A looong delay on this one, I have been slowly but surely enjoying (broadly) the delights of the 21st century’s Eurovision Song Contests since I first looned up 5 years ago with the Moscow show. Goodness knows how it’s taken me so long, since in that time I’ve only managed to go back slightly faster than I’ve gone forward.
Now after 4 months on my iPod it’s time to deal with the 2002 contest, the first one hosted by Estonia. This small Baltic state joined Eurovision in 1994, and despite a bad start in Dublin it’s eventually found its way to being a leading light in the Baltic region. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before they win again, though hopefully it’s with something stronger than “Everybody”, their winner at Copenhagen’s 2001 contest. I wonder if they could repeat history as Denmark did in Sweden, and win the show from Copenhagen this year?
The songs of 2002 felt like a bit of a step down from later shows – I guess that’s a good thing for the future, but right now it was a bit of a slog. Even more so today as I deal with my least favourite nine.
Karolina Gočeva – Od nas zavisi
Oh FYR Macedonia, we have to stop meeting in places like this, i.e. the arse end of Eurovision countdowns. Actually last place makes this sound like it’s a terrible song, it’s not really. It just leaves me a bit cold; sultry delivery with minimal drum backing and perhaps no chorus.
I think this just got lost in translation for me, she seems like a good singer, and her costume change got some whoops of excitement from the audience, but that’s the extent of the excitement for this one,
Buket Bengisu & Group Safir – Leylaklar Soldu Kalbinde
More impenetrable Eastern excitement now, this time from the normally dependable Turks. There’s a dance routine at least, ahead of the Zumba wave by a good 5 years. The lone male dancer seems to have been pulled from the audience.
It’s nice enough, it’s just ropey as hell. She’s got a very deep voice hasn’t she? A bit of an earworm but goodness I won’t be too sad if I never hear it again.
Sergio & The Ladies – Sister
Joint 13th place
Normally I would have dealt with the novelty crap first, but here we are. What the hell is this guy? Cheesy awful pseudo-rock’n’roll, that only makes it this high because against my better judgement it IS sort of catchy. His ‘ladies’ don’t do him any favours, partially draped in potato sacks and ragged denim. He even does a somersault. What the hell!?
Sestre – Samo ljubezen
Joint 13th place
The WTF trend continues to Slovenia, with some cabin crew drag queens singing some dreadful … I nearly typed disco, I don’t think it’s really that at all. It’s like the worst cruise-ship entertainment ever with some serious iffy looking trannies.
It wins out over Belgium’s Sergio for a half-decent set of harmonies, and just for seeming slightly more like the sort of song I could get some enjoyment out of, but that’s a pretty big ask in this case. Somehow it managed joint 13th place with Sergio on the night, along with one other artist…
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Maja Tatić – Na jastuku za dvoje
Joint 13th place
… the third act stuck in joint 13th with those last two horrors is this spirited performance. It’s no less cheesy but it’s at least not as gimmicky. Musically it’s almost between Slovenia & Belgium, it’s a swingin’ throwback with a rather fierce haircut and tight harmonies.
It’s a nice bit of fluff, I can’t say I’m too pained listening to it, which sadly appears to be about the only qualification for the top 20 this time. Fun and frothy, with a decent finish.
Rosa – Europe’s Living a Celebration
Europe’s living a what? Please repeat! Oh, a celebration! The first 10 words are ‘celebration’ before launching into a sugar-hyped Spanish fiesta. Poor Santa Rosa seems like the only sensible one of the bunch, with overexcited children’s TV presenters making up the backing group.
Despite the cheap old Europop beat, it’s quite a nice performance and Rosa’s got some good pipes on her. It wouldn’t be so cloying if it wasn’t sucking up so much to Europe. I never really like these entries where the brief of “a song for Europe” is taken literally, but this isn’t a bad stab.
Aivaras – Happy You
What a lovely outfit! Is Lithuania where all those donated clothes end up? I’m sure we’ll all be wearing his look in a few years. Fashion statements aside, this is a typically hapless Lithuanian entry but it’s quite sweet really.
It’s not exactly reinventing the wheel, but it’s gently optimistic and quite a catchy little melody. It must have something about it, I’m not doubting its place in my ranking – which probably says more the other songs than this one – but… hmm.
Laura Voutilainen – Addicted To You
Imagine the striking Nordic beauty above, but with a Jessie J-esque lesbian parting, fierce eye make-up and outfit from an overweight salsa dancer. I’m not a style icon or anything, but it’s a bit of a state.
Fortunately the song is the strongest we’ve had so far, a bit of cheesy pop powerfully performed by the energetic Laura. Douze points for energy at least, and a good song.
One – Gimme
Oh lord … this one got beaten out by Greece in my list more for Greece’s slightly more original but nonetheless preposterous display than anything, but 2002 marked a rare victory of Cyprus over Greece that wouldn’t happen again until Ivi Adamou’s slimmest of margins in 2012.
It’s an excitable Cypriot boyband, what’s not to like? They seem to get the crowd whipped into a frenzy anyway with perhaps the most generic bit of Europop fluff. I might have even underrated it a bit, but something about this isn’t quite clicking for me. It’s actually pretty decent, even if it feels like it should be on a gay chatline advert or something. What a keychange!!
I think we’ve at least arrived at the point at which I’ll keep the songs on my iPod (possibly this point was Finland just now). No guarantees that the rest will be pure gold, mind…