Super Saturday (and Sunday)!

Every year, there seems to be one day that has more National Finals than any other, eurovision.tv dubs this “Super Saturday.”  This year, Super Saturday feel on March 6, in which Moldova, Portugal, Croatia, and the Ukraine all selected the songs that will represent their countries.  Not only that, but Russia and Belgium decided on the following day.

Croatia – Dora Song 2010 ended with the selection of Lako Je Sve performed by Feminnem.  Feminnem competed for Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2005, with the Eurovision tribute song Call Me. They are a high-spirited bunch of gals and will no doubt try to rock the crowd in Norway.  They overcame stiff competition from a lot of folk songs.  Speaking of which, there seems to be an overwhelming lack of Balkan ballads this year.  Between Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Croatia, at least one of them seem to have a heart-wrenching ballad of love lost.  Not this year, how sad, that was one of the reasons I loved the former Yugoslav nations in this Contest and studied SerboCroatian.  I predict a Grand Final placing for Croatia, but not a Top Ten finish.

Moldova – The small Balkan nation seemed to have news on a daily basis at one point.  Every day there was yet another person throwing their hat into the ring to represent Moldova.  After all of this, Sunstroke Project and Olia Tira emerged victorious presenting the song Run Away.  Both are techno/dance artists, so I am sure Run Away will be a crowd-moving number.  If nothing else, the Euroclub folks shall go gaga over it (hey, that’s been Bulgaria’s job as of late, I guess Moldova is filling the void created by the victory of the ballad for Miro).  I expect, since it will be one of the few uptempo songs, that it will make the Grand Final, but I don’t think it will do well there, it depends on the stage show.  I can foresee crazy costumes and interpretive dance destroying this act.

Portugal – The small Iberian nation seems to be doing quite well as of late.  A 11th place in the Semi-Finals (2007) and its first two qualifications for the Final, earning a middle-of-the-pack 15th place both times (although, in my opinion, both songs should have been in the Top Ten). But even 15th is better than most of the Portuguese finishes.  Hoping to improve this position is Filipa Azevedo (Idol Counter is now at 5) with the song Há Dias Assim (It’s One of those Days).  While the field of contenders this year is about as strong as it has been these past few years, the singer is not as strong as the previous three.   And as such, Portugal could find itself trapped, once again, in the Semi-Finals.  Azevedo can only hope that she finds much favor from the juries.

Romania – Yet another boy/girl duo for Romania (that’s the second in three years).  Except, this time, instead of two classical singers, Romania is sending two pop stars, Golden Stag winner Paula Seling and Ovi (who is better known in Norway for his several failed entries in Norsk Melodi Grand Prix) and the song Playing with Fire.  While Seling and Ovi beat out a pretty weak field of contenders, they did garner more votes than ESC third place finisher Luminita Anghel (ROM2005) and a band that, one can only assume, named itself after combining two British winners Puppet on a String (UK1967) sung by Sandie Shaw and Lulu the singer of Boom Bang-a-Bang, the UK hand in the infamous four-way tie of 1969 (why else would the band call itself Lulu and the Puppets?).  Normally, I would say that Romania would go to the Final and flounder like it has the last three years, but it is in the stronger of the Semi-Finals, and, listening to Seling and Ovi’s other works, I don’t think they have what it takes to make the Grand Final.

Russia – Lost and Forgotten performed by the Peter Nalitch Band survived the hoard of competitors in the Russian final to claim the opportunity to carry the Russian flag in Bærum. I have had the opportunity to listen to only half of the contestants, but I have genuinely liked each and every one; it seems like it will be another strong year for Russia.  Interestingly enough, while most of the losers are pop or ballads, the kind that will definitely score big points in come May, the Russians are sending a folksy sound to Norway.  This should be interesting.  Honestly, it’s Russia and they are in the weaker of the two semi-finals, Peter Nalitch should walk into the Grand Final.  However, once there, he will probably quickly be humbled by the likes of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ireland, and…dare I say…Denmark (okay, the Danes will just be happy to be there, but I have to root hard for them!).  Expect a mid-teens finish for Russia come Saturday night.

Updates:

Belgium – For Tom Dice has been given Me and My Guitar for to take to Bærum on behalf of the Belgian people.  I don’t know why, but I am beginning to feel more and more optimistic about the Belgium entry.  Maybe it’s because Belgium once again lands in the weaker semi-final, or because his song gives him a chance to be more genuine than originally expected.  I now think that Belgium has a shot of making the Final.  Let’s see if Dice can live up to this new potential.

Ukraine –  Vasyl Lazarovich has been matched with the song I Love You, which, hopefully, is a good thing, as the rest of his songs are somewhat boring.  While I don’t mind Lazarovich, I think he’ a great singer, man + Ukraine has historically equaled failure.  I doubt  I Love You is any more stirring than the other songs he performed, so I expect the Ukraine to be left behind in the Semi-Finals for the first time since 2003.  *The Ukraine has had a regime change, and thus the heads of the public broadcaster, NTU, changed.  Apparently, the new heads don’t like I Love You, and will be having a new selection special to choose a replacement entry for Norway.  An update will come when a final choice has been made.*

And with that, only Israel, Estonia, Serbia, Greece, Sweden, the UK, and Germany are left to select their representatives and Azerbaijan still needs an official song.

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