Time to continue our upward climb through the songs presented at Tallinn’s first Eurovision Song Contest. The first nine might not have been all-time classics but maybe 2002 won’t be a dead loss after all.
Although I would say, the standard of songs in 2002 was such that LATVIA won. I mean come on! You remember Latvia, right?
Sandrine François – Il faut du temps
Nice old dignified France. They were a little less experimental at the start of the decade than they were towards the end. So for 2002 we got a suspiciously Celine-esque ballad sung by a pretty version of Kathy Griffin.
Sure it’s not going to win any originality awards, but it’s a nice song sung well without the need for any gimmicks. It is a lot like Celine though, isn’t it? I’m not talking about 2002 Celine either, this is like mid-90s Celine. Not a bad thing, but… well, it’s 2002.
Manuel Ortega – Say A Word
This is a total cheese-fest but somehow I’m quite fond of it. I’ve just watched the Youtube video to refresh my memory – Manuel was a lot tastier than this picture suggests! Doesn’t sound like a very Austrian name though, does it?
It’s a pretty basic love song but that simplicity makes it easily memorable. It’s got more of a spark than the French entry anyway. Difficult for me to have strong feelings about this, but it’s good. The choreography needs work though, are those backing singers doing an aerobics class?
Michalis Rakintzis – S.A.G.A.P.O.
Oh lord… this got bumped up a little bit for sheer hopelessness. He’s really a little too old to be in a boyband isn’t he? Why are they dressed like space rangers? Stomping around the stage like he’s playing Dancing Stage Euromix, he struggles to find the key he’s supposed to sing in.
It’s quite catchy in an awful way. Sagapo I think means “I love you” in Greek, or something like that. The gentle synth backing gives it a bit of life, but that singing is dreadful. It might be no good but it’s definitely among my favourites… hard to think this was a nation that would produce ten Top 10 finishes in the 21st century (so far)
Ira Losco – 7th Wonder
Ira cut it pretty close, nearly securing the tiny Mediterranean island’s first victory in the contest. What a gulf in the quality between this and Greece. I’m not sure I’d rate this one as a winner though, it’s a little too sickly-sweet and reminds me of any old Max Martin pop-ballad album track from the turn-of-century album tracks.
It evidently didn’t take a lot to get the crowd hyped up, a handful of glitter seemed to do it. You’ve got to hand it to her though, she’s very likeable and she brought the song to life compared to the studio version. But I don’t think it’s a winner, much as I’d love Malta to win.
Vesna Pisarović – Everything I Want
Watch me as I fondle my wrist tassles. She’s very pretty, and even the backing singers are on side this time, delivering a decent harmony. I can’t say I’d rate the Eastern European entries much as you go back, but this is solid.
Another very ‘of the moment’ midtempo pop song but she’s performing as much as she can with it. That middle-eight where she’s just doing yoga poses and messing with her strap is a bit odd, and she seems to like sticking out her ass, but this is a pretty good all-round package. Again it feels like it’s about 5 years late, but still let’s have some perspective.
Monica Anghel & Marcel Pavel – Tell Me Why
If there’s anything Eastern Europe can handle it’s a dramatic ballad, and this is no exception. It even has a WTF moment when it sounds like she’s singing “if you want to go away, now I masturbate”.
It’s a bit of a drag I suppose, but I do like a good power duet. The performance perhaps lost something from the studio version, a bit waily, but it’s just one of those weird Eurovision sub-genres that I quite like for all its melodrama.
Malene – Tell Me Who You Are
Poor Denmark got the wooden spoon in Tallinn, finishing bottom of the leaderboard despite a strong pop-ballad. Honestly I can’t see why this could have come last, it’s not an amazing song or anything, but Malene’s a good singer and the song might be a little dusty but it’s certainly fairly contemporary for the time.
I guess the performance is quite static, she just bops away to herself at the end of the catwalk, with the backing singers all but camouflaged on the main stage. It could have been polished a bit with some more exciting staging, but it is a shame this did so badly.
Francine Jordi – Dans le jardin de mon âme
Ahh Switzerland, have they ever really done well? A lot of the time they’ve hardly been short-changed given the quality of their entries, but maybe 22nd place was a little harsh.
That said, she’s quite annoying in that performance, her voice is a little too shouty compared to the studio version. France had a Celine ballad, Switzerland didn’t quite go as blatant as that but she’s even doing the Celine arms.
I like the song though, it’s a cute but dated little love song that for some reason has a very catchy chorus. Seriously of all the songs to get stuck in my head, that chorus just got locked in there. She needed to take the volume down a notch but a lovely entry all the same.
Marie N – I Wanna
So this was the winner eh? LATVIA right? I didn’t make a mistake? Eurovision didn’t have far to travel, as it passed to Estonia’s neighbours but… really?! Not to say it’s not a catchy song, I am probably happier with this as a winner than most of the tracks but it’s just so naff.
Laying down some Ricky Martin-style latin pop, she spins around in her rather unladylike Moonwalker outfit as she blurs gender lines by dancing with a sexy lady before undressing to reveal a rather short dress to the delight of the audience.
It’s difficult to be too harsh on it, it’s so ramshackle to the point of being rather endearing. The song is very catchy despite the broken English and unhinged backing music, but it all flows well, and the performance got it through the finishing tape in the end. Well played.
Afro-dite – Never Let It Go
Sweden made their own reliable spectacle too, sending those three balls of energy to a bit of full-on disco Schlager nonsense. It’s slick as we’ve come to expect from the Swedish entries, and it’s difficult not to get drawn into it.
It’s a bit too derivative for my tastes, but these sort of lite-disco throwbacks were all over the place at the time. It certainly looks a lot more professional compared to most of the entries, even when they go totally insane towards the end. What an abrupt finish though!