Tuesday, 30 April 2019

I didn't see this one coming

Finland
Darude feat. Sebastian Rejman
Look Away

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 knobhead of yours? EUROS TO LITERALLY BURN?

Well as luck would have it, this year in the Eurovision tat shop as well as the obligatory beanie hats, T Shirts, mugs and mouse mats (mouse mats?) 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 Tel Aviv car park" is not on the list.

I've hit highs and I've hit lows

Estonia
Victor Crone
Storm

My favourite Estonian entry was their 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.

Monday, 29 April 2019

The good times aren't over yet

Denmark
Leonora
Love Is Forever

It's Denmark - home of The Killing, Borgen, one half of the Bridge, Carlsberg, Lego, the (highly underwhelming) 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.

I love Denmark, see. It's small, they drink (reassuringly) expensive beer, the public transport's good, they have a theme park smack bang in the middle of their capital city, tax is high (I like that) and it's the kind of place where you can be out browsing very well designed and reassuringly expensive kitchen goods when "bang!" there appears indie pop outfit Alphabeat, buying a flourescent green ladle. Although on reflection it's precisely that sort of easy living that killed the young dudes in the high boots.

She was my neighbour when we were thirteen

Czech Republic
Lake Malawi
Friend of a Friend

There are some countries that really try. They have big national finals and send talented try-hard 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.

This year is the eighth year in a row they've entered without the Slovaks, and every year has been  rubbish. Take their debut in 2007 when they got three mechanics from Kwik Fit to morbidly growl their way through three chords of misery. This (lack of) effort earned them precisely one point in the first semi, from Estonia. Things didn't get much better in 2008 when they entered overproduced "something for the dads" act Tereza Kerndlová, whose flat vocals were tempered only by the inclusion of a winged DJ imploring us to "Have some fun". We didn't, and they scraped 1 point from Turkey and Malta, 2 points from Croatia and 5 points from Macedonia in their dismal semi.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Heart beats like an 808

Cyprus
Tamta
Replay

And so to Cyprus, where they drive on the left and launder Russian money. You know, like London only hotter. We used to go to Cyprus on holiday when I was a kid, and I was always badgering to go visit that hauting disused airport in Nicosia but instead we just seemed to visit pirate video shops to buy grainy copies of the Goonies than ran out before the e

Turn this war into a hopeful work of art

Image result for croatia eurovision heartCroatia
Roko
The Dream

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 Darts. And even that bloke off the Darts is dead now.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

No one will cry if it’s true

Belgium
Eliot
Wake Up

It's a recurring nightmare. Charleroi 2020. Jean Claude Van Damme is hosting with a script in rhyming triplets. The venue puts mayo in the beer. Every song is a ballad. Technotronic do "Pump up the Jam" in the interval act dressed as that statute of the boy taking a piss whilst three English fans sing along with the words to "Pump up the Bitter" (brew it brew it) instead. It's worse than that year Ireland held it in a cowshed. It's Belgium. The Aldershot of Europe.

Ok, put your favourite sneakers on

Belarus
ZENA
Like It

"This is Minsk calling. Russia- 12 points".

And so to Belarus, "Europe's last 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.

Friday, 26 April 2019

I'm in the mirror, so freaking bitter

Azerbaijan
Chingiz
Truth

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 Azerbaijan - the most polluted country in the world.

Azerbaijan? Well given the Aussies are in these days the pressure is sort of off, but their presence at the contest still means that in hundreds of households around the UK, little Englanders start slurring "where", almost all of them using the map of Europe in their Thomas Cook brochure - momentarily forgetting that the UK itself is about as comfortable in Europe as Arlene Foster at G.A.Y (or, indeed, a Eurovision house party).

I’m set on hold so I needn’t be bold anymore


Austria
PÆNDA
Limits

Just look at the absolute state of this Austrian entry from 2005. The country that brought us Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Falco decided to enter a six-piece folk group in tracksuits doing a Latin song about "a girl from Cuba" infused with yodelling.

The chorus "exhorts everyone to dance like the girl would", but the only dancing the sole woman in the group actually does is this bit where she rubs her backside up against a trombonist. Then after they failed to qualify with this aural abscess, their broadcaster pulled out of 2006 and had the brass neck to argue that "talent ... is no longer the determining factor in contest success".

Thursday, 25 April 2019

You’re so heavy

Australia
Kate Miller-Heidke
Zero Gravity

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?

When you have to fight the agony

Armenia
Srbuk
Walking Out

Sadly, the Pyreneesian principality of Andorra isn't taking part again this year, which is shame because this was an absolute banger. And this. There's loads of great facts about Andorra too- women live longer than men, it has an army of 12 people, the eldest able-bodied man in every family is required by law to keep a loaded rifle, and as a co-principality it's ruled by two princes! Princes who adore you! Just go ahead, now.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

So much nostalgia, so little hope


Albania
Jonida Maliqi
Ktheju tokës

Here we go again! Here we go-go-go to the temple of consumption!

Can you believe that? It says here that the lyrics to Stakka Bo's 1993 smash "Here we go" were not, actually, "to the topper topper pop charts" (which is what I've been singing to myself ever since) but were, in fact, a biting comment on late capitalism! The lyrics to his only other "hit" (reaching #64 in the UK Top 40) were easier to understand, to be honest.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

It's that time again

This year's Eurovision preview blog will be back with a banger (or, more accurately, a dreadful mid-tempo ordeal) from Albania on Wednesday 24th April, twice a day til the contest in May. I'm about as excited about it as you are.

Image result for gif i knew you were waiting