The Best Song in Eurovision 2009 [Think Tank]

Lee: Flor-de-lis , “Todas As Ruas Do Amor” (Portugal)

Eurovision’s kitschy, over-the-top performances may get all the attention from most casual observers, but I’m going to root for the underdog in this fight: Portugal, which has been in the  competition since 1964 and has never won. This year, they’re represented by the decidedly un-kitschy “Todas As Ruas Do Amor” by Flor-de-Lis:

I know, this is pretty boring to watch, right? It’s not even particularly noteworthy from a musical perspective. But allow me to put forward a couple of reasons why it might win:

  • Eurovision winners aren’t always the kitschiest acts; it just seems like it since those are the ones we remember. In 2006, Icelandic heavy metal monster act Lordi took home top prize with “Hard Rock Hallelujah,” and last year, Russia’s Dima Bilan won with the help of a figure skater, a Strativarius violin, and his bare chest in what we called a “truly silly performance.” But sandwiched in between these two is 2007’s winner, “Molitva,” from Serbia. Aside from the snazzy red sashes, there are none of the kitschy Eurovision gimmicks we’ve come to hate love appreciate. All of this is to say that Eurovision has settled into a pattern whereby it atones for the sin of awarding kitsch in one year with awarding non-kitsch the next. Last year, kitsch was king. This year, plain will reign.
  • At this point, Portugal is a statistical outlier. They’ve been in the contest since 1964, and have fielded 43 winless entries, so it’s not like they haven’t been trying. Malta, the country with the next longest history of winless participation, hasn’t won since first entering the contest since 1971, but they’ve only fielded 21 entries. Clearly, Portugal is overdue, and we all know what happens to statistical outliers. Sooner or later, something’s gotta give.

But why does it deserve to win? Is there any musical or artistic justification for this song to take home the prize?

Oh, wait, this is Eurovision we’re talking about here. I’ll stick with the crackpot theories on patterns and statistics. Go Portugal!

Belinkie: Krassimir Avramov, “Illusion” (Bulgaria)

Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself!

Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself!

First of all, I know what you’re thinking: “Wasn’t Krassimir Avramov seriously hurt in a dress rehearsal this week?” We’ve all heard the rumors. But I found Krassimir’s gloriously mistranslated press release, which told me that:

The information that appeared in the medias about Krassimir Avramov and the accident he has have is figured out and not real.

Whew.

So remember when Lee commented, “Eurovision’s kitschy, over-the-top performances may get all the attention from most casual observers”? Yeah, that’s me. Watching Eurovision for anything other than the cheese is like watching Transformers 2 for anything other than the giant robots. It’s missing the whole point. (Okay, there’s Megan Fox.)

So I clicked through all the songs, looking for one that would make me cringe in embarrassment but keep watching in fascination. Bulgaria did it for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4P4q6ratNY

Fake lightning and real fire is never a bad first impression. Nor is wearing chain mail. The interpretive stilt dancing was a nice touch. But I think it’s the operatic falsetto that really nails it for me. Kassimir has this great habit of sending his voice up two octaves for no reason, sounding vaguely like the lady from the Star Trek theme song. He’s his own backup singer. (Watch at about 1:50 for the full effect.)

It turns out that this guy comes with a nice, juicy backstory. Back in February, Bulgaria picked its Eurovision entry via cell phone voting. There were 12 songs in contention, and Krassimir got 55% of the vote. The second place entry got less than 12%. There was a movement to have him stripped of the victory, but Krassimir declared, “God decides who wins and who doesn’t.”

Which made me wonder, wait, why doesn’t the Vatican have a Eurovision entry?! It’s technically a European country, right? How great would that be?

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8 Comments on “The Best Song in Eurovision 2009 [Think Tank]”

  1. Hazbaz #

    Who does your commentary over there in the US? We used to have the charmingly sardonic Terry Wogan in the UK, but he has been replaced by the uber-camp Graham Norton. Not sure how I feel about that. Still, it will be nice to get some friends round and play the drinking game.

     
  2. babybiceps #

    Hadise, Belgo-Turkish R&B girl who’ll be performing for Turkey.

    She presented her song on New Year’s Eve on Turkish television.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88KItJwFpa8

    Yes, Turkey is considered European for the contest. Hell, even Morocco and Tunisia are eligible.

     
  3. poison #

    Lordi are from Finland, but whatever…
    This whole article reminds me of why I watch it, because it’s terrible! (The show, not the article)

     
  4. Matthew Belinkie #

    @ScottRR – I definitely watched Inga & Anush, and I almost wrote about them. It is definitely a very solid song, and the music video is just great. The thing is, I was not overly impressed by their stage show (at least the one they used to win the Armenian competition). It just didn’t seem special. Last year’s winner featured a figure skater up on stage. My gut is telling me that a great pop song without memorable presentation isn’t enough here.

    @Hazbaz – As far as I know, Eurovision isn’t broadcast here at all. I think we can watch it streaming online. Personally, I just enjoy watching clips on YouTube.

     
  5. Matthew Wrather #

    So… apparently it’s Norway. #prognosticationfail

     
  6. Woushou #

    I beg you don’t say that!!! : ““Eurovision” sounds like some kind of space age goggles that allow you to see the world as a European does.”

    I swear we don’t see the world in that way! I watch the show on TV just because it is so crazy that it seems to come from a twilight zone.
    Plus the commentators (the French anyway) are always making some stupid jokes. Even they don’t take it seriously (how could they)

    And be sure we don’t listen this music, at least I don’t know anyone who does.

     
  7. ulvi #

    AZERBAIJAN and TUERKEY!!!