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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Eurovision 2004 - The Review 

1. Spain: - To Fill Myself Up With You
Beginning like George Michael's Faith this song soon became a fully blown Latin pop number with some nice bits of brass playing and the odd shouty moment. Just a tad too smarmy the Rickey Martin-esque lead singer had a little face-off dance with his drummer friend only to turn around and have his jacket removed by a couple of sexy ladies. The key lyric was, "I slowly Burn", but my particular favourite was, "now she's far away, like footsteps in the sand."

2. Austria: - Tie Break
Following in the tradition of freakish Eurovision boy bands Tie Break was sung by a trio of desperately trendy, dodgy voiced young lads (think Busted as an Austrian Boy Band). The performance began with a little twirly-wirly camera shot reminiscent of 3T in their prime and continued by tracking the lads as they slowly walked from one side of the stage to the other. A particular highlight was the one who looked like Bruised Knuckle from Blue and who was really going for it with clenched fists and everything. Choice lyric: "You are the gentle falling leaf." Yes sensei...

3. Norway: - High
Arena pop which began like a U2 song but then descended into slightly forgettable tedium. The lead singer's horribly oversized silver suit didn't help matters. His backing singers meanwhile, looked like they had just been dragged from a critical business meeting. Big key change at the end while they all sang, "High over the Rain" and "Your life can't be worth all your sacrifice"....sob!

4. France: -
Certainly a little strange, this was a ballad in which a small white-suited singer with a blonde-quiff and dodgy voice trudged down some stairs only to narrowly avoid being stood on by a lass in stilts engrossed in some expressive dancing. Of particular interest were the backing singers who looked like a cross between Egyptian mummies and Elizabethan aristocrats...nice. Having done a little dance with the stilt lady the lead singer led the band into a rousing finale with the words, "Blow very hard."

5. Serbia & Mont.: - My Delight
Newcomers to the Eurovision this song had a world musical, slightly Eastern sound. Beginning with a lone recorder player there soon entered another dodgy geezer in a white suit (note - the white suit seem to be this years costume of choice - fair enough I guess after last years spangly bra-a-thon). Anyway, after a while there entered a violinist who gave a great solo and then a couple of drummers who seemed to have perfected that classic Phil Collins synthetic drum sound. Indeed, the song finally finished with a good bang sound. Really quite yearning, the lyrics included, "Oh, my fawn" and "Oh my lassie, set off tonight." Ok...if you like that kind of thing - finished 2nd.

6. Malta: - On Again...Off Again
My particular favourite this could only be called a Europop-opera. Starting with a catchy beat the song featured a lady with bright white teeth and a pink dress and an unbelievably mullet-haired man. He had a great deep operatic kind of voice and showed us some really cheesy dance moves during the chorus. During the middle 8 they faced-offed with a couple of longing looks. He obviously loved her, she wasn't so keen. But then, in a tip-top "break it down" type moment the lady started doing operatic arpeggios while the mullet man sang the chorus again. Singing, "many natural highs" they ended like The Magnetic Fields...t'was the best!

7. Netherlands: - Without You
Beginning with three fat backing singers doing some do-wop, finger clicking soul, this song transformed itself into a guitar led ballad eerily similar to something Extreme might have done. Sat on stools the two singers were slightly odd looking, One with badly receding hair was absolutely rubbish at miming his guitar playing (he wasn't even touching the strings!), the other really went for it and stretched his voice a little but looked really happy so it didn't matter. As it goes this was actually quite nice.

8. Germany: - Can't Wait Until Tonight
Performed by a jazzy guitar band and a lead singer who looked like Sol from Hollyoaks (that's what he's up to now!), this was a bit pants. Sitting in a circle the band looked very happy with themselves and while there was some nice instrumental touches it was totally blown apart when the singer rose from his seat for his big middle 8 moment and completely lost his voice while reaching for the top note and ended up screeching. Choice lyric, "do, do, do, do, I can't wait."

9. Albania: - The Image of You
First time on Eurovision for Albania and the first of tonight's young Catherine Zeta Jones looky-likeys. "I'm Queen of the world of make believe" she told us before the song was graced with a rawking guitar solo. They didn't seem too comfortable on stage (wasn't a lot of movement) but the fade out type ending with its really good bass riff was tip-top.

10. Ukraine: - Wild Dancers
The eventual winners. Lots of hand clapping and energetic Hammer-time dancing. Terry called it Zena Warrior Princess and the costumes certainly had that Zena/Shakira style. There were odd flourishes of brass mingled with the bad Euro-synth sounds. Wips came out, lead singer was lifted in the air...a worthy winner? Give 'em the benefit of the doubt - at least it was entertaining.

11. Croatia: - You are the only one
A plinky-plonky synth led ballad with very quiet verses that erupted into very BIG chorus. It reminded me quite a bit of The Winner Takes it All by Abba (which is no bad thing). The lead be-suited blokey had squinty eyes but really gave it some with arms stretched out and everything. He pleaded for someone, "who would die for me", then rhymed me with me and for a third time me. All in all it was pretty good.

12. Bosnia & Herz.: - In the Disco
This was truly appalling! Classic Europop song about dancing in the disco, the blonde lead singer man wore a very tight top and was very very camp. He was joined by some dodgy backing girls desperately trying to look raunchy while body-popping. At the very least this song premiered the spangly-bra for the first time in the show. "Kiss me and turn me slow" sang the bloke....hmmm...yes.

13. Belgium: - Disco
Three up front - two bad podium dancers and another Catherine Zeta Jones looky-likey. This had a crap melody and even worse chorus. Reealllyyy boring. In fact it's only shining moment was when the camera panned back to reveal a bongo player (dressed in his replica footy shirt) having a great time. zzzzzzz

14. Russia: - Believe Me
OKish pop song with blonde Avril Lavinge the cheerleader to some oddly painted muscle men dressed in combat trousers. Actually had a nice melody but the blokes were quite distracting and the singer's attempts to be a bit mardi didn't quite work. Used the stage better than most and included the line, "far away like the man in the moon, my dear"...ah, bless.

15. Macedonia: - Life
Once again an Eastern sound dominated this oddly tempoed song. Led by a bearded bloke with a puffy white jacket the rest of the stage was taken up with some Robert Palmer-esque ladies dancing round their chairs and two blokes whose dance routine involved crossing their arms a lot. In an attempt to spice things up a bit they cracked out some ribbons (so like, last year!) and had a break-it-down moment where the lead blokey went off on one - he was really feeling it. Quite moody, a little repetitive and bland, they eventually suggested that, "life is a book, and you've got to read it."

16. Greece: - Shake It
Europop at it's finest. Bloke with birds telling us to "shake it." Catchy chorus and good dance routine. Although dubiously old, the lead singer had a big grin and while clothes came off (cue spangly stuff) he even managed to get a back-flip out of his aging bones. "I'd trade my life for a night with you" he sang....before succumbing to the altogether more healthy option: "shake it, shake it."

17. Iceland: - Heaven
Big ballad sung flatly by square-jawed bloke in white suit. All on his own, the singer actually looked quite bored by what he was doing and despite his efforts to rouse things with an emotional middle 8 the line, "it's in my head", actually seemed like a cry for help. "Bend with my blue", was the song's confusing lead line.

18. Ireland: - If My World Stopped Turning
Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha - would have been nul points but for the U.K school girl vote....A Westlife tribute act singing a Westlife reject song. "'Cos that's when I feel wholesome", "you made a winner out of me"....the cliches all came out with this true stinker.

19. Poland: - Love Song
I liked this pop song. Began with a old guy in black leather who was soon joined by lady in skimpy see through outfit. On their right, however, were some white suited brass players (one with no hair, one with some hair, one with Toploader lead singer hair) giving it some lovely licks. If you looked closely you could even make out the drummer who was, for some reason, located miles away from the rest of 'em. After a while, the old guy started letching after the lady, who went off to dance with the brass section all the while singing the catchy chorus: "sweet song, love song." A good one.

20. Great Britain: - Hold on to your love
Least he sang in tune. Alas that was the only plus for this dirge of a song. As if to emphasise it's blandness, the blokey and his backing singers were dressed in pastel colours. They were wearing beige for Christ sakes! Lighters were in the air and there was a key change towards the end but really, this was pathetic.

21. Cyprus: - Stronger Every Minute
Terry's favourite was an overloaded string ballad sung by a 16 year old Barbara Streisand-a-like all on her own. Some dodgy vocal moments and lots of sleeping...zzzzzzzzz

22. Turkey: - For Real
The first Ska band on Eurovision? Perhaps. Proper band who went for it with ginger haired lead singer not looking too bothered but tempted by the odd pogo. Lot's of tattoos and peace signals. The most interesting thing that happened was when the bongo player who'd collapsed at the side of stage woke up and turned into a dancing girl. Not really my cup of tea but they did well and were something different; thumbs up.

23. Romania: - I Admit
Very bad latin tinged Europop sung by scary looking women with big 80s hair and ugly backing blokes. Can't sing, can't dance, lots of flesh and heavy breathy middle section. Instantly forgettable.

24. Sweden: - It Hurts
Big opening and into Europop this was a good song to end the show. Wearing a pink dress and kinky-boots the flirty lead singer made great use of her microphone stand with lots of twirly-wirly moves before dramatically throwing it down for the big finish. "Oh it hurts, it really hurts" she yelped. Nice.

There you have it. Winner was Ukraine followed by Serbia and Greece. There were some interesting moments but all in all it wasn't as good as last year. Until next time....


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