Sam’s Unranked Rankings, 2012!

Well, it’s less than two weeks before I depart for Baku, and the lull of post-preseason-to-pre-Eurovision activity will be replaced with a veritable maelstrom of news, rehearsal footage, interviews, punditry, and behind-the-scenes gossip.  Sounds like a perfect opportunity to publish my own Unranked Rankings, don’t you think?

As some of you might remember from my list last year, it’s very hard for me to pinpoint an absolute favorite.  My preferences change with my mood, the direction of the wind, and whether or not Venus is rising in Scorpio.  In order to placate my often-indecisive streak, I put songs together in groups according to my general opinion of them.  Keep in mind, however, that this list is subject to change as we see the staging of the entries, or simply as time passes (for example, I couldn’t stand “I Love Belarus” at first, but now it’s a complete guilty pleasure that I dance around to in my apartment when I’m sure nobody’s looking).  Furthermore, these rankings are completely unrelated to how I think the songs will actually do on the scoreboard in Baku!

Let’s dive in, shall we?

As always, all songs are available on the official Eurovision.tv YouTube playlist.

Love It!!!  (These songs are the ones that struck me immediately, and have continued to impress me the more I listen to them.  Hearing these songs played four times in a row wouldn’t bother me in the slightest):

  • France: Anggun – “Echo (You and I)”
  • Iceland: Greta Salóme & Jónsi – “Never Forget”
  • Italy: Nina Zilli – “L’amore è femmina (Out of love)”
  • Norway: Tooji – “Stay”
  • Slovakia (Yes, I said Slovakia. I like rock. Deal with it.): Max Jason Mai – “Don’t Close Your Eyes”

Really Like It! (These songs hit my eardrum really well, but not quite as well as the tunes listed above.  I’ll listen to them happily, but maybe just once at a time…):

  • Albania: Rona Nishliu – “Suus”
  • Estonia: Ott Lepland – “Kuula” (This one also wins my annual “Mom’s Choice Award”).
  • Germany: Roman Lob – “Standing Still”
  • Hungary: Compact Disco – “Sound of Our Hearts”
  • Israel: Izabo – “Time”
  • (FYR) Macedonia: Kaliopi – “Crno i Belo”
  • Netherlands: Joan Franka – “You and Me”
  • Sweden: Loreen – “Euphoria”
  • Turkey: Can Bonomo – “Love Me Back”

Guilty Pleasures (I hate to admit how much I love these entries, even though I realize that my credibility as a Eurovision Journalist might suffer because of it):

  • Georgia: Anri Jokhadze – “I’m a Joker”
  • Montenegro: Rambo Amadeus – “Euro Neuro”

Not Bad! (These songs are enjoyable, but not quite as memorable as their counterparts in the first three categories):

  • Austria: Trackshittaz – “Woki Mit Deim Popo”
  • Azerbaijan: Sabina Babayeva – “When the Music Dies”
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina: Maya Sar – “Korake Ti Znam”
  • Denmark: Soluna Samay – “Should’ve Known Better”
  • Finland: Pernilla Karlsson – När Jag Blundar”
  • Malta: Kurt Calleja – “This is the Night”
  • Moldova: Pasha Parfeny – “Lăutar”
  • Russia: Buranovskiye Babushki – “Party for Everybody”
  • Serbia: Željko Joksimović – “Nije Ljubav Stvar”
  • Slovenia: Eva Boto – “Verjamem”
  • Spain: Pastora Soler – “Quédate Conmigo”
  • Ukraine: Gaitana – “Be My Guest”
  • United Kingdom: Engelbert Humperdinck – “Love Will Set You Free”

So-So (I don’t actively dislike these songs, but they leave me feeling somewhat unenthusiastic):

  • Belgium: Iris – “Would You?”
  • Bulgaria: Sofi Marinova – “Love Unlimited”
  • Cyprus: Ivi Adamou – “La La Love”
  • Greece: Eleftheria Eleftheriou – “Aphrodisiac”
  • Ireland: Jedward – “Waterline”
  • Portugal: Filipa Sousa – “Vida Minha”
  • Switzerland (This has more to do with “song-fatigue”, rather than the quality of the entry, as I’ve been listening to this since December…): Sinplus – “Unbreakable”

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory (These entries lost their luster after unfortunate remixes):

  • Belarus: Litesound – “We Are the Heroes”
  • Croatia: Nina Badrić – “Nebo”

Not For Me (I’m not really a fan of these entries, but I don’t find them ear-rippingly terrible):

  • Lithuania: Donny Montell – “Love is Blind”
  • Romania: Mandinga – “Zaleilah”

Umm…No.  (Need I say more?):

  • Latvia: Anmary – “Beautiful Song”
  • San Marino: Valentina Monetta – “The Social Network Song (Oh Oh Uh Oh Oh)”
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Posted on April 29, '12, in 2012, Personal, Special Comment. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. My tops are: France, Italy, Sweden (I like to dance dramatically along with Loreen to this), Iceland, Slovakia, MONTENEGRO!!

    Best Balkan ballad (I feel like they are in their own category) for me is, like Mr. Ewan Spence, Crno i Belo, though I love Suus as well.

    Guilty pleasure is totally Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus. They are fun to be like, whoo! Europop! dance time!

    Like you, I cannot stand Beautiful Song or Social Network Song. But, I would add Lithuania, Austria, and Azerbaijan to this category. I really dislike all of these songs. Especially Austria, god that song is blargh. Keep your intense objectification of women out of my song contest, thank you!

    And finally, why did they do that to Belarus, I mean, it was a good rock anthem. Why make it disco? IT MAKES NO SENSE.

    • Samantha Ross

      Kate, this just provides further proof of why we’re such good friends…our musical tastes, ESC-wise, are pretty close! 😉

      I think my problem with Lithuania is that, while you can’t doubt how much he’s putting into his performance, it just comes across that he’s simply trying too hard. Donny’s been desperate to get to the ESC for the past half-decade, so he’s put every trick he can think of (backflips and all) into “Love is Blind”, hoping it will work. Sometimes less is more, and this is one of those cases.

      As for Azerbaijan, I think Sabina’s got a great voice, and I actually prefer this to “Running Scared”. Even though it’s definitely a Swedish composition (again), at least the arrangement alludes to Azeri culture (mugham in the backing vocal, traditional instruments, etc).

  2. Ranked or unranked, I totally agree with your bottom 2!

  3. I love Denmark, Hungary and Finland! I also really like Serbia. My guilty pleasure, which I won’t admit to anyone because I’m English is the French song. That’s in my top 5. lol Another guilty pleasure is Israel. When I first heard it, I was like “Omg why?” but then I listened to it again and I love it! lol

  4. Also, thank you got submitting your favorites! I’ve been waiting for this forever. lol xD

  5. My faves are the Ukraine, Denmark, Sweden, Belarus (even after the remix !), Spain and France (no guilty pleasure here as I am French, and I do not see why the English should consider this as a guilty pleasure: the 100 hundred year war ended centuries ago and the greatest French community living abroad [I am not in] does live in England ! The French like England and do speak English more and more : what should we do about that ? We do play rugby with you, and make wars with you, not against you !
    I personnally love the English countryside, its lovely sceneries and cottages, as well as the series Midsummer murders with the sympathetic inspector Barnabe: much better than CSI for instance). There is absolutely nothing wrong at liking a French song: that’s what Eurovision is about: going beyond prejudices and misunderstandings if we really want to.

    Croatia used to be among my favorites (before the remix: the remix completely killed the song unfortunately: what a pity !)

    I like a lot Italy, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania and Serbia.

    I don’t dislike most of the remaining songs but they did not please me instantly, I have to say.

    I cannot bear Montenegro and Georgia.

    My guilty pleasure is truly San Marino. I am really amazed myself, as I completely disliked it the first times I heard it, but the melody just turned me on this afternoon, I just don’t know why !!!!

    • Oh, no. lol I was just joking. =D I have a friend from Tours and we always joke with one another about that. There’s always been that French-English rivalry and that was what I was referencing. lol

  6. I forgot to add Finland to my favs. I seriously just love that countries’ entries in the past few yers (except Waldo’s people)

    Also, Montenegro should NOT be listed as a guilty pleasure. Why, it is probably the most currently meaningful and avant garde art produced this year. And such art should be celebrated!

  7. OK I’ve already shared my opinions on most of the songs, so I’ll just say:

    My Absolute Favourites:
    Finland, Romania, Italy, Macedonia, Albania, France

    Next One Down (:P) :
    Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Latvia, Spain, Cyprus, Serbia, Turkey

    Horrible Horrible Entries That Should Be Wiped Off The Face Of The Earth:
    Georgia.

    I’m coming round to Montenegro too *guilt* :/

    I really can’t get into Germany, Azerbaijan, Lithuania and Israel. meh.

    So yeah.. umm… that’s my random list of countries 😛

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