Countdown to Eurovision: Meet the Losers

Tuesday 20 May 2008

The betting has, theoretically, been thrown wide open this year, as the top-scoring countries from last year no longer get a free pass into the Eurovision final. This means everyone has to compete in the semi-finals for a place; except of course last year’s winner (Serbia) and the four countries which pay the most fees each year to the EBU (France, Germany, Spain, the UK).
The entrant with the longest odds of winning this year is plucky little Montenegro, with the 150-to-1 toe-tapper “Zauvijek Volim Te (Never Forget I Love You)”, sung by Stefan Filipović:
Stefan Filipović was born in Podgorica, on 18th January 1987. He is a student of the Music Academy in Cetinje, but he is into music industry since the age of seven. He participated in many musical contests as a child, in Montenegro and abroad, and he even won many of these contests and festivals, as the songs he was presenting became instant hits.

Unfortunately, the Eurovision website doesn’t offer a translation of the song lyrics, possibly because the subtleties of Montenegrin poetry are untranslatable:

Ponoć nad gradom kuca
Ja ne znam gdje si ti
Srce od ljubavi puca
U praznoj postelji!

Tuga mi pjesme piše
Dok suze padaju
Jastuk na tebe miriše
A dugo, dugo nisi tu!

If you thought Stefan’s biography was quaintly phrased because it was submitted in English by the Montenegrins themselves, then check out the elegant panegyric for the longest-odds entrant guaranteed a place in the final, the 66-to-1 “Even If” by (surprise!) the United Kingdom’s X-Factor loser Andy Abraham:
Andy is a man of mass musical talent, personal integrity… a family man. Andy is a songwriter. A man who has braved and exceeded all expectations and media obstacles over the last four years. Andy is a man who has dealt with the media spotlight with such personality that he has been dubbed the “man and voice of the people” Andy has sold half a million records in less than two years. Andy Abraham is a man of the people. There are no airs and graces. A man who has nurtured his vocal and writing talent for many years and now, on his own terms is set to move on to the world stage. Andy is the UK’s chosen representative at the 53rd Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade, Serbia.

Judging by the grasp of language on display, it was probably written by the same people who wrote his lyrics, who – hey! – include the man and voice of the people who is a man of the people, Andy himself:

Your [sic] keeping me fascinated
No I ain’t running all over town
I feel so intoxicated
I’m struggling to keep
My feet on the ground
I’m not playing girl
This ain’t no game at all
And for the first time
I’m not looking for love
So come here baby
Listen to me
I just want cha
To believe me