Baku Bombardment Of Female Balladeers

Feb 22, 2012 by

After the wise choices of various ESC nations the previous week, Eurovision collectively lost its marbles last weekend, in picking some very suspect entries, none more so than in Latvia and Georgia.
In Latvia, Anmary’s ‘Beautiful Song’ was chosen ahead of the sublimely ridiculous ‘Music Thief’ by Mad Show Boys. Latvia has previous in choosing poorly. Last year the infectious ‘Banjo Laura’ lost out to the lamentable ‘Angel In Disguise’ at its national final, which went on to bow out, as predicted here and a recommended lay for qualification, at the semi-final stage.
Anmary appears to possess a decent enough vocal. It’s just that the song sounds very dated and its lyrics are woeful. Georgia had some decent rock tunes in its national final it chose to overlook. You could have been mistaken for thinking it was April Fools’ Day when Anri Jokhadze singing ‘I’m A Joker’ was announced the winner there. It’s hard to find an adjective harsh enough to describe this aural horror. We can only think Georgia – which invariably sends excellent songs and has finished in the top 12 in the preceding 4 years it has been involved in the ESC – either doesn’t like Azerbaijan so is sending this as some sort of protest, or maybe it doesn’t fancy hosting in 2013.
We reckon a better choice for Italy would have been the winner of Sanremo, Emma, singing the powerful ‘Non e’ L’inferno’. Instead, RAI are sending Nina Zilli to Baku. ‘Per Sempre’ was her song there but this may not be her chosen song in Baku, so Italy needs a watching brief for the time being. Per Sempre is a reasonable enough ballad but not especially stand out in our view.
In Ukraine, we called it correctly with Max Barskih losing out to Gaitana with ‘Be My Guest’. We reckon Max’s ‘Dance’ would have been a wiser choice. Gaitana’s song has certain anthemic qualities but she will have to do a better job with her live vocal, and the staging will need to be much improved for this to develop into any sort of contender in Baku. Of course, Ukraine came up with the sand artist last year that helped a very average ballad finish 4th, so they may yet pull something out the bag with this song, which will be Ukraine’s anthem for Euro 2012 hosting duties in June.
Croatia is sending Nina Badric singing ‘Nebo’ and this strikes us as a decent ballad. Roman Lob will sing ‘Standing Still’ for Germany. This Jamie Cullum-penned tune is pretty good but we wonder if it might get a little lost on the night come the ESC final, and it will certainly need a late draw to mount a challenge.
In Belarus, yet another solo female ballad won through – Alyona Lanskaya singing ‘All My Life’. Much like Croatia’s song, it’s competent enough. The trouble is, it joins an ever expanding list of solo female ballads heading to Baku: Italy, Croatia, Albania, Latvia, Belarus… Spain will send a ballad sung by Pastora Soler. Slovenia looks like sending a solo female ballad too, sung by Eva Boto. Azerbaijan’s Sabina Babayeva is expected to sing a ballad. Likewise Belgium’s entry, sung by Iris and Bosnia’s entry, sung by Maya Sar, could well be ballads. Then there’s Kaliopi’s song ‘Black And White’ for Macedonia, and the favourite to win in Estonia is another solo female ballad – ‘Mina Jaan’, sung by Lenna. So that’s potentially 12 with quite conceivably more to come.
Well sung solo female ballads have a history of receiving decent scores among juries, though maybe this year the competition in this particular genre will be so strong only the very best will be rewarded.
So many solo female heart-felt balladeers also makes us wonder if songs far removed from this category, and which stand alone in the contest, might have a potential advantage if of the required quality, which brings us to Israel’s entry, ‘Time’ by Izabo, recently leaked online. This has since been pulled from YouTube but strikes us as a quirky, catchy tune with definite stand-out appeal.
Looking ahead, we will discover the Austria and Ireland representatives on Friday night, though Jedward look booked for victory in the Emerald Isle already. ‘Waterline’ sounds to us like a very generic boy band pop tune, and lacks the cheeky, instant and in-your-face appeal of last year’s ‘Lipstick’.
In Austria, Conchita Wurst, aka ‘Austria’s bearded woman but actually a man’, has been causing a bit of a stir, but we have doubts about the quality of Conchita’s song ‘That’s What I Am’. Trackshittaz song is weaker than its effort last year that lost out to Nadine Beiler, and 3punkt5 isn’t much better. William Hill have prices on this final and we would rather throw a few quid at the middle-of-the-road crooner James Cottriall at 10-1 singing ‘Stand Up’. Given Nadine’s victory last year, maybe this ‘safe’ entry might have a chance of upsetting the red-hot, if somewhat eyebrow-raising, 1-2 favourite.

The Finnish final is on Saturday and on Sunday we will discover Slovenia and The Netherlands choices. But of most interest will be this evening when Turkey’s ESC tune, sung by Can Bonomo, will be unveiled for the first time during the national news bulletin. To hear it live, tune in here from 5.30pm UK time. It will also be worth keeping an ear to the ground over in Sweden where Danny Saucedo’s song, ‘Amazing’, will be heard for the first time this weekend in semi-final 4 of Melodifestivalen.
Rob Furber

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  1. Kristijan

    James Cottriall is bottom 33/1 at Bwin. I noticed his MOR song but can’t figure out why is he standing so bad – maybe because he’s a foreigner living in Austria? Anyway there is a value there…

  2. Rob

    Sorry for the delay in responding, Kristijan. Very good spot with bwin – that seems an incredibly generous price. We will know more when we learn the Austrian running order (maybe later today?). If James Cottriall is in the last 2 or 3 songs to perform, 33s will be huge.

  3. kristijan

    Well, according to wiki page Conchita is last and James 2nd, not sure if it’s the running order though.

  4. Tim B

    Hi Rob, just wondering if the Austrian running order has been announced yet? James Cottriall is 20/1 on bwin at the moment – still seems generous to me.

  5. Rob

    Hi Tim,
    I’ve not seen anything official yet today. The order given on esc today is as below (but it does not say this will be the running order). If Conchita is up last we can summise that she (he) is probably the chosen one. If this order proves correct, maybe the best way to proceed is a bet on Conchita at 11-10 with bwin also to cover stakes on James. It is definitely only a small play on James Cottriall. Come the ESC semis and final, we will have some much stronger recommendations.


    James Cottriall – Stand up
    !DelaDap – Don’t turn around
    3punkt5 – Augenblick
    Krautschädl – Einsturzgefohr
    Mary Broadcast Band – How can you ask me!
    Papermoon – Vater, father, mon pére
    Norbert Schneider – Medicate my blues away
    Trackshittaz – Woki mit deim Popo
    Valerie – Comme ça
    Conchita Wurst – That’s what I am

  6. Rob

    esc today showing running order as follows – which is not good news for James Cottriall’s chances of making the super-final:

    Participants (The Running Order)

    01: James Cottriall, “Stand Up”
    02: Krautschädl, “Einsturzgefohr”
    03: Valerie, “Comme ça”
    04: 3punkt5, “Augenblick“
    05: Conchita Wurst, “That’s What I Am”
    06: Mary Broadcast Band, “How Can You Ask Me!”
    07: !DelaDap, “Don’t Turn Around”
    08: Papermoon, “Vater, Father, Mon Père”
    09: Trakshittaz, „Woki mit deim Popo”
    10: Norbert Schneider, “Medicate My Blues Away”

  7. Tim B

    I was considering a saver on Conchita Wurst this morning, but 5th in the running order isn’t exactly encouraging for her. Trakshittaz look dangerous from the penultimate slot, despite their (imo) horrendous offering. Would you still advise a saver on Chonchita with this running order?

  8. Rob

    I think it’ll most likely end up Conchita vs Trakshittaz, Tim. With the latter coming 2nd last year, maybe this will give them the edge – they certainly have a better position in the running order. But the whole bearded woman angle is quite compelling and may hand victory to Conchita. Anything above Evens Conchita, probably worth a small saver still.

  9. Rob

    And it was Conchita vs Trackshittaz, & Trackshittaz won. Cottriall was buried by the draw. Fear not guys, keep reading here & we’ll get those small losses back, and go on to win handsomely trading on this year’s ESC 🙂

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