So I expect we're all a little punch-drunk after the various bashes taking place in northern Europe over the last few days. The Nordic countries seem to have cornered the market lately.
Those Finns were first again, with another little semi-final type affair on Thursday night. Compact and bijou again, I actually found this show very pleasant. The songs were all pretty good. Krista Siegfrids' song didn't surprise me in getting straight through to the final, but I was expecting the Great Wide North to join it, especially as it features a banjo! The Finns have their second chance thing on Thursday when we'll get to see the delight that is Rautakoura.
Iceland then had a discreet semi-final on Friday night. No joy this year for former pin-up Yohanna. Birgit Haukdal came through with a slightly insipid and formulaic song written by Eurovision fans. So what could possibly go wrong.
The Saturday night we had the unholy trinity of another Icelandic semi-final, a Norwegian semi-final and a Danish final. What a treat for the ears - not.
Iceland's second set of semi-finalists were also a little ordinary for me. But thank the Great Pixie above that Magni for getting a wild card. A song with a bit of bite is what the contest will need.
Norway next, and I've only heard the three qualifiers for the next stage - whatever stage that is. I have to say I am quite impressed with all three. The song by Fjellfolk is sublime and I could listen to it all day. I have no beef with Margaret Berger's excellent gutsy song which would also look good in Malmö. She's easy on the eye too. Even Annsofi's song, even though it's written by monkey boy Rybak, is not without its charm. Norway could be a country to watch if one of these three gets the golden ticket.
Finally, Denmark, what have you done? If this were a school report I'd be awarding the very liberal Danes a 'Could do better'. The three songs in the, ahem, 'super-final' were all decidedly ordinary. Mohamed Ali was this year's vintage from the Eric Saade/Tooji memorial clone factory, and it looks like they need a new mould. Simone was slightly forgettable, and Emmelie De Forest seems to have a composite song of everything second-rate from the last five years. It might shock some people and just scrape it through to the final, but on the other hand might just shock some other people and sink with out trace. But I don't think DR has anything to worry about in 2014.
I can't wait for the next lot of fun and games. Can you?
Well having made such a big thing of the final, DR flattered to deceive, again. Whilst the show was chock full of production values in Herning, the self deprecating humour and the almost stinky smell of " why does Europe not love us anymore" really did leave a sour, almost bitter taste in the mouth.
Coming from the UK, i'm almost used to this, but from Denmark, a country that does have a decent record in the Eurovision, I was almost disgusted to my very core - Ten songs of almost standard quality, down to a so-called superfinal with three of the blandest songs I have ever had the misfortune to hear - Mohammed and his flat voice was possibly the most blood boiling, pain enducing 6 minutes that I have suffered in a Eurovision - clearly his parents and his "fans" voted this one through, Stay Awake by Simone was more of a command rather than a song, I suspect..
Then onto the "winner" - How many times can you repeat the same phrase in a song! - Saying it more than once, doesn't make it right! Emmille is struggling with her own song, Europe will be struggling to vote for it and Denmark will, on balance, be asking themselves the same questions.
The answer is simple, CHANGE THE FORMULA. Being bland and boring and "safe" only works a few times, It may have worked in the past, but Eurovision is changing, DR have to change with it, sadly they are believing its a local contest for local people..... It really isn't!!
So we've had the first weekend of note for national finals, and I am quite pleased.
Let's take our SAD-ridden friends in Finland first. A modest little show, to eliminate one - yes, one - song. This unlucky song, or unlucky depending on your perspective, was the exquisitely named Ilari Hämäläinen. To quote a certain Wogan "there's so much diaeresis, it's like an outbreak of measles". The diamond in the UMK dirt though has to be the band Rautakoura. They're cool and the have a BANJO!!! What could be better? Let's hope the good people of Finland see sense and they get through the second chance bunfight on 31 January. To be fair, the song by Diandra that's already made the final is fairly good. So I wouldn't be surprised if she's socialising in some over-priced bar in Malmö in May.
Then we had Norway. I didn't actually watch it live cos alcohol was calling me instead. But when I did watch it, it was an OK show. not brilliant, but OK. But that said, I think the three most interesting songs made it to the final. Vidar Busk is a 1960s throwback, sort of like a Patrick Ouchène tribute act. Quite amusing. Then Datarock, who reminded me a little of Michael Hutchence. Again an interesting choice. And then there was Gromth. But not just <insert word here> metal collective Gromth. They had an ace up their sleeve. Emil Solli-Tangen no less. Opera meets metal. I thought it worked. I can't wait to see it in the final, if alcohol isn't calling me instead.
This site's webmaster will have posted details of forthcoming events somewhere on here, so there are bound to be more gems coming up. And don't forget, Winny Puhh on 16 February is coming up.
So in a mere 24 hours time we'll know which country will be performing in which semi-final. This Balt cannot wait! Will we be looking at a Balkan carve-up in one semi-final? Will the Siamese conjoined twins of Greece and Cyprus be ruthlessly separated? Will Armenia and Azerbaijan be having their customary love-in on 14 May?
Just so you know, here are those all important pots:
Pot 1 ("Deepest Balkans and Pay-de-merde"): Albania, Croatia, Macedonia FYR, Montenegro, Serbia, Switzerland.
Pot 2 ("Balto-Nordo-Hibernia"): Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania.
Pot 3 ("The Eastern European Marches"): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine.
Pot 4 ("Odds and sods"): Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Netherlands
Pot 5 ("Central Europe and Serene Republics"): Austria, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Slovenia.
I'm pretty sure several of the websites dedicated to 'Europe's favourite TV show' will be giving you all sorts of brainily critical analysis very soon. But maybe what we should do is take it as it is, and just wonder how some countries will afford a two week hotel bill.
Well, not so young, but you know what I mean.... In the olden days, we'd get all excited about songs being released and the like - but we've already got 7 and none of them are much cop to be honest, and 3 weeks to the first proper semi final!!
There, I’ve got your attention. Now it’s not often I comment on the whys or wherefores of other websites, but how many of you out there in Interweb land took an interest in the Top 250 of 2012 on a certain ESC Radio-based website? You probably know which one I’m talking about.
Anyways, you may have seen which ones filled the top 10 places, but there was a lot of predictability about it all. It would be a very dull old Eurovisionworld if we all liked the same stuff, but seriously, is the one that won REALLY that good? In this humble Balt’s opinion, no.
Ranking Eurovision songs is always a matter of interest to me, and I think my taste tends to fly in the face of the typical Eurovision fan. So maybe when the aforementioned Interweb radio station starts to compile its list for the end of 2013, some subversion might be in order.
So vote for something original, perhaps something in the contest over 10 years old. Or Estonian.