Cyprus (and a slew of others) has decided! Part Two
So many national finals, so little time!!! By now, you have probably realized that I am having a hard time keeping up. No worries. I promise everything will be up prior to the Head of Delegations meeting at the end of March.
Poland – Another weak year for the Poles. Many of the songs from the National Final were weak and forgettable. The Polish hope rests upon the back of, yet another, cute boy entrant: Marcin Mroziński and his song Legenda. Mr. Mroziński failed to qualify last year with the typical ballad Never Felt Like This. That’s not to say that he’s a bad singer. Which he isn’t. I definitely am not complaining over the influx of cute boys this year at the Contest. It’s just that, Poland sent inconsequential ballads the last two years (I liked them both, but neither was winning potential). Poland is sending more of the same, so they will receive more of the same. Expect this song to linger behind in the semi-finals, or if it squeaks through, to fall to the wrong side of the scoreboard.
Spain – Because it was such a success the last two years, Spain once again returned to the Internet/television selection process that brought us the previous two Spanish entries. After months of voting, Daniel Diges’ Ago pequeñito came out the winner. Listening to the other Spanish finalists, one can hope that this was a clear winner. While none of the other Finalists are bad, a few aren’t good either. And those that are, are forgettable. I doubt Diges can overcome the curse that has been plaguing the Spanish these past five years, for even when they send a decent entry, the bottom ten seems to beckon them. Diges has a nice voice and appears to be an entertaining performer. Which makes sense, given that he’s a musical theatre actor. He will garner Spain the placing it deserves, but only time will tell which side of the scoreboard that placing will fall on (and right now, I would put my money on a low-teens (15-19) placing for the Spanish).
Malta – After what seems like countless heats and semi-finals, in which every Maltese person seemed to have competed, the tiny Mediterranean nation has selected My Dream performed by Thea Garrett for this year’s Contest in Bærum, Norway. It seems as if every Maltese song that lost was from fifteen years ago, it’s hard to believe that these songs were created just last year. Hopefully, My Dream avoids this stylistic issue and sounds more current. Otherwise, its another year of semi-final suckage for Malta. And I say this with respect, I have liked a lot of Malta’s songs that have lingered behind in the semi-finals, unfortunately, Europe does not. With the exception of Chiara’s first two entries (and like, one random other entry), Malta has sucked-it-up at the Contest. The Maltese need to invest in some quality song writers for 2011, otherwise Valetta will be a “caller” forever all of its days and never a “hoster.”
Slovenia – The former Yugoslav country has decided, and its representative will be Narodnozabavni Rock performed by Ansambel Roka Žlindre and Kalamari, the former being a folk band fronted by a pretty lady with a pretty voice and the former being a tasty dish made from squid (haha, just kidding!). Kalamari is a group made-up of middle aged men. It will be interesting how many of each ensemble make it onstage in Bærum (I am thinking that Roka Žlindre (the lady front-woman) and Kalarmi will be there to perform on the night). And honestly, listening to other songs by both artists, Kalamari will only bring detract from what Ansambel Roka Žlindre will do. As for the other competitors, Slovenia probably picked the best act available to it, that’s taking into account that Nuša Derenda (SLV2001), who earned the country its highest placing to date, was competing. Let’s hope that the lovely sounds coming from Ansambel Roka Žlindre’s contribution outweigh the outdated ones coming from Kalamari’s; though, they probably won’t and Slovenia will have to resign itself to another year in the Semi-Finals.
Belarus – An internal selection resulted in the band 3 + 2 and the song Far Away being selected to represent the nation. I haven’t been successful in finding any other songs by the band. Because someone has to qualify for the Final, and I am not overly confident in Poland’s, Malta’s or Slovenia’s chances that accomplishing that feat, I will say that Belarus will qualify; however, I can not speak as to its placing in the Final.
The Netherlands – The Dutch, after a very tight voting process, have selected Sienke to perform their entry Ik ben verliefd, Shalalie written by Pierre Kartner, of Smurf fame. She has a lovely voice and I am sure Ik ben is a lovely song. Unfortunately, both suffer from the affliction of being Dutch, which tends to spell disaster at Eurovision. It’s not that the Dutch send bad songs (one of my favorite all-time entries is NET2008), but that they foolishly believe that their songs can stand alone without a performance. For the last twelve Contests, I have seen Dutch acts that have involved a lot of sitting, standing, and costumes that blend into the background. I was hoping that de Toppers would change this when they promised a “Show never before seen at Eurovision” for the Moscow stage last year. Instead of a cool light show that literally represented Shine or some other, equally cool performance, we were treated to three middle-aged men and three “interesting” backing singers dancing around thinking they were cooler than they were. It was quite corny, really, and we all know that Eurovision is no stranger to corny. Let’s hope that TROS gives the song the performance that it deserves! But it probably won’t, expect another poor result for the Dutch and the absence of the Netherlands at ESC2011.
Georgia – Continuing the parallel to its 2007 debut, Georgia had this year’s Sopho sing five songs, with the implication that one will be the representative in Bærum. Surviving the night of triteness was Shine. Like in 2007, the four songs not chosen were correctly left behind; the four songs that lost to Shine were unoriginal and didn’t really fit her voice. Let’s hope that Shine is at least half as good as Visionary Dream, and can get Georgia to at least the Final. Which it probably will, the Caucasian diaspora is too large to let the country linger in the Semis, although, it will probably not be nearly as successful as its two neighbors, Armenia and Azerbaijan, which would be consistent with history, as Georgia has yet to place in the top ten, and the other two have yet to fall outside of it.