Eurovision 2007: The Complete Guide
I’m not going to try and predict a winner, because my hit rate has been appalling, but my personal favourite is undoubtedly Bulgaria, who might even take the mantle from Ruslana (Ukraine, 2004).
Some initial observations: The dominance of boy-bands has ended, thus closing some of the most fruitful avenues for drinking games. However, Emo seems to be the new black. I would also like to nominate gratuitous use of fire as a new drinking trigger: along with all the classics, such as excessive cleavage, white suits and gold chains, and of course, gratuitous removal of backing singers’ clothing.
Albania: Mid-1980s era James Bond theme.
Andorra: Good Charlotte meets Blink 182 on the way to covering the Hoodoo Gurus’ “Don’t Go Now”.
Armenia: Classic Eurovision: white clothes, expressive hand gestures, inexplicable flames surrounding a swanning, soaring girl who seems to do nothing. Sounds like a Disney animation. Three drinks already.
Austria: 70s supergroup. As Terry would say, they’re not even trying anymore!
Belarus: It’s the year of the Emo: A Bond theme again, this time it meets Thirty Seconds to Mars! And what’s with the Bon Jovi thing?
Belgium: Classic Europop does 70s disco
Bosnia: I like this: Using traditional instruments with a hint of folk music, and sung in Bosnian it is appealing and enjoyable without ever having to stretch itself.
Bulgaria: Wow! This has everything: drums, hypnotic beat, and girls in tight black leather. This is my pick so far.
Croatia: 70s power ballad.
Cyprus: Another Emo band. And Evridiki apparently inherited all her older brother’s old New Order records.
Czech Republic: Congratulations on paying attention last year. Heavy metal meets Europop and comes out sounding like Metallica getting touch with their Jewish folk heritage.
Denmark: This is what Eurovision is all about: the song is so inane that it doesn’t get in the way of the visuals, which are so ridiculous as to be totally absorbing. The first cross-dresser in Eurovision history, apparantly. Not enough alcohol in the house for this one!
Estonia: Forgettable Europop. Thanks for coming. (Post-scarcity music, Nick?)
Finland: More Emo! Sam’s waiting for her to break one of the mirrors she’s singing into and slash her wrists with a shard.
France: “The Love of the French Language” sung partially in English?
FYR Macedonia: Legs: that’s about it. Karolina embodies the fundamental principle of Eurovision (as with popular music everywhere): the amount of visible skin is in an inverse proportion to the quality of the song.
Georgia: Not bad for their first time in Eurovision: just the right balance between inoffensive pop and national folk. They seemed to have confused the video with a tourist promotion though.
Germany: Ever wonder what Frank Sinatra would have sounded like if he’d been born in Berlin? No, me neither. But now you don’t have to wonder.
Greece: See FYR Macedonia, above. And what’s with the Grease dancing? And the fire?
Hungary: Did Janice Joplin really die, or did she just move to Hungary? And grammatically, I think it should be insubstantial, not unsubstantial.
Iceland: Sad to say that the country that gave us Bjork and Emiliana Torrini is capable of producing this sort of derivative, Bon Jovi-esque rubbish.
Ireland: Irrepressible Irish folk song: happy, bouncy, and eminently forgettable. But who cares? Pass the Guinness!
Israel: Controversial. The song (with thinly veiled references to Iran’s nuclear program) was almost banned by the organising committee. Actually, it’s highly accomplished ska/folk fusion, with humour and skill. I never thought I’d say this, but I really liked it!
Latvia: I can’t believe it’s taken until Latvia to get a boy-band! Quick, have a drink.
Lithuania: Continues their tradition of entering forgettable pop-songs.
Malta: Andrew Lloyd-Webber, eat your heart out!
Moldova: Fire again! In spite of a slightly electronic feel to the backing, this is nothing you wouldn’t hear on commercial radio anywhere in the world. It doesn’t say “Moldova”. Doesn’t say “points” either.
Montenegro: If this had been in English, it would have been unendurable. Instead the Serbian (presumably) gives a predictable song a slight edge. But not enough.
Netherlands: I’m sure this has something to distinguish it from all the other completely forgettable disco-pop songs this year. Umm… No, it doesn’t.
Norway: OK, she’s got Miss FYR Macedonia’s legs, but even the inexplicable—if cleverly done—onstage costume change can’t distract you enough that you don’t notice how bad the music is.
Poland: The FYROM principle again. And teen-slut chic never hurt Britney, did it?
Portugal: I thought flamenco dancing was a Spain thing? And they missed a clear opportunity for the gratuitous removal of clothing. I’m certain they’ll address this in time for the final.
Romania: Uncertain as to which language to sing in, they decided to sing in them all. Well, at least six. An underlying ska-folk feel is embellished with national folk pastiches of the six of so countries represented. Interesting, and kind of hypnotic. This should do well.
Russia: Just when I thought I might have been wrong, Emo is back. Well… Emo Britney style.
Serbia: Marija, make an effort! It’s Eurovision! Lose the Ramones T-shirt and get some presence! Nice flute solo, but I watched it 30 seconds ago, and have now forgotten the rest of the song.
Slovenia: Andrew Lloyd-Webber again, and even that much cleavage isn’t going to hide the fact.
Spain: Yay! Another boy-band—and what a boy-band! They’ve got everything—the white clothes, the hand gestures, the chains, and they follow the time honoured format: there’s the cute one, the tough one, the scruffy one, and the one that can sing.
Sweden: I guess you can’t blame them, but Sweden always sounds like Abba. This time filtered through a healthy dose of Status Quo. And sorry: even the Emo hair can’t hide that.
Switzerland: Only in Eurovision can you get a song about vampires that is a pretty pop-song with Britney dancing. And fire.
Turkey: C’mon Turkey, we know you can do better than this indistinguishable Justin Timberlake clone!
Ukraine: Umm… It’s like, no… Actually, it’s… No, it’s… Nope. It’s indescribable, you’ll have to see it for yourself. But it’ll stand out.
UK: Oh dear. Bucks Fizz meets Spice Girls, dressed as flight attendants.