Thursday, May 22, 2008

The second heat

Tonight it's the second semi-final for the Eurovision Song Contest. Another night of great (a-hem) singing live from Belgrade. Tonight UK voters are eligible to phone in their ballot (please make sure you have permission from the bill payer).

As per usual, I will not be voting. I have never phoned in a vote in my life.

The night's proceedings are kicking off with some folk dancers and orchestral musicians in cloud outfits. They're not part of the contest though - just the entertainment laid on by the hosts and I have to say I actually quite like it.

I'll be back when the official acts hit the stage

1. Iceland's entry is by Euroband - described as a tribute band. Hmmm - a tribute to whom exactly. I'd say this tune is perfect for an aerobics class - which puts it above most entries.

2 Sweden - always a strong a contender (back in the day Abba was a Eurovision entry). The chanteuse (the Vol-in-Law asks is that really a woman? I don't think it is.) is dressed entirely in silver tinsel. The song's not bad, not great either.

3. Turkey has had some pretty rockin' entries in the past. They've got a typical guitar band on stage right now, all in black with the barest hint of glam (sequined lapels). They're singing in Turkish which can't be helping them, but I think they might go through to the finals.

4. Ukraine and another tinselly silver dress - her male backing dancers are in a plastic boxes. I like a man in a box. The song is called Shady Lady, the Vol-in-Law says "If I were Eastern European, I think I would steer clear of any references to prostitution." Now the backing dancers are doing backflips across the stage - ho hum.

5. Lithuania - the out-of-tune male singer's only recognisable attribute is his attribute. Let's just say you don't need to guess which side he dresses on thanks to those skin-tight black plastic trousers. This guy couldn't carry a tune in a bucket - and the Michael Bolton hair isn't going to win any fans. He wouldn't make it past the first auditions of American Idol (the final of which I'm missing tonight and wondering if I've made the right choice with the quality of this entry). A cat in heat could do better.

6. Albania's entry is a 16 year old wearing a double breasted jacket with a sewn in cape. She seems very earnest, but frankly it's all a bit dull. I can't even get up good snark on this one.

7. Paolo Menegezzi of Switzerland is singing a well put together pop ballad in Italian Era Stupendo - which think probably means "It was amazing" or something like that. He has the slightly geeky, sensitive look that I quite like in a man. I probably wouldn't kick him out of bed, but I would spend a pound voting for him either. The Vol-in-Law says he'll be hurt a bit by the fact that he can't actually sing, but he thought it would go through.

8. Czech Republic are all be-silvered, too but this time the silver dresses are much, much, much, much smaller. There are five women shaking their stuff and a silvery DJ in the background. The Vol-in-Law says he feels physically sickened. It is truly horrid.

9. Belarus are being booed before they even go on. Is there some kind of bad blood between Serbia and Belarus? The male singer reminds me of a cheesy magician - lyrics like "your laugh has stealed my love" and "don't ask me why I say goodbye, hasta la vista baby, I'm gonna miss you...maybe" The backing dancers are - once again - in tiny metallic dresses, but this time they're golden and splaying themselves across golden magic mushrooms. It's bad, but 10 times better than the Czech offering.


10. Latvia - Pirates of the Sea singing "Wolves of the Sea" - WOW oh WOW - they're all dressed as very glamorous pirates, but it's like a very poor Adam Ant in the Highwayman video. Lyrics like "It's no Peter Pan, so what can you do?" and "We will steal the show, Jolly Rogers go, we are wolves of the sea."

They'll probably go through just for the outfits, though they should be walking the plank.


11 You gotta give Croatia some guts from putting up a 75 year old rapper. I kinda like the song - it's heavy on the accordion (I'm a fool for folk - sue me). Oh my god, granddad is waving a cane. He looks like the old man I saw beat an Underground worker with his crutch one time. His "rapper name" is 75 cents.


12. Bulgaria brings us break dancing and swoosha swoosha record scratching. Let it never be said that Bulgaria is more than two decades behind the times. Oh wait, make that 12 decades - the gal singer is dressed as some kind of Western dance hall madame. They've got DJ decks that are actually ON FIRE. That can't be safe.


13 Denmark - Simon Matthew with "All night long." Cheesy suspenders (braces if you're British) and flat cap. It sounds like one of those songs that's written to be a bar sing-a-long, but fails miserably.

14 You know how Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles despite being blind are musical genii (that's plural for genius, ya know). Yeah, well - being blind is not a gurantee of singing talent. Georgia should remember that the next time they enter a blind singer. Extra points for the albino contortionist backing dancers. Oh - AND the quick change from black outfits to white outfits on stage underneath a gauzey parchute silk covering.

15 Hungary - a bad lounge act. This is reminding me that I could be watching the finals of American Idol.

We're nearly at the end of the 19 entries, but unless the next four are amazing, I don't know how they're going to find ten to go to the finals.

16. Malta - I have soft spot for Malta because they always vote for the British entry no matter how bad or how unpopular British foreign adventures are at the time. The singer is wearing a tight black outfit and boots that were made out of a disco mirror ball. I'm having serious shoe envy. Lyrics like "Vodka and I want it so bad." the tune is genuinely catchy and well performed. I not only want this act to go through, it makes me want to visit the little island. My favorite act of the night.

17. Cyprus - back to the silver dresses a real femme fatale number this time. But unfortunately, she's stripped down to a red and black fringey number. She's singing in Greek and I can hear plinkety accompanient of some kind of stringed greek type instrument. Now she's dancing on a table in the middle of fabric rose - which I guess is suggestive of, well - you know.

18. F.Y.R Macedonia - the femal singer looks like a real woman and I was starting to like it until the nasty FYR Macedonian rappers started doing their FYR crapper. The guy is wearing bermuda shorts and white tights and golf shoes (I swear).

19. It's not over til the fat lady sings and tonight she's singing for Portugal. A lacklustre entry to cap off a lacklustre set of contestants. Still, she can actually sing, which puts her miles ahead of most of tonight's acts.

Meanwhile during the live voting our predictions are...

Portugal, FYR Macedonia, Iceland, Turkey, Bulgaria, Albania, Malta

The Vol-in-Law says he thinks the Ukraine, Latvia and Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden might also go through but that if there's any justice in the world, the Czech Republic will not only be sent home but be beaten with sticks.


And the results:

Ukraine, Croatia, Albania, Iceland, Georgia, Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, Turkey and Portugal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks to BBC America I understand it all now. The country with the most expats in other European countries is bound to win the popular telephone vote. So many Turks in Germany, Romanians in Spain, etc. Wonder which country got the Vol Abroad's vote, or Buddy's? And Vol-in-Law?