Eurovision 2011 Preview: Slovakia and Ukraine

Today’s Eurovision preview focuses on two Eastern European countries who have had sharply contrasting fortunes in the contest. First up are Slovakia who, whilst faring better than neighbours the Czech Republic (they have at least got into Eurovision finals, albeit not since 1998), have yet to trouble the scoreboard. This year, like Ireland, the Slovaks have decided to go for the gimmick of having twins. Or rather, TWiiNS (see what they did there etc), with I’m Still Alive. The man behind this, Bryan Todd, is a pop heavyweight who’s worked with the likes of the Pussycat Dolls and Jordin Sparks, and the song itself feels like it’s been calculated to soundbed a zillion scenes of emotional uplift, triumph against adversity, being told by the judges that you’re through to bootcamp so that you can carry on living the dream, that sort of thing. The video rather confirms this feeling and, perhaps appropriately, showcases two singers who look like a weird amalgamation of Dannii Minogue and Amanda Holden:

By the way, it appears that they’ve also covered Sabrina’s wet T-shirt 80s classic Boys. Hmm. Ukraine, on the other hand, have more often than not finished in the Top 10, including of course victory in 2004 (although for my money the two songs that finished 2nd were both better than Ruslana, but more on one of them later). This year’s representative is Mika Newton performing Angels, although a quick scan of the Wikipedia page on this year’s entry indicates that this is an outcome mired in controversy, to say the least. Anyway, here she is, copying Britney’s circus moves several years after the event:

Not massively keen on that – yet another rather overwrought ballad. On the other hand, Ukraine have not yet failed to get through the semi-final stage, and you suspect they’ll be there on the Saturday night once again.

Finally then for today, it’s time for the classic entry. As I mentioned earlier, Ukraine have twice finished runners-up. And here’s the first time, from 2007. Singing Dancing Lasha Tumbai, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the inimitable, the supreme, the one-and-only, Ms Verka Serduchka. As RuPaul would say, start your engines – and may the best WOMAN win:

If Christopher Biggins had impregnated Su Pollard using a mirrorball, the result would still be nowhere near as camp as that. That wraps it up for today. Tomorrow we’ve got Moldova and one of the legendary nations of Eurovision – but one that, shockingly, failed to qualify for last year’s final. See you then!

Chris x

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