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Saturday, May 20, 2006
My pre-voting Eurovision 2006 analysis OVERALL: This was a pretty good year. In fact, this was my favorite ESC since 2000, with about half a dozen songs I can imagine sticking on an iPod. Even the middling acts performed reasonably well. SONG BY SONG: Switzerland: Flashy performance of a solid song Moldova: Boring song and boring performance Israel: The song got a better and more energetic performance than it deserved. Perhaps the group will go on to do better things. Latvia: I know, the robot was cute. But it was also clunky and the song had a parallel sort of clunkiness to it. Norway: Wow! This singer has a voice that is a perfect clone of Sissel Kyrkebo, one of my favorite artists. She gets bonus points for that. I really like the song. The performance was stiff and uninspired, but who cares about that if the music is good enough? Spain: This seems like the generic, cookie-cutter entry we get from Spain most years. It was even slightly off-key. And who came up with the idea of sitting on chairs as a dynamic presentation? Malta: The song may be generic, but it was still quite listenable and the performance was energetic and competent. Germany: I know, it's gimmicky. But it's also a decent song and these people are having fun. They won me over, even if the song wasn't the best. Denmark: Nice, if unchallenging, song. Lots of energy fails to compensate for somewhat limited material. Russia: Singing it slightly off-key didn't help. It looks like someone wants to be part of a boy band but didn't make it past the auditions. Macedonia: This one has grown on me since the semifinals, but I still consider it mediocre. Romania: The song is OK, with a catchy little chorus I don't understand. The performance was great. I like this one well enough to add it to my mp3 rotation. Bosnia and Herzegovina: The song is pretty, and it gets some credit for that. It's actually a nice piece of art. However, this was a year with strong competition and nothing made this one stand out in my mind. Lithuania: May they all suffer from untreated guinea worm disease. I hate the song, even though the presentation was competent. If frat boys entered Eurovision, this would be their entry. United Kingdom: Daz Simpson is a really nice act. I did think the beginning of the song was a bit grating, but it really grabbed me after 30 seconds or so. In a different year, this would be a real contender. As it is, the watered-down lyrics and vanilla hip-hop aren't enough to overcome other, better performances. Greece: The singer reminds me of Bonnie Tyler. I like Bonnie Tyler. But the song was generic. Finland: This Gwar-inspired group has the same strengths and weaknesses of other shock metal bands: great costumes, limited musical ability, and -- in this case -- watered down, inoffensive lyrics praising rock and roll. Ukraine: This is another one that could make it onto my personal playlist. Such energy! France: For such an insipid, simple ballad, an extraordinary voice is required to give it life. Alas, the singer is no Celine Dion. Her voice just isn't very powerful or skilled. This was one of the worst performances in the show. Croatia: How very...Croatian. There was no attempt to connect to an international audience here, which is a sign of cultural integrity but a poor approach to winning over an audience. Personally, I didn't much care for it. Ireland: I don’t see what all the fuss was about. The singer and song didn't suck -- but that doesn't mean they should be in the top ten or anything. I ranked this one right in the middle of the pack. Sweden: I love Carola, so I come into this with some prejudice. She's simply a better singer than most other contestants, even though the song merely good and the performance was nothing special. She really does elevate the song above most of the amateurs' attempts. The combination of her voice and a solid song is better than almost everything else in the contest. Turkey: I found the "spoken" sections of the song to be boring, since they didn't really keep a rhythm going. The act had so much stage presence; I just wish they'd brought a different song to the party. Armenia: I didn't see why they got through the semifinals, but now I'm beginning to understand. This song has grown on me, but that only brings it up to the level of the average song. The performance was sincere but otherwise uninteresting to me. Ranking (Best to Worst): The TOP TEN: 1 NORWAY!!! 2 Sweden 3 Germany 4 Finland 5 Ukraine 6 Bosnia and Herzegovina 7 Greece 8 United Kingdom 9 Romania 10 Switzerland The BOTTOM FIVE: 20 Croatia 21 Spain 22 Moldova 23 France 24 Lithuania (DIE! DIE! DIE!)

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