Annoying news

Apparently there are some new rules in town. Some very bad, bad rules. For many years now Swedish radio has previewed the Melodifestival entries on the day of the semi final or the day before. A chance for people to listen to the songs without being drawn away by clothes, hairstyles and messy performances. Both SVT and SR have made the songs available on their websites too for those of us who wants to analyze the songs to death and perhaps write own reviews on blogs etc.

Nothing this year. If you are not present at a rehearsal the first time you will hear the songs are live on TV. How rude! First impression is not always the long lasting one... A gruesome situation for Posh & Becks of Eurovision who now can't review the songs until afterwards (and not show off our prediction skills). But worse yet for the MF-songs that grows on you. They will be non-existent in the final and all we'll be stuck with are Brandsta City Släckers types of nonsens with a "funny" act on stage.

How could you SVT/SR???

Army of Peace

As Flanders are going out of their way to find a successful entry for Belgrade (the last time Flanders made it into top 10 was back in 1977), let us remind ourselves what the Flemings are capable of.

This song was largely ridiculed at the time - it was a bit "too much" with its aggressivly positive message and slightly naïve choreography, but unlike most of the songs back in 1987, this one has lived on in people's minds. A true classic, in other words.

And in these days of Flemish singers who don't deliver on the Eurostage (like Xandee and Kate Ryan, just to name two), the Belgians wouldn't need to look further than to ask Liliane to do take part again. She still sings like a nightingale and looks better than ever. Liliane and a good song could do the trick, I think.

And while waiting for that, I thoroughly enjoy this treaure from the Belgian vaults.

Liliane St Pierre - Soldiers of Love - Belgium 1987

Best Swiss ever

This year's Swiss entry is top class, but according to me, the Swiss have never been better than they were in Bergen in 1986. Atilla Sereftug, Nella Martinetti and Daniela Simons should all be dubbed Eurovision Knights by the president of the federation (if he ever sat long enough on his post to find time to do such a thing).

Am I right? Isn't this the best entry ever from Switzerland?

Daniela Simons - Pas pour moi - Switzerland 1986


Hints for France

France3 decided (the same day as Nina wondered what on Earth they were up to) to select their entry for Belgrade internally. An excellent idea, if you ask me. If I were them, I would spend every waken hour trying to persuade some real talent to get involved with the contest.

Most fans I ever spoke to from France always repeated as a mantra: there is no point in asking stars, let's not do it, they will just say no, nobody in France with a career would ever get involved with Eurovision. And, as icing on the cake, they shoot at you: you don't understand the French market. Everything is different in France.

Well, one thing I know for sure is that the one thing that makes the world go round also in France is success. If there is the chance of a decent income, most artists would throw their artistic pretence overboard in order to please a record company or a fanbase and gain a buck or two.

Let's face it - the day when French stars automatically got a shot at an international career are long gone. A few blessed ones get to go abroad, but most of them, no matter how successful, are confined to the French-speaking world. Not a small market, but it's quite some way from world domination, right?

I am sure that quite a few French acts would do Eurovision if there was something to gain from it. This is where France3 come in. If there is a pre-contest tour, where the singer gets to do radio and important television (not national finals, but real shows, talk shows, entertainment shows) and there is a widespread record distribution already before the contest, as well as a functionable distribution of the clip in advance - what silly singer wouldn't go under these circumstances?

And since ratings aren't bigger at home - what harm could it do? If you fall flat on your face, most people won't remember it anyway. Not in the long run.

So, here are some people I'd LOVE to see sing for France. Come on - give them a call. What is the worst thing that could happen? That they say no?

Julie Zenatti - Princesse
Julie started her career as Fleur-de-Lys in Notre-Dame, just like Natasha St Pier did after her. This song would have rocked Eurovision, I'm sure.

Najoua Belyzel - Gabriel
Wonderful singer with a huge hit. Something down this line could do what Evridiki unfortunately failed with - making the ESC a bit more electronic.

Faudel - Mon pays
The prince of raï should do the ESC just to be able to promote his style and heritage all over the continent in these times of arab-scepticism.

Amel Bent - Nouveau Français
Yet another great talent that would be worthy of pan-European exposure.

Pascal Obispo - 1980
What a dream to have Obispo at least write a song for somebody else. Patrick Bruel wrote a eurosong back in 2002, why would it be impossible to get a big name now?

Zazie - Je suis un homme
Wonderful Zazie could, like Obispo, also do just writing a song for someone else. But I think this mademoiselle could be wacko enough to say yes if she was asked.

One factor one should not forget here is the shock factor - if a big star did Eurovision is France everyone would think that he/she was totally mad as a brick, and they would get a media coverage like nobody else. If the final result is a top placing, it will also pay off and generate more singers who want to do the same. And if they flunk...? Who cares? In this day and age, exposure is always exposure and as important as oxygene.

Go for it, France!

Estonia two points

Since Eurolaul is coming up, and I see a disaster taking shape at the horizon, I prefer to bury my head in the sand and look back in history instead.

This is from when Estonia was a brand new Eurovision country (and pretty new in the world, as well) and sent their first preview clip out to international scrutinage. Well, you know the story: Silvi went to Dublin, gave it all she had and scored a grand total of two points, both from Greece.

Everything in this year's final is inferior to Silvi. Silvi Vrait rocks, and Posh & Becks love her. And we want to remind you all just how good she was back then.

Silvi Vrait - Nagu Merelaine - Estonia 1994


To Slovenia with love

Given my big interest for Former Yugoslavia and its components, it is confusing that I never knew much about Slovenia until they entered Eurovision on their own. Forgive me, Slovenians, I have bettered myself since. Slovenia is one of those countries I always look forward to, and just like Finland, they have had an ability to come up with clever, easy-going little songs that the world often failed to see the brilliance in.

Who cares about success, though? Being there and being good is all that matters, and if nobody understands you - it is their loss. And, as Sestre taught us in Tallinn: Slovenia is the only country in Europe that contains the word LOVE.

Is there a thing such as love as first sight? Yes. I fell head over heels in love with this song when I first saw the previews back in 1993, and my enthusiasm never wore off. Since I love the clip and the live performance all the same, I have to hand you both.

And no, Europe didn't understand this one either. Of course. (But people did vote for that piece of mediocricy that was "Cvet z juga". People are strange.)

1 X Band - Tih deževen dan - Slovenia 1993

Crazy Portuguese!

Now this is absurd! It is weird! It is completely wacko and everyone on stage is aware of it. The Portuguese have never lost their marbles in this grand old way either before or after "Playback" in 1981.

Of course nobody understood. A second last place tied with almost equally brilliant Turkey was all Carlos Paião brought with him back home. The juries never had a sense of humour.

But please Portugal - don't let that bring you down! Please be happy, clappy, fun and barking mad again. If you do I promise to vote for you at least once this year.

(Miss Posh hates this one, by the way. But don't let that stop you. Better to offend some than not to entertain anyone at all. Carlos can be proud of this up there in heaven.)

Carlos Paião - Playback - Portugal 1981

It's a draw!

Now the famous draw is concluded, and, for the people who dont yet know, this is the division of countries between the semi finals:

Semi 1 (Tuesday)
Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Moldova, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovenia.
(On top of this, Germany and Spain will broadcast and vote in this semi.)

Semi 2 (Thursday)
Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine.
(France, Serbia and the UK will broadcast and vote in this semi.)

What is there to say about this, then? Most clever things have already been written elsewhere, in addition to an impressive amount of rubbish. What is most usual is that everyone clearly over-estimates the importance of this draw. Like every year, when the draw is done.

It is nice and fair and square to divide countries that regularly votes for each other. That makes the whole thing a bit more exciting and unpredictable. Most sites have pointed out in their analysis that Greece and Cyprus are divided, and that Turkey is taken away from loyal voters in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. However, they seem to have missed the fact that France tends to vote for Turkey as well. And that Bulgaria gave ALL their 12-pointers to date to Greece.

But hey, you can't get everything into your analysis, right?

What about Finland, then? How will Finland be affected by this draw? I'd say the answer is: pretty little. Finland will miss points from Sweden (many Finns over there), but at the end of the day, the Finnish luck is usually down to other factors than the neighbourly kindness. There has been a lack of that in the past. For the last two years, Finland scored heavily from neighbours, but look a tiny bit further back. What do you see? Nothing? Bingo - that's the way it has been. Either Finland makes a splash or a crash, and when we crash, the other Nordic remain as unimpressed as everyone else.

"Will Eurovision go back to being a Song Contest now?" is the discussion topic of one major Eurovision site after the draw. Well, it always was.

Don't drop your jaws now, but the problem everyone is trying to solve here - that the countries from the old East are scoring while the West is not - won't disappear after this new formula for the semi finals.

It is easy to do the maths: Georgia sends their most popular singer - Belgium sends a hobby band. Russia sends their hottest, most promising debutants - the Netherlands send a has-been with no record company backing. Turkey sends their best-selling male singer - Spain sends in a boyband that saw its sell-by date years ago. The Ukraine sends a funny comedy song by a comedian with an international reputation - The UK provides an unfunny gag from a school play performed by a group that sold twenty copies ages ago and that everyone forgot about... Need I go on?

Unless there is a huge change in quality and effort from the old, traditional countries, we will see 15-18 "East" countries in the final. No hocus pocus with semi devision will change that. End of story.

But it is nice of the EBU to keep trying.

Beautiful scenery

Some countries never bother making a music video to promote their song internationally. Others put a lot of money and effort into a beautiful setting and a story that interact with the mood of the music and lyrics. To have a whole package is often an advantage when people see and hear the previews for the very first time. This is something the ex-Yugoslav countries are very good at. My absolute favourite preview video is "Nostalgija", Croatia's entry 1995. Unfortunately it is nowhere to be found on YouTube. Instead I have listed some other favourites of mine in no specific order. Watch them and vote for yourself in our poll!

Nina's Top 10 Eurovision Previews where sound and picture are in perfect harmony:

Maja Blagdan – “Sveta ljubav” (Croatia 1996)

Kasia Kowalska - "Chcę znać swój grzech” (Poland 1996)

Tanja Ribič – ”Zbudi se” (Slovenia 1997)

Danijela – “Neka mi ne svane” (Croatia 1998)

Natasha St Pier – “Je n’ai que mon âme” (France 2001)

Zeljko Joksimovic – “Lane Moje” (Serbia-Montenegro 2004)

Jonsì – “Heaven” (Iceland 2004)

Anna Vissi – “Everything” (Greece 2006)

Dima Koldun – “Work your magic” (Belarus 2007)

Magdi Rùzsa – “Unsubstantial Blues” (Hungary 2007)

Which preview video is YOUR favourite? Have your say in the poll! You can vote for as many videos as you like.

May the taste be with you! ;-)


Speaking of comebacks...

When Take That returned to the stage one of the singles from album Beautiful World was called "Shine". That song would have been perfect for Eurovision. Just what the British doctor ordered and what the dying BBC-spirit needed.

Take That - "Shine" 2006


I read somewhere that late 80's/early 90's darlings New Kids On The Block will attempt a comeback. Nice. Just what the world needed. But that is usually what happens in showbiz - you feel you can contribute no more, and then, one day, for reasons best known to yourself, you decide to join the fun and crash the party again.

You know, just like Austria in Eurovision.

They come with big ambitions, they go home with bitter disappointment, they drop out and then they always come back in the end. Austria is the NKOTB of Eurovision, in other words.

So, welcome back, Austria. Will we have to wait 14 years for you too?


New Kids On The Block?


Montenegro is full of song

Tonight, six montenegrins are singing their hearts out in competition as who will be the second one to represent Montenegro as an independent nation in Eurovision. Rumours on the net all have it that the whole thing is rigged to make Stefan Filipović win it, but the good news for whoever carries the trophy is that he or she can't possibly do worse than last year's Montenegrine entry.

Stevan Faddy most rank among the least charming Eurovision contenders ever. He sang badly, he was unfriendly to journalists and fans and managed to make himself rather impopular throughout the week. Not to mention that "song" of his. Sheer terror.

I know Montenegro can do it a lot better than that. No Name were great in my book back in 2005, and the two Montenegrine contributions under Yugoslav flag were good too. Best of luck to the Black Mountain with their entry of 1984 (which also won the Yugoslav final due to extensive cheating - some things never quite change).

Ida & Vlado - Ciao Amore - Yugoslavia 1984

Nina's Song of the Day

I will start to educate you lot on what is good and what is bad when it comes to music. In the section "Nina's Song of the Day" you will find just about anything as long as it has some link to Eurovision. The Good, the Bad & the Silly. All will be embraced here.

To start off this project we need one of the Good. I decided on a song that very well could have become a Eurovision classic, or at least the Finnish entry 1980. But back then Finnish TV was involved with two singing competitions. Euroviisut for Eurovision and Interviisut for the Sopot Festival (Eastern replica of the then western ESC).

The beautiful and talented Marion Rung, who had represented Finland in ESC 62 & 73, was chosen to perform "Hyvästi yö" in the Sopot Festival 1980. It was allowed to sing in English so the song then was called "Where is the love" and won the entire contest. I often wonder what would have happened if Marion had gone to ESC instead of the hideous "Huilumies"? I bet she would have given Johnny Logan a run for the money!

So here is a song I love deeply performed by the most stunning star Finland ever produced. Love it or die!

Marion Rung - "Where Is The Love" (Hyvästi yö)
Winner of Sopot Festival 1980

I miss Luxembourg

When I plunged head first into the world of Eurovision, my first love was Luxembourg. There was something exciting and appealing about that tiny country that did so well. Adults told me about when they were young and used to tune into Luxembourg to hear great music, and I marvelled at the fact that the small grand-duchy could be so powerful when it came to creating music.

Much later, I learnt about Radio Luxembourg and realised a thing or two. But back to my childhood.

At the age of ten, I bought the single of Sherisse Laurence and played it over and over and over and loved it. I loved her, I loved the yellow sweater she wore on the cover picture, I loved the english version and I loved the fact that the cover so boldly stated: Eurovision 1986 Selection Luxembourg.

I loved Luxembourg, and it really hurt my feelings when they, quite soon, lost their marbles and started doing worse before dropping out altogether after the 1993 final.

We lost Luxembourg, but I still have the single of Sherisse Laurence. And it is still great.

Sherisse Laurence - L'amour de ma vie - Luxembourg 1986

Eurolaul - the review

The shock of seeing my old friends at Estonian television make such an un-watchable preview didn't wear off easily, but now I calmed down and decided to give the songs a go in their own right.

1. KREISIRAADIO - Leto svet 0/5
Sad but true, but this is our winner, most probably. Kreisiraadio have a weekly show on ETV and possibly they are really funny there, or at least on occasion. Add the growing Estonian sentiment of being misunderstood in this contest, and you have a televote runaway victory. Problem here is that "Leto svet" is neither funny nor melodic, so what is there for the international audience to like? And joking around with Russia... Isn't there enough tension between Russia and Estonia as it is? And isn't it enough with one Russian parody in the contest (hello Malta)?
I just can't credit that this is written by Priit Pajusaar, the man who gave us "Kaelakee hääl" and "Diamond Of Night". He should be thoroughly ashamed of himself, and move into the Old Composers Home, maybe in the room next to Ralph Siegel's?

2. SKA FAKTOR - Real Big Money 2/5
Everything sounds good after our opening effort, but there is also something truly cute about ska from Estonia. The singer is a charming young man that pushes his song forward all the way to the chorus, where the entire song hits the wall. There is no chorus in sight, whatever direction you choose to look. By the end of the song, the lack of chorus seems to bother also the band, and they decide to open the tap on full. The result is a lot noisier than anyone wanted them to be, and the whole performance becomes a mess. If they would get their act together it would be good - as it is now, it is doomed to scare loads of televoters away.

3. ROLF JUNIOR - One On One 3/5
As Nina previously guessed, I also think Rolf wishes he was Mika, or at least his best friend. They could play house and throw great tea parties, I suspect. Just like the ska competitor, this starts out very promising with laid-back vocals, a spaced-out backing group (I just LOVE the fairy godmother) and the first chorus in the running. Little by little, the performance goes a bit out of hand, and by the end, where all the hocus pocus with rabbits in hats and dancers with flags threaten to take over, I am not sure whether this is seriously meant or a parody of something else. Clean up the act, get rid of the surplus garbage and that could do the trick. (I would find it wise to drop the silly beard as well, but that is just a matter of personal taste, I suppose.)

4. TAAVI PETERSON - Question Man 1/5
In connection to this song, I would like to point out that next year will see the 40th anniversary of the release of "Space Oddity" by David Bowie. What I am trying to say in a polite way, is that this is nothing new. It has been done before. And often way better. Fifteen years ago, 75 % of all Britpop band sounded like this as well. And they had better songs. And they were in tune, most of the time. When Taavi finds his own thing to do, he could be a really interesting name in the national rock scene, but this song is not the right vehicle for him. Next one, please.

Kristjan is obviously a gifted young man, and it is clear to anyone with eyes and ears that he is more comfortable in his mother tongue than he was with that silly song in English last year. This song is a grower that gets better everytime you hear it, but in the international bash, that is a disadvantage. Most of the voters will see you once only before casting their votes, and that will leave Kristjan out in the cold. I heard it several times, and I remember liking it, but could not remember the chorus to save my life.

6. BIRGIT ÕIGEMEEL - 365 Days 3/5
We heard this one before, didn't we? The classical big, bombastic ballad with an accomplished singer, ready to belt it all out in order to knock our socks off. This one is simple, but effective, and Birgit is giving it her all. Probably she will be the only hope of the people who would prefer to see anyone win but Kreisiraadio, and could gain a lot of support for that as well.
This would be a proud choice, even though the heyday of the big ballad may have come and gone in the ESC already. My real problem is the grammatically incorrect set of lyrics. Can't they have some English teacher proof-read them an suggest changes? Where is Maian Kärmas when Estonia needs her?

7. LUISA VÄRK & TRAFFIC - It's Never Too Late 2/5
In 1957, the Germans sent Margot Hielscher to Eurovision with a song about how wonderful telephones are. Now, 51 years down the line, an Estonian dance orchestra decided to pick up the thread and praise the wonder of communication. How happy you get when you hear your favourite ringtone, is the message here. Get another lyricist, for crying out loud.
That slight criticism aside, there is something likeable around this entire package. Anonymous and chanceless as it may be, I also find it somehow endearing, mainly thanks to the charming male vocalist.
However - if you do love duets, you have to be prepared to do a bit of acting. If you stand five metres apart and look in different directions, not even the emotionally challenged will believe you are in love.

8. SUPERNOVA - Stefani 1/5
I love 60's pop, I just have to mention that first. It is fresh-faced, happy, carefree and completely without irony. And it is made in the 60's. Nowadays, when people try the genre, it almost always ends up ironic. And I hate it.
This is OK, I guess, but too silly for me to waste any time on it, though. The best thing about it are the dancing grannies on the background projection, they are dead cute.

9. IIRIS VESIK - Ice-Cold Story 3/5
The most challenging song musically also happens to be the best one in the field. (Kreisiraadio is not musically challenging, it is just an insult towards taste.) Iiris owns a remarkably voice, and she floats around like a mixture of Thumbelina and Amélie Poulain. Dark, aggressive, somewhat strange and not totally likeable for everyone on a first listening, I guess. Probably doomed to end up in 7th place or so. But I like it. And in this, not the strongest ever edition of Eurolaul, anything that can rattle the cages a bit is welcomed by me.

10. LUISA VÄRK & MARGUS VAHER - God Inside Your Soul 1/5
"If god was laying by my side / To love and care and be my guide"? What does this mean? In Bed With God?
Apart from the interesting lyric, this song also provides the vocal clash of the year, as Luisa and Margus seem to have all harmony structures in the world against them. It all sounds strained and forced, and you can't wait for these three minutes to be over.
I would think most people who believe in God would find him worthy of a better song than this one.

My prediction:

It is not what I want (that should be fairly obvious after reading the review), but I think this is a make-or-break year for Estonia. I think they will send Kreisiraadio and come back with more scolding than ever. And hopefully that will inspire them to get better songs. Considering how many good songwriters there are in that small country, it is unbelieveable how the overall quality of Eurolaul dropped in recent years. Time to get back on track, people.

Especially for you Malta

Checked some statistics over at statcounter.com and it turns out we've had an enormous invasion of readers from Malta this weekend. Yay! Many of you are searching for lyrics. Sorry, we don't have them but please stay around and make yourself at home.

Posh & Becks of Eurovision love Malta! And we love Claudette Pace over everything else in the world. If you see her walking the streets of Valletta say hi from us, ok. :-) I have once been sitting opposite Claudette in a press room during Eurovision week. Her, me, with only two computers between us. It was magic and I almost pissed myself from the excitement. Well, almost! ;-) She IS a true schlager-icon after all!

Claudette's rehearsal in Stockholm 2000 was the very first rehearsal I saw on a ESC-stage. She was belting it out like if there was no tomorrow. Goosebumps. I spoke briefly with her at some of the parties during the week and she was lovely.

So, dear readers from Malta. I raise my glass (Vodka, of course!) and welcome you all to our new home in cyberspace. Cheers!

Claudette Pace - "Desire" (ESC 2000)

ps. Lyrics for "Vodka" and all ESC-entries 1956-2008 are found over at The Diggiloo Thrush,


Eesti, Eesti my tasteless friends

Tobias has promised a review of the Estonian finalists tonight but I can't keep my fingers away either. Just thought I'd point out that we are writing from different countries so if our reviews look the same then just blame our exquisite taste.

Just like hubby-dear explained before Eurolaul is very close to my heart too. I've been over to Tallinn for the show several times and through this wonderful world of Eurovision I have become great friends with a bunch of crazy Esti people. That's why it bugs me that they probably will choose their absolute worse entry yet next Saturday. Maybe it's time to go back to an international jury again?

(Click on the title to see the performance on ETV's website)

1. Kreisiraadio - Leto svet
Oh. My. God. Estonian people have no taste so this will win and I will hate it forever. Embarrassing and shockingly bad!!
2. SKA Faktor - Real Big Money
Fun with ska but the vocalist has to improve his English for me to be satisfied. And while you're at it, improve the song a tad too, please.
3. Rolf Junior - One On One
Mika-wannabee with a GREAT song but a too over-the-top performance (love the big backing singer though!). A weak voice in places (nerves?) but normally Rolf is a good singer. Listen!
4. Taavi Peterson - Question Man
Influences from David Bowie but what good is that when Taavi can't sing a single note in tune. And by God, learn how to pronounce your own damn title. It's QuesTion man. You fool!
5. Kristjan Kasearu & Paradise Crew - Üksinduses
Much better on a second run through of the songs. Didn't rate it at all first but it grows. And 10 points to the duet partner. A new Ines?
6. Birgit Õigemeel - 365 Days
Classy performance! The girl can sing. A good ballad but could be more bombastic. Still one of my favourites of the lot.
7. Luisa Värk ja Traffic - It’s Never Too Late
Too nice and bland. Forgettable. Better suited at the local karaoke night. Oh, and shoot the lyricist will ya?!
8. Supernova - Stefani
This is the kind of song and band you'd expect to see on the shabby Tallink ferry between Tallinn-Helsinki. Say no more.
9. Iiris Vesik - Ice-cold Story
Cute and cool at the same time. The girl looks about 13 but has a strong special voice. I like the energy in the air. Amy Diamond meets Björk in a Bond party. Makes sense does it?
10. Luisa Värk ja Margus Vaher - God Inside Your Soul
Again too bland and too much "God inside your soul gives back control" for my liking.

Personal favourites: Rolf, Birgit & Iiris. I would send Rolf Junior off to Belgrade.
The stupid lovable Eesti people will vote: Kreisiraadio

A piece of advice - next year is Anne Veski year!

Interval act Eurolaul 2006: Anne Veski & Toe Tag

More of the ab fab Anne Veski on YouTube.

Malta: Vodka

Just as I suspected, the Devil left his door slightly un-shut tonight, and Malta voted Morena into first place in the Song for Europe contest.

I can't shake the feeling that this musical cocktail will dizzy the audience more than delight them and that the thing the Maltese believe to be a Russian knockout will be nothing more than a Maltese hiccup.

However, this is a song that will get noticed, that will stand out from any crowd whatever it looks like and that benefits from a seriously impressive singer. Let's hope team Vella/Borg won't mess up the presentation like last year, but to keep it as simple as it is.

Many people will love this, but it mainly does the same thing for me as the drink in question would: it makes my mind spin and my head ache. But maybe that is the key to success?

Morena - Vodka - Malta 2008

Czech republic: the winner

This blog is a complete spoiler. We will write whatever we want whenever we want and if you are going to see a certain final later, avoid our page until you do. We take no responsibility if we ruin the excitement for you. Just so you know.
Love and snogs from Posh & Becks

So, the Czech republic had their say and selected their song for Belgrade and went completely against what I thought. No surprise, as I haven't got the faintest idea what happens in their local scene and who is a star and who is a nobody.

Judging from her clip, Tereza is not just a singer but also a rather sweet waitress at some local hop. Good to know there is another career to lean against if singing wouldn't turn out to be her thing.

Reports from people who saw the national final suggest that she was not entirely in key throughout her performance, but there is time to fine-tune things before May.

My judgement still stands: this is a pleasant pop song that anyone can like at least a bit. But how many people will vote for it in the end?

Tereza Kerndlová - Have Some Fun - Czech Republic 2008

Ouch, Estonia!

When I wrote my earlier piece on Eurolaul, I realised I sounded a bit harsh in the tone when talking about the overall quality. Listened again and realised I may be too hard in my judgements, and that I would probably make a mental U-turn and write something kinder after seeing tonight's preview show.

You can forget about that. And it's not the fault of the participants.

There are, you see, good TV shows. And then there are bad ones. And then there are disastrous ones. Garfield the Cat said in one cartoon strip: "Everytime I think we can't go lower, someone shows up with a shovel."

The Eurolaul stage consists, more or less, of one huge screen, showing projections behind the singers. The cameras go here and there and cross-cut and interact with the projections until your eyes bleed, your head hurts and you want to step off the rollercoaster you're on. ETV made my head hurt tonight.

Still, as the Eurovision professional I happen to be, I take a deep breath and try to pass fair judgments to the songs. In a while. To be continued...

Good luck, Malta!

I think I was 11 or so, when I realised that the tiny state of Malta had been taking part in Eurovision in the past. I was intrigued! I was trying to find out anything about it: What were their songs like? How many time did they participate? Why did they give the contest up? I even wrote the SVT and asked why Malta did not sing at Eurovision anymore, but didn't get any useful answers back.

My fascination for Malta grew and I even had a penfriend from there (if anybody knows André from Lija, then tell him I said hi!) for a few years. And then, in 1991, I almost fell off my chair when a Swedish newspaper published the running order for Eurovision and Malta was on the list. They were back!

And so I always had a soft spot for the Maltese, and kept my fingers crossed, especially during the first years, when they did surprisingly well. Since then, me and Malta have had our ups and downs, and I sometimes find the offerings from the sunny island to be a bit too plastic and predictable for my taste.

But I am still very happy to have them around. Best of luck for tonight's selection. To celebrate the occasion, I share the Maltese preview clip from 1994. I have never kept my fingers crossed and believed so much in Malta as I did that year. The live version left a lot to be desired, but I ached for this song. And I still do.

Chris & Moira - More Than Love - Malta 1994

Rolf from Estonia

I found the spanking new video clip from Rolf Junior, one of the contestants in this year's Eurolaul. So, I thought I'd share this with you, while waiting for the rest of the previews.

Rolf Junior - One On One - Estonian NF 2008

Eurolaul coming up

Tonight, at 21:35 EET, ETV will preview the ten entries for this year's Estonian final for Eurovision. Eurolaul is a beloved event in my book, and since I moved to Finland in late 2002, I have seen it live every year but two.

Back then, Estonia was a rocketing nation within the Euroworld. They had come, virtually from nowhere, placing in top ten almost every year, winning the whole shebang and subsequently also be the first "new" country to host it. Since then, unfortunately, the plug fell out of the bathtub and all the water leaked out.

Since the introduction of the semi finals in 2004, Estonia has never made it into the final, and, to add insult to injury, they keep scoring worse and worse in the semi as well.

I am afraid that trend could be kept going this year. Like in 2007, it seems the cage doors have swung open and all the choruses flew away. Many songs are ambitious and well meant, but there are very few things to remember afterwards.

I have listened to all the songs already at the Eurolaul homepage, but will come back to review them once I see the preview. There is hope, there is. But there is not much of it. And no song gets all the way up to the old Estonian standard.

Where are Ines, Maarja, Evelin and Koit when Estonia needs them?

Ines - Iseendale - Estonian NF 2006

Silli-silli-sillicone valley

I'm back in the game after a dose of real life during the week, but I'm here with a nasty ear infection which has caused me temporarily loss of hearing in my right ear. Will that have impact on my review of the remaining songs from Norway?

MGP semi 3
Avalanche - Two Monkeys (On The Roof)
Liked it better in studio version. Had an image of a young poppy band and not an old couple. A likeable song get's lost on stage.
Maria Trøen - Here When I’m Calling
Just doesn't work when cheerful Norway is trying to be dark in a Hanna Pakarinen kind of way.
Ole Ivars - Som I Himmelen
Danceband close to "Tre gringos" (by Swedish Thor-Leifs & Just D). No thanks though.
Lene Alexandra - Sillicone Valley
Much more Kylie crossed with Pay TV than that awful "My boobs are ok". I enjoy this! And do read Schlagerboys interview with Lene. I was surprised. Likeable girl!
Torstein Sødal - Eastern Wind
Pocahontas travels on the Titanic where her heart goes on. Ok but ten years too late.
King Of Trolls - Far Away
Schlagerprofilerna said it best: "Roger Pontare goes to Norway and sleeps with 80s group Slade." Catchy tune but haven't we seen enough of trolls and monsters on stage by now?

Norway voted: Far Away & Eastern Wind directly to the final. Som i himmelen & Sillicone Valley to Siste Sjansen.
My choice: Sillicone Valley & Far Away to final. Two Monkeys & Eastern Wind to Siste Sjansen.

My hope is definitely Maria Haukaas Storeng's "Hold On Be Strong" for victory in the final!


Malta Song for Europe

Saturday will also see Malta select their hopeful candidate for Belgrade. The tiny island has been a bit shakey lately, placing at the very bottom of the final in 2006 and close to the very bottom in last year's semi.

To be frank, I'd say a Maltese victory in Belgrade would be nothing less than a first class sensation. I am not poking fun at Malta here - it is impressive that a tiny nation with such a small population has done so well in the past, but you can't expect them to do well every year. And this year, I doubt they will.

Anyway, I did lend an ear to all eight finalists, and since I haven't seen any established running order, I review them in alphabetical order after song title:

1. CLAUDIA FANIELLO - Caravaggio 3/5
Claudia's brother represented Malta twice and spent a short time being a sufficiently successful pop pin-up on the German market. Now his little sister wants to better his performance, and she gives all lovers of True Eurosongs real value for money. The tempo, the arrangement, the silly lyrics about a historical person... This song had never been written if there had been no Eurovision. Pleasant enough, but songs like these did better in the past. Just like Caravaggio himself.

2. MORENA - Casanova 1/5
I must admit that I have grown tired of the songwriting team of Vella/Borg, and find their songs too calculated and antiseptic. It seems I am not alone, given the failure of "Vertigo" last year. This one would not fare better at all. Morena is a sweet girl and an energetic performer. But nobody would be able to save this anti-song with it's unsingable anti-chorus.

3. ELEANOR CASSAR - Give Me A Chance 2/5
Eleanor Cassar is a good singer and secures a solid vocal performance on this belter. But the song in itself is almost ridiculously dull. Songs like this took part in every UK and Irish national final back in the early 90's. We yawned already then and time did the genre no favours. Good night.

4. KLINSMANN - Go 2/5
Young Klinsmann is sweeter than candy and sings well enough, with a voice reminiscing of Herman's Hermits (google them, kids) and a song that desperately wants to be last year's Andorran entry. Only this song needs a walking aid to be able to move forward and before its three minutes in the sun are over, your mind has surely drifted elsewhere.

5. ROSMAN PACE - Love Is Just The Way 0/5
Had pathetic lyrics been considered a crime towards humanity, then Rosman would find himself on the way to The Hague rather than Belgrade. Drivel with extra cheese, just as bad as any "Millenium of Love" or "Why Angels Cry". Meant to make you feel warm and hopeful, but it just makes me fuming mad. Which in a way is good, since it takes my mind of the sopoforic melody. Scary stuff.

6. PETRA ZAMMIT - Street Car Of Desire 2/5
By far the most musically interesting song in the Maltese selection: bluesy and slightly seductive, it stands out by a mile. Petra is yet another good singer who delivers her number with conviction, but one good idea alone does not make a hit song. A good try, but not remarkable enough to make it big in Belgrade.

7. CLAUDIA FANIELLO - Sunrise 3/5
Claudia tries her luck with two songs in the final and "Sunrise" is clearly the more sophistacated of her ditties. Easy going, with a few pleasant ideas in the arrangement. Well sung. Most people will like this, but this is not the song that makes anyone reach for their phones to televote.

8. MORENA - Vodka 1/5
No. No no no no no. No. Enough is enough. This could have been funny, great, happy, clappy stuff that I would have somehow loved. But no. It is just too much and too fabricated. And too silly. And just not clever enough. Poor Morena, can't anyone just write her a decent song instead? This could have been a classic, now it is just headache set to music.

My prediction:
Claudia Faniello - Caravaggio

Because it is easy and catchy with a hook. Nothing that will get even remotely close to winning in Belgrade, but nothing that will disgrace the sunny little island either. But if the Devil forgot to shut his door properly, then it is Vodka for everyone at the after party.

Czech republic

Unlike most fans I've come across on the net, I am fairly enthusiastic about the Czech republic's national final on Saturday. It is fantastically free from Eurocheese and that is what I long for. Of course, there are ups and downs, like anywhere else, but the overall quality is good.

It also feels nice when new countries bring in new sounds to differ themselves out from everything that passed before. Here is my short review of the songs without having seen them, of course, only listened to them on the homepage of the NF.

1. GIPSY.CZ - Benga Beating 2/5
Fairly engaging gypsy rap from a group that possibly could gain some attention internationally. Much better than their effort from last year with a way catchier chorus. Could be a surprise winner, but the chorus feels somewhat empty after a while and the song fails to keep you hooked for the entire three minutes it lasts.

2. TERESA KERNDLOVÀ - Have Some Fun 3/5
"Fight", the 2007 Moldovan contribution, seems to have made a real impact on quite a few songwriters during the ongoing national final season. This is the Czech version, and it starts out fantastically with a great intro and a fantastic verse that builds up to an almost Spice Girls-esque level before it crumbles to dust at the chorus. A real disappointment in other words - this could be the B-side of a Cyndi Lauper single back in 1984. A shame, the girl has a good voice, but the package is not strong enough.

3. ČECHOMOR - Józef, mój kochany 3/5
Superbly arranged and sung piece of music that sounds like the soundtrack of a prize winning film from some Slavic movie festival. This could have been a Yugoslav entry back in the 70's, and that is entirely positive in my book. Very competent but without the shadow of a chance internationally. Too good for its own good.

4. SÁMER ISSA - Pick A Star 4/5
A slick and convincing contemporary pop number with rock influences, performed by a local heartthrob who would probably never have to spend a night on his own unless he choses to himself. A perfect radio hit of a kind that has not been to successful in the actual contest so far. Maybe a bit too inaccessible for a large audience on a first listening. But that never made a song bad.

5. L.B.P - Don't Leave Me 1/5
Dead plastic with no soul in it anywhere, whatever the performers make believe. Goes nowhere. Not aggressively bad, but nothing to waste one's time with. The weakest effort of the lot.

6. TEMPERAMENTO - Další den přijde 2/5
Laidback guitar based soft rock that starts out promising, a bit like some Zdob ši Zdub's album tracks, but then falls into a lack of dynamic that makes you lose interest quite soon. Not bad, but this is not the right place for it.

7. LE MONDE - Another Chance 4/5
Le Monde is everything The Jet Set from Poland wanted to be. Modern, clever, danceable and interesting. Great production, good voices and overall a good impression. If they give a solid performance and stay clear of porn shocks à la "Time To Party", the grade could even go up further in my list.

8. TOXIQUE - Two Sides 3/5
When Gwen Stefani is out on solo adventures, admirers of No Doubt should turn to the Czech republic. Toxique does quirky, funny pop/rock that is quite adorable. Had there been more of a chorus or even a handle to grip the song by, they would have had better possibilities to convince the televoters, probably.

9. EVA FRÜHLINGOVA - Partir et revenir 4/5
Not only is Frühlingova a heartbreakingly beautiful name - this song is my favourite one in the contest. The only thing holding me back from giving it a full five is that we are still so early in the season and there is not much to compare with. But this is the song France should have had entered already ten years ago (and every year since): witty, smooth-going and deadly charming, with more than a hint of Isabelle Caux and other female singers of that time. For me this is nostalgia, but also a very good song delivered by a very likeable voice. But if it wins, my jaw will drop to the floor.

10. DANIEL NEKONEČNÝ - Holiday 3/5
Joke entries are not my thing at all, but I find this quite irresistible. Wacky, weird, whimsical, dumb, silly... quite a few invectives could be thrown at it, but it is well aware of it itself. Join in the rhythm, shake it and laugh with it or at it - this is just entertainment. Not an impossible winner, but maybe not the song to bring the 2009 final to Prague.

If I get to guess, then I would have no idea. Probably "Holiday" will win it for being festive enough as well as the odd one out, but if Le Monde or Eva Frühlingova wins (and turn out to be good performers), I will defend the Czech Republic all through the season.

My guess:
Daniel Nekonečný - Holiday


Real schlager

It is not my intention to step on Belarus or their attempt at doing schlager/pop the way the Swedes do, but if you want real, big, bombastic schlager - this is the way to do it. Ann-Louise was too good for Sweden back in 1982.

Ann-Louise Hanson - Kärleken lever - Melodifestivalen 1982

Belarusian Pudding

Belarus has selected for Belgrade, and the winner is Ruslan Alehno, singing "Hasta la vista". The title evokes Schwarzenegger (of course), but also the first ever Ukranian entry back in 2003. And also one of TV Ljubljana's entries for the 1990 Yugoslav final, performed by Pop Design featuring a young Vili Resnik by the microphone. (And that was even before Terminator 2, mind you.)

So, what is the Belarus entry like? Well, something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Put in a bowl, shake well, add nothing.

It is not bad, it is not strikingly good. Ruslan sings OK but does not have a stage radiation that threatens to burn holes through the screen either. An OK song, a piece of schlager we have heard before. The same old pudding that grandma always serves after Sunday dinner - we like it, but we never miss it between the times it is served.

And if a schlager-by-the-numbers is what will set Europe on fire this year, I believe more in the aggressively cheerful ditty from Andorra instead.

Ruslan Alehno - Hasta la vista - Belarus 2008


Swedish export to Romania

The Swedish papers are already in Eurovision-mania-mood reporting about the Romanian pre-selection. Not without reason though as there are some Swedish interests there. But. If they had bothered listening to the songs I'm not too sure they would want to make such a big deal out of it. If any, the Rednex song is the best one of them. That says something about the standard. I don't really get why so many Swedish songwriters feel the urge to send their MF-rejects to other countries? Sure thing if the writers have a genuine collaboration with writers and singers from that other country or if their roots are from there. Or as simple as having one hell of a good song that has "Eurovision winner" written all over it. But all these mediocre attempts?

G:son & co, please do give me an answer. I want to be able to understand your point of view. Because for me it just looks like a typical Swedish von oben attitude. "So this song didn't fit the mighty Melodifestivalen but I'm sure it is strong enough for those 'poor Eastern states' with no good music of their own." Please prove me wrong!

Specially Romania has selected a great bunch of songs in the last few years (2007 may be excused) and their national finals usually hold a good standard. After listening to snippets of the 24 hopefuls this year I wouldn't say that it will go down in history as the best year ever but the Swedish efforts are definitely not going to stand out. My tip is "C'est la vie" by Yanna. Listen at TVR.

Gear down, Greece

It is not my bag to wish bad luck upon anybody else. The failure of others is not the fuel that feeds my engine. But last year, I hoped that Greece would do badly.

I don't dislike Greece in any way, au contraire. Greece has always been one of my top countries in this contest, and even when the Greeks couldn't care less for the ESC, they contributed with some fab songs. Making a list of my top Greek entires would be hard, as I would want most of them in top five and there is not room for all.

Lately, however, the Greeks have developed an unhealthy appetite for silly and simple-minded ditties. They shake and they shake and they roll in the sand and have fun on the beach and not too much more than that. (Anna Vissi was a very welcome exception, but Sakis and Sarbel - and to some extent Helena - all shaked it as much as they could.)

I prefer the slightly more sophisticated stuff from Greece. I have a soft spot for classics like "Anixi", "Olou tou kosmou i elpida", "Emis forame to himona anixiatika", "Mou les"... Gyrating around doing silly choruses scores a lot less in my book.

Of course, there is a reason the Greeks have selected to go down this road. Shake it shake it at the beachparty til you drop have given them way more points than anything before that. "Mou les" got points from the odd, intellectual jury group and then buckets full of zeroes.

I still like "Mou les" more. And I hope the Greeks would calm down a tiny bit, before they find themselves all exhausted.

Christie Stassinoupoulou - Mou les - Greece 1983



Goodness gracious, is this allowed? This song is a participant in the Maltese pre-selection and I can't quite make my mind up whether this is appalling or brilliant.

A little bit of both, maybe?

But is a diplomatic crisis with Russia really what Malta wants? Top marks for offensiveness, but isn't this too absurd for words?

Morena - Vodka - Maltese NF 2008

A star for the UK

Open letter to the BBC:

Guys and gals at the Eurovision department! Let us all conclude that things have gotten a tiny bit out of hand lately. It is painfully obvious that your national final keeps letting you down, so you end up with silly novelty acts that nobody in their right minds (sorry, Malta) would vote for. My guess is that your new steady presence in the very bottom of the league is not what you would really wish for, right?

So, my best tip for you all is to scrap the national final. Take the decision out of the hands of the televoters as they have blown it too many times lately, and just select an entry internally.

Instead of wasting money on another national final, stage a TV show, a flashy gala with Eurovision connection, where you reveal the UK act. The audience will like that as much, maybe even more. Give them something to do as well: select the best ever UK entry or something. And let Lulu sing. Show some clips and let Wogan tell incorrect facts about them.

And then get a star to do the job for you. Yes, I hear you already. No star would do it for the UK, you say. I think you are wrong. I even have two suggestions for you. Pay attention, class, and take notes.

Emma Bunton - Maybe

Emma Bunton is tailormade for Eurovision - cute, fun, happening. And surely set on re-conquering a career after the only semi-successful Spice Girls reunion. A song in the same style as "Maybe" with a great staging could be what it takes to get you back into the Top 3.

Mika - Relax, take it easy

Mika has already talked about Eurovision in newspapers (stating he would represent Lebanon if they ever entered) which is a good sign. He is the young, successful talent that everybody loves and who can't go wrong. He needs to follow up his massive success and preferrably do something unexpected. What could be more unexpected than a million seller doing the ESC? I think he could actually be wacko enough to give it a try. And I am sure it would pay off.

So at least think about it, will you? We really do want to vote for you, I promise. Nobody hates you. Really. We won't waste our money on crap, but if you surprise us by sending something good, I promise we will reward you.

With love,
Mr. Becks

Des fleurs for you

Has anyone heard from French TV yet? Will they decide behind closed doors or put a little faith in a selection show? Les Frog Eaters had an impressive line-up last year with songs from various genres. It was nice to see them make an effort for once. If nothing is decided yet maybe we can bend the rules a bit and re-use these entries from 2007...?

Les Vedettes - "Vive Papa"

Estelle Lemee - "Comme un reve"

Albanian ballad

As always, Albania selected their Eurovision entry very early, and since I had nothing to do, I watched the webcast of their final - the legendary "Festivali i Kenges". I was surprised to see that most of the entries were very modern and upbeat in contemporary arrangements. Almost nothing of the folkloristic yodeling that has been very present in former Albanian finals.

Out of all these upbeat offerings, the winner was a blast from the past, though. 16 year old Olta Boka won with a rather traditional Albanian ballad, not unlike last year's "Hear my plea".

"Zemren e lame peng" is in no way a bad song. It has a clear melody line and Olta sings it very well - she reminds me a tiny bit of Anjeza Shahini, who sang Albania's first ever entry back in 2004. There problem here is a lack of edge, a lack of impact. It is all just a bit too... nice.

And nice is no good in Eurovision these days. Nobody votes for a song that is nice, people vote for good. (Or, sometimes also for bad. But never for nice.)

Best of luck to Olta, but I miss the happy, up-beat, whimsical entries Albania has had in the past. Where are Anjeza and Ledina when you need them?

Olta Boka - Zemren e lame peng - Albania 2008

Just a little bit... of East

These days, when loads of young people have started loving this old contest again, it is easy to feel a little bit old. I remember what this contest used to be like, back in the old times when there was only one Eastern state taking part at all.

Yugoslavia struggled: they came, they sang their songs, they got a few points and went home wondering why nobody loved them. In 1976, when the EBU scrutineer left them in last place when they should not have been there, the Yugoslavs lost their nerves and stayed at home for five years. Then they were on it again.

Finally, at the same time as the political winds turned and the cold war was ending, Yugoslavia managed to win and host the contest in the eleventh hour before the entire country went to pieces the year after.

Now, there are loads of former Eastern states, the so-called ex-communist countries. Some people (quite a few) would claim that they took the entire show over, and that no western countries can ever do well in this climate. Let's look back and remember when there was Yugoslavia, that nobody though could do well, due to the total domination of the West? I can't remember anyone complaining back then.

I like this new world a lot better, I must say.

Ambasadori - Ne mogu skriti svoju bol - Yugoslavia 1976

MGP Norway

I've caught a cold so I decided that I might as well spend the morning in front of the computer catching up on what my neighbours in Norway have been up to the past two weekends. They're a funny lot those vikings. Sometimes they get it just right and other times they are as useless as the Swedish televoters when it comes to picking the right choices.

This is my mini review of semi 1 & 2.

Podium - Lystgass
Screechy guitars, not much of a melody. Grew tired of it after 40 seconds.
Ann-Mari Andersen - Ándagassii
Cool song in Sami. I could see this on a ESC-stage.
Nicholas Carlie - Colliding
Piece of nonsense. Typical NF (national final) song that you fast forward.
Michelle - Baby Don't Stop The Music
Modern beat, beautiful girl. Kylie-vibes. Best this year!
Tinkerbells - Hold On
Country-girl-group. Closer to Kikki Danielsson than Jill Johnson. Shame.
Veronika Akselsen - Am I Supposed To Love Again
Still, sophisticated ballad. Perhaps better fitted for the musical stage.

Norway voted: Ándagassii & Am I Supposed directly to the final. Lystgass & Hold On to Siste Sjansen.
My choice: Baby Don't Stop & Ándagassii to final. Am I Supposed & Hold On to Siste Sjansen.

Zuma - Always, Always
Retro somewhere between A-Ha and Lustans Lakejer. Pretty good but there is something irritating about the singer on stage.
Cube - Would You Spend The Night With Me
Weak attempt penned by Glam (Wig Wam). Understand why he gave it away. The Cube-singer's voice is a bit too whiny for my taste.
Anne Hvidsten - A Little More
Countrypop with singer-songwriter feel to it. Quite cute but no winner.
Crash! - Get up
Not all that bad but still something missing. You can definitely hear that Wig Wam-Teeny is the composer.
Sven Garås - I'm In Love
Maria Haukaas Storeng - Hold On Be Strong
Contemporary soul with a touch of the 60s. Very good voice. Could very well be seen in the British charts at the moment.

Norway voted: Get Up & Hold On Be Strong directly to the final. Always, Always & A Little More to Siste Sjansen.
My choice: Hold On Be Strong & Always, Always to final. Get Up & A Little More to Siste Sjansen.

My top 3 so far is Baby Don't Stop, Hold On Be Strong and Ándagassii. However, I had a quick listen to next week's songs and there are a few entries to look forward to. With that said I think the Norwegians will choose either Crash or Ann-Mari Andersen to represent them in Eurovision in the end. Go to NRK to watch the broadcasts!

Photos: NRK

Michelle - "Baby, Don't Stop The Music"

Maria Haukaas Storeng - "Hold On, Be Strong"

Sata salamaa

It is very early in the morning (or very late at night) and all sensible people are sound asleep. But me. I just came home from a night out in Helsinki where, if you go to the right place, you can get to dance to songs like this.

Ah! If all ESC entries were as good as this one! I can't belive it didn't make top 5 back then. But on the other hand, the juries of 1987 seems to have been made up of chimpanzees (see earlier post about Turkey).

"Sata salamaa" (Firenight) is still an evergreen in Finland, and rightly so. And I shook my delightful butt and felt very happy when it was played.

Virve "Vicky" Rosti - Sata salamaa - Finland 1987


It is so easy to go wrong

In these times of national finals and pre-selections, I just want to remind the world how easy it is to go wrong and make the wrong decisions. It is not the end of the world, it is just a shame.

Look at Finland in 2007, for instance. The two best songs out of all 24 in the semis were kicked out at the first stage. I could not believe my eyes, but this is what happened.

Errare humanum est, everybody makes mistakes. Some make them more often, though. Sit back and enjoy what Finland could have treated the world with last year.

Johanna Kurkela - Jossain metsäin takana - Finnish NF 2007

Laura - Kosketa mua - Finnish NF 2007


I agree with everything Mr. Becks said about Switzerland so no need for me to repeat it all again. I've always had a weak spot for bombastic Italian ballads and if only Paolo ditches the dancers then this could be a turning point for the country of living vampires.

Next off to Cyprus then...

They had their final last weekend and courtesy of my friend Eurofivestar with a satellite dish I could follow this impressive show live on TV. (You'll understand my sense of irony once you get to know me...) The stage looked like a producer's nightmare from the mid-80s, the singers sounded like rejects from the local Idol audition and the songs turned to the kind of nonsense that didn't even make it to British Song For Europe in the 90s. Am I being too harsh? Well, if you had seen the programme you wouldn't judge me!

The winner wasn't the worst of the lot though but there were at least 2-3 other songs that would have been a slightly better choice. "Femme Fatale" is like a Kinder Egg with three songs smashed into one, or in another way of speaking - a bit schizophrenic. I do like Greek music, much thanks to the goddess Anna Vissi, and in a way I can see why the voters went for the traditional sound and the only entry sung in their native language. But. This will get nowhere in Belgrade.

Cyprus 2008 - Evdokia Kadi - "Femme Fatale"

To think that the same country sent the modern electropop-esque "Comme ci comme ca" with star Evridiki only last year... Shame on you Cypriot song writers!

As a bonus for all of you who didn't get a chance to see the show here is a short re-cap of the 10 entries. Have your say in the comment box!

Switzerland rocks!

There has been many a good year since anyone last used words like "The best song is the one from Switzerland" and meant them. That country of alps and cheese have had a soft spot for entries ranging from unspectacular to disastrous. (Of course, the exception to the rule was Vanilla Ninja in 2005, they were good.)

But this year, the Swiss got it right. Very right.

"Era stupendo" is a timeless piece of pop drama in a great arrangement, the kind of song that can change its tempo without disturbing you. And it does.

And Paolo Meneguzzi is adorable. How could he take part in Sanremo so many times without becoming a real star in Italy? Well, the Italians sort of fell off the wagon a few years back, didn't they? But Paolo Boy looks right, has a magnificent voice and delivers the song with all the attack it requires.

Switzerland will surely be in the final this year. And quite high up there, also, I predict.

Paolo Meneguzzi - Era stupendo - Switzerland 2008


Eurovision theme

I have to steal this from Eurofivestar who posted the video first...

Wait until the weekend comes said one wise Irish girl some 23 years ago. So now when the weekend is here get ready to pick up your hair dryers to sing along and dance with a true Eurovision Queen.

Long live the Ukrainian Queen of Glamour!

Verka Serduchka - I am Eurovision Queen

Please, Norway! Sing in Sámi!

Norway is well into its pre-selection season, with two out of three semi finals taken care of already. I will review the songs as soon as the eight final songs are all known, but I can already pin-point my favourite song of them all.

Ann-Mari Andersen is just utter brilliance when she does her "Ándagassii", and I crack up from side to side. First things first: this is a very brave entry in Eurovision as it is both deeply ethnic and very modern at the same time. Ann-Mari is stunning and her voice is tremendous: expressive, intense, captivating.

Performing the song in Sámi is also a streak of genius. What a rich, soft, melodic language this is. Tuneful and very appealing. I must admit to being quite uneducated when it comes to Sami-languaged pop, but this one blows me away.

I also believe it would be a good move for Norway to send something genuine and ethnic to Belgrade. As more and more people complain about the Eastern domination instead of improving their own entries, "Ándagassii" could strike a chord with viewers both here and there. They would be unable to understand the words, but they would feel the song communicating with them. Just like "Molitva" did in 2007.

Also, it would be time for NRK to give something back to the Sami population after doing them wrong by sending "Saamid Aednan" to the Hague back in 1980. Payback time, if I could have my way.

Ann-Mari Andersen "Ándagassii" (Norway NF 2008)

Dancing with the Turks

I know Nina is bound to disagree with me, but this is one of my all-time favourite Eurovision entries. Few songs are as upliftling, cheerful and energetic as this one.

My arms start swinging and my feet start moving. I just want to dance like Seyyal and her troupe. And I can put this song on repeat over and over and over again.

But I still can't quite credit, 21 years down the line, that it didn't recieve a single miserable tiny little point back in Brussels. Shameful, is what it is. Shame on the juries. And three cheers for Seyyal, Melis and the others!

As for fashion... well, it was the 80's, right?

Seyyal Taner & Grup Lokomotif - Sarkim sevgi üstüne - Turkey 1987 22/22


Forgotten masterpiece

With a few spare minutes on my hands, I just feel the need to share an old, forgotten favourite of mine. "Your love" was on the initial shortlist for the 2005 Romanian national final and it was by far my favourite. Unfortunately, Alexandra Ungureanu pulled out of competition due to "personal reasons".

Alexandra has had many fab songs since this, mainly together with the band Crash, but this Romanian version of MF-schlager is irresistible in my ears.

Carola? Again?

We have the joker spots for Melodifestivalen ready, and nobody able to read or hear was really surprised by any of the four. Amy Diamond, Eskobar and Niklas Strömstedt - the newspapers knew and happily ruined the excitement for everybody well in advance.

And then the "superduo" of Carola Häggkvist and Andreas Johnson. The given winner on paper. Carola tends to win this contest and Andreas has grown very popular with the crowd on his previous two attempts in MF.

I just fail to feel any excitement about Carola being back. Again. Doesn't she know anything else beyond Eurovision? Isn't there any new goal to achieve in her career? I won't do Carola-bashing here, so many people do it anyway. But isn't it time for her to conquer a new horizon and stop pushing the repeat-button?

Or maybe this is the new start she is looking for. The first single from the duo sounds promising, as Andreas and his producer took a firm grip on Carola's vocal chords and made her vocally more relaxed instead of wailing the house down, "Invincible"-style.

I predict them to go bang into the final and then end third in the Globe. A solid placing, a solid radio hit, and let the story end there.

Carola and Andreas singing "Lucky Star" at Idrottsgalan in Stockholm.


Nina - the introduction

Hello to the people!

Gosh, I feel like the queen giving her Christmas speech... Since Tobias has already proclaimed the title of Becks, I suppose my alter ego from now on will be Posh. But you might know me better as Nina.

My path in Eurovision world started when I was a 2-year-old. I've been told that I went around singing my own version of "Diggiloo Diggiley" everywhere. Same words, just a tad different melody. Long gone are the days of golden shoes (unless you count my precious golden slippers!) and as my interest in this spectacle of a TV-show grew so did my taste in music. One of these days I'll make a list of ESC-songs you need to like or die. ;-)

1998 I went up to my local paper and told them that I was going to review the ESC-songs for them and of course they agreed. I had done my own reviews for friends and family, based on the previews, as from 1993 when I was 11. It was in the stars that my path in Eurovision world would trigger me into the wonderful world of journalism. The next year (-99) my local paper sent me to Melodifestivalen as press and there and then the monster was created. There was no going back. Commenting on the show and songs to a wider audience from behind the scenes was too much fun to ignore in the future.

Tobias and I worked together in Globen 2000, my very first ESC-week, and what a blast we had. The preparations for this enormous event contained of so much more than just rehearsals. For a young student living in a small town this was AMAZING as a Greek-American woman would have put it.

This is the story of how I came to freelance for different papers and give live reports to radio shows during the ESC-week for years to come. And also the story of how I ended up spending five years in Finland - studying journalism at university for three of them. Eurovision 2007 became the most hectic ESC-week ever for me work wise (EBU-interviews with singers backstage, co-presenter of a Eurovision special on Finnish TV and official Eurovision reviewer and blogger for Radio X3M), but also the most emotional and memorable one. Not to mention the most obsurd one. Hello, Eurovision in FINLAND goddammit!!

Together with ex-flatmate, friend and fellow blog partner Tobias, we surely are the top Eurovision experts around. And the best looking ones. It's not for nothing we are called the Posh and Becks of Eurovision you know! :-)

Enjoy our ramblings and reviews! And please do send us comments!

TobSon Top 5 winners

This was so much fun... So before Nina even starts presenting herself, I will present the five best Eurovision winners ever in my book. Just to give you a hint...

#5 Un banc, un arbre, une rue - Séverine - Monaco 1971

A classic, elegant eurosong that never goes out of fashion. Indestructible chorus and a great rendition from Séverine. (And believe me: it is even better in Finnish!)

#4 Si la vie est cadeau - Corinne Hermès - Luxembourg 1983

No Swedes could ever understand how come Carola didn't win with "Främling" in 1983. But isn't that obvious? How could anyone beat Corinne? Yet another big belter in French, of the kind I can't resist.

3. Poupée de cire, poupée de son - France Gall - Luxembourg 1965

The first pop song to win the contest is still the best one. This one has it all, and France also proves that you don't need to be a perfect singer to catch people's attention.

2. Après toi - Vicky Leandros - Luxembourg 1972

This used to be my all-time Eurovision fave entry. I still love it like crazy, but it is also one of those songs you heard so many times you never feel the urge to put it on yourself. It is a masterpiece, however. When the sun sets in Euroland, it will never rise again. Heartbreak is forever. And I get the shivers.

1. Tu te reconnaîtras - Anne-Marie David - Luxembourg 1973

I know - isn't it weird? All my top five favourite winners are in French (and none competed for France!) and four out of five are from Luxembourg. It may seem beyond reason, but who needs reason when there are songs like these? They just don't write songs like these anymore... Besides, anyone who had a heart would love Anne-Marie David until he crumbles. I sure do.

Tobias - the introduction

So, the new blog! Devoted to the wonderful world of Eurovision, a place it seems almost impossible to overdose on.

I am Tobias, in other words Becks, devoted follower of this contest ever since back 1983. Recorded everything, bought any crappy compilation of cover versions I could find, watched my videotapes over and over and tortured my surroundings with Greek choruses and Swiss keychanges until I realised there were more people like me in the world I could rub against.

Thanks to a series of happy co-incidences and lucky circumstances, I found myself working with Eurovision in Stockholm 2000 - both for the Eurovision fanclub as well as for Swedish Television, and since then the ball is rolling. I have researched the previews since 2002, co-worked with commentators since 2004 and in 2007 I was in charge of the official YLE website in Swedish concerning the ESC.

I am native Swede who lives in Finland since 2002, and I tend to cheer more for Finland than Sweden. I am a sucker for underdogs, I always loved Turkey and Cyprus, and my current favourite country in the contest is the Ukraine - the wackiest place around.

I have had my own Euroblog before (and you can still read it here), but when the beautiful and talented Nina, also my ex-flatmate, suggested a joint blog, I realised the potential... This is the place where we talk, discuss, disagree... And so we should, as we really know what we are talking about.

Now over to you, dear Nina! Introduce yourself to the people!