Cyprus and (a slew of others) have decided! Part One
Cyprus – The tiny Mediterranean country has selected its representative: Jon Lilygreen & the Islanders with the song Life Looks Better in Spring. Of course, I haven’t listened to this song, but I could find others. We have ourselves another whiney rocker type (see my entry on Belgium entrant Tom Dice). I did listen to the other contenders, slim pickins! What seemed to have crippled the Cypriots this year was an inability to perform when it counts. Many of the artists had good songs, but failed to sing them well on the night of the competition. A major exception to this would be You Gotta Go performed by Anthi Pashi. It is a strong song that had a moving performance; it should have won (or at least got second place). Pashi’s song was a ticket to the Final for Cyprus, which would have been their first since 2004. It is soulful yet catchy (think HUN2007, NET1998, or UK2009).
Mr. Lilygreen has several pluses: he’s Welsh, people tend to remember nationalities (remember how many points Eastern Europe gave to Belorussian born Rybak in 2009?), he’s moderately cute, his musical style seems to be popular right now. His biggest drawback, aside from a whiny voice, is the fact that he is from Cyprus. Unfortunately, the tiny nation tends not to do well, and its entries tend to start the night with minus 100 points, a deficit that is difficult to overcome (just ask Evridiki). I expect this song to slip into the Finals, and then languish at the bottom of the scoreboard.
Armenia – There was a lot of controversy surrounding the Armenian entry to the Contest this year. Namely, big name artists were throwing their support behind certain contenders. Most notably, the self-proclaimed “Mother of Eurovision,” Lys Assia (SUI1956, 1957, & 1958), threw her support behind eventual winner Eva Rivas and the song Apricot Stone. But Assia wasn’t the only famous supporter, Latino pop star Ricky Martin (of Livin’ La Vida Loca fame) publicly supported his friends Mihran & Emmy and their mess of a song Hey (Let Me Hear You Say). Armenia seemed to have an interesting slate of songs, of the eight I heard (remember, I am not going to listen to the winning song until it competes in May), four of them were bad, bad, bad. And the other four were good, good, good. The former group all would take the title of “Lowest Achieving Armenian Act” from Inga & Anush (10th place in 2009), the latter group all destined to achieve the same great status that every Armenian entry has. So, where does Apricot Stone fall on this divide, hopefully not in the middle! While it is tempting to say that Armenia will continue to be highly successful, the law of averages states that what goes up must come down, and Armenia is bound to fall out of the top ten eventually. This just might be the year.
Macedonia – DISCLAIMER: I don’t agree with the use of FYRO (Former Yugoslav Republic of) in front of Macedonia’s name. The reason behind it is the fear from Greece that their northern neighbor will try to reclaim the Greek region with the same name. I think in this day and age this fear does less for increasing protection and more for increasing hate. Therefore, I will not use the imposed title ahead of any mention of Macedonia on this blog.
Macedonia has selected Јас Ја Имам Сулата (I Have the Strength). Considering Macedonia’s recent toying with success (a moderate placing in 2007’s final and tenth place finishes in the semi-finals of 2008 and 2009), the Balkan nation is hoping to finally get over the hump and get a top ten placing. In listening to the clips of Skojpe Fest’s 2010 twenty-seven losers, I am beginning to think that this will not be the year for the Macedonians. Macedonia has always submitted nice songs, but has rarely submits good songs, and this year’s selection followed that same tradition. Macedonia will continue to be on the outside looking in at this year’s Grand Final, except, instead of being a non-qualifying tenth place, the nation will probably drop down to a non-qualifying eleventh.
Albania – As I stated when I heard the song accidentally, this song is a rare example of one that would be better in English than in its native language. Well, apparently the people at ShTV hear me, and an English version of Nuk Mudem Pa Ty has appeared titled It’s All About You. Let’s look at Albania’s history, shall we? Four out of Albania’s six previous entries have been in English. It is likely that Ms. Pasha will sing the entry’s English version. I haven’t looked at the lyrics yet, but hopefully they do as good a job this year as translating the song to English as they did last year.
Turkey – maNga has selected a song for the Eurovision Song Contest 2010, We Could Be the Same. This was after a small controversy (surely not the biggest one of the year) after they had announced that they would most definitely have an English language song for the Contest. As usual, TKT’s selection of a song was shrouded in secrecy, and rumor, but one finally did emerge. Supposedly, this is the result of intense preparation on maNga’s part to create the best song possible for the Contest. However, urban rock (or “urban” anything for that matter) just doesn’t seem to fly at the ESC, and I doubt it will this year. Thought, it is Turkey, and honestly, the band probably doesn’t even need to perform to reach the final, and could (as my friend often says) “burp the Istanbul phone book” and still land in the top ten. Whether this phenomenon is due to high quality acts from the Turks or a large diaspora, I like to think it is a mix of the two, doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that Turkey will most likely do well, but still won’t win.