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19 May 2013 @ 04:52 pm
Eurovision 2013 semi final two  
Better planning tonight. My friend Mouse has organised a party, where most of this recap was written. Alas, because there are many small people, we are watching downloaded clips rather than the televised show with commentary. This has been confusing. Which is why I have also watched my recording of the televised show since then to inject a little reality into my reflections.

It was worth watching the whole show, as the pre-contest dance act is quite splendid: dancers are recreating the old orchestra, each 'playing' an instrument … and now there are BMX and skaters on a slope. OK, I'm a bit confused, especially now the slope is a laptop mixing the music, but it was clever, dynamic and fun to watch, so YAY! Go Sweden!

Petra the hostess is back, with her legs on full display in a frock that is flat-out weird. Gaultier, allegedly. Look, he has issues, and they are all on full display here. Good structural couture work, though.

First is PeR from Latvia with 'Here We Go'. They are SO SHINY. A Jedward-esque level of jumping. These boys are very aerobically fit! I appreciate the fact that one has left his top undone. Very mainstream hip-hop based pop, but I like the moonwalking that looks like something an actual astronaut would do! A few notes missed, but extra points for the crowdsurfing! All this space stuff, is it a delayed Neil Armstrong tribute, or are they jumping on the Chris Hadfield bandwagon?
Valentina Moretta with Crisalide for San Marino: she starts unconscious on the stage and I suspect she should have stayed that way. So insanely waily! A tribute to rhythmic gymnastics with that big glow ball, though. If she does a walkover, I will reassess the whole thing.. Awful frock, screaming for a reveal. The choreography is just odd, there's a hand gesture as though she was checking her Facebook status halfway through. A reveal at last! The frock underneath is not stellar, alas. She's come over all a bit shouty now, but it's less awful than I thought it was going to be. At least she can sing.
Esma and Lozano from FYR Macedonia presenting 'Pred Da Se Razdeni' and after the first three bars I have decided this is a great moment to grab a snack  … OH NO! I was completely wrong! Total change, he's been joined on stage by someone who is almost certainly a local cultural treasure, and it's at moments like this I realise we can never really fully understand other cultures. Later reviewing of the telecast tells me she is the Queen of the Gypsies, and she has an amazing stage presence and voice. However, she is wearing an enormous red frock, that makes her look like a small ambulatory volcano mid-eruption. How is it possible that with that much frock they still have her mike pack exposed at the back? Do love her headscarf, though. Originally boring man has been invigorated by her appearance and the whole thing has perked right up. The backing singers have been dressed by someone who hates both of them, but the singing is all there.

Local broadcast moment where they interview the talent and Julia starts singing again. Oh the humanity! Sam later sings with one of the lads, which is better, and Julia takes to dancing with Finland. I would give someone's left leg for Graham Norton right now, and their entire lower body for Terry Wogan. The lad Sam was interviewing is bloody funny, though. Oh, he's the next act!
Here is he, Farid Mammadow from  Azerbaijan 'Hold me (I'm going to fall off this giant box)'. It's possible that subtitle is not official, but he really is standing on a giant perspex box. I know  he's only a little fellow, but really? And now there's a person underneath! Who is standing on his head! And mirroring Farid's movements. If they swap places and clothes at the end I will give this 100 points. My friend Mouse says box boy is meant to represent his evil twin, while my friend Fliss declares she doesn't like his velour suit, though does like the good mirroring and mild homoerotic subtext. And there is ANOTHER girl in a red frock for the evening! We are convinced her long train will be the curtain that hides the box while the boys swap places. And now there are rose petals impersonating a lottery draw in the box. Also, the red dress has an exoskeleton and pouffy mini front. This is completely insane. I feel that EVERY idea that was brought to the planning table has made it into the final performance. Actual song perfectly fine classic pop, performed well, but that isn't what I am going to remember about this performance.
Representing Finland is Krista with 'Marry Me'. The singer is a punk barbie who seems to have killed a couple of My Little Ponies for the frock . I know Burlesque is big in the Baltic but really? And the 'boys' in the purple penguin suits look very much as though they were running gentlemen's clubs in the 1960s. Actual song not bad: Katy Perry would love it. Veil on the singer, now. It really is about weddings. Reveal! The penguin men are now bridesmaids! Is the one on the left actually a man? I think it's just unfortunate hair, actually. Oh, it's wholly unimportant, be whoever you are young backing dancer! Fab victory rolls on the backing singers: WWII hair has been very big this year. Performance-wise it's not bad but Krista's shoes are so awful in their giant fuchsianess that I can't keep track. Lesbian kiss! Jumping in those shoes! That is one fit young lass.
Malta have hipsters with a ukulele and I really like them! The singer is Gianluca, who is a doctor back home and the song is 'Tomorrow', and not only is there a ukulele, but it's one that is played well! Lyrics broadcast on the wall behind them for those who like to sing along. He's like a cool Bruno Mars. Disturbingly, I like everything about this performance and feel I could be good friends with every single band member. It's freaking me out!
Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov are representing Bulgaria with 'Samo Shampioni'. This song has has big drums and a bagpipe! Elitsa has a massive smile and quite a good voice. I like the traditional costumes and the drumming is good, but the song is one of those very strident Bulgarian tunes that I am too tired for at the moment. The backing singers in traditional dress are standing Very Still Indeed. It's all very well performed, but there's nothing to really hold onto as a three minute pop song, with a lot of shifts in vocal mood, at the same time as the drums sort of overwhelming everything. If there were a Eurovision  Drum Contest, this would be the winner.
Iceland Really? The quite handsome Eythor Ingi, who looks like the lovechild of Alexander Skarsgard and Tim Minchin, singing 'Eg a lif' (sorry for the lack of accents, typing on the iPad), which is a lovely and sweet ballad, but the sort of thing you get in a lift in those parts of America where they play only Christian music stations. This party has good snacks, I am going to take advantage of the break. Eythor is so much better than this song.

Interviews again, Eythor is there, even more beautiful in his civvies. His voice IS enormously better than that song suggested. I knew it. And Margaret from Norway in her fab dress. She is lovely, and cheeky. And a hot Greek! Eurovision would not be Eurovision without a hot Greek. Stuart the man who produces all the acts on the stage for the last three years says, 'I gave up years ago trying to have any conversations about taste.'
'Alcohol is Free' from Greece –  probably because it's retsina and they can't give it away (joke from the crowd, alas, I would have been proud to make it). Koza Mostra, featuring Agathon Iakovidis, who has the finest moustache in the competition to date. They sound like Madness with a balalaika vibe, or Golgol Bordello, in fact. Plus points for the kilts that look like football kit crossed with traditional dress and pretty boys, there should be a deduction for the piano accordion, but I am enjoying it too much. The neon-edged instruments are a nice touch. ZORBA DANCE! Ten points from me! In fact, stuff that, DOUZE POINTS! Easily my new faves, though I am not sure Greece wants to pay for the comp next year …
Israel have sent Moran Mazor, singing 'Rak Bishvilo' and she has possibly the worst frock of the entire competition. Though I rather admire the fact she has decided to wear Nana Mouskouri's glasses. Great hair, though, but I am so distracted by the frock that I can't focus on the song at all. It's poorly fitted black bodycon with a plunging neckline and fishtail, plus sequins and white piping designed to make her looks as though she has thighs of doom. She is really a very pretty girl, but this frock is a disaster and has a freaking giant white zipper up the back. Voice from the back asks, 'Why is she wearing those glasses? It's not as though she has to read anything!?' This song would be immensely improved by her costume failing to appear and her singing in jeans and a T-shirt, in which I think she would look lovely.
The Dorians from Armenia, singing 'Lonely Planet' is song 11. The singer's face has been overtaken by his facial hair. He has long hair and looks like the 'Romantic Lead' in most 1980s TV programs set in the middle ages. All of the other performers have full beards, short hair and distressed double denim. Maybe double denim doesn't have the instant fashion death reputation it has in the Anglosphere in Albania? This song was designed to be played in lifts from now until the end of time. It's not bad, it's just meh. Although, PYRO! Apparently the song was written by a chap from Black Sabbath, which may explain why this easy listening tune has heavy metal pyro through the entire last third.
Hungary, more hipsters! ByeAlex singing 'Kedvesem' with a growly voice. The Zombie Fairies in the background video are cool, but we feel the song's charm relies on witty lyrics, and none of us speak Hungarian. The lead singer has a stubbly beard and a beanie, the guitarist bounces to every beat, and the backing singer looks appealingly like Red Sonja. It's all young person for the likes of me.
Norway have sent an 80s supermodel to judge from her look and outfit. Margaret Berger with 'I Feed You My Love'. She looks a bit like a young JK Rowling, in a Very Bodycon frock. The song is nothing flash, but the dress is awesome with perfect internal corsetry that she can almost move in. Strong performance, brilliant fishtail plait.

More interviews. Stuart is back and lovely. The Romanian hottie is there, warning people that he sings countertenor. I had no warning when I saw his performance, I feel this is reflected below. The Swiss entrants are also there, one of whom is 94 years old, and going strong! His great-grandchildren are apparently very proud. Bless you, sir!

Petra is back with the first winner of Eurovision whose name I cannot remember but you can easily look up. She is still beautiful and cheery and declares Eurovision a fountain of youth. That many laughs probably do keep you young.
Albania open with good drums and jumping, along to some shouted Heys. Adrian Lulgjuraj and Bledar Sejko singing 'Identitet'. Once the song starts properly, it goes downhill, though. The first singer looks and sounds unfortunately like the homicidal maniac in a Swedish film. And then the vocal line throws over to a chap who looks as though he's wearing a truly awful wig, though it may just be a misguided use of product. They actually both seem as if they are quite fab chaps once you get past the unfortunate styling. Is he wearing a unitard? Guitar with pyro! Good guitar! Oh, this song is a mad mess, but they looks as though they are having fun.
Georgia brings us Nodi Tatishvili and Sophie Gelovani singing 'Waterfall'. He is so EARNEST! And so is she. Nice frock, though, even if I'm not convinced by the hip bit. SMOKE EFFECT! KEY CHANGE! RAINING FIRE! So many drinks … And now a wind machine. The guy looks a lot like Lee Mack, you know. I really have to take up drinking again if I am going to recap this next year.
And Switzerland have set loose their senior class in uniform who started off with a good drinking hoi! and then switched into a jolly strident folky tune. They are allegedly a Salvation Army band, I am told. There you go. The 94-year-old double bass player looks as though he has been kidnapped from the retirement home and forced to play, but is nevertheless thoroughly enjoying himself. David Beckham appears to be playing rhythm guitar. It's all very nice, but so wholesome, I suspect it's doomed. The should sell it to the American Christian radio stations who provide lift music! I am also impressed that a Salvation Army band can lug around a double bass.
Final song. Romania have sent Count Dracula. His name is really Cesar, with 'It's my life'. This is the most bonkers song of the contest so far: he is wearing a big frock coat with bejewelled shawl collar that looks as though it is propped up on a suportasse and standing on some sort of rocky landscape with red mounds. Starts off in normal male range then soars up into a countertenor voice, which is kind of fab, and then the landscape erupts into dancers wearing flesh-coloured unitards, which Mouse announces as pink nymphs. 'Mum, what are nymphs?' asks her son. 'People who got the rough end of the stick every time a god comes past' says Mouse. The red landscape is some sort of fabric that will doubtless come back into play. Singing, dancing, EMOTING WITH HANDS, the frock coat is going up! Cesar is levitating! I knew he was Dracula! The dancers are back under the fabric and Cesar's voice is just soaring higher and higher. And now there is a new, gold dancer on the scene and the others are wrapping her in the fabric and lifiting her and she and Cesar are reaching for each other and I have no idea what any of that meant but I LOVE EVERY PART OF IT!!!!

Recaps, cute little history of Eurovision bit with Petra again, reminding me of several songs I had hoped to forget forever. More acts saying hello to Australians who speak their own language: that's my favourite part! Even if I understand only about 5% of it. And now some Swedish pop music. Very nice. I am too tired to care deeply, but I like the maypole dress effect in the second act. However, I did prefer the first semi's interpretive dance.

Votes! Norwegian tally judge and a great joke from Petra: 'That's what we always do in Sweden, when in doubt, turn to Norway.' Here we go. HUNGARY! Really?! Bloody hipsters. AZERBAIJAN! YAY!  GEORGIA! Oh so very solemn. ROMANIA! YAY! HUGE YAYS!  NORWAY! Well, why not? ICELAND! Through on looks rather than actual song, but I will just mute him and admire. ARMENIA! I am surprised, but highly amused. Go for the ukulele, Europe. FINLAND! A resounding vote for gay marriage there. MALTA! YAY! UKULELE! WELL DONE EUROPE!  And finally, GREECE! Oh thank goodness. I am now looking forward to the final! Which, due to my inability to post this last night, has already been shown in Europe. So I have not been able to read the news online all day and instead have made it through New Scientist, Bicycle Times AND Foreign Policy magazines. Roll on 7.30, Sydney time, I say!
AutumnHearti_autumnheart on May 19th, 2013 08:56 am (UTC)
Love your play-by-play - yay for a repeat of the fun acts tonight.
Loyaulte Me Lie: tell shocolateshocolate on May 19th, 2013 12:57 pm (UTC)
My son is utterly smitten with the Romanians. It really is what Eurovision is for.
17catherines on May 20th, 2013 05:12 am (UTC)
Oh, I did love Romania. It had everything. Though I do think Finland achieved the best costume reveal in Eurovision history (gender reveal!). And Greece sent their soccer team, bless them.

To my mind, Latvia was the one that got away in this round. I mean, Jedward dancing, silver jackets, moonwalking, crowdsurfing, callbacks - what more could anyone want?