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13 May 2011 @ 11:10 pm
Eurovision Semi Final 1  
I was going to write a serious post about the lovely things that have arrived in the post this week -- leochi , raitala , pingrid  and neep1 , you are all champions, but that post will have to hold off until I find my camera cable, probably Sunday.

In the meantime, it's Eurovision weekend. Let me start by giving everyone a massive kiss, because we are on delay here and you have all been so fabulous about cutting spoilers. PLEASE keep it up for another couple of days! 

The semis are my fave part of Eurovision because you can catch the crap before it is all weeded out. But the presenters can be special. Three this year, one woman whose frock seems designed to remind the world Germany gave us the Christmas Tree, one woman whose frock suggests Germany also gave us the microfibre dishcloth, and one chap who seems to be there to offend just about everyone. German humour may not translate well, or he may just be a twunt.

But there is a mercifully small amount of banter, and it's onto the songs!

Poland first, and I think this exchange between Treacle and me sums up the entry:
Me: Do not mix shiny leotards with uplighting: it makes it look as though their vaginas are glowing!
Very pretty crew, lots of sparkly bits on the costumes, hit all the notes. Meh.

The Norwegian entry is in a mix of English and Swahili. Of course it is. Catchy tune and very good looking group, though, so I will keep my fingers crossed they go through! There is a lot of arms in the air choreography for this one, but I am from the 70s and 80s, so I'm down with that. Actually, this song is a bit awesome. I kind of love Norway this year, and not just for all my Norwegian friends.

Albania next, and it's the first Emotional Anthem of the evening. I could tell before she started singing from the minor key, dramatic lighting and frock with drapery. OH AND THERE IS PYRO! Less than a minute in and things are exploding. I was wrong, we have shifted into being a Power Ballad. She's got the same giant bedazzler action going on in her outfit as the Polish girls had.The backup singers have a dance routine that is side steps with big arm action. And it's 1983 all over again ...

Armenia and it's our first prop! A boxing glove chair. It makes no more sense in reality than in text. She is wearing a minidress with boxing belt. Apparently her lover's kisses are like Boom Boom. All male backup dancers, which is good, but they are pretty average, alas. Still, everyone's trying hard, bless em. Ooh, the boys have ribbons that they are using to form a boxing ring! Very nice! Unlike the song. The lads are growing on me, though, I think the two on the right love each other very much. Treacle points out there has finally been some wind machine action, took long enough!

Turkey now. I have high hopes! Ah, they have taken a rocking approach with a Slytherin costume theme, including a contortionist in a caged globe. Of course.She is wearing bright feathers, which makes it look as though Goyle and Crabbe have caught Fawkes. But she seems happy rnough. Oh Mr Keyboard man, playing air keyboard with your spare hand to the camera was cool in 1981. Those chains were never cool. But you look nice, I bet you're an accountant. Girl out of cage! Wings spread! It IS Fawkes!

Oh thank god for an ad break.

And we're back. It's Serbia now, with a terrific little tune and set of outfits that are perfectly mid 1960s. Really sweet and well performed, but is it Eurovision. Where is the crazy? You know, back in the day, those opaque tights were wool, not lycra, and they itched! Actually, the choreography has ramped up and the dancing is in fact bonkers enough for the Song Contest. Fingers crossed they go through! I could watch that again without crying!

The Russians now. The singer is a stuntman and actor, and a close friend of the spray tan. One of his back up dancers appears to be a Culkin. Treacle believes they are Russia's revenge for New Kids on the Block. And there's the Hero Pose on a Dias and Spinning with Camera In Face all in a few seconds. It's as well we aren't playing the Eurovision drinking game or it would be ugly! Great cheekbones, nice voice, I have forgotten the song already.

Switzerland now, nice little poppy intro on a ukelele. I'm sold. Actually, it's coming over a wee bit country, I may have to return it. The lighting display appears to have been designed by the people who do the 'Jesus! He's FUN!' adverts. It's all very nice. Just, nice. I think she just swallowed her hero note ...

Georgia are wearing lime and black and more hair gel than you tend to see outside a hair show. It's all Very Serious and big haired. And now the rocking out chorus with light show. I wonder if I could eat a Flake before I need to type anything else? And now there is rapping. And shouting. God, it's like a night at the football. Treacle and I think the lead girl's frock is sort of Gaga meets Heidi. But she has great hair! FINALLY a funny line from the Aussie commentators: 'That dress wouldn't look out of place on Princess Eugenie.'

The German presenters are introducing Finland and referencing Lordi. Only thing people can tell you about Finland in some places. Poor Finland. I love your islands and linens! And Moomins! This year's song very un-Lordi. More Kermit the Frog, actually. Presenter looks like a blond Prince Harry, but the song is about an environmentalist child named Peter, whereas Harry's would be about how amusing his relatives are, although obviously they do all very important work and have you noticed how much he looks like his paternal grandfather, could you all stop casting aspersions on his paternity now please? Oh Sweet Baby Jesus, I am an econut and I want to buy shares in brown coal after listening to this song.

The lovely team from Malta now, and they are ADORABLE! All modded up, and looking splendid. And with atrocious choreography -- the kids from Dance Academy could do better! And they're actors! But they are REALLY CUTE! The song is a bit meh, but it's delivered beautifully. And the costumes are ACE!

San Marino up next, a nation so squidgy that you get extra points for finding it in pub trivia! The song is a ballad, with a big sea metaphor. The bedazzler is back for her frock, and the smoke machine is pulling double duty and that's about it. Pretty and pleasant, beautiful singer, and I think I will sneak into the loo while I can.

Croatia makes it official: the Bedazzler is 2011's accessory. Pulling out all the Eurovision stops here: dodgy magician, COSTUME CHANGE (actually, I quite like this frock!) crappy keyboard, arm-waving dance moves, more pervy magician, PYRO AND COSTUME CHANGE!!! There was so much going on there, I forgot to listen to the song. Still, entertaining!

Iceland now, with a genuinely sad story: the original singer died a few weeks ago, so it's being performed by his friends, who look like Mumford and Sons. I love them already. Oh, this song is classic Eurovision! Band on stage, boy on boy kiss, trombone, rotating vocal. Oh bless, it takes me back! OH! RHYTHMIC ENDING!! I LOVE THEM THE MOST! I WANT THEM TO WIN!!! Even if they are Mumford and Sons meet the Osmonds.

Hungary's entry has the most spectacular hair I have ever seen in my life. I think her hair alone is taller than me. That is some serious hot roller action! One-shouldered frock and ring that is bigger than her hand, all in light blue. Honey, you rock. And that pounding disco beat will certainly send you through to the finals -- Turkey and the Balkans love that sort of thing in their voting. Note to designers: if your frock has one sleeve, the other one does not need to be twice as large to make up for it! She can't go back! She can't hold back! She must be free! What about her life?! That's some serious shit there. (And in the end pose, the dancer on the left copped a look down her cleavage, bless him.)

PORTUGAL! Very excited! Their song is all about the Carnation Revolution, which was kicked off by a signal from the Portugal entry in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest (you can't make this up) and their outfits are all from that year, showing typical Portuguese workers. Alas, as the Aussie commentators said, they do look like a low-rent Village People. Sadly, the song is more meaningful than catchy, will have to see how the vote goes.

Lithuania has a hot girl and boy with a good personality. The song starts with a heartbeat and then a few bars of piano solo. Oh balls, it's going to be one of those songs. She is signing the second verse, though, hurrah for accessibility! Though maybe lyrics that were worth translating could be trotted out next time? Pretty hair, lovely curvy figure and perfectly nice voice, just, well, meh. Mr Personality is playing the piano, very well, I should say in fairness.

Azerbaijan's turn, we must be at about 15 or 16 by now. And we start with in-line arm chorey. It's just dance through the ages tonight. OH! TWIST! Male singer hiding behind the girls. And it's a duet, in flowy white frocks with a wind machine and mini-skirts on the backup singers. They all have the most amazing hair! Though he could have shaved for the occasion. And there's a nice falling rain light effect in the background. The song is nothing much, but they look nice!

GREECE! Almost always monochromatic, this year it's boys in all black with a bit of red and white on the T-shirts. And it's a dance crew, because that's how they roll in the cradle of democracy. Hard urban rappy sort of thingy, then a nice tenor with a proper shirt and a good haircut. I believe it's an allegory on the divergent fortunes of European nations post credit crunch. I can't speak Greek, but I expect he is singing 'Fuck you, American deregulated bankers, fuck you without lube.' And possibly, 'Like Ireland, we can't afford to host this thing, so for god's sake, don't make us win.'

And that is it for tonight's entries! Time for the voting now. Australians cannot vote, but the broadcaster is running a side vote, in which you can vote AGAINST countries rather than for them. Jedward, I am looking at you!

Voting results are in! Oh, no they're not, it's a German drumming band. Full of surprisingly hot men. OK. I am down with that. The Edinburgh Tattoo could take a few pointers from the high hotness quotient here. Not so sure the skipping cymbal players would translate. Good, though.

Really the results this time! (I have saved you the banter in which one of the presenters scared contestants by sounding as though she was about to invite them for a threesome.)

It's the announcement of the 10 finalists! SERBIA! YAY! Lithuania, oh bless. I will be happy to see those norks again, she has a great set. Number three is GREECE!! YIPPEE! Four is Azerbaijan, which is very nice. I will cry if they win, though. Oh, Georgia made it! Well, I might understand it next time. Five to go: Switzerland has made it through, which I can only suggest is thanks to their safe bloc vote. And we just saw the singer's knickers TWICE. Camera angles, so important .... Number seven is Hungary, HURRAH! I love her. Number eight is Finland, fuck me ... and not him, because I think he is 12. Number 9 is Russia, and the hot lad has his vest on now, which is nice. OMG! ICELAND MADE IT THROUGH! YAY!!!!! But poor Norway, they had a great song and a great performance and are just left out for no good reason.

The second semi screens here tomorrow, and the final on Sunday. I may have to hide from the Internet this weekend ...
Meredyth: Steve Danny Seriouslymeredyth_13 on May 13th, 2011 01:47 pm (UTC)
I got as far a shiny vaginas, and felt that I had experienced enough vicarious Eurovision to last a lifetime!

♥ you SO HARD
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 13th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
Obviously, that and Greece were the high points ;-)

<3 you, too!
★ariannagray on May 13th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC)
I don't really care for the ESC apart from the lulz, so I just watched the recaps on Tuesday and yesterday. Gonna get drunk and watch the final tomorrow with friends, tough. It's a tradition, kinda. :D

and one chap who seems to be there to offend just about everyone
That's actually how he got famous over here. ._. He's also the guy behind Lena, but tries not to be seen with her atm, as she's taking part again.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 13th, 2011 01:54 pm (UTC)
I thought that looked like her! I usually pay attention beforehand, but this year has been even more madly busy than usual, so I am coming in blind.

I love it, but mostly for the lulz. I used to try to see the whole thing as story about how European nations saw themselves, or about the state of popular music, but eventually twigged that half were playing up to how others saw them (Why yes, France, I do mean you!) while the other half were desperately trying to avoid hosting. (Jedward, Ireland? JEDWARD??) Only Portugal and Greece go for the big social commentary, and I suspect I may have made it up on behalf of Greece ;-)
★ariannagray on May 13th, 2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
No worries. I only know, because there is absolutely no way of not knowing in Germany right now. It's like living in Lena-Land, which sucks as I pretty much hate her xD

Rumour has it Ireland sent them on purpose. They just can't afford hosting another ESC at the moment, financial crisis and all. (Watching their show I was really wondering where I could get some of the stuff those boys must be on. ^^)

Btw. it was supposed to be "though" instead of "tough" in my first comment. Although "tough" also seems appropriate when talking about watching the ESC. ;)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 13th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
I speak fluent typo ;-) Yes, Ireland's stopped being remotely subtle about not wanting to win since the GFC. Greece had better be a bit cautious, though, their song is kind of catchy ...

Lena is your Olivia Newton-John, I think. I'm so sorry ...
Klaramummimamma on May 13th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
Everybody (or at least the newspapers and half of my facebook friends) were in an uproar when Stella Mwangi didn't make it. Supposedly there was some transmission problems, possibly terrorist groups and whatnot.

So now I don't have to worry about missing the final :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 13th, 2011 03:02 pm (UTC)
I have noted a phenomenon I call Too Good for This Audience, I think Stella might be a case in point. She was great! So were her backing group!
mousiclesmousicles on May 16th, 2011 10:09 am (UTC)
I know I'm coming in very late to the conversation but I loved Norway too. Sad they didn't get to the finals.
Nennenenne on May 13th, 2011 08:24 pm (UTC)
I'm a little ashamed to admit that I haven't heard Stella's song. At least I don't know that I've heard it. I didn't even know about the swahili part, but thanks for your support. lol
prone to mischieftreacle_tartlet on May 13th, 2011 09:42 pm (UTC)
shu_shu_sleepsshu_shu_sleeps on May 13th, 2011 09:42 pm (UTC)
Thankd for the recap Brammers - I'm going to have to miss the semis this year - and I admit I do love watching them... I'll have to be satisfied with reading your recaps and watching the final this year.
On German drum ands - did you see the utterly fabulous German drum and drill team that was at the Edinburgh Tattoo about three years ago? Sheer brilliance!
Kilian Ruadh: Summer 1ms_kilian on May 14th, 2011 07:56 am (UTC)
I drew Latvia and Ukraine in the office sweep :)
drgaellon on May 15th, 2011 09:26 am (UTC)
I don't think ESC even BROADCASTS in the US - but your recaps are teh awesum. Totally wish I could see it. :D