Back in December, the Swiss decided not to mess around, and pick their representative to Malmö’s Eurovision Song Contest. Almost immediately there was controversy as the Salvation Army winners of the national final were told by the EBU that they could not wear their uniforms or use their name Heilsarmee (the Swiss version of the SA), as this would be promotion of the group – a big Eurovision no-no, as San Marino found out last year with the Facebook song.
They have since agreed to still participate under an as-yet-unannounced name, and different outfits. But the question is: Did Switzerland make the right choice? The public got 100% of the responsibility for selecting, a tactic that seems to be getting rarer – perhaps because the Eurovision results are determined by a 50/50 split between televotes and juries. Anyway, here are the 9 finalists, in reverse order.
Ally – Catch me
Heyyyy sexy lady! A Cabaret style entrance and some purposeful strutting to centre stage. Her voice isn’t up to much, and really can’t handle that rather shambolic chorus. It’s got that old-fashioned feel to it, I can’t put my finger on what it reminds me of. It does reach a decent crescendo, but it does feel a bit like amateur hour.
Nill Klemm – On my way
Oh lord, if you are going to sing in a lower register, please make sure you have one. Wow, why am I so bitchy today? It’s OK I’ve eaten since the first sentence so I should be fine. Sadly the key he can sing better isn’t great either. What rubbish backing dancers, are they doing a step class from the 1970s? Boring guitar midtempo, I just don’t feel anything but boredom for this…
Anthony Bighead – Do the monkey
This doesn’t sound like a good idea AT ALL, beatboxing novelty track in monkey suits. Bloodhound Gang it’s NOT. Giving it an ironic disco twist doesn’t do it any favours. Is that beatboxing out of time? I’ve seen some decent novelty hits at Eurovision but this is definitely NOT one. Not big, and not clever. Certainly not as clever as the main singer seems to think.
Nicolas Fraissinet – Lève-toi
It’s been a little while since they did a French entry, perhaps remembering 2010’s disaster is not a good idea. Handsome Swiss guy on a piano, it doesn’t sound too bad. If anything it’s a bit safe. Quite nice but just doesn’t make an impact on me at all.
Chiara Dubey – Bella Sera
Is this in Italian? Looks interesting anyway, a sole figure on the stage, an unusual hat, interesting storybook visuals. If anything the song is just a bit of a plain Jane. Is there a chorus? She can sing fine, but the melody is just all over the place. A bit disappointing really, I waited for the whole 3 minutes for something to happen…
Melissa – The point of no return
Is that a synth I hear? We’re SAVED! She’s walking some man-dog dancers! Unfortunately her lower register really isn’t up to much, it’s barely audible. That puts an awful lot of pressure on the chorus. It’s not a bad one really, but it’s nothing special. Generic europop fare really, which is better than the other songs I’ve heard so far, but that’s not saying a lot. Maybe would have been good with a different performer.
Jesse Ritch – Forever & a day
Is this Richie’s brother? *fnar*. Oh great, a 90s love song. Though weirdly the object of his affection seems to be some sort of mail-order bride who has just arrived in a box. This really is the most generic midtempo pop love song I’ve ever heard. At least the staging had a few gimmicks thrown at it – goodness, she can spread her legs like a crazy woman! – but this is just dead in the water. God, this finished 3rd!?
Carrousel – J’avais rendez-vous
Hmm, accordions, guitars, so far so worthy. I love her French accent, I could have done without the male singer though. The chorus doesn’t have much to it does it? It’s just a bit of a nonstarter. I do like the accordion and the folky feel to it, but it hasn’t got much about it really … and this was a strong 2nd place finish! What a world!
Heilsarmee – You and me
This is NOT what I was expecting from the Salvation Army, it sounds like something Macedonia would send 5 years ago. A lot rockier than I was expecting. His voice is decent, is she in the Army too? A bit blah, but that chorus might just be an earworm. In fact it’s growing on me already. Grows quite nicely, just a little strange, but at least it’ll get some attention.
Well there we have it … despite a pretty poor selection, I think Switzerland picked the right song for Malmö. I still think it’ll struggle to qualify, but it may surprise us. Switzerland don’t have a great record – only qualifying twice since the Semi-finals were introduced in 2004. I didn’t think they would in 2011 (and indeed they only just managed it), but I think this might just make it. JUST.