As mentioned by others on here, we’re in need of a bit of joy!
(I am for SURE, because I’m freelance, so if I have to isolate, I don’t get any protection/pay, and if the events I’m meant to be working on – which feature large crowds – get cancelled, I still don’t get any protection/pay)
So what’s the one thing that can usually put a smile on my weary face?
EUROVISION, OF COURSE!
Lads, I’ve some bad news. I’m not even sure Euro is going to keep us grinning at this early stage. Every year we joke that it’s not a vintage year of tunes; this year, I think it might be true.
But there’s really only one way to find out if that’s an accurate assessment, and that’s by casting our ears and eyes over some of the declared runners and riders.
One thing we are sensing so far is a lot of ballads. You know I only got time for about three of those! Maybe none will qualify from the semis, come on guys! So let’s have a look at one or two of them.
Here’s one I like, Italy’s Diodato, with Fai Rumore:
One thing that I’m also a very big fan of this year is entries that are in native languages (or at least a mixture), rather than English, and there are plenty like this! Really making a comeback and that’s a good thing.
Back to the ballads (or OK, slower tempo songs!), and here’s one that’s very popular, albeit not with gnidrah! It’s Albania – this is Arilena Ara, with Shaj:
Meh, she’s a great singer but it doesn’t do it for me. Perhaps it will grow on me over the next few weeks.
Let’s take a moment to look at what the UK has put forward. After a lot of speculation – and an in-house decision by the BBC, rather than a public vote – it was announced that James Newman (brother of John!) will sing My Last Breath in Rotterdam:
I know that this is not going to win. But I do feel, strangely, like this is a step in the right direction for the UK. It seems to be a small recognition of the direction the ESC is moving in, and we can but hope it’s the start of some better years for the UK.
Why don’t we look at some stuff I actually DO like?!
So let’s start with my other mother country, Greece!
Stefania is just 17! She’s so little! But it’s a cute song, pretty different from the rest, and I think they just need some clever staging – like, she has to fly, right?! – and it will do OK!
Here’s a late drop from Austria, which hopefully will also do well for them:
Now I know you’re all very sensible people and not gamblers at all, but let’s say you DID want to put a few of whatever your currency is on a dead cert winner? Well firstly I’d laugh at you, we all know there is no such thing as a dead cert Euro winner (except for probably Mans Zelmerlow’s Heroes a few years ago, even Netta was given a run for her money by Eleni Foureira in Lisbon in 2018); but then secondly I would say, well, there are probably two front-runners right now. And it might not be who you were expecting (shhh, you were expecting, you were)
I give you Lithuania, and Iceland.
I still have to be convinced by Iceland, but a LOT of people think these are the champions-elect. I see that. I do. It’ll probably just take me a bit of time to come round to it, I was the same with Duncan Laurence last year – didn’t love it at first, now I can’t stop listening to it.
Other notables: there’s a lot of love for the German entry Ben Dolic, Belgian pop stars Hooverphonic have a track for their country (but a bit of a disappointment, I fear) Ireland are sending Lesley Roy, Australia’s Montaigne is “subverting the clown aesthetic” – her words not mine – and I do like Norway’s Ulrikke with her song Attention. As I write, I’m catching up with Serbia’s Hurricane, and their track Hasta La Vista – it’s a hot mess of just the right Euro kind.
MAYBE WE’RE ALL GOING TO BE FINE AFTER ALL! EUROVISION IS COMING!