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Eurovision 2007 May 10

Looks like I might not get to watch tonight’s semi-final as our cable still isn’t working and our Freeview reception is dodgy at best. Here’s a quick rundown, nevertheless, of my views of the runners and riders for this year’s competition.

It’s a year with a sudden glut of guitar music, following on from Lordi’s victory making it “OK”. There are old rockers, kid metal (if that’s a real genre), and young frontwomen, making for one of least camp sets of Eurovision entries so far.

The Good
Six of the best betters – in no particular order:

  • Greece – My favourite of this year’s entries, and immune from my “failing to qualify” kiss of death by already being in the final. Catchy, poppy, with more than a hint Ricky Martin (so only a few years out of date).
  • Netherlands – Slow-starting power ballad turns into a big Anastasia number. Very mainstream – could do well, and even seems to have a Eurovision key change.
  • Denmark – Here we go. Drag Act A, ready to out-Scooch Scooch for campery. By far the most traditionally Eurovision so far. I can imagine the audience getting very excited.
  • Finland – Naturally following Lordi with more rock, this time of the Evanescence variety.
  • Belgium – 1970s disco has arrived.
  • Belarus – The opening strings are very Bond theme, before it reveals itself as more rock. Very stereotypical continental male rock entry – sounds like I’ve heard it many times before. Still, catchy.

Honourable mentions to Sweden (closest thing to 70s glam without Justin Hawkins), Russia (a three-member Girls Aloud), Malta (their most interesting entry for some time), France (and theirs – and with some lyrics in English!), Germany (the only swing entry and surprisingly pleasant), and Andorra (because with a guitar comes McFly/Sum 41/Blink 182/Busted, and this is the only such band in the competition). Switzerland’s entry – DJ Bobo’s Vampires Are Alive has had everything thrown at it (except any sense to the song). Not my cup of tea, but is making a strong play for the Eurodance bloc.

The Bad
Amazingly, there’s nothing screamingly awful this year. Such a disappointment. Still…

  • Ukraine – Drag Act B (Verka Serduchka, aka Christopher Biggins) was a controversial choice in Ukraine. It’s very beepy, like the Tetris theme gone wrong. Rather than raising it to a higher plane, the silly costumes and cross-dressing just make it noticeable as the not very good track it is.
  • Israel – I was in two minds about Push the Button. It’s an anti-bomb track, which is fair enough, and has lots of energy, but the chorus is awful and it’s full of cynical language-switching. Worst of all is this lyric “I wanna see the flowers bloom, don’t wanna go kaput-kaboom”. The intro reminded me (not necessarily for any good reason) of For Real, Turkey’s entry from 2004. Does the idiosyncratic sincerity actually make this good? Either way, the Sugababes song of the same name is so much better.
  • Romania – Not dreadful, but look out for the most cynical country-name-checking entry of all time.
  • Ireland – Once again, the twee horror of Ireland’s entry makes me want to hack my ears off. “The curtain has been raised and Europe’s all one stage.” Sickly sweet. Seems like a nice lady, but this song is so optimistic it goes off the scale, back round infinity, and then comes back and eats your soul.

The Rest
Poland have a curious entry, like a cross between the Beastie Boys and a Polish Britney (and there are surprisingly few Britney clones this year). There are some interesting tempo and style changes, but it feels disjointed between the good bits and the, er, less good bits. Stands out from the crowd though.

I liked Iceland’s disastrous entry from last year. This is much more traditional, with more Lordi-inspired old rockers. It’s OK in a boring rock way, and may be the best of the old rocker sub-genre. That’s not saying much though.

Norway and Portugal are fighting it out with basically the same song. As it’s Latin, Portugal probably has more claim on it, but Norway’s has the edge for me.

Georgia have gone for “soaring”. Some fusing of styles going on – one of the more adventurous entries, particularly given that it’s Georgia’s first entry ever.

Serbia, also appearing for the first time in their own right (sans Montenegro), have a big ballad that’s tipped to do well.

Spain have opted for the content’s only boy band (well, man band) this year. They’ll almost certainly do better than last year’s 21st-placed entry from Las Ketchup.

Cyprus have opted for Lordi-inspired gothic, despite which there is a still a fairly trancey middle eight. Their best effort for some time.

Bulgaria have lots of drums, in a year where drumming seems less in fashion.

Latvia have a six-member G4 (so G6 then), the only attempt at opera this year. Nice enough but a bit plodding. One for the mums.

Don’t take my word for it though – as always, Mike has written lots about Eurovision. In particular, he’s much more positive (and more intellectual) about Israel’s entry. You can also decide for yourself by watching the entries online on the Eurovision website media player, or see and vote on the BBC’s pick of ten, which amazingly do coincide with some of mine.

So, the semi-final is tonight and we’ll see how many of those I’ve praised get knocked out (as usual). The main event is on Saturday evening. (Doctor Who fans take noteL thanks to Eurovision, there is no Who this week. Sorry.)

3 Responses

  1. 1

    The Andorran entry really is just Sum 41 with a funny accent. Even the video is a complete copy.

    The Finnish one is good though – almost opeth-like guitar at the start. Probably not really Eurovision though!

  2. 2
    John White 

    Eurovision, should be re-named Eurotrash for being a freak show of transvestites, gay and lesbian and just total crap!!
    Our entries all have that “middle of the road” sound which was formed from the Victorian music hall, lets get this up-to-date for next year and get a South London band of rappers singing about real life issues such as poverty, racism and living in the UK today and perhaps we may have some chance!!!!

  3. 3

    I really liked the Ukraine entry, it was genuinely hilarious, fun, upbeat. I really disliked the Serbia entry, I didn’t realise it was tipped to win. Georgia were pretty good I though too, nice to see them enter Eurovision with quite a pleasing song. 🙂 And I liked the Romanian one, it worked really well with the subtitles, and it was a blatent “lets fit tons of languages” in thing, but I liked it for that. Whereas our own entry lost mega points for me for having the word “Flag” in the title.

    I really enjoyed the French entry too, but then i’m a sucker for stuck on cats and stupid dancing. Russia was pretty good too, saucy song that didn’t offend me (unlike the horrible innuendo in our own entry, there’s camp and then there’s just overdoing it).