Song Reviews – Ukraine and Finland

Posted: 19/4/2006 in:

Song: Show Me Your Love
Artist: Tina Karol
Of all this year’s entries, Ukraine’s effort has to be one of the least talked about – something which came as a surprise to Team Eurovision, given the impact they’ve made on the contest in the short time they’ve been taking part. Yet, while the likes of Sweden, Belgium and Iceland have had the fans locked in furious debate, we came to the Ukranian entry knowing absolutely nothing about it – except that its performer, Tina Karol, is a pretty big star on home territory. As you can imagine from the above, the lack of buzz surrounding the song meant our expectations weren’t terribly high. All the more reason why we were so very pleasantly surprised by this one. Admittedly, Show Me Your Love is probably an acquired taste – it’s a quirky little number, which blends dance beats with accordion riffs, twanging balalaika and Tina’s distinctive, sharply accented vocals – and a combination like that isn’t going to do much for those who prefer their Eurovision entries to be a bit more, shall we say, conventional. But like Poland last year, we loved this from the first time we heard it, and it’s fast become one of our favourites in the semi-final, not only because it’s irresistible and insanely catchy, but quite simply because there’s nothing else in the contest like it this year. The question is, however – will all this be enough to convince the voting public? Well, it’s probably a bit too offbeat to score Ukraine their second victory, but we’d absolutely love to see it qualify for the final – and the more we hear it, the more we think that’s not out of the question.
For It: There’s always one surprise qualifier in the semi-final – and this is so radically different from everything else on offer that we reckon it’s got a fighting chance of making the cut. Could also benefit from neighbourly voting (not that this helped the Ukranians last year)
Against It: Its status as a genuine love-it-or-loathe-it track may not do it many favours – and we’ve yet to see how Tina tackles the English translation on the night. It sounds fine right now – but then again so did Belarus last year before it took to the semi-final stage.

Song: Hard Rock Hallelujah
Artist: Lordi
And so to one of the most talked-about songs of the semi-final, courtesy of the perpetually unlucky Finland. Much as you have to admire them for trying, the Finns just can’t keep up with their Scandinavian cousins in Eurovision terms – while all around them Sweden, Denmark and Norway clock up top ten placings and even the occasional victory, poor Finland are left trailing with one of the worst track records in Eurovision history – the best they’ve ever managed was sixth place, and that was way back in 1973. This year, however, all that could change. For Lordi are like nothing else that’s ever set foot on a Eurovision stage – one of the many heavy metal bands that seem to be endemic to that part of the world (Finland has also brought us The Rasmus, HIM and Nightwish to name but a few), they’re renowned for an image which features monster masks, outlandish costumes and videos that look like outtakes from a horror movie. But if you thought perhaps they might tone it down for Eurovision, then think again. For Hard Rock Hallelujah couldn’t be further removed from the glam rock antics of last year’s Norwegian entry (which looks positively tame and almost a novelty effort by comparison). While its lyrics may be a little – how shall we say this – bizarre (‘the day of Rockoning’, anyone?), there’s no arguing with the track itself, a positively barnstorming piece of stadium rock enlivened by growling vocals from Mr Lordi himself. Just to further add to the fun, we’re told that they never remove their masks in public and will be staying in character for the duration of their time in Athens, which could prove interesting for those poor members of the press trying to interview them. But novelty aside, this is one of our favourite entries of the year – not only is it a damned fine tune but it’s actually inspired us to check out some of Lordi’s other work (cue much Team Eurovision singing along to the likes of Would You Love A Monsterman and other gems available at The question is – will it bring Finland the success that’s eluded them for so long? Hard to say really – for like Ukraine before it, this won’t be to everybody’s taste – but one thing’s for certain, whether it hits or misses on the night, it won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
For It: It’s so radically different that it might just work in Finland’s favour, and while it’s probably a bit too left of centre to win the entire contest, we reckon it’s a very likely qualifier for the final. Could well be one of the performances of the night too.
Against It: It won’t have universal appeal, and while it’s credible enough to bring in new viewers and voters, those with more conventional Eurovision tastes may be less impressed. And let’s not even think about those viewers who might be, er, scared off by the band’s unusual taste in facewear.

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