Friday, 28 April 2017

At the age of four God talked to me

Hungary
Joci Pápai
Origo

The thing is, I'm not, by all accounts, a very easy person to talk to. The socially awkward chit chat I do do tends to be so laced with sneery, off putting West Midlands sarcasm that most people avoid me at all costs unless they (and I) are drunk- so for those that do attempt conversation, my Eurovision obsession at least offers SOMETHING to hang the opening gambit on. "Where is Eurovision this year", they try, "Who's our entry this year", or "Are you going this year" are all standards, followed closely by "What's your favourite ever entry?"

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Remember how we laughed and played around

Greece
Demy
This is love

Hooray! Ouzo at the ready, party people- you're going to need it. It's Greece- home of the Phoenix Nights stapler. Yes, the economic basket case of Europe has had a whip round for the entry fee, booked its tickets to Stockholm and cobbled together another masterpiece of Hellenic Stilleto-Pop.

Gathering thorns from the stems of a thousand roses

Germany
Levina
Perfect Life

Now now. You might be sat alone at your PC, drinking supermarket Gin and wallowing in self hatred at memories of recent UK entrants, but even Humperdink, Blue, Josh Dubovnie, Scooch, Gemini, DJ Daz and that wriggling bin man haven't done as badly in the past decade as the Germans.

Apart from that year when Lena sung about wearing new underwear (they're blue), they have done really fucking badly. Of course, they (like us) are one of the "Big Six" and thus help bankroll the whole thing, so have tended not to care given they (like us) get an automatic ticket to the final (in case you've not noticed there are two semi finals on during the week leading up covered on BBC3).

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Who told you to get out of the way?

Georgia
Tamara Gachechiladze
Keep The Faith

To be honest the Trump inauguration was terrible TV. He didn't fluff his lines, Obama didn't chin him, the stage didn't collapse and he actually because the actual 45th President of the USA. In fact it got so bad that halfway through I changed the channel and watched the 2017 Georgian National Final instead for something marginally less painful.

Our rips, our declines

France
Alma
Requiem

Poor old France. They helped found the "Concours Eurovision de la chanson" and still insist on bits of the presentation on the night being read out in French (hence "Douze Points" and your Nan being confused at us being called "Roy and Minnie"), but right from the early days of the contest when it consisted of 5 countries, Katie Boyle and "Boom bang a ding a dong" they were pissing about being aloof and snooty. Since then every other country that's joined Europe's biggest party has realised it's all about bright colours, key changes, flashmobs, fire curtains, sequins, exploding cubes (can Eric beat the cube) and prosthetic devil masks. France, on the other hand, annually rolls out a dreary existential piano ballad, shrugs and goes home again. They're like a rock solid gold guaranteed toilet break country.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Don't nestle here go find lovers of your own

Finland
Norma John
Blackbird

Any Birthdays coming up? Wondering what to get for that special loved one in your life? Need an "ironic" present for that hateful Brexiteer uncle of yours? EUROS TO LITERALLY BURN?

Well as luck would have it, in the sale this year in the Eurovision tat shop as well as the obligatory beanie hats, T Shirts, mugs and mouse pads (the contest always was pretty retro) you can buy a Eurovision themed Cushion! "An Eurovision Song Contest viewing party at your home is not the same without this classic collector's item", says the item description, which is either a bad bit of copy and paste or just how Swedish Eurovision fans roll on the big night. "Start your collection of Eurovision Song Contest Cushions today" it continues, forgetting to mention that a "collection" of Eurovision Song Contest Cushions would consist of precisely one cushion.

I got a feel good infatuation

F.Y.R. Macedonia
Jana Burčeska
Dance Alone

Well this is a turn up for the knigi. The (Former Yugoslav Republic of) Macedonians have only managed to qualify once in the past decade, and even then they didn't deserve it- belting out a balkan trouser-suit ballad that I managed to miss in its entirity as I took a carefully timed three minute wizz (air).

But this is a proper contender. There's a slice of Katy Perry, a cube of Kylie Minogue, a pinch of Kelly Clarkson and even a slither of Alexandra Stan- a proper bona-fide 80s infused pop song with a hooky post chorus and a talneted singer and everything. It bangs.

Monday, 24 April 2017

You wake up with a bottle in your hands

Estonia
Koit Toome & Laura
Verona

My favourite Estonian entry of all time was the genius 2003 time travel smash "Eighties Coming Back" by Ruffus. Watch that video and suddenly you're there- not in the 80's, but in your living room in 2003 knocking back supermarket gin and own brand frazzles with people round that you've since blocked on twitter. In that clip they've even capped Wogan sounding a bit pissed blithering on about accordions and incorrectly predicting that "Baltic block voting" would work in Estonia's favour. The daft racist- it came 21st.

Putting up my walls so that I last better

Denmark
Anja
Where I am

And so to Denmark- home of The Killing, Borgen, one half of the Bridge, Carlsberg, Lego, the Little Mermaid, Hans Christian Anderson, those butter cookies you get in tins, a friend in London (because everyone has a friend in London), these tasty looking Christmas Donuts (nom nom nom) and Emily. You know, Emily. Off of the forest.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

You know that I love it when you call

Czech Republi
Martina Bárta
My Turn

There are some countries that really try. They have big national finals and they send talented X Factor rejects and hire big name songwriters and blow half their GDP on staging and go to all the preview parties and film a lovely touristy postcard. And then there's Czechia.

Let me be your heart and your company

Cyprus
Hovig
Gravity

Oh hello Cyprus, where they drive on the left and launder Russian money. I'm busy this morning so I'm going to hand over to the world's fifth best eurovision fanblogger @germanyesc to issue his juicy verdict.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

There's a miracle my friend and it happens every day

Croatia
Jacques Houdek
My Friend

Those were the days. Back in the noughties bookies still regularly placed the UK in the top 5, and we were still completely baffled when phone voters around the living rooms of Europe failed to vote for whatever tuneless noise we'd spat into the content that year. "The UK was robbed!", we'd say, like we say when we lose at every international competition involving a level of competitive skill ever except the fucking Darts.

Even up against the wall

Bulgaria
Kristian Kostov
Beautiful Mess

"I only saw a little bit of it, and only for a short time. I think we were in country for maybe 45 minutes, almost all of it at a Metro hipermart, before we turned around and came back home. My impression was 'Wow, what a dump'. Shortly after crossing the border your nose is assaulted by a sulfurous stink that makes you wonder whether you just crossed the Danube, or the River Styx. The parts of the country that I saw were all really run-down and grim. It's possible this is just the area we happened to pass through -I wouldn't want anyone judging America based on Gary, Indiana for example -- but boy howdy what a mess. The industrial parts were like something out of a dystopian-future sci-fi movie, and the residential blocs were dirty and really ugly. But hey, now I can say I've been"

Friday, 21 April 2017

All alone in the flame of doubt

Belgium
Blanche
City Lights

Oh my living god. It's Belgium.

In 2009 Belgium entered an Elvis Presley impersonator that claimed that he invented being Elvis Presley before Elvis Presley and that Elvis Presley was stealing his soul even though he’s dead. With a Jive Bunny video. In 2010 we got a kind of low rent Marc Cohn doing a low rent Walking in Memphis, 2011 saw Belgium entering some smug acapella beatbox with sideburns, in 2012 they sent a warbling child wittering on about burglary, and in 2013 they sent a man to sing a song called "Love Kills" in strong Belgian accent, resulting in the whole of Europe having to sit through Roberta Bellarosa singing "Love keels, over and over", over and over again.

The sun will sparkle in our blood

Belarus
NAVIBAND
Story of my life

And so to Belarus, landlocked dictatorship Belarus, home of bonafide Eurovision classic "I love Belarus (got a dick inside)". Listen if you don't believe me.

It's not the only bonafide Eurovision classic they've produced. One of the songs that remains on my iPod to this day is 2006's Polina Smolova writhing around in hot pants singing a song both called, and about, her "Mum" (she was so proud). Or there's 2007's amazing singing David Copperfield tribute act Dmitry Koldun's "Work Your Magic". Or 2009's contest winning folk on coke number "Fairytale" from Alexander Rybak, which would have been Belarus' had Alex not reasonably surmised that out of the two parents'
nationality he could pick, Norway would spend more on the staging. And the coke.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

I can only trick you once, bad boy

Azerbaijan
Dihaj
Skeletons

Shipwrecks resting in the sea. Oil floating on the water. Plants and soil overlaid with a crust of pain. No, these aren't lyrics- they're FACTS, FACT fans. Welcome to renowned Eurovision cheat nation Azerbaijan- the most polluted country in the world.

Azerbaijan you say? The pressure is sort of off given the Aussies' entry, but their prescence on Saturday night still heralds hundreds of households around the UK yelling "AS IF Azerbaijan is in Europe", almost all of them using the map of Europe in their Thomas Cook brochure, conveniently forgetting that the UK itself is about as comfortable in Europe as Tim Farron at G.A.Y (or, indeed, a Eurovision house party).

"Cleopatra, queen of ancient Egypt, bathed in asses’ milk for the good of her complexion", begins the Daily Mail's hatchet job, "but in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, an even more surprising treatment is on offer. Disrobing from their Gucci or Oscar de la Renta outfits, the ladies who lunch lie naked in baths of crude oil, believing, as did Marco Polo, that the warming effects of 40C crude cure skin diseases, rheumatism, arthritis and even ‘nerves’".

If you let me drown, I’ll swim like a champion


Austria
Nathan Trent
Running on air

Wir sollten nicht zu gewinnen!

Usually when it comes to Eurovision Austria are useless. Absolutely useless. Marzipan dildo useless. But then came Wurst.

Eurovision 2014 was like we'd fucking time travelled. We were in a weird and wonderful world where everything was different. I was in a disused ship yard thinking maybe outside the Polar icecaps had melted. Maybe there's fucking robots knocking about, and Davina McCall's the new pope. Maybe you can download rice.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

You couldn’t be more wrong

Australia
Isaiah
Don't come easy

Do you remember that time when Susan off of Neighbours started to believe that she was 16 years old again and she accidentally wandered into a '70s party and then when her memories started coming back one of the first ones was of her husband Karl snogging his secretary?

Or that time when Toadfish got married to Dee and then he took her for a drive and he lost control of their car and drove off a cliff into the sea and he was fine but her body was never found and then he got married again and a gas bottle exploded during the reception and the marquee got destroyed and his bride Sonya ended up with a fractured skull and no memory of the wedding?

Or that time when Pinkie Tuscadero crashed Fonzie's bike and I lost all my money to those card sharps and my dad Tom Bosley had to win it all back? Oh hold on. That was Happy Days. So to speak.

She took it all into her space


Armenia
Artsvik
Fly with me

No Andorra this year (they're probably off playing with guns- I mean literally- the male head of each family in Andorra is required to own a gun, fact fans) so here we are in Armenia. I love Armenia. A few years back they were responsible for sending a woman called "Sirushu" to Europe- a top pop star singing the brilliant end of an era ethnopop banger "Qele Qele" (let's go! let's go!) which has ended up one of my all time favourite entries (and provided the name of this blog). Also, chess is compulsory in schools, they have the world’s longest cable car ride and best of all, they all LOVE the underrated fruit of apricot. Boom Boom, Chaka Chaka.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

I'm Weak and i'm afraid

Albania
Lindita
World

Hooray! It's the hap-happiest season of all! With those euro type greetings and gay happy meetings when friends come to call! It's the hap-happiest season of all! Look, it might not seem like a whole twelve months has passed since Stockholm and Jamala and IVAN and his LIVE WOLVES and THAT AMAZING SONG FROM FRANCE THAT I STILL LOVE AND LISTEN TO AND CRY WITH JOY TO EVERY DAY but it is. It really really is. Yes- stow that hand luggage, fasten those seatbelts, order some shots and brace brace- because it’s time for my annual unremittingly miserable Wizz Air flight across the barren wasteland of European pop that is all 43 (or perhaps now only 42) songs in the 62nd Grand-Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Européenne! Hooray!