Representing the USA: Porcelain Black – This Is What Rock N Roll Looks Like
A new RedOne protegée is always exciting, but I’m not sure anyone requested a cross-breed of Cruella de Vil and Lady GaGa. After the embarrassment that was Mohombi, I’m starting to wonder if Mr Khayat is better left to making amazing pop songs rather than trying to launch new artists. I actually don’t think the Cruella look is that bad and the high school-set video is quite fun, but Porcelain’s raspy vocals ruin what could be another huge smash for RedOne if given to another artist. It’s a catchy, sing-along track but Porcelain’s vocals will annoy anyone who likes singing along, and anyone who likes raspy rock vocals won’t want to be seen anywhere near a song with “nanana”s in it and choreographed dancing in the video. And let’s not even talk about Lil Wayne’s appearance. There are few things sadder than a great song wasted on a terrible artist.
Representing the UK: Taylor Jones ft. Darren Martyn – Fallen Out Of Love
Fugative better watch out – there’s a new white UK teen rapper on the scene and he looks and sounds so much like Fugative that I would imagine many people who see this video will actually think it is him. The video is obviously not exactly a work of art, but considering this is the first time I’ve heard of either Taylor or Darren it must have cost a reasonable amount, especially as each of the two artists involved seem to have recorded their scenes almost completely separately. The song is a pretty average and dated imitation of Fraser T Smith’s work, but it’s catchy enough, and there definitely is room for a white UK teen rapper (don’t forget how huge Blazin’ Squad were for a while) so I can see Taylor doing quite well if he keeps at it and is managed well. Step one: get a less grumpy-looking model for the next video!
Representing The Netherlands: Kevin Hellenbrand – Good Times
I love going through the charts of other countries, not just because I have often discovered new favourite artists that way, but also because it brings comedy gems like this to my attention. From watching this video for the latest single by former Ch!pz member Kevin, you have to wonder if you’re back in the year 2000 again. Is this the comeback of DJ Otzi? But what’s worrying is that this doesn’t even seem to be a comedy single – Kevin is totally serious! Ch!pz (who were sort of like a Dutch version of Steps) actually had some fun, catchy novelty pop songs, but now Kevin is getting older and has clearly not been getting his daily exercise. Watching him doing dance routines is jaw-droppingly embarrassing and this track is so weak you’d think it was a pretend pop song written in half an hour for a kids’ TV show. I’m going to pretend I never saw this and enjoy the Euro classic 1001 Arabian Nights instead.
Representing Sweden: Tove Styrke – High And Low
It shows how rare it is for a Swedish popstar to make a music video that Tove is releasing her third single, and has recorded her first ever video for the occasion. I don’t love High And Low quite as much as Million Pieces or White Light Moment, but they are so brilliant they’d be tough to beat. High And Low is still a good single choice as it’s a fairer reflection of the album overall than the first two singles were, and it shows Tove’s grown-up, sophisticated side. Watching this video it’s hard to believe she’s a 17 year old girl who got her start on the Swedish version of Idol. I always say it but I knew instinctively as soon as I saw Tove on Idol that she was special, and I have high hopes that as she gets into the stride of her music career she could become one of Sweden’s greatest popstars – a huge honour considering Sweden is the home of the best pop music in the world.