Tag Archives: spain

Eurovision 2012 Preview Part 14 – Azerbaijan, Spain and Germany

Well here we are. One week to go until the final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, and today it’s the last of our preview blogs for this year. As well as taking a look at the final trio of entries, we’ll also be seeing who the bookmakers reckon are in the running to take the title this year.

First up in the previews today are the hosts, Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s win last year was, in a way, inevitable, as they had gone all-out to win in previous years and had got closer and closer. Ell and Nikki’s victory has brought the contest to Baku, and hoping to impress the rest of Europe in front of the home crowd when she performs 13th on the night is Sabina Babayeva, singing When the Music Dies. Sabina goes for the full-on diva thing here, in a flat that’s clearly in need of new central heating.

There’s a tradition in Eurovision that the hosts present an entry that’s solid enough to perform respectably in the voting, but not so strong that they risk having to foot the bill for a second year (though of course Ireland in the 1990s, try as they might, never quite got the hang of this). The Azerbaijan entry definitely falls into this category – it’ll probably achieve a Top 10 finish, but the contest is sure to be headed West after 26 May.

Performing 19th out of the 26 in the final will be Spain. It’s getting on for a decade now since the Spaniards last had a Top 10 finish in Eurovision, their results in recent years having been poor-to-middling. They’re hoping to get back in the game this year with Pastora Soler, who gives a belting performance singing Quédate Conmigo, or “Stay With Me”. There’s lots of slow-motion dancing before, near the end and for no apparent reason, Pastora acquires a load of feathers and chucks a bucket of water over her dance partner.

Back in the mid-1990s, you could barely move for big ballads like that in Eurovision. It might get a decent amount of votes next Saturday, but will need a really strong, compelling vocal performance. And preferably no feathers.

And so to the very last country to get the preview treatment this year, Germany, who’ll be taking to the stage straight after Spain on the night. Germany of course got right back in the game a couple of years ago, as following on from a pretty dismal string of results they won courtesy of Lena. Lena then represented them again last year, this time just about scraping inside the Top 10. This year they’re represented by the puppy-eyed, check-shirted Roman Lob, performing Standing Still. The song, to be frank, is Matt Cardle-level dull, and viewers are best advised to amuse themselves by constructing some cub-based Eurovision slash fantasies involving Roman and Ott Lepland.

Mmm, Roman and Ott. I’m sure Germany and Estonia could do with finding new ways to strengthen diplomatic relations. Ahem, anyway. The song? Yes, well, bit balladed-out now to be honest. Again, I think Germany’s performance will probably be respectable rather than spectacular when it comes to the vote.

And that, girls and boys, is that. Forty-two countries all previewed and commented upon. So who’s going to win? As I’ve mentioned previously, Sweden are the hot favourites, followed by Italy and Russia. The bookies also seem to think Engelbert stands a good chance, with many having the UK as 4th favourite (although to be fair, our chances are always bigged up by the bookmakers). Serbia, Iceland, Romania and Denmark are all seen as likely contenders for a Top 10 placing at least, with slightly longer odds on Ireland, Spain, Germany, Norway, Greece and Cyprus. Down at the other end of the odds, those who are feeling particularly brave (or foolish) may be tempted to have a flutter on Montenegro, Portugal or San Marino. And frankly, if you put a bet on San Marino to win with the F***b**k song, you presumably want to lose money.

One final thing: where will you be watching the Eurovision final next Saturday? At your own place? Maybe at a friend’s? Or at a venue that’s showing the contest? If you’re not sure and at a bit of a loose end, then you could do a lot worse than come to the LGBT Labour Eurovision Party, which starts at 7pm next Saturday, at 2022nq on Dale Street, Manchester. There’ll be food, drink, a raffle and other fun stuff going on. Tickets are £10 and for more information, you can go to the Facebook (uh oh oh) page here.

It’ll be a fabulous evening – but then any evening involving Eurovision is guaranteed to be fabulous. I’ll be live-tweeting both semi-finals and the final – you can follow me @crispeater. And I’ll be reviewing the whole shebang on here next Sunday. Until then, have a fabulous Eurovision, whatever you’re up to (and wherever you’ll be)!

Chris x

Eurovision 2011 Preview: Italy and Spain

Time for our penultimate preview of this year’s Eurovision hopefuls. Starting with Italy, who make their return to the contest after an absence of fourteen years. Having been present at every Eurovision from the start until 1980, Italy then started being increasingly sporadic due to supposed national indifference. When they could be bothered to send someone, that person usually did well – in particular Toto Cutugno, who won in 1990, and then co-hosted the following year, his irritating “knockabout” style paving the way for Roberto Benigni (for this, no thanks). But since 1997, there’s been silence from the Italians – until now. Here then is Raphael Gualazzi with Madness of Love. Raphael would appear to be Italy’s answer to Jamie Cullum (only taller and slightly better-looking), his piano-playing intercut with what looks like a remake of the old Renault ads where Papa and Nicole finally give in to incestuous impulses:

It’s good to have them back, anyway, and they have reasonable odds to finish Top 10. Wonder if Luxembourg can be persuaded to make a return next year? Next today is the Spanish entry. Spain haven’t missed a contest since they debuted in 1961 (only the UK can boast a longer unbroken run), but in recent years they’ve come to look as though they’re doing little more than making up the numbers in the final – no Top 10 finish since 2004, and the last time they seriously challenged for the crown was in 1995. Not even a stage invasion that led to it being performed twice could save last year’s entry from mid-table mediocrity. Maybe this year will be their return to form (although odds of 150-1 suggest otherwise). Here, anyway, is Lucía Pérez with Que me quiten lo bailao, a pleasant mix of flamenco and FM pop, but sadly unlikely to trouble the big hitters:

So now it’s time for the classic corner. First up is the Spanish classic, and we go back to 1990. The first song to be performed in Eurovision in that decade was Azucar Moreno with Bandido, the country’s second showcasing of flamenco, and a brave move given the nul points humiliation visited upon Remedios Amaya seven years previously. Thankfully, and despite a technical hitch that led to a false start, this flamenco house number finished a very strong 5th:

I suspect it would have done better still had it not been for that rather sudden finish. Talking of finishes, today’s preview ends with the classic Italian entry. 1990 was the year Italy won for the second time, but I’m not going to foist Toto upon you all. Instead, we’re going all the way back to 1964 and Italy’s first victory. It came courtesy of Gigliola Cinquetti singing Non ho l’età. Given she was only 15 at the time, and the song’s title translates as I’m Not Old Enough, it’s a wonder this didn’t get banned. So ignore, if you can, the dodgy subtext, and enjoy a melodramatic 1960s love song Italian style:

Now guess which British singer covered that? Dusty Springfield, maybe? You’d think. But no. Vera Lynn. Seriously. You can’t say Eurovision isn’t full of surprises. And now we’ve nearly reached the end of our preview. Just one more song to go and it’s the United Kingdom entry – I think you probably already know my feelings about this effort, but I’ll be previewing it tomorrow and doing an overall round-up of this year’s songs. Plus, of course, the best United Kingdom Eurovision entry ever. See you then!

Chris x

Eurovision 2010 Haiku #38: Spain

A Spanish Mika
Goes to the circus with some
Very creepy dolls

Eurovision Haiku #41: Spain

Walking in the woods
In platform heels is really
Not recommended