Friday, May 28, 2010
"Irlande Douze Points, Douze Points, Play that Funky Beat!"
I watched parts of Tuesday's first Eurovision semi-final (it was on at the same time as the Ireland-Paraguay soccer match), but last night I sat down to watch the entire second semi-final, especially as it was probably the only chance we were going to get to see Ireland's entrant, former winner Niamh Kavanagh.
I'll get this out there early on: I was sure we wouldn't make it. Not because of block voting (although I was waiting for the stage where our name wasn't announced and Marty Whelan would utter his usual complaint - wait for the votes from the Norweigan jury on Saturday night at the final, you'll definitely get it then). It's just that this year's Irish entry is a dull, dull song. It's a poor ballad, and didn't stand up against most of the other semi-finalists. It's our worst song since Dervish, and didn't deserve to win the Song for Ireland on The Late Late Show. It's just that the panel and the public felt we owed Niamh something for winning a decade and a half ago. Lee Bradshaw's tune was far better.
So on Saturday night when the votes are coming in and Ireland has got 0 once again, it's not down to block voting (it's half jury-half public this year), but down to the fact Ireland's song is awful. Even Azerbaijan's (with Safura) ballad is miles better.
Of the ten who made it through to Saturday's final, the ones with the best chance are probably Romania (Paula Seling and Ovi - 'Playing With Fire'). Of the 17 semi-finalists last night, it's the only one that actually sounds good enough to hear on the radio. Which is exactly what you need. They have a good few neighbours too. A real dark horse is Turkey (MaNga) with their own take on Linkin Park. Solely because it's different. Other ones that could do well are Armenia, Denmark, and Cyprus. Armenia's anti-Azerbaijan tune will probably still end up getting 12 points from Azerbaijan, so that won't hold them up. Denmark's male-female (Chanée and N'evergreen) ballad is the kind of stuff we usually send, so we'll probably give it an 8 or so. And Cyprus have sent a Welshman (Jon Lilygreen) with a multi-national backing band. Thus the UK could give it high marks. The fact he plays an instrument could help too.
Notable omissions from last night's ten successful semi-finalists were Sweden (just for its location to the hosts this year), Netherlands, and Lithuania. The Netherlands and Sieneke had the most catchy song of all, 'Ik ben verliefd', better known as 'Sha-la-lie' (which was even trending on twitter when the semi-final was over). Ridiculous stage show, but a damn catchy tune. Lithuania's InCulto also had a catchy song. I mean look at the title: 'Eastern European Funk'. They probably would have been better if they left on their tartan trousers though.
On Saturday night (tomorrow), Ireland's Niamh Kavanagh will sing tenth. However, she'll be up against the best from Semi-Final 1 as well as the automatic finalists. The favourite this year is Germany, looking for their first victory since 1982. Lena's 'Satellite' is getting a lot of hype over in Oslo, and rightfully so. It's a great Eurovision song, and would be a worthy winner.
Ireland should be happy if we place in the top 20. Never mind the rubbish Marty sprouted at the end about how this would lift the nation and how we didn't need the World Cup. Surely he's heard our tune. It has as much chance of winning the Eurovision as North Korea does of lifting the World Cup.
(Like last year, I might liveblog the Eurovision final, so if you're online, come on over...)
Read Aidan at GoldenPlec's thoughts on it here: