Eurovision 2011 Has Actually Gotten To Me

I know the U.K. is the frontrunner with Blue’s “I Can”, but there are better songs. Expand your international music palette with the following bands and songs.

First, from Serbia, the lovely and charming Nina from Belgrade. She’s only 21, which explains how she can pull off the Mia Farrow pixie cut. Below is the English version of the song. It’s still awfully catchy.

My favourite is the Danish entry A Friend In London, and their song “New Tomorrow”. It’s good song, sure, but the vowel sounds of lead singer Tim Schou are reminiscent of my Danish grandmother’s ( not as heavy, but still recognizable).  Lad os gå, Danmark!

They didn’t go through to the grand finale, but I really did like Bulgaria’s Poli Genova and her song “Na inat”. Life sometimes isn’t fair, and I have to put up with that crappy Moldova song instead. Taka che sŭzhalyavam , Bŭlgariya.

I am a bit desperately in love with Iceland’s entry, Sjonni’s Friends “Coming Home”. It has that Mumford and Sons vibe, which I love, but it’s also based around a sad but ultimately great story. Sigurjón Brink, the songwriter, was set to perform this song himself, but died during the selection process for the Icelandic title.  His friends cobbled together a band to finish the journey, and they were the last band announced to go through during the first night Semifinal at Düsseldorf.  It’s a charming, simple song, sung by six great voices. They kind of blew me away, and Gwen shrieked like a maniac when they went through. My ears still hurt.

The U.K. submitted “I Can” as performed by reformed crap boy band Blue.  They are heavily favoured to win. It’s not terrible like Jemini’s notorious zero point monstrosity in 2003, and it’s definitely one of Blue’s better songs, but that’s like saying sometimes the Toronto Maple Leafs play better than the team they’re facing and win a game. It may be true, but it really doesn’t mean that they don’t still suck.

Then there is Ireland’s Jedward and their track “Lipstick”. Jedward are both horrific and wildly entertaining. They’re a couple of teenage boys who are in desperate need of Ritalin, as their appearances on various U.K. panel shows have shown. ( I swore Jack Dee was going to smash them in the face when they were on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, if Noel didn’t get to them first.) I actually really hate them and this song. I blame X-Factor.

Of all those tapped to win this thing, my favourite is the Hungarian entry by Kati Wolf. Another from the X-Factor machine, she makes up for it by being able to actually sing.  Yes, she falls into the Celine Dion school of singing, but the song is a great orchestral dance pop song.

My friend Nina in Slovenia began apologizing early for the horrible Slovenian entry. This year’s is a vast improvement. Nina still hates it, and is in disbelief it made it through to tonight’s finale. It’s a solid pop song- nothing spectacular, but adequate.  I’m more baffled by Moldova.

Apparently my Finnish friend Katja dislikes her country’s entry. Paradise Oskar reminds me of a less whiny James Blunt. This doesn’t make him better.

There are seventeen other countries participating in tonight’s grand final: Bosnia and Herzegovina; Lithuania; Sweden ( I wasn’t impressed by Eric Saade); Estonia; Greece ( another one that baffles me, I thought it was terrible); Russia ( another pretty boy singing crap); France (sending a Grobanesque tenor); Italy ( sending their version of Jamie Cullum); Switzerland; that horrific song from Moldova; Germany ( the reigning champ, Lena, is again singing this year’s entry); Romania; Austria; Azerbaijan; Spain; Ukraine; and Georgia. Congratulations and good luck to everyone.

Seriously- the Moldova song? Why, Europe? Why?


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