More Representatives Selected!
France – Deciding once again to go with an internal selection, the French have chosen Jessy Matador and his song Allez! Ola! Olé! For those of you unfamiliar with Matador’s work, he is, what I call, and Afropean (that’s African + European) pop singer. It’s kind of like early90’s American R&B, but with a hit more shouting and laughing, combined with dance style rap, with just a touch of reggaeton. While I am happy that France is not forgetting their Francophone peeps in Africa and the Caribbean, this will fail, miserably, in Bærum. There’s not shot in Hell that Europe would vote for anything like Jessy Matador. Expect France to reclaim its spot at the bottom of the scoreboard after last year’s sojourn to the Top Ten.
Lithuania – Lithuania is ready to join the ranks of its Baltic brothern who have all won the ESC within the last ten years (EST2001, LAT2002, FIN2006). After going through a drop-out scare (they were originally scheduled to withdraw this year due to financial issues), Lithuania came back with a vengeance, hosting several semi-finals in its lead up the Final, in which East European Funk by InCulto won the day beating out a surprisingly strong (for Lithuania) collection of competitors, including 4Fun (LIT2007) and Sasha Son (LIT2009). Where do I think Lithuania will end up this year? That’s hard to say. The finalists were, overall, quite good, but I wonder how good a funk/ska entry will do in the ESC? I keep thinking of Love Power (BLG2007) and Y Así (AUS2005), two of my favorite entries, both of them finished at the bottom of the semi-final. Then again, what about For Real (TUR2004), which finished fourth, but that effort is confounded by the fact that it was Turkey, it was the host’s entry, and it was a title-defense effort. This is going to sound like a cop-out, but I think that Lithuania has a decent shot at making the final if the other acts are not as strong on the night, as funk tends to lend itself to good performances. However, I doubt InCulto will do anything in the Final, if they make it.
Latvia – From a field of songs that was not nearly as strong as its Southern neighbor’s, Latvia chose What For? (Only Mr. God Knows Why) performed by Aisha for the Contest (bringing our X-Factor/Idol/Star Factory count to 4). What can I say, but the Latvians will fail to impress, once again. Aisha is not all that great of a performer nor does she have a “wow ’em” voice. Needless to say, Latvia will once again be stuck in the semi-finals.
Ireland-Ireland holds the record for the most victories, standing at seven (1070, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996). The woman who successfully defended the ESC title in 1993, Niamh Kavanaugh, has once again taken the responsibility of representing the Emerald Isle on the Eurovision stage. But will she be able to keep up in this new era of the ESC? Having to compete in the Semi-Finals, having to worry about having a captivating stage show, and having to worry about 37 other contenders (because no one is worried about Switzerland)? All of these were not issues when she competed, almost twenty years ago. However, much like Sweden’s Carola (1990) and Charlotte Perrelli (1999), and Israel’s Dana International (1998), who all won in Kavanaugh’s generation of the Eurovision Song Contest and who all competed in the previous two contests (Carola in 2006, Perrelli in 2008, and Dana as a lyricist and composer in 2008). I think, just like these three lovely ladies, Kavanaugh punched her ticket to the Grand Final by merely winning the Irish selection special. However, while she probably won’t win again, she will most likely lift ole Éire back into the Top Ten.
Slovakia – After many rounds, Horehronie, performed by Kristina, emerged as the representative for the Central European nation. Many of the Slovakian contestants this year were hit or miss in terms of appeal. Overall, poor Slovakia will be the victim of geography and lack of notoriety. If Slovakia hopes to make it to the final, then Kristina will need to give the performance of a lifetime to make it pass some of the bigger name countries in her semi-final. Expect to fall short of this requirement.
Bulgaria – Angel Si Ti (You are an Angel) has been chosen for Miro to perform. It won out over four other, lackluster songs, also performed by Miro. Not much to say outside of what I said last time. Expect great artistry and low results from the Bulgarians.