Here Are Europe's Ambassadors of Poor Taste for 2015
We asked our international offices for the lowdown on their local Eurovision entrants.
The Eurovision Song Contest, or ESC, is an old school, pre-Internet-era version of virtually every [Insert Country] Got Talent – and just like that show, it used to feature loads of grumpy experts, bad soundstage designs and people who couldn't necessarily sing. But then, two things happened: One, we collectively got into guilty pleasures and two, the gay community embraced the show. Since then, the ESC has become a modern day club kid party – without actually doing anything much different than before.
Last year, Austria's cross-dressing artist Tom Neuwirth – aka Conchita Wurst – won the contest and brought the ESC to Vienna (for the first time since 1967). But before the old Imperial city, with its soft spot for tacky costume parties, gets invaded by the dressed-up hordes, we wanted to know what the people of the contesting countries actually think about their musical representatives.
We asked each VICE office to give us the lowdown on their local entrants.
Electro Velvet - 'I'm Still In Love With You'
A lot of old cynics are finding reasons to criticise the choice of the clinically enthusiastic duo Alex Larke and Bianca Nicholas – aka Electro Velvet – as this year's UK entry. Yes, Bianca once auditioned so unimpressively on The Voice she barely adjusted Will.i.am's eyebrows. Granted, Alex's credentials come from being a poundshop Mick Jagger in a Rolling Stones tribute band. Agreed, their song 'I'm Still In Love With You' is the anxious and desperate sound of a small child lost in a cabaret themed M&S advert. And fine, it's weird that it was written by the guy who composed the theme tune to Jim'll Fix It.
But – let's be real here – it's the delusions of fame, troubling past and epic publicised failures that make Electro Velvet the most quintessentially British Eurovision entry the 21st Century has ever seen.
Monika Kuszyńska - 'In The Name of Love'
No amount of rock ballad swells-at-the-finish could diminish the sad truth that this is the most dull song ever recorded. It sounds like it was written for the funeral of hordes of Eurovision fans, who are likely to die of boredom halfway through it.
The song aside, we can't condone the watching of the video on pure principle. You can't just go and make a music video with the sheer intention of making it's viewers feel like assholes. Here we are, minding our own business, silently judging this Celine Dion caricature for sitting on the floor singing and taking selfies, and in the end we see in reality that she's in a wheelchair. That's information that needs to be delivered in the first scene, people, come on.
Guy Sebastian - 'Tonight Again'
Yep, Australia competes in the European song contest. No idea why. To give a little context to our entrant, Guy Sebastian won our first series of Australian Idol. His reign was memorable for his famous 'fro, a Beyonce cover and an un-unshakeable commitment to his virginity.
Even coming before the 2000s-mean-meme-revolution, our country has gone uncharacteristically easy on Guy. Despite a lacklustre post- Idol career, he has remained a heavy-set industry darling. And what better way to honour a baby-faced, inoffensive, almost-celebrity than sending him out for Eurovision. Good luck Guy! You're a proud example of our nation's commitment to the middle of the road.
Lisa Angell - 'N'oubliez Pas' (Never Forget)
Last year's French contestant was probably the most embarrassing thing our country has had to endure since the national team refused to get off a bus in 2010. But this year, the French people are finally hoping to get their revenge by betting on a solid, heartfelt banger, courtesy of singer Lisa Angell. Her song 'N'oubliez pas' is about that one time soldiers destroyed her childhood village, how it was all fun and games before the war and why we should refrain from trusting the Germans. If this doesn't crack the Eurovision top 20, then we probably have no choice but to bring back Céline Dion.
Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta - 'Hope Never Dies'
Marta Jandova is the daughter of local proto-garage rock 'n' roll hero Petr Janda, who was amazing in the 1960s but has done nothing but suck since then. Marta is a B-grade celebrity in Czech Republic and sings in a German band called Die Happy.
Vaclav Noid Barta, her Eurovision colleague, used to be cool amongst small town youngsters, when he was in a nu-metal band called Dolores Clan. The best thing about that particular band was that it prevented Vaclav from making nonsense like "Hope Never Dies".
Voltaj - 'De La Capat' (All Over Again)
Romania's entry for 2015's ESC boasts the return of has-been 90's pop band Voltaj, who are now trying to milk the ever-trendy social issue of Romanians abandoning their children at home, in order to work abroad.
It's kind of like Channel 4's The Romanians are Coming, only without the slightest trace of irony. The fact that the first half of their song is sung in Romanian pretty much sums up just how little they could be bothered trying to win the competition.
Trijntje Oosterhuis - 'Walk Along'
Back in the 1990s, Trijntje Oosterhuis was one of Holland's biggest stars, riding the tail end of the Dutch-house trend with her band, Total Touch. Since then, she's matured her sound into something infinitely more boring, and let's face it, crap. Her entry track 'Walk Along' comes across a bit like a recording of someone's mum drunkenly making their way home from a 1990s revival party. It's really annoying, but it's also really catchy.
Loic Notte - 'Rhythm Inside'
Loic Notte is barely old enough to enter this – or any – competition. 'Rhythm Inside' sounds like Lorde, after you've accidentally left her album on repeat for an entire workday: Irritating.
Måns Zelmerlöw - 'Heroes'
Måns Zelmerlöw rose to stardom by scoring the coveted fifth place spot on the Swedish version of Idol. He's since become a television presenter and an all-round poster boy for pre-teen girls to drool over. He's been a top candidate in pre-ESC competition Melodifestivalen three times but this is the first time he actually won it, and managed to do so with the biggest margin of votes in the history of the competition.
Edurne - 'Amanecer' (Sunrise)
Edurne became famous after participating in a Talent Show called Operación Triunfo, a sort of mash-up of Pop Idol and Big Brother. The prize of this program being to participate in the Eurovision. She didn't win that time but that doesn't matter because here she is. That said, Spaniards have zero confidence in her, and this Evanescence rip-off isn't doing anything to help the fact. If you don't speak Spanish, count yourself lucky, because the lyrics are painfully kitsch.
Anti Social Media - 'The Way You Are'
Denmark's contribution to this year's Eurovision glitter extravaganza is four-piece Anti Social Media. Aside from the obvious wit that went into their snarky, nauseatingly post-modern name, they've managed to capture the hearts of the Danes with their blinding smiles and ever so wholesome pop-rock anthem "The Way You Are". Basically, it's a track loosely held together by budding teenage boys, oblivious choir girls and a lead singer that looks like Josh Homme, if he'd gone to business school.
Anne Sophie - 'Black Smoke'
First things first: we don't know one single person that actually gives a shit about Anne Sophie. The singer, who already has a botched acting Hollywood career on her CV, only secured a Eurovision spot because her closest competitor backed out. Not a hugely dignified way to qualify, is it?
Maria Elena Kyriakou - 'One Last Breath'
Greece's entry for Eurovision 2015, 'One Last Breath', is by Cypriot singer Maria-Elena Kyriakou. The song is about, believe it or not, a woman who has had her heart broken. It's all begging her man to come back to her – yawn. Nope, our hopes aren't particularly high for this bit of audio narcolepsy.
Bojana Stamenov - 'Beauty Never Lies'
Bojana, or the Serbian Arethra Franklin as she is apparently known, will be Serbia's first English singing entrant. Her overly enlightening Eurovision biography boasts mad lute skills, renaissance singing, crocheting and an insatiable interest in cooking. Not sure if that'll help her chances but it's always good to know.
Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät - 'Aina mun pitää' (I Always Have To)
Pertti Kurikan Nimipäiväta are a Finnish punk rock band formed in 2009. All four members have some sort of disability. The band rose to nationwide fame in the 2012 documentary The Punk Syndrome. In Finland, their work has raised a series of important questions on how people with disabilities are perceived. Their winning song 'Aina mun pitää', which means "I always have to", is the shortest song to ever compete in the history of Eurovision Song Contest.
Mélanie René - 'Time To Shine'
Mélanie isn't bad or anything. It's just that she's even less colorful than Swiss cheese and probably more shallow than the holes in it. Her song 'Time to Shine' is just as boring and replaceable as the previous thousand Swiss ESC entries.
Considering all the media backlash Austria seems to have with hosting the song contest this year, it almost seems like a conscious decision to send somebody who's a really safe bet for those who don't want Switzerland to host anytime soon.
Eduard Romanyuta - 'I Want Your Love'
Moldova's entry for ESC 2015 is a run of the mill 80s love song. Which is fine and all that but what isn't run of the mill is the fact that Eduard is singing in Ukrainian, is supposedly financially sponsored by Ukraine and claims to be some sort of human bridge that will unite Ukraine with the Western world. Fancy that.
The Makemakes - 'I Am Yours'
Word on the street has it that Austria's National Broadcast Company – ORF – can't financially afford to win and host the ESC a second time. So it's not really that much of a surprise that people voted for a rather uncontroversial rock band in the public pre-ESC election. Optimists say The Makemakes won because they actually know how to play music and Austria wants to represent itself with a modest song at its home game. Then again, some say they won because the lead singer looks like Conchita Wurst.
There's probably some truth in all of these theories. Either way, it seems like a lot of people are fascinated by skinny jeans (one of the most distinctive visual properties of The Makemakes). It's almost like they never even saw men wearing tight pants before. Also, local journalists can't seem to stop mentioning their extraordinary facial hair. Seems like regular guys with beards are still a sensation in Austria, even in a post-Wurst era.
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- Vice Blog
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- Monika Kuszyńska
- Marta Jandová
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- Anti Social Media
- Lisa Angell
- Trijntje Oosterhuis
- Loic Notte
- Måns Zelmerlöw
- Anne Sophie
- Maria Elena Kyriakou
- Bojana Stamenov
- Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät
- The Makemakes
- Why is Australia taking part in Eurovision?
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