Sunday, February 29, 2004


Words cannot do justice to how much we wet our pants yesterday when our lovely friend Jamie (whose way with words can be seen, irregularly, here) informed us that he had a spare ticket for Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up! donated to him by the lovely Mr Punkiatrix (who doesn't have a website as far as we know but is still ace nonetheless) which would enable us to spend an evening in the company of Terry, Gaby, Lorraine and all of the other showbiz types who make no secret of their love for this trashiest of contests. Now, we know that Eurovision previews are well under way courtesy of our awe-inspiring friends at and lowculture, which are (a) longer-running (b) more in-depth and (c) irrefutably better than this one will be. We promise them that this is more of an homage than a rip off, honest. Besides, you can't expect us to go through all that and not want to come home and write an exhaustive feature on the whole experience. So here's our little breakdown of the evening and the songs that we heard.

Song 1: 'Weekend (Gotta Work)' by Enrap-ture
Will I know who they are already?: It seems unlikely.
What style are they going for?: Mis-Teeq meet the Pink Ladies.
What style do they actually have?: Erm, Mis-Teeq meet the Pink Ladies via Five Star.
What's the song like?: Rather generic R 'n' B song about what a pain it is to work during the week and how much nicer it is to go out and get trollied with your mates at the weekend. How profound. Even the Sugababes would have dismissed this as just being too generic-girl-anthem.
Distinguishing features: Some of the dodgiest lyrics we've heard in a while. Forgive us for being cynical, but a song that opens with the lines "Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday" isn't hugely likely to knock us off our seats with its inventiveness. However, it did have a very rousing chorus and was one of the more uptempo songs on offer.

Song 2: 'Hold On To Our Love' by James Fox
Will I know who he is already?: If you were one of the ten people to watch it, he came fifth in Fame Academy this year.
What style is he going for?: A younger, cooler Bryan Adams.
What style does he actually have?: A less offensive, less interesting Will Young with a guitar.
What's the song like?: When they invent multimedia dictionaries, this is the song you'll hear when you look up Radio 2.
Distinguishing features: He has all the same schtick that he had in Fame Academy (swinging his guitar behind his back at the end of a song, elaborately punching the air on receiving good news). His performance stance is bizarre - he has one leg stretched out behind him at all times, as though he is performing in the kitchen and trying to keep the fridge door closed after overstuffing it.

Song 3: 'Me Without You' by Haifa
Will I know who she is already?: I have a feeling she may have lent her vocals to some Hi-NRG covers.
What style is she going for?: Gutsy female singer/songwriter chic.
What style does she actually have?: The lovechild of Billie Piper and Glory the Hellgod from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
What's the song like?: An early nineties Dina Carroll B-side. Pleasant and inoffensive, but probably the most forgettable song of the night.
Distinguishing features: Very nice hair. An exotic name (she's from Essex), which is pronounced "High-fer" rather than "Heffer", just in case you were wondering.

Song 4: 'Leading Me On' by Hyrise
Will I know who they are already? Ant was in 3SL, and as I'm sure you'll remember his brother Andy was a finalist in Pop Idol. No idea about the others.
What style are they going for?: Blue's younger brothers.
What style do they actually have?: Blue, as purchased from TK Maxx.
What's the song like?: Not bad, actually. Quite uptempo, in the Triple 8/Blue-when-they-were-good vein.
Distinguishing features: The one that sings the high notes is worryingly thin. This may have not translated particularly well to the small screen, but they looked utterly lost - they lacked the presence to fill even this tiny stage. Their attempts at dancing were risible. And we're fairly sure they were miming, the rotters.

Song 5: 'With You I Believe' by Haydon
Will I know who he is already?: The boy's a bloody veteran. Was in Ultimate Kaos at the chubby-cheeked age of nine, also featured on Reborn in the USA with other Eurovision heros Gina G and Sonia last year.
What style is he going for?: Charming Motown soul sort-of-thing.
What style does he actually have?: A swiftly-eliminated Fame Academy finalist.
What's the song like?: Watered-down inoffensive aspirational ballad. Expect it to be released by the winner of the next Pop Idol, probably.
Distinguishing features: Cheeky grin. An obsessive fan sat about twenty metres to my left who gave an alarming amount of vocal support. Likes playing with microphone stands.

Song 6: 'It Just Gets Better' by Madison Taylor
Will I know who she is already?: Not unless you live in her street, I shouldn't think.
What style is she going for?: Emma Bunton, circa 'Take My Breath Away'.
What style does she actually have?: A caucasian Zoe Birkett.
What's the song like?: Very summery, slightly gospel-tinged. Again, something Emma Bunton would probably have put on her first album.
Distinguishing features: She had a proper band. Wheeee! She should not be confused with Australian dance combo, Madison Avenue, or ill-fated late nineties girlband Madasun.

I'm fairly sure it's a surprise to no-one by now that James Fox was declared the winner. The general consensus was that it was the type of song that does really well at Eurovision, which I'm inclined to agree with as long as I can include a giant "when it's performed by the Irish entrant" caveat. The problem is there'll be a zillion songs like his in the contest, and I can't see it standing out. Still, at least there's a reasonable chance we'll get some points this year.

Things that excited us that weren't related to song selection:
- Emma Bunton performing 'Puppet On A String' as an intermission, even if it was pre-recorded. If she doesn't use that as a B-side on a subsequent single, I'm going on hunger strike.
- Gina G doing a performance of 'Ooh Ahh...Just A Little Bit' that was miles better than the one she performed in Oslo when she was actually our entrant. Bless her.
- Hayley Evetts reading the results of the Birmingham jury, even though Colin "Wooden" Jackson couldn't get her name right.
- Phixx (Phixx! Phixx!) walking right past us when we were waiting to go in. We were this close to Mikey Green! How we managed to maintain consciousness through all of that is a mystery even to us. We tried to grab Andrew in the hope that he might write a real column for the website, but sadly we weren't quick enough.

So, roll on May and Istanbul then. Eeeeeee!


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