Eurovision 2012 - Semifinal two contestants

Posted Monday May 7, 2012 by John Gunders in |

Part two of my brief assessments of this year’s Eurovision contestants (part one is here).

In this second half of the draw, the piano ballad is king, although there is a fair range of styles from Eurodisco to bat-shit crazy. It also contains the favourite, Sweden, although it remains to be seen if the bookmakers have to pay out on that one.

Tomorrow I’ll post my opinions about the “big six”: that is, the five western European countries that bank-roll the event and the previous year’s winner, in this case, Azerbaijan.

Belarus – Litesound, “We Are the Heroes.” A five-piece generic rock band. Appropriate band name for the sort of forgettable middle-of-the-road soft rock they play.

Bosnia & Herzegovina – Maya Sar, “Korake ti znam.” Must be the year of the piano ballad. Sung in Bosnian (I assume). The title translates as “Everything I love.”

Bulgaria – Sofi Marinova, “Love Unlimited.” Pleasant, but undistinguished pop song over a light disco arrangement. Sung in Bulgarian with occasional English.

Croatia – Nina Badric, “Nebo.” For a change, this ballad starts with acoustic guitar before the strings and piano enter. Nina is an established performer in Croatia.

Estonia – Ott Lepland, “Kuula.” Another piano ballad; another Estonian Idol winner. No need to describe it further: you can probably sing alone without ever having heard it. “Kuula” apparently means “listen.”

F.Y.R. Macedonia – Kaliopi, “Crno I Belo.” What do you know? A piano ballad. Wow, the second half wakes you up though: driving percussion and explosive strings, followed by a screaming guitar solo.

Georgia – Anri Jokhadze, “I’m a Joker.” Pastiche opera segues into disco rap with folky piano and strings and doof bass.

Lithuania – Donny Montell, “Love is Blind.” Swelling piano ballad becomes Eurodisco. I hope he does the backflip on the night.

Malta – Kurt Calleja, “This is the Night.” Europop hipster band plays cliched pop.

Norway – Tooji, “Stay.” Dubstep! Actually, no, just annoying techno with a faint eastern feel courtesy of Tooji’s Iranian background.

Portugal – Filipa Sousa, “Vida Minha.” Choral ballad with traditional instrumental backing and weird electronic percussion.

Serbia – Željko Joksimović, “Nije Ljubav Stvar.” Piano ballad with string backing that sounds suspiciously familiar. Which suddenly and predictably introduces full band arrangement.

Slovakia – Max Jason Mai, “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” Melodramatic metal. They win.

Slovenia – Eva Boto, “Verjamem.” Spent the whole song waiting for something to happen. It didn’t.

Sweden – Loreen, “Euphoria.” The favourite apparently. Overly dramatic Eurodisco that seems cliched in a bad way. Can’t understand how it is the favourite.

The Netherlands – Joan Franka, “You and Me.” I’m pretty sure this folk song was in my primary school song book. Hope Larrikin Music doesn’t hear this: there’ll be another lawsuit. And why is she wearing native American headdress?

Turkey – Can Bonomo, “Love Me Back.” Traditional folk-tinged pop that is fun for no particular reason.

Ukraine – Gaitana, “Be My Guest.” You can hear this sort of forgettable club music on any Saturday morning clip show.

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