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15 May 2011 @ 06:29 pm
Eurovision Semi Final 2  
Right! Was having a hugely fun adventure road trip with a friend yesterday, so this is a delayed recap of a delayed broadcast and I apologise in advance for the typos, no time for edits! Best get on with it or I will run out of time before the finals tonight. THANK YOU so much to everyone who has been putting their live recaps and responses behind cuts. You are all FABULOUS!

Tonight's presenter outfits are less scary than the other night's, though bright yellow is always a Brave Choice. Still, not so bad on her, unlike most of us. Blah blah blah voting, finals, at least the man with the squinty face hasn't said anything misogynistic yet. OH! Spoke too soon. If I were there and being called a hot chick, I would kick his legs out from under him and correct that to hot ninja chick, thank you very much.

As always, the voting begins before the actual performances. Ah, European democracy at its finest.

First up tonight Bosnia and Herzegovina (I blame the Balkan states for Eurovision taking three times as long as it used to.) Oh it's classic Eurovision here, wacky clothes skirting the edge of comedy. Echoing vocals in the intro, band on stage, so rhythmic the audience are clapping along and a nice little folky bridge and chorus. Quite like tambourine girl's gypsy frock, modest but sexy. Nice! The lyrics seem to be about a relationship through polynomials, but I have to confess that I am so distracted by the bouncy performances that I've lost track of what the song is actually about. But the lead singer could Emote for Europe. OH! Wavy choreography at the end! Kate Bush shout out!

Austria now! Lovely voice, beautiful woman singing without music to start, though in a distractingly sparkly mindress, I fear the Bedazzler from Semi Final One might be back. The song itself is a bit meh, though, but it is impressive to see how beautifully she can balance in those heels. Lovely smooth and rich voice, but wasted on this song. The secret is love? Who writes this shit? Oprah? (NB if it was the Austrian girl, I forgive her because she is about 18, and young people are allowed to be thick.) I do like the rich backing vocals, too. Voice-wise this song is fab, song wise, alas ...

And it's The Netherlands. Oh dear, white double-breasted suit. Poor young man. Everyone else on the stage looks much nicer. They all look very tall. The electric guitarist is possibly the most quintessentially Dutch person I have ever seen, and clearly they think he is better looking than the lead singer, too, since the chorey is designed to keep him in shot as often as possible. The song is nothing much, but we're at the end now and it's got one of those nice sustained chanting vocal lines going over the main line, that's fun.

Belgium's entry has no instrumental backing and is all a cappella. I kind of hate it. Sorry, Belgium. You're a beautiful country with a wonderful and rich cultural heritage. It's not you, it's this song. Did they just sing 'to have and to kiss and to tug into bliss'? Dirty!

Slovakia is next. A note to all people titling things, titles such as 'I'm Still Alive' are just asking for critics to add 'alas'. I'm afraid that's the case here, though they are wearing one of my personal fave bad stage fashion items, the skin-tight minidress with strips of drapery sticking out the back. Nice! And with minimal bedazzling. Oh, I've just noticed they have an actual drummer. Genius impersonation of a drum machine from that man.

Ukraine now, and the girl in the purple has the best dress so far, while the girl in white has astonishingly beautiful skin. OH HEY! Purple girl is that sand artist girl! I LOVE HER! Actually, white girl's frock is cool, too. I'm a sucker for a feather and a vampiric touch in the line. The song is standard pop -- blah blah we're all angels, blah blah -- but she has a good voice, clear and strong and hitting all the notes she means to, which is not a given in this comp. The sand art that accompanies the song is genius, makes it hard to concentrate on the song.

Moldova! Gnome hats! YAY YAY YAY!!!! Oh silly costumes, you will always be my favourite! Ah, right. Apparently it's the Moldovian Angry Gnomes Society, think Madness meets Billy Bragg meets garden ornament, with a touch of Golgol Bordello. Actually, I quite like it. Gnome girl in a tutu on a unicycle! I LOVE IT! The strobe lighting is a bit harsh, I can just imagine some poor bastard in the audience standing there with eyes wide thinking 'Of all the times for that trip to kick in ...' The back screen animation to this is indescribable, so I won't try.

And thank goodness it's Sweden. Guaranteed nice to look at, nice to listen to, sometimes brilliant. Bless your Nordic reliability. Oh, and we're a bit edgy this year: techno beats and high-concept choreography, with a lovely nice looking boy. it's sort of Beiber meets Bronski Beat. Outfits apparently by Edward Scissorhands. And now they've locked the singer into a glass cage, which he has shattered with his bare hand, he is THAT BUTCH *cough* sugar glass! *cough*. And it's all light and movement with many repetitions of the word Popular. Should do well!

Cyrpus! Classical beginning with goddess frocked woman holding globe and young men with traditional instruments and bare arms. Ooh! Disturbingly swaying choreography! And now the woman is wailing and swinging her globe on a chain around her head. Careful with that, love, you'll have someone's eye out! Those boys are wearing more eyeliner than I used to wear in the 80s. It's so bloody cultural I could weep. Fog! Fog everywhere! Oh, she's put her globe down and is showing us her dreadlocks now, and one of the lads is dancing, though you will note he's stepped out of his boots, which seem to be stapled to the floor. That would explain the extreme swaying.

Bulgaria is up and their outfits are at the genius end of awful. There are some fashions so deliberately bad that you cannot help but admire them, and I feel that everyone on that stage has hit that note. We have white satin, chains, black lace, and red feather earrings on the lead singer. She's actually quite good, back in the 80s I would not have bought their album, but I would have been happy when it made number one, as it would have then. Actually, the clothes are very 80s, too. Maybe this is a tribute band? Oh, she's whisked off her overskirt! COSTUME REVEAL! Good performance, strangely outdated but pleasant song.

Time for FYR Macedonia. OH! Modern Dancers! YAY! Hee, his shirt has ruffle cuffs. The song is a bit odd, lots of exclamatory bits, and now he is singing through a megaphone. And the dancers are line dancing. It's oddly catchy nonetheless, and he certainly sells it well. I don't think I want him to win, but I would certainly go out for a drink with that lad, he looks like a load of fun!

It's time for Israel and Dana International is back! I love her. Ohm there she is in all her willowy glory, rocking that woven-strip dress and the sort of glam beehive Sarah Palin would give a child for (probably Bristol). The song is nice enough, standard Eurovision pop with a few nice harmonies adding a little Hebraic touch, none of it half as captivating as the glorious Ms International who has just catwalked through the stadium along the interconnected stages in heels that scare me to look at. 

Slovenia, song 13 and it's only been an hour. Ah. I kind of hate this one, too, though I like her frock and she looks great. Very nice voice, even. Just the whiny R&B I loathe, I'm afraid. Good kinky boots, though.

Now Romania, with an intro stolen from Cold as Ice. Oh dear, lead singer in striped black and white trousers, white shirt and black waistcoat and woman dancers in tuxedos with bras rather than shorts and trilbies. It's retro night here at Eurovision and we'll be making our way through the worst cliches of the 1980s in this song. It's about changing the world, too, set to a boppy poppy song, like the bastard child of Bob Geldof and Buck's Fizz. And we end with a little pyro. I know what I'd rather set on fire!

Fuck me, the Australian commentators are interviewing Jedward, who are singing and dancing Britney. I weep for the world. WEEP!!!

ESTONIA! Oh how I love you, Estonia. It's another retro tune, this one more 60s with a Puppet on a String touch. The lead singer is doing magic tricks, I am a little afeared. The chorus is a bit more lively, but the song is a a slightly odd key that makes her sound a little off even when she is not. If this was a diving competition, she would have a high degree of difficulty multiplier with that key and all the chorey! My heart says 'Go Estonia!', my brain says they'll be lucky to go through.

Belarus -- is that an electric glockenspiel? Whatever it is, cool instrument and great sound! More Kate Bush School of Choreography, and sparkly minidresses (not on the lads, I hasten to add, shame.) The song is called I Love Belarus, which has a bit of the Moscow Moscows about it. Kind of catchy and well performed, and I feel they will have a smash hit at home with this one -- indeed the Belarussian Olympic Team will probably break it out a lot in London next year, but is it the best choice for Eurovisioin, I wonder? Very good looking entry, though!

Latvia! I love Latvia, too. One of my friends is a Latvian musician, alas, yet to perform at Eurovision. One of the few things Latvia does not do well is stage fashion, as these outfits demonstrate. Black trousers and shirt, white-fronted waistcoat and red tie = let's focus on the fact that the lads manage to be charismatic and entertaining despite this. It's another nothing pop song about Angels in Disguise, very few actually impressive songs this year. And there's a rap in the middle. Oh Estonia, it's not 1992 when that sort of thing was still a little acceptable. But you all look so sweet, I can't be too cross.

Up next is Denmark, who are apparently upholding Restrained Cool for the Scandi bloc this year. Actually, I quite like this song, for all that it's another Make Everything Better For the Future song. I could just have Stockholm Syndrome by this point, I admit. There are a few hotties in his band, which always makes me more indulgent. Any shallower and I would be a water feature. Bit too much camera action on the lead singer, the guitarists are the lookers!

And to wrap things up, because there is no way anyone could follow this act, it's Ireland with Jedward! Look, Ireland, we know that the credit crunch has hurt you, we know that you're angry, but really, was this necessary? And yet I cannot hate them. Which is more than can be said for their costume designer. What the hell do you call those jackets? The choreographer has done his or her best and apparently settled for 'Try to wave your arms in time, lads, and when in doubt, jump. Keep the energy up!' You know, this is my least loathed song of theirs. I really want to see them with their hair down. I wonder if they comb-over the sides in winter to keep their ears warm? Oh they're such dear little enthusiastic puppy-like beings. I could never hate them, but if they could go back to being a quiet quirkily Irish phenomenon, that would be lovely.

And now some German filler while the votes are tallied. I should fast forward through all this lot so I can grab some dinner before the final. The Australians are adding their own filler. Those women from the Ukraine and Austria are very beautiful, but no shots of the hot Danish guitarist. Oh and now the ugly German man is mocking England's football skills before another anti-woman 'joke'. Meh, I don't have to spend my life looking like him, so I am going to write it all off as bitterness. And breakdancing to Bach. Fich that, fast forward!

Voting results! The ten to go to the finals:  ESTONIA! OMG! THEY MADE IT! HURRAH!!!! That degree of difficulty paid off! Romania! Really? Moldova -- oh, that's genius. I could watch that again ;-) Ireland. There is clearly no God. Bosnia & Herzegovina are through and that is good news! DENMARK! YAY! MORE HOT BOYS! Austria -- jolly good, she's lovely. Oh, she did write the song. Sorry, Austrian girl! Ukraine! Yippee! Hot girls, too! Slovenia takes the number 9 spot, go the boots. And for the last spot: Sweden, and all the boys are snogging. Ah, satisfying ending. Right! An hour before the final begins. Food and leg stretch!
Loyaulte Me Lieshocolate on May 15th, 2011 08:45 am (UTC)

My jaw dropped with an audible clang and I didn't manage to close my mouth for three minutes... monocycle and monocle and pointy hats,WHY???
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 15th, 2011 08:52 am (UTC)
It was the spirit of Eurovision stood up tall and proud in the centre of the auditorium.

Without trousers.
prone to mischieftreacle_tartlet on May 15th, 2011 09:23 am (UTC)
I have a pint of gin and tonic! THIS CAN ONLY END WELL!
yourebrilliant: mwahyourebrilliant on May 15th, 2011 09:26 am (UTC)
This was fantastic, we never get the semi finals over here. Since I was out at dinner last night and missed the finals (sacriliege!) I look forward to your review of the finals.
shu_shu_sleepsshu_shu_sleeps on May 15th, 2011 09:31 am (UTC)
I should have followed your lead and stayed away from the news sites - because the bloody SMH site spoiled it for me halfway through today.

So I won't be watching the final - might go watch some Spooks instead. And reread one last time my notes for the Civil Lit exam tomorrow.

Enjoy the final :)
Nennenenne on May 15th, 2011 10:04 am (UTC)
You almost make me regret not watching this. :)
17catherines on May 16th, 2011 05:11 am (UTC)
The German filler was rather good, actually - Bach on organ and harpsichord with breakdancing. Unexpected, but well done.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 16th, 2011 08:15 am (UTC)
Love Bach, loathe breakdancing ;-)
17catherines on May 16th, 2011 12:49 pm (UTC)
Fair enough. I'm getting the impression our Eurovision tastes are a bit divergent in any case!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 16th, 2011 01:09 pm (UTC)
I believe you are a much kinder viewer than I am, for a start ;-)
17catherines on May 16th, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm there for the silliness, really. If the music happens to be OK, that's a bonus, but it's really about the choreography and the costume reveals for me...