Three countries held their national finals last night, and the outcome was somewhat varied.
Armenia managed to come up with by far the strongest contender out of these three. Domestic popstar Sirusho sang four songs in a national final that had to be staged in a tv-studio instead of in a theatre, due to the current political tension in the country. Out of the four songs, "Qele Qele" scored more than 86 % of the televotes, and that can't be described as anything less than impressive. The song is quite impressive in its own right as well, a happy, dancy little tune with ethnic undertones. A stronger version of Armenia's debut entry from 2006 if you so wish, and the catchy chorus in combination with one of the biggest and most active diaspora's in the world, there is no doubt in my mind that Armenia will be in the final. And rightly so - that is where Sirusho belongs.
Sirusho - Qele Qele - Armenia 2008
It seems a bit ironic that the national final in Spain carries the name "Salvémos Eurovisión" (Let's save Eurovision) when the winner has set out to do exactly the opposite. The winner is a silly little parody of... ehm... something, I am not really sure what. It could, if you feel nice and good at heart, be described as catchy and a distant cousin to some of the output of Manu Chau, but without any hint of warmth or humour. I don't think I ever saw a "humourous" ESC-entry that felt this cynical and constructed. But there is one really good thing about it: it is short.
Rodolfo Chikilicuatre - Baila el Chiki Chiki - Spain 2008
And then there is always Montenegro, whose only way was up after last year's complete crash and burn fiasco of Stevan Faddy. They bought a song from Grigor Koprov, one of the most loved composers of FYR Macedonia, having penned among other songs the FYR Macedonian entries of 1998 and 2007. I have a feeling that the old maestro may have seen Montenegro's request as easy money, since he didn't quite invest his complete soul in this new song. Stefan Filipovic seems to be nowhere near as full of himself as young Master Faddy, but it is always an alarming sign when a singer can't be bothered to learn how to mime his song properly before presenting it. Not great, not bad, only very dull. A song that will come and pass without anyone really noticing it. What a shame. I thought so much more of you, Montenegro.
Stefan Filipovic - Zauvijek volim te - Montenegro 2008