Tag Archives: malta

Eurovision 2012 Preview Part 8 – Malta, Belarus and Portugal

Time to preview three more countries all bidding to qualify from the second semi-final on 24 May. Unlike any of the other trios being previewed this year, none of today’s threesome have ever won the contest, although the first country, Malta, has come very close on a number of occasions, most recently in 2005. This year, they’re sending Kurt Calleja (who appears to have the same stylist and wardrobe as Marcus Collins), singing This is the Night. The video starts with what appears to be a resurrection of those grisly Doritos “Friendchip” ads from about a decade ago, in which Kurt and friends watch a home video of him somewhere very cold. It then turns into a riot of quiffs, bow-ties, floodlights and Tulisa on drums. Really it just needs the shouty voiceover man to go “KURT CALLEJA!”

It even has the vibe of an X-Factor runner-up’s debut single (i.e. okay but fairly unmemorable). On now to everyone’s favourite European dictatorship, Belarus. Last year, they sent someone telling everyone how much she loved her home country. The rest of Europe wasn’t buying that one, but undeterred Belarus are sending another self-aggrandising entry, as boyband Litesound (who appeared to have pilfered from will.i.am’s wardrobe) perform We Are the Heroes.

A testament to the perils of overusing straighteners (apart from the one with the blond hair, who’s testament to the perils of using eyeliner). Incidentally, they actually came second in the selection contest, only for the winner to be disqualified after it was discovered there had been shady dealings in the voting process. Ironically, this was uncovered by the country’s president.

Last up today are Portugal. The Portuguese are arguably the greatest under-achievers in the history of Eurovision – they’ve been entering almost every year for nearly half-a-century, and have still yet to achieve a Top 5 finish. Indeed, it’s 16 years now since they last made the Top 10. This year they’re hoping to restore their fortunes with Filipa Sousa, who sings Vida Minha, or “Life of Mine”. Potentially this is quite a powerful ballad, but unfortunately it’s serially undermined by backing singers who look like they’ve stepped out of the Apprentice boardroom; a pair of dancers whose peripheral presence keeps forcing the cameras away from the singer; and by increasingly enthusiastic deployment of a wind machine towards the end.

Given the rule about not having more than six people on stage at any one time, something will have to give at the Contest itself between the backing singers and the dancers. As that performance stands, you get the feeling there’s a lack of confidence in the song and the singer in themselves being enough to get Portugal through to the final.

And that’s it for today. Next time, the 2012 efforts of Ukraine, Bulgaria and Slovenia will be getting a thorough examination. See you then!

Chris x

Advertisements

Eurovision 2011 Preview: Malta, San Marino and Croatia

A triple helping of Eurovision as promised today. We begin with Malta, officially the most successful country never to have won the contest. After a few unsuccessful forays in the 70s, Malta returned to Eurovision in 1991. What followed was a remarkable run in which they finished in the Top 10 in all but three out of 15 years. The last few years, however, have seen a very sorry reversal in fortune, with songs either failing to qualify for the final or, if they do make it, finishing at the wrong end of the leaderboard. I’m not sure that this year’s entry, One Life performed by Glen Vella, will improve their situation. It’s dance-pop by numbers, enlivened only by the two backing dancers nicked from a Pet Shop Boys concert who seem to be doing a camped-up recreation of the video for New Order’s True Faith:

Next up are San Marino. The Sammarinese have only entered Eurovision once before, in 2008. And it didn’t end well as they finished last in their semi-final with just 5 points. The microscopic nation will be hoping it can do rather better with this entry, Stand By, performed by Senit. It might get a few more points, but it feels too inoffensive and unremarkable (with a video that looks like an M&S ad) to make any real impact:

Last up in this threesome are Croatia. Like Malta, Croatia enjoyed a strong run of form in the 1990s (culminating in Doris Dragovic finishing 4th in 1999), but have seen that form tail off badly in the last few years. Here’s this year’s entry, Celebrate peformed by Daria. Like the Maltese effort, it’s been lyrically assembled from the cliche database marked “Life-Affirming”. She also looks a bit too excited to have got hold of a bubble gun:

Could do quite well, depending if that’s what the viewers and juries are after (and given the prevailing economic gloom, a bit of escapism might be just the ticket for them). On the other hand, it starts to make Lady Gaga’s Born This Way look like a masterpiece rather than a bit dull.

Classic corner time now. Frankly no consideration of Malta’s Eurovision history would be complete without Chiara. She’s represented Malta three times, and here’s her first outing from 1998, when she finished 3rd with The One That I Love. A few bum notes and a really horrible dress aside, it’s a classic bit of 90s Eurovision balladry:

I mentioned earlier that Croatia’s best Eurovision performance to date was in 1999, when Doris Dragovic came 4th. So here she is with the song in question, Maria Magdalena, continuing the fine line of camp musical Dorises stretching back to Doris Day and Doris from Five Star:

Diva-tastic, non? There’s three more coming your way tomorrow, as we go far north, down south and somewhere in between…

Chris x

Eurovision 2010 Haiku #11: Malta

Woman molested
By giant albatross in
Freudian nightmare

Eurovision Haiku #17: Malta

Third appearance as
Malta’s Rubensesque singer
Shows Jade how it’s done