Eurovision 2011 – the ones that got away

It’s about time I put font to Word and put on record a few thoughts about this year’s Eurovision. I think it’s going to be a good one! What is particularly impressing me this year is the number of memorable tunes scattered throughout Europe that have risen to the top of the milk, making it much more Full Channel Island than Tesco Value Skimmed (if it exists.) Not all the performances are great, and some of the lyrics are banal; but the composers have been doing a damn fine job this year.

But before I take you through the contest and introduce you to the pleasures that await in May, I’m first going to give an honourable mention to some songs that fell by the wayside en route to Düsseldorf. It’s important to recognise the really enjoyable songs that didn’t make it through their National Finals because they can otherwise quickly get forgotten about. And that would be a tragedy. No, it would.

So I’m going to start off with Romania, who chose very early this year, well very late last year to be precise, and a song that I listened to several times in January much to the disappointment of Mrs Chrisparkle, who “quite liked it”. It’s Leticia with “Dreaming of you”, which came 6th in their National Final on New Year’s Eve. It’s simple, plaintive and charming.

Moving a little sideways to Romania’s neighbour and close partner in the voting stakes, Moldova. Whereas I think the song that has been chosen for Moldova this year is execrable, the song that came 6th (again) is a great little number, full of Balkan Promise. It’s Break It Up by Boris Covali and Cristina Croitoru.

Back towards the Mediterranean in Greece they had a very odd National Final, with the performers in one studio and the audience in another. Maybe this contributed to their choosing one of I think the worse Greek entries for years, and missing this little gem, the only one in the final that was sung in Greek, Hamogela by Trimitonio. I think it may have come last.

In Ukraine they overlooked what could be one of the biggest smashes in years, the extraordinary Jamala, with her song Shine. The Ukrainian decision making process where it comes to Eurovision is one of the most flawed in humanity. Let’s hope they never go for their ISO 9000. Jamela’s voice is something of an acquired taste but this song cannot fail to make you do precisely what the title is all about.

Moving north, in Latvia, I think they chose a terrific song to go to Germany, but it means this wonderful song had to come second – Banjo Laura by Lauris Reiniks. Cute video too.

Ending up in Sweden, there’s all sorts of songs that would have been worthy winners. I think Sanna Nielsen’s I’m in Love is my favourite:

But I’m growing very fond of Swingfly’s Me and My Drum:

and the ultimate in schlager, Jenny Silver and Something in your Eyes:

There are other great songs from around Europe, but I don’t want to lose your attention. I’ll be deliberating Semi Final One soon.