Sunday, 17 March 2013

View from Oleviste Kirik - Part I

I'm going to stick my neck on the line and briefly review the songs in bite-sized chunks.  I must add that these are in alphabetical order.  The actual running order will doubtless be determined in a fair and above board manner.  While running order doesn't completely affect who will qualifies and who will not, no-one wants the dreaded second spot.  Having said that, we have semi-finals with 16 and 17 countries taking part, so they all have a slightly better than average chance of making it through.  You do only need to finish 10th after all, and a song on second can quite easily do that.  And once a song's in the final, anything can happen.

With that in mind, here are the countries in the first half of the first semi-final.  I suspect you won't always agree with me, but there you go.

Austria – Their compact final yielded this slightly better than average number. She’s no Trackshitta but I can’t help but look at her. Maybe it’s those dark eyes. Shine is formulaic, but in this very open year she has a chance of making the final. 

Croatia – The contest thankfully throws up national styles and stereotypes, despite its protests to the contrary. I mean, you can tell this isn’t a Finnish song for instance. The six guys all have excellent voices – after all, they are a Klapa supergroup. It’s very pleasant so could go down well in a sort of way. Or it could sink without trace. 

Denmark – “How many words can we cram in a song?” Our waif Emmelie from Malmö Senior takes us all Celtic. So Celtic in fact it’s to the point of being too contrived. Helene Bøksen did it much better when she sang Vardlokk in a Norwegian final two years ago. Having said that, it does have the potential to be a vote sponge. And it will have a huge amount of raucous Danes in the arena to give it a boost. 

Estonia – Now even though the glorious Winny Puhh didn’t make it, my Baltic nation has again done good.  Again.  Birgit has tried a few times, so in the time-honoured tradition of myturnology, she’s finally got there. So what have we got? A darn good ballad sung by someone who is easy on the eye and can carry a tune. It’s a song that really suits her too. This is the sort of song that made me fall head over heels in love with the Contest in the first place. 

Netherlands – Every year a song comes along that all of the fannage except me seem to get. That honour this year goes to Birds. It never gets going, and I generally find it all very tedious. It’s all a bit depressing too. And here’s me thinking the Dutch were a happy race, full of interesting mind-altering substances. I wouldn’t have this as a qualifier. If I had my way, I’d have it on second. But we’ve got a fair and above board draw taking place soon, haven’t we? 

Russia – When Russia won they obviously decided to take a year or two off trying to win again. This tactic almost backfired last year when our Udmurt-spouting babushki nearly won the thing again. This is a half-decent effort that I quite like. It is another one of the many ballads sung by easy-on-the-eye ladies but it does have enough about it to set it apart. 

Slovenia – Our Adriatic friends shocked us all last year by being roundly ignored by half of Europe’s voters and failing to get to play with the big guns. It had the pedigree, so what went wrong? RTVSlo obviously thought the same, so they’ve plumped for the other dominant genre this year and gone for the dance-floor filler. It’s another one of those OK songs. Not brilliant, but not awful. It might be one of those you hear and remember it was in the contest, but have no idea who it represented. Borderline for me. 

Ukraine – Another bug ballad with soaring vocals rounds off this little review. Zlata (Goldie to her friends perhaps?) belts this one out and seems to have the necessaries for getting out of the first semi-final bloodfest. It pushes all the right buttons, even without any alleged neighbourly voting. Definitely through.

Part II to follow soon

R x


  1. My comments:

    Austria - It's bit bombastic and yet it works well for this song,Will do well,probably.

    Croatia- very nice indeed.The comparison to is in place, just that this one has less power in it.At least it is different from what Croatia has sent in the last years. Maybe that will do the trick for them.

    Denmark- Never liked it.Can't understand the hype around it.It repetitive and annoying to the point I want to smash the screen when I hear it.

    Estonia-Yes it nice,and yes she can hold a tune, but it is a bit blend and miss something in the built up.

    Netherlands-It seems as if The Netherlands are putting the middle finger up and saying F*** you.I don't think TROS knew what they get and how happy they are about it.Credit to the song it's different from anything in this semi or even in the whole contest.And it's a kind of song that I would also listen outside the contest.Not sure where this is going to, but I wouldn't mind if this at least qualify.

    Russia - an average song an quite hypocrite one.Talking about being one and united in a country that systematically don't let minorities express themselves freely.

    Slovenia - A standard dance song, or at least one pretending to be one. For an up-tempo song, this is quite slow.As it is it's missing a lot of power to convince anyone to vote for it.

    Ukraine - A song full of clichés and the music is so sweet I want to throw up from it.It will do well, I just want it to fail, badly.

  2. My comments to:

    Austria - this is reasonable, and happy/cheery which might attract votes, particularly if its sat between Croatia and the Netherlands.

    Croatia - Can anyone one remember when Croatia was really good at ESC? I can, and i wish for those days to return, so was a little concerned when they announced they were sending a 'traditional' song. But i was pleasantly surprise - this was not what i was expecting (i was expecting something quite folksy with a lot of clapping and shouting). But its works, they can clearly sing, and this represents Croatias best chance to qualify for years.

    Denmark - Now, i've not been a fan of Denmarks recent attempts, which are all basically the same song with a different arrangement. This falls into exactly the same mold, but as much as i want to dislike it, i cant. It has instant appeal and i cant see it being anywhere but the left hand side of the scoreboard come May.

    Estonia - Now this is a touch of class. Its well sung, well produced, and i think any other year would be top 10. However, we are ballad heavy, which might pull it down a bit, but surely a comfortable qualifier?

    Netherlands - Cant stand it, its just awful

    Russia - This is a good strong song, and i wouldnt be surprised if Russia make top three again. However, while i know politics shouldn't come into it, i do find a Russian entry containing the line 'what if we chose to bury our guns' leaves a bitter aftertaste.

    Slovenia - now i'm dance fan, have been since my teenage years, and the first 45 seconds of this song shows considerable potential, but then it all goes wrong and we end up with a dull, uninspiring, unmemorable piece of monotony. Having said that, Bulgaria got close to qualifying last year with a poorer entry so who knows.

    Ukraine - worst entry in years, but if she sings it well it could scrape left hand side of scoreboard. But if she butchers it in the semi and only gets 8th'ish in the televote i could see the juries preventing it from qualifying