06 May 2016

Eurovision 2016: Spotlight on Poland; North Macedonia; San Marino

Michał Szpak / Poland / 2016 Eurovision Song Contest

Poland: Michał Szpak with Colour of Your Life

The Poles may have made a notorious display a couple of years ago with their busty milkmaids act, but just as in 2015 the country has returned to something much more familiar for Eurovision: the love ballad.

Titled Colour of Your Love, the vocals are provided by Michał Szpak - another former contestant of a reality TV show, this time the runner-up on Poland's version of The X-Factor  in 2011. There's no doubting he can sing well live and this ballad is the type of entry that can live or die by the type of performance level it is given. As such, expect a passionate and captivating presentation to help separate it from the pack.

Although it may not be the song that many were expecting to win the Polish national final, it's definitely the type of entry which has the credentials to appeal to the Eurovision jurors (as well as the far flung diaspora of Polish voters across Europe).

Appearance: Semi-Final 2, performing 2nd

Image by Eliza2foryou (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

North Macedonia: Kaliopi with Dona

Kaliopi / Macedonia / 2016 Eurovision Song Contest

Look who's back on the Eurovision stage? Yes, it's one of North Macedonia's biggest stars and (fairly) recent Contest graduate, Kaliopi.

If you know your Eurovision, you'll recall that she was North Macedonia's representative in 2012, performing Crno i Belo (Black and White) when Azerbaijan staged the competition in Baku. On that occasion, she managed to climb to a respectable thirteenth place, but can she better that feat this year?

While you know that she will give Dona - an opulent and extravagant ballad - her all, this could easily be one of this year's semi-final casualties. Unfortunately, it sounds much more dated than her 2012 effort, although singing in her native language definitely sets it apart from the parade of English entries.

However, in the improbable event that Kaliopi's popularity helps propel her into the Final alongside more fancied competitors, there's really no chance of North Macedonia climbing too far on the scoreboard.

Appearance: Semi-Final 2, performing 8th.

San Marino: Serhat with I Didn't Know  

Serhat / San Marino / 2016 Eurovision Song Contest

San Marino famously made it to the Eurovision final two years ago when Valentina Monetta secured 24th place with her song, Maybe. This year Serhat, a Turkish television presenter and self-proclaimed singer, will try to better that effort with his (now) disco-flavoured comic turn called I Didn't Know.

Originally billed as a full-blown ballad, the song was quickly revamped when it was greeted with derision and disbelief by many die-hard Eurovision fans. The entire (now withdrawn) original video was surreal on a  grand scale, with Serhat wearing a monocle holster in some kind of outlandish dream sequence video.

San Marino thought better of all that and, as a way of trying to rescue the song, a disco backing track has been added. It hasn't helped. Serhat's vocal abilities still make him sound like the miracle love child of Telly Savalas and Lee Marvin in need of a salt water gargle.

As a result, I Didn't Know is now camper than a row of tents (and that's saying something for Eurovision) and will very probably emerge as 2016's comic turn - if it hasn't already. Entertaining: yes. A winner: definitely not.

Appearance: Semi-Final 1, performing 8th.

Image by Albin Olsson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

What are your thoughts about these entries?

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