There’s a slight lull in national finals tonight – just the Portuguese decider and the Swedish second chance round – oh, and the UK reveal on the red button service at 21.30GMT. But we’ve got plenty to mull over from the past week with the Finnish and German results creating news beyond the fan sites.
Let’s start with Finland, where punk rockers with learning disabilities Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat scored a convincing win in the televote. Initially backed down to under 7.0 on the back of mainstream media headlines, some punters have built big liabilities laying those prices, pushing it back out to 11.0.
I am one of them. I echo eurovicious’ initial comments that the Finnish entry offers neither aurally nor visually a winning experience, and doesn’t match the appeal of other headline-grabbing acts such as Conchita or the Russian grannies, for example. Meanwhile, even if not completely punished by juries, the new system introduced two years ago, whereby full rankings from first to last are taken into account, will also work against them, as it would’ve done the Babushki.
Those looking for more mainstream, contemporary, decent pop songs will have been heartened that Slovenia chose Maraaya’s ‘Here For You’ on the same night. It’s a very solid entry, well sung. It certainly deserves Slovenia’s first top ten result in a long time, and should have no trouble getting out of the semi-final.
My main criticism is the staging. For me, the headphones, outfit and mime violinist don’t sit that well together, and create a visual effect which is unnecessarily kitsch and distracting. Apparently not much will change in this respect, and I hope that with a bigger production in Vienna, it will look more impressive. Otherwise, its potential could be slightly hindered.
Still, it was by far the best thing chosen on Saturday night, because Hungary gave us the dated, let’s-give-peace-a-chance hokum of Boggie’s ‘Wars For Nothing’. Even that can count itself lucky it’s in the same semi-final as Moldova, for whom Eduard Romanyuta’s ‘I Want Your Love’ currently holds the ticket after a disputed victory. The latter song makes me nostalgic for those days dancing to Y2K RnB like Liberty X, but it’s completely wrong for Eurovision 2015 on every level.
Next we had the reveal for Spain‘s Edurne singing ‘Amancaer’. We’ve no idea of the visuals yet, and we’ve been promised some re-working of the arrangement too, so I don’t want to definitively damn it. But whilst the song is competent enough, I feel it lacks sufficiently compelling hooks and development, which after all, grab a viewer and keep them interested.
The lack of hummable melodies is becoming an issue at this year’s contest, and it wasn’t helped by Greece‘s choice of ‘One Last Breath’. Cypriot Maria Elena Kiriakou produced the only decent vocals in the national final, so it seemed fair enough that the power ballad won, but like the Spanish entry, there’s a lot of drama in the orchestration without much melodic reward. At this early stage, I can’t see it returning Greece to the top ten.
Germany‘s national final hit the headlines once Andreas Kummert declined to accept his victory, handing it to runner-up Ann Sophie with ‘Black Smoke’ instead, which reportedly only got 21% of the vote in the duel. That’s not an auspicious selection, and whilst she’s an engaging performer, it’s hard to see the song gaining significant traction with televoters across Europe.
Do keep the conversation going in the comments section below. I will endeavour to add the videos of tonight’s UK and Portuguese entries once they’ve been revealed.