xandee's deserved failure last year. It hasn't.

Hungary 10
Hungary put in entries I loved in 94 and 97. This year, their national final was very strong, with four excellent entries. They chose this piece of whimsy, which blends Riverdance and Ruslana and features a lead singer with less charisma than Chris Doran last year

Finland 14
Like Israel, this is a ballad which needs a bit of a lift! I think its lacking in the melody stakes and ends up sounding a mite doleful without having that extra 'something' to make it more than ordinary.

Macedonia 2
Its hard to judge this fairly. Macedonian Martin is this years worst singer, his dancing is hilarious, and even his rather easy on the eye , chunky appearance can't make this anything more than a disaster area. Would it be better with another singer? Hard to say.

Andorra 14
The original mix was a haunting, unusual song which I liked a lot - but the remix doesn't work well. The orchestration isn't a good fit with the melody,or Marian's voice, and again, this does have a quirky sort of sound to it which may not bode well for its ESC success. I hope they will revert to the original orchestration.

Switzerland 8
Just plain dull. Nothing to commend it, too bland to bother to hate.

Croatia 11
Another example of a song whose chorus and verse appears to have no real connection. The verse is a reasonable mid-tempo ballad, and then you get the chorus from the bierkeller/footie match from hell...why??

Bulgaria 19
I'm probably the only ESC fan who has this in their top 5. Its a VERY laid back piece of lounge jazz, think Jamie Cullum, Michael Buble, and that means its the sort of music I listen to a lot at home. The lyrics really aren't the best, but this is all about creating an atmosphere. And it does have a memorable tune....

Ireland 13
I like many of the classic Irish winners, and on the whole, Ireland doesn't do uptempo very well. I backed the McCauls to win for Ireland, but this isn't the right song for them. They are good singers, but rather than try to be different, they should have been given a Disney-style ballad where their naive image and vocal charms would have been better framed.

Slovenia 18
Another example of a remix which may have been unnecessary - removing the female backing singer is a mistake, although the new version does have an energy and freshness to it which certainly works. Its a powerful ballad, with an excellent vocalist - and I hope it does well.

Denmark 13
Very accomplished singer, shame that no-one bothered to write a remotely memorable song. I have listened to it six or seven times and I don;t remember it after listening - at all.

Poland 8
So, Israel abandon Hebrew singalong, so we get the sound of the schetl from Poland instead. Pork chop, anyone?

United Kingdom 11
The UK final produced five songs, none of which were all that good, and the best performance certainly won out on the night. But song-wise, its back to that kebab-shop, and does nothing for me at all.

Malta 19
Produced one of my all time favourite songs in 1998, Chiara's voice is delightful, as is this very strong, commercial, contemporary ballad.

Turkey 7
Back to that kebab-shop - this really is a return to Turkey's cliched worst. Its not a particularly good example of 'typical Turkish music'

Albania 10
Last years Albanian entry was an example of a very good singer, a simple song, managing to get a good number of votes without any gimmicks. This is yet another ethno-pop bore, not a patch on last year, and the chorus is ghastly.

Cyprus 14
The best of the ethno-pop songs, well sung (but what of the female vocalist?) and a pleasant tune. Its nothing special and a little predictable after so many of the same but this isn't at all bad.

Spain 6
Spain's worst for years. A joke entry. If you are going to rip off anything - why the Ketchup Song??

Serbia & Montenegro 18
Love this one - great looking group, like the way it builds slowly and the refrain is memorable and anthemic. Whether it will do as well as their debut is another matter, but it isn't one to rule out.

Sweden 14
Still can't decide about this one. On first listen, I thought - just another schlager' - and its not a patch on Caroline Vennergren! But it does have a retro appeal, my partner loves it, and its hummable and catchy. He can certainly sing, too. This would have really worked with the orchestra.

Ukraine 17
I get knocked down...but I get up again. Yes, its the Ukranian Tubthumping, its powerful and stirring stuff, and its a good example of rap. But how will it be performed live?

Germany 6
One of the many rock chicks in this years contest. Loud, tuneless and horrible. Richly deserves relegation, if the rules allowed it.

Greece 7
Can someone enlighten me as to the appeal of this particular piece of ethno-pop? Its another slice of repetitive tedium, with the obligatory Middle Eastern mid-section. No tune , of course - and one of the favourites. Says it all, really.

Russia 6
See Germany. Only the relegation may even happen this year....

Bosnia & Herzegovina 12
Oh, yes, a bit of fun. Always one every year which you know you shouldn't like, but has some appeal. Lou in 2003, Malta last year, and this year, its Bosnia. Straightforward catchy pop, and this years Gorgonzola. Could do well!

France 12
This isn't a great song, and the singer is dangerously out of key in places - it does have a lot of potential, with a good singer and a bit of lift in the melody, it could have been very good. Asit stands - not bad, but singing lessons before May, I think.

1 comment:

looby said...

Great! Someone else who likes Bulgaria :)

I aslo agree with you about Norway, although I wouldn't mind an excuse to go to Oslo.