Thursday, May 20, 2010

ESC 2010 Reviews: Poland

(Just as an FYI, as I'm running out of time to post my reviews, I'm going to hold off on my entries on Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom, as they have already qualified for the Finals on May 29th.  Thanks for understanding!)

Poland has been taking part in the ESC since 1994, which is also the year they had their biggest success in the competition, with Edyta Gorniak's "To Nie Ja (That's Not Me)".  Considered one of the best debuts in Eurovision history (both in score and in quality), Poland's been trying to duplicate that success for the past sixteen years, to little or no avail.  They've only had one other Top Ten placing since then, with Ich Troje's "Keine Grenzen-┼╗adnych granic (No Borders)", sung in German and Polish with a smattering of Russian.  The song, a call for peace, came in 7th place.

Poland has often rested on the laurels of "pretty girl + big song", and despite middling success, they've sent some pretty nice tunes.  For example, 1997's entry, Ana Maria Jopek's "Ale Jestem (But I Am)", was a beautiful folk-inspired number, but it only made it to eleventh place.  They've sent ballads the last two years that, while beautiful, have either scored in last place in the final nor not qualified at all.  They've also sent a few true clunkers.  I still wince when I think about 2007's "Time To Party" by The Jet Set.  I don't care how much money you spend on your stage show, you aren't allowed to rhyme "party" with "party".  It defies the laws of nature and music. 

After a few years of middling success, Warsaw's sending Marcin Mrozinski to Oslo with "Legenda".

Like the Moldovan entry, I feel like this song is trying to combine too many things into three minutes.  There's the traditional piece, sung in Polish in fits and spurts throughout the song, about a knight who kidnaps a princess.  There's the violin break, which might be trying to make listeners recall Alexander Rybak from last year.  Then there's the body of the song, sung in a Google-Translated version of English, that can't make up its mind if it's a ballad, rock, or somewhere in between.  Individually, I generally like those elements appearing in Eurovision.  But all in one song?  It's a bit chaotic, and even when the song draws to a dramatic climax, I'm left kind of cold.  He'll be in the first semifinal, so who knows if he'll pass through, but if he makes it to the finals, I'm not sure if he'll do any better than 15th or 20th place.

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