Last night Europe (including the UK) voted the final 10 songs through to the final of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. I was quite surprised that I got 8 out of 10 once again – more than I would have expected! Gutted that Slovenia didn’t get through but relieved that Sweden did.
The only songs that have not yet had special mention on the blog this year are the songs from the “Big 5” (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) and the host country, Azerbaijan. The Big 5 are the main contributors to the European Broadcasting Union, and as such they get direct passage to the final – media imperialism lives!
Many fans and commentators see the efforts of the Big 5 this year as a collective raising of their game – occasionally they are accused of not investing much effort in terms of quality control in the songs that they send to compete. I guess if we reflect on the merits of the UK entries over recent years they might have a point!
Here then are the entries from the Big 5 and host country Azerbaijan:
This was a grower for me, but I really like it now. Since they entered for the first time in 2008 Azerbaijan has had an excellent success rate, sending well-crafted songs that connect well with the pan-European television audience. Part of their success is collaborating with international songwriters. Last year it was really the Swedes that won it for Azerbaijan – the song was written by Swedish guys, and the backing singer were Swedish too!
The song looks like it’s struggling in the betting odds, but with the home town advantage tomorrow night I’m sure it’ll do well – perhaps more so with the juries (comprising five music industry professionals) than the televoters (that’s you and me).
This was one of the first songs that I heard this year – and it was an immediate hit for me. I should advise you to listen to the song again without watching the video – it’s as mad as a box of frogs, isn’t it! Apparently when we see Angun perform on Saturday night she will be surrounded by bare-chested men. Talk about knowing your audience!
Germany have really got their groove back it terms of song quality and success in the last few years. Lena’s “Satellite” was a great winner in 2010, and last year she returned to defend her crown with what I still think was one of the most brilliant songs in recent years (“Taken By A Stranger”). This year a change of tempo to a more relaxed song from pretty boy Roman. This should give Germany another top ten finish – that’s if I’m not to be the kiss of death to at least one song this year…
After a surprise second place last year Italy return with any Amy Winehouse-esque track. I can see why it’s third favourite – and another song that will do well with both the international juries and the televoters. Top 10 for sure, probably Top 5, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it did win.
Lots of fans were giddy with excitement about this song when it was first selected. I just couldn’t get it. However, a couple of months on, and after a fair few listens I kinda see what the fuss is about. Great vocal, and it builds to a suitable crescendo towards the end. Coming late in the draw might also be useful for this song. Something that the next song need not worry about…
… starting from first position in the draw is a bit of a blow. It is not the most coveted of positions, although second position is seen as the kiss of death – no song has ever won from there. That said, the UK have actually won from first position! Yes, fact fans and history buffs (remember this as a potential pub quiz question) Brotherhood of Man won for the UK back in 1976 with this classic…
Other first place winners include “Ding Dinge Dong” for The Netherlands in 1975 and “Diggi-Loo Diggie-Lay “for Sweden in 1984. Perhaps we should have called our entry “Love Will Set You Diggi-Loo”?
Anyway, I really like the song. From the first listen in the office with Deb and Jules, when we all had a “euro-tingle”, to today I think it’s a beautiful song – well composed and arranged – simplicity in a sea of Eurovision giddiness can’t be a bad thing. Let’s hope that the juries love it and that the televoters don’t forget it in the mix by the end of the night. It will be a good result for us to finish on the left side of the scoreboard, a great result to finish Top 10. If Engelbert is as “big in Eastern Europe” as the press junkets say then we’ll be in with a shout of the Hump finishing well.
Go team Hump!
More on the final countdown later…