Editorials & Opinion

The 2015 Xtra review – Big mistakes.

Not everything was perfect in 2015. As much as this is just a song contest, a bit of disappointment gets to all of us every time we see a good song or a country that we like doing something terribly wrong, our soul dies a bit.
Wivian, Simon, Nick and Rinor reviewed the biggest mistakes of 2015. Clearly the list could be longer, but we just stopped at four…

Wivian: Iceland – Maria Olafs – Unbroken

The total disaster that was Iceland – why?
It might come as a surprise to the average Eurovision viewer, but María Ólafs is actually a very good singer. I‘m still stunned by the claim that “Unbroken” was written specifically for her. When you write a song for a certain artist; wouldn‘t it make sense to play on that person’s strengths, instead of including several parts that clearly don‘t fit their voice? Just a thought.
María is 22 years old, for crying out loud! Why would anyone wanna make her look like a child? That pink ballet-tutu-thingy she was wearing would only be suitable for a seven year old, or someone who‘s actually in a ballet.
The choreography was totally random. All these changes in camera angles, waving her arms around, sitting down…it all just looked weird, and it was too much to keep track of for one person…especially when this person was nervous about the whole thing.
María didn‘t receive any help on stage. In Söngvakeppnin she had two dancers who took some of the attention, leaving her to concentrate on the singing. By Vienna, the dancers had magically turned into two additional backing vocalists. There is no doubt in my mind that three backing vocalists would have been enough, and the dancers would only have improved the act. Please, my darling Iceland; do better in 2016!

Simon: United Kingdom’s selection procedure

2014 saw a false dawn in the BBC’s selection policy for Eurovision, using the ‘BBC Introducing’ list to source an act.
However far down the list they went to bag Molly Smitten Downes wasn’t too much of a concern, the point was that at some level, the BBC were actually making a connection between their core contemporary musical output and the contest.
Sadly the stars were not aligned. Molly mistakenly wrote something specifically for the contest, was given a make-or-break starting position and got a little stage-fright. Naturally, the BBC’s reaction was not to address such issues, but to reinvent the wheel (again) and revert to a barrel-scraping selection process.
Electrovelvet were doing their best under trying circumstances. I’d like to see anyone avoid looking a fool amid the chaos of that staging while singing that song. The BBC considers itself a modern and weighty broadcasting power and is generally considered so in the UK and abroad. So however trivial they deem the contest, surely it is worth sending something a tad less embarrassing?
The BBC don’t need to ‘find’ a Eurovision ‘act’, they need to use the wealth of resources already at their disposal.

Nick: The Netherlands – Trijntje Oosterhuis – Walk along

Where oh where did it all go wrong for The Netherlands in 2015? My guess: The minute anyone thought it would be a good idea to send Trijntje Oosterhuis to Vienna. Trijntje was not a charting artist, she’s a face on TV during The Voice that made her famous again. She was big in the 90s and early 00s, but not anymore. Those years are behind her and interestingly, that’s currently the biggest part about her: Her behind. When the broadcaster then decides to go with a song Anouk never really wanted anyway and Trijntje then decides to completely ignore everything Anouk tells her – you know you’ve got a trainwreck on your hands. Or rather, a Trijnwreck. It seems like such a good idea, get the man who turned Calm After The Storm into a runner. Sadly, Hans Pancake lost the plot entirely and so did Trijnwreck: too dark, too nothingy and a parachute on that behind of hers that makes no sense. A vocally good has-been wasted on a mediocre song, a shite performance and way too much freedom for an ‘artistic director’ who deserves to be locked in prison. This well and truly is the biggest fuck up of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.

Rinor: Daniel Kajmakoski – Autumn leaves

I was extremely surprised when Macedonia selected ‘Lisja Esenski’ in November 2014. A good pop song with great singer, who had just won the X Factor Adria, was a clear indication that MRT was finally going to bring something new to the contest.
I knew the song would eventually change to English, as the authors were Swedes. But, what I didn’t know, was that the fact that the new version would be completely fucked up. It was so disappointing! However, I was still hopeful that they could visually do something appealing on stage in Vienna. And guess what, nope, it got even worse. It was sad to see Daniel failing, as he could have done much better.

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