It feels like ages already doesn’t it? Eurovision week was only two months ago (!!), and the wheels are definitely in motion for Sweden’s 2013 plans. But now I’ve had some time to think about it, and managed to watch the DVD without chatter from family members, I’m ready to post my countdown of 2012’s entries. It’ll take several big chunks, but we can make it, I’m sure.
Rambo Amadeus – Euro Neuro
#15 in Semi-final 1
Getting the bottom slot this year wasn’t a difficult choice, and it goes to returning nation Montenegro and political poet (I really don’t have a better explanation) Rambo Amadeus. It’s a stream of consciousness, monotone rapping about – I’m supposing – thinking about the important things in life rather than getting too bogged down in European finances etc. Either way it was a pretty cringeworthy opening act for the first semi-final, but happily stayed away from the final. It’s not terrible after it wears you down, but I won’t be in a rush to dig this up again…
Max Jason Mai – Don’t Close Your Eyes
#18 in Semi-final 2
Another oddity was another doomed attempt by Slovakia to finally get out of the semi-finals. On record, this is a decidedly non-Eurovision but listenable metal track, particularly when the chorus vocals hit. Unfortunately the reality of the situation was a really screechy awful mess. If he had hit the notes, maybe Slovakia could have gone through on the alternative vote that was lacking a big rock song this year. It just didn’t really work on the night, but it’s nice to have some variety (usually).
Filipa Sousa – Vida minha
#13 in Semi-final 2
Oh Portugal, when will you learn? After the best part of a half-century without so much as a top 5 to result to their name, Portugal have a poor Eurovision track record second-to-none. They insist in sending Portuguese songs, which is fair enough, but they are usually so limited in appeal that it’s a surprise that they ever qualify. This wasn’t to be their year sadly, as a well-sung but boring ballad failed to capture the public’s hearts or attention. Why so serious, Portugal?
Soluna Samay – Should’ve Known Better
#23 in the Grand Final
The title says it all really. Denmark are often quite dependable for a decent entry, and their central location in Europe often plays well in terms of widespread appeal. However when they get it wrong, they really get it wrong. I just really didn’t like any part of it: her voice, her outfit, her bizarre-looking band, the boring song. There’s an acceptable mid-tempo song in there somewhere, but all the unappealing window-dressing really sank this for me. Fortunately Europe agreed, and while it made the cut from the semi-finals, it lurked near the bottom of the table in a surprisingly anti-Nordic set of votes (except Sweden of course).
Trackshittaz – Woki mit deim Popo
#18 in Semi-final 1
Austria rapping, with stripper poles? Sounds horrible, and to many it was. In fact I didn’t much enjoy the performance, having listened to the recorded version a lot beforehand. I think the “woop woop!” moments really could have been hammed up a lot more. It had a sense of humour, but I feel this might have got lost on the night. I could just imagine some viewers going “oh lol, is this what the Austrians really like?” and not getting it. Thought maybe I didn’t get it, and this is the height of Austrian culture, but I rather hope not. Woop woop!
Anri Jokhadze – I’m a Joker
#14 in Semi-final 2
Ruining their track-record after a string of often exceptional entries, Georgia sent a bit of a wildcard this time, or maybe a joker if you will. It’s SORT of fun, but a bit of a mess on record, but actually came over as quite fun on-stage. A bit of a mess still, but he really had a good set of lungs to give a song like this so much energy. Ultimately I never like seeing a novelty song get through, and fortunately they didn’t really get close. I hope Georgia can come up with something a bit more palatable next year.
Izabo – Time
#13 in Semi-final 1
Another song I’m finding a bit difficult to have strong feelings about. Seeing a rather nice music video for this (with the stop-motion photographs) gave me a sneaking regard for this one, but it’s quite old-fashioned. Israel are an unusual country in Eurovision thanks to their exclusively Middle-East location, so it’s interesting to hear what sort of style they come up with. I don’t like this guy’s vocals, but the production has an endearing Asian feel to it, maybe like some Bollywood movie or something. Not ultimately my cup of tea, I prefer a dramatic but earnest ballad from Israel, but I’m sure they’ll send one next year.
Compact Disco – Sound of Our Hearts
#24 in the Grand Final
Who had this one down as a semi-final qualifier? Seriously? This wasn’t going to get very far in the final, particularly after being dealt the slot of death (2nd), but it’s not so bad. I just would have preferred to see other acts in the final. It’s not a bad song, nor was it badly performed, it just wasn’t a lot of fun. A bit of a preachy “we should just be nice to each other” modern power-ballad. Considering poor old Kati Wolf didn’t do much better as Hungary’s representative last year, I’m still a bit surprised this did as well as it did.
Buranovskiye Babushki – Party for Everybody
#2 in the Grand Final
Heh … well obviously this is the biggest disparity with the actual results, with the Russian grannies threatening to win at one point. They certainly were the talking point of the show for many fans and non-fans alike. On record it’s an unextraordinary ethno-trash pop song, but since it was fronted by some traditionally-dressed old ladies (one of those really didn’t look old enough), suddenly people were all over it.
I think it was almost a self-fulfilling prophecy, they became bookies’ favourites and drew attention to themselves, which snowballed into more and more interest as they looked like serious contenders to win. Thank God it didn’t though, that would be a massive step back for the contest. I guess every exciting show needs an antagonist. I hear the grannies’ village has now had a load of renovation done to it, including electricity, so at least it has a happy ending.
Sinplus – Unbreakable
#11 in Semi-final 1
Poor hopeless Switzerland don’t have a lot of luck now, since the semi-finals have thwarted many attempts to reach a final. Last year they got very lucky, but by a similarly slim margin they missed out this time. Poor English abound, I didn’t think much of this, just Killers-lite inspirational nonsense. But it just grew on me in the end, and I think their performance – to their credit – was pretty effective, and turned around my opinions on this one. Zwim agenst da strimm!
Jedward – Waterline
#19 in the Grand Final
I suspected last year’s novelty-entry success came as a bit of a shock to Ireland who have been sending joke entries or half-arsed efforts since their golden age ended years ago. After European success as a result of their Dusseldorf glory, Ireland thought Jedward would be a good act to send again – this time as a “proper” entry! Only it just didn’t have the flamboyance of last year’s entry, and the success never reached the same heights. Nice fountain though, and I believe those guys genuinely love Eurovision, so it was always fun to see them having a great time in Baku.
Rona Nishliu – Suus
#5 in the Grand Final
Another divisive one, and a big surprise to see the old Borg Queen as one of the big finishers in the final. I wasn’t even sure it would qualify, but in fact it came 2nd in its heat! A very dramatic performance, with a lot of rather difficult-to-watch emotion, and difficult-to-hear glory notes. Those big notes were as eye-popping as I imagined from hearing the recorded versions, and it obviously resonated with lots of people, giving Albania their best result to date. Totally ridiculous, but just part of the rich tapestry of Eurovision I suppose!