Don't get me wrong. I love K-Pop. Pop Trash Addicts played host to the pride of Korea and many other stunning acts before loud and proud K-Pop fanatics like Pop Reviews Now and The Prophet Blog started flying the flag. The thought and effort that goes into everything from the styling to the choreography is inspiring and it's exciting to see how the Korean model is being embraced abroad. You only have to look at The Saturdays' latest video to see that someone has been taking notes. But when it comes to making a genuine impact on the international music scene, Romania has well and truly snatched Korea's wig. Over the past couple of years the country has become a hot bed for dance music and continues to churn out hitmakers at an alarming rate. Their most successful export is arguably Edward Maya, who cracked the US top 20 with "Stereo Love" and took the song to number 1 in nine other countries, but in this post I'm going to focus on the leading ladies of Romania.
Elena is the least famous of the ravishing Romanian divas wreaking havoc on the European charts at the moment but she could well be my favourite. Like many a pop tart before her, she got her big break at Eurovision - placing 19th in 2009. At least she did better than Soraya! Since then Elena has racked up consecutive number one hits in her homeland and made waves across the continent with "Disco Romancing". That song was massive in Eastern Europe and won over the Spanish gays. I love that trash but her new single is even better. "Midnight Sun" (below) is typically upbeat Romanian dance-pop with a cute Latin twist and a killer sample. The chorus is annoyingly catchy and I like her bubbly personality. As usual the video is basically soft porn with Elena dancing around in a variety of skimpy outfits. She looks slightly demented but kudos for trying to bring back the eye patch. I need an album from this goddess ASAP!
The next classy Romanian diva on everyone's lips is Alexandra Stan. "Mr Saxobeat" has already been a top 10 hit in 8 European countries and is rapidly climbing the UK singles chart. She's currently sitting at number 18 but should jump a couple of places this week given the song's position on iTunes. The 21-year-old's success is easy to explain. She looks and behaves like a (slightly) less trashy Ke$ha and somehow got her paws on one of the most insanely catchy novelty hits in recent memory. Part of me wants to dismiss the song as a total fluke but Romanian producers continue to deliver these killer tunes - first "Stereo Love", then Inna's "Hot" and now "Mr Saxobeat". Bucharest is the new Stockholm! I particularly like Alexandra's video. She gets arrested and taken to prison but like any self-respecting party girl, she flirts with the guard and breaks out. And really who could resist this stunner? It's only a matter of time before someone licences this in Australia. Trust me.
Last but definitely not least is the Romanian Madonna. By now Inna needs no introduction. The diva's uncanny ability to endlessly recycle hooks and beats won her an army of fans around the globe, particularly in France where she has scored 5 consecutive top 10 hits. I loved her debut album (even though it sounds like 18 remixes of the same track) and I'm glad she's still going strong. The lead single from her sophomore opus "I Am The Club Rocker" broke into the UK top 20 last week and, like Alexandra, is predicted to climb when the charts are released on Monday. "Sun Is Up" is typical Inna. It combines her favourite themes - warm weather and looking sexy - and will get stuck in your head after the first listen. Inna definitely gets more a lot more money funnelled into her music and videos than Elena or Alexandra but she always looks a little bored to me. I guess it's stressful being the reigning queen of Romanian pop! Check out her latest smash below. You just know that BoA is crying into a pillow somewhere screaming "that shoulda been me!"