Eurovision 2015 – France, Portugal and Spain

What do these three countries have in common this year at the Eurovision song contest? If your answer is three beautiful women with strong stage presence, all singing ballads, you would be correct. But there’s one more thing.

What they have in common is actually what they don’t share in common: they are all singing in their natives tongues. This year’s Eurovision is not only Balladvision; it also Anglovision. Only seven countries (Finland, France, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal, Romania and Spain) aren’t presenting songs in English. It’s a trend that has to stop, so I dearly wish one of these countries will be the winner.

Can one of these three women make it to the top? Let’s take a listen.

Lisa Angell was chosen by internal selection to represent France with her song N’oubliez Pas (Do Not Forget.)

Leonor Andrade was chosen by national selection to fly the Portuguese flag in Vienna with her song Ha Um Mar Que Nos Separa (The Sea that Separates Us.)

Edurne was chosen by internal selection to represent Spain with her song Amanecer (Daybreak.)

First things first. Hey, leather vest Spanish dude: you don’t turn and run from a tiger! You back away slowly, not making eye contact. Haven’t you ever watched National Geographic or whatever the Spanish equivalent is? Yeesh.

Had to get that off my chest.

That aside, I would say that Edurne is the strongest singer and Amanecer is the best song of the three. Lisa Angell is a close second in terms of voice, but N’oubliez Pas isn’t as exciting. Portugal has an exciting song, but Leonor Andrade isn’t nearly as good a singer as these other two women.

Honestly, I don’t see any of these women as a winner. I think Spain has a decent chance of making the top 10, depending on when they perform in the finale. If Edurne is in the midst of a batch of weaker ballads, she could very well stand out enough to win votes.

Best wishes to all three of these women and heartfelt thanks for keeping it real and resisting the urge to go Anglo.

Eurovision 2015 – Australia

That’s right. Not Austria. Australia.

The Aussies are mad about Eurovision. The contest has been broadcast in Australia for 30 years to an ever increasing audience. In honor of this popularity, Eurovision invited Australia to compete in the 60th Anniversary show. They will compete only in the finale, not the semi-finals. This is a one-off opportunity, unless of course Australia wins.

Could happen. Or could it? The best way to judge is to check out the Australia’s official video. Guy Sebastian will be proudly waving the Aussie flag in Vienna with his song Tonight Again.

When this started, all I could think is, “Please, not another ballad.” It’s not! It’s a fun and upbeat R&B number that is so refreshing to the ears. It reminds me just a bit of Uptown Funk in that it makes you want to get up and move to a funky beat. Guy Sebastian has a soulful voice and is an accomplished performer.

Go Aussie! This is good stuff. I really enjoyed it. Is it a winner? Hmm. You know, with the right momentum, it could be. It’s certainly a strong dark horse contender. I would put money on Tonight Again being in the top 10.

Well done, Australia. What a great debut! Kisses and best wishes from another non-EBU country!

You can find out more about Guy Sebastian here.

Eurovision 2015 – Moldova

Woo-hoo! Not a ballad! Right there, Moldova is already on my good side. Let’s see if they can stay on it. At least they’ll bring some variety to Balladvision… er… Eurovision 2015.

Eduard Romanyuta was chosen by national selection to wave Moldova’s flag in Vienna with his song I Want Your Love.

The official video is absolutely ridiculous. It’s like watching Justin Bieber have a Grand Theft Auto fantasy. Ugh. Plus, he sounds auto-tuned AF. So, I searched out his winning performance at O Melodie Pentru Europa.

Ahem. Well. It’s definitely better than the official video in that he’s giving a decent performance. His voice isn’t great. As for the song, I Want Your Love is a ’90s boy band-esque pop confection. Eduard Romanyuta reminds me a bit of Norway’s 2012 performer, Tooji, except Tooji is a better singer and dancer.

Norway came in last in the 2012 finale. Just sayin’.

If this was another year, I don’t think Eduard Romanyuta would have a chance to make it to the finale. However, amidst all the ballads, I Want Your Love sounds cheerful and infectious, and will get people moving. The new ‘do in the official video makes him look a lot cuter. He could pull this off. Best wishes to him, regardless.

You can find out more about Eduard Romanyuta here.

Balladvision 2015

Every year since 2012 I have, in various blogs, posted reviews of all the participating countries in the Eurovision song contest. Sadly, this year will be different because this year I am… well, Sherlock puts it best:

Bored. Swap out “criminal classes” with “EBU countries” and “wall” with “blog.” There are only so many times I can say, “well, what do you know, another ballad that sounds like all the other ballads” before I start becoming snarky and mean-spirited.

What brought this on is listening to three ballads in a row and not wanting to review any of them. I’m not going to name countries, but from this point forward, if I don’t review a song it’s because my reaction was “meh.” I’m more likely to review a song I don’t like than one that bores me.

Eurovision 2015 has become Balladvision and Anglovision. Don’t get me wrong. I like a good English-language ballad as much as the next person, but that doesn’t mean I want to listen to 30+ in a row.

This isn’t a diss against the performers! They are talented professional artists who deserve accolades for representing their countries. Many of them do not choose the songs they perform at Eurovision.

I love Eurovision and remain an avid fan, but I’m disappointed in this year’s contest. Here’s hoping 2016 brings the variety a show of this caliber needs!

Eurovision 2015 – Italy

Grazie mille Il Volo for singing in Italian.

Of all the other countries I have reviewed so far, only Finland’s Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät have sung in their native tongue. It was starting to feel like Anglovision instead of Eurovision. Really, I get it. I know that performers who sing in in English are more likely to win. English is currently the universal language. It is my first and only language. But part of what I love about Eurovision is its international flavor. The contest starts losing that flavor when it’s all in one tongue.

I’ll be doing another post about 2015 being Balladvision.

This post is about Italy and their artists, Il Volo, who won the national competition with their song Grande Amore. The official video is a silly bit of business with movie references. Their winning performance at Festival di Sanremo is amazing and must be seen!

Wowza! Now that’s how to make a ballad memorable: three handsome men with operatic voices and power pop chops. What a terrific performance and great song. No wonder they won Festival di Sanremo. This live performance is far superior to the official video; it’s a shame they didn’t use it. Plus, dat wink at about 2:37! Swoon.

One small problem is the song in both videos is too long. They’re going to have to trim almost a minute off to make it work. I don’t think that will be a big problem.

I’m calling top three on Il Volo and Grande Amore. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Eurovision makes its home in Italy next year. Bravo bravo!

You can find out more about Il Volo here.