Representing the UK: Maria Lawson – Sleepwalking
X Factor star Maria has rather cleverly targeted the local radio and Magic TV channel fans with this mid-tempo, catchy but inoffensive MOR-pop song. She could have gone for something more exciting in the hope of gaining younger fans (she sang Kelly Clarkson and the Rolling Stones on X Factor, suggesting she likes a bit of rock), or something more soulful to appeal to r’n’b fans and perhaps make her the female Lemar, a tried and tested way of shrugging off the reality TV label. However, I think she has gone the right way with this track which sits her somewhere between Gabrielle and Kym Marsh with added catchy chorus. Now she just needs Local FM to play it every hour and she’ll have a hit!
Representing Holland: Elize – Into Your System
I’ve been going on about this one a bit lately, but every gratuitous mention is deserved because Elize is absolutely brilliant. If, like me, you’ve been rather disappointed by Dannii’s recent output and the sad lack of any from her sister, give this one a try. It’s pure pop, Eurodisco, super-catchy and every other adjective usually employed to describe such a masterpiece. Now let’s hope she actually gets an album out soon, after 4 top singles and no sign of one yet.
Representing Australia: Stephanie McIntosh – Mistake
I loved Sky when she had blue hair in Neighbours, but then Boyd found out she had based her whole style on Enid from Ghost World (surely nothing to be ashamed of, Ghost World being even more brilliant than blue-haired Sky) and suddenly she was a bit boring – blonde hair, short skirts, everything blue-haired Sky would hate! Still, I was excited for her music career and at last her first single (tied in with a reality show in America) has arrived, but sadly it is a bit of a disappointment. While it’s catchy and not trying to be too cool, it’s rather unoriginal – although I love the Max Martin grrl-rock sound, she doesn’t seem to have Swedes on side and her imitation pales in comparison to Lilyjets or even her fellow Aussie Kate DeAraugo’s song Faded.
Representing Germany, the USA and France: Loo & Placido – Horny As A Dandy
This mash-up of Horny by Mousse T and Bohemian Like You by the Dandy Warhols has been around for ages in Europe but it’s finally getting a release in the UK. I posted it on Into The Groove a few weeks ago as I think it’s one of the best mash-ups I’ve heard – it just fits perfectly and refreshes two great songs. It’s Radio 1’s song of the weekend this week and seems to be getting lots of plays, suggesting it will be a hit when it’s re-released (it originally came out here in March this year) in a few weeks.
Representing the USA: Meg & Dia – Monster
Sister act Meg (older, guitar player) & Dia (lead singer, loves Rufus and Ben Folds so she’s my fave already) are the Veronicas’ darker, rockier American counterparts and although this song is not a patch on the almighty 4ever or Everything I’m Not, it’s grown on me a lot and I’m now quite a fan, which I’m sure Dave from Cure For Bedbugs will be pleased since he’s been mentioning them quite often recently. Their dress sense seems to be inspired by Just A Little Girl era Amy Studt, but unlike Amy and The Veronicas I think these will be able to win over some ‘serious’ rock fans, because the music is not as immediately catchy as those I’ve compared it to (and they’ve already been on the Warped Tour!), but still gets stuck in your head after a few listens, meaning those of you who like The Veronicas, Marion Raven and those kinds of acts should definitely give them a try.