ESC 2012: My opinion about the Final (Part I)


Last Saturday’s show started with a beautiful set of fireworks, then the first act was a set of folk traditions, modern choreographies, flying acrobatics and a short performance of last year’s ESC winners, Ell & Nikki, with the winning song of ESC 2011“Running scared”

The presenters improved a bit better, considering their sub-par presenting during the two semi-finals. Still, there’s quite an awkwardness from them, especially Eldar. Pity that Leyla didn’t have her hair loose: for the first time, Nargiz gave her a run for her money as she was more beautiful. Of course, she still didn’t beat Leyla on other terms

Unlike my previous comments about the semi-finals, I’ll do a one by one opinion on each song and their performances in the final, by the order of appearance – in this case, this is the first of two parts including the first 13 entries. The last 13 will be posted in the next blog post:

01: UK – Engelbert Humperdinck – Love will set you free

The first entry was a waltz-inspired “adult contemporary” ballad entry made by songwriters that already worked with famous artists such as Adele, a-ha, James Morrison, Jamie Cullum, among others. And for a singer of his age and stature, he did a good and competent performance. The dancers added a nice touch for the performance. However, being the first to perform is not always an advantage and knowing that the jury rehearsal wasn’t great, a good result wasn’t to be expected

02: Hungary – Compact Disco – Sound of our hearts

This ESC edition saw a midtempo electro-pop entry that goes in the lines of what can be heard on radios and also on some bands such as Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Miami Horror (when doing midtempo stuff), amongst others, with important lyrics about the world we live in. The performance was also in a good level, despite something not being right with it – perhaps more spark into it

03: Albania – Rona Nishliu – Suus

The first ballad of the final, in a visual performance that had the singer completely alone in combination of warm light effects and a foggy atmosphere. Now, the vocal performance… was… totally… impressive. She gave this song a intimate and, like the translation of the tile, “personal” performance that could affect you somehow. Resuming: she nailed it

04: Lithuania – Donny Montell – Love is blind

One of the songs I love the most from this year and also considered by ESC fans as a suprise qualifier of the 2nd Semi-Final. With a retro 70’s feeling (retro stuff in a nowadays song makes me always gaga over one), the song starts out in a  70’s R’n’B influenced ballad part (represented by a blindfold) which builds into the powerful 70’s disco secti0n with dance moves that could remind you, in someway, of Michael Jackson. One thing that stands out on its performance, besides his vocal performance (that was better in the semi he was in), is his charisma shinning within every minute of his performance

05: Bosnia & Herzegovina – Maya Sar – Korake ti znam

After participating last year as a chorist, Maya wrote and sung by herself a intimist ballad about a fading love. Likewise, the performance gives the same intimist feeling, provided by a great vocal from the singer’s part. One thing I didn’t like was her dress: it doesn’t flow with her looks, although it add the intimacy the song provided

06: Russia – Buranovskiye Babushki – Party for everybody

The group of six elderly women (apart from the youngest one, Olga Tuktaryova, being 43 years old and also being their artistic director) finally give their appearance in the contest after failing to go to ESC 2010. It’s so evident that the charisma and their folk spirit are some of their charms and all put into a song that invites us to dance with them. The song is so funny and the performance… funny as well

07: Iceland – Greta Salóme & Jónsi – Never forget

From fun to serious, as we go to the power ballad about an endless love fighting against all odds (according to Greta, the song might have serious undertones at times, but the song itself gives an air of optimism). The chorus is the strongest part of the song, especially in the keychange part at the end of the song. In terms of performance, Greta (who also is a trained violonist… well, so I’ve heard) was stronger than Jónsi (that returns to ESC after his 2004 appearance as a solo singer with the ballad “Heaven”) in several levels

08: Cyprus – Ivi Adamou – La la love

We could call it a “summer hit”, because it sounds like one, but this dance track had as its best in this edition of the contest the powerful and effective choreography to provide more charm. The singer itself is quite radiant and full of life (in both in or out of the stage, as seen – for example – in the 1st Semi-Final qualifiers’ press conference) and vocally was good. At least, much better than in the semi, where it was really disapointing

09: France – Anggun – Echo (You and I)

Being a dance track, it was made in a intriguing and interesting way, showcasing in its studio version all the corkyness of Anggun‘s unique voice. The live performance was a bit disapointing in vocal terms: I’d believe she is quite better live than provided on that day

10: Italy – Nina Zilli – L’amore è femmina (Out of love)

Although she’s not like Amy Winehouse (where the comparsions are more effective because of  the song itself and a few mannerisms), she is a classier way of the singer. Before seeing the performance, it was my #1 ESC 2012 entry, and I still stand what I say: like the song (a retro R’n’B uptempo entry at the style of Duffy, Adele, Amy Winehouse, the portuguese singer Áurea, etc…), the singer oozes passion, class and momentum thanks to her way of performing and her blending vocal range. The chorists also were great, by the way

11: Estonia – Ott Lepland – Kuula

Apart from plagiarism cases in which the song was offically acussed of in some websites (in question was the fact that song in its first 60 seconds sounds like La Bionda‘s 1978‘s endearing ballad “There for me” (widely covered by such singers as Dalida and Sarah Brightman in a duet with Josh Groban). Not enough, though, for a plagiarism case on the whole), here’s how to do a ballad with a heart and feelings that builds and builds so well until the climax. It ticks all my buttons and I can tell you – the performance gave me goosebumps (in a good way): that vocal acrobatics surely helped the song to stand out even more. His powerful voice blends so well with the female chorist, by the way

12: Norway – Tooji – Stay

After a ballad, we have this intense dance-pop entry with oriental motifs with an equal intense choreography (even comparsions were made, performance wise, of the swedish entry of ESC 2011, “Popular”, sung by Eric Saade. Without the glass gimmick, that is). As a song, its effectiveness, for me, doesn’t suprisingly come from the chorus, but the verse before it and then the end of the chorus. About the performance: the singer was not bad vocally, but it could have been better. However, the choreography was effective with the oriental elements connected well into the song

13: Azerbaijan – Sabina Babayeva – When the music dies

To finish the first half of the songs list, the host country had the same writing team (aided by one more songwriter this time) that won the ESC 2011 in what’s a retro modern R’n’B ballad with azerbaijani folk music influences sung by a singer with a degree in vocal arts in the Asaf Zeynally College of Music. The performance couldn’t have been any better: the singer showcased a powerful stand, voice wise, and the visual performance gave us a very classy gimmick: her dress from waist to toes had hologram images incorporated to give some kind of spectacularity into the performance

A special treat – the performance of my favourite entry in ESC 2012:

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)


Posted on 28 de May de 2012, in Eurovision Song Contest. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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