They were fully at it up north, the past couple of weeks, weren’t they? Two weeks of not posting anything on here and suddenly we’ve got 4 Scandinavian entries for Malmö. Time flies, you say? You are not kidding, my friend!
Due to a rather busy social schedule (and some other practical reasons) I haven’t been able to dish up seperate reviews until now so why not throw them all together in one cozy familysized dish? Hold on, this is going to be a bumpy ride because it would soon be very clear that the name Scandinavia is just a lid that covers many jars.
Let’s travel to Denmark first, a final we saw live in excellent quality (thank you DR) and for which we cherished reasonably high expectations based on last year’s final. We shouldn’t have. Not that DR didn’t put any effort into the show itself: its visual splendor puts a lot of NF’s to shame (yes, I àm thinking about the shameful display our RTBF ‘treated’ us to) with a lot of schwung in directing, lighting and presenting. That’s the way to go! Now if only the quality of the participating songs would have matched the show, it would have quickly surpassed Melodifestivalen as the national selection to beat in Europe. But alas, not much meat on the proverbal bone! Next to the middle-of-the-road guitarpop (Albin & ,urgh, Brinck), the usual redundant comeback (Daze, irritating mankind in the ’90s with monstrosities as ‘Tamagotchi’) and the ever returning Scandinavian schlager (Simone & Kate Hall) we could also look forward to bleak versions of last year’s Eurovision winner (Mohammed Ali, Frederikke & Sam Gray). Only the fabulously coiffed Louise Dubiel managed to convince a bit, but her Disneylike march was completely overrun by the only act of the evening that managed to combine all elements effectively. A melody that sticks + a singer that actually knows how to sing + an act that’s simply yet effective and doesn’t feel forced at all. The fact that Emmelie managed to win the ticket to Malmö was hardly a surprise.
Over to Norway then! After having seen all semis it was crystal clear, as in Denmark, who was going to get the crown. The variety in the field and the quality of the acts was higher than what we saw in Denmark, luckily, even though it was all wrapped less neatly and tight as the semis and final were less spectacular and fluently put together. I still think it’s a huge mistake allowing more than 6 people on stage, and the combination with backing vocals on tape makes up for some serious misleading of the televoting public. I mean, surely there’s no way Sirkus Eliassen would have made the superfinal if they had to play by the Eurovision rules? Sure it was catchy, but that’s beside the point. I’d have rather had more ‘honest’ participants in the final instead of them, and to be honest I thought Gromth ft. Emil Soli-Tangen or even Fjellfolk would have been a better bet. I certainly did not put any money on Annsofi, the little wannabe-Aguilera that swiftly ruined what was an okay ballad. Or on the enthusiastic Adelen, channeling Britney & Shakira at the same time in her cheerful summery nothing of a song – with again a specific remark regarding those backing vocals on tape. Not in the least bit surprised Margaret Berger completely obliterated all of them with her powerful vocals and that haunting song of hers. No unnecessary choreo, no stupid visual tricks – the gamble pays off. I shall be very curious to see how this will fare come May, but for now she can already count on my douze. For now.
Cut to Finland where I sadly missed all of the action due to busy Thursdays and overlapping semis and finals on Saturdays. I watched the three making the superfinal in UMK though and didn’t get the fuss over the two that eventually didn’t make it. Fans had been buzzing on the net over them for weeks and both Mikael Saari & Diandra made me yawn. No wonder the cheerful and bubbly Krista Siegfrids won those cold Finnish hearts over with her perfect piece of pop. Not too keen on the theme there, but the execution is brilliant, Krista sure knows how to sing and her attitude (think Gaga meets Kesha) is to die for.
Last stop: Iceland and imagine my disappointment when I saw the (lack of) quality in the online broadcast. For a moment there I thought I’d been transported back to the ’90s, when pixels ruled the virtual world. Call me high maintenance all you want, but me no likey and so I skipped the show. With pain in my heart, because I love the Icelandic semis and finals but there’s only so much one can tolerate now. So a quick word on the eventual winner, whose name I am thankfully only writing down and not saying out loud: Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson. His ballad is a bit ‘been there, done that’ but is sung very well and the rich instrumentation with some surprising whistles and bells keeps the attention going nicely. I’m under the impression there’s some discussion as to whether he should keep it in Icelandic for Malmö, and my two cents would be that he should. But I probably still won’t vote for him.
What about MF, you say? Patience, Paddawan, it’s only a blogpost away…