Toe-to-Toe ESC Smackdown!
As I’ve said before, April is typically Eurovision No-Man’s-Land as we wait for rehearsals to start. Why not fill the time with a bit of friendly competition?
So many of this year’s artists got to where they are today by standing on the shoulders of giants. Or, at the very least, covering other people’s songs at National Finals or “Idol”/”X-Factor”/”The Voice”-type programs. By sheer luck and coincidence, many of 2012’s Eurovision performers have either covered the same songs as one another, or simply performed past ESC classics. So, in order to pass a bit of time, why don’t we figure out whose versions reign supreme?
Battle #1: Ivi Adamou vs. Loreen (Battle P!nk)
Cyprus’s 2012 representative Ivi Adamou was a contestant on the second series of the Greek version of “The X Factor”, eventually making it to 4th place. Sweden’s Loreen made it to 6th place in 2004’s season of “Idol”. Luckily for the purposes of this blog post, both lovely ladies performed P!nk’s “Just Like a Pill”:
Here’s Ivi’s rendition:
And here’s Loreen’s (in a compilation of all of her “Idol” performances…fast-forward to 12:18):
Battle #2: Eva Boto vs. Roman Lob (Battle Kings of Leon)
This year, both Slovenia’s Eva Boto and Germany’s Roman Lob tackled the Kings of Leon hit “Use Somebody” during their National Final process. Interestingly, both took their chances and slowed down the song’s arrangement in order to highlight their voices.
Here’s Eva’s gentle take on the song:
And Roman’s more straightforward take can be found here (as it’s not available on YouTube or other sites).
Battle #3: Anri Jokhadze and Eva Rivas vs. Raphael Gualazzi (Battle Duke Ellington)
Here’s a smackdown for the ages! Originally written in 1937 and popularized by Duke Ellington, “Caravan” is seen as one of the more enduring classics of jazz. Last year, in the show “10+10”, Georgian and Armenian singers teamed up to perform a series of duets. Lucky for us, 2012’s Georgian singer, Anri Jokhadze, was paired up with 2010’s Armenian representative, Eva Rivas. Here’s their version:
And here’s 2011 Eurovision runner-up Raphael Gualazzi’s more classic version:
Battle #4: Sabina Babayeva vs. Marija Šerifović (Battle Molitva)
As part of Azerbaijan’s Milli Seçim Turu process, contestants had to perform a cover of a Eurovision classic. Sabina decided to break out the big guns and not only take on 2007’s winner, “Molitva”, but give it a try in the original Serbian.
How did Sabina do…
…compared to Marija’s original?
Battle #5: Ott Lepland vs Urban Symphony (Battle Rändajad)
Ott Lepland was the winner of the third season of “Eesti otsib superstaari”, the Estonian version of the “Idol” franchise.
The top three performers that season were given the chance to perform duets, and Ott took the opportunity to sing Urban Symphony’s “Rändajad”, the Estonian Eurovision entry from that year, supported by lead singer Sandra Nurmsalu.
Here’s Ott and Sandra’s version:
And here’s the original, which ended up in a respectable 6th place in Moscow in 2009:
Of course, we can’t let the actual National Final winners have all the fun, can we? I’d be amiss if I didn’t at least give a nod to some other memorable ESC-homages.
From Slovenia, the irrepressible Eva and Nika Prushnik, who could have given Jedward a run for their money with their cover of “Wild Dances”:
From Azerbaijan, Erkin Osmanlı took Russia’s already-sexified “Song #1” and somehow made it even more sinister…(and for the record, he also did a great cover of Robbie Williams’ “Let Me Entertain You” that same week. Azerbaijan, *please* send him and his cane next year?)
After these Battles Royale, don’t you think we’ve all won?