As is customary, prior to the Eurovision Final tonight, I skip through the Semi-Finals and watch all those entries that sadly didn’t make it through. It appears that this year, Europe has discovered dubstep, and they are still obsessed with banging enormous drums, so their attempts to crow-bar in one, or even both, elements into their songs have led to some fairly unlistenable dirge. But here are my absolute must-see picks of what you missed (largely drawn from semi-final two, it would seem):
Montenegro: Who See – Igranka
Astronauts. Rapping. Just what you would expect. Until the lady with the chorus rockets out of the ground (Hell?) and unleashes a dubstep screech wearing assorted electrical components as if she’s fallen into the bargain bin at her local Maplin’s. Nice growls at the end.
Latvia: PeR – Here We Go
Seemingly trying to ride on the crest of the ‘Ready to Rhumble’ revival, it’s a bit too “Everybody clap your hands!” for its own good. The lead’s mate is apparently beatboxing, but you couldn’t tell with the sound levels, so he just ends up looking like an enthusiastic fan of his friend. There’s a bit when computer noises are piped in as they do a weird robot slo-mo creep-step, and is capped off with apparently the first ever stage-dive in Eurovision history – we know because he announces this. If they had made it through, would he repeat it, announcing it was now the second ever stage-dive in Eurovision history? Sadly, we’ll never know.
FYR Macedonia: Esma & Lozano – Pred Da Se Razdeni
Standard ballad fluff, right? Just wait until Esma (or is that Roseanne Barr?) strides across the stage, like an extra from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Never has trying to mix traditional and modern music worked so badly. It sounds like the L and R in my headphones are playing two completely different, but equally awful, songs at once!
Albania: Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko – Identitet
Rock, now, and what would happen if esteemed cult film critic Kim Newman joined Kings of Leon? You’d get this guy, right? There’s an explosive guitar solo, and the mix of big beats, trad strings and upbeat rock actually works surprisingly well. One of the better losers.
Bulgaria: Elitsa Todorova, Stoyan Yankulov – Samo Shampioni
Unfortunately, this kitchen-sink approach to mixing contemporary and traditional sounds is like an instant headache in a can. There’s folky dress, wub-wubs, multiple drums, and Dappy on bagpipes. Just no.
Switzerland: Takasa – You And Me
Not an awful pop tune, but trying to get the sympathy vote by including a 95 year old man on the double bass backfires – he just looks a bit confused and I end up feeling a bit worried for him. The Book of Mormon was better.
San Marino: Valentina Monetta – Crisalide (Vola)
Now hang on, how come no-one told me Valentina Monetta was representing San Marino again? Okay, it’s no The Social Network Song, but I’m starting to feel sorry for the girl, rejected twice in a row. And it’s a surprisingly decent, spirited performance too. Perhaps people didn’t dig the Melisandre from Game of Thrones look?