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17 May 2013 @ 10:46 pm
Eurovision Semi Final One  
Has it been a year? Really? AH well, here we go again with the annual Europop Appreciation Weekend, where Australia screens both semis and the final over one long weekend.

I say this every year, and every year one of you bloody Europeans spoils me, but for the love of bunnies, PLEASE PUT YOUR LIVE EUROVISION COMMENTS UNDER A CUT! I will be so pleased if I can get through one year without knowing the winner beforehand.

And now, on with the show:

LOVE the signed version of Euphoria! Some of that sign language looks a little like my French: mostly comprehensible. Bless! I had forgotten how tiny Loreen is, and so lovely.

A single host! No bad inter-host banter! HURRAH!

Julia Zamiro is extolling the joy of non-helmeted cycling. This is fine for slow riding on bike paths. In Sydney or London traffic or at speed, value your noggins! Wear an approved helmet!

First up is Austria. She is very pleasant, but the song is utterly meh. Nice voice, good voices on the backing vocalists, who have about four notes to sing, which seems a waste, slow and unaccented percussion. And now a waily waily bit. The pseudo-batwings on her top are the most interesting thing here. Oh, a hero note! And some more waily waily. I think they have run out of lyrics, as they are just repeating 'Shine' now which is, you won't be surprised, the title of the song.

ESTONIA! YAY! Please be good! Birgit is the artist and our announcers are delighting in sharing the news she is pregnant. SInging in Estonian, it's a lovely ballad with a Big Chorus. Her frock is a sort-of shower curtain ensemble with gold band holding it on around her underarms and then nothing getting in the way to the floor. There is a wind machine. The effect is half dramatic windswept, half bathroom run amok. Great hero note, though, and a really good voice. The music is Classic Eurovison in the Nice Ballad sense. I would vote for her going to the finals, but not likely to win.

And now, Slovenia, Hannah with Straight into Love. And she has brought along Daft Punk as her backing dancers! Nice. A little Electropunk in the opening, modulating into Rhianna-lite. And oh dear. She has a big bold voice but is a little uncertain in her pitch, which is either nerves or a problem with her sound feedback, I'd think. It's not awful, just a fraction of a tone off, but it's a bit grating. Still, she looks fab in her leather feathers and tight trous! Ooh, those pitch problems aren't improving as things go along, but I like the frozen sillhouette action figures ending!

How can we already be at the fourth song? Croatia with Miserja, and lovely cavalry uniforms. It's the classic European Earnest Man Song, sung by six men who clearly admire the Three Tenors. Good harmonies! Great voices! Sadly, they all appear to be in the classic Croatian Spud-faced Man mould, rather than the Croation Cheekbones Of Destiny mould, so minimal eye candy. But they look as though they would all be hardworking and faithful boyfriends. Nice flaring coat action, though! And the voices really are very good. I hope they go through!

Demark next. I am warned they have a recorder. I am nervous. At least it's not a melodica. Emmelie de Forest is the singer, Only Teardrops the song. That's not a recorder, it's a pipe! Ah, it's Denmark's answer to Shakira, with her hot boy drummers behind her. Sorry, only one is hot. The other is at least tall … The song is sort of Shakira-ey, too, but not in a bad way. It's got a nice striding chorus that is catching and driving. The bridge is a little strident … and now there are giant drums on the stage and a waily waily bit. Oh Eurovision, never change … I think it will do well.

Presenter time! Time to chat a bit about Malmo and some comedy. NICE Scandi joke in there! 'Don't complain, it's even more expensive in Norway.' Oh Sweden, bless your organic cotton socks!

Time for Russia now. She's the winner of a singing competition in Russia and the song is called 'What if'. She is in another curtain frock, but hers is tastefully chiffony with a touch of lace rather than shower, so that's a step up. Nice lilting ballad about how pleasant the world could be if everyone got along. Sing it to Putin, sunshine. Shadowed backing singers whose faces are completely invisible. 'No Mum, that was really me!' Heroic bridge, key change! DRINK! Oh, nice lighting change, we can see the backing singers now. She REALLY wants world peace, guys. The backing singers are all holding hands in what I am reading as an official Russian apology for the contretemps in Estonia by way of referencing the hands across the Baltic singing revolution.

The tallest man in America is appearing the the Ukraine's offering 'Gravity' and he is carrying on the little singer and plonking her down on a rock before he disappears. I can't pretend to understand that. Ooh, sudden timing shift after a short intro. Is that 12/8? If I paid more attention in ukulele lessons, I would know! This song sounds as though it has been recycled from the Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer era, and I think someone who may have been a backing singer has just been a little off in that hero note. The lead singer's dress is sort of bodycon meets mermaid in beige (why do fashion editors call it nude? Almost no-one is beige.) Yeah, kind of good, kind of odd …

Anouk from the Netherlands, dressed like an art student, sounding a bit Joan Baez. This song has a strangely choppy set of changes of tone and tempo and is very hard to describe. There are birds in the lyrics and in the video behind her. They are flying. She is conveying her suffering. Possibly a touch too authentically. And she ends with 'That's why birds don't fly.' But they DO, Anouk, the DO! Look at your video!

I have made a real mess of this recap from a technical perspective: no alcohol, no snacks and no hot chocolate. I'm starving! But don't have a lot of cash for home delivery. Ooh! I have ice-cream! That could be dinner!

Song nine, Montenegro, Igranka by Who See. And they are wearing space suits. Of course they are. It's moments like this I desperately miss Terry Wogan. I'd even take Graham Norton. Julia and Sam from SBS are nice enough, but, well, NICE. And now a girl singer has come on stage dressed like the Borg Queen. I am guessing Lady Gaga is still big in Montenegro. The song is sort of Black-Eyed-Peas inspired, while not being actually inspired. Eh, I've heard worse, and I will again before the weekend is over. Her shoes are giant zebra platforms. That was unexpected.

Lithuania! The singer looks a lot like a young David Boreanaz, but I was distracted when they showed his name, so let's just call him Dave. Dave has even dressed in Season 1-2 Buffy's Angel mode. Perfectly pleasant voice, but the lyrics include 'Because of my shoes, I'm wearing today, one is called love, the other is pain.' I think this could be a sign that I am meant to go and hunt down that ice-cream. See ya, Dave. BRB.

OOH! Nutburgers in the freezer! WIN!

Belarus have snuck onto the stage in my absence and they are basically rehashing Turkey's winning song from a few years back. The singer did step out of a huge disco ball that is now rotating in the middle of the stage, and the pretty boy dancers are wearing white waistcoats with a lot of pec and arm action, but it's not enough to hold my attention, even though I do quite like her mini dress. I'm going to make a hot chocolate …

Ah, that's better. Moldova are here with Aliana Moon performing Oh Mie. She is rocking a Whitney Houston memorial dress with Sydney Opera House shoulder, Dionne Warrick memorial hair and Kate Bush tribute emoting, while her voice is is a nice light mezzo. Handsome men on piano and backing dancer duty, and OOH the frock is a canvas for a lighting effect, as though little stars are trying to climb her. And now she is rising on a giant plinth. And looks unfortunately like a Dolly Varden cake or toilet roll doll. Great effects, OK song …

Ireland have sent the work experience boy, who has only been singing for two years. He is in fact perfectly fine, reasonably handsome, good big voice, and has topless backing-dancing Robbie Williamsesque men who are also playing the big drums – those Japanese ones, bugger, forgot the name. I think this song is perfectly pitched to come about 8th. Lots of good elements very well done, without running the risk of winning through things like compelling melody or lyrics. Well played, Ireland.

The presenter is back, carefully pronouncing Malmo correctly in a 'LIKE THIS!' voice for the international presenters.

And there is an official Australia Loves Eurovision clip being shown in the programme. With Indigenous Australians dancing to Waterloo. Well, ABBA is still big over here, some things never change :-)

Cyprus now, the singer's name is Despina and she has a lovely frock and that is it. It's Austerity Eurovision. And Alexander Downer, if you are out there, the reason Cyprus's economy is in the poo is the unconscionable over-exposure of their banks, and the reason the government is so far in debt is bailing out said banks, so STOP using it as a model for Australia, a country with very reasonable government debt and regulated banks, you perfidious nit! Alas, this song is less interesting than the dress (black lace, form fitting, very nice) and Despina's hair (2012 Duchess of Cambridge). Nice voice, though. FABULOUS earrings! Lovely raised fist ending.

The Twitter stream just showed Adam Richie doing my shower curtain joke from an hour ago. We have very similar minds, but look nothing alike.

Belgium! Emo! Sideswept fringe and guyliner! Acually, I quite like the fringe: I have a hairdressing appointment tomorrow … I have no idea what this song is meant to be. Something about love, I am too distracted by his heavily groomed eyebrows, they are like tame, perfectly arched, furry caterpillars. DO like the three-piece suit, though. The backing dancers are recapping Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights dance routine, but I do like their looks and style: very strong and athletic. And we're done. Pretty, but meh.

OMG! It's the last song! Serbia! The song is 'Love is Everywhere', the band is Moje 3, the look is Barbie via downtown Tokyo. And there is a nice Sapphic vibe here: is this the song that has the 'confronting kiss'? I only saw the headlines today. Any young lasses out there keen to try wearing white and yello vertically striped tights, let this be an object lesson in why it's never a good plan. On the other hand, the victory rolls are stellar!

The presenter's recap of Eurovision history package is actually funny. You Swedes know the fine art of the sly dig, though possibly a tiny bit too much inserting the presenter into historical scenes, but it was well judged on the whole. OOH! STOP VOTING NOW! I am prepared to be horrified, as I always am.

And now the contestants speak to Australians from each of their countries in their own language. Emo boy is CHARMING! Bless his heart!

An interpretive dance segment follows. It's enjoyable in both dance and music terms, if not groundbreaking. The subtext seems to be that Sweden is cold and has an aurora. And now dancers are exploding from the floor. I can't say I'm surprised. Drums, headspins, rather good lighting effects, trousers made from bin liners … Crowd responses now, with glowsticks. I am having SUCH a flashback to Manchester in the late 80s … I liked it!

OOH! Presenter dress change. Now very purple. Including the eyeshadow and lipstick. Might have gone a bit far there. Another short film, which seems to be taking the piss out of the Great British Educational Film Tradition and David Cameron all at once. I am strongly for it.

Snippets from the Big Five and Sweden, the countries already in the final. BONNIE! BONNIE TYLER! Totally eclipsing her critics. And maybe a spot of work, because she looked older 20 years ago. But I don't care, I love her. The Sweden song is a pearler.

And now the voting results will be announced! In a random order: Moldova! Good-oh. Lithuania! GO DAVE! Ireland! Ah work experience boy, your mam will be thrilled. And thanks for taking your top off drumming man! ESTONIA! YAY! Belarus! Meh. Ooh, she has silver knickers to go with her mini dress. And I have now seen them. Denmark! Yeah, fair enough. Russia! She was nice. Belgium! Emo boy is showing emotion! Happy emotion! I think his eyebrows hypnotised the audience. Ukraine! Giant American's trip was worthwhile! And the final spot goes to: The Netherlands! Really?!

Bad luck, Croatia. I liked you, and you brought a degree of dignity to the proceedings that was clearly unappreciated by the voting public, as is so often the way. And now, off to bed, I'll be playing this game again tomorrow night and the night after …
Loyaulte Me Lie: tell shocolateshocolate on May 17th, 2013 01:43 pm (UTC)
My highlight : a giant popping her a rock, the spacemen, Lithuanian shoes.

That's what I want from Eurovision.

And you have Maltese lyrics to look forward to, tomorrow.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 17th, 2013 03:55 pm (UTC)
I am quite sad the spacemen didn't get through! Foolish voters making the final FAR too serious!

I AM looking forward to the second semi final, but nervous the final is going to be nowhere near nutty enough. Though the Swedes can be very funny, so they might just make up for all the earnestness.
Janey Procrastinatorjaney_p on May 17th, 2013 05:05 pm (UTC)
There was an interview in the news last night, where a media expert was sad about the performers "going back to Schlager music" when in the last years the less serious and/or sweet acts made the ESC shows actually fun to watch (he said some true words there).

But who knows? Maybe the taste of the younger generation is actually converging with that of the older generation at the moment? In a German talent show, the most recent winner was a Schlager singer... Not my type of music at all. XD

Let's hope it's a short trend. ;)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 19th, 2013 06:53 am (UTC)
I feel that Greece and Romania brought exactly the right spirit in semi final two, and am in a media blackout today in a bid to be unspoiled for tonight's Australian telecast!
Janey Procrastinatorjaney_p on May 17th, 2013 04:56 pm (UTC)
Haven't been following the semi finals, so I have no idea who's going to perform and how good they are (or aren't).
I mostly only ever watch the main event. But this year I'm not sure I want to - there are 2 movies I want to watch that run at the same time. Decisions, decisions... XD

Besides, my favorites rarely get a good ranking anyway. Apparently my taste goes against the masses as far as the ESC goes, haha.
And I don't want to cheer for Germany this year, either, because I don't care much for the band and the plagiarism discussion that's been going on about their song. >.>

if I can get through one year without knowing the winner beforehand

Beforehand? Is the show broadcast outside Europe afterwards?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 17th, 2013 05:03 pm (UTC)
Yes, we get both the semi finals and the final on delay here, all over the one weekend: Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. It screens live early in the morning when there would be no-one watching, so instead it is repeated in the evening, which means Sunday = no media.

The German song isn't half as much a straight rip-off as that one that covered Turkey!
Janey Procrastinatorjaney_p on May 17th, 2013 05:10 pm (UTC)
Wow... I'm so far behind on the gossip. Didn't even know of the other rip-off. :D
They're letting them perform anyway?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 18th, 2013 02:05 am (UTC)
I haven't heard anyone mention it! But it is really close. The original song was about 10 years ago, maybe everyone else has forgotten it?
Kristina Anderssonkriscat on May 17th, 2013 06:32 pm (UTC)
Did you recognize Lynda Woodruff, EBU spokeswoman? She delivered sweden's votes last year. ;)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 18th, 2013 02:06 am (UTC)
AH! I thought she looked familiar. That was all vey funny!
Catherine17catherines on May 20th, 2013 04:59 am (UTC)
Serbia and Croatia were both robbed, in my view. And I did rather love Montenegro's random spacemen.

If you are ever in Melbourne at the right time, you could join us for Eurovision, and the snack problem will be *entirely* resolved.