Eurovision 2011 Preview: Malta, San Marino and Croatia

A triple helping of Eurovision as promised today. We begin with Malta, officially the most successful country never to have won the contest. After a few unsuccessful forays in the 70s, Malta returned to Eurovision in 1991. What followed was a remarkable run in which they finished in the Top 10 in all but three out of 15 years. The last few years, however, have seen a very sorry reversal in fortune, with songs either failing to qualify for the final or, if they do make it, finishing at the wrong end of the leaderboard. I’m not sure that this year’s entry, One Life performed by Glen Vella, will improve their situation. It’s dance-pop by numbers, enlivened only by the two backing dancers nicked from a Pet Shop Boys concert who seem to be doing a camped-up recreation of the video for New Order’s True Faith:

Next up are San Marino. The Sammarinese have only entered Eurovision once before, in 2008. And it didn’t end well as they finished last in their semi-final with just 5 points. The microscopic nation will be hoping it can do rather better with this entry, Stand By, performed by Senit. It might get a few more points, but it feels too inoffensive and unremarkable (with a video that looks like an M&S ad) to make any real impact:

Last up in this threesome are Croatia. Like Malta, Croatia enjoyed a strong run of form in the 1990s (culminating in Doris Dragovic finishing 4th in 1999), but have seen that form tail off badly in the last few years. Here’s this year’s entry, Celebrate peformed by Daria. Like the Maltese effort, it’s been lyrically assembled from the cliche database marked “Life-Affirming”. She also looks a bit too excited to have got hold of a bubble gun:

Could do quite well, depending if that’s what the viewers and juries are after (and given the prevailing economic gloom, a bit of escapism might be just the ticket for them). On the other hand, it starts to make Lady Gaga’s Born This Way look like a masterpiece rather than a bit dull.

Classic corner time now. Frankly no consideration of Malta’s Eurovision history would be complete without Chiara. She’s represented Malta three times, and here’s her first outing from 1998, when she finished 3rd with The One That I Love. A few bum notes and a really horrible dress aside, it’s a classic bit of 90s Eurovision balladry:

I mentioned earlier that Croatia’s best Eurovision performance to date was in 1999, when Doris Dragovic came 4th. So here she is with the song in question, Maria Magdalena, continuing the fine line of camp musical Dorises stretching back to Doris Day and Doris from Five Star:

Diva-tastic, non? There’s three more coming your way tomorrow, as we go far north, down south and somewhere in between…

Chris x

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