This week, Swear I’m Not Paul will be doing the first batch of Eurovision 2011 Previews. Starting with Semi-Final 1, over the next four days, I’ll be rounding up the first nineteen songs to appear in Dusseldorf on May 10th. There will be five songs today, five tomorrow, and so on until Friday. I’m off on holidays next week, so you’ll have to wait a fortnight for the second Semi-Final. But for now, on with the show…
POLAND: Magdalena Tul – ‘Jestem’ (‘I Am’)
Winner of the Polish final by a massive 44.7%, Magdalena Tul’s self-penned ‘Jestem’ is a breathy europop number, and beat the fantastically named ‘Things Go Better With Rock’ by The Trash into fourth place. The song is all chorus, and little else.
If ‘Jestem’ was a former Irish entry, it would be: Sheeba – ‘Horoscopes’ (1981) – No-one knew what the lyrics were about then either.
NORWAY: Stella Mwangi – ‘Haba Haba’ (‘Little By Little’)
Norway have taken the brave move of sending someone who can’t actually sing at all to Eurovision 2011. Originally from Kenya, Mwangi sings in English and Swahili. ‘Haba Haba’ reached the top of the Norweigan charts last week, where Mwangi has been living since 1991.
If ‘Haba Haba’ was a former Irish entry, it would be: Tina Reynolds – ‘Cross Your Heart’ (1974). Terrible lyrics, and not at all memorable.
ALBANIA: Aurela Gaçe – ‘Feel the Passion’
Originally performed as ‘”Kënga ime’ (‘My Song’), this tune was Aurela Gace’s third winner of the Festivali i Këngës Albanian music festival. Revamped and translated into English for Eurovision 2011, it has a very Mediterranean feel, and features frenetic strings. Her haircut is up there with Jedward too.
If ‘Feel the Passion’ was a former Irish entry, it would be: It’d probably be Celine Dion’s entry for Switzerland, but since that’s not an option, Luv Bug ‘You Can Count On Me’ (1986). Big hair and an overenthusiastic singer.
ARMENIA: Emmy – ‘Boom Boom’
This is what Eurovision is all about. Ridiculously cheesy songs that wouldn’t work anywhere else. With brilliantly bizarre nonsense lyrics, it’s far cheesier than our turgid entry, I wouldn’t rule this one out getting novelty votes from all over. Emmy came second in the Armenian contest last year, losing out to Eva Rivas’ ‘Apricot Stone’ which came 7th in the final.
If ‘Boom Boom’ was a former Irish entry, it would be: Eamonn Toal – ‘Millennium of Love’ (2000). An absolutely brutal attempt at a song, but was strangely memorable, and ended up stuck in your head for days.
TURKEY: Yüksek Sadakat – ‘Live It Up’
You know those cover bands that are still going despite the fact that the members are in their 40s or older? Like those many U2 tributes around the country? Well, Turkish “rockers” Yüksek Sadakat are just like those. They should’ve retired years ago, and Eurovision 2011 must be their testimonial performance, for one last paycheck. The song? Neither rock nor interesting. Sounds particularly dated. In fact, it’s brutal.
If ‘Live It Up’ was a former Irish entry, it would be: Dervish – They Can’t Stop the Spring (2007). These guys are old enough to know better, and really don’t look to be enjoying the experience at all.