Norway’s Eurovision 2010 Entry

Jeez Louise, we watched the Norway, Denmark and Iceland finals and never wrote them up! Damn you, Olympics!!! Let the rectification begin with our look at the reigning champions, who are sending Kris Allen-lookalike Didrik Solli-Tangen and his song “My Heart Is Yours”:

It’s as if Norway collectively thought, “That song Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote last year was quite good. Let’s ape that.” That said, this is a stand-out anthem among all the ballads that are making it to Eurovision this year. Jen said that it shows you, rather then tells you, like all those “I love you I love you I love you” songs.  (That’s her term, based on Ukraine’s “I Love You,” which, I neglected to mention in the review, repeated the phrase “I love you” 12 times in English and nine times in Ukrainian.  Well, we assume that’s what he’s saying since we don’t speak Ukrainian.)

The Norway final was particularly strong.  I mentioned “Jealous ‘Cause I Love You” earlier, but the other stand-out for me was Keep of Kalessin’s “Dragontower,” because I’m still a teenaged metal head.

Russia’s Eurovision 2010 Entry

We missed the first 10 minutes of Russia’s national final due to a rip in the time-space continuum (specifically, my inability to figure out the time zone difference between Central European Time and Eastern Standard Time).  We only missed yet another performance of “Fairytale” by Alexander Rybak, though, and since we’re coming around to Graham Norton’s feelings about Rybak, this was fine by us.  He later performed another song after Dima Bilan performed yet another performance of “Believe.”

Missing from all this, incidentally, is last year’s Russian entry, Anastasiya Prykhodko’s “Mamo.”  This is not a bad thing.

I don’t remember much of how Russia tallied up the votes for their entries last year, but this year’s tally was the same as the 2008 national final, in which at the end, the hosts go through and announce the scores given to each performer by the public and by the jury.  In the end, the prize of representing Russia at Eurovision went to the delightfully odd “Lost and Forgotten” by Peter Nalitch:

This is kind of awful and kind of awesome all at the same time.  It’s sort of like a parody of Balkan Eurovision entries, only it doesn’t know it.  Unless it does.  I don’t know.  It’s not got a chance in hell of winning, but the more I hear it, the more it grows on me.  Like fungus, granted, but still…

Yet this was not the only bizarre Russia entry.  There was Buranovskiye Babushki, which is, as you can probably guess from the name, a group of singing and dancing grandmothers.  I am embarrassed to admit how much I liked this song:

But the camp highlight of the evening had to be Oleg Bezinskih’s performance.  If you’re going to go over the top, be sure you clear top by a good few feet.  Or a good mile, for that matter:

This is everything Krassimir Avramov tried to do last year and failed at, really.

Portugal’s Eurovision 2010 Entry

The Portugal national final was a bit of a slog.  That’s really the best way to describe it.  Let’s start with the voting process. There were juries set up in 20 Portuguese locales, and they assigned points like in the Song Contest itself.  So the host went through and got the points from a representative of each jury.  But she also made small talk with the reps as well.  Thus, the tallying went for over an hour.

After the points were tallied up, the top vote getter received 12 points total, the second-place vote getter got 10 points total, and so on down the line.  Then this score was added to the points given to the performers by the public voting to determine who won.  So if you got, say, two points from the jury and seven points from the public, you’d end up with nine points.

Now, some countries use juries to offset the public voting so that, say, Dustin the Turkey doesn’t show up at the big show.  However, you question the taste of the juries when they pick as their winner Filipa Azevedo’s “Há dias assim”:

Ignore the fact that this is a bland ballad reminiscent of something Mariah Carey would have passed on 20 years ago.  The issue here is that Azevedo is singing this so poorly.  God, her runs sound like she’s gargling.  It’s just a horrible experience listening to this (which I am doing here just for you, gentle readers).  Sure she’ll probably sing it better at the Semi-Finals.  But what if she doesn’t? Then you’re stuck with this sore thumb of song that is going to keep your winless streak alive.

There seemed to be a bit of controversy, at least amongst ESCToday readers, about the voting, since the public had given  Catarina Pereira’s “Canta por mim” 12 points, and Azevedo’s song just seven points.  But here’s the thing about that. “Canta por mim” sounds a lot like last year’s Spain entry “La noche es para mi,” which finished tied for second-to-last.  So really, there’s no way for Portugal to win this year.

Ukraine’s Eurovision 2010 Entry

We have intense cases of Olympic Fever, so during the fortnight that Winter Olympics were on, we completely ignored Eurovision to discuss the finer strategies involved in curling. This past weekend, however, we got caught up on what we had missed in a major way. On Saturday, we watched the Ukraine song selection show, followed by the Sweden repechage, followed by the Portugal national final. Then we watched the Russia national final on Sunday. Then we went through and listened to all the other songs that have been picked since then. (Ukraine made it easy for us by having the entries from Armenia and Bulgaria on, as well as the performer for Azerbaijan.)

Then we watched the Oscars, which sucked all joy and life out of us, so we’re regaining our souls now by writing up a whole ton of song reviews.

Let’s start off with Ukraine. Vasyl Lazarovich was hand-picked for Eurovision by Ukraine organizers. He performed five songs on Saturday, and both a jury and the Ukrainian public voted on which song to send. They all chose “I Love You”:

It was pretty obvious this was going to be the song that won, because it’s the only one that Vasyl performed with any confidence.  Even though it is dreck… man, is it dreck. (“I love you, I love you, I love you?”  Someone needs to send a DVD of Singing In the Rain to Kyiv, quick.) Regardless, he sang it well, and connected with the audience in a way he hadn’t during the other four songs on the night.

The number we were rooting for was of course the one that Vasyl had absolutely no confidence in whatsoever. The only way he could be more uncomfortable trying to play rock star in “Don’t Wanna Lose You” would be if he had live squirrels romping in his jeans.

The Swedish Second Chance round was interesting, although in the end, the voters picked the songs by the pretty blonde women.  Neither number really has a chance in next week’s final, because if they did, they wouldn’t have needed to go to the Second Chance round, would they?

Finland’s Eurovision 2010 Entry

We watched the Finnish final last weekend, as well as the Norwegian repechage round.  Is it a bad sign for Finland that any of the songs vying for a second shot at the Norwegian final outshined the Finnish entry, Kuunkuiskaajat’s “Työlki ellää”?

I mean, it’s not bad; it’s even kinda catchy, with some pretty cool backing vocals.  But I can’t say it really grabbed me.  (In fact, I was kind of rooting for Eläkeläiset’s “Hulluna humpasta” for sheer anarchy’s sake.)  We’ll see how memorable “Työlki ellää” is compared to the slew of inevitable post-Rybak neo-folk numbers that are surely coming this year.

The Norwegian Siste Sjansen show, incidentally, featured a Rybak rip-off number, Gaute Ormåsen’s “Synk eller svøm“. And it’s a terrific song in its own right, despite the similarities.  But my favorite of the runners-up, and one of the two that made it through to Norway’s upcoming final, is Venke Knutson’s “Jealous Cause I Love You”:

It doesn’t have a shot of winning the national final in a year when Norway is hosting Eurovision, so I’m just going to savor it now.

Switzerland’s Eurovision 2010 Entry

Michael Von Der Heide debuted “Il pleut de l’or,” Switzerland’s entry into this year’s Eurovision Song Contest this past Saturday:

I’ve listened to it a couple of times already, and it hasn’t made much of an impression on me.  I don’t hate it when I hear it, but I forget about it pretty quickly afterward.  I’m sure it will do… moderately?

Albania’s Eurovision 2010 Entry

It’s Eurovision season again, and as usual, we kick it off with Albania’s contribution.  How will the nation recover from last year’s disastrously staged entry?

Apparently, by making use of the Eurovision Song-Generating Music Unit 3000.  Juliana Pasha’s “Nuk mundem pa ty” could not be more generic if she were wearing a white dress with the word “Singer” written in black text across her front.

(The Eurovision Song-Generating Music Unit 3000 is a reference to the Comics Curmudgeon and its coverage of the Archie comic strip. Obviously, both of these units are made by the same company.)