Saturday, January 23, 2010

ESC 2010: Norway, third quarter-final

Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence.
Robert Fripp

Broadcasting from the heart of Grenland, sheesh ...

Entry #1: Mira Craig - I'll Take You High, performed by Craig herself. When she competed in 2008, we came fifth, so she has some ESC credentials to show for herself. But that song was way better than this one. A much stronger composition. This song is much more standard and it has no real hook ... I'll be forgetting this as soon as I've heard it. Her dress isn't becoming and the whole performance is just screwed up ... Craig called it, what, 'artistic' herself, but personally I just see it as a way of saying that this song isn't strong enough on its own merit, so the performance has to be ridiculously showy to make up for it. Nah. I don't want to hear this again in the semi - or in the final, even worse - and if I/we do, then it'll be only because of Craig's established fan base. Nowhere near her last ESC effort. No way we can send this. >:-(

Entry #2: Olaf Øwre and Fred Endresen - Barracks on the Hill, performed by Endresen. Wahey!! Now we're talking!! Here's a song I'd be happy to see one more time, and I'm sure we will see it. Very catchy song, great chorus, the singer has a nice voice and there's lots of energy in the performance. The choreography isn't much to write home about, but that can be changed. A quality entry - ESC quality, anyway. ;-)

Entry #3: Robin Nordahl, Frode Andersen and Gerard James Borg - Million Dollar Baby, performed by Belinda Braza. Who is supposedly a total perfectionist and a professional dancer ... but I have to say that these qualities are not apparent from this performance. o_O She also has a very weak voice ... if you're out of breath halfway through the first verse, I'm sorry to say that you're probably not ESC material. Borg is an extreme ESC heavyweight - he's written more than 30 entries! - but this song won't be one of his triumphs. A standard poppy dance tune presented in an only semi-professional-looking performance. Sorry, thanks, but no thanks.

Entry #4: Hanne Sørvaag and Fredrik Kempe - My Heart Is Yours, performed by Didrik Solli-Tangen. The pre-show favorite. I like Kempe, he cowrote my favorite non-participating ESC entry ever. (Cara mia, which came second in the Swedish national final in 2007.) He also won the Swedish final last year with La voix, which has an amazing chorus, at least. :-) He is a trained opera singer, and wow, that really shows in this song. This is a total musical, this song could have come straight from Les Mis. :-D I love it!! Awesome song. The problem is the singer. His voice isn't good enough for this song. If Michael Ball had performed this - or, what a sweet fantasy, Michael Crawford!! - it would have blown any audience's socks off. Fantastic song, but the singer sadly doesn't live up to the song. But I'm sure it'll do really well. Probably going straight to the final. :-)

Entry #5: Håkon Njøten, Mathias Tellez and Axel Vindenes - European Girl, performed by those selfsame fellows under the name The Diamond. Yawn. A song that's supposed to be catchy but it mainly just annoying, a singer with a voice that isn't very good and, again, is out of breath long before the song is over. Cheesy bridge. Nope, sorry, you guys are outta here. Good riddance.

Entry #6: Aggie Peterson - Tokyo Night, performed by Karoline Garfjell. Electronica in the ESC, there's another first. And it's not half bad either. Not usually my type of music, but I've definitely heard much worse than this. Her voice isn't the best, but far from the worst we've heard tonight. The performance is again a bit below professional standard IMO, but that's nothing than can't be fixed. I don't have very high hopes for it, but I can totally accept seeing this again. And the performance actually reminds me of the way Molitva was performed in the Serbian national final in 2007 ... and we all know how that ended. Although of course that's never going to happen with this song - seriously, never in a million years. But it can be worth bearing in mind, in general terms. :-)

Entry #7: Ben Adams, Mark Read, Christian Ingebrigtsen and David Eriksen - Don't Want to Lose You Again, performed by Adams, Read and Ingebrigtsen in their capacity as A1. Who cares what this song is like? These guys are going straight through to the final anyone, just because they're A1. And it won't be entirely undeserved, because the song's a pretty good pop song, and the guys have the big advantage of being total pros. So they're guaranteed to not mess things up. But IMO it doesn't matter how good the song is or anything whatsoever - I don't want A1 representing Norway. They're a British band. The reason they're allowed to compete is that two of the four songwriters are Norwegian ... each entry must be at least 50% Norwegian, so to speak. I don't want them to represent us, even though they'd score a lot of points from just being A1 ... and certainly not when we're hosting. So even though there's nothing wrong with this song or with the performance, I still say BOO to A1 and go, go, go! to Keep of Kalessin. ;-)

Watching at Anne Ida's house tonight ... we're not overly impressed.

Mira Craig - I'll Take You High
Karoline Garfjell - Tokyo Night

A1 - Don't Want to Lose You Again
Didrik Solli-Tangen - My Heart Is Yours

So, no big surprises, we guessed all of these ... except for Tokyo Night. Too bad for Endresen. I would have picked his song instead of Peterson's. Which would have been more deserved, IMO. But that's how it goes, you never know.

Solli-Tangen is singing better this second time around ... significantly better. So the problems with his voice were in large part down to nerves. But I'm not sure that solves anything, because if this entry wins and we send it to Telenor Arena, how much more nervous won't he be with an audience of 300 million?? Oy vey. Anyway, mostly the best of a bad lot was selected tonight. Could have been much worse. ;-)

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