Turkey: Mor ve Otesi – “Deli” (Insane)
Turkey was ballsy and pretty ass-kicking on two levels here: 1) For entering a straight-ahead contemporary rock song, with band members actually playing their instruments, and 2) For singing in Turkish. That effectively prevents any kind of crossover success, even within Europe, but there’s definitely something to be said for keeping it real. Beyond that, this is a really catchy moody, epic rock song with really excellent, dramatic bridges and choruses. I bet an English-language version would do quite well in the “active rock” radio format here. Also, frontman Harun Tekin looks a tiny bit like a short-haired version of fellow countryman Erol Alkan, which is always a win in my book. This wound up number seven in the contest overall, not bad in the face of all that political voting, but still, they wuz robbed.
Armenia: Sirusho – “Qele Qele” (Come On, Come On)
A fun, bilingual dance-pop song. The song sounds a little bit like Shakira when the latter is trying to sound vaguely Middle-Eastern…. Only Sirusho actually comes from a country with that kind of musical heritage. Catchy chorus and hip-shaking percussion.
France: Sebastian Tellier – “Divine”
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This got all kinds of hype because many French could not stand the fact that this song was in English. Quelle horreur! Still, the French song selection committee figured an English-language song would garner more votes. Unfortunately, France’s lack of big fans in the eastern reaches of Europe means this song landed at 18th place out of 25 in the finals. Tellier looks like a bathed version of Devendra Banhart singing sountrack-ready electro pop.
Finland: Terasbetoni – “Missa miehet ratsastaa” (Where Men Ride)
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Yay, Finland, for having the guts to send a hard rock act. Bombastic and a little symphonic, this is the kind of sort-of-ridiculous-but-kind-of-good metal in which Finns seem to excel (see also Children of Bodom, Sonata Arctica, Nightwish, the 69 Eyes). The fact that they only sing in Finnish effectively prevents them, like Turkey, from any crossover success, even though their country has done okay in that department with rock bands (Hanoi Rocks in the Eighties, The Rasmus and HIM more recently). (Side note: Many YouTube commenters have suggested Finland send Finntroll next. You might agree, at least for entertainment value, after watching some of that band’s videos, haha). – Arielle Castillo