Engelbert Humperdinck

 

In 1975, Joy Fleming sang, “Ein Lied kann eine Brücke sein.” Yes, a song can be a bridge, but given the singing quality of some of the acts today, a song can be a dam too.

As one looks back to all 58 Eurovision Song Contests one may see a theme. Note that in the early days, when many did not have access to a television, the Eurovision Song Contest was also broadcast on the radio. As such, more emphasis was placed on the vocals than the performance. What resulted were top-notch live vocals that could even outshine the recorded studio versions of the songs.

However, flash forward to the 2000s and we have choreography galore and subsequently, less attractive live vocals. Now, my colleagues at ESC UNITED and readers of the OGAE REST OF THE WORLD Facebook page know that my taste in Eurovision music can be quite questionable. Bad notes here and there do make my face grimace, but I can forgive the performers if the stage performance is entertaining. However, sometimes, a song is better enjoyed in its studio form.

Below are my Eurovision songs best enjoyed in studio form:

1) T.a.T.u. – “Ne Ver Ne Boysia”: The verses sound good live, but those choruses sound horrible! I’ve heard it described as the sound of cats fighting, and I’m prone to agree. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever T.a.T.u. give a good live performance…although both have had promising solo careers in Russia since.

LIVE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAK0tbe4XtA
MUSIC VIDEO: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1cpb2_t-a-t-u-no-ver-ne-boysia-ne-prosi_music#.UP7k9CfZaFg

2) Kate Ryan – “Je T’adore”: One of the frontrunners in Athens, people were expecting a good showing from Belgium. Instead, Belgium left as yet again, a non-qualifier to the Final. The studio version is superior to the live version, which is not as bad as other entries; however, the performance was just a bit too stale.

LIVE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUFh6Khi8zc
MUSIC VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cipC4ASK0cM

3) Malena Ernman – “La Voix”: I found it very difficult to understand what Malena was singing in the live performances. The studio version allows for more emphasis on her vocals. And less of the scary facial expressios.

LIVE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXQHZXaypIQ
MUSIC VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CchOtQMKTE

4) Safura – “Drip Drop”: I know “Drip Drop” is a much-beloved recent Eurovision Song but compare the studio version to the live vocals. It’s a no-brainer… I also like how they lowered the volume of Safura’s mic at the big note. Very sneaky, Azerbaijan! The back-up singers sound flat in the second verse. And watching the interviews with them, we all know they can sing!

LIVE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUyXFz2eRBs
MUSIC VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU1O65r6z-g

5) Getter Jaani – “Rockefeller Street”: One of the 2011 frontrunners, the performance was entertaining and lively. The vocals left the fans wanting more. At times, poor Getter sounded like she was competing with her backup singers to be the loudest. We know this girl can sing. Check out the acoustic version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux7Lbh1PKnE. In this case, the performance was perceived to be more important than good vocals. The studio version is fantastic though, sounding like something out of a Disney Channel TV show.

LIVE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxvmdR7oYdQ
MUSIC VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdNAYokSlCc

6) Engelbert Humperdinck – “Love Will Set You Free”: Hearing the studio version of this, I let myself believe that the UK was in it to win it again. But as soon as I heard the live performance beginning in a different key, I knew we were in for trouble. I should have known better than to expect a man at his age sing as flawlessly live as he did with studio help. As the studio version builds and builds, it gets progressively better. In Baku, it got worse and worse…

LIVE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXw4Q5jbNqQ
MUSIC VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFNv9pjqZkk

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS:
I mention these last two mostly for the fact that they have been ridiculed by many Eurovision fans. At times, it seems that I am the only one that can find anything redeeming about these songs. Nevertheless, I did say I would share songs that were better in studio form. These two songs are better….they just went from bad to bearable…

7) Tereza Kerndlova – “Have Some Fun”: With the 2011 Slovakian representatives Twiins in tow as background singers, the Czech Republic sent Tereza to Belgrade in 2008. Unfortunately, all three struggled to stay in key and the performance fell apart with the first notes. Although some may call the production busy and noisy, this pretty much falls in line with my tastes. When sung in key, it is a guilty pleasure…that I will play either with headphones on or with the car windows rolled up.

LIVE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz8dIRswWws
MUSIC VIDEO: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3sngc_tereza-kerndlova-have-some-fun_music#.UP7h6CfZaFg

8) Krassimir Avramov – “Illusion”: Another song where it would have been better to have just put a CD player on the stage and press “Play.” Men hitting high notes as Krassimir and David D’or (Israel 2004) creeps me out. But this is a tad bit more bearable. I will give Bulgaria kudos for the awesome music video.

LIVE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Mz8EA_cpo4
MUSIC VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyAthqewF2g

These are just eight of the many potential songs that can be on this list. Do you agree or disagree? What other Eurovision songs are best enjoyed in “Studio Version” form as opposed to seeing them performed live?

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3 Comments

  1. Roy van der Merwe

    January 26, 2013 at 05:14

    II agree on most

  2. Tin Spanja

    February 11, 2013 at 19:07

    If people can’t sing live, the composer should find another perfomer. It as simple as that! But if he insists in having this bad live singer we simply have to take what we get.
    I think the live performance is a part of the exitement when watching a live tv- show. What’s the point watching a live tv-show if everything is like on the cd/music video? (actually it’s a shame that the music in this contets is not anylonger live, but that’s a another discussion)

  3. Matt

    February 11, 2013 at 20:13

    I agree with Tin Spanja. The vocals are such an essential part of the song especially since everything else is playback nowadays. So if you can’t sing live to a pre-recorded track, people shouldn’t whine about the results.

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