Eurovision 2011 Preview – Iceland, Hungary and Portugal

It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon outside, so naturally I’m sat here at my computer typing up another Eurovision preview post. The sacrifices I make etc…

Anyway, first up today are Iceland. It’s 25 years since Eurovision’s most northerly participants first entered the contest (in the same year that they started broadcasting TV on a Thursday). After some poor initial results (including nul points in 1989), Iceland started to get some good showings and have twice been runners-up, most recently in 2009. This year sees them represented by Sigurjon’s Friends with Coming Home. There are 1920s stylings and a bridge that sounds as though it’s going to turn into Take That’s Shine – a comparison bolstered by the one who sounds a bit like Robbie (but looks like James Corden):

Nice, and hopefully good enough to see them into the final. Iceland, I suspect, could probably do without winning in terms of the expense entailed in hosting Eurovision next year. But one day. One day…

On now to Hungary. Hungary made an impressive Eurovision debut in 1994 when they finished 4th. Since then however, their fitful participation in the contest has only yielded one other Top 10 finish, in 2007 – also the last time that they managed to qualify for the final. This year they’ve entered Kati Wolf singing What About My Dreams? What about the bit nicked from I Wanna Dance With Somebody? What about the bit in the aerobics class? What about all the “life-affirming” dance-pop numbers in this year’s contest?:

How about we move on to Portugal? This is the country that famously used its 1974 entry as a trigger for the Carnation Revolution that overthrew the Fascist Estado Novo regime. Unfortunately, the Portuguese have never quite been able to inspire a revolution on the Eurovision scoreboard. They haven’t finished in the Top 10 since 1996, and although they’ve performed well in the semis for the last three years, on each occasion they’ve then faded into mid-table anonymity on the big night. So this year they’ve decided to get all political again with Homens da Luta performing A Luta e Alegria. Unfortunately the satire is lost in non-translation, leaving a group who seem to be the result of a marriage between the Village People and the cast of Ugly Betty:

Entering a satirical song in Eurovision is always a bit of a risk. Even more so if you choose to perform it in a language that none of the other countries speak. Still, this is Eurovision and much, much stranger things have happened.

Right, it’s classic time now. First up are Iceland. This is the first of the two entries to date that have seen them finish runners-up. Sporting a hairdo borrowed from Bjork, here’s Selma with All Out of Luck from 1999:

Complete change of tempo now for the Hungarian classic, their debut from 1994. It finished 4th as I mentioned earlier, although it led in the early rounds of voting (before giving way to an Irish entry that was actually worse than My Lovely Horse). This is Friderika Bayer with the rather lovely Kinek mondjam el vétkeimet?:

And finally for today, the 1974 Portuguese entry that triggered a revolution, E Depois Do Adeus, performed by Paulo de Carvalho. Sadly, despite the commendation of the performance right at the end of this clip, the song came last. And in the year that a song about a relationship used to trigger the defeat of a regime finished last, a certain song in which the defeat of a military might is used as an analogy for a relationship came first…:

There’s a great film to be had in the idea of 70s lounge-pop triggering the overthrow of a government, if that film hasn’t already been made. Tomorrow, I’ll be previewing the last three entries performing in the first of this year’s semi-finals – hope you can join me then…

Chris x

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