And so to the finalists….

Posted: 1/5/2006 in:

Song: If We All Give A Little
Artist: Six4One
The honour of kicking off this year’s Eurovision final falls to the country that might be described as the comeback kings of the contest. Switzerland – the first ever winners of the contest way back in 1956 – have had a pretty poor track record of late, even going so far as to rival Norway in the nul points stakes (that said, who could forget Pietro and The Allstars in 2004, even though they notched up a big fat zero on the night??). Last year, however, their fortunes changed when Estonian girl group Vanilla Ninja took to the stage on their behalf with their stomping rock anthem Cool Vibes, and steered the Swiss back into the top ten (we even seem to recall they were in the lead at one point, although the prospect of Geneva 2006 was fleetingly brief). Having had success, then, from outside help last year, they’re trying exactly the same tactic this year. Six4One is a group consisting of six members from participating Eurovision countries – one is Swiss, the others come from Malta, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal and Israel, thus doubtless assuring many votes from those nations. And their song’s been written by Eurovision ubercomposer Ralph Siegel, the man behind such contest classics as the 1982 winner A Little Peace, Team Eurovision’s 1980 favourites Le Papa Pingouin and Theater and, more recently, Germany’s 1999 effort Reise Nach Jerusalem and 2002’s I Can’t Live Without Music. With all those elements in place you might expect something a bit special – but Team Eurovision’s really not sure what to make of this ‘let’s all join hands and make the world a better place’ style anthem which, for want of a better cliché, is pure Swiss cheese. We can’t decide if it’s a work of genius or complete claptrap – a decision which hasn’t been helped by a ridiculous video in which band members help little old ladies with their shopping and are nice to small children in their quest for global peace and love. For all its silliness, however, there is something very Eurovision friendly about the whole thing, and that, along with the multi-national band, may well rack up the votes. As one Team Eurovision member put it, “It’s a load of manipulative old nonsense. Bet it wins…..” The rest of us aren’t so sure, but we’re off to Tesco to carry some pensioners’ bags while we figure it out.
For It: Ralph Siegel is an old hand at this kind of thing, and the diversity of the group guarantees votes from other nations in the same way that Estonians Vanilla Ninja did last year. Also there’s no getting away from the fact that the song, whatever your opinion of it, is very Eurovision indeed.
Against It: Likely to be drowned out by the sound of viewers throwing up into the nearest bucket from the sheer cheesiness of it all. Others may be put off by the fact that the whole thing falls just on the wrong side of manipulative in its effort to tug the heartstrings. And let’s not forget that singing first in Eurovision is never a good thing. Unless you happen to be Brotherhood of Man or the Herreys.

Song: Loca
Artist: Arsenium and Natalia Gordienko
It’s a well documented fact that no country singing second has ever won Eurovision, and this year the dubious honour falls to Moldova. We were rather pleased with ourselves last year when we identified their debut effort, Bunica Bate Toba (Grandma Bangs The Drums), as a dark horse in the contest – not only did it surprise quite a few people by qualifying for the final (something which may have had a lot to do with Grandma and her drum actually appearing on stage), it went on to finish sixth, thus landing these relative newcomers an automatic place in the 2006 final. Moldova had a few hiccups in the selection process this year, when the original national final was abandoned after finishing in a three way tie. As a result all those songs were scrapped and replaced by Gordienko, singer with the Moldovan band Millennium, and Arsenium, former member of the boy band O-Zone (remember them? They scored a huge hit a couple of years back with Dragostea Din Tei, the song which inspired the Internet’s semi-legendary Numa Numa dance – more about it here:, if you’ve never actually seen it). Given last year’s success, however, it’s a real shame that their sophomore effort isn’t nearly as inspired. Instead, it’s an unremarkable, reggae-tinged number with a spot of rap thrown in (what is it about rap this year?) that puts us in mind of something you might find on a Peter Andre album (although we suspect even he may have rejected this). It’s by no means the worst song in the contest, but it’s not terribly good either – the whole thing smacks of a rush job, and while it’s understandable they had to find something in a hurry after the problems with the national final, we still can’t help feeling they could have done better than this. The rapper on the track might urge us to ‘big up Moldavia’, but we just can’t bring ourselves to do so, no matter how hard we try.
For It: Arsenium’s fame as part of O-Zone may bring in a few votes, and its contemporary sound may appeal to younger viewers.
Against It: It’s a weak song and the fact it’s on second will do it no favours whatsoever. We’re betting that Moldova will find themselves back in the semis next year.

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