Tag Archives: lithuania

Eurovision 2012 Preview Part 12 – Norway, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Lithuania

We’re getting near the end of our series of Eurovision previews – today we’ve got the last three countries who’ll be taking part in the second semi-final a week today. Today’s blog not only previews them, it also takes a look at who the bookies have got odds on making it through to next Saturday’s final. We’ll start the previews today with Norway. It’s been a funny few years for the Norwegians: in 2009, they won with a record score; then in 2010 as hosts they finished near the bottom in the final; and then last year, somewhat surprisingly, the failed to qualify from the semis. This year one suspects they’ll be back in the game, as they send Iranian-born singer Tooji, singing Stay. There’s a bit too much farty noise going on the background early on. There’s also an Eastern trill riff nicked direct from Beyonce’s Naughty Girl. Which of course quoted the late Donna Summer. So, in a way, topical.

Fundamentally it’s the sort of power pop that the Scandinavians specialise in, and I’d be very surprised not to see Tooji amongst the contenders in the final. The penultimate country performing next Thursday will be Bosnia and Herzegovina. They’ve done consistently well in recent years, coming sixth last year. This year they’ve sent Maya Sar (who played keyboard backing on Dino Merlin’s entry last year), performing Korake Ti Znam, or “I Know Your Steps” (which sounds like reassurance given by a professional to their celebrity partner on Strictly). In one of those deeply inscrutable music videos, Maya performs on her piano in a factory and on the back of a train, whilst a random bloke with a couple of donkeys wanders about with a giant treble clef. Like you do.

It’s a solid, and very 1990s-sounding, ballad – it’s placing near the end of the running order should give it an extra fillip when it comes to qualification. As for Maya herself, she’s done a lot of really good work in the fight against cervical cancer, which in my book makes her a very good egg indeed.

On to the 36th and final semi-finalist in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Lithuania. Lithuania still have only one Top 10 finish to their name, and that was with the joke entry We Are the Winners back in 2006. Since then, they’ve tended to alternate between not qualifying for the final, and qualifying, but finishing well down the running order. This year they’ll be pinning their hopes on Donatas Montvydas, or as he’s better known, Donny Montell. With a name that sounds like that of a 90s R&B artist, and the appearance of a 12-year-old, Donny spends the early part of this song (which keeps promising to turn into One Night Only, but doesn’t quite deliver) blindfolded. Because, you see, Love Is Blind.

There’s a decent disco number that never makes it out in that song. Frustrating, and again will need to rely heavily on its placing in the running order to make it through.

And that’s it for the semis. 36 countries previewed, of which 20 will make it through to the final. But which 20? You may well have formed your own opinions based on what you’ve seen and heard, but what do the bookies think? Well, currently the semi-final odds would suggest that the following countries will make it through:

1st Semi-Final – Denmark, Romania, Russia, Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Moldova, Cyprus and Albania, with a tight squeeze between Israel and Switzerland for the one remaining place

2nd Semi-Final – Sweden, Serbia, Norway, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Turkey, Estonia, Ukraine, Slovenia and Belarus, with a toss-up between Slovakia, Croatia and Macedonia as to who gets the other place.

Of course things rarely run to form, so expect one or two rank outsiders to win a place in the final (although possibly not San Marino).

But whilst we can’t be sure about twenty of this year’s finalists, we can be sure about the other six, as Azerbaijan and the “Big Five” – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK – all have automatic places in the final. So for the last two parts of this year’s preview, we’ll be taking a look at their entries for this year, in the order in which they’ve been drawn. And that means next time we’ll have our own effort from Engelbert, plus France and Italy.

Chris x

Eurovision 2011 Preview – Lithuania, Azerbaijan and Greece

It’s Sunday and it’s time for another triple preview of this year’s Eurovision participants, one which rounds up our look at the first semi-final. So I’ll also be looking at who some of the bookies’ favourites are to progress to the final on 14 May (bearing in mind that bookies’ odds tend not to bear much relation to outcomes in the world of Eurovision). First up are Lithuania. They had an ignominous debut in 1994, when Ovidijus Vysniauskas went home with nary a point to his name, and frankly they haven’t done much better since, their solitary Top 10 finish coming in 2006. This year they’ve gone for Evelina Sasenko with C’est Ma Vie, a big ballad in a very big dress, which feels like it’s just lacking the big finish needed to make it a contender:

Next are Azerbaijan, who are looking to make it four Top 10 finishes out of four. Last year they were widely tipped to win (mainly due to an aggressively promoted entry that had some heavyweight songwriting and production people behind it), but in the end only finished 5th. This year they’ve got a very winsome, very earnest pair in the shape of Ell and Nikki, performing Running Scared. Which those with a phobia of auto-tune may be after they’ve listened to this:

Last today, and last to perform in the first-semi final on 10 May, are Greece. They’ll be looking to extend their run of Top 10 finishes to eight. Hoping to keep up the run of form are Loucas Yiorkas featuring Stereo Mike with Watch My Dance. Loucas is very pleasant to look at (and has a quiff to die for). Not sure about Mike and his dodgy rapping though:

So there you have it. Over the last eight days you’ve seen all nineteen acts who are going to be performing in the first Eurovision semi-final on 10 May. According to the latest betting odds, the big favourites to make it through the final are Azerbaijan, Hungary, Norway, Russia and Turkey. Armenia, Finland, Georgia, Greece and Serbia are also fancied. Portugal and San Marino, meanwhile, are the rank outsiders. This is the semi-final in which the United Kingdom get to vote, so our preferences will play a part. Personally I’m not sure who will get through – there are no stand-outs for me in this semi-final, so we’ll see what the remaining entries bring.

To finish off today’s blog it’s the classic corner, and one of Greece’s best entries. Securing 5th place back in 1992, here’s Kleopatra with Olou Tou Kosmou I Elpida:

Stirring stuff. So tomorrow our preview of this year’s contest moves into the second semi-final. And we’ll be back in the Balkans before welcoming back a country who swore they were done with Eurovision for good four years ago…

Chris x

Eurovision 2010 Haiku #18: Lithuania

Baltic humour in
Tartan trousers – but beware
That which lies beneath.

Eurovision Haiku #32: Lithuania

A hat full of bling
Atop Baltic Timberlake
Who can do purple