Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Georgia 2015 - Niutone - Run Away


Looks like Georgia are trying the difficult time signature route again. Last year if was folk prog fusion. This time? Jazz funk fusion. Boy they do like to fuse.

Still, it's got to get through a five song final first. Mind you, it surely should be too much trouble for them. After all, the smart musicianly music schtick worked so well for them last year...

Oh.

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

Albania 2015 - Gjergj Leka – Himn


More from the seemingly bottomless pit of Albanian Apocalypse joy - and there's a lot going on with this one.

Marvel as the earnest middle-aged chap nods and assures his way through another of those reflective Balkan buildo ballads. But wait, what does that old man at the piano signify? Is it some kind of moist-eyed look back at a past lived well? Oh, hang about... Now he's turned into a young boy hammering away at the keys? And what does that bloke keep running about with a hollowed out cello for? It's all very confusing.

This, dear reader, is Albania in a nutshell. You'd like it there.

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

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Belarus 2015 - Muzzart - Only Dance


You've got to feel just a little bit sorry for Muzzart. Rarely has a band done pretty much everything you have to do to win a slot at big Eurovision, only to have made the fundamental error of coming from the wrong country.

First up, the song. An insistant little Electro Swing number with just a smudge of Gypsy Tek, they covered all the currently hip dance fads, while leaving in something for grandad too. Then there was the routine. Just about the only act with any kind of movement on stage (unless you count Milki's random shuffling about), they owned the Belarussian final on the visuals.

Then of course came the adverts. Their people must have spunked thousands playing TV commercials in evey single ad break during the show. Surely they were onto a winner? And it was all looking so good for them when they absolutely waltzed the televote.

Unfortunately though, that was only one seventh of the final total, and now it was time for juries. Oh dear. After the usual interminable break while the entire Belarussian top 20 plied their wares on the cramped stage, the jurors came to, ahem, their conclusions, and poor Muzzart were awarded such a long string of zeroes and ones that they must have thought they were being scored in binary.

Oh well, I guess the good people of White Russia are kind of used to their opinion being noted, and then resoundingly ignored by now...

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

Monday, 29 December 2014

Albania 2015 - Altin Goci - Rock Dhe Për Gjithë Jetën


If Albania was the national final that kept on giving, then this is the song where most of the best good were stored. The boy Altin has graced these pages before, of course, but this year he surpassed himself.

It starts off by stomping along with a happy-go-lucky rockist plod, before picking up an unexpected head of steam for the chorus, before getting all baroque on out quaint behinds in the breakdown! It's a thing of absolute beauty, all delivered by a many with contagious bumbling charm.

Hurry back Altin, we want to see what else you've got up your sleeve!

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Albania 2015 - Agim Poshka – Ne rrugen tone



It's a carnival of gloriously grumbly old men in Albania this year.

This time we've got someone's old pop in a bar getting all remorseful about the old days. He gets his geeky son on to sing for a bit while he finishes the crossword and necks his cognac, the stands up like he's ready to deck someone, grabs his jumper and shuffles of in a grump. Fabulous stuff!

The title translates as "On Our Way" so I guess his missus has rung up the pub to tell then their dinner's ready, and they're not best pleased about it...

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.


Saturday, 27 December 2014

Albania 2015 - Enver Petrovci – Te Vrane Bukuri


"Grandpa's been beaten up on the way home from the opera again. Looks like they left him round the back of the bins. Yeah, I think he's been sick too..."

(Please Albania, pick this for Vienna!)

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas 2014 - Udo Jürgens - Merry Christmas Allerseits


Merry Christmas to all you Apocalypsers! Looking forward to a great Eurovision season in 2015!

(Sleep well, Jürgen, sleep well. You'll be missed by us all.)

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Belarus 2015 - Milki - Accent


Now I know you like your out of tune singing, scary singers, repeat offenders and half-decent indie rockers, but what you're crying out for is a bit of dumb, fun and unabashed Europop. I can tell, it's Christmas.

Well in these heavily jury-blighted days it's all gone a bit serious, with everyone wearing waistcoats and looking earnest. So what a delight to see a gang of Minsk lovelies in short folkloric outfits bouncing about (nearly) in time to a repetative dance tune!

Actually, this might be the one to watch in Belarus, because not only to they play a more chaste, family friendly take on last year's Polish smut fest (although with a name like Milki, we suspect there's at least a cheeky wink going on somewhere), but it was written by former Eurovision winning monkeyboy Alexander Rybak too. Hmm, methinks the dear leader may favour this onecome Christmas eve!

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

Monday, 22 December 2014

Cyprus 2015 - Lady Ava - The Key Is Love


Clap your eyes on this little beauty. While we're glad that someone in Cyprus has had the nerve to think outside the box and try their luck with something that wasn't either holiday disco or a doe-eyed ballad, Lady Ava here may have just been a tad too ambitious with her spooky bit of pub goth.

The video is only very short, and a bit spit spotty here and there, but you'll soon get the gist.

The key is love? The key is undetermined, more like...

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Estonia 2015 - Elephants From Neptune - Unriddle Me



The quality tunes continue to flow over in Estonia, and this edgy little blues fuelled indie rockster is expected to do well on the big night.

There's always something cool and guitary that reaches the later stages, and the more serious jury members are almost certain to rate this highly. But remember also that this paid that Super Hot Cosmos mob some pretty low dividends last year.

It may not quite have the chorus or the deepest groove that little number had - nor indeed the pure insanity of the Puhh from the year before - but it's bound to be troubling the scorers in the run in, before losing to a casting show fave in the superfinal. Sigh.

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Moldova 2015 - Nash Milani - Hyenas



So the Moldovan shortlist came out yesterday. Rather than the original 60 promised, they cut it down to first 57, then a more crisp 50. Of course, all the songs that you and I like got snipped in the second cut - most criminally Sasha's Wounded Swan - boo!

But there was some welcome quality control. Obviously the Belarussian zombie chancers got the eventual snip. And then there was this. Hyenas. 

Haunted sounding 1981 post punk techno doesn't quite cover it - and you should see what they rhyme the song's title with. Sit back and, erm, enjoy. And to think, ex-X Factor desperado Kitty Brucknell got further than this.

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Moldova 2015 - Sasha Bognibov - Emigrantului


(Click here if the border control guards of the iDevices stop you from viewing this clip...)

News just in from Moldova. TRM have received 68 entries for this year's national selection process. And Sasha Bognibov has just announced that he has entered a second song into the fray. This song.

The music is all his, but the words are written by his mum. Brilliant! And while it may not have the glorious pomp of the masterful Wounded Swan, it's achingly fragile folksy refrain may just nudge the attention of the selection panel.

Today that selection panel are due to trim all the entered songs into a long list of 60 songs to forward to the next stage of live auditions. And when you consider that it's been an open application and at least seven of the songs are written by UK composers, surely that means that by the law of averages our Sasha must get at least one of his tunes through to the next bit.

Fingers crossed Sasha lad, this could just be your year...

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Hungary 2015 - Leander Rising – Lőjetek Fel



For 14 sweet seconds this feels like it's going to be the most exciting, thrill-enhancing moment of the Eurovision season so far. Dirty chugging riffs spew out over a breakneck double kick drum underlay, while all manner of other thick bits of noise puncture the carpet of noise fug. For 14 sweet seconds it feels like we're finally on for our first proper metal song in years - and from pop-conservative old Hungary of all people.

Then it all stops dead and some lad starts whining in a thin, watery voice and the neo-prog bassline start noodling about. From this point in it just gets worse and worse, like the third song over the credits of some teenage vampire movie.

Sure it tries to redeem itself by bringing back some chug in the third quarter, but by then all cred is lost and you've stopped caring a long time since. Leander Rising, you've let us down chaps. Still, I'll always have that opening fourteen-second flush of excitement to keep me going until someone submits a real metal song again.

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Estonia 2015 - Airi Ojamets - Saatuse Laul


Some of the Estonian songs are creeping out, and there's the usual high quality mix of interesting songs from across the pop genres. I'm sure I'll be introducing you to a few of them over the next few days - however this likable little ditty has firmly anchored itself into my subconscious.

It's a happy, folksy little tune that sounds as though it could have come from practically any year this funny old contest has been running. But somehow Airi's charming wobbly voice and those glorious circular Estonian vowels lift it above the formula jangler and give it an extra sweet lift.

The tune's title translates as Song Of Destiny, so maybe it's all written in the stars anyway...

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Moldova 2015 - Sasha Bognibov - Wounded Swan


And now for my favourite moment of the Eurovision year. The  Moldovan goth lord Sasha Bognibov's latest tune. And this time it's a cracker.

Wounded Swan forgoes much of the highly sexually charged content of past years, instead laying on the melancholic symbolism in beautiful trowels and sending shivers down spines with with well-pitched and unexpected chord progressions. His voice is still fragile and pained, but now offers a new confidence and maturity that we haven't seen before.

And what's best is that this is a cracking song in its own right. You can imagine one of your favourite bands playing it. You can imagine it gracing a Eurovision stage. Or a national final stage at the very least. Come on TRM, do the decent thing. This surely, SURELY, is Sasha's time to shine. Let's have one less of the fame-hungry ballad girls in shiny frocks in your semi finals and give a berth to Bognibov. It's what the people want.

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Netherlands 2015 - Trijntje Oosterhuis - Walk Along


So the Dutch released the song they hope will take them to their third top ten finish in a row this morning. And while's it's a servicable enough mid tempo Radio 2 singalong plodder, the chorus gets me smirking every time.

There's nothing rude or naughty about it, you must understand, it's that I just wonder what the good folk of the North East of England are gong to make of it.

It could be the new Geordie national anthem!

(This may not make any sense to our continental readers, so if you happen to know anyone from Newcastle, ask them).

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Belarus 2015 - Switter Boys & Katya & Volga - Ice-N-ice


More from Belarus. Undisputed heroes of qualifying last year were the delightful Switter Boys with their multi-layered slice of awesomeness Eternal Love - which is, genuinely, one of the finest three minutes of Eurovision splendor this century.

So it was obvious that they should have another pop at the prize this year - although sadly this little beaut wasn't quite up to last year's incredible standard. For a start, where are the track-suited Chuckle Brothers? And the late big lad gag has been blown far too early!

OK, so this was only a fairly stilted audition video, but I feel strangely let down by the boys. let's hope they weren't a one-trick pony and bounce back with something thoroughly splendid and world beating next year, eh!

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Belarus 2015 - Sweet Brains - Run Away


So I go away for a few days in a place beyond all wi-fi connections (Lisbon). When I did finally get a wispy signal in a dodgy backstreet fado bar in Bairrio Alto I found a barrage of messages all saying just one thing - "You've got to see this song!"

But by the time I finally got a link strong enough to play the video,  I learned that it had been saxked from the Belarussian final already! There is no justice!

You will love this one camera audition video for the backing monster on the right's leg dancing alone! A sad loss to Eurovision and all who sail in her.

STOP PRESS
It turns out that no one at TRM has ever played Plants Vs Zombies either, as they've shortlisted it for the Moldovan audition process. Oh mercy - who's going to tell them?

****MORE STOP PRESS***

All you people who are still inexplicably looking at this from last year - bring yourself forward in time for a look a t'Brain's effort from this year! Just click here...

Friday, 28 November 2014

Switzerland 2015 - The Vad Vuv – Ein Cocktail der Fantasie


Ooh hang about, we might have gotten ourselves a half-decent song on the Swiss shortlist. How did this sneak through?

As was to be expected, said shortlist, quite co-incidentally of course, was completely devoid of anyone not claiming to be from within the Cantons or without a video that looked like a record company had spent a few quid on it. And in the main it's a bit of a drab affair. But this little folksy popsy slice of raggle taggle caught our ear.

The creepy video only adds to its allure - although a quick search on Google Pics reveals them to be an ugly bunch of muso seniors in unnecessary ties and pork pie hats. Let's hope they've got a little bit of stomp left in their ageing knees, because I wouldn't begrudge seeing this on the big stage in Vienna.

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Malta 2015 - Lawrence Gray – The One That You Love




You've got to hand it to Lawrence Gray. He certainly is persistent. He's a reasonably-sized star on his home island. Had hits, won awards, starred in many musicals But still on thing alludes him - Eurovision glory.

And it's not like he hasn't tried. We've actually lost count how many goes he's tried to bag the ticket for the big show, but it's got to be nicely into double figures now. He's bagged a couple of second places - the first as far back as 1999 - and even won the local televoting once. But to no avail.

There's an old adage in Maltese Eurovisionism - that if you keep trying, eventually it'll be your turn. Well our Lawr is going to be one happy lad when that moment eventually comes around. So lets celebrate his indomitable spirit with his performance at last night's Maltese national final. There'll be two things that will immediately leap to the front of your attention. His voice is one of them...

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Iran 2014 - Barish Grubu - Heydar Baba (Türkvizyon)


When I heard that Iran were set to make their first ever appearance in an international music competition, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Something staid and folksy, but still rather uplifting, I thought.

I wasn't expecting this.

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Yakutia 2014 - Vladlena Ivanova - Kyn - Atlar Çaba (Türkvizyon)


More unhinged joy from Türkvizyon here - this time from the far distant Russian Republic of Yakutia. There's a pretty good chance you may not have heard of it - I hadn't and I'm a complete geography spod - but it's flipping enormous. At over 3 million km square it's the biggest subnational entity on the planet - and just a shade smaller than India! Heck!

So somewhere that wild, remote and massive has surely got some good stuff lurking about in its nether creases? Oh boy, you won't be disappointed! Especially if you're fond of wolves, shamanic dancing and bonkers head-dresses.

Why can't we have stuff like this in Eurovision proper? Türkvizyon, we love you!

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Tatarstan 2014 - Aydar Suleymanov - Atlar Çaba (Türkvizyon)


Türkvizyon, Turkey's slightly churlish retort to having a couple of bad years in the Eurovision, is back in full swing this week, and it's packed chock-full of some pretty terrific weirdness and the odd quality song.

Like last year, the contestants come from a broad church of nations, regions and city states, all with some vague connection to the Turkic peoples. This again has led to some pretty unspellable entrants from places that even the best geography nerd would struggle to place on a map - Kabardino-Balkaria & Karachay-Cherkessia anyone?

This year's iteration is being held in the Tartar city of Kazan in Russia, and wouldn't you know it, the home entrant appeared to walk last evening's semi-final. We suspect it's no fluke though, as they chuck the absolute kitchen sing at it. Funny costumes, squeaky throat singing, a bit glowing ball with the song's titular running horses on it... it's got it all. Well, maybe except from a memorable chorus.

Watch it fly out of the stalls on finals night though. This horse has got legs...

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Spain 1974 - Señoras y Señores - Maccarrones Caldosos



Friend of the Apocalypse Tristán White has alerted to me to this little Spanish gem of the past, and I felt we just had to share it with you. The legend has it that it was all set to be the nation's Eurovision entry proper, when someone upstairs decided, for whatever reason, that it was inappropriate, and that they'd send dear old Peret instead. Not a bad choice, as it turns out, but this would have been much much better.

Here we find flamenco pop wonder Dolores Vargas - locally known as The Earthquake - belting out a lusty tribute to soupy macaroni - although looking at the English translation we suspect it was just a bit more bawdy than a mere recipe for veggie pasta.

Had this represented Spain in the '74 show, it probably wouldn't have troubled the eventual winner (some Swedish act, if I recall), but it would have instantly gone down as possibly my favourite Iberian entry of all time. Turn it up and treat your ears to Sexy Bomb Dolores


Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Macedonia 2015 - Risto Samardžiev & Vlatko Ilievski - Sever-Jug



The complicated shenanigans that followed the announcement of the winner in this year's Skopski Festival has overshadowed what a long and strange event it actually was. Twenty songs strong, it featured an endless parade of pretty usual Balkan ballads, all accompanied by a slightly over-intrusive live orchestra.

But hiding in among the long procession of bland was this unlikely little beast. Both Risto and Vlatko are pretty big stars in their native land - Vlatko even represented his country at Eurovision a few years back. So quite how this cumbersome few minutes of weirdness ever came to be is beyond us.

With a title that translates as North-South, we're treated to three of the most unusual minutes you'll see all season. From the disorientating and ill-advised visual gag at the start, to the shouty reveal and the overbearing honking from the orchestra, it transports us back to a different era. One when quality control was an alien concept and TV variety still ruled.

Funnily enough this came equal last on the night, only roping in 254 televotes and gaining just a single point from the international juries - and that was from the traditionally unhinged Azerbaijan. Gaze on this work of beauty and feel your head truly boggle.

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Macedonia 2015 - Daniel Kajmakoski - Esenski Lisja


So November has hardly gotmgoing, and Junior Eurovision is still in full swing, but Eurovision 2015 already has it first entrant. That can't be right? Yes, after a long and drawn out final in Skopje, Macedonia chose this - mawkish plodder by a moderately good looking lad.

But the screams from the crowd told us that he must actually be someone in his home nation, and right enough, it turns out that he's the current Macedonian X Factor winner - a title he bagged by singing a Tose song.

He'll translate well to a wider European audience then...

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Montenegro 2014 - Maša Vujadinovic & Lejla Vulić - Budi Dijete Na Jedan Dan (Junior Eurovision)

Junior Eurovision is nearly upon us, and sadly this traditionally trusty hive of thoroughly bonkers tunes has all gone a bit grown up this year. However, there are still a couple of gems nestling among the cold-eyed East European ballad girls.

Take this happy-go-lucky Montenegrin pair. The song itself is a pretty sweet pop rocker inviting all us boring adults to be a kid for a day. But what the heck is going on in the video?!

One can only assume that all those grown ups awkwardly swaying about in time to the music are local celebrities. Or perhaps it's naught but a bunch of in-jokes that only people living within 25 miles of Kotor Bay are ever going to understand? Who knows. Actually, I kind of like not knowing. Makes it a whole bunch stranger!

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Monday, 3 November 2014

United Kingdom 1977 - Mr Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Men - Interval Act


The 1977 contest has suffered two big British losses over the past few weeks. The singer of that year's UK entry Rock Bottom left this world tragically young in October, and now the star of the show's very unlikely interval act, Mr Acker Bilk, has died aged 85.

Bilk's involvement in the show was a strange choice. Trad jazz was a dying art in the UK, surviving more in the cabaret bars and specialist clubs than the big stages. However, Bilk was still a popular figure on British TV, still popular after his massive sixties hit Stranger On The Shore.

It was a strange enough choice as it was, but quite why they chose to show him, not in the studio along with the other artists, but as a film clip beamed from a smokey London jazz joint we'll never know. It's a decision only outweirded by that pair on their bicycles in the sixties and that terrifying William Tell stunt.

So enjoy old Acker's unexpected brush with Eurovision fame. Skip to 2:15 if you've had enough of Angela Rippon's clipped BBC tones!

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Switzerland 2015 - Flo & Raf - Tiny Star


There's something incredibly likeable about this little ditty. The nasal voice and plinky plonky keyboards only add to the sweetness of this cute environmental hymn. But heaven forbid do they need some astronomy lessons.

Flo claims that as a little tiny star he flies around the moon and the earth. Whoa there Flo-jo - do you know what that would actually mean? Even the tiniest star is thousands of times larger than the Earth, the gravity pull from your well-meaning flitterings would pull the solar system right out of alignment, and change our tides into huge tsunamis that would wipe out 75% of all human life.

Worse still, your offer to come down and save us would actually melt us all on the spot, and boil our seas until nothing even close to living could survive. It the kind of saving that mother hamsters do when they eat their own young! Are you some kind of inadvertant angel of death who happily floats around the universe destroying whole celestial features with your well-intentioned clumsiness.

We might be in trouble down here on planet Earth, Tiny Star, but I think we'll take our chances without your help, if that's alright with you.

(PS It's worth watching the whole vid through for Raf's big moment right at the very end.)

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Switzerland 2015 - Bearforce 1 - Action Man


These cuddly Dutchmen are no strangers to this process, and have been trying to get their furry frames onto the Eurovision stage for some years now. Sadly they're now reduced to ploughing the impossible furrow of the Swiss selection process (has any non-Swiss band ever got through to the latter stages?) - which is a shame because there's something incredibly likable about the old fellas.

OK, so it might tap into a few of the usual Eurovision stereotypes, but they're loads of fun, and would attract heaps of attention come Eurovision fortnight. And you just know that the combined nans of Europe (at least the ones not singing weak prog metal) would instantly take the to their hearts.

One day, lads. One day.

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Switzerland 2015 - Inge and the TritoneKings - Totenköpfchen


It's always nice when I get tipped off to a tune by one of you fine Apocalyptos. But when I get a barrage of Tweets and PMs saying: "You've just got to see this!", then it's time to start getting a little bit excited. And you most certainly haven't let me down here.

In short, this is an elderly lady singing a song called Dead Head, backed by a proggy speed metal band. I don't really need to say much else.

Of course, in the real world this would be a pretty poor effort. The metal backing feels a little ingenuine, while the nan sounds way too up in the mix, like she's singing to a click track so that the old racket behind her won't damage her failing ear pipes. The whole thing smacks a little of 'let's do something weird for Eurovision' rather than 'hey man, our granny loves the metal!".

But in Eurovisionia, this is a fine early entry into the niche comedy freaky slot, and one that I thank you all for pointing out to me! Keep up the good work!

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Switzerland 2015 - Fly - Voice for Youth



All the ingredients suggest that I really, REALLY shouldn't like this song. Some librarian nan is giving out hints for a happy life to children in what feels like a local community centre fundraiser. You see, you've made up your mind about it already.

But somehow, lord knows how, it's ended up being an utterly charming little number. The music sounds like Underworld covering Family Fodder - or some other post punk hippy beat collective of the early 80s. And Angelina's happy proclamations come over more like brain aerobics for the youth than any kind of social worker badgering.

I'd love to see this make the final - just to see how they'd stage it. Although to be fair, the old girl seems to be struggling to keep time in recorded form, so it could go seriously awry on stage. That being said, this has quite accidentally ended up being an early Apocalypse fave. We must be getting old...

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Switzerland 2015 - Like Leto - Diary




Click here to witness Dunning-Kruger in full effect…

There's a psychological disorder known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect, whereby unskilled individuals suffer from a kind of illusiary superiority, believing their abilities to be much higher than they actually are. It's believed that this is down to a little switch in the brain that has made them unable to recognise their gross ineptitude.

You will have seen this condition manifest itself in the early stages all manner of TV casting shows. Said hapless contestant gets up in front of the judges, confidently boasts that they're going to rip the show apart and end up bigger than Jesus, before honking out a dog-bothering mess of half remembered lines - usually accompanied by a disjointed, shuffling dance routine.

Psychologists have written many papers about it, and the depth of the condition seems to be of equal severity across the globe.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to Like Leto.

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Malta 2015 - Ekklesia Sisters - Love And Let Go



Good heavens - literally. Half a dozen nuns in pure white wimples singing a mild R'n'B sway-a-long about the children. If this doesn't make it to Vienna someone in Malta will have to have written an actual song!

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

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Switzerland 2015 - Franck Renand - That's Enough!



Never has a song title been more apt. As you work your way through this video, you'll be wondering exactly what was going through Franck's mind as he decided on how each scene was going to look. He may think he looks mega cool, or even a little bit sexy. But in reality... well, I'll let you see for yourself. But you wouldn't feel comfortable leaving your children with him.

This really is quite a thing! Nice clouds, mind...

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Switzerland 2015 - Thierry Condor - Open Heart Surgery


When they're looking to define the phrase 'ill-advised concept' to future generations, they'll use this clip to help carry over the deeper meaning of the term. What in the name of hell were they thinking?

It's bad enough that our Thierry has the voice of a child and the face of a soap opera murderer. But surely at some point someone must have pointed out that this whole sorry production - song, video, jolly japes and all - wasn't actually funny, and to many would be deeply upsetting.

I'm not sure what passes for larks these days down in the Northern Swiss city of Aarau where Mr Condor hails from, but surely it can't be hamfisted cover versions of gags from 50s British medical dramas. And the best thing of all is, by the look in his eyes, Thierry boy thinks he's onto a winner here.

Glory be to the Swiss open admissions period - keeps me in Apocalypse fuel for months! 

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Switzerland 2015 - Männerchor steili Kressä - The Beat Of The Meat


Just like the first swallows herald the oncoming of Spring, and a couple of rainy days in October evoke the first Christmas adverts on the telly, then the opening of the Swiss Eurovision application process can only mean one thing...

The booze-fuelled situationist madness of Männerchor steili Kressä. And they're singing about meat.

Ladies and gentlemen, I now declare the 2015 Eurovision season open!

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Norway 2014 - Oda & Wulff - Sing


So we're all done. The full 37 songs selected tweaked and submitted to the EBU to check see if there's any hidden swearwords or references to Filofax.

It turned out that the Russian song wasn't all that dandy after all. A reasonably serviceable spot of Northern Soul with all the life and gusto polished out of it, it should do well, but it will get booed to billy-o just for being Russian, and, well, they can always blame the war for their moderate result. We've been doing it for years.

But there's one song from the qualifiers that didn't make the final that's been stuck in my head for a week now. As regular readers will know, I'm not especially fond of the recent up swell of Mumfordsalikes, but there's something about this optimistic little Scandi Twee pop gem that gets me every time.

And in a year where there's no clear favourite (Armenia? Really?), all of this year's artists should take this song's central message to heart. To all of you stiff faced ladies in shiny frocks who are hollering out your lyrics by syllable and have no idea what the words you're jaggedly reciting actually mean, sing like you mean it. Because you can bet your life that whoever wins this year's funny old contest certainly will be!

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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Austria 2014 - Conchita Wurst - Rise Like A Phoenix


Now then this one will confuse the juries and unsettle the dads come mid-May. What we've got is a very serviceable stagey ballad, sung with heart and feeling by Austria's favourite bearded lady man.

If the juries are serious about it only being about the song, this will seriously test their remit, as it would finish top ten under any other wrapper. But will Conchinta's incredibly bold and provocative appearance turn away the voters or have them picking up the phone by the lorry load?

It's a tricky guess, but one thing's for sure - we now know for sure where the biggest fan boy scrum will congregate for most of ESC fornight.

I believe I'm now contractually obliged to pull the old "Austria: saved the Wurst till last (but one)" gag. Sorry.

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Monday, 17 March 2014

Russia 2006 - Sisters Tolmachevy - Vesenniy Jazz (JESC winners)


Before we get to see the glamorous Russian twins and their undoubtledly boo-inducing Eurovision entry, let's cast our memories back to the previous biggest moment of their lives when they won Junior Eurovision.

Yep, eight short years ago they looked and sounded like this. You've got underpants older than that…

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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Belgium 2014 - Axel Hirsoux - Mother


Now then, here's a funny bit of business. Despite being near universally loathed in fandom, Axel here absolutely walked the Belgian final. His sentimental nan-pleaser of a song may be a little too sickly-sweet for the cool folks, but it's incredibly well-constructed and he sings it like he actually means it.

If it wasn't for the constant shots of his old ma and a weeping pal by the side of the stage, this song is so intensely mother-loving that you'd almost fear that he had her desiccated frame locked in a cupboard at the top of the stairs at home...

This will do better than anyone cares to think about. You just watch.

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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Armenia 2014 - Aram MP3 - Not Alone



I was on a long train journey when the Armenian song was announced last evening. Suddenly my phone lit up with messages that we'd found our winner, but just as I was about to track it down on YT, we started going through loads of tunnels and deep cuts. Darn it.

So it was with some excitement that I finally tracked it down, and... Oh.

The two-songs-glued-together gambit isn't an unusual one in this contest. But surely this one takes just a tad too long to get going? A long husky intro, where this singer - a stand up comedian in his day job - looks all moody and meaningful, eventually thumps into a chunky slice of near-dubstep and it all picks up a bit.

It ain't bad, and this does appear to be a year when nobody is trying to win it - but will the good nans of Moldova take it to their hearts an make it win? I'm not so sure...

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Moldova 2014 - Cristina Scarlat - Wild Soul



And this winner in this year's "What's exactly is going on here award?" goes to Cristina Scarlat from Moldova.

So from what we can work out, she's half-woman, half-machine, and there's a big bendy mirror floating about for some reason we didn't quite fathom. Then some dancing boys pranced about in ethnic costume, before a load of  radio controlled helicopters with banners on went a bit wrong, plunging into the audience, and possibly taking he ears off the first three rows. (Mind you, at the Moldovan final there only is the first three rows!)

It may amuse you further to know that this won its semi final, so it a possible contender to knock singee elect Boris Covali off his perch again for another year! I'd laugh.

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Friday, 14 March 2014

Georgia 2014 - The Shin and Mariko - Three Minutes To Earth



The usually reliable Georgians have confused matters by sending a full on folk prog fusion noodlefest! What is this, 1971? Does no bugger want to win this year?

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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Moldova 2014 - Rodica Olișevschi - Without You



For a country who always appear to have some dodgy fit ups in their selection process every year, Moldova are surprisingly happy to publish their voting numbers in full.

Perhaps most interestingly, the song that came second in the televote, and was perhaps the biggest danger to the seemingly already anointed Boris Covali, came bottom of the jury pile by a street - but still just about snuck in to the final.

But the saddest figure of all came for poor Rodica here. In a national phone vote, where a whole country could send her their love via SMS, and her extended family could jam the lines on autodial, she only managed to garner a heartbreaking 56 votes. Bless her poor little unloved heart.

Mind you, have you heard the song...?

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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Greece 2014 - Mark Angelo feat. Josephine - Dancing Night


In theory this was pretty good. Get a top clubby DJ/producer type to provide a thumpy backbeat, then get a good looking blonde lass to sing sweetly over the top of it and gyrate a big in front of some oiled-up boy dancers. It's a well worn formula that still works a treat.

Unfortunately in this case, the word 'featuring' didn't stretch to 'featuring a girl who can sing'. Seriously, if your horse was making this kind of noise they'd shoot it.

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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Denmark 2014 - Sonny - Feeling The You



More comedy fun from the Danish final. Sonny here clearly thinks he's channeling the long dead spirits of Michael Jackson and James Brown here.

Sadly for him he looks more like Jim Carrey channeling that Brendon from Strictly Come Dancing.

There are moments of this clip that are so excruciatingly painful you;ll be watching through your fingers…

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Monday, 10 March 2014

Slovenia 2014 - Bilbi - To Ni Blues



Slovenia had a nice final at the weekend that many people missed. It had a whole bunch of interesting acts in an exciting in-the-round format, but going by the Logan yardstick from 1980, the most underwhelming song won (beating a band called Muff in the superfinal as it went, and doing us puerile journos out of a whole lot of gags and headlines while it went about it.)

But our personal delight came from a young woman called Bilbi. She may have stood among possibly the worst dressed gaggle of human beings you're likely to see this side of a wedding in Essex, but it certainly offered some charms.

Starting off with some twangy, sub-Beefheartian guitars, it took a surprising turn into bluesy Charleston territory, before heading off piste to a planet all its own. They're not like us, the Slovenians, as a grumpy old Irishman might once have said.

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Denmark 2014 - Glamboy P - Right by Your Side


Now the Danish final was packed with unintentional comedy moments. While the hosts of this year's big show were trying out all their fancy effects, they clean forgot the quality control with the songs.

Enter one Glamboy P. As Mrs Hacksaw remarked: "Where's the glamour? He looks more like a bricklayer with a wig on!" Indeed, you fear for the first three rows when he piles down the front to bathe in the gusts of the wind machine - how the heck did that thing stay on? You're telling me it's his real hair? Gosh!

On top of that, this boy casts some of the most unlikely shapes you'll ever see outside of a pensioner's vogueing contest. Sit back and prepare yourself for three minutes of pure Apocalypse gold!

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Saturday, 8 March 2014

Sweden 2014 - Ace Wilder - Busy Doin' Nothin'


Just three more votes and just about the only song in the whole Swedish qualification process that sounded like it could a a pan-continental hit would earned it's ticket to Eurovision. But sadly it lost by the most frustratingly close result imaginable to the lovely-but-nan-like Sanna Neilson.

This song would have set this year's contest alight, if the current chosen ones are anything to judge the rest of the contest by. Damn shame.

Let's see what you could have won...

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