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10 May 2014 @ 10:33 pm
Eurovision 2014, Semi final 2  
My kitten is very unimpressed that I have the laptop in my lap and would like to know where he is meant to sit. 'Silly kitty,' I tell him. 'It's Eurovision weekend! Normal service is suspended! Crazy cakes are the order of the weekend!' Claw in my thigh for my troubles.

We open with Danish interpretive dance and light shows, and then it's straight into the contest!

Malta to open, Coming Home by Firelight. Oh so Mumford and Sons, with those driving strings. Less polished hipster than our friends from Semi Final 1, but the sound is far more so. I hate to say it, but I really like this song, and they all look adorable, absolutely like people you would want to hang out with, or possibly jam with.

Israel now, Mei Finegold with Same Heart. Ooh, I have a new fave dress. It's as fierce and wearable. Great voice, very girl power choreography, the performers are all terrif, but the song itself is lacking. I mean, there's a key change and a few hero notes, but very much by the numbers. She deserves much better. Come back next year with a good song, Mei!

Carl Espen from Norway singing Silent Storm. Fog machine! It's as well I don't drink, as Id be at least four shots down already. Big boofy bloke, but a lovely soft song showing the emotion in his voice. Very sweetly sung, with simple piano accompaniment and violins kicking in after the first chorus. It's a very moving performance, because it is focused on the voice and the song itself, which is not bad at all. Good luck, Norway!

Georgia, The Shin and Mariko with Three Minutes to Earth (is this a 30 seconds to Mars tribute song?) Great vocal opening but what the hell is that girl wearing and why does that drummer have a parachute?? Look, I saw a plane landing with a parachute on the news today, and that beats this hands-down. It actually sounds a bit individual rather than generic Europop, though, so I rather like the song, despite the dogs breakfast that is their set direction.

Poland, and I liked this song the first time I heard it, but am deeply worried about their lack of feminist ideals. We are Slavic by Donatan and Cleo. Opens with a fab clapping rhythm and cute girls in traditional dress, so I was always going to love that part of it, even if the rap bits are a bit strident. And now the cute girl is taking off her outer top. Of course she is. Oh, Poland. And now the other one is churning milk erotically. You are all going to be in enormous trouble with your mothers. Basically, the second half of the song is entirely boobs. Oh, Poland. I am giving you such a look.

AUSTRIA! Conchita Wurst with Rise Like a Phoenix, which was obviously written for Shirley Bassey. This is the performance Vladimir Putin accused of bringing down Western civilisation. She looks amazing, and the voice and performance are both flawless. Not 100% convinced about the song, but Conchita may be enough to get past its inherent limitations. Best use of the wind machine so far in the whole contest, just enough for bouncy Kate Middleton waves, not enough to ruffle the outfit.

Lithuania and Vilija with Attention. Not my cup of tea, this one, too strident, but I do like her latex tutu. Most uncomfortable-looking male backing dancer of the show so far. He's good at the dance parts, but his facial expression is 'Shit, I wish the guy who was meant to do this hadn't broken his leg yesterday: I can't believe I stayed up all night memorising this routine!' Yeah … no. Not a fan, alas. And her pony tail has gone all staticky and is sticking up. That's fun!

Finland now, Softengine with Something Better. They are all so sweet and pretty! And 12! There have been a few so far where I have thought 'Oh, come on, I sing better than that', but this is the first where I think I also have more comprehensive instrument skills. It's not that they're awful, it's just tremendously basic compared to the complexity of sound a lot of other countries have put forward. Oh lord, I've just realised, this is One Direction music. Sung by pretty young lads. Bombastic and easy, they'll probably sell millions. Anyway, I am prejudiced towards them thanks to my Baltic love, so good luck, lads!

Ireland! Cann-Linn featuring Kasey Smith with Heartbeat. What ARE these people wearing? It used to be that Ireland would send acts good enough to come third, but not good enough to win because they didn't want to face the hideous expense of hosting the bloody thing next year. Since the GFC, they're not even pretending. Everyone on stage is actually very talented, but have been given such a shit song and with such godawful choreography and costuming that they should be more than safe. I must say, I very much admire their willingness to sacrifice personal dignity for their nation's wellbeing.

Belarus has sent Teo with Cheesecake. And these are easily the best dressed young men of the evening. Shame the song is sillier than a kitten – apparently he wrote it in about an hour. But if any son or daughter of mine brought one of those boys home I would say that they had made a fine choice. I am sorry that the Eurovision Hunger Games has demanded the sacrifice of your dignity, too, lads. I strongly recommend hooking up with the Irish entry, as you have a lot in common. Surely backstage at Eurovision must be as much of a pick-up joint as the Olympic Village in the last days of competition?

FYR Macedonia has sent a cellist, Tijana, to the sky. No cello for her tonight, alas, just singing, though it is a deep and rich voice, so the sound is still there. We have a new winner in the weird male backing dancer stakes. He is wearing a hoodie and looks like an acrobatic serial killer, not helped by the Stand Behind The Singer Menacingly choreography. Her earrings are distractingly large, probably because there isn't enough going on with the song to distract me from the earrings. Oh, hero note, but she fudges it a bit. Good hip flicking action, though.

Switzerland and Hunter of Stars by Sebalter. YES! PYRO OPENING! Thanks, lads! And a good spot of whistling: two drinks! Is that a banjo? Yes, yes it is a banjo. I … oh, hang on … yep. A third hipster band. SURELY this must mean that hipsters are now a spent force? Or is it ironic enough that this will reinvigorate them as a cultural movement? It wouldn't be a terrible thing, aside from some godawful beards and truly dire pavement cycling skills, I like hipsters on the whole, but how will they reconcile cool and this? Anyway, decent song, good performance, crackingly good banjo and whistling.

Greece and Rise Up by Freaky Fortune featuring Riskykidd. Oh God in heaven and all his tiny bunnies, it's rap. Look, we get that you can't afford to win, surely you could have just sent a sick note and stayed home? At least they were fit young men, but not a single shirt removed.

Slovenia's Tinkara Kovac with Round and Round, another flute opening, and she's playing it! Her dress is odd, but I like it: electric blue ball gown with shoulder pads, but she is gorgeous enough to carry it off. Fabbo voice, big and tuneful. The song isn't great, but it does show off the serious skill she and the backing singers bring to the stage, so there's that to be said for it. Actually, all the costumes look like sexy bad women outfits from Blake's 7, which I quite like.

Romania! Paula and OVI are back with Miracle after coming third a few years ago. They have a Stargate on stage. Well, why wouldn't they? OH! It's a circular keyboard! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Tastefully limited wind machine and a top-40-ish song that shows off their genuinely good vocals, and now OVI has climbed inside the Stargate to play for a few moments. And now he's back out. She's working a spot of signing, but it's of the South African translator variety. And he's back in the Stargate, and back out, and now they're hugging, and now they're done!

And now an Australian moment. Oh fucking hell.

Please get to Jess Mauboy! She's actually talented and not a crap cliche. Ah, there she is! Spectacular young woman from Darwin with a wonderful voice and stage presence. Oh HEY! Indigenous flag at Eurovision! NICE! There, that's the sort of thing I love about living here: vibrant energy and complex narratives about the country rather than the standard white bread and beer rubbish.

Recaps now, Conchita the best performer, Tinkara probably the best singer. No actual best song tonight.

I like the public-participation dancers, too. They invited people from around the world to submit videos and chose a set to perform live, which they did wearing the clothes they had worn in the audition video. One chap had been at work doing something involving high-vis and a beanie when he filmed his. It's terrific! Youngest performer is 8, oldest is 86. This is a genuinely enjoyable telecast, Denmark. Douze points!

Interviews with the commentator in the green room. Apparently the Greek chap loves cats. I like him more! The Finnish children are there! SURELY they should be in bed! Oh good lord, they have just been shown their high school. All my jokes about their youth aren't jokes. I have T-shirts older than them. *Weeps!* But it's very cute as their headmaster and schoolmates all send love and good wishes.

And they're showing the pre-qualified set now. France are just taking the piss. I don't mind the Spanish song, nor the Italian, and, as previously mentioned, the British one is actually good. Germany and Denmark are both cute, and should probably get together after the Contest to do an album.

Votes are in!

Switzerland! Good, they were thoroughly decent.

Slovenia! YEAH! She has a great voice.

Poland, taking the boob vote.

Romania! Well, after they went to all the trouble of sourcing a Stargate ...

Norway! Hurray! Lovely Viking man!

Greece, really? Sure. Bless. He likes cats, he's fine.

Malta! YES! Good, they were fab.

Belarus! Well, they're beautifully dressed.

Finland! One Direction fans everywhere have had their say!

And AUSTRIA! As though that wasn't going to happen. Well done, Conchita, your song isn't great but you're a star and may well take this thing out. Oh, she looks so relieved, bless.

Well, that's it until tomorrow night, I am off to play with the kitten and hunt down footage of the parachuting aeroplane. That is not a metaphor, my friends!
dustmouthdustmouth on May 10th, 2014 02:01 pm (UTC)
I said Norway was my favourite, just to take the piss (nothing like singing along badly with a ballad to lighten the mood in the lounge room) but now, listening to it, I actually am quite fond of it. Hmmm

The Greeks on the trampoline though- just chucking the past two years masculinity straight out the window, but in the best of ways :D

I can't wait for tomorrow night!
I have a feeling for both Austria and Hungary...
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 10th, 2014 02:16 pm (UTC)
I think you could well be on the money there :-) Though Armenia will probably do well, too, and the UK could actually come somewhere in the top third for a change!
17catherines on May 10th, 2014 02:12 pm (UTC)
Poland was HYSTERICAL. And I did love your description of them.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 10th, 2014 02:18 pm (UTC)
Somewhere lurking under all that boobage was a song that had potential!
17catherines on May 10th, 2014 02:21 pm (UTC)
It was such a cheerful, happy song about boobs. Or possibly churning butter. It was sort of hard to tell. And I did like the less booby aspects of their costumes.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 10th, 2014 02:25 pm (UTC)
True: fab skirts and headdresses. Just so much jiggling cleavage!
Loyaulte Me Lieshocolate on May 10th, 2014 04:28 pm (UTC)
The erotic butter churning was extraordinary.

Conchita is fabulous.

I obviously thought of you during the Australian segment.

The uk is remarkably good.
ashindkashindk on May 10th, 2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
Poland gets zero feminist points.
I think Austria or Sweden will win.
Anwynanthraxia on May 11th, 2014 01:54 am (UTC)
Argle! Stay away from Wikipedia's front page if you don't want spoilers. Going to go sulk into my coffee now :(