Thursday, May 22, 2008

Oh my days, like fairytales

...and we're off again: my favorites in the second semifinal.

Eurobandið, "This Is My Life" (Iceland)
Ah, Eurobandið--I've been in love since the first taste of this song last fall, when it was called "Fullkomið lif" and was more schlager than the energetic dance it is now. I think I've continually complained about the change in style (not that I disliked its new version, just that I thought it lost something)...until now. I went back and listened to "Fullkomið lif" again and, whether it's just me becoming accustomed to the new version or something else, I can now officially say that I'm fine with it in its new version. In fact, I prefer it. Eep. Backtrack much? Anyway, speaking without regards to the odds, I think I can fairly say that few results this year would make me more ecstatic than an Icelandic win--I love this song and poor Iceland has sent so many great songs in fairly recent years, often without proper reward. I'll be desperately hoping they make it out the semifinals.

Charlotte Perrelli, "Hero" (Sweden)
...but boy, am I worried that the one-two-four punch of danceable pop songs is going to end up really hurting someone. Do I need to say much more about this song? I adore it--disco-pop performed by a true professional; I can only pray Europe takes it to its heart. Please let everything transfer well to the Eurovision stage! The song that I would most love to win the whole thing.

Ani Lorak, "Shady Lady" (Ukraine)
I LOVE this song. Love Ani as a performer (from what I've seen). Out of the names people are tossing around as likely winners, it's the one I'd most like to take it. "Shady Lady" is dramatic revvy disco pop, the sort of song I thought we'd be getting from Dimitris Kontopoulos in the Greek national final. My heart of hearts, though, still belongs to Sweden, though I know Ani will take to the stage like a sexy dervish with an eye towards filling up the arena and demolishing all competition and may very well have a bigger performance that leaves a bigger impression on viewers.

Paolo Meneguzzi, "Era Stupendo" (Switzerland)
Aww, Paolo. Well, I love him--that's well documented; have ever since PinkieDust introduced me to him last spring or so. "Ti Amo Ti Odio" even ranked as my eighteenth favorite single of 2007. In other words, I like his musical style, I like what he does--and I love this too. "Era Stupendo" starts off as lovely ballad before morphing into a more up-tempo song, but one that still has a bit of a ballad feel. It's a lovely feel good song with a lovely feel good promotional video and I would be so thrilled to see it do well. I'm very worried, though.

Now, those four songs I've just listed are my true favorites (out of those four, I'd be most excited about Sweden, Iceland, or Switzerland winning, but Ukraine has the best chance of it), the four that mean the most to me--not just in the second semifinal, but overall. The next song is in a kind of second tier.

Tereza Kerndlová, "Have Some Fun" (Czech Republic)
You know how I didn't complain about changes to the Icelandic song? This is where I start complaining. I always knew that this was a song that never really stood much of a chance of leaving an impression on the Eurovision audience (and apparently its rehearsals have been a mess), but in that early national finals season, this was one of my favorites, a sweet Europop song with a Timbaland-type beat underneath and some lovely string-like sound effects that are somewhere between fluttering and frantic. I know they had to shorten it down to meet the three minute requirements, but did we really have to get those added Greek-style instrumental flourishes? Sigh. Those really detract from the song for me.

...and after that, a third tier of songs:

Ruslan, "Hasta La Vista" (Belarus)
I've avoided re-listening to the original pop version of this song in hopes that I could adjust to this new rock version, so I can't go into too much detail about my complaints except to say that I remember being very disappointed when the change was revealed--who knows, maybe if I went back and relistened to the original I'd realize it was actually a change for the better. I can't say I'm too invested in this doing well, but it's OK. It does give us the line that gives this post its title (it's actually "all my days like fairytales," but that's how I first heard it and now I can't hear anything else).

Pirates Of The Sea, "Wolves Of The Sea" (Latvia)
I feel like I'm going to be attacked by Eurofans every time I admit this, but if Schlagerprick and Chig can admit it, so I can I: I like this. Yes, it's kind of cheap and tacky (catchy Europop/dance that sounds like it could have been made for young kids, by the way), but there's something about its bouncy fun that reels me in.

The countries I want to make it to the final (based just on the songs, not on how well they'll come across when performed, and what I'd like to happen, not what I think will happen), then:

Czech Republic

...oh, and I don't know after that...maybe Bulgaria. That's odd--I didn't realize it until now, but, although I've been looking forward to the second semifinal more than the first, I don't think there are ten songs I'm really cheering for here, whereas I was able to choose ten for the first. Let's throw in FYR Macedonia and...I don't know, Malta or Albania or something. Let's go with Malta. (Edit: a few more spins and I'm more enthusiastic--Bulgaria especially deserves to at least be in my third tier of songs--but I'm open to performances swaying me to shift my support.)

Random thoughts on other songs: it was while watching the promo for Inför ESC (Sweden's preview show for this year's Eurovision songs) that I realized what Denmark's song ("All Night Long" by Simon Matthews) reminds me of: it's a commercial song. As in, a song made to play in the background of a commercial--about twenty seconds of sound, mildly catchy mid-tempo chorus but in a completely non-distracting way, completely generic. Apparently he's a solid performer, but "All Night Long" is just so completely uninspiring.

I keep reading good things from the people actually in Belgrade about Croatia, but it's not won me over yet. I've got a similar reaction to the very positive feelings behind Portugal, too; apparently it comes across amazingly when performed and I know there were positive feelings about it even before that, but I'm not sold yet.


kevin (ru) said...

I agree. Shady Lady is exceptional! I'd love to go to Kiev again, as in 2005.

Rick said...

Portugal... omg.

Well, stranger things have happened. Romania got through to the final somehow.

I hope Iceland especially get through, they need the boost. Bulgaria has everything going for it but the one genuine Bulgarian I know (Boris) (unusual name) says his country is in a frenzy. Fingers crossed.

Len said...

I'm sure after watching that Ukraine are top three in the whole contest this year, and after that I'm desperate for Sweden and Iceland to make it through. Switzerland's voice was not all I'd hoped tonight, wonder if he'll even make it to the finals. As for the rest, I liked the performances of Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey and Denmark, and Portugal had a good voice, though the song is not memorable.

Len said...

Overall not a bad result, and I wonder how long it's been since every Scandinavian country has made it through to the finals. Sorry for Bulgaria, and would have liked Paolo to have one more chance to redeem himself.

Poster Girl said...

It really is--it's a very special song, and boy, do I love her performance and choreography!

Poor Bulgaria--it just keeps rising in my opinion, and I'm not really sure what else they could have done; I thought the performance was great, song was great...I know it's cliché to fall back on this, but is it just because it's not a typical Eurovision song? I'm thrilled for Iceland, though! As you've said, they put so much effort into Eurovision (with generally good songs as a result).

You're right about Paolo's voice, Len--sigh. Big cheers for Iceland and Sweden, though--when they announced Sweden through (with Iceland already having made it), I just collapsed with relief. I too really enjoyed many of the performances you just listed off--it's just a shame (for my sake) they weren't matched up with songs I loved more.

Len said...

One of the things I'm really REALLY happy about Iceland's great result is that my old friend Pall Oskar is vindicated. When he was brought in to work with Euroband, he was widely criticized for ditching the stage backup dancers in favor of backing vocals. Between his album, his English lyrics for "This Is My Life", and his advice and coaching toward Fridrik and Regina, this has been a big career resurgence year for him. On a side note, I wonder what having Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland all up against each other in the finals will do to the "neighborly voting".

Robpop said...

Thrilled for Iceland. A totally electric performance. I felt Sweden was actually a bit of a damp squid. Denmark was irresistible! Tis a shame about Paolo but I don't think he'll be crying on his pillow-he has a pretty strong career (doesn't he?).

Poster Girl said...

I'm so happy for him, too! That album was great--the fact that it did well was real pop justice being done.

Umm...I think so, Robpop--ish, anyways; not like a super super A list star, but "Musica" was big, at least!