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‘08 Eurovision Favorites

So the morning of the first round of Eurovision semifinals, I had not listened to a single entry in this year’s contest.

I’ve made up for lost time in the last three days—my iPod has been plugged into my ears with the 43 tracks on constant rotation and I can now tell you which are my favorite songs—which is independent of whether or not the songs got through to the finals tomorrow night.

According to my iTunes ratings, I have seven 5-star songs, thirteen 4-star songs, another thirteen have 3-stars, with nine 2-star songs, and one pathetic 1-star song. In the long term the 5-star songs will likely end up on my iPod for a long time, a few of the 4-star songs will make it, while the 2- and 1-star will be listened to only on party shuffle, with the strong possibility that they will get deleted in order to save space on the hard-drive.

With apologies to Monsieur Namur, I think the worst song of the year is Belgium’s. O Julissi by Ishtar is trite in ways that I cannot begin to describe.

Moving on to my seven favorite songs, in alphabetical order by country:

Armenia’s Sirusho with Qele, Qele: This is a pretty energetic song with strong beats—some of which is sung in what I presume is Armenian. It’s some kind of love song with rhyme suggesting to “hold me tight.” I was surprised by how much I liked the song, and it’s going to do well for Armenia (it got through to the finals on Saturday)—it should finish in the top ten easily making it three years in a row for Armenia.

Denmark’s Simon Mathew with All Night Long: This is a happy go lucky song encouraging you to party all night long. It’s good a good beat and will probably be even better when it is remixed. Actually, as I write and listen to it, I have the feeling it is actually a 4-star song in my book. It got through to the finals, and I think it will probably be in the middle of the pack.

UK’s Andy Abraham with Even If: A nice song with a strong beat. “Even if the world stops loving, I could not stop loving you.” It’s a departure from last year’s UK’s entry which was pure satire that was unloved by the rest of Europe. The UK is one of five automatic qualifiers in the contest—given the continent’s hostility to the country, this will probably be one of the bottom four entries, along with Germany, Spain, and France.

Ireland has Dustin the Turkey singing Irelande Douze Pointe: This song fall squarely into the category of satire combined with the false belief that including the name of every country in the song will result in getting lots of votes both in the semi-final and the finals. We’ll never know if the later half of the equation would have worked since the song didn’t get through the first round. The song is a terrific send-up, but Ireland forgets that satire isn’t appreciated by all the countries that are voting, and that not everybody watches the BBC’s coverage of Eurovision: Most people don’t know who Terry Wogan is, or the fact that he wears a wig. I love the song, but I could tell this one was going nowhere.

Malta with Morena singing Vodka: This is a strongly upbeat song with a whole lot of energy. It’s hard for me to describe what this song is about, but I find that I like the rhythm and beat quite a lot. It goes by really fast as it promotes vodka. The song did not make it out of the semi-finals, so it will only last on my iPod.

Sweden with Charlotte Perrelli singing Hero: This is the song that the BBC has tipped to win the whole contest, and it got through the semi-finals. It’s a dance number, make no mistake, and I suspect it will be energizing dance floors at gay clubs in Europe for the next several years. Charlotte won the contest for Sweden back in 1999, so she’s going for the second victory this time around. I think she can do it—it’s a story about love and compassion, and even though it’s dancy, it might just do well in the eastern European countries that prefer traditional music forms.

Slovenia with Rebeka Dremelj singing Vrag Naj Vzame: Ok, so it’s a dance like song sung in Slovenian, “To Hell With It,” and it didn’t get through to the finals, but I like the cadence of the words. I could imagine the words infecting my imagination even as I don’t understand what the words mean.

For the record: Germany’s entry, No Angel’s Disappear, is pretty nice. I like the beat, but for whatever reason it didn’t become the love of my life.

Ultimately I am rooting for Armenia or Sweden to win it all—I have to lean for Armenia because winning the contest might bring a lot of media attention to the country and stop their government from becoming too awful.

For those of you who are really curious, here is Belgium’s entry:

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