Ahh, the Swiss. Famed for their beautiful Alpine landscape, their Toblerones, their cheese. Sadly, not for their Eurovision entries. At least not for a while. Celine Dion provided their second win in 1988, and you have to go back all the way to the very first Eurovision for the other Swiss victory, from a certain Lys Assia.
No, the Swiss are lovers not fighters, and this softly-softly approach has unfortunately seen them snubbed from 6 of the last 7 grand finals. Could this be the year? It always feels like a bit of a long shot, but you never know. Despite their rather understated nature, Switzerland has a knack of attracting curious rumours, often involving UK X-Factor participants, as well as the persistent rumour that Lys Assia would mount a campaign to take the Eurovision stage once more.
But not this year. Four Swiss broadcasters all put forward candidates, which were whittled down to a final 6, and a 50/50 Jury & Televote decided the winner of the Swiss ticket to Copenhagen last Saturday. So let’s see what they came up with, eh?
Natacha & Stéphanie – Une terre sans vous
The Swiss performances are hard to find so I had to settle for the studio version. What does that tinkling intro remind me of so badly?! A gentle little downtempo, with some really beautiful little harmonies for the choruses. Fair enough, it doesn’t really go anywhere, but isn’t it nice? They could have done a lot worse than a pair of singers like this.
Nino Colonna – La luce del cuore
Another studio version to judge it on and… hmm first impressions aren’t great. There’s a nice pace to it, but it’s a bit MoR for my tastes. Croaky middle-aged guy with a guitar midtempo? Some dad dancing too, did he take his moves from Andrew Ridgeley? No thanks. Inoffensive but hardly a showstopper.
Christian Tschanz – Au paradis
Wow, this is an earnest promo video isn’t it? You almost zone out a bit and miss the forgettable song being strained out by the sandpaper-voiced musician. I said Nino’s song was too MoR for my tastes, but I think I spoke too soon. If this was any more middle-of-the-ground it would have Cat’s Eyes on it. What on Earth is this video about? Did the kid die?! Or turn into a flower? Odd, and the song’s a non-starter.
3 for All – Together Forever
Finally a live performance, and what a performance it is! A rather motley trio of unlikely singers try their best to belt out a generic Europop track with lots of empty rhymes like “together” and “forever”, in a vaguely hi-NRG but oddly unconvincing ‘romp’. The best thing about it is the generic-as-you-like Romany-pop backing track and an infectious dose of nonsense. And this came THIRD! Goodness me…
Yasmina Hunzinger – I Still Believe
After that performance I’m grateful for a return to the studio versions. A real schmaltz-fest now, was schmaltz invented in Switzerland? A gloopy peace ballad about the goodness in peoples’ hearts says nothing new and trots out cliched words of encouragement. But she’s a good singer and to give her credit she brings this song to life, particularly that big old glory note towards the end. A dated track but this could have even seen them compete with the biggest of Disney ballads I think.
Sebalter – Hunter of Stars
A fairly uninspiring selection up until Yasmina’s 2nd place finish, so let’s see what the Swiss are sending to Denmark. All I knew already was that this guy is hot. A good start. A good title too! Oh Jesus, is this it? He’s gurning and whistling at the same time. It’s not exactly Alexander Rybak is it?
Faux-Bluegrass nonsense, it feels rather artificial. I’m not sure he’s even keeping up with this rhythm, or at least not particularly tunefully. How on Earth did this beat Yasmina?! He is cute though, maybe it’ll grow on me. Perhaps it was just that violin solo that won the day in the end. But for all the thigh-slapping it doesn’t really reach a satisfactory conclusion. I suspect that’s how it’ll work out in Denmark too, stuck in another semi-final. Sorry Switzerland, I don’t see it happening this year.