Eurovision 2011 Preview: Denmark and Ireland

And so we reach the end of our look at the contenders in the second semi-final taking place on 12 May. Today’s pair are both old-stagers in Eurovision. First up are Denmark. They debuted in only the second-ever Eurovision Song Contest, way back in 1957. Victory came in 1963 with Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann performing Dansevise. After 1966 the Danes took a lengthy sabbatical, returning in 1978. Their best run of form came in the second half of the 1980s, with several Top 10 finishes – but it was in 2000 that they secured their second win, courtesy of the Olsen Brothers. Since then, Danish fortunes have been somewhat varied, although they managed to come 4th last year by ripping off Simply The Best. This year they’re sending indie boyband A Friend In London with the song New Tomorrow. They’re clearly pressing all the buttons marked “stadium” and “epic”, all somewhat undermined by having a lead singer who looks like Damon Albarn with Billy Idol’s hair gone wrong:

Talking of hair gone wrong, we come to Ireland. Even those who only take a passing interest in Eurovision will know that Ireland basically owned the contest in the 1990s. Recent years haven’t been so kind, in fact they’ve only scraped into the Top 10 once in the last decade. So who else to restore Irish fortunes than, um, Jedward. To be fair, they’re no worse than Dustin the Turkey, and if one shuts one’s eyes and imagines Katy Perry singing Lipstick then it’s just about bearable. But it’s no My Lovely Horse:

Louis Walsh will have enjoyed that, even if nobody else did. Anyway, that brings us to the end of the entries for the second semi-final. So who’s likely to make it through to the final on 14 May. Well, as I mentioned a few days ago, Estonia are the favourites to get through, and one of the big favourites to win. Bosnia & Herzegovinia, Denmark, Sweden and Slovenia are all highly fancied too, and current odds suggest that Austria, Romania, Ukraine, Israel and, yes, Ireland will join them. With the big event now just three weeks away, there’s not much longer to find out.

Time now for the classic corner, and first up are Denmark. I mentioned earlier that the Danes had their best run of results in the late 1980s. However, in the early part of the decade they had one or two entries that were badly undermarked by the juries. Here’s one of them. Dumped second-from-bottom in 1982, but standing out in that year as pretty much the only act who sounded (or looked) anything like pop stars of the time, here are Brixx with Video Video:

And I’m pretty sure that’s the only Eurovision entry in history to mention Humphrey Bogart in the lyrics. With regards the Irish classic, I’ve gone for this one, a song written by Johnny Logan and performed by Linda Martin. However, it’s not the winning entry from 1992 – the sort of ballad-by-numbers that became the stereotypical (albeit successful) Irish effort of the period. Instead, a song far superior to that – and the two entries that gave Logan victory as a performer. From 1984, styled like Bonnie Tyler but closer in spirit to Maggie Moone, singing a song that sounds part-Moonlight Shadow, part-theme tune to an LWT game show, here’s Linda with Terminal 3:

And before Lionel Blair puts in an appearance, I think that’s a good place to finish for today. We’ve now seen all thirty-eight of the semi-finalists, which just leaves the Big Five who are already in the final – hosts Germany, plus France, Italy, Spain and, of course the United Kingdom. Tomorrow we’ll see what France and Germany (the latter represented again by Lena) have in store for us this year. See you then!

Chris x

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