Road to Stockholm: 2016 in Review

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32ND – MONTENEGRO, HIGHWAY, “THE REAL THING”

(13th, DNQ, 60 points)

After Estonia, this the first non-qualifying song that I’m genuinely unhappy that it didn’t qualify. And in contrast to Estonia’s case, nothing went wrong with the performance of “The Real Thing”.  The group sounded great onstage. The lone female backing dancer was a rather impressive addition. The framing of the whole performance as well made the whole thing look like a music video (which seemed to be a trend amongst the rock entries those year), which was also really cool.

The only real thing (get it?) I can be unhappy about here is the televoters.

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Road to Stockholm: 2016 in Review

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38TH – GREECE, ARGO, “UTOPIAN LAND”

(16th, DNQ, 44 points)

This is bad, I’m sorry. Unless you are Sertab Erener or Stereo Mike, rapping should never be done at Eurovision. At least we got to hear a somewhat obscure dialect (Pontic Greek) in the song.

37TH – ALBANIA, ENEDA TARIFA, “FAIRYTALE”

(16th, DNQ, 45 points)

Albania, oh Albania. Where did you go wrong? The Albanian version of Fairytale, “Përrallë”, sounded perfect. The English version, while musically the same, has horrible lyrics, just horrible ones. I mean, “That’s why I love you, oh-oh, *pause* that’s why I love you”. While I’m not calling for La Source or Uma Flor de Verde Pinho level lyrics, couldn’t the Albanian team at least come up with something better then that?

36TH – IRELAND, NICKY BYRNE, “SUNLIGHT”

(15th, DNQ, 46 points)

This is bad. And meh.

35TH – FINLAND, SANDHJA, “SING IT AWAY”

(15th, DNQ, 51 points)

This is bad. And meh. Also, Sandhja was off like heck in Stockholm. What happened?

34TH – ICELAND, GRETA SALOME, “HEAR THEM CALLING”

(14th, DNQ, 51 points)

The first fanwank entry to fall. While I personally think it’s better then her 2012 entry, I’m still incredibly ambivalent to this. The projection effects were cool though I guess.

33RD- SLOVENIA, MANUELLA, “BLUE AND RED”

(14th, DNQ, 57 points)

No Taylor Swift , I don’t care if things are blue or if things are red. What I do care about is the staging. Who the heck approved this?

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ManuElla looked and sang rather well. Same for backing singers. What I do get is why is there a random acrobat onstage? Why does the screens behind ManuElla look like they’re more appropriate for some horror movie and not some bland Slovenian country song? And why is there pyros at the end?

I only did this much entries so I could get to the next one, my first actual favorite DNQ…..

Road to Stockholm: 2016 in Review

 

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40th – MOLDOVA, LIDIA ISAC, “FALLING STARS”

(17th place, DNQ, 33 points)

Insipid. That’s the only real way I can describe this song. The astronaut was kinda cool I guess.

39th – DENMARK, LIGHTHOUSE X, “SOLDIERS OF LOVE”

(17th place, DNQ, 34)

I could pretty much just copy and paste what I said for Moldova here, although in this case this song is arguably worse as there’s no astronaut (or soldier for that matter) Danish, Moldovan, or some other European nationality, to save what is a pretty boring, low energy song.

The Road To Stockholm: 2016 in Review

eurovision-2016-logoDue to me not posting anything during the actual Eurovision week, I’ve decided to post my review of 2016 now. In this case, I’m not ranking the songs by how I prefer them, I’m going over them as they ranked in the actual contest.


42nd – ESTONIA, JÜRI POOTSMAN, “PLAY”

(18th place, DNQ, 24 points)

This one’s a bit of a surprise. Many people had pegged Estonia as doing well, if not qualifying at least come the big time in Stockholm, and the background behind the song (it was written by Stig Rästa, who competed for Estonia last year), and Jüri gave some rather convincing performances before the actual contest. When Eurovision actually rolled around however, ERR seemingly lost all of the staging magic they had for the previous couple of years. Instead of going for the subdued and somber atmosphere of the Eesti Laul performance, they went with a cheap Las Vegas look, complete with a rather hokey magic trick. Complete with Jüri’s serial killer realness now being a bit too real, and Estonia sadly sank to the bottom in their semi final.

41st – SWITZERLAND, RYKKA, “THE LAST OF OUR KIND”

(18th place, DNQ, 28 points)

Switzerland. The land of the Matterhorn, yodeling, Swiss cheese, healthcare, Celine Dion, and tiny adorable chanson-singing ladies. None of this appeared onstage on Thursday, with the alpine nation instead being represented by a lady with a see-through skirt and a dance that looked like she was constipated. At least Rykka sang well- she was actually let down by her backing singers, who sounded off. Really off. That and the smoking armpits. What the heck was up with that?

Songs in Review: “Laika”

To clarify, I’m one of those Eurovision fans who doesn’t really care for the national finals. The only real NF I’m semi-familiar with is Melodifestivalen, and even then it’s only one contest that I’m familiar with (1974). Thus, I didn’t find out about this NF song until way after Eurovision, and even then it still took a while for me to start listening to it. First things first, it’s very… European. The song is a rather morose and militant Eurotrash anthem, with The Hungry Hearts singing about lost disco lesbian love in Moscow, comparing it all to Laika. Oh, and there’s a Bedazzled car in there as well.

What could have been a somewhat formidable song was ruined by staging. Really, interplanetary Barbies? Bedazzled cars? Random disco backing dancers? The only part that didn’t look bad was Lisa, although it looked like she was pulling a Verka Serduchka here.

Oh well, let’s sing it together now: The streets of Moscow, with my girlfriend…

Eurovision in Review: Portugal 1991

EUROVISION 1991: PORTUGAL, DULCE PONTES, “LUSITANA PAIXÃO” 

(8th place, 62 points)

In my previous post I mentioned how I saw Portugal’s 1984 entry as being one of the best entries of the 80s. Portugal’s entry in 1991 is definitely its successor as one of the best entries of the 90s.

Portugal, after a brief glimmer of hope of that they might stay within the top ten, failed to reach anywhere higher then 14th place after 1986. Thus when Dulce came onstage for Portugal in Rome, there wasn’t exactly that much hope that she would do well; the previous year Nucha only managed to garner a 20th place. And yet, as soon as Dulce started her song, Portugal’s golden era of Eurovision came to being. With a gorgeous about fado and sorrows, Dulce got a strong 8th place, bolstered by 62 points from 13 countries, and brought a sense of pride to her home country. Indeed, Portugal would go on to do well for the rest of the 90s, reaching their highest placing of 6th in 1996.

Songs in Review: “One Of Us”

To clarify, The Visitors is probably one of my most favorite albums of all time. But despite it having that rather lofty title for me, that still doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have it’s patchy spots. Two For The Price Of One is one rather well known spot. And One Of Us, the lead single (and ABBA’s last major hit) is another bad spot.

The song itself is rather good. While I really, really despise the mandolins and the reggae beat, I can at least deal with them, although I do wish that Benny and Björn had gotten a proper strings section rather then some mandolins. The reggae beat is meh, but at least it gives the some some energy, in a way I suppose. Agentha and Frida’s harmonizing sound beautiful, and Agnetha sounds great in the verses. Her voval at the beginning gives the song a rather dramatic edge, which makes the whole package sound great. But alas, the music video definitely wasn’t great.

The music video begins innocently enough. We have Agnetha, post-breakup, setting up her new apartment. We see her bringing in various pieces of furniture and books, as well as her putting up some paintings, all fair enough. When the verses come in however, the visuals of the video go south. The members of ABBA, Agnetha, Benny, Björn, and Frida all looks pretty miserable and depressed. Agnetha, in particular, looks absolutely miserable. Benny and Björn look both disaffected, and Frida just maintains a sad sort of serenity through it all. The mirror effect, while neat, looks pretty cheap in some spots (we can see the bottom of the mirror in some shots as well). Not to mention, the promo, being filmed on video, definitely did the group nor the music video no favors.

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Alas, the One Of Us video did mark a sort of end for ABBA. No more were they the happy couples of the 70s albums, nor the graceful, mature singers of Super Trouper. They were now tired, depressed, and very, very real.