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Eurovision 2012 Preview Part 10 – Croatia, Sweden and Georgia

It’s Monday evening, the first day of another week is nearly done and dusted, and the first of this year’s Eurovision semi-finals is now barely more than a week away. This year’s previews, meanwhile, move on apace, and today we’ve got Croatia, Sweden and Georgia lined up for inspection. Starting with Croatia, who’ve missed the qualification boat in the last couple of years and will be hoping to put that right this year. Croatia decided to scrap their selection competition (fabulously called Dora) and go for an internal selection instead. Their representative is Nina Badrić (who herself has missed the boat when trying to get selected on a number of previous occasions), singing Nebo, or “Heaven”, from inside what appears to be a Dove advert. Complete with lots of gratuitously semi-naked men.

Random fact: Nina once did a TV job-swap with a zoo-keeper. That’s not a bad entry at all, but whether moving to an internal selection will improve things for Croatia as it did for the UK last year remains to be seen.

From a country that’s amongst this year’s rank outsiders, to the country that is currently this year’s hot favourite. Sweden of course are no strangers to success at Eurovision, although it’s now 13 years since Charlotte Nilsson (as she was then, and minus the ill-advised cosmetic enhancements) gave the Swedes their fourth Eurovision triumph with Take Me To Your Heaven. Last year it looked like Erik Saade’s glass-smashing efforts might come good, as Sweden led the voting for a while before being overtaken in the later stages and having to settle for third place. Hoping to take the lead and stay there to the end is Loreen with Euphoria, performed here using interpretative dance on a level not seen since the early days of Kate Bush.

It certainly has the sound of a potential Eurovision winner – start slowly, build up to a banging chorus and keep it up from there. She ends the performance being held aloft – whether she’ll end this contest holding the trophy aloft remains to be seen.

Last up today are Georgia. In the four Eurovisions they’ve competed in so far, the Georgians have been a model of consistency, qualifying each time and then finishing somewhere from 9th to 12th in the final. This year, they’ve sent Anri Jokhadze performing I’m a Joker. Anri, judging by this video, isn’t exactly a shrinking violet. In fact he makes John Barrowman look restrained. He also, one suspects, might be going all-out to make it clear to the world that he’s completely and utterly heterosexual.

Anri has apparently been doing showbiz since the age of 4 and is known as “The Georgian Golden Voice”. With hair colour to match. Completely OTT – if the stage performance is similarly excessive, and based on their previous results, this might make it through.

So, three very different entries, one of which could be this year’s winner. But there’s plenty more still to get through, and next time it’ll be the turn of Turkey, Estonia and Slovakia to get the preview treatment.

Chris x

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Eurovision 2012 Preview Part 3 – Switzerland, Belgium and Finland

So, after a triumphant night for Labour in Manchester at the local elections, it’s time to look over three more Eurovision contenders. All of today’s hopefuls are representing countries that have won the Contest in the past. Switzerland won the first-ever Eurovision back in 1956, then had a second victory courtesy of Celine Dion in 1988. Since then, their record hasn’t been amazing – they looked to be back on track when they qualified for the final last year for the first time in ages, only to finish an undeserved last on the big night. Their hopes this year lie with Sinplus performing the song Unbreakable. And possibly the fact that the lead singer has a vibe of John Barrowman with hair by Jedward:

They also look like they’ve borrowed the dancers from Lena’s effort last year. Nothing amazing about the song itself – it might squeeze through qualifying but can’t see it doing much more.

Belgium won for the only time to date back in 1986, courtesy of 13-year-old Sandra Kim who, thanks to a subsequent rule change on the lower age limit, will forever be the youngest-ever Eurovision winner (as we will see in the not-too-distant future, there is no such cap on an upper age limit). And they’ve chosen a young performer this year – 17-year-old Iris, who performs Would You:

Slow-burning, gimmick-free ballads have had a tendency to surprise everyone and do really well in recent years (see, for example, Norway in 2008). There’s a bit too much of the hiccupy, Janet Devlin-esque vocal mannerisms going on for my liking, but I’m going to stick my neck out and say this one could do quite well.

Last up today are Finland who, ever since Lordi’s victory in 2006, have struggled to have a follow-up success. This year, for only the second time ever, they’ve sent an entry performed in Swedish (the last time was in 1990, and on that occasion they came last, so it doesn’t augur that well). Pernilla Karlsson is the singer, and the song is När jag blundar (which translates as “When I Close My Eyes”). It contains leaves and interpretative dance:

Not sure if coming straight after another female solo artist singing a pleasant mid-tempo ballad in the semi-final will do Pernilla any favours, although personally speaking I find it more pleasing. But who knows, they might both go through.

That’s a wrap for now – next time we’ll have Israel, San Marino and Cyprus. But mostly San Marino, with one of the most hilarious, jaw-droppingly bad entries in the history of Eurovision. And you don’t want to miss that…

Chris x