Thursday, 28 February 2013

Moldova 2013 - Sasha Bognibov - Сирота/ Orphan


We feared we'd have to do without an entry from our favourite Moldovan singing gentleman this year, as the new selection system that TVM had brought in this year had made it difficult to track down the tunes that didn't make it to the televised stages.

Bit with a bit of digging we managed to find this little beauty - and we can't for the life of us imagine why they didn't pick it for one of the semi-finals, as this is possibly his most mature and gentle work yet.

Plaintive piano work tinkles around his vulnerable high pitched voice before building to a massive crunch for the last few years. I'd feel robbed if I was Sasha, because this is possibly his most accessible song yet. Mind you, not speaking much Romanian we're not entirely sure what the words mean…

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Macedonia 2013 - Esma and Vlatko - Imperija


Looks like we've finally got ourselves a Macedonian song. For those who've never come across her, Esma is a legendary Romani singer, Nobel-nominated humanitarian and pure force of nature, while her charge her, Vlatko, is a good-looking up-and-comer. But much of the onus is on him and he strolls about in front of some of downtown Skopje's monstrous recent public capital expenditure while he warbles out a pretty decent Eastern groove. Esma herself adds plenty of colour, and you just can't take your eyes off her every time the pair share a screen.

And while it might not quite have the popular appeal to go all the way, it should sail through its semi, and Esma's charm and reputation alone should carry her a decent way up the table come big Saturday in Malmo.

This pair have only got twelfth place do beat to become the most successful Macedonian entry ever - do you think they're going to manage it? I reckon there's a very decent chance!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Sweden 2013 - Ravaillacz - En Riktig Jävla Schlager


The Swedes are noted as being a polite race. Indeed, they have very few curse words of their own, preferring to either borrow ours, or partake in elaborate analogies like "Your mother convened with a low ranking sailing orderly from Northern Karelia". In fact they've only really got one proper out and out swear word. Jävla.

The official translations will have you think that the title of this song is "A Real Damn Pop Song". Oh no. As mothers of school age children the length and breadth of Sweden will tell you that they swiftly covered their youngster's ears as the words "A Real Fucking Schlager" came pumping out of their early evening tellies.

Of course, you'd expect these four senior gentlemen would know better, until you find out that they can count an actor, a comedian, an old rocker and member of Abba's backing band and a two-time Eurovision veteran among their number. And for providing what is possibly the sweariest contender for the big show to date, we salute them.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Romania 2013 - Elena Cârstea Muttart - Spinning


I know how your next three minutes is going to pan out. You'll start the video and immediately ask yourself: "What's he showing me this for?" And it's true, it doesn't hold much immediate promise.

Someone's Nan in a slightly unbecoming frock nervously singing a stock ballad with some awkward Eastern Balkan diction... you're right, it doesn't initially bode too well. Then the chorus kicks in and you start to smirk a bit.

And that's when it hits you.

Almost out of nowhere it starts to get under your skin, and by the time it's finished you'll be hitting repeat to try and work out why you ended up loving it after such an unprepossessing start. And it's exactly that strange, indescribable power that got it into the Romanian final. You just can't take your eyes off it.

I'd be worried, TVR. You've created a monster

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sweden 2013 - Ralf Gyllenhammar - Bed On Fire



Ralf Gyllenhammar is the lead singer and guitarist of popular Swedish stoner rock band, Mustasch. He's also an award-winning TV presenter for his work on the show Kilpptoppen. So it's perhaps to everybody's surprise that he's suddenly found himself among the favourite's for the Melodifestivalen prize next month with a belting great piano ballad.

Of course, it's a ballad with a bit more than the usual pneumatic lady in a shiny frock, and Ralf certainly gives it more than the average ivory tinkler, notching it up well past eleven. And then there's the fire. Boy, there's fire.

Fans and freaks all over are coming around to its unlikely charms, and it's being touted as the outsider to watch on Saturday week. Of course, the home entry should always be more WTF than nicey nicey, and it would most certainly be that

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Romania 2013 - Narcis Iustin Ianău - Seven


Boy sopranos are all the rage in Romania right now, it seems. After Cezar's qualification in the first semi last night (oh, hang about... gentleman soprano in his case), tiny lad Narcis here managed to squeak even higher on his way to a berth in the final in two Saturday's time.

And don't count this lad out. He's got previous in local casting shows, and appears incredibly popular round those parts. Let's just hope he doesn't get drawn next to the big fella, or all the stray dogs in Bucharest will be scratching at the back door of the TVR building...

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Russia 2013 - Dina Garipova - What if...


The Russian song has sneaked out ahead of its supposed big reveal this evening. It's the kind of tender ballad-that-builds sung by a sweet-faced lass that, while it doesn't knock your socks off, always does well on the big night.

In fact it's the kind of song that I wouldn't normally consider even mentioning on Apocalypse had it not almost immediately been accused of plagiarism. There's a lot of that about this year, and most of it is brought up by nitwits who haven't the remotest clue what plagiarism actually means. And so often the wronged original isn't some monster hit from world history, but the b-side of a song that came seventh in the 1993 Belgian national final.

So what is this monolithic original that the Russians have ripped off on their evil path to Eurovision glory? A Hear'say plodder that even their own most rabid fans think is the worst song on the album. Way to go, plagiats!



Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Estonia 2013 - Rasmus Rändvee & Facelift Deer - Dance


Looking every bit like a knife gang at a posh German boarding school, you suspect that the bursar has only let the boys take only two of those nasty modern rock albums into the upper sixth form common room.

One of them by The Hives, the other by The Arctic Monkeys.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Italy 2013 - Max Gazzè - Sotto Casa


There were many pleasure among last week's Sanremo marathon of song. And while we rather enjoyed grumpy old rock bloke Max Gazzè's over the first four nights, there was something gloriously excessive about his fifth and final performance - although we did rather worry that he was going to have a mishap with those flip-up seats at the end...

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Sweden 2013 - Army Of Lovers - Rockin' The Ride

Oh my giddy aunt! This didn't quite turn out as we expected. It somehow managed to be both horrifyingly cringeworthy and gloriously watchable all at once!

It's a true watch-through-your-fingers moment, to be sure, but it still barely limped to a distant sixth place in a field of eight. The final will be a poorer, but slightly less damaged place without it.

(Click the link above, then scroll down to the player on the left with '3 min' written on it).

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Moldova 2013 - Doinita Gherman - Planeta e un RAI


Our old friend Doinita is back for another bid for Eurovision glory. One of these days she's going to make it all the way, and this could well be her best shout for a berth in the big show yet.

Considerably more restrained than her other attempts (and if you've not heard her before, seriously, this IS more restrained!), it starts off like a bit of a pub rock plodder, but builds to a crescendo of uplifting folkloric joy - although unusually there's nary a "hey-hey, scha-scha!" to be seen.

She's drawn early in the difficult first semi, but she usually makes the final - so let's hope that this year the good people of Moldova make her dreams come true and let her have another go. And if they don't, well, we can't wait to see what she writes in time for next year!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Moldova 2013 - Cristina V & Glam Girls - Celebrate


The Moldovan songs are crawling out gradually, and so far this is among the best of them. It's a cheery piece of pop confectionery by a gaggle of likeable gals, and could easily be a fan-friendly dancefloor filler come May time, despite a heavy dose of twee.

There's some shocking hairdos on show, mind, and some of the language translation hasn't quite worked as they hoped - but this should still be among the fancied runners in Chisinau.

One thing though... Don't songs with Celebrate in the title got a shocking track record in the show?

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Israel 2013 - Haya Samir - Happy Or Sad

Now here's a tricky proposition. Is this a gloriously dark and creepy spot of Nick Cave style miserablism... or is she just mental?

I really can't decide!

Can't wait to see how this one works out live!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Israel 2013 - Ron Weinreich - Love Is One


The songs from the first Israeli semi-final have just made their way to the web, and among all the moderately Eastern dance thump and mawkish flute-fuelled ballads nestles this rather interesting proposition.

On its own this is a pretty decent slab of bounceabout ethnicky pop sung by a good-looking, amiable kind of chap, and you'd imagine that it must be among the favourites to bag the Kdam gong. But there's a more…

Ron also happens to be a disabled army veteran from a skirmish in Lebanon who performs on stage in a wheelchair. Now while this shouldn't make the remotest difference to you, me or any proper thinking person, I'd be highly surprised if Israeli telly didn't get plenty of mileage out that particular detail.

This one could get a bit interesting.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Romania 2013 - Cezar - It's My Life


Here's a proper little peach. It all starts in the usual manner, with a ruggedly good-looking chap singing perhaps a tad too deeply for his pipes to comfortably cope with, and some nervous looks from the judging panel.

Then his confidence picks up a bit, and we witness him pulling some interesting facial contortions - and even chucking in the no obligatory Romanian Fire/Desire rhyme, before something quite beautiful happens.

You won't see it coming, so I won't spoil the fun - instead, spend three glorious minutes in the company of Cezar!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Italy 2013 - Elio e le Storie Tese & Rocco Siffredi - Un Bacio Piccolissimo


If Winny Puhh hadn't beaten off all competition with a dead wolf, THIS would have been the most gloriously unhinged moment of the whole Eurovision qualifying season. And remember - this lot were only a hair's breadth away from representing Italy on the big show!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Bulgaria 2013 - Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankoulov - Samo Shampioni


Bulgaria have taken what could be construed as the safer route this year, and dredged their most successful  Eurovision scorers out of the mists of time and got them to knock up a triplet of songs and have the national final all to themselves. And while it's not entirely a case of diminishing returns, there is a tad of familiarity to the list.

But bless 'em, they tried. They've all got that Earth mother trance and drums feel to them, but they've at least tried to make all three distinct and different. Kismet is a slower, more folksy  tune with a chorus of glorious flat toned Bulgarian backing singers to it, while Dzupai Libe Boso is a bit more of a chilled out affair, with a couple of moderately crusty blokes joining in for some slightly incongruous skank-flavoured toasting.

But it's this tune that is perhaps better suited to dragging itself out of a semi. With it's up tempo stomp, and lively drum show, it may come from the same family tree as Voda, but it's got enough going for it in its own right to be an enjoyable little three minute interlude in among the balladeers and schlagerettes.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Italy 2013 - Elio e le Storie Tese - La Canzone Mononota



Oh my. On a night of strangeness and glory, a bunch of middle aged prog rock Italians in fat suits singing on one note topped it all off a treat! What a shame Italy never had the nerve to send them to Sweden!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Italy 2013 - Blastema – Dietro l'intima Ragione


Sanremo plods on apace, and if they stick to the schedule (ha!), we could well be finding out the winner of the Giovani section tonight. This is for the apparent up-and-comers - although Blastema have been kicking about in some shape or form for a good while now.

And it would be an interesting choice if they got the nod. This year's contest has been populated in the main by those excellent talky talky songs that the Italians are better than anyone else at doing. But a nice bit of flowing, Radiohead-lite guitar pop would make a welcome dent into the norm.

And if that wasn't enough, the singer's got that kind of dreamy look in his eye that makes girls and boys alike go weak at the knees. It would be a bold choice to send this song to Eurovision proper, but it would be one heck of an interesting one!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Romania 2013 - The Zuralia Orchestra - Sukar Transylvania


It's always nice to have a spot of regional colour in a national final. But perhaps there is such a thing as too much colour after all!

Get your shades ready for this one, I warn you!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Germany 2013 - Cascada - Glorious


Well blimey, if a band that the average man in the street has heard of hasn't gone and gotten itself into the Eurovision final. But it was a close run thing. In a slightly baboozling three tier voting process, every local radio station in the country gave LaBrassBanda top marks, but when it came to the juries, that popular crowd pleaser got but a single vote. Hmm... Even Cascada themselves reckoned it looked fishy.

But voting beefs aside, this is no bad thing for Germany. Taking the lead from Loreen on the girl fronted euphoric house front, the Germans now have an internationally known chart act taking the helm in Malmo, and must surely be installed among the pre-match favourites in the betting.

It's just a shame that it sounds like a slightly inferior cover version on one of their own hits.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Slovenia 2013 - Hannah Mancini - Straight Into Love


With its bass-farty womp-womp of an opening, you initially bristle with excitement that Slovenia have gone the whole hog and sent a straight up dubstep song to Eurovision. But then young Hannah starts to sing and you realise that it's little more than a sheep in wolf's clothing, and that it really was just the serviceable Eurodance track that you suspected it was going to be all along.

It's not Ms Mancini's fault, mind, bless her. Some hotshot producer must have been busting to tap into the zeitgeist, and smothered the tune with a rough approximation of the hippest sounds ever to come out of Croydon. It was a brave and well-intentioned attempt, but somehow it's ended up like the musical equivalent of dropping your phone down the toilet when you're trying to send a text - the idea was there, but it all went a bit wrong somewhere along the way.

Still, those opening few seconds will sound ruddy marvellous when pumped through the massive sound system in Malmo…

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Italy 2013 - Elio e le Storie Tese - Dannati Forever



Sanremo rolls on unabated, and tonight threw up some right oddities. They like their long, morbid talky grooves ballads, so it was a proper surprise to see these Italio-proggers pop up with their slightly damaged left-handed sounds.

The schlager fans will doubtless round upon this as what they like to call a joke song, but there's a dark, Bonzos-esque intelligence at play here that has clearly made the boys grown out of the top of their heads.

Sadly, this one got ditched in the first round of voting. But you wait until you see their other effort. Now that's a real fan scarer...

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Germany 2013 - LaBrassBanda - Nackert


The German final looks like becoming a Valentine's day bloodbath, as every new song that emerges from the list looks like being a cracker. Any one you talk to is picking a different top three, with Cascada, The Priests and Söhne Mannheims cropping up on most people's lists at least in part.

But there's one little tune that you really shouldn't rule out. LaBrassBanda have quietly become massive festival faves around the continent, with their big horns, German melodies and Ozomatli-style infectious enthusiasm, and are surely the outsider to watch.

Heck, the song's even got a dance routine - albeit more of a wavy bounceabout thingy - and all of them go barefoot on stage… and we know where that can get you in this competition, boys and girls, don't we now.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Italy 2013 - Marta Sui Tubi - Vorrei


Sanremo, that glorious five day carnival of Italian song and incessant chatting started tonight, and it was every bit as random and unhinged as it ever was. There was a brief appearance from that Austrian bloke who falls out of balloons from quite high up, and Eurovision's most challenging presenter Toto Cutugno sang Volare with the Red Army Choir, while local comedians did doubtless bang on impressions of local political figures. Yep, it's that kind of a show.

But somewhere in the middle of it all was a competition for find this year's favourite song - and somewhere in the middle of that they'll chose the artist who may or may not sing one of these songs (or perhaps another one) at Eurovision. It's the whole of Italy condensed down into one marathon show.

Our faves tonight were this obtuse bunch of indie folk rockers, who may have dressed like a bunch of teachers on punk night, but who delivered an obtuse and complex little slice of a tune that made its way to the next stage of the competition - whenever the heck that may be.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Latvia 2013 - PeR - Here We Go


As we've said elsewhere, PeR have been lucky boys for getting two songs into the Latvian final - but their second offering couldn't be more different to the mournful Sad Trumpet.

Instead, Here We Go is far more uplifting, and sees them rapping a bit too quickly for their accents over what sounds like a turned down in the mix lift from Primal Scream's Loaded, before the hands in the air chorus polishes the whole thing off. Imagine a discofied pre-Patton Faith No More without any of the danger, but with plenty of dumb honest fun glued into the gaps.

And we're quite sure that there will be beatboxing. There's always beatboxing with PeR.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Croatia 2013 - Klapa s Mora - Mižerja


The Croatians have been keeping suspiciously quiet this year - until tonight when they revealed that this year's song was to be in the local Klapa folk tradition, and announced the names of the fellas who'd be belting it out.

A tantalisingly short clip of the rather cutely named Super Klapa turned up on the local news tonight, which gave the tiniest insight into what we can expect... six blokes shouting in a minor key! That's my kinda tune!

I'll get the full song up as soon as I find it - meanwhile, enjoy the glimpse!

***STOP PRESS***

Well they've polished it all up for Eurovision, got rid of the cool band name and removed any traces of the sombre man shouter that we all hoped it might be. And while it's still pretty nice, I fear it's slipping down the fun pile by the moment.

Bah!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Estonia 2013 - Tenfold Rabbit - Balance Of Water & Stone


The ideological winners of last year's Eesti Laul are back for another try. And while their song this year doesn't offer the same haunting and somewhat unsettling nature, its folksy ramble still has its darkside, and would cut a seriously left field dash on that Malmo stage - if for nothing else but the smart use of accordion alone! 

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sweden 2013 - Sean Banan - Copacabanana



The true star of last year's Melodifestivalen qualifiers was the glorious boy Banan, who provided us with possibly the most complete performance I can ever remember in this contest (It's in the Apocalypse archive, about a year ago - watch it, it's fab!). So I was excited to discover that he was back again for another go.

Sadly though, it's not a patch on his previous effort. The song itself is a bit more of a plodder than last time, and he's packed so much into the the three minutes that I'm sure I noticed a kitchen sink at the back somewhere.

But having said that, our Sean's infectious charm carries him through, and if we hadn't already seen the splendors of last year we'd have thought this was one of the best MF moments we'd ever seen - especially the set piece right at the end!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Latvia 2013 (Interval) - DJ Mad Ant - Caur Sidraba Birzi Gāju


While the first Latvian semi was a tad light on the song quality, the interval acts were incredibly watchable. There was a tiny lady thrusting about to some fashion of Baltic dubstep, and a sweet-faced choir delivering a frightening version of a lesser-known Rammstein track. And then there was this...

As the two girls with the big hair had been helping out with hosting duties all night, it's unclear as to whether this is a stright up song or some manner of in joke spoof. But either way, it was just about the best song of the night.


Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Hungary 2013 - ByeAlex - Kedvesem


While all the bombast and big boom bang is always welcome in Eurovisionland, now and again you just want a sweet, simple song sung gently. So I'm chuffed to bits that this unassuming little number has mate it through to the next round in Hungary.

Fair enough, nothing much happens, but it does it so beautifully that that really doesn't matter at all.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Latvia 2013 - PeR - Sad Trumpet


Dziesma regulars PeR have had a great weekend, qualifying with a song from each semi-final. These cheeky chappies have got a strange dark mystery about them, and any song this simple and minimal that has a bloke rubbing his hands together for a full minute by way of a rhythm section is alright by me!

But will they finally make Eurovision proper? The Lats are bonkers enough...

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Latvia 2013 - Dominic Okolue - Good Woman


I can imagine the board meeting at the showbiz desk of Latvian telly: "What should we think about sending to the Eurovisions this year?" said the programme director. "Well how about we try this Nigerian reggae singer that I found down the local pub?" replied the young intern. "Perfect!" the director exclaimed.

But despite being a bit ramshackle, and it looking at one point that Dominic was being eaten by his own shirt, this performance still exudes a tremendous amount of charm - although the last we saw of televote scoreboard it was a few texts short of rock bottom. Bless him.

All together now: "Shout... It... Out!"

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Romania 2013 - Luminita Anghel - Unique


Well now, I think we may just have found our first contender. The handsome Ms Anghel had got form in this contest, remember, getting her nation their best ever result together with those fiery metal bashers Sistem. But this is a whole different kettle drum of fish.

Stagey, confident and full of dark, imaginative wit, this wouldn't be out of place on the West End stage, and if it manages to ride in on the coat tails of the recent Les Mis hysteria we may well be Bucharest bound come next May. It's even got the word 'rancour' in it, for heaven's sake.

Of course, like our pals Electric Fence, it's not guaranteed that it will even be chosen for the home semi-finals yet. But come on Romania, you'd be daft not to!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Austria 2013 - The Bandaloop - Back To Fantasy


Now we're talking Austria. Nestling among four slices of ever decreasing drear in their national final, The Bandaloop stand head and shoulders above the pack with this classy, grown up pop tune.

Not for them whispy voiced teens rasping out an uncharacteristic dance tune, like so many other countries seem to be satisfied with this year. No, this mob thoroughly believe in the noise they're making, and it shows.

And while this is never going to win the whole caboodle, it's cool enough to remain a cult classic (well, as cult as these things to get) and will cover a heck of a lot of demographic bases on the Eurovision dancefloor. Yeah, I think I like it!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Germany 2013 - Die Priester & Mojca Erdmann – Meerstern, Sei Gegrüßt



Well this certainly seems to be the year of our Lord - especially if you hail from Germanic climes. Not content with sending his charges in the Salvation Army out to represent the Swiss, the big chap above is going for the double with this band of German priests giving it the chant - albeit with the seemingly obligatory blonde piece belting out the operatics over the top of them.

The German national final is packed to the gills with interesting and credible acts, but this little effort is going to stand out clearly among them, and may be the one the others are fearing on the quiet.

But will the God-hating fan element that took such a dislike to the dear old Swiss Sally Ann take a similar a poor view of this mob and ask them to remove their cassocks? Only time will tell…

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Greece 2013 - Koza Mostra & Agathon Jacovides - Alcohol Is Free


The Greeks prove that they're still in the party mood with a funtime stomper that offers all the ingredients of classic Eurovisionism.

Old guy with an ethnicky instrument and a killer tache? Check!
Bouncy regional rhythms? Check!
Men in skirts? Check!

And while it may be slightly watered down in its punkiness, it's unlike anything Greece has ever offered before, and would be welcome addition to the fold in Sweden come may. Just imagine the chants of "Alcohol Is Free' in Euroclub when our hosts decide to get all stingy! Come on Greece, it's meant to be!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Ireland 2013 - Inchequin – Son Kez/The Last Time


Oh dear, Ireland. Oh dear oh dear. Their list of entrants snuck out this morning, and among them came this drab little oddity. A low energy Irish/Turkish mash up, it offers the pretence of Eastern mystery, but instead just comes over like a slightly polished pub rock plodder.

But I fear that after two years of perfect fun pop from the Jedwards, the collective vote from the counties are going to prefer to go for something they consider more staid and authentic - although it's the kind of authentic that they make in factories after years of careful planning and design. They even chuck a little diddly-di bit in at the end in case you weren't sure.

I've not heard any of their other tunes yet, but if it's the usual Eurosong fodder, I fear this is going to walk the Irish selection, especially if the viewers try to second guess what a pan European audience might be wanting these days. But did anyone tell them that Turkey aren't actually in it this year?

Man, this is hateful in its mediocrity.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Sweden 2013 - Yohio - Heartbreak Hotel



Now here's something of a sweet oddity from Sweden. Very much in the Visual Kei pop tradition from Japan, the teenaged Yohio here may look more like a 12-year-old girl's wax crayon drawings of a character from Sailor Moon, but his well studied pretty boy looks and schlager rock sounds grabbed him an instant berth in the Melodifestivalen final next month. And I must say we're quite please to see him there.

But did anyone mention to him that the song's title might just have been used before?

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Italy 2013 - Irene Ghiotto - Baciami?


The first clips of song's for Sanremo's young artist category, the Giovani competition, have been published this week. And while it's not strictly speaking part of their Eurovision selection process, it was the part of contest that brought us Italy's comeback kid Raphael Gualazzi a couple of years back.

Most of the songs are the kind of gloriously impenetrable mid-tempo ramblings that the Italian's love, but this wistful little tune is perhaps the pick of the bunch - even if it does sound like she's singing "Badger me!".

Not so keen on her coat, mind.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Denmark 2013 (Interval) - Herreys - Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley


Of course, it's not just competing songs that fill up the airspace on national finals night. There's many an ill-advised interval act or 'delightful' revisitings of the olden days that goes on between the songs and the votes. And this year Denmark gave us a proper treat.

They're already wheeled out dear old Brotherhood of Man, but we've been watching them gradually get old and creaky over the years. More of a surprise though was Herreys, the Swedish Eurovision winners from 1984.

OK, so it's been 29 years since their victory in Luxembourg (remember them?), and few of us have fared well over those years, but I still struggled to recognise them from the fluffy haired pop imps that they used to be. Good to see them still getting out of the house, mind.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Romania 2013 - Electric Fence - Emilia


We have the first murmurings from Romania. Remember Electric Fence, the raggle-taggle techno folkers who gave Mandinga a pretty close shave in last year's national final? Well they're giving it another pop this year, and they've given us a sneak preview of the tune that they hope will go one step further this time around.

And it's a bit of a stomper. It comes with a more mature and polished sound than they offered last year, but what it lacks in earthiness it makes up for with pure pop power. And if that wasn't enough, the breakdown in the middle is a right cracker.

They won't find out if they've been selected for the televised process for a couple of weeks yet, but after the cult following they picked up after last year's appearance, TVR would missing a trick if they let this one slip.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Norway 2013 - Sirkus Eliassen - I Love You Te Quiero


Norway are proving to be a bit of a wildcard this year, with a lot of unexpected tunes qualifying for what's looking to be a most unpredictable final. Witness this pair of cheeky chappies.

While the song itself plods along inoffensively, the performance is warm and likable, with lots of bonkers surprises and neat little touches. And despite the rather uncomfortable leather jacket and bare chest combo, the boys look like they're having a whale of a time.

Although actually, the lad in red looks like he's having a little bit too much of a good time...

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Hungary 2013 - Background - Neonzöld



The first Hungarian semi-final was a strange mix of cloying jazz ladies, dour ballads and men that looked like murderers. But the only song that really stood out here at Apocalypse Mansions was this odd little dance-fuelled ditty.

There was so much that shouldn't have worked with it. The girlie singer sounded out-o- breath from the off and seemed like she was being bullied by her own hair. On top of that, the verse was more memorable and upbeat than the chorus, which is never a good idea, and most of the boys in the band looked like murderers.

But somehow, all those poorly matched ingredients made for rather an enjoyable three minutes, and I'd become quite a fan by the end of it. Unsurprisingly, it came last.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Azerbaijan 2013 - Vüsal Nəsibov - Deli


Each new week brings a new treat from Azerbaijan. The lucky object of our affections this time is a young gent called Vüsal Nəsibov. Our lad has spiked up his hair into a flame-tipped mohawk, broken out the bright white bondage strides and rocked out to Mor ve Ötesi's Eurovision barnstormer Deli.

And unusually for this selection process, he makes a pretty decent go of it, but to this old punk rocker, boy does he look a treat. Pick him, please Azerbaijan. Pick him.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.