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Just got home in time for the ninth entry in this year's Eurovision... Will watch the tunes before it in a while.

9: Malta - Tomorrow (Gianluca)
A fairly pleasant, light and cheery song. But the singer has the sort of face that just begs for a swirly, and isn't there more than a hint of Hey Soul Sister about that tune?

10: Russia - What If (Dina Garipova)
Well, at least she has a big pair of balls. (No, really. Big pair of dark blue balls that turn out to be a small forest of spherical lights.)

Good voice, anyway, and it's nice to hear a song that's sung rather than breathed. But the tune doesn't particularly grab me, despite a nice chord change about halfway through, and the staging and the presence of the background singers doesn't really add anything to it, particularly when they start mugging and handshaking toward the end.

11: Germany - Glorious (Cascada)
Not impressed. It's the sort of thing people will like, though. Wish she'd just stand still and get rid of the annoying 90s techno.

12: Armenia - Lonely Planet (Dorians)
Key rule if you're going to open a tune with a slow section: get a singer who can hold a steady note.

Also, you only get to dress and stage yourself as a rock band if the music you play is rock. Playing rather limp pop with excessive faux-Aguileraesque melisma does not bloody count.

Oh goody, a comedy segment. That's always excellent when Eurovision tries it. Is "excellent" the word I'm looking for? Oh no, sorry, I meant "execrable".

13: Netherlands - Birds (Anouk)
Come on, cloggies, surely you can get a better intro than that? Bland cardboard tune. No other comment.

14: Romania - It's My Life (Cezar)
Tall dark bloke with slick dark hair standing in a full-length shiny black coat in a cloud of billowing mist... Romania not at all playing to type there. Now I just need to figure why Vlad the Impaler seems to be channeling Bon Jovi's "It's My Life". It's His Unlife, perhaps?

Oh, now the possibly-castrato is floating four foot up in the air.

(I just looked up the title. The song's even called "It's My Life". That's... subtle.

Graham Norton: "Cezar there, proving that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should."

15: UK - Believe In Me (Bonnie Tyler)
At least we know there should be some oomph in this one. No sign of it yet, but perhaps it'll come in later when she starts hitting her notes.

Sorry, Bonnie. It's a weak song, sung weakly. Totally eclipsed by her earlier, better stuff.

16: Sweden - You (Robin Stjernberg)
Jedward called. They want their hair back. Also, I think the choreography is once again done by that buffoon who does all Swedish choreography. He hasn't got any better.

Dismal song, too.

I think the next Swedish entry should be called "After All Those Years Of Good Music, Why Haven't We Written A Good Song Since 1999?"

I really like liking songs. I like saying nice things about things. So why, oh why, do people keep putting rubbish on stage?

17: Hungary - Kedvesem (ByeAlex)
There's a tramp on stage breathing into a microphone next to a guitarist who got interrupted in the middle of his haircut and possibly their mum. And the song's dull and repetitive, too. No, really not impressed.

18: Denmark - Only Teardrops (Emmelie de Forest)
I see military-style drummers, which is promising, and the tune's actually fairly catchy. The staging isn't great, though, and I don't like her voice, but the pipes-and-drums feel and vaguely hibernian rhythms make up for a lot. Not bad at all.

19: Iceland - Ég á Lif (Eythor Ingi)
He's a decent singer, certainly. "Beautiful voice", as Norton said, is however rather overstating it. The melody is pretty dull and simplistic, though, and could do with having something other than crotchets and minims in it, if only to add a bit of variety.

20: Azerbaijan - Hold Me (Farid Mammadov)
No! Don't put me back in the box! Oh no, it's just a mime. And he's already upside down, perfectly fitted for being lowered into the Patrician's scorpion pit.

It's a clever gimmick. Sadly, choreographers and musicians should learn that being clever isn't always good. But it is, as Graham Norton remarked, very Eurovision.

The tune's decent, though, and decently performed. It's not something I'd seek out, but I wouldn't turn it off either if it came on the radio.

21: Greece - Alcohol Is Free (Koza Mostra)
This number has a big strike or two against it from the start, appearing to glorify alcohol. The costumes look like some sort of chitinous rugby strip, which isn't as bad as it sounds, and the lunacy and catchy folk-rock sound is very reminiscent of the Leningrad Cowboys. So yeah - apart from my major reservations about the subject matter, I'm really rather enjoying this one. Watch it get nul points.

(Oooh, and lighty-uppy guitars. Cheesy but cool.)

22: Ukraine - Gravity (Zlata Ognevich)

I don't imagine the random giant will have any significance, but...

Oh, this is quite weird. I almost like it. It sounds like the "I want" song from a Disney film about some eastern European folk tale (as Tasha just commented from the other side of the room as I wrote that, so great minds think alike), though perhaps slightly lacking in welly.

23: Italy - L'Essenziale (Marco Mengoni)
I like when singers manage to stand still and let the song do the talking. But in this instance - how does an Italian even get a badly-fitting suit? Isn't that against the law there or something? - the guy performing it has hair that looks like a bad toupée and a suit that makes his head look the size of Belgium.

That said, he sells the song. It's slow but has groove and oomph. Another one I wouldn't turn off if it came on the radio.

Graham Norton: "Should you appear on Eurovision with bed-head?"

24: Norway - I Feed You My Love (Margaret Berger)
...well, that's certainly an eye-catching opening. More than a hint of Bond theme about it, and a look and dress that are decidedly reminiscent of early Madonna. It's not great music by any stretch, nobody will remember it a couple of years from now, and the title is dumb, but for no reason I can adequately define I quite like it.

On a side note, I'm really rather impressed by the CG butterflies and compositing work in the introductory videos.

25: Georgia - Waterfall (Nodi Tatishvili, Sophie Gelovani)
Yeah, it's alright.

Well, OK, it's like a decent, well-practiced amateur number at a decent-quality karaoke night. But no better.

26: Ireland - Only Love Survives (Ryan Dolan)
Very weird. The Danes wrote a more Celtic tune than the Irish. Lads, if you're going to have oiled-up dancers playing bodhrans in front of twenty-foot high Celtic knots, you can't present a tune that's no more than vapid, not-very-good early nineties techno. The attempt at Taiko-style drumming is a good idea, flawed in execution. Really not terribly impressed at all.

Still better than Jedward.

So now it seems we'll get to hear last year's winner, who apparently got more votes than anyone else in the history of Eurovision. This, according to one Swedish radio channel, made her song from last year the greatest Swedish Eurovision song ever. I reject that theory, and would suggest that any Swedish Eurovision entry from 1960 to 2000 is superior to it in any way you choose to name.

Her medley here is similarly rubbish, lacking in musical quality, choreography, costume, concept, execution, everything except possibly lighting and effects. And I seem to detect a few of the signature moves of that useless choreographer I mentioned earlier. Also, why are the Emperor's guards from Return of the Jedi bopping in?

Loreen, who for some reason looks quite stoned, has a selection of songs that I recognise in retrospect... and I'm afraid I didn't like them the first time.

Now getting the recaps. France looks dreadful, Lithuania looks dull, Moldova looks weird, Finland looks like it could be amusing, Spain looks like a biggish power ballad, Belgium looks like they should have brought back Sergio And The Ladies, Estonia looks halfway decent, Belarus looks monotonous. But I'll watch those when iPlayer puts them up to view again.

Also, that Romanian number was, in case I didn't mention it, bloody weird. And the Greek number won't, I think, hold up to repeat viewings.

Some video about, I assume, a week in the life of the Voice of Cigarettes and Whisky. I'm sure it's terribly interesting for people who like that sort of thing. I don't, incidentally, Believe In Bonnie.

And now the comedy stylings of the Swedish presenters, which - Graham Norton assures us - gets better as it goes along. I will take some degree of convincing on this. So far we've had lingerie models with antlers, percussion on recycling bins (Which, incidentally, have just been removed from the house where I live for economical reasons. So much for Swedish environmentalism.), a tube train and Pippi Långstrump joining a pack of bikini models. Not to mention the memorable line "In all of our cities the men don't have titties"... which is, um, nice? I think?

Oh god. There's giant meatballs with lingonberry hats. And a Teese-esque martini glass, a random Carola appearance for about eight seconds, and a big Broadway ending. Despite never indulging in anything stronger than coffee, Irn-Bru and lunacy, I think I might be stoned. I am Swedish, with a natural inclination to British absurdist comedy, and the "Swedish Smörgåsbord" was too weird even for me.

Cue a sketch about Eurovision through the ages. It's pretty much a clip show with pretty decent compositing. Obvious and not very good padding, really.

In comes a chap who had a mediocre-to-poor song a few years ago (can't say his absence has been a massive shadow on my life) to, I dunno, talk some stuff. I may have tuned out until Norton brought the snark.

Eric Saade: "If anyone needs to pee I'll help you to the bathroom, of course."
Graham Norton: "Don't do that, Eric, that's how rumours start."

Now here's Sarah Dawn Finer, a generally very good singer, to do a way-too-slow version of The Winner Takes It All. What, couldn't you get the rights for Sol och Vår, Det Börjar Verka Kärlek Banne Mig, Waterloo, Det Blir Alltid Värre Framåt Natten, Satellit, Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley, E' De' Det Här Du Kallar Kärlek, En Dag, Fångad Av En Stormvind, Eloise, Take Me To Your Heaven, Las Vegas or The Worrying Kind?

Score time. Can't even remember who was first up, then Sweden and...

What the hell is that thing? It's called a Yohio, apparently, looks like some sort of manga character with the creepiness cranked up to eleven, and inex-bloody-plicably opened its talking with a lengthy blurt of, I kid you not, Japanese. Don't ask me.

The Dutch guy, who should know better, says there was "a national relief in Holland". I guess Drenthe, Flevoland, Fryslân, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Overijssel, Utrecht and Zeeland don't count. I wonder if the non-contiguous parts got to vote.

Graham Norton: "Just one point for Ireland? What's wrong, England?"

Simple, Graham. Ireland were dull.

Ye gods, the Israeli guy did a lengthy bit in properly good Swedish. I am impressed.

Incidentally, I'm very glad they've kept that system they introduced a few years ago of dumping 1-7 points in one go and only reading out the top three. It's really hurried things along.

Victorian Sideshow Bob talking for the Ukraine - presumably Steven Tyler will want his mouth back after the show - and Denmark is starting to pull into a pretty strong lead. UK still just one vote, and I'm frankly not surprised.

Romania hasn't got the memo about being brief, and Azerbaijan's talker tried to big up her part with a awful-and-not-in-a-good-way pun.

Regional voting is alive and well, but unlike The Great Terry I don't think that's anything more sinister than neighbouring countries having similar tastes in music. By the way, why isn't Norton snarking more? Nobody watches this show for the music! We want the snark!

Apparently Norway can get the party started. And Armenia wants to teach the world to sing.

Graham Norton: "You should leave."

The man ain't wrong.

Denmark's pulling away further and further. Not the best tune, but not a bad one at least.

Finland's talker is drunk, I think, and I shall take every opportunity to remind my Finnish friends that they, apparently, are from "the land of ding-dong", whatever the hell that means. Oh, and the buggers gave Sweden four points, which shows admirable taste in music but little sense of loyalty.

The Spanish talker... Well, it's a brave choice of dress. Revealing without being flattering, which probably isn't what they were going for. And the Belarussian talker is making little heart gestures and sucking up to Sweden. Don't bother, dear, they've already voted.

Denmark 135, second place more than 20 points adrift. I think Denmark might just take this one.

Saade, get over the sodding hashtags.

On the recap, I think I'm further convinced that Denmark's entry, while not at all bad, is not the best one.

Bulgaria's talker has got lost and forgotten she was supposed to start talking, I think.

Belgium, a country with its capital in the Dutch-speaking part and a 60% Dutch-speaking population, of course gives its scores in French. Because the French-speaking Belgians have bigger elbows and work their way to the front of the line, I suppose.

Graham Norton: "Ryan at the bottom there with three points... I don't get that, it was a great performance."

I hate to disagree with you, Graham, but no. It wasn't.

Estonia's talker, if you're quite finished chatting up Petra, please get on with the scores.

Graham Norton: "I thought I'd get through a Eurovision without Lena, but here she is."

And Germany give 12 points to the singularly tedious Hungary. Fancy that. Perhaps she'll reprise her alien-abduction number.

France give their scores in French. Of course. 37 (EDIT: 36) countries manage to learn a bit of English, France and French-ruled Belgium (EDIT: and Switzerland) have to go with French. I'm astounded, I really am.

(A secret: I'm actually not.)

The Greek talker picked out a perfectly nice yellow dress. Unfortunately she had an accident in the corridor when she crashed into someone carrying a plate of squid-ink pasta. Aw, bless.

35% of the UK's current score, with 30 of 39 countries in, has come from Ireland. Out of loyalty rather than in reward for a good song, I must assume.

Denmark's almost 50 points ahead, with 7 countries left to vote. There's a chance they might not win, but it's pretty unlikely.

Montenegro are having some difficulty with feedback (a hint: use earbuds, not monitor speakers), and I think they might need to order some modern bluescreen kit and maybe a camera that isn't from the 80s. She very laudably points out that one must "get on with it", having failed to.

Slovenia's talker is having a lovely evening, but is looking forward to getting back to his embalming table.

46 points now between the top two, with four countries left - there's still a mathematical possibility that Azerbaijan could take it, but it'd take something of an upheaval.

With Macedonia's 12 to Denmark, the remaining four countries' votes are pretty irrelevant. Denmark's won. The other countries can't make a difference. They could at least have waited with calling the winner, so those countries could get to feel like they contributed a bit.

So if you live in Cyprus, Croatia, Switzerland or Lithuania and called your premium rate voting line, well... you could probably have bought an ice cream for that. Which might have been more rewarding, I dunno.

Oh, and Switzerland are speaking French too. Which is nice, I'm sure.

Incidentally, Lithuania's talker, karate-chop flailing went out around 1983, I think.

That bridge is kinda cool. A bit pointless, but cool. Apparently it represents Öresundsbron, which is apt given that the next contest will just be popping straight back over that bridge.

Apparently Graham Norton would like them to wrap up their reprise quickly, as he has a cab waiting. Hee hee. And at least Petra Mede has a stable foundation in case of earthquake, as with that dress on she can't fall in any direction. Or possibly walk.

This reprise, by the way, would have been an ideal opportunity to bring on the Top Secret Drum Corps from Basel. But that might just be me.

Anyway, with that I shall close my coverage of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, with a fervent wish that I could have had the volume rather louder to exact revenge on the people in the flat above who have apparently been moving heavy furniture for the last half hour.

And there, in a nice bow to tie it all up, is the Eurovision fanfare, which I've always rather liked before they tried to swing it by making it staccato. And the BBC invite me to listen to the after show on Radio 2. As it's hosted by Sara Cox, I think I'd rather not.

Good night.

(Any thoughts on the show? Did I miss anything terrifically fascinating in songs 1-8 or the pre-song witterings? Leave a comment.)


Date: 2013-05-19 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Belgium, a country with its capital in the Dutch-speaking part and a 60% Dutch-speaking population, of course gives its scores in French. Because the French-speaking Belgians have bigger elbows and work their way to the front of the line, I suppose.

Actually, we have an alternating role. One year, it's the French-speaking television station that picks the track (and represents us in the voting); the other, it's the Dutch-speaking side.

This year, it was the Walloon's turn, and at least their entry was not completely awful for a change.

- Tim
(wanted to post non-anonymous, but LJ wants more rights on both FB and Twitter than I think it has any real right to)


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