Tuesday, 24 April 2018

So tonight i'm making friends with all the creatures that are hiding there under my bed

Saara Aalto

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 you can "CREATE YOUR OWN SONG CONTEST" by buying Eurovision: The Board Game, which manages to combine two different ways of having people you don't like in your living room into one. What a deal! You get 25 country chips (who've they left out?), 521 cards (hopefully questions I'll nail and everyone else won't even know who Gina G is), 6 pawns, and 1 die. You also get a bunch of these scoring pads which list the things a country needs to win, although if Azerbaijan is one of the included counties you'll note that "international sim cards from a bloke I met in a car park" is not on the list.

Or how about a "Party Package", which in suitable homage to the Russian grannies, allows you to "Invite your friends and host a PARTY FOR EVERYONE!". The pack- for just 45 eye watering euros (plus 6.99 P&P) consists of "The Official CD" (packing in over 30 soul destroying ballads), the official "All Aboard Event Poster", some badges, some of those rubber bangles that haven't been popular since Make Poverty History failed to make poverty history, six "free" coasters (insert joke re the automatic qualifier countries here) and "10 balloons", which is neither 99 big red balloons, nor suitable receptacles for the massive bottles of hippy crack you need to get through the double dose of scoring these days. "This package includes all the essentials for your Eurovision Song Contest Home Party" says the blurb- forgetting to include a CD of Eurovision songs people will recognise, any flags at all, and a hell of a lot of Gin to get through the voting bit.

Saara Aalto
Anyway, the Fins. In a sea of turgid ballads and mid tempo inspirationals, you can always depend on the Fins to think outside of the laatikko. They won with what amounted to a rock version of the Banana Splits in 07, they almost came in last with novelty free misery dirgerock in 08, they rolled a fat one of "Dave Pearce Dance Anthems" in 09, appeared in Snow Suitsdoing dreadful gypsy-folk bollocks in 2010, did whiney enviro-Stepford in front of a GIANT GLOBE in 2011, and entered a Finnish-Swedish folk ballad in a fairisle jumper in 2012.

In 2013 they went for a bouncy pop stalker number ("spying on you undercover drinking coffee with your mother"), entered fate-tempting  soft rock "something better" that was not, in fact, "something better" at all in 2014, four lads with learning disabilities sung a 90 second long punk song about how limiting living in an institutionalised setting can be in 2015, kickboxing champion Sandhja "beat Saara Aalto" Kuivalainen to go on about how singing can relieve poverty in 2016 and last year a dark, brooding, melancholic ballad sat in the semis like a triple cheese pizza during gastroparesis. Typical they are not.

A couple of years ago the Eurofandom went Ffyfes when the kooky character called Saara Aaalto was looked over by the Fins in favour of Sandja, but undeterred she decided to enter got scouted as a novelty act for X Factor 2016. They did the usual- big Brian Friedman productions, Mrs O forgetting her name every week, "It's Oh So Quiet" etc etc, and she bounced along the bottom for weeks- but having started the lives as a rank outsider, her raw plucky try hard talent saw her through somehow and she ended up baffled in the final.

The Finns were so thrilled with this result that the biggest crowd in Helsinki history pitched up to see her do a few numbers- and 15 months on YLE abandoned their usual Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu format and gave the public three (three!) Saara Aalto songs to choose from. Despite it not being the one they wanted to send (on first, shit staging etc) the best banger won and it's ace- an exciting, inspiring, motivational bop, an LGBT empowerment anthem written by the duo that wrote "Only Teardrops" that has one of my favourite pre chorus lines ever (the title of this blog entry). It's outing on Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu means the boring betting lot reckon it'll pull a DJ Bobo and crash out of its semi, but I have a feeling a large bet on that Saara will do another X Factor and prove them all wrong. 

So if you want to put a cheeky fiver on- put it on this to get through its semi. You could spend your winnings on a Eurovision trophy.