Eurovision Review – 1989: Is that really supposed to be the Matterhorn?

Posted: 04/12/2011 in Eurovision Song Contest Reviews

And I am obviously nót talking about the logo where one of the most well known mountains in Europe slash The World is depicted quite well. No, I’m talking about that pathetic excuse for a molehill there center stage. An omen if ever there was one!

Well, perhaps only on the organisational level. The Swiss waited for more than 30 years to confirm their first victory wasn’t a fluke *insert cough here* and then they come up with this show? This isn’t even worthy of a local Miss Supermarket contest. Hosts Lolita Morena & Jacques Deschenaux are extremely static and I don’t know which one I want to slap first. No, that’s not true: definitely him. The introduction was far too long, I imagine viewers all around Europe changing the channel because they ran out of patience. And that interval act is just bizarre, with an apotheosis that even fails to deliver. Shameful, all shameful.

Thank God we get some interesting offers on a musical level or this would have rapidly developped into a catastrophe. Of course, as ever – no yin without a yang – that’s not the case for every single country appearing at the start of the Concours. Normally I leave my wooden spoon for the end of the article but I feel I need to emphasise just how bad the Irish entry really was. Musically it was rather ok – though not very exciting – but Kiev Connolly has got to be one of the worst performers EVER to take a chance at Eurovision fame. The eyes, the voice, the posture, the limpy movement: it’s all one big mess and The Missing Passengers would have been better off missing this particular passenger. Judge for yourself here (click to view). Our own entry wasn’t much better, mind. Ingeborg is the prototype of what’s wrong with the average Belgian: so nice she turns a vale shade of beige (or rather salmon in her case). One personality please, with some salt and pepper on the side! And I don’t like the colour of her voice at all, turning a somewhat sweet song into a total bore for me. Others that didn’t manage to catch my attention because of bitter blandness were Cyprus (they looked like they belonged atop a wedding cake and sounded like a wedding party as well), Norway (a bit on the sweet side) and Switzerland (they really did not want to win again with miss Mediocre, did they).

Twin countries Germany and Austria paid for the aid of the same man: the composer behind the highly entertaining yet somewhat questionnable group Modern TalkingDieter Bohlen. The risk of that strategy is of course that your entry will sound like a second (or further down the numeric line) hand version of the original and that’s exactly what my problem is with both songs. Germany’s Nino de Angelo, I’ll have him to go please – no need to wrap him, pulls the job off much better than Austrian colleague Thomas Forstner in my eyes. De Angelo oozed more confidence and sold the song better while Forstner seemed to have trouble to let go of his Wiener Sängerknaben past. And of course there’s that horrible lavender suit which wouldn’t suit a single soul in this world.

Others not to make my top ten are Italy (shouty and smokey), Netherlands (the first decent song of the evening but miss Pelmelay lacks power and looks like an exploded bonbon) and the United Kingdom (I don’t get that look at all and it smells a bit like Wind Beneath My Wings). Both mini adults from France and Israel don’t bother my top ten either: I find both of them rather creepy. Gili aka Farinelli does have guts to do this and is adorable but simply does not belong in this Contest and frankly does sound a bit off the mark – like a very catchy fire alarm. The Belgian born Nathalie Pâque on the other hand defended the French Tricolore with vocal bravoure but the entire thing is really too Little Miss Sunshine. And all the horsebackriding doesn’t seem to have benefitted her posture.

So let’s take a look who did manage to convince me – here are the points of the Dimivision jury:

1 point: Yugoslavia – Rock me

The Balkan country is stubborn and holds on to the airy light sound they’ve been exploring for some years now and I honestly think they’ve had other attempts that would have deserved victory more than this one. I think the English title is a lame choice but it does contribute to the catchiness. A professional rendition of a so-so song.

2 points: Sweden – En dag

So young and attractive – time can be so cruel! I like Tommy Nilsson‘s confidence and vocal talent and I wish I could place this higher but this live version does not work at all for me. I feel the musical build-up is completely off, it all explodes too late. i would have liked to seen it begin a lot earlier, without the trumpet and the electric guitar. And without that chaotic group of backings. Take away all the rebellion and you’ve got a beautiful song, now I’m a bit underwhelmed.

3 points: Luxembourg – Monsieur

I’m not sure if a singing career is the best option for miss Parke as I’m not too fond of the sound she produces but I do think she’s a funny entertainer. This entry doesn’t take itself too seriously – my motto! – and I think the musical composition in the verses is quite interesting. It’s cooky, it’s daft and it’s funny so why not? But possibly the worst key change ever.

4 points: Iceland – Það sem enginn sér

Looking like a priest to be or the love child of ET and Dee Wallace it’s up to Daníel Ágúst to amaze us with the power of Icelandic vibes. They do bring a particular sound to the table which is a bit of a deconstructed schlager. The Icelandic language sounds intriguing as well, though I’m not too keen on that lisping sound, and this is an interesting experience for me. His eyes are freaky though. By no means did this deserve the Nil Points.

5 points: Denmark – Vi maler byen rød

A smooth performance by Birthe Kjær and while this may have acquired a hero status among fans I fail to see the attraction. It’s a pleasant song with a professional rendition but it’s all soooo Love Boat! The quirky bit where the conductor appears to be replaced by one of the backings is a bit far fetched for me but I admit this is pleasant enough for three minutes.

6 points: Greece – To thiko su asteri

Well I think the sound Marianna produces is just heavenly! Such a pity the musical build-up doesn’t quite follow, I want more oomph in there to support the fairytale atmosphere from the beginning! This could have been magical but it’s a tad too demure to captivate all the way through. But definitely one the best Greek efforts we’ve seen.

7 points: Turkey – Bana bana

Well there’s a whirlwind for you! The waiters and waitresses of your local Turkish tavern come to light up the place with this intriguing piece of musical chaos. It’s all over the place yet they give the impression they know exactly what they’re doing and I love this to pieces. Totally misunderstood.

8 points: Spain – Nacida para amar

No surprises there, as composer Juan Carlos Calderón has already proven he can capture my attention in Eurovision past (73 – 75 – 85). With this very emotional ballad he manages to do it again, the build-up and the lyrics are just lovely. A bit dramatic perhaps, certainly with the very Spanish Nina performing it but nobody ever died from a bit of Drama. She would have done better to demand a bit less attention (the dress, the gloves, the hair, the mouth, the gestures) but this is just fab.

10 points: Portugal – Conquistador

Somebody thinks she’s Madonna. She does look and sound like her, with that desperate outfit and those questionnable singing capabilities. But just like with the real Material Girl it’s all about the entire concept and I simply adore this. It’s the first catchy tune of the night (performing in ninth place by the way!) and it just sweeps me away. I bet if those two fantastic backing had sung this things would have turned out a bit differently.

12 points: Finland – La dolce vita

A good thing they showed Anneli Saaristo with a walking stick in the intro movie or the static approach would have come across a bit weird for this passionate song. Although the demure approach does work, it lets the musical feeling talk and miss Saaristo’s vocal performance is flawless. A peculiar choice in style from the Fins and a peculiar choice in wardrobe for Anneli but those are minor side thoughts: this should have walked with it. The end pose is genius.

So Finland AGAIN!! The Scandinavian power comes from other corners than I would have originally suspected! Let’s take a look at the all time leaderboard, where very little changes. Spain managed to cross the 100 points mark, the ninth country to do so, and Finland is at a staggering total of 5 victories already and enters the top 3. Curious to see what damage the ’90s will do!

1             Netherlands 146 (1970 – 1971)
2             Belgium 145 (1968 – 1983 – 1986)
3             Finland 137 (1962 – 1979 – 1985 – 1988 – 1989)
4             France 137 (1960 – 1977)
5             Italy 117 (1958 – 1964 – 1978)
6             Germany 116 (1959 – 1975)
7             United Kingdom  115 (1961 – 1965)
8             Portugal 114 (1972)
9             Spain 107 (1973)
10            Luxembourg 94 (1956 – 1967)

Bye bye ’80s, I’ll miss you…

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Comments
  1. Christof says:

    Die Daniel August heeft later nog carrière gemaakt op Studio Brussel, als helft van het duo GusGus. ‘David’ is een van hun hits.

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