24 July 2016

+JMJ+

Eurovision Song Contest Country Smackdown, Round 4!
(Revisit Round 1, Round 2, the Interval, Round 3A, and Round 3B)

Well, this rules out any future for me as an ESC bookie. =P I would never have predicted which two countries would be slugging it out in the Final. But more fun for me, aye? LOL! Greece's wildcard win in Round 3B also means that only songs from the second thirty years of Eurovision will be competing this week, so Monaco, which dropped out long before the ESC's thirty-year anniversary, will not be representing the Francophones again this round. (Yes, yes, I know they tried to come back in the early 2000s, but those entries never made it past the semis.) Anyway, I have a feeling that Luxembourg won't mind one more chance to show us what it had.

vs.
Greece vs. Luxembourg

Hellas are here with another song from their most successful decade ever, the early 2000s. And few things are more Greek than a song like ΩΠΑ! Giorgios Alkaois wanted this Top 10 finisher to encourage his fellow Greeks, who were then enduring the worst of Europe's economic crisis, to stop dwelling on the past and to start over in the present. On the Eurovision stage, it became a spirited message for the whole continent. Up against it is Luxembourg's last big hurrah, from the late 1980s, featuring the Belgian chanteuse Lara Fabian, whose first language was Italiano. The yearning ballad Croire is all about the things you can believe in if you see life avec les yeux de coeur (with the eyes of the heart). Although it did not win the contest that year, it became an international hit that made hundreds of thousands of music-loving believers all over Europe. Which musical message do you think should dominate this tournament bracket?

And of course, because this is a Shredded Cheddar smackdown, another country we haven't even heard from until today could still take the crown home for itself. I hope you're ready for the final wild card . . .


Israel

With three wins to its name, Israel arguably deserved a spot in the "Insieme" Sixteen. It didn't get in because I have this funny belief that Eurovision should be for European countries only. (Of course, not being European myself, what do I know??? =P) But the ESC's rule is that any country that is a member of the European Broadcasting Union may join the song contest, even if it obviously just wants in for political reasons. All that aside, I have to admit that Israel "does" Eurovision the way I wish its actual European competitors would: in its national language more often than not and with its own musical traditions and artists. There are very few Israeli entries that sound as if they might have come from other countries. So let's give it its due at last, training the spotlight on Viva La Diva, a song about a highly idealised beautiful woman worthy of being named with Aphrodite and Cleopatra. And see if you notice anything about the "diva" who sings it . . .

This will be the last chance to get entries for this year's Philippine Literature Giveaway, which will also be ending soon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

15 comments:

Itinérante said...

The Greek one was a little bit too much macho-style...
I have a pre-deposition to dislike the Israeli one...
So I vote Luxembourg :)

Belfry Bat said...

Wikipedia says "[Diva] is an ode to the powerful women of history — with Cleopatra in fact being the only real figure named" ... hmmm. (wait... one translation mentions a "Maria"... which "Maria" is meant in that song? Moses' sister? I'm pretty sure she was real... don't think she fits the rest of the lyrics, but...)

What is Greek Dancing without bazouki?

But I rather like the sound of Croire. I mean, I could switch a real piano for that synthesizer, but otherwise...

So, count that another for Lux, if you like!

~~~~

On the subject of Israel participating... apart from how contemporary Israel is a European Invention (with US backing...) ((not that contemporary Syria, Lebanon, Iraq... aren't European inventions...)), the history of the Middle East is interwoven with the history of the Roman Empire and the rest of Europe, in ways that China (e.g.) wasn't until something between 1100ish and 1400ish.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Itinerante -- I would have preferred to share one of Israel's two winning songs from the 1970s, myself . . .

That's an interesting impression of ΩΠΑ! Now that you bring it up, I definitely hear it, too. The expression is (as far as I can tell!) appropriate for both men and women, and Giorgios could have arranged the song with some female backing vocals. So it's interesting that he chose not to. Perhaps he thought Greece needed a "testosteronic" anthem for the crisis?

Bat -- That argument could be used for the inclusion of all former European colonies, many of which owe their modern borders to European meddling! And sure enough, Australia now seems to be a regular competitor. But how do you explain Azerbaijan?

I'm surprised you didn't mention the greatest Maria of all! =P I think that the more generic names Maria and Victoria are "mad libs" for the listeners. With some "kokology," because who you think should stand with Aphrodite and Cleopatra says a lot about you! LOL! But I do think it's the oddest fit of the four: the Greek goddess and the Egyptian queen are obvious shoo-ins, and Victoria brings rhyme, alliteration, and the sense of triumph even if you don't connect it to the British empress. Maria, though? Is Moses's sister Miriam really powerful enough in Jewish tradition to be mentioned in the chorus? I think it's either the Maria or bust, but she's too full of grace for this song.

Belfry Bat said...

Me? Explain? ... Europe wants to play Nice Empire, and anyone can join the empire just by being conquered of course. But of course they sometimes worry about Russia because they can't tell if Russia joining Eurovision is more like Europe conquering Russia or the reverse. Azerbaijan... like Ukraine... is at least an extra thumb in Russia's eye, just in case. But border-meddling is exactly what I meant not to consider!!
~~~~
I did think of our beloved Theotokos, of course, but... well, the songwright self-identifies as ... Jewish ... and who am I to adjudicate that claim? It would seem terribly strange to be invoking Our Lady in such a context. (not that cognitive cohesion is a strong point of ... Eurovision lyrics...) On the other hand, using the Latin vocative form is contrarily odd if Miriam was meant, except that it better fits the rhyme scheme.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

So you don't find it odd that she invokes someone Greek and someone else Egyptian, but do find it odd that she would invoke someone who is also Jewish? =P

Belfry Bat said...

Oh, there's a long long history of Israelites falling into paganism; if the lyricist really appreciated Our Lady they'd maybe become a ... Lutheran, perhaps? ... or submit to Submission...

Belfry Bat said...

(I'm pretty sure Cleopatra was mostly Greek herself)

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Or maybe Wikipedia was right the first time and Maria isn't a real identifiable person?

Brandon said...

I vote Luxembourg!

Maria, in the context of 'diva', I would have taken to be Maria Callas.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Good one! And thanks for your vote. =)

MrsDarwin said...

You have finally reached a number of songs I can vote upon in one sitting, so:

I didn't dislike Opa, and I didn't love Croire in that particular arrangement, and I finally heard enough of the Israeli song and didn't finish it. But I think Croire would be a better song with a different orchestration, and I don't think that the other two would be, so my vote is Luxembourg.

I agree with Brandon that Maria the diva must be Maria Callas. I don't know why HRH Victoria would be a diva, as I would take "diva" to include some sex appeal. On the other hand, she ruled a bigger empire than Cleopatra and had tons more children, so viva Victoria!

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I don't like that arrangement for Croire, either . . . which first got me thinking I didn't like Croire itself . . . until I found myself humming it a few nights ago. The last time I checked, there weren't any covers of it (just Lara Fabian's versions in different languages), so I've never heard it arranged differently. But when I have more free time, I'd like to check again, just in case.

Thanks for your vote and comments, Mrs. D!

cyurkanin said...

OPA! (And I can't believe you stuck the Dana Diva one in there lol)

Is there no point button for voting in this one?

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I could have sworn I updated the Rafflecopter! =( I can't believe no one else mentioned it! ROFL! Anyway, I've added the option and extended the giveaway for a short while.

When I started planning this bracket, I knew I wanted Israel to be the final wildcard, but I envisioned featuring one of its two winners from the 1970s. What I didn't foresee was that I'd pull the rug out from under my own feet in Round 3B by letting people vote for newer songs over older songs. And there is only one Israeli winner from the time period I ended up having to write about. LOL!

cyurkanin said...

:)

15 entries for me, looking good again this year!!!