Category Archives: Poland

Poland’s Pick: Donatan & Cleo’s “My Słowianie”

cleo-i-donatanThere’s been a conspicuous hole in the Eurovision participation map since Poland withdrew following the 2011 Contest, when Magdalena Tul (undeservingly) took home the wooden spoon for “Jestem“.  Fans pined for the country that gave us Edyta Górniak, Anna Maria Jopek, and Ich Troje…and were thrilled in December when news of the country’s return arrived.  But who would carry the white and red for the nation in Copenhagen? Read the rest of this entry

Confirmed: Poland Withdraws

Despite the promising news of the return of Montenegro hinting at a record-breaking 44 entries for Eurovision 2012 (even though we have yet to hear confirmation from Armenia…and who knows what’s going on in Slovakia…), the ESC community got the news today that Polish broadcaster TVP would not be sending a representative to Baku.  As the network is focusing time and resources on 2012’s Olympic coverage, as well as that of the European Football Championship (being co-hosted in Poland and Ukraine), the ESC sadly is sent to the back-burner for this year.  However, this does not mean that Poland will be permanently out of the Contest, nor does it mean that they’ve ruled out the idea of broadcasting the show in a non-participatory capacity. Read the rest of this entry

Eurovision 2011: The Best of the Rest (Part 6)

The Netherlands: When the 3Js revealed the quintet of songs that would be vying for the ticket to Düsseldorf, in my mind there was no question that “Je Vecht Nooit Alleen/Never Alone” would take the title.  (The Dutch audience seemed to feel the same way; the song won with over 63% of the public televote!)  If there had to be a substitution, however, my vote would have gone to the upbeat “De Stroom (The Stream)”, which was a more than worthy runner-up:

“De Stroom” is no slouch in itself; while “Je Vecht Nooit Alleen” topped the Dutch charts, “De Stroom” charted at a respectable #12 when it was released as a single in June, six months after the National Song Selection.

Norway: Melodi Grand Prix 2011 was a pretty big affair, with 21 songs split up into three semifinals.  As we all know, Stella Mwangi’s bouncy “Haba Haba” eventually took the crown, only to shockingly crash and burn out of the Semifinals.  (Subpar performance or technical errors?  You be the judge!)  Everyone seemed to have their favorites: fans of traditional Nordic sounds pulled for Helene Bølske’s beautiful “Vardlokk“, the sentimental among us loved Babel Fish’s “Depend on Me“, and fans of sweet pop sent their votes to Hanne Sørvaag’s “Like a Melody“.  As for me, my heart is divided in two.  The not-so-little part of me that loves danceable pop-rock fell in love with The BlackSheeps’ “Dance Tonight”…:

…while the other half of me still sings along to The Lucky Bullets and their rockabilly throwback “Fire Below”:

A tough decision, I know.  What were your favorites?

Poland: Much like the Dutch National Final, once the Polish candidates were revealed, there was definitely a runaway favorite.  Magdalena Tul’s “Jestem” might have come in last place during its Eurovision Semifinal, but it won its National Final with 44% of the public televote (which is pretty impressive, considering it beat nine other songs to grab the title).  With 22% of the public vote, runner-up Anna Gogola served up the fun, quirky “Ktoś taki jak ty (Someone Like You)”:  

And if you’re looking for something with a little bit more of an edge, there was 8th-place finisher Roan with “Maybe”:

Portugal: Homens da Luta’s unforgettable 70’s-era protest song “A Luta é Alegria” stormed to victory in this year’s Festival da Cancão on a wave of public support, getting 12 points from the national televote while the juries only gave them 6.  Inversely, runner-up Nuno Norte got the full 12 from the juries, but fell short when the public televote only gave him 5 points, missing out on the tie by the slimmest of margins.  (Granted, in the case of a tie, the public vote normally determines the winner, so Homens da Luta still would have gone!)  Nuno, the winner of the first season of the Portuguese edition of “Idol”, performed “São os barcos de Lisboa (They’re the Boats of Lisbon)”, a modernized fado:

Grabbing this year’s Portuguese bronze medal (and quite a few hearts) was Rui Andrade’s dramatic ballad “Em Nome do Amor (In the Name of Love)”, which got only five points from the jury, but ten from the televote:

(An interesting point of trivia: if Nuno or Rui had won the ticket to Düsseldorf, they would have been the first male soloists to carry the Portuguese flag since Rui Bandeira in 1999!)

In our next chapter, we’ll look at also-rans from Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Spain!

New Videos/Versions for Bulgaria, Russia, Slovenia, Poland, and Belarus

Over the past few days, a number of official videos have been released for some of this year’s entries (and we’re still expecting ones from Israel, the UK, Armenia, Sweden, and Azerbaijan).  Plus, we’ve got new translations for a few entries!  Let’s get right to it:

Starting off, Bulgaria’s Poli Genova released the official clip for “Na Inat (For Spite)”, and I must say that I’m really impressed!

This new video blends the anthemic pop-rock vibe of Poli’s National Final performance with the universal message of “we can change the world together” that is all-so-prevalent in Eurovision.  Those who don’t understand Bulgarian (like me, for example) will be able to hone into Poli’s meaning pretty easily (if Miss Genova releasing a dove at the end doesn’t hammer it home, you might need your head checked). 

Next, Russia’s Alexey Vorobyov (aka “Alex Sparrow”) released his video for “Get You”, although it looks to be a poor re-edit of the clip for his song “Bam Bam!“.

If you’re going to use clips from your previous singles for your Eurovision promo video, an artist had better make sure that it’s a convincing edit.  The best example of this would have to be the Ukraine’s 2009 clip for “Be My Valentine“, which took pieces from Svetlana Loboda’s earlier songs “Ne Macho“, “Postoy, Muschina!“, and “Mishka“, with only little snippets of new footage.  For “Get You”, however, the lip-syncing seems off, and (for lack of a better word), this just seems sleazy.  Ok, Alex, we get it.  You’re good looking, you likely have your pick of any woman in Russia, and you could probably kick the teeth out of someone who would get in your way.  Good for you.  Moving on…

Oh, Slovenia…you had such promise.  I loved the original Slovene version of your entry “Vaniljia”, and even when it was translated into English, I could look past a few pronunciation errors and still appreciate Maja Keuc’s powerful vocals and dramatic flair.  But the official video…

If the cast from “Mission: Impossible” and “Twilight” had a love child and let her run free in a Renaissance Festival, I imagine the result would look a lot like the clip for “No One”.  Maja looks beautiful, as always, but this video just makes me just want to scratch my head and go “huh?”.  If you remember my commentary on last year’s Macedonian video, the same sentiment goes for this clip. 

The Polish delegation has just released the second English-language version of their song “Jestem“.  After “First Class Ticket To Heaven” was panned by Eurovision fans worldwide (it was enough of a disaster that all versions of it have been removed from YouTube, in fact!), their second attempt, “Present“, is a significant improvement.  The song will still be performed in Magdalena Tul’s native Polish, however.

Finally, the Belorussian team working with Anastasiya Vinnikova has just released a Belorussian-language version of their entry “I Love Belarus”, entitled “Мая Беларусь (My Belarus)“.  (That might have set the record for the amount of times that the word “Belarus” has been written in a single sentence.  I expect a statue in my honor to be built in Minsk by this time next week.)  The song will still be performed in English.  Whether that’s a good thing or not still remains to be seen.

More to come!

It’s Magdalena Tul for Poland!

As a Valentine’s Day gift to Eurofans everywhere, the Polish delegation decided on their representative to Eurovision 2011 today.  After ten performances and a public televote (which, unlike many other national finals, was what the decision was entirely based on, rather than splitting the choice with a professional jury), the Polish decision was made, loud and clear.  With a full 44.47% of the vote (twice as much as the runner-up), the winner was Magdalena Tul’s “Jestem (I Am)”:

Magda, a 30-year-old Gdansk native, is an experienced performer (she’s appeared in local productions of “Miss Saigon”, “Cats”, and “Grease”, among others).

Now, I generally have terrible luck when it comes to having my favorite songs from a preselection actually make it through to Eurovision itself.  “Jestem”, however, immediately stood out to me when I heard it for the first time.  Even though it’s in Polish (a language I don’t speak in the slightest), it’s instantly catchy and memorable, with a great beat.  Poland’s debut entry, “To Nie Ja!“, came in second place back in 1994, but the nation has only made it back into the Top Ten once since then.  In my opinion, this is the best song that Poland has sent to an ESC in years, and if Magda keeps the energy high, this might just end up turning into 2011’s “Shady Lady”.

ESC 2010 Reviews: Poland

(Just as an FYI, as I’m running out of time to post my reviews, I’m going to hold off on my entries on Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom, as they have already qualified for the Finals on May 29th.  Thanks for understanding!)

Poland has been taking part in the ESC since 1994, which is also the year they had their biggest success in the competition, with Edyta Gorniak’s “To Nie Ja (That’s Not Me)“.  Considered one of the best debuts in Eurovision history (both in score and in quality), Poland’s been trying to duplicate that success for the past sixteen years, to little or no avail.  They’ve only had one other Top Ten placing since then, with Ich Troje’s “Keine Grenzen-Żadnych granic (No Borders)“, sung in German and Polish with a smattering of Russian.  The song, a call for peace, came in 7th place.

Poland has often rested on the laurels of “pretty girl + big song”, and despite middling success, they’ve sent some pretty nice tunes.  For example, 1997’s entry, Ana Maria Jopek’s “Ale Jestem (But I Am)“, was a beautiful folk-inspired number, but it only made it to eleventh place.  They’ve sent ballads the last two years that, while beautiful, have either scored in last place in the final nor not qualified at all.  They’ve also sent a few true clunkers.  I still wince when I think about 2007’s “Time To Party” by The Jet Set.  I don’t care how much money you spend on your stage show, you aren’t allowed to rhyme “party” with “party”.  It defies the laws of nature and music. 

After a few years of middling success, Warsaw’s sending Marcin Mrozinski to Oslo with “Legenda”.
Like the Moldovan entry, I feel like this song is trying to combine too many things into three minutes.  There’s the traditional piece, sung in Polish in fits and spurts throughout the song, about a knight who kidnaps a princess.  There’s the violin break, which might be trying to make listeners recall Alexander Rybak from last year.  Then there’s the body of the song, sung in a Google-Translated version of English, that can’t make up its mind if it’s a ballad, rock, or somewhere in between.  Individually, I generally like those elements appearing in Eurovision.  But all in one song?  It’s a bit chaotic, and even when the song draws to a dramatic climax, I’m left kind of cold.  He’ll be in the first semifinal, so who knows if he’ll pass through, but if he makes it to the finals, I’m not sure if he’ll do any better than 15th or 20th place.