And my Eurovision winner is …

Eurovision song contest

Garish lights, cameras, action? It must be the Eurovision song contest (Photo credit: kjelljoran)

I think someone should hand Bernardo a stiff drink. He has just put himself through all 39 entries in the 2013 Eurovision contest, which takes place in Malmo, Sweden, on May 14-18. The Australian broadcaster which will carry the event, SBS, has posted all the songs up here. You can vote like or dislike, and there are four other buttons where you can deliver another verdict, a LOL, an MEH (that’s a new one to me, I had to look that up,if you don’t know what it means here are the explanations), an OMG and a HOT (which just means hot stuff, or he/she/they  is or are hot). Bernardo wouldn’t have minded a WTF option too. Note the dates on that website are SBS broadcast times and not the live times.

Some people love Eurovision, others hate it. Bernardo is a secret admirer, lured by curiosity more than anything else. I mean, let’s face it, even with all the internet radio options we have nowadays, Eurovision really is likely to be the only time that someone in Australia will get to hear a song in Armenian or Azerbaijani. That’s if they can be bothered to sing in their own language. Bernardo gets rather annoyed when they all try to be English pop stars.

So, what’s on offer this year at Eurovision in terms of my five Romance languages?

French: France’s entry is L’enfer Et Moi by Amandine Bourgeois. Unusually among all this pretty girl pop, it’s quite bluesy and gutsy. Belgium’s entry is in English so this is all the French you are going to get.

Italian: Italy is being represented by L’Essenziale by Marco Mengoni, who if he doesn’t win can at least say he has the longest sideburns. It’s a not unpleasant ballad but a bit subdued compared with others in the same genre. Bernardo can’t really see it doing much (but at the moment it has the most likes on that website – Australia’s Italian community is letting its fingers do the talking). Likewise with Valentina Monetta, who once again will be representing ‘The Most Serene Republic of San Marino’ with her lilting ballad Chrisalide (Vola).

Spanish: Spain’s entry is Contigo Hasta El Final (With You Until The End) by El Sueño De Morfeo, or ESDM for short. It has a very Celtic sound, think the Corrs Go To Spain.

Romanian: Romania has opted for a strange but daring entry, It’s My Life by a countertenor known as Cezar. People will either love it (maybe be astounded by it might be a better description) or hate it. This is the one that you need a WTF button for. Across the border, Moldova is being represented by Aliona Moon, who in this song doesn’t come from the moon, she is from Venus, and her lover is from Mars, and English is the language of interplanetary communication. So, no Romanian language at Eurovision this year. (UPDATE: This was incorrect, the SBS preview website used the English version of the song in its preview, but has since amended it. So we do get to hear Romanian after all. Good luck, Aliona!)

Portuguese: You won’t hear a word of Portuguese at the 2013. The Portuguese telecaster was one of four to pull out of the contest this year for financial reasons (the others were Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovakia).

English: Symbol "thumbs up", great

Thumbs up to the following countries for doing entries in their own language: Albania (boofy bloke rock band); Bulgaria (percussion-driven song with eastern flavours including some sort of eastern bagpipe); Croatia (six blokes doing “kalpa”, a traditional form of vocal music, great voices, will appeal to fans of the likes of the three tenors); Cyprus (woman singing nostalgic ballad); Estonia (young woman doing ballad/pop); FYR Macedonia (earnest young bloke does duet with veteran woman in a WTF flamboyant costume); Hungary (the editor of a tattoo magazine who goes by the nickname ByeAlex sings a whimsical, folksy song. It’s great! It makes the Hungarian language sound really beautiful. I would buy this song.) Iceland (beautiful melody by bloke with long blond hair and a beard); Ireland (I suppose English is the language of Ireland although maybe Ireland should be in the thumbs down category for not having any Gaelic in this. This has a very 2013 night club pop sound, but being part Irish myself I hope it does well). Israel (another woman in another anguished power ballad); Montenegro (deep voiced male rapper and screechy woman do tag team singing); Serbia (three singers, one angelic, one devilish, one like Reese Witherspoon give it a good go; sounds like a nice language); The UK (gosh, it’s Bonnie Tyler! Remember her smash hit Total Eclipse of the Heart all those years ago? Although I much preferred Lost in France. This is OK but doesn’t have the same impact. Good to see her back though.)

Thumbs down icon

Thumbs down to the following for providing an entry in English when they should be promoting their own language: Armenia (boofy blokes singing about trying to “brake the wall” – I’m not sure if the wall is meant to fall down or stay in one piece); Austria (girl trying to do gritty girl rock); Azerbaijan (power ballad by good looking bloke); Belarus (blonde girl trying to be a Latin cha-cha); Belgium (TV talent contest bloke trying to sound like a boy band, nice try though); Denmark (pop song by 19-year-old woman, has a very Gaelic feel); Finland (raunchy blonde in leather does an Avril Lavigne/Kelly Clarkson impersonation with ding-dong wedding bell, door bell flavours); Georgia (earnest, intense man/woman duet – oh, the passion! But yeah it’s quite tuneful); Germany (dance pop from Cascada, not as energetic as The Rhythm of the Night and their other hits); Lithuania (hmmm, this could have been a great song if it had been given more “oomph”, but I am not sure if the fashionably scruffy looking bloke has the voice to carry it); Malta (a doctor by profession lets his hair down in a lah-de-dah folksy way. Wish my doctor performed like this!) Norway (rousing foot-stomper by blonde with rosy cheeks); Russia (ballad with searing orchestral strings by a young female performer; quite impressive really); Slovenia (American-born woman whose song sounds like anything you would hear on the charts nowadays by any number of people); Sweden (the host country is being represented by one of the few male soloists in this competition, Robin Stjernberg; he has a great voice and I can see his song You being a huge international hit and even winning the competition); Switzerland (one of the braver and more original offerings here from Takasa, who include a 95-year-old in their line-up! The song starts out as if it’s going to be a headbanging bit of biffo but it quickly turns into a brooding pop song with a glorious catchy chorus); The Netherlands (brooding ballad by a comparative veteran here, Anouk); Ukraine (another young starlet with a manufactured pop sound).

Thumbs horizontal to the following for doing bits in their own language and bits in English: Greece (men in kilts perform an Balkan-flavoured ska ode to alcohol); Latvia (skinny boys in glitter jump around and do bits of rap in English with an anthemic chorus, or one that is trying to be anthemic, but I think there is a word or two of Latvian chucked in);

So I think this will be very much a Scandinavian contest, and I am tipping Sweden to pip Denmark for the title, perhaps with Norway in the chase too. Don’t rule out: Azerbaijan, Belgium,  Ireland, Latvia, Russia, Slovenia, Serbia – they seem to have got the ‘Eurovision formula’.

However, my vote goes to Hungary’s ByeAlex with this version of the song Kedvesem (zoohacker remix). I will be playing this over and over again at home in my more mellow moods. The Hungarian language is meant to be very unusual, related only to Finnish, I believe, but this makes it sound like one of the most natural languages in the world that everyone should be talking. If I only knew what he was saying!

Switzerland gets my second vote and Croatia my third for doing something classy and traditional. I hope the scruffy Icelandic fisherman type does well with his melodic ballad too, ditto the Maltese doctor.

Now for that stiff drink… cheers 🙂


3 thoughts on “And my Eurovision winner is …

  1. Pingback: The Eurovision tension is rising (and apologies to Aliona) | My Five Romances

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