Monday, March 29, 2010

BlogIlkar Guest Review vol. 1

Rafael De Alba once again shares his thoughts and comments with you and judges this year's entries. He is also going to oslo 2010 so maybe you will have a chance to have a chat with him! He treid his luck in the Spanish selection this year with Chelsea Boy, last year with One more chance and even covered one of the songs in the Finnish final, De tu lado
I look forward to this year’s contest. For starters, there is a great variety of genres:  musical theatre style from Spain, Poland, Norway, Belarus; folk entries from Finland, Serbia or Greece; contemporary numbers from Sweden, Germany or Estonia; good old-fashioned pop from Cyprus, Denmark or Armenia, plus a couple of decent dance numbers. Some complain about the proliferation of ballads this year, but it is likely that the voting in the semi finals will filter some of them out and will deliver a well-balanced final. However, I do think we saw better quality songs in Moscow overall.
I have done my best to sum up each song in one word:
Albania = Quality. Could this be their year? Watch Juliana - a great performer, and the English version sounds fab. 5/5
Armenia = Overproduced. Eva is beautiful, but the song does not quite get where it should. Added to a patchy performance on stage, I give it 3/5
Azerbaijan = Safe. Mmm not sure… Not offensive, but it does not grab me. I’ve heard it all before, there is something missing here… 2/5
Belarus = Elegance. The orchestration sounds superb, the singing is spotless; but the song is a bit dated, I almost preferred their first choice. 2/5
Belgium = Plagiarism? I cannot like a song that sounds like another song. The verse’ structure is too close to the beginning of ‘Walking in Memphis’. 1/5
Bosnia Herzegovina = Weak. Nothing offensive either, but compared to the other songs, I am afraid this one gets lost… 1/5
Bulgaria = Catchy. A few years old, but I would not mind this getting through, if only just to inject a bit of rhythm amongst all those ballads. 2/5
Croatia = Class. If this wins I will be very pleased for Croatia. A much better song than Feminnem’s previous entry was, and their singing is great. 5/5
Cyprus = Charm. I love this song from beginning to end, and Jon’s voice is superb. Even the bridge is cool. Ronan Keating could have sung this. 5/5
Denmark = Pleasant. But it doesn’t do it for me despite their excellent performance. The verse is too close to Sting’s ‘Every Breath You Take” 3/5
Estonia = Experimental. A very brave entry, I love its originality. Sadly it will not appeal to a broader audience, and it is also a bit repetitive. 3/5
Finland = Folk. Well, what can I say? I like its happy feel and will probably do well, but where is Antti Kleemola? I loved his ballad, that is not fair! 3/5
France = Ethnic. Well, well, well… You’ve got to love the rhythm. Though a bit repetitive, this could do well with the right choreography. 2/5
FYROM = Balkan rock. Pleasant, mid tempo number. I think it will struggle to get through, and if it does it will not go beyond. Might grow on me. 2/5
Georgia = Gorgeous. Lovely ballad. The problem is, there are so many of them! But at least this one does not feel out of date. 3/5
Iceland = Je ne sais quoi dire! Nice disco tune, but I still miss Euroband! 2/5
Germany = Contemporary. This might get the highest placing of the Big 4 countries, and will possibly break through the European market. 4/5
Greece = Greek! Like Serbia, this is local pure folk. I do prefer this one though. However, it does not have the X factor that Paparizou had. 3/5
Ireland = Brave. Old winners always welcome, but this is almost too similar to Didrik’s ballad. And, let’s face it: Ireland has won too many times… 4/5
Israel = Style. Pleasantly surprised with Harel’s performance. I would even compare its quality with that of our great Patricia Kaas. A true winner! 5/5
Latvia = Simple. Not too keen, but apart from the hideous “Mr God” bit, I think this entry is a serious contender - almost as catchy as the Spanish one. 3/5
Lithuania = Fresh. Lithuania goes eccentric again! I think it might get through. I like the political message as well. Problem: a bit repetitive. 3/5
Malta = Mellow. For this song to get through, they will have to work incredibly hard to improve the overall concept. On stage, she looks scared. 2/5
Moldova = Confused. That’s how I feel when I listen to it. I first thought: toilet break, but they open the show! Why a saxophone solo on first verse? 1/5
Netherlands = Embarrassing. It brings me back to childhood, and that was some years ago! Almost as bad as Chiki-Chiki (well, maybe not so bad). 0/5
Norway = Hymn. Well executed love anthem. A strong contender even though it sounds a bit Disney. Didrik’s timbre is similar to Ewan McGregor’s! 5/5
Poland = Risky. I like risk-taking songs. This one also falls into the musical theatre genre, but has a strange progression.  Memorable though! 3/5
Portugal = Lyrical. A more complex song than the runner up, but I do think Catarina was robbed! Still, I cannot help but love my neighbours’ music! 4/5
Romania = Magnetic. The tension between the vocalists works for me on stage – of all the songs, this gets me quickest onto the dance floor! 5/5
Russia = Shock. There is something very beautiful and melancholic about this tune. But the live singing is shambles. Second verse lyrics are terrible! 2/5
Serbia = Serbia! Folk songs usually get my vote, but I fear this one is too local and will not get voted beyond the Balkans (which means, it’ll get through). 2/5
Slovakia = Nox meets Ruslana. I know many like this one, but it just does not grab my attention. I miss Forogj Vilag! 2/5
Slovenia = Mistake. Forgive me, but I do not see the point of mixing four different genres in such an incoherent manner within a 3-minute slot. 1/5
Spain = Secure. Best choice from NF, but I worry about its appeal to younger audiences. Still, the guy is charming and the overall number is magic. 4/5
Sweden = Superb. I sincerely hope this hits the UK charts. Anna is a young Dido. No, even better! Great choice, excellent runner up too! MF Forever. 5/5
Switzerland = Classic. I fear televote will not do this song justice. Shame, because this sounds much more contemporary and French than it looks. 4/5
Turkey = Tame. This is the first time a Turkish entry might struggle to get to the final. I do like the chorus, but the choice of chords is too predictable. 2/5
United Kingdom = Tacky. No comment… Josh’ voice is good, but we all expected better from Waterman. I cannot see this working. 1/5
Ukraine = Moving. Third time lucky! Cool rock ballad. I miss Vasyl’s deep macho tone and flawless vocals, but I must admit this works better. 4/5
Thank you, patient readers! I have been a bit harsh with some scores simply in order to secure a range of placements, but I know I will listen to all songs for hours on end (with the exception of the Netherlands). My forecast below is based purely on personal taste. I know the real voting will be totally different! Happy Eurovision!
Here are the results of the Spanish jury:
10th place – Georgia
 9th place – Spain
 8th place – Germany
 7th place – Albania
 6th place – Romania
 5th place – Norway
 4th place – Croatia
 3rd place – Cyprus
 2nd place – Israel
and the winner is… SWEDEN!!!

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