30. Omar Naber – Stop (Slovenia )
Did not qualify, #12 in the Semi-Final
Time for the dismal middle-ground now, and a fresh-faced Slovenian gentleman. He doesn’t really look like the sort of guy I imagined singing this sort of sweeping Balkan downtempo song, but he seems to have the voice for it at least.
It’s a mysterious-sounding melody, lots of spooky magic flourishes before it cracks in a rockier sound for the climax. That cross-eyed diva on the platform is a bit of a surprise, I’m not entirely sure she’s even supposed to be there. He seems quite taken with her though, so all’s well that ends well. The performance improves the song for me at least, even if it did no favours for Slovenia’s qualification record.
29. Constantinos Christoforou – Ela Ela (Come Baby) (Cyprus )
#18 in the Grand Final
As usual, Greece end up overshadowing their Mediterranean friend, but Cyprus certainly looked the part this year. Not sure how they managed to get Mr Christoforou into that outfit, perhaps it was painted on.
There are plenty of props too, revolving mirror blocks (must be a bugger to clean those), a stick dance, some drums… what more do you need? I do feel for Cyprus, Greece usually wheel out this sort of ethno-pop music to great dividends. In 2005 Cyprus tried the same, but Greece were one step ahead with a Greco-Swedish hybrid powerhouse, leaving Constantinos floundering near the bottom of the final scoreboard.
It’s not a particularly special song, but it’s catchy enough. I don’t think they could really have expected a great deal more as a result.
28. 2B – Amar (Portugal )
Did not qualify, #17 in the Semi-Final
Speaking of hapless entrants, here’s good old Portugal with another doomed attempt. You have to admire their persistence in the face of such utterly disappointing results year after year.
This one had doom written all over it. An energetic dance route was pulled off well, but the singers were left breathless, and their lower registers were practically non-existent. Which would be a problem for most songs, but was pretty terminal for this one.
There’s a nice enough song behind it, I like the energy behind it, and they are really just trying so hard. I think if the singers had less moving to do (losing the cartwheels would be a good start), leaving the dancing to the dancers, things could have been different, but perhaps not by much.
27. Marian van de Wal – La mirada interior (Andorra )
Did not qualify, #23 in the Semi-Final
I miss Andorra. With the country considering a departure from the EBU entirely, it doesn’t seem hopeful that we will see them in the contest for a while. Not that they ever had a good run of success, with six failed attempts to qualify for the final.
Spain has enough trouble with their Spanish-language entries gaining little traction with the voting public, so Andorra’s Catalan entries have an even tougher time. So more focus is on the melody and performance.
In fairness the performance was quite accomplished, lovely outfits, a feather dance, and some OTT dancers flailing around like shark attacks. Her voice was good too, even if she was gnashing her teeth quite a lot. That scary witch lady singing the big backing vocals was a bit of an eye-opener too.
It’s not a particularly striking song, but there’s a memorable melody in there. I can see why it didn’t really engage the viewers, but that’s always a risk for songs like this I guess. Andorra are just easy cannon fodder amongst similar-sounding songs, particularly from Eastern Europe who seems to have this style down to a fine art.
26. GreenJolly – Razom nas bahato, nas ne podolaty (Ukraine )
#19 in the Grand Final
Time for the hosts to take the stage, with a revolutionary anthem for Ukrainians, who had undergone the Orange Revolution only a few months before. The title even means “Together we are many, we cannot be defeated”, and (I’ve read) was popular during the revolution. So you can understand the incredible reception this got in the arena on the night.
Ukraine had already won, they didn’t need to prove anything, so they had free reign to show their pride with song that was never likely to be a massive hit for the rest of Europe. The fact that this is their worst-performing entry in the contest is immaterial really, this was a hugely significant song for the country and perhaps represented their country more than most entries over the years.
The rap style isn’t really to my tastes but it’s really got some power in it, that chorus is insistent and memorable, and the performance is well-performed. They had won before they took the stage really.
25. No Name – Zauvijek moja (Serbia and Montenegro )
#7 in the Grand Final
Having been held off from winning the contest in 2004 by Ukraine, Serbia & Montenegro made another strong attempt before the country split into its two constituent countries before the 2006 contest (subsequently with wildly differing levels of success).
I might not really be one to judge how well this sums up popular music in the Balkans, but this is certainly a powerful attempt, sending an enthusiastic boyband in to perform what is certainly NOT the usual boyband song.
The drama is amped up to maximum, as the boys power through with some big vocals, while others go crazy on the drums. There’s something strangely compelling about the whole arrangement, and even though I have no idea what they’re singing about, I’m totally into it. While it’s simple (and lazy) to explain the success of these countries on pure geographical favouritism, but you can just TELL when some of these are destined to do well, and this song certainly has that feel about it.
24. Glennis Grace – My Impossible Dream (Netherlands )
Did not qualify, #14 in the Semi-Final
Andorra have a shitty qualification record, but at least they got out while they could. Netherlands have continued with dogged persistence after 8 straight years (some straighter than others) losing in the semi-finals.
It’s nice to know people were still called Glennis so recently, and she really deserved better than this. The song is pretty old-school Whitney, even if it’s not high-grade Whitney. Maybe more like Vanessa Williams or something. Lazy black lady comparisons aside, she performs the song really well, aside from some unfortunate slow-motion running choreography that looks terrible.
She did the best she could with it, but ultimately it was a little too dated to get anywhere big, and so she started a grand tradition of hopeful Dutch failures that I hope will be broken soon.
23. Angelica Agurbash – Love me Tonight (Belarus )
Did not qualify, #13 in the Semi-Final
We’ve seen countries overshadowed by more popular neighbours, and Belarus is another to add to that list, often showing the potential for hits like Ukraine but rarely delivering on it.
In 2005 we got a delightful piece of Eurotrash with the ostentatiously-dressed Angelica trying her best to keep this fun mess of a pop song together. The energy is quite contagious, and the queenly stylings helpfully distract from a ropey vocal. It’s just a lot of fun to watch, and while there were certainly (many) better singers in the contest, few strutted around with such confidence and two costume changes.
A+ for effort, Angelica.
22.Suntribe – Let’s Get Loud (Estonia )
Did not qualify, #20 in the Semi-Final
I’ve already had a soft spot for Estonia, fondly remembering their 1996 entry as a teen. However this mess was the sign of their previously strong performance at the contest collapsing, and they are only really now getting back on their feet.
It’s an energetic trac, great fun and deserved better than its disaster in the semi-final. OK it’s a bit of a naff girlband track, and putting them ALL in front of record decks for the first half of the song was a questionable choice in staging.
Attempts at a decent dance routine evidently were limited in their success, with a bit of arm-waving and high-kicks not really making up for the wasted first half. As throwaway as it was, it’s a real sugar-rush of a track, and should’ve done better I think.
21. Ledina Çelo – Tomorrow I Go (Albania )
#16 in the Grand Final
Albania took 8 years to better their debut success in 2004, and as a result of this success they got a free pass to the final in 2005 thanks to the rules at the time. But it more than held its own with a full-on ethno track with a subtle dance beat under it.
Her vocals were strong, even if they missed the mark a few times. A strong performance of a curious song, I’m not sure if she’s really that happy she’s getting married. Where is she going afterwards?? It’s a pretty catchy and powerful representative of its genre, and while Albania often seem to get short-changed in Eurovision with some pretty HOT TRAX, they didn’t shame themselves in Kiev.