'När jag blundar' (When I close my eyes), performed by Pernilla Karlsson.
Composer: Jonas Karlsson. Lyrics: Jonas Karlsson.
Nice doesn’t win Eurovision. Nice doesn’t make your song stand out in the crowd. Nice doesn’t make people pick up the phone and vote. Nice doesn’t push you up the jury considerations. Nice doesn’t even qualify.
I don’t think there was a nicer song at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. Karlsson’s song, penned by her brother, is an ode to their mother. It’s touching, personal, heartfelt, and none of that comes over on stage in the performance. All the emotion is in the lyrics.
Karlsson’s performance (in a questionable choice of dress, both in colour and in length) is over a limited range. There’s no drama in the singing, there’s no displays of emotion, and there’s nothing for an international audience to identify with.
It’s just… nice.
Semi final - Points: 41. Placing: 12th.
Grand final - Did not qualify.
'What If', performed by Dina Garipova.
Composer: Gabriel Alares, Joakim Björnberg, Leonid Gutkin. Lyrics: Gabriel Alares, Joakim Björnberg, Leonid Gutkin.
In Malmo, Russia’s song felt slightly awkward, with the idea of burying guns, being all in it together, and an inclusive Russia not quite matching up with expectations. Just over a year later and feels like some sort of twisted alternative universe.
Politics aside, this is an incredibly manipulative song. It reminds me of the film ET, which has huge signposts to make you laugh, cry, and cheer, just when Spielberg wants you to. ‘What If' does the same trick through the wholesome yet dowdy Garipova, the coookie cutter fresh backing singers, and a song that screams 'this is the point to stand up from your Boyzone-esque stools'.
It even goes so far to have the remote controlled light up bracelets for everyone in the crowd to wear to give the idea of a unified crowd all joining in… with no choice to switch them off.
Yet it’s catchy as hell, full of ear worms, and you’ll never see Garipova’s backing singer hiding in the shadows.
Well played, Russia. Well played…
Semi final - Points: 156. Placing: 2nd.
Grand final - Points: 174. Placing: 5th.
'Attention', performed by Vilija Matačiūnaitė.
Composer: Viktoras Vaupšas, and Vilija Matačiūnaitė. Lyrics: Vilija Matačiūnaitė.
The song is rather shouty, and that needs a sharp confidence and poise from the singer - or a devil may care attitude on show. Matačiūnaitė has neither of those, and ‘Attention’ suffers from a dulled performance.
Then there’s the staging. ‘Tron The Musical’ is the easiest description, and the slight scorn in my voice shows just how much I get what’s going on here.
I suspect that it’s also tinged having seen Matačiūnaitė perform ‘Attention’ at the Amsterdam warm-up concert. She took on that stage with street/urban clothes, attacked the dance with the same aggression as you can hear in the lyrics… and it worked.
Yet the version we saw on the Eurovision stage is all modern dance, artistic styling, and trying to be just a little bit too smart. I mean, holes in the skirt for the bored dancer to reach through… what is that all about?
'Attention' should be a simple song, but Lithuania over-cooked the mixture and failed to qualify.
Semi final - Points: 36. Placing: 11th.
Grand final - Did not qualify.