Eurovision 2010 Semifinal Two Contestants
OK, here’s part two of my Eurovision rundown. These are the artists performing in the second semifinal, in performance order.
I must say, there is nothing so far that really grabs me—seems like everyone is playing it really safe this year. I may enter into some uninformed speculation about that in a little while.
Tomorrow I’ll bring you descriptions of the five acts that go straight into the final: the “big four” countries (England, France, Germany, Spain) who basically bankroll the competition, and the host, Norway. In the meantime, enjoy my increasingly cynical observations.
Lithuania: InCulto — East European Funk “Get up and dance to our Eastern European kinda funk!” What more is there to say? Other than it owes more to lead singer Jurgis Didžiulis’s Colombian background than to his grandparent’s birthplace of Lithuania. In English.
Armenia: Eva Rivas — Apricot Stone What can one say about the Golden Voice of Rostov and Miss Pearl of Don? Well, she’s got a nice voice. Song’s pretty dull though. In English.
Israel: Harel Skaat — Milim Another TV talent show alumni. Ticks all the Eurovision boxes: heart-breaking passion, lots of violins, and the inevitable key-change. Just needed another four boys to make it perfect. Sung in Hebrew.
Denmark: Chanée & N’evergreen — In A Moment Like This Apparently this is the favourite. They’re certainly very pretty. Easy, listenable pop, but it doesn’t excite me much. Hope it’s got good staging. Was very disappointed to learn that Thomas N’evergreen isn’t his real name. Oh well. Sung in English.
Switzerland: Michael von der Heide — Il Pleut de L’Or Kind of a folky, poppy, jazzy number that’s infectious and fun to listen to, but completely forgettable. Michael hopes the contest will rain gold on him, but I doubt it somehow. Sung in French (assuming that “Pampadadam padadam padadadada” is French).
Sweden: Anna Bergendahl — This Is My Life Oh, what do you know? Two TV talent shows (Super Troupers and Swedish Idol). Forgettable pop, but number one in all the Swedish charts, so will probably do well. In English.
Azerbaijan: Safura — Drip Drop Safura is the winner of Yene Ulduz (Azerbaijan Idol). Would never have guessed. Even the Eurovision website has trouble talking about the music: “Safura is a huge fan of the Twilight saga. She read all Stephenie Meyer’s books. She is following all the news from the movie set of this modern story of Romeo and Juliet as well as the actors’ personal life. She adores Robert Pattison who is playing the handsome vampire Edward.” I swear, I didn’t make that up. (If I had, the grammar would have been better). In English.
Ukraine: Alyosha — Sweet People In her promotional photo she doesn’t appear to be wearing any clothes, which is never a good sign. But what a pair of, um, lungs. This is a soul-inflected, angst-filled ballad with a slow build and a dramatic ending. I quite like it. In English.
The Netherlands: Sieneke — Ik Ben Verliefd (Sha-la-lie) At last! Something really silly. This inoffensive pop song doesn’t know whether it’s music hall, 1960s bubblegum, or one of ABBA’s more embarrassing rejects. But I imagine it will generate much fun and hilarity, if no actual points. In Dutch.
Romania: Paula Seling & Ovi — Playing With Fire I like the way the piano-heavy accompaniment continues when they stop playing to make expansive gestures. And Paula hits one note that is guaranteed to set off all the neighbourhood dogs. Ovi apparently gets his inspiration from Billy Joel, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder. That’s funny: I would have guessed High School Musical. In English.
Slovenia: Ansambel Žlindra & Kalamari — Narodnozabavni Rock Popular folk rock. No really, that’s what they call it. I love Eurovision songs that blend traditional folk music with a contemporary idiom. However, you usually need to do more than just change genres every second verse. Ansambel is kind of cute though. In Slovene.
Ireland: Niamh Kavanagh — It’s For You Desperate to atone for Dustin the Turkey, Ireland now roll out the same singer who won for them in 1993. Fabulous voice, but I can’t help feel that the song might have been one of Celine Dion’s rejects. In English.
Bulgaria: Miro — Angel Si Ti Eurodisco. That is all. In Bulgarian.
Cyprus: Jon Lilygreen & The Islanders — Life Looks Better In Spring So the Cypriot composers couldn’t find anyone to sing their song, and they looked on the internet and found Welshman Jon Lilygreen. And the band are predominantly British. Which is appropriate for a soft-rock ballad that would probably put Nickelback to sleep. In English.
Croatia: Feminnem — Lako Je Sve Oh dear. The three finalists of Croatian Idol decided to form a girl group. Expect lots of dancing and revealing costumes. That’s usually the way with things like this. Sung in Croatian.
Georgia: Sofia Nizharadze — Shine Great voice. Forgettable song. In English.
Turkey: maNga — We Could Be The Same They’re big in Turkey, apparently. Contemporary rock with some electronic elements, and poppy, middle-of-the-road melody. In English.