2016 Review: Denmark

Judging by Twitter’s comments, the terrible thing that Mørland did in his early youth was steal a time machine, start a boyband with two friends/acquaintances, travel with the band to February 13, 2016, enter Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, and anger a lot of Eurovision fans watching the contest. While I’m pretty sure that he didn’t really do that, one of the singers of Lighthouse X (pronounced Lighthouse Ten) does look a bit like Mørland. And there’s no denial about angry fans complaining that their favorites Simone and Anja Nissen didn’t win.

Their winning song “Soldiers of Love” reminds me a lot of last year’s Danish entry (which I liked), but the “let’s be nice to each other” theme makes it seem more like an updated version of “Love Shine a Light” combined with Simone’s 2013 DMGP entry’s intro and The Wanted’s Glad You Came”. It’s probably a reason why none of the three artists have a super punchable face, unlike last year. (Then again, the USA has had way too many of those people on the news already, and I don’t want angry fans punching the TV). So in the “let’s be nice to each other” theme, don’t punch your computer and make CIT technicians have to miss Eurovision to fix your screen.

Otherwise, here’s a random lighthouse because I couldn’t find Lighthouses I through IX:

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2016 Review: Georgia

This year Georgia internally selected the group Nika Kocharov and the Young Georgian Lolitaz. Before anyone pictures some random guy singing with Dolly Style, that’s not the case. It’s an indie rock band of four guys, and the group’s name comes from an inside joke from one of the members watching NSFW stuff online.  They’ll be singing Midnight Radio Gold (Oh great, I’m already messing up the title after watching Hedwig and the Angry Inch…)

After Austria’s super-obvious Hedwig references, (Ummm…building a bridge? Your country looks like a key between East and West? Conchita’s character breaking down the gender binary?) Georgia has decided to send a song reminiscent of Random Number Generation. It’s still got the edge, and it still has a story to tell, but it’s a little more toned down, and without angry singers pulling mikes away from their backing vocalists.

Now the only issue is whether the audience is going to like the song, or are they going to be like Hedwig’s audience that doesn’t care? At least we know they won’t be testing the Wii Parachute on stage

2016 Review: Ukraine

There’s probably a reason why Ukrainian national selections aren’t on the top of ESC fans’ NF priority list: They start on a Sunday, they start at 9AM CET, and often the songs still go through a lot of extra revamping and polishing. Now fans can add another reason: Too. Much. Drama.

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Andrey Danilko (Verka Serduchka out of drag) has to check the EBU rules on his phone. And probably also catching up on the latest drama in the ESC world.

Six songs, three judges arguing over rules and performances, an hour’s ad break for voting, and guest performer Nicky Byrne’s interval act added up to somewhere around four hours. It was that or something close to the length of San Remo, except Italy can shove 20 acts into the program. Throw in an un-named person on Twitter spreading false rumors of one of the entrants withdrawing and Supernova in Latvia starting, and that resulted in a lot of angry online fans that only calmed down after hearing that Ukraine finally chose a winner: Jamala’s 1944.

Song-wise, 1944 seems to follow the footsteps of Latvia last year, as a more experimental entry rather than the typical schlager/pop/generic female peace or love ballad. The song sits somewhere in the a/political grey zone, somewhat like Armenia’s “Don’t forget your heritage/1.5 million people died 100 years ago because XXX” entry: while about the forced deportation of Crimean Tatars to Central Asia in 1944 and a major event to Jamala’s family history, the lyrics still seem to touch on the Ukraine/Russia events happening today. Given how much the news has covered the “Cry Me a River” situation, the news of “1944” winning has already appeared on major international news stations. There’s already a lot of fans worried that Rossiya 1 is going to complain to the EBU that the song’s got a political nature and should be banned (like Georgia in 2009), but given that the lyrics aren’t blatantly political and that Sweden, not Russia, is hosting this year, it should be fine save maybe a title change.

On a completely separate note, it’s nice to see less fighting in the YouTube comment section from Azerbaijani/Turkish fans (as Crimean Tatars are Turkic people) and Armenian fans (as Jamala is part Armenian) this year. There might be an occasional troll (as always), but it’s mainly just the two groups supporting the song together, and that’s one step closer to Marcel Bezençon’s “Put down your weapons and enjoy the music.”

2016 Review: Austria

After realizing that beards alone do not score points (and neither do beards paired with flaming pianos), Austria decided to forgo the beards entirely and select a female artist this year, picking Zoë and her song “Loin d’ici.” Yes, it’s in French. Yes, Austrians typically don’t send songs in French. Yes, Austrians typically don’t speak French as their first language. Yes, a French song doesn’t seem that representative of Austrian culture.  But how many Austrians speak English as their first language? And how many times since 1999 has Austria sent English-language songs? English songs don’t exactly represent Austrian culture either. And the one song that does have stereotypical dirndls is sung in part Spanish. (Sorry Julie Frost, but as a fellow American, your ranting on how badly written the lyrics were, was not cool. Would you like to dissect your winning Eurovision lyrics from 2010 like you did to the Austrian entries? No? Then cut the lyricists some slack since we all know none of these lyrics will end up on the AP English Literature test.)

“I bought new underwear, they’re blue. And I wore them just the other day” – text by Julie Frost

Rant aside, here’s the song:

Given that I just quit trying to play Legend of Zelda OOT on my phone after (FYI the emulator sucks, get a real console or you won’t get out of the Deku tree) and spent a lot of time listening to the soundtrack, the first thing the song reminds me of is some kind of video game background music either in the Mario or Zelda world. It’s kind of atmospheric and retro-ish (to the point that it feels somewhat schlager-y but not enough to call the song schlager), and the “dreaming of a paradise far from here” lyrics work with the background.  I’d be suspicious to whether the poisonous-looking mushrooms are actually edible or not though…

Also spoiler alert: She’s actually walking on a treadmill hidden under the fog.

I Always Have To

After looking up the translation of PKN’s Aina mun pitää, I realized that the song would have been useful while teaching English at volunteer camp; they could write their own lines following the patterns “I always have to XXXX” and “I am not allowed to/I cannot XXX”, and some of the students could shout their sentences over the music. Maybe the head English teacher would have been annoyed at us, but at least it would be fun. They’d probably ask me to write my own version first though (off the top of my head)…

I always have to wake up

I always have to go to class

I always have to do homework

I always have to wear socks

I am not allowed to shout

I am not allowed to complain

I am not allowed to go barefoot

I always have to speak one language

I always have to wash the dishes

I always have to eat ginger

I always have to brush my teeth

I am not allowed to see my friends

I am not allowed to sleep late

I always have to cook breakfast

I always have to take a shower

I always have to drink water

I always have to clean up

I always have to stop talking

Maybe I would loop the backing a few times and ask the students to each read a few lines. Or maybe they could work in groups (or even one big class group). I don’t really know though…

2016 Review: Spain

I think my pieces of technology really want me to get back to studying. Last time when I planned on watching a national final I sat in the auto shop trying to look up articles to write a chem lab report and ended up following Eurofest snippets on Twitter and Snapchat. And then my laptop battery died before I could watch Spain’s Objetivo Eurovision. So much for that I guess…

Twitter eventually announced that Barei won the contest with “Say Yay!” Or as she sings in the song, “Say yay, yay, yay, hooray!” The song feels like a lot of songs mashed up together, but the one song that sticks out the most is the Æ-Ø-Å (Size Matters) song. The refrain’s “la-la-la” and “yay-yay-yay” is really catchy, but as of so far not as annoying as the Netherlands’ “Why-y-y-y” that I want to punch someone in the face. Barei also seems to have a lot of fun performing her song on stage, even throwing in Kurt Calleja’s foot shuffle.

I’m a little disappointed that the song’s entirely in English, but I’m not going to go crazy like the Real Academia Española reacting to any Eurovision entry that was less than 100% Spanish. They probably would have backed Maria Isabel (who won Junior in 2004), who had a pretty catchy, English-free entry that reminded me of Spain 2011 and Portugal 2009/2014. While I get that English is Eurovision’s primary lingua franca and that most high-placing entries are in English, I can kind of understand the RAE’s concern for loss of language/culture and wish that there were more languages present in the contest. Then again, it’s not the RAE sending Spain’s ESC entry; it’s RTVE. And as of so far, RTVE seems to be saying “yay.”

 

2016 Review: Malta

Did I watch Malta Eurovision Song Contest? No. And here’s why (outside of “I had homework”):

1. It’s 4 hours long

2. I kind of listened to the songs on YouTube and decided that none of the songs really stuck out.

3. Scan0002

After the 4 hours (or however long it’s supposed to be) Malta eventually decided that it was magical, logical, and natural (see what’s going on here?) to select Ira Losco’s “Chameleon” to go to Stockholm. That wasn’t much of a surprise since her comeback to Eurovision after 2002 was rumored for a while…

On the other hand, the song’s kind of overhyped (as of so far) simply because it’s performed by an artist who brought the country as close to victory as they have gotten so far. The song definitely needs a revamp (both visually and the song itself), and it’s not as memorable yet. Also, I’m a little confused about the lyrics, especially when she sings that together with her partner they “are invincible”, that she is “a chameleon changing its colours to be with [her partner].” Does this mean that she and her partner work together really well together? And does she act differently with people that she is with? Or did she just completely force herself to change herself to fit in with her partner?

The MESC rules state that the contest officially selects only the artist going to Stockholm, and Ira said that she was going to make some changes either to the song (as a revamp) or she would change songs. I’m not sure what she would do, but the song seems like it’s still got a while to go before it reaches the same status as Ira’s stardom in Malta.