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It is a busy time of the year in the world of Eurovision. The deadline for submitting a song to the European Broadcasting Union is coming closer, so country after country is announcing, premiering or choosing a song. I already wrote about a few countries two weeks ago. Let’s take a look at another handful of the Eurovision candidates we will see in Vienna in May.
Ruth Lorenzo releases inner pop diva for ‘Gigantes’ video
Ruth Lorenzo had quite a successful year so far. She participated in the Eurovision Song Contest for Spain with the beautiful ballad ‘Dancing In The Rain’. Thanks to a beautiful staging and outstanding vocal performance, she finished in top 10 for her home country. Before Eurovision Ruth had been releasing songs mainly in English, but because of her growing popularity in Spain, she decided to record an album in her mother language. The new single ‘Gigantes’ is the first song to be released of the record and Lorenzo premiered the video today on Youtube.
Ruth Lorenzo had her first breakthrough when she finished fifth in X Factor UK in 2008. The singer started working on her own music after that and is now aiming for international success with a participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. She will be representing Spain with the powerful ballad ‘Dancing In The Rain’. I talked to Ruth about her connection to the United Kingdom, the big stage performance and her goal in this competition.
It’s February and that means that many European countries are about to decide which song and artist they will send to the Eurovision Song Contest. In the next few weeks I will pay attention to some of the national finals that will take place and write some reviews on the songs that will represent their country in Copenhagen in May. This week, Spain chose it’s contestant, Sweden is getting closer to the big final and Hungary, Iceland and others chose their contestants.
A few weeks ago I already wrote about the songs that were participating in the Spanish national final, stating that Brequette and Ruth Lorenzo were by far my favorites. It seems like I was not the only one with this opinion as it was already more than clear before the final started, that it would be a two horse race between the big voiced divas. Both gave decent performances of their mid-tempo tracks with powerful choruses. The vocal performances were not perfect but still nice enough to enjoy. The juries all gave their highest points to Brequette’s ‘Más’ while the public at home voted the most for Ruth Lorenzo’s ‘Dancing In The Rain’. Both singers finished with the same amount of points and at that point the televoting was seen as more important and therefore Ruth Lorenzo will represent Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest this year. It is my favorite Eurovision entry this year so far and I think she can do really well in Copenhagen. She is capable of a good performance and her song is beautiful, current and catchy.
In Sweden they are getting close to the final stages of their national selection to choose a participant for Eurovision. All four heats of Melodifestivalen have passed and this saturday, the last two finalists will be added in the second chance round. In the third heat, Ace Wilder surprised by reaching the final directly, but I would say this was totally deserved. She might not be the best vocalist of the contest, but her song ‘Busy Doin’ Nothin” is the best pop song Melodifestivalen has to offer this year. It’s modern, it’s current, it’s damn catchy and fun, somewhat like a mix between Ke$ha and Gwen Stefani. It is a pity that good songs like ‘Red’ by EKO and ‘Burning Alive’ by Shirley Clamp did not manage to get any further in the competition. The same goes for Linda Bengtzing and Josef Johansson in the fourth heat, that was rightfully won by Alcazar and Anton Ewald. Ewald was the big favorite before the competition started, but his vocal performance still is somewhat poor and ‘Natural’ is a nice and catchy track, but prefer last year’s ‘Begging’. Alcazar do what they have always been good at, which is of course campy disco pop. This saturday’s andra chansen round should be all about Helena Paparizou, who definitely deserves to reach the final and get a decent result there with the track ‘Survivor’. At this moment I would predict Sanna Nielsen to win the final which I would really like, but I would be happy with Ace Wilder or Ellen Benediktson as well. Strong final in Sweden this year as I like almost every song!
Hungary, Latvia and Poland
The Hungarian public chose the artist that will represent them in Eurovision last weekend. András Kállay-Saunders won the national selection A Dal with the song ‘Running’. The song is about child abuse and domestic violence which is of course a heavy theme, but luckily the song is not too sad and dreary. ‘Running’ is a current composition with interesting verses and a catchy chorus. The song has some drum & bass influences, but could be best described as modern pop. Strong entry from the Hungarians, absolutely one of the best songs chosen so far.
Latvia chose a song called ‘Bake a Cake’ and this actually says it all. Almost every year they end up at the bottom of the scoreboard and totally deserve that most of the time. It is not even news these days that they came up with another bloody awful song. One can only hope that one day they will take it seriously again and send in some decent track.
Poland sends one of the biggest hits in the country over the past few months to the contest. ‘Slavic Girls’ by Donatan and Cleo has already been viewed over 38 million times on YouTube. The song could be described as a mix of R&B hiphop and folk music. We have to wait and see if the rest of Europe will ‘get’ this as well, but it is always good to see a country making the effort to actually send a big hit to the contest. It might not be my cup of tea, but not a bad choice at all.
February just started and that means that many European countries are about to decide which song and artist they will send to the Eurovision Song Contest. In the next few weeks I will pay attention to some of the national finals that will take place and write some reviews on the songs that will represent their country in Copenhagen in May. This weekend Sweden started off with their huge national final Melodifestivalen, Spain premiered their five songs and both Finland and Switzerland chose an entry.
Sweden: Melodifestivalen heat 1
The first heat of Melodifestivalen 2014 was always going to be a big event as last year’s runner up Yohio and former Eurovision winner Helena Paparizou both participated. Yohio performed his song ‘To The End’, which is in the same style as last year’s ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, but slightly better. No surprise that he made it to the final, although his vocals weren’t all that. I would have preferred to see Helena Paparizou in his spot in the final, but her power pop track ‘Survivor’ only made it to the second chance round. ‘Survivor’ is nowhere near Paparizou’s best songs, but it is a nice enough, catchy track and her performance, although a bit too stripped back, was powerful. Accompanying her to Andra Chansen, is Linus Svenning with his decent ballad and performance for his brother who passed away.
Sylvester Schlegel deserved to end up in the last place with a song that did not go anywhere, accompanied by a poor performance. Mahan Moin’s ‘Aleo’ was not a bad track, although totally cliché Eurovision, but her visually and vocally weak performance killed all hope that was left for that track. Elisa Lindström’s song and performance were just outdated and Alvaro Estrella actually had a modern and funky song, but his weak vocals kind of ruined the potential. There was one young girl that did steal the show and that was Ellen Benediktson who managed to go directly to the final. Her ‘Songbird’ is a sweet little song with a captivating chorus. Her delivery is fragile, beautiful and endearing. My favourite in this year’s Melodifestivalen so far!
Spain: The songs
The Spanish broadcaster RTVE decided to put their five songs online that will compete in the national final. To be fair, all five songs are at least of a decent quality. Raúl’s ‘Seguir Sin Ti’ is an alright traditional ballad and Jorge González will try to win the Spanish votes with a slightly outdated, but still catchy slice of Spanish Eurovision pop. La Dama also tries to impress with a dancey up tempo track and although it is not a bad song, Spain has not been lucky with this type of music in Eurovision recently. If the Spanish people choose wisely, either Brequette or Ruth Lorenzo will go to Copenhagen. Ruth, who gained fame in the UK for participating in X Factor, sings the beautiful and current ballad ‘Dancing In The Rain’. The classy bilingual track showcases her vocals nicely. Brequette also sings in both English and Spanish on her power ballad ‘Run (Más)’. In comparison to Ruth’s track, Brequette’s song is a little more powerful and makes more of an impact on first listen. The chorus hits hard and is very memorable. Still I believe, both Ruth and Brequette could give Spain a nice result in the next Eurovision Song Contest.
Finland: Softengine to Copenhagen
While Sweden and Spain just started their national selections, Finland already chose their representative in a show on Saturday night. Pop/rock band Softengine managed to win the show with their track ‘Something Better’. It could be described as a big guitar pop song with a powerful chorus. The singer of the band manages to convince in a live setting as well. Still I cannot help but feel that this track misses an edge to really stand out between all the other countries in Denmark. In my honest opinion, Mikko Pohjola’s ‘Sängyn Reunalla’ that finished in second position, does have a little more personality and stands out a little better. The cute little song would definitely have done well with the juries. At the moment of writing this, Mikko’s song was at the first spot in the Finnish iTunes chart, while Softengine only placed at the sixth position.
Switzerland: Sebalter wins
Switzerland decided to send Sebalter to Eurovision with his song ‘Hunter Of Stars’. The song is catchy but the whistling is border on annoying and the performance at the national final looks quite amateurish. I kind of get the feeling that the song is going nowhere and the performance just does not come across well on screen. It could well be that Switzerland makes the same mistake as last year, when the catchy but clumsy ‘You And Me’ by Takasa did not make it to the final.