Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Best television in the world

Now normally I don't buy in to the idea that Britain has the "best television in the world" - no matter how many times the BBC spreads that lie.

But tonight, I've gotta admit it must be close.

The awards from the Chelsea Flower Show (live on the main channel) and the live Eurovision song-contest semi-finals which is being broadcast on cable.

So what's a girl (who doesn't understand her live record tv settings) to do?

I do love gardening, but I love to laugh at cheesy Eastern Europeans more. So Eurovision song-contest it is - and I'll be trying to live blog the event. Yikes.

1. Philip Flip-off-ovitch or something like that from Montenegro.

The Vol-in-Law says he's going to lose points for singing in - well, whatever it is they sing in Montenegro. The floppy haired singer is getting slapped in the face by girls wearing 80s mini-skits and red gloves. Buddy seems to like it, but he is only 11 months old.

2. The Israeli Pop Idol (American Idol) winner - something Boaz or other.

Only 20, I think he just got his head shave as a new recruit to the IDF. Dude has some nice arms (must be all those push ups). The song sounds like a call to prayer - and that's not a good thing. I like the Hebrew folk dancing back up guys in the dance. Nothing like a chain step, I always say.

3. Estonia has a joke entry
To me, I think you need to be a serious country before you're eligible to do a joke entry. Still, Estonia has won in recent memory and maybe they didn't want to take the chance of winning again. Several burly guys are singing not very well and girls in sparkly hot pants are dancing around with flags and signs with giant pictures of onions on them. (I know you think I'm making this up - I'm not). The baby doesn't care for accordion break in the middle of the song. It's making Buddy cry.

4. Moldova are doing some kind of jazz fusion-y thing. It's not bad, if you like that kind of thing. And by that I mean over-the-top female vocalists accompanied by a barefoot trumpeter on a sofa. Still they're wearing orange, and you know that's gotta be a good thing.

5. San Marino
Is that a country? I thought it was a village in Italy. Well, I don't know much about it, but apparently they have bad hair there. And the like to do interprative dance in flowy white georgette. Sounds like my kinda town, I mean country. I sorta like the pop rock ballad singing in whatever it is they sing in in San Marino. (Update: San Marino really is a village in Italy according to CIA World Factbook)

6. Belgium is singing in a made up language. Really, I swear. You'd have thought that singing in Belgique or Walloon or whatever they normally sing in would have been close enough to a made up language. The girl singer is wearing a dress that looks like a red and white golf umbrella. There's a floutist on stage. Unless you're Jethro Tull floutists and pop should steer well clear of each other. Buddy doesn't seem to be noticing this one, but he has managed to get into the Vol-in-Law's chocolate biscuits while I've been blithely live blogging. Bad Mommy.

7. Azerbaijan features a high pitched young feller dressed as a bad angel with fluffy wings doing a kind of operatic hollering and another devilish looking chap doing a pop-metal fusion. The Vol-in-Law screams from the other room that Azerbaijan isn't even in Europe, but that they probably will go through. Oh, hell yeah they're going through.

Operatic wailing from azerbaijan

8. Slovenia's entry was also their Miss World entry. Well, there probably are only three presentable people there. It's a pop song whose refrain is apparently "to hell with it" or something like that in Slovenian. It's catchy, I like it. The baby crawled over to the satellite box and changed the channel.

9. Maria from Norway is telling us to hold on and be strong - she should learn to phrase better in her singing. But she looks nice in her slinky blue dress. The baby is crying

i'm live blogging one handed as i'm trying to blog and breastfeed at the same time.

10. Poland is doing a dreary pop ballad - a blonde woman in a turquoise dress and amazingly white teeth.

11. Ireland's entry is a turkey puppet - singing about how it's lost Eurovision for too long. There are vegas style dancers and mexican ballet folklorico looking dancers in the Irish colors. Irelande douze points is the chorus. Eurovision fans will know what that means. Utter rubbish. Nil points from me and apparently there were too many people on stage which may mean it's disqualified, anyway.

12. Gisela from Andorra is wearing a metallic breast plate and some coppery tailfeathers. and something that looks like a bookend on her head. Thoroughly pop and in English "Oh Casanova" I suspect it will do well.

13 Bosnia and Herzogovenia (is that spelled right) have a brother and a sister and a clothes line and four brides on stage (which is one fewer person than the Irish had and all that the rules allow) The gal singer is wearing bloomers, tee-hee!

Bosnia's Eurovision entry
knitting brides in the backgroud

14 Armenia - now this is more like it. I'm partial to a pop song that seems to incorporate some element of the native folk beats. This does it for me. It's the usual cheesy pop lyrics in English and the costume is just a modern version of the fringey flapper dress, but I like it.

15. The Netherlands - Hind - "Your heart belongs to me" I usually like the Dutch entry, but they usually don't do well. Wow, the rather statuesque gal singer is wearing a full length formal dress AND thigh high boots. The song itself has a kinda belly dancing vibe to it, it's upbeat and easy to dance to. I like it.

Slnky dress and thigh highs
Dutch fashion courage

16. Hurray the Finns!! Another metal entry from my cousins to the North. They could put shit on a cracker and I'd vote for it. The Vol-in-Law says "I love Finnish metal." The baby is screaming along "da da da da da" and actually dancing. This probably doesn't bode well for his future development.

Baby likes Finnish rock
Screaming along to Finland's entry

17. Nico and Vlad (yes really) from Romania are singing a nice romantic ballad. Snooze. They're nice looking enough chaps, though. Oh wait, there's a gal singer... I guess Nico's female and she's wearing a long black dress with luminous green plastic waste products attached to the skirt.

18. Russia and Dima Bilan is singing "Believe!" a barefoot pop-boy dressed in white (what is it with all the barefoot performing these days) His eyes are blood shot in a worrying way, drugs no doubt. Oh my god, they have an actual ice skater on the stage - spinning around right next to the barefoot guy - that's a brave performance decision. No wonder he needs the drugs.

Update: ice skating guy was apparently the world champion ice skater.

Russian Eurovision song contest entry
Russian health and safety violations

While I've been watching, baby has crawled from sofa to chair/ chair to sofa, and is now dumping Daddy's magazine's on the floor. Yes, I know it's after 9 pm.

19 Kalomira from Greece is singing "Secret Combination". Like Armenia it's chessy pop with a little greco beat. Also like Albania the chanteuse is wearing some kind of fringey dress. I'm now realising that "secret combination" is some kind of sub-text for sexual access. Ok, not so much sub-text - it's a bit like Britney Spears when she finally left innuendo behind.

Greek pop

Dang, I turned my head and missed the on-stage costume stage. I guess one of those backing dancers figured out her secret combination.

OK, that's it. I hope to be back with the results shortly.


While waiting for the votes to tally, they explained how the voting works this year. Unlike last year, there are TWO semi-finals and no major Western European countries (you know the ones you've heard of) actually made it through. So they've split the voting groups in two, breaking up the traditional geographic loyalties (e.g. the Nordic countries always vote for each other) resulting in very predictable results.

And I'm not clear on this, but at least one country may or may not be selected by jury to ensure there are enough countries from Western Europe.

But this year there are 43 countries participating (many of them not technically in Europe). Thirty-eight have to be winnowed down to 20 through semi-finals - and big countries, with big tv revenue streams (the UK, Germany, France, and Spain) have automatic entries as well as last year's winner - Serbia.

Does that make as much sense a the single transferable vote?


The ten finalists from the first heat of the semi-finals. (In one big envelope you will find ten smaller envelopes - says the hostess - apparently the song contest in Serbia is sponsored by a stationery company).

In no particular order:

1. Greece
2. Romania
3. Bosnia and Herzegovnia (this result is absolutely inexplicable)
4. Finland (hurray the Finns - the Vol-in-Law says that the streets are going wild in Helsinki tonight many people will be having an extra puula)
5 Russia
6 Israel
7 Azerbaijan
8 Armenia - I really liked this one
9 Poland
10 Norway


Anonymous said...

Do you realize the cultural damage you may be doing to my grandchild. This is worse than listening to WDXE. Not to say ruining his health by being up past 9:00pm. You're always complaining about being tired, is it really worth ruining cultural heritage and health? VolMom

PS I'm just jealous that my visits never coincide with Eurovision.

Vol Abroad said...

Oh this time it will - the finals are THIS SATURDAY - and I don't know what you'll be doing, but I'm watching it.

jp said...

Teehee - what a hoot! I'm looking forward to your Saturday coverage. (Personally I like to turn down Terry and listen via the radio - he's so 20th c ironic and ill-informed.)

Chris in Happy Valley said...

As far as I can tell, Australian TV seems to glean the worst of both British and American television and mash it all up into a slurry of slop.

We get the Eurovision next week. So, it's bad and behind.

melusina said...

I'm ready for tonight's semi-final. My sister-in-law who is living in Sweden says the Swedish song is nice (although I know what kind of music she listens to, I don't believe her).

I hate the Greek song so much. I always do. I think the Armenian song had that "Eurovision" thing that might make it a winner.

I admit it, I liked the Bosnia-Herzegovina entry. But overall, I thought the entries were crap.

And really, Azerbaijan in Eurovision? At least I could accept Israel and Turkey but come on!