The line-up for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest is almost complete as three more countries selected their entries last night.
I followed the national final of Russia streamed over the internet, as that one seemed the most interesting to me. Impeccably produced, and with an impressive variety of singers and styles, it can't be denied that 27 songs in one evening is a bit much. However, the professional jury and the televoters agreed completely that Dima Bilan should have a second try after his second place back in 2006. The song is slick and well-produced (but is this version really produced by Timbaland? I exercise my right to be doubtful), but to my ears it sounds very similar to Georgia, but the Georgians have more of a hook in their chorus. By the general standards of 2008 not bad, but I had expected more from Russia. And from Dima.
Dima Bilan - Believing - Russia 2008
Last year, when Andrej Babic represented his third different country as composer, we all joked and wondered what country he would write for next year. Ah well, Portugal fell for it. "Senhora do Mar" is really Babic by the numbers, and it usually works well enough to make it into the final and then be 15th or so there. Which, of course, would be a great progress for Portugal, who has not made a top ten finish since the heyday of Lúcia Moniz back in 1996.
Vânia Fernandes - Senhora do Mar - Portugal 2008
And then there is Belgium... Let me state one thing very clearly here: I hate songs in made-up languages. Making up languages is a pastime of children, stoned poets and over-ambitious lingustic professors in the 19th century. What makes it so hard to find a suitable lyric in an existing language? It just makes the whole thing ridiculous to me. As for the song? Well, it would have been a Eurovision smash hit. Back in 1956. The ways of the Flemings are mysterious to me. And the worst thing? I could be wrong and everyone will love this. I pull my blanket over my head and ignore that possibility for the time being.
Ishtar - O julissi na jalini - Belgium 2008