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This blog is about music videos. If you want to know what I think of the songs, you can find my exciting and witty opinions at The Singles Jukebox.

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Ruth Lorenzo - Dancing In The Rain (Spain)

It’s our Ruth! You may remember Ruth from X Factor 2008 aka The Alexandra Burke Year (also ft JLS, Diana Vickers etc). Ruth did that cover of ‘Purple Rain' which was pretty good (but not as good as A-Burke's Toxic).

As such this is Spain’s most professional entry for Some Years (my fave is still Brujeria from 2005 though). The beat is beefy, the hook is merciless and Ruth gives it plenty of welly. Having some English lyrics will help too - for some reason Spanish singing just doesn’t seem to go down well with the voters.

The video sees a handsome dude interrupting Ruth while she’s repainting her warehouse. Together they pull off some Kate Bush worthy ballet moves in a water trough (dancing in the DRAIN more like) which Ruth was previously using to wash out her paint brushes. No shoes (hazardous!) but I’ll let it pass: the only situation where barefooted Eurovision entries are acceptable is one where proper interpretive dance is involved, cf Loreen. WATCH OUT ESTONIA.

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Valentina Monetta - Maybe (San Marino)

If you are experiencing some deja vu let me set your mind at rest: this is indeed the same lass who sang for San Marino last year. And the year before. Any suggestion that Valentina is actually funding SM’s entire Eurovision participation herself and is thus guaranteed selection is pure speculation.

I totally love her of course: she has the demeanour of a nursery assistant reading the Gruffalo out loud and doesn’t seem to notice/care that her songs are awful (dramatic strings undermined by weak sauce beats and unmemorable chorus hook), but is determined to ham them up to the best of her ability nonetheless. Hand gestures! Constantly smiling! Unfortunate peanut-smuggling dresses!

Without any Facebook gimmicks or ugly-duckling self-esteem boosting this year, the video’s macguffin is a piano that plays itself on landlocked San Marino’s finest sandy beach (hmm). Said ghost piano is not included in the live performance: another 14th place in the semis beckons.

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Aarzemnieki - Cake To Bake (Latvia)

Cake song #2 is from Latvia, and I will concede that the cake in question here is a true cake. None of your cheesecake or experimental Heston Blumenthal shit happening here. The only issue is that our over-achieving chef seems a bit hazy on the recipe. I will forgive him and his insufferably twee mates because a) I like their hipster scarves b) Latvia looks pretty c) there is a SMALL DOG in the video d) they are holding up signs saying ‘cep’ which according to Google translate means ‘baked’ so there is an outside chance their cake has weed in it.

This lot are in a different semi-final than Belarus (and the similarly-folky Malta) so they may well have a chance to qualify here. They don’t have much in the way of special effects - unless they decide to pop out from a giant cake - so it really depends on everyone’s twee tolerance (twollerance?) levels.

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Teo - Cheesecake (Belarus)

FINALLY I have got round to the cake songs. First of all is Belarus’s effort, which is cheesy both in musical nature and in cake nature. My sister, who has actually baked cakes for money, confirmed to me on the phone earlier that cheesecake is in fact not a cake but a DESSERT, as you don’t put it in the oven. I quote: “Unless it’s one of those weird cheesecakes that have an egg in and pastry and wait that’s a PIE" <—- of course as we all know there is nothing that is not a pie, but this universality does not apply to cake! Just ask the Jaffa Cake dudes. Alternatively you can read this informative page about the Jaffa Cake wars on the HM Revenue and Customs website. “On going stale, a Jaffa cake goes hard like a cake rather than soft like a biscuit."

Teo plays a grim Robin Thicke character who is scared of commitment (i.e. very stale and soft like a biscuit). At least I hope it’s a character. The video is creepy, unimaginative and displays a casual misogyny that makes Poland’s boob marathon look positively harmless. The lyrics are clunky too - I wonder if they will bleep out the Google Maps line like they did for San Marino’s Facebook song the other year? They could double up on the Teletubby honking noise, I guess? I will cry if this makes the final.

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Mei Finegold - Same Heart (Israel)

Bit of a change in mood here but no less awesome: Mei has tattoos and a SAMURAI SWORD and is going to mess you up big style round the back of the bikesheds later. She has an excellent SeriousFace, sharp dance moves, enough eyeliner to supply a Cleopatra lookalike competition and I am basically a little bit in love with her? It helps that her raspy goth-bosh is half Dragonette, half Infernal, and entirely right up my street. There’s even a key change! Israel haven’t made the final since 2010, and if this doesn’t see them through it will be a travesty.

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Maria Yaremchuk - Tick-Tock (Ukraine)

After yesterday’s dross, today we’ll have a couple of songs I actually like! First up is Mariya for Ukraine, who would quite possibly be unable to stage the competition in 2015 if they won this year. And they might just do it with Tick-Tock! I can imagine both Britney and One Direction singing this which is always a sign of a good pop tune. My heart is like a clock and steady like a rock!

The video has an (understandably) low-budget Nicole-Scherzinger-does-a-Janet-Jackson-impression vibe about it, with a weird focus on cgi-looking swinging stage lights. However I like her big floppy hat and her backup dancers are more than competent. This is my favourite Ukrainian entry in years! Best of luck, Maria.

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Pollapönk - No Prejudice (Iceland)

Why can’t we all get along? The Icelandic OK Go are attempting to smooth over society’s troubles with brightly coloured tracksuits and no middle range (it’s all slap bass and top end). Thumbing the nose to Putin via the medium of punk-pop!

The equality message is laudable but there’s no denying the song is a stinker, and no amount of enjoyable cartoon villain hijinks in the video can disguise this. Apparently they do Icelandic children’s telly, which makes sense (kids’ TV is where you’ll find all the most imaginative set and costume designers).

I feel like I’ve been a bit harsh on today’s entries! I must admit I’m trying to get the least-likely-qualifiers out of the way before the semis start - there is plenty of good stuff yet to come…

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Sergej Ćetković - Moj svijet (Montenegro)

This year’s crop of videos has been quite low on the ol’ tourist board shlock, so after grim/problematic Hungary it’s a relief to see a heartwarming tale of two happy kids’ holiday romance played out in the beautiful Balkan countryside. Beaches! Cobbled streets! Moorland! A really long viaduct! A really long viaduct. You could make a BBC4 crime drama about it. Sergej could have taken his scarf off maybe, it looks a bit nippy.

The song is dreadful of course, from the Near Far Wherever You Are intro to the hammed up Pet Rescue ending. Sorry Montenegro, you have absolutely no chance of making the final, but at least your video is pleasant.

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András Kállay-Saunders - Running (Hungary)

I think this is the first Eurovision video I’ve blogged that’s needed a trigger warning (for child/domestic abuse). Herein lies SRS BSNS, which I’m sure Hungary are just trying to draw awareness to and definitely not exploit for Eurovisionny gain. As soon as you see the kid clutching an oversized teddy bear you know it’s not exactly going to be cake-baking time (YES I am getting to the sodding cake song, ALRIGHT), but things really get quite scary considering this is a family show. The mask-wearing interpretive dancer (who takes off said mask at the end to reveal mascara-stained TEARS) is more what I’d expect from a contest of song: displaying pain through awkward arm movements, rather than showing a terrified kid hiding from a horrible stepdad about to hit her with a chair. Yikes.

All this is a rather heavy backdrop for wailing vocals and slightly anaemic d’n’b. No dubstep wub here! I suppose the kids escaping into the bleak forest is a vague nod to that Nero (or was it Pendulum? Sub Focus???) video from a few years back, though personally I would have preferred a Titanium-style supernatural revenge twist where their eyes start glowing and stepdad dude’s face starts melting off or sutin.

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Tanja - Amazing (Estonia)

Rehearsals for Estonian Strictly doesn’t seem to be going to well. Let’s just say our couple are getting rather distracted when they should be practising their paso dobles. They get the hang of it eventually though and the indoor fireworks go off (not a metaphor).

Song-wise, I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear that this was e.g. Leona Lewis’s new single: a bit boshy, big notes on the chorus, lyrics meaningless to the point of semi-awesomeness (“I’d break the curse of time to be with you”). Best of all, there is actual STAGECRAFT planned for this one. I won’t spoil it but keep an eye out, dudes.

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