Eurovision 2011: The Best of the Rest (Part 7)
Romania: Romania’s National Selection was an hours-long affair that also doubled as a New Year’s Celebration, with 2010 representatives Paula Seling and Ovi co-managing hosting duties. Guest stars Chiara and Niamh Kavanagh even stopped by to join in the fun. At the end of the night, Hotel FM won the ticket to Germany with the peppy, optimistic “Change“. (British-born lead singer David Bryan provided quite a bit of fun for my friends and I at the Press Center, whether he knew it or not…David, if you’re reading this, thanks for being so good-natured about all of it!)
The Romanian National Selection was pretty even-keeled, in the sense that none of the songs really strayed too far from the melodic pop mold. Unfortunately, that means that it’s somewhat difficult to point out a unique entry for the purposes of this blog! That being said, I consistently smile whenever I hear “It’s So Fine”, the 7th-place finisher from the Blaxy Girls:
…and I was more than a little amused by the country tinge I heard from Dalma in “Song for Him”, which came in 11th place:
Serbia: Broadcaster RTS sent the impossibly adorable Nina and her Swinging-60s number “Čaroban (Magical)” to Düsseldorf, and the Belgrade-born Pharmacy student definitely made her mark. In my opinion, the Serbian delegation had the best costumes this year, and anybody who gleefully admits she’s a nerd automatically wins points in my book!
RTS put an interesting spin on their National Final this year: they pitted three members of the musical Kovac family against each other (father Kornelije against daughters Aleksandra and Kristina), and challenged each of them to compose a candidate entry. In the end, it was Kristina who won out (getting nearly 15,000 televotes, compared to Aleksandra’s 6,000 and Kornelije’s 4,000), but let’s take a quick peek at what her dad and big sister put together:
Kornelije’s entry, “Ring Ring Ring” performed by The Breeze, was another ’60s-style number, taking more from the early Beatles than from Edie Sedgwick. However, while “Čaroban” still sounded catchy and fresh, “Ring Ring Ring” seemed oddly stuck in the past:
Aleksandra decided to perform “Idemo dalje (Move On)” herself, and she served up a pretty respectable ballad that wasn’t too far removed from the formula that served Marija Serifovic well when she won Eurovision in 2007 with “Molitva”:
Slovakia chose their song internally, so we turn our attention to…
Slovenia: After missing out on the Final every year since 2007, Maja Keuc’s “No One” was a fantastic return to form for the country that brought us Alenka Gotar and Darja Švajger. Maja was incredibly confident and capable in her performance, and I spent about half of my time in the Press Center wondering where I could buy her boots…
Coming in second place in this year’s Slovenian National Selection (or EMA) was “Ladadidej”, performed by the Lady Gaga-inspired April. The song was catchy as anything, but I kept getting distracted by the gold-lamé soufflé perched atop her head:
Another entry taking her style cues from the Mother Monster was Tabu, with “Moje Luci (My Light)”:
After all of that, though, my personal favorite was Nina Pušlar‘s “Bilo lepo bi (It would be nice)”, a well-crafted pop confection from last year’s EMA runner-up:
Spain: This year’s Spanish preselection, “Destino: Eurovisión”, brought in twenty-four artists and had them performing ESC covers until the group was eventually winnowed down to three. It wasn’t until the candidates had been narrowed down to soloist Melissa, boyband Auryn, and eventual winner Lucía Pérez that the audience heard the possible songs for Düsseldorf. Each finalist performed three entries apiece, with a professional jury deciding the best song for each performer. Finally, the top songs were compared against each other, with the public audience deciding the ultimate champion.
Lucía’s “Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao” was selected for her by the jury, and eventually won the night, but it was almost not to be. After the jury cast their votes, the song was actually tied with “Abrázame”, which Lucía had called out as her favorite of the night, and closer to the style that she tended to sing (and part of the audience vocally agreed with her). However, as the jury had given more top marks to “Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao”, the upbeat number was picked. Here’s what could have been:
It hasn’t been made public who came in second or third (although we know that Lucía won with 68% of the vote that night), but here is Auryn’s “Volver (Return)”:
…and here’s Melissa, performing “Eos”:
The next post concludes ESC Insider’s National Final series, where we take a peek at Sweden, Switzerland, and the always-dramatic Ukraine!