Jedward, Romania and Albania at Eurovision 2012

Eurovision 2012 is shaping up to be a close run contest. With 42 countries making their way to the Baku in the hunt for the Eurovision Song Contest title – we should take a look at the competition. This year there have been returning contestants like Jedward from Ireland and Zeljko Joksimovic from Serbia. Not content with that we have the oldest contestants to ever grace a Eurovision Stage – Englebert Humperdink from the United Kingdom and The Grannies from Russia. So let’s take a look at some of the entrants today.

In order for you to compare the contestants we will finish off  with Jedward’s video presentation of “Waterline” so you can compare each song back to back.

Romania

Romania are one of those countries that you have been knocking on the door of winning Eurovision on several occasions. They have a strong record of qualifying for the final and this year is no exception.

This year Romania will be represented by the 7 piece Cuban/Romanian sounding band Mandinga with their song “Zaleilah”. Already highly regarded as a potential winner across the Internet, it is only fitting that we take a close look at Mandinga. Mandinga is an Romanian pop band who hail from Bucharest. The original founder of the band was Elena Gheorghe who founded the band in 2002/2003. She subsequently left the group in 2005 and was replaced with another female lead singer in 2006 – the aptly named “Elena” Ionescu.

Mandinga are known for their amazing live shows which are energetic and always have the crowd on their feet. Their music is a unique blend of Latin and Romanian melodies. This unique sound has seen them become very popular in their native Romania but also the surrounding Balkan states. This certainly bodes well for them as they will be widely known in many countries.

There are actually 7 members of the bad and unfortunately Eurovision rules state that only 6 people can be on stage. So the 7 members are Elena (lead vocals), Alex (trumpet), Chupi (drums), El Niño (congas), Omar (piano), Zach (saxophone) and Tony (trombone).  So who is the unfortunate band member who will have to support the band from the Green Room? Well poor Tony drew the short straw but no doubt if Romania win he will gate crash the stage.

With 4 successful albums recorded and the 5th being produced as we speak, Mandinga have a very distinctive sound and wonderful harmonies and stage presence.

The Romanian Eurovision Song “Zaleilah”

As for the song itself – “Zaleilah” is a Summer Anthem if you ever heard one. It opens with bag pipes (sounding a lot like The Supremes’ and German singer Sandra’s cover of “Everlasting Love”) but this lasts only for a few seconds. Then the party begins with a great Latin feel as Elena jumps on the stage. The band continue with a high energy intensity for the entire song which even leave me breathless. This will be liked by people of all ages and from all corners of Europe.  I could see this being a huge International Hit especially if they also record the song in Spanish and English.

Predictions

Certain to qualify for the final and go Top 5.  Seemingly from the video it is compulsory to wear tight trousers in Romania!! Ouch.

Like this if you Like Gloria Estefan and The Miami Sound Machine.

Albania

Albania are still waiting for their first win at Eurovision.

They will be represented by the female artist Rona Nishliu singing the song “Suus” or “One’s Own” . Rona Nishliu was born August 25, 1986 in Titova Mitrovica, Yugoslavia – present-day Kosovo – and is a very well respected Kosovo-Albanian singer and radio presenter. Strangely Nishliu become a citizen of Albania only on 12 January 2012 with a decree from none other than the President of Albania – Bamir Topi – after winning the Albanian National Final.

Nishliu came to prominence in 2004 as a contestant on Albanian Idol in 2004 where she finished in the top five. Following her appearance on the hit show she was asked to be a presenter on Radio Blue Sky in Pristina. She has had 7 hit songs in Albania and “Suus” is now her 8th. She was the runaway winner of the Albanian National Final way back in December.

The Albanian Eurovision Song

Now as for the song I am really struggling to relate to it. There is no denying that Rona can sing and has a huge vocal range but the song goes off the Richter scale at times. The melody is more reminiscent of a Jazz/R-n-B song of old school. This is no Beyonce Ballad. Rona performs the song with undeniable passion but ask me to sing it back to you and I would not be able to sing you a note. Rona has been playing with her appearance since competing in the national final where we saw her with a dread lock hippy that has now been transformed by Albanian tv.

Now in the preview video she looks like a cross between Audrey Hepburn and a Giant Chess Piece. The video sees 2 young boys drawing lines on a wall with chalk. Do they not have blackboards in Albania? I can send them one as walls are not for drawing on – well according to my Mother.

Predictions

I really cannot see this song having enough instant and widespread appeal to qualify to the final – but they should get points from Greece, Cyprus and Moldova which will give them a head start.

Like this if you like to listen to Mariah Carey screaming in your left ear and Celine Dion in your right one. Personally I see this as potentially being too niche to have a wide enough appeal to win.  Do you see this song as a contender?

Ireland 

So what do I need to say about Jedward and their entry this year “Waterline”.

The Song : Waterline

Compased by Nick Jarl from Sweden who is a renowned writer and producer who has worked with some of the best performers in the world including Westlife.

For this post I will give you the official “Waterline” Video which was shot in Tokyo a couple of weeks ago. It shows the trademark Jedward spiked hair but also some scenes where they are looking more mature with flat hair and a more urban style. I think it shows how much the Twins are evolving as singers and performers. This is high energy and really lends itself to a live performance which will help it at Eurovision.

Predictions

Can they go higher that 8th place at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Baku? Well they need to successfully pass through their Semi Final which is Semi Final 1 on May 22nd where they will be song number 18 – so remember to vote.

Do you agree or disagree?

Send us your  Eurovision Favourites &  Predictions

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