After a day off, spurred on by my hard drive being a bitch last night and really pooping on a terrible week, I’m back with some more retrospectives on Germany’s selection of Eurovision hopefuls from the 2011 contest.
Magdalena Tul – Jestem
#19 in Semi-final 1
Poor doomed Poland, winning the wooden spoon of this year’s contest by coming dead last in the first semi-final. It’s hard to say if that sound problems that plagued the start of the show were totally to blame, Magdalena didn’t seem QUITE able to carry off the vocals, so it might have been a blessing in disguise.
It’s a pretty good euro-dance track, even if it’s all Polish, which somewhat limits the karaoke potential for me. It all looked like quite a polished (tee hee) entry, just didn’t really seem to work out, did it?
Amaury Vassili – Sognu
#15 in the Final
Yeah, great, thanks France, you lost me £20 quid (well not really, it was a freebie bet I got after betting on Blue). After all, the last decade has shown that it pays to back the bookie’s favourite, and at 2/1 odds compared to the next closest (Blue at 8/1) it seemed like a sure thing that it would win.
Well, a sure thing to everyone except those who had listened to it. How could so much faith be put in an unknown quantity like a Corsican opera song? No self-fulfilling prophecies were going to convince the European populace to pick up their phones though, and before you could say “I told you so”, it came in at a rather humiliating 15th place. Well it wouldn’t have been that humiliating had so many people not thought it was going to win, but hey.
It is what it is though, I can appreciate it as much as I can an opera song. It was memorable, and well sung (for the most part), but still … that’s not really why I came to Eurovision. I’m glad that there is such variety, but I won’t pretend this is the stuff I love.
Raphael Gualazzi – Madness of Love
#2 in the Final
I swear, I was going to put this dead last at one point. What happened? This is nothing compared to the rather shocking turnaround for returning heavyweight Italy during the course of the voting results, coming from the very bottom quite far into the results to a truly shocking 2nd place.
I won’t pretend I see that level of appeal, but it has grown on me. There are points I still really hate, the dog-bothering shrieks for a start, but he did put on a decent performance. The chorus stayed with me after the show too, it’s quite old-fashioned. God knows, some of the San Remo stuff I saw by chance on Belgian TV was BEYOND PAINFUL, so count this as a lucky escape.
I just felt a bit aggrieved that this stole the silver medal from Sweden in the last set of votes …
Emmy – Boom Boom
#12 in Semi-final 1
Oh I know, I know, I shouldn’t like this. It’s such a weak-assed excuse for a pop chorus, and some of the vocals on the night were a total train-wreck.
A crying shame too, Armenia have been responsible for some great entries over the last few years. It seems their ambition for mainstream success meant that they dispensed with any of the usual cultural angles they often include, and it seems they threw the baby out with the bath water.
That said, Azerbaijan did pretty much the same thing but managed to win the bloody thing, so what do I know? Weak as it is, this IS a very catchy song, even if it only seems to work on record instead of being performed.
Glen Vella – One Life
#11 in Semi-final 1
Oh dear, what a hot tranny mess this guy was. This seemed to feel like a much better idea when I was only listening to the final studio version than when he flounced onto stage in the semi-finals.
God knows how old he was under all that makeup, but he seemed endearingly enthusiastic just to make it to the semi-finals, so I was rooting for him. Coming a single point from qualifying was still a lot more successful that I was expecting, but I will be waiting a bit longer for Malta’s hard-earned victory.
Oh I haven’t mentioned the SONG have I? OK it’s at least a departure from the usual tactic of sending some empowered Maltese woman out with a ballad and a nice dress (or just Chiara if she’s up for it – and she always is). People seemed to hate this but I thought it was a nice message, even if it was delivered with the overbaked vocals of a drag act. At least it sounded VAGUELY contemporary.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Dino Merlin – Love in Rewind
#6 in the Final
Another odd grower, though it earned that status quite a while before the contest itself. That probably burnt it out a bit for me, it’s a bit of a drag now. Maybe it was the rather uninteresting staging that took forever to get going. It was clear that it was a good group of musicians though, and the song managed to be appealing and relevant without having to be a dance-pop song.
Popular with the crowd, presumably as a returning entrant to Eurovision, though that didn’t seem to do Dana International much good did it?
It could have troubled my top 10 at one point, a thought that seems quite incredible right now, but it’s memorable, good key changes, stands out from the rest. What else can I ask?
Aurela Gaçe – Feel the Passion
#14 in Semi-final 1
MEGAVOX time. After the first two semi-finalists faltered, this fierce bitch really melted some faces with a VOX BOMB. The song itself has wobbled a bit for me, loved it originally, then cooled off, but that performance just gave me goosebumps. I imagine people were put off by HER, sadly, and probably didn’t even notice some of the FILTHILY suggestive lyrics “I DAB my lips with your morning DEW”
The bridges are great though, “Like an eagle in the OPEN SKY”, and the brief manic bit of Albanian. I really liked this, shame it didn’t make the final. I suppose that much is obvious if I put it in the top 25!
Lucía Pérez – Que me quiten lo bailao
#23 in the Final
Spain! Who’d have thought it? They didn’t even need to send a boyband to get me paying attention. This was a late bloomer, VERY late really – the night before the final I realised how much I love this.
OK so she doesn’t have the glamour of Serbia’s entrant, the fierce confidence of Albania or the megavox of Austria. But GOD what a catchy wonderful song this is. Can’t understand a word of it, but what does that matter? That’s part of the appeal to some of the foreign language hits, it’s in the delivery. This somehow manages to be even more joyful than Haba Haba and Caroban, particularly thanks to that lovely middle 8 and the key-change for the final chorus.
I can see why it didn’t really work on the night, but at least I enjoyed it (and probably Portugal did too)
Mika Newton – Angel
#4 in the Final
I’m at a bit of a loss with this one, I’d not really grown too attached to it before show. That performance was certainly memorable but didn’t really help me that much – it was definitely inventive to have that Mystic Meg woman doing her sand pictures on the giant TV screen, but I found it quite distracting from the performer.
She was a beautiful girl too, and without the distraction of the sand-art, this is a real grower. Obviously I didn’t feel the 4th place finish was entirely deserved but it’s got a really memorable chorus and it’s still growing on me, so… well I’m willing to be proven wrong. I always love Ukraine’s entries one way or another, even if they send something as unappealing as 2010′s entry.
Evelina Sašenko – C’est ma vie
#19 in the Final
Surely someone liked Lithuania, seeing as Evelina blind-sided many people by qualifying from her semi. I mean, who else thought it could have easily come last?
Luckily she was a great singer with a largely unopposed straight-up ballad (Malta must be pretty pissed off). It’s syrupy and dated, but it’s such a lovely sweeping melody. She didn’t look like she thought she’d do well, but she gave it her best and was almost bemused that she’d got through!
I think I like this so much because it could easily be a classic Japanese piano-ballad, the sort they use on Final Fantasy games. Powerful but controlled vocals and a charming song. That’s all I wanted!