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23 May 2015 @ 09:43 pm
Eurovision 2015 Semi final 2  
Would it be wrong to open by saying the dangling balls are spectacular? Maybe you had to be there.

We open again with our three hosts, or Austria's Charlie's Angels as the Australian commentators are calling them. Nice dresses all round tonight, including one that looks like a Klimt painting. And Conchita is wearing tonight's pantsuit! I am reading this as a loving homage to Hillary Clinton. (Go Hils!)

The contestants are parading again, it's a bit of a shambles and there was a bit of an accidental flash from Malta. Memorable, madam, very memorable.

(Side note, there was a woman on the bus today who had minimal English and wasn't sure where to get off, others had tried in English, I tried French and Italian, non parlare, and was about to give German a go, when I realised that I can pretty much say 'Do you speak German?' 'Please', 'thank you' and 'Can you direct me to the lavatory'. So I mimed where to get off and retreated, defeated.)

They're still excited about Australia being there and there is a lovely audience shoutout, Good Evening, Vienna, you're lovely! The hosts quickly check the pyro effects and wind machine, and we're off!

First up, Lithuania: Monica and Vaidas singing This Time. I like her dress a lot, his suit is a little bit Miami Vice Isn't Dead. The opening is a bit undersold and oddly timed, but then it segues into a rhythmic poppy chorus that goes into the rest of the song and it's very catchy. Also, banjo! And snogging! It's a bit Mumford and Sons with the occasional daughter and skipping. They're extremely appealing, even if he insists on saying things like 'Eurovision! Make some noise!' It's really not 1991, lovey. No matter what your facial hair says. Still, wholly unawful and rather good. Fingers crossed they make it through, it's already a much stronger semi than the first.

IRELAND! I think they still can't afford to run the event, so I expect it will be good but not great. It's Molly Stirling and the song is Playing with Numbers. And she's at a piano singing earnestly, a la Tori Amos. Geez, there's a lot of 90s already, kids, are we going to hit the 21st century soon? She has a lovely voice, the orchestration is pared back but good, and there's a cello, which I always approve of. However, while they are getting several doubles down anyone playing the drinking game (stringed instruments, singer playing instrument, DEEP earnestness), they won't be winning this contest. Unless the voters are drunker than usual. So it's not out of the question.

Why do I watch the backstage interviews? I'm kind of hoping someone punches the Aussie boy commentator, if I'm being honest. Oh, they're talkin to Malta! I like her, she has black knickers. Pretty much everyone seems to be 16. Good grief.

It's San Marino, with Anita and Michele singing Chain of Lights. I am three times older than each of these kids. Which means I have the life experience to say that this will not be a song the look back on as the high point of their careers. It's very bad. Though it does contain an 'Ooh yeah!', so the drinking game people are one gin closer to blessed unconsciousness. Maybe if I buy a bottle of Pimms and a lot of lemonade for the final: it's not a lot of alcohol, I can probably stay awake through that. The choreography here reminds me of that time my workmates decided we should go to karaoke. It didn't end well.

And now, Montenegro, singing in his native language, Knez with Adio. He's about my age, I like him already. Violin opening, and now a spot of interpretive dance. Those poor drinking game bastards are going to be thoroughly pissed and he hasn't even opened his mouth. His days are walls, his nights are shackles. He's not giving someone away to sundry geological constructs. Rosemary has blossomed, white lily has bent, everything smells of sorrow. I wish I could type better so I could read more of the surtitles. Building stomping chorus, with nicely tight vocal harmonics. It's actually quite a good song, if you ignore the meaning of the words. Which would be for the best.

MALTA! Warrior sung by Amber, I only hope it's better than last night's song of the same name. There's a touch of the Beyonces going on here. Is it sacrilege to say I don't rate Beyonce? I mean, she's very talented, but I am deeply over the whole constant sexualisation of everything. I could probably be won back over by an album in which she wears actual clothes in every video and refers to women as anything other than sexual objects. Oh, nope, Malta's segued into the Mariah Careys for the chorus, and is stronger there. Good voice, but the delivery is a bit all over the shop, staccato here, legato there, with no rhyme or reason – the writer's fault, not hers. And yes she's a warrior and there are flames and a spot of wind machine. Whatever. I like her a lot, but she deserves a better song.

More interviews, Ireland owns an immortal donkey. Fair enough. Sounds good to me!

Norway! Merlønd and Debrah, A Monster Like Me. They are a pair of massive hotties, which is always good. It's a bit Nick Cave Murder Ballads, but I am obsessed with the fact that her skirt has a massive cut-out at the back where her bum is. I should quickly point out that it's a complicated ruffly thing, but it is hugely distracting, as are his skinny leg jeans. Yep, it was a good song, but I've been so focussed on the outfits, I have little to say about it.

Next up is Portugal with Leonor Andrade and Há Um Mar Que Nos Separa. Ooh, best hair of the competition so far! Singing in Portuguese, so already a win, and it's the first cape of tonight's semi! Classic rock tune, which they should use if Portugal ever does a local remake of Top Gun. Committed delivery with a strong voice and stage presence, there's a lot to love here. The song itself is a bit meh, but that didn't stop people going through last night. Key change! Drink! Well done, lass.

And now for the Czech Republic. Marta and Vaclav, with Hope Never Dies. Yep, it's another Bond theme. Hollywood has a lot to answer for. And it's more 90s outfits. Seriously, why is fashion revisiting all the shit decades? Is it a bid to clear out all that excess stock found at the back of the warehouse? Look, they're both talented, but this song is pants and I feel the fast forward may once again be required. And now she's throwing her shoes across the stage. I feel like that whenever I wear heels, too, Marta. Fair enough. Sorry your song was shit, you seem lovely.

Israel! Oh Israel, it's as silly for you to be there as us, but at least it's tradition! Nadav Guedj with Golden Boy. And it's basically the Mama bits from Bohemian Rhapsody crossed with Brian Adams and Marky Mark. Fuck me, this is atrocious. Sorry, sunshine, I'm snapping and fast forwarding. Though I do appreciate the pyro and the dancing, full points there! Mr B and our guests have just come home and asked what is this unmitigated shit. Though since I am still listening, I confess it improves as it goes along: I think it's the dancing.

Latvia have sent Aminata with Love Injected. She is very little, so I like her. And she wrote the song, so we'll know who to blame if it comes to that. There's an FKA Twigs vibe about both her and the song, and she appears to have been dressed by a mermaid. Amazing voice, though. NO choreography to this one, because she can't move in that frock. I hope this one goes through, it's a bit different, but there's something to it.

Now for Azerbaijan, the song is Hour of the Wolf sung by Elnur Huseynov. Lovely falsetto opening, clearly he's also been listening to Queen's Greatest Hits in the car. Male dancer with ho shirt doing a lizard impersonation. Good-oh. Female backing dancer with more clothes, but the choreography appears to be angry four-year-old child. My friend has just pointed out that this is what happens to people who don't make it through the So You Think You Can Dance auditions. Convincing point! There's a lot of drama, I just don't care.

Time for Iceland, Maria Olafs singing Unbroken. She had a shawl on in the backstage earlier, which makes me like her. She has gold feet, and is bringing her best Indira Menzel. Yeah, I'll take that sort of shit from six year olds in Princess Elsa frocks, but there's no excuse for it from you, young lady. That's it, fast forward.

Sweden, Mans with Heroes. Nice animated character lurking behind him that bursts into cool graphics. A little bit Johnny Cash, a little David Bowie, a teeny bit Robbie Williams. I hate to say this, but it's actually a really good performance. I can see why it's the favourite. The song isn't bad, either. Good luck, Sweden! I could potentially swing press accreditation if you win, so fingers crossed!

Time to Shine is the song from Switzerland, Melanie Rene the singer. I like her backup drummers/singers a lot. Clearly they all like Evanescence A Lot. Trying to work out if her dress counts as a cape or if that's just giant sleeves of doom. OOH! It's a costume reveal, that's what it is! And definitel a cape. That's a Princess Elsa frock, you know. Frozen, not just for six year olds. The performers are all better than the song in this one. Though the song is better than several of the others.

We must be near the end. Time for Cyprus and John Karayiannis with One Thing I Should Have Done. He looks a bit like Clark Kent and sounds a bit like Green Day. Fuck me, this whole show has been so 90s, I've only been able to make two musical references from this millennium. I suspect I am deeply bored by this clearly nice man, who has a lovely singing voice, but I suspect it's just this song and he is probably a scintillating conversationalist and a tiger in bed. Fast forward time. Voice from the side: 'If there's no-one jumping out of pianos, I'm not into it.'

Song 16, will to live fading, Slovenia and Maraaya with Here For You. Her voice is a bit Cyndi Lauper. We're not convinced by her big headphones, but my friend is thrilled that there's a piano because someone might jump out of it. And a spot of air violin and drumming. Odd. The backup dancer appears to have cotton wool balls glued to her black jumpsuit. I know the credit crunch hit Slovenia, but I hadn't realised how hard. They all deserve better than this. I hope the alcohol in the green room is good and freely flowing for you.

LAST SONG! YES! Poland. The lead singer is in a chair and I am kind of hoping she breaks out a few murderball stylings. It's Monika singing In the Name of Love, and the setting looks like the cover of a Mills and Boon, so I may have to rein in my hopes. Ooh, train on either side of her frock, I hope she tucks that in well before she heads off because no-one wants to Isadora Duncan their midsection. Great voice, dull song, yet again. And while the piano is good, the backup singers are frankly shit. My friend has just pointed out that Poland shred it in the Battle of the Nations, where they are clearly playing to their strengths, and that this is clearly not their field. Alas, true.

We are done! I have survived! I did not murder anyone at work today! It is a good day! Conchita and the hosting girls exhort us to vote and open the polls, and now a terrifying recap. Surely no-one has been able to remove any of this from their minds yet? No matter how hard they tried?

Conchita is encouraging the contestants to turn to drink. I sympathise.

Who's in the finals? Nice montage of voting balls-ups over the years. I like the organising team for this contest, they're properly sarcastic. We love you, Austria. I like the fact they included all the drunk results givers. I salute them all!

Another quick run through the seven pre-qualified countries. Seven this year. You realise that means 27 songs in the final. Good grief.

My friend has just pointed out that Austria's entry has a vegan-friendly guitar. I love her.

Every time the Eurovision official says 'Australia', he wants to say 'Austria' or, 'We were SO DRUNK!' Not sure which.

Finalists! Lithuania! Yay nice frock! POLAND? Oh well, she has a great voice. Slovenia, on voice, not song again. Sweden, deserved. Norway, deserved. Montenegro! I'm pleased! Cyprus? Really? Azerbaijan, because we like tanty dancers. LATVIA! YAY! Israel the last. Go home, Europe, you're drunk.

And now, just the finals to survive …
astardanced77astardanced77 on May 23rd, 2015 01:10 pm (UTC)
Bwahaha - I literally laughed out loud. Your commentary was more fun than most of the songs.

Also deeply bemused by the 90's influences on people clearly not old enough to remember it the first time around. Move on, people. If you are going to go retro, at least pick a decade with decent clothing.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 24th, 2015 10:17 am (UTC)
HEE! Yes! I thought the UK were onto something with the 1920s outfits, until they lit up …
(Deleted comment)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 24th, 2015 10:16 am (UTC)
YOU WERE ROBBED! France was really good and deserved many more points!
AutumnHearti_autumnheart on May 24th, 2015 02:33 am (UTC)
Your commentary is always a highlight - thanks for putting it online!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 24th, 2015 10:15 am (UTC)
You are very welcome! My suffering is everyone else's suffering!
Catherine17catherines on May 24th, 2015 06:14 am (UTC)
I want to know what was with all the goths this year! So many vamipiric-looking entries (and of course Azerbaijan doing the werewolf thing in a big way).

Israel tricked me into leaving the room to organise food, because they were boring, and then I came back and they had gotten interesting. Very cunning.

Latvia was fantastic, they and Serbia were my favourites, though Sweden gets big points for the chalk animations.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 24th, 2015 10:15 am (UTC)
Serbia was robbed! And Israel wasn;t really interesting, they just had good dancing, don't let them fool you!

I blame all the people from the 80s who are now in charge of their international contests: we liked Goth clubs back then, surely the kids must like them now!
Azure Jane Lunaticazurelunatic on May 31st, 2015 06:40 am (UTC)
The balls were, in fact, spectacular. Everyone was charmed. (Well, giggling like twelve-year-olds.)