Monday, May 31, 2010

Books I've read in 2010 - May

Kjære Voltaire by Margit Wolsø
My Elvis Blackout by Simon Crump
Medinas juvel by Sherry Jones AUDIO
Prinsessen og morderen by Magnus Nordin AUDIO
Nürnberg-intervjuene by Leon Goldensohn
Human Origins by Richard Leakey (Phoenix 60)
På grunn av et løfte by Harlan Coben AUDIO
Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis
Jeg skal vise dere frykten by Nikolaj Frobenius AUDIO
Samira og Samir by Siba Shakib
Hypnotisøren by Lars Kepler
De dødes båt av Knut Nærum AUDIO
Sommerdøden by Mons Kallentoft
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett AUDIO
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection
by Charles Darwin

9 printed books
6 audiobooks

More details will be added tomorrow. I'm having a hard time finding the urls to make clicky links because of the revamping of the BookCrossing site, which I don't like and which I plan to rant about in an upcoming post ... so consider yourselves warned. ;-)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tinnitus, anyone?

I'm not usually a concert-going kind of gal ... I think about going to concerts every so often, but as a general rule I end up not going to them. Partly because I'm so slow to get my ass in gear, but partly because I know that I will rarely enjoy it as much as I imagine that I will. The stress, the crowds, and not least the noise. I really noticed this last part on Tuesday and Friday in the Arena. Especially on Tuesday, for some reason - weird, because we were sitting further back then, but maybe it had something to do with where the loudspeakers were placed? See, I go to concerts so rarely that I don't even know that. ;-) But the point is that when I got home and went to bed I had a hard time sleeping, because my ears were still ringing, so to speak. Fortunately it was gone again by the next morning. But I really noticed it ... and that was just after a couple of hours. I was almost pretty happy I wasn't going again on Thursday as well as on Friday.

And continuing with that train of thought, I'm a little appalled by what's going on right now. Not in my neighborhood, although you might be excused for thinking so. I live not too far away from the open air arena Valle Hovin here in Oslo ... when I say not too far away, think a 5 to 10 minute drive. There's a big event there tonight - AC/DC are playing, wooh. So not my cup of tea ... you'd have to pay me to be there. But I'm sure it's sold out. And anyway, I don't have to be there - I can hear the concert just fine from here. With no windows open and even the balcony door closed. I can almost tell what the lyrics are. o_O

If my ears were ringing after two hours in the Arena with a selection of more & less trashy europop, what's this going to do to people? Yes, the Arena is enclosed, and Valle Hovin is open air, but still. It can't be healthy. o_O I know that professional musicians are one of the groups that is most over-represented among tinnitus sufferers. No wonder. o_O

I'm soo glad I'm not at Valle Hovin right now. I hope everyone there is having fun, but seriously, I wouldn't if I was there. :-)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's starting ... !

Oooh, it's starting ... it's on!! Ooh!! Europe is watching us! :-D

It's a little weird to watch this now, since we've already seen all of this and know how it'll all play out ... except that guy who crashed Spain's party, WTF was that?? But they wouldn't have done very well anyway, I don't think - that whole toy collection was just way too distracting. Too bad.

Azerbaijan good, as expected - but somehow I don't think they'll win, the betting agencies' favorites don't usually live up to that reputation. :-) I love her dress but wish she'd lose that glove. What's wrong with bracelets??

Norway, alas! Didrik sang much better yesterday. He had a lot of nerves in our national final and last night it looked like he'd gotten over them, but like I said, he knew he wasn't really competing then, but now he knew it was for real. Dagnabbit. But he was good enough, we don't have to be ashamed of this. The reaction from the audience was much better yesterday too though, that was kind of sad ... we went crazy when he managed the first hard t. :-D This audience didn't really get that ... or so it seems, maybe they just sort of edited it out since the rest of Europe wouldn't have gotten the joke. Oh well, what's done is done, but the performance could have been much better, his nerves got the better of him. Again. Alas, poor Didrik!!

Moldova ... lots of color and action, but like us, they're no winner this year. I do like this entry more and more though, every time I hear it. :-) Good luck. :-)

Cyprus - dull as dishwater, I don't know what they're doing here. Sheesh, get lost, I don't want to hear about your feelings. And are winters really that severe in the Mediterranean that life gets so much better in spring?? >:-(

Bosnia & Herzegovina - a totally safe & standard performance, another song that I like more every time I hear it, but just ... nothing special in either song or performance. Not a winner. No potential winner at all so far, in fact.

Belgium ... they are one of only two nations tonight that have the guts to send their performers alone on stage, so kudos for that. Judging by the reaction in the Arena I think this entry may be kind of a dark horse, because people seem to really like it a lot. I was surprised on Tuesday ... and it seemed like something similar happened just now. Hmm ...

Serbia!! Yay yay for Serbia!! Now they are a potential winner. This entry is so much fun to watch and the audience just loves it. We're rocking out to it ... trilltrall is totally into this entry, he's made his own Serbian flag using a fishing rod and a printout that he found outside the Arena last night. :-D He's dancing and we're all singing along - Beograd, Beograd!!! Go Serbia!!

Belarus - now they may do well, I wouldn't be surprised if they do very well. But of course they can't win ... what would we do if they won?? The ESC in Minsk?? Oh noes! KAS hates this song, she's making huge fake yawns. :-D I have to say that while the song is very pretty, the presentation is pretty tacky. Which is what we all expect from the Belarusians ... ;-)

Ireland ... ! She was soo good yesterday. We met a couple of Irishmen on the bus back to the city and they weren't happy with her performance in the semi, but they loved her in the dress rehearsal ... and she really was wonderful then. She is tonight too, so yay! :-) This is pretty unlikely to actually win, but I think they may do quite well, and in any case it's just so wonderful to see Ireland send quality again.

Greece!! Everybody say OPA!!! :-D I don't actually like this song, but I still am totally caught up in it every time I hear it. ;-) They totally rock the house, they've done that every time. This song is definitely one of the potential winners this year. But poor Greeks, what will they do if they win? They'll be ruined! :-D Good luck to Greece, anyway ... they've made a real effort this year and I love that they're proving that politics really don't matter in the ESC. :-)

Now for this year's shittiest entry - the United Kingdom, who have sent trash. I mean literally trash. This is something Pete Waterman must have found on the bottom of his garbage can. This song is SO BAD that I don't even have words to describe it. The lyrics are just offensive, the music is incredibly boring and the performance is lousy, and the singer, sheesh, go back to your karaoke. TRASH. The UK should just drop out of the ESC entirely if they don't care enough about it to do more than this. This entry is insulting to us as the host and to all of Europe who have all tried so much harder. >:-( I wish they would get nil points ... but they probably won't, since Ireland and Malta usually give them a few pity points out of reflex. But they don't deserve a single vote. Fuck you guys. I mean, I love you, Britain is my favorite country to travel in and Britons are wonderful people, but seriously, fuck you right now. >:-(

Georgia ... an entry that Hanne Sørvaag is probably happier with than My Heart Is Yours, but of course she can't say so. ;-) Good song, good performance - I really like this performance - ought to do well. They deserve it. Not a winner, I don't think, but ought to place high. But I'm not sure it'll get a lot of votes from Norway - KAS sent off a vote for it, and she got the reply back almost immediately. Not a good sign, maybe?

Turkey ... one of the favorites, and I can totally see why, this is a cool song and a good performance. I would maybe have lost the robot, but hey, that's me. They really get the audience going and I think they'll get a lot of votes pouring in right now. Keep an eye on Turkey. ;-)

Albania, yay, go Albania!! I love the Albanian entry this year, it's their best ever, it's fantastic. Love her performance. Top ten for Albania this year, at least. Fingers crossed!! :-)

Iceland. YAY for Iceland!! Hera Björk is just so fantastic. She was absolutely amazing last night , and she is amazing tonight too ... and she gets a fantastic response from the audience. Wonderful Iceland!! :-) I think they may do very very well tonight, and I hope they will ... they really need some happy news now. Although not too happy, of course. ;-) They'll probably get a lot of sympathy votes. But hey, points are points. :-) And this is such a totally ESC entry ... it's just perfect. We're all loving it, except KAS, she doesn't dig this entry. But the rest of us love it, so it's three against one. :-) Go Iceland!!

Now Ukraine ... which is kind of a downer after this great mood that Iceland struck. She's all alone on stage, I'm impressed with that. But this song is kind of depressive. Bad luck of the draw. And again, it's rather unmelodious and hard to get into. It'll probably have to rely more on jury votes than on the televote ... but it may get quite a few points from the professionals, I'd imagine.

France!! We're digging France here. trilltrall's loving it. :-) It's a total football song though, and I don't know if there are that many football fans watching right now ... ? ;-) But hopefully their girlsfriends are forcing them to watch. Let's hope they'll stave off the boredom by sending a few votes France's way. I like the outfits they're wearing ... I hope the French will do well this year, they deserve to for sending such a good entry. They really have the audience going in the Arena. We were on our feet dancing too last night. :-)

La Roumanie, douze pointes!! Romania is one of my favorite countries, they've sent some seriously cool songs, some of my favorites ... and their song this year is so cool, I love it. They'll do really well, I'm sure of that. Fingers crossed for Romania, they rock!! Go Ovi! :-D

Russia are Lost and Forgotten ... but I don't think they will be. This song is total weirdness, but at the same time it's got something, I don't know. We're all singing along here. :-D Good results for Russia, not impossible ... !! :-o

But now - Armenia!!! Go Armenia!!! I love this song, have you noticed?? ;-) I've got my flag ready, and get this, we grilled apricots for dinner tonight to support Armenia! :-D Along with lots of pieces of dead animals, of course. But also apricots. :-) Vote Armenia, come on, Europe!! Yerevan 2011!! But alas, I'm not at all convinced that they will manage to go all the way ... I think they'll do well, hopefully very well, but will it be enough ... ?? Fingers crossed. They've got my vote, anyway ... about nine of them, I think. :-) Good luck Armenia! :-D

Germany, alright. Didrik ought to have talked to Lena a bit more. She's got no nerves, she's fantastic. This song is soo good ... I'm thinking they may win the whole shebang. I love this song ... but more than that, it really is fantastic, her performance is wonderful, she's so adorable and charming, and it really comes through the TV screen. The audience loves her ... we did too, last night. And it would be so cool if they won, the Germans would go absolutely crazy. Good luck to Germany. I am so impressed with them this year. Good luck. :-)

Portugal. Pretty but boring. The Portuguese keep soldiering on, year after year, and we love them for it ... but they'll have to keep at it for a while longer, I'm afraid. Kind of a mystery what this is doing here. o_O Not a winner.

KAS is bored now ... she thinks Portugal is boring and Israel is too. :-D I kind of like this, at least while I'm listening to it, but, well, I can see where she's coming from. His voice is very good though. Didrik should have talked to him too ... Not to Johnny Logan, sheesh. I mean, I know he's Mr Eurovision and all, but as a kind of general rule one should be careful about taking advice from alcoholics. I think this will get middling results. Hopefully. :-) But nothing wrong with it as such. :-)

And Denmark closes the show with a song that I kind of hope will do well, because the Swedes were offered it first and rejected it, and now Sweden's out and the Danes are still here. But the song isn't very original and is a pretty safe choice. Ooh, look, they're slipping apart ... !! :-D Hah, fun. But there is so much else to choose from this year that is so much more creative and original, I don't expect anything special from Denmark. Still, good luck.

A review, and another review ... LOL, every time Serbia comes on we all sing along to as much of the lyrics as we know: BEOGRAD, BEOGRAD!! LOL! :-D

And the voting's over, and we're getting the interval entertainment, which we've already seen, but it's fun anyway. The world's biggest flash mob dance. And Madcon!! Fun and games. As Anne Ida said, it's not Riverdance, but I like it, I think it's fun and creative. And no fjords and trolls, that is a plus, in fact, in my book.

Ooh, time for the results. I'm not as nervous as I usually would be ... maybe because I haven't been able to pick a winner this year? Just a reminder, for any non-Europeans who may be reading this (hello Bill! and maybe Gare? :-) the points are tallied by 50% televote and 50% of professional jury votes. Each country has the following points to award: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12. In the event of a tie, the winner is whoever gets the most 12s.

Let's see, I can't pick one winner, but I have a shortlist. Potential winners. Let's see ... in order of performance, Serbia, Greece, Turkey, Albania, Iceland maybe, Romania, Armenia, Germany.

Sheesh, Denmark got the first three twelves!! :-o Maybe I should have added them to my list. Their song just seems like such a safe choice. But then again, the last time they won it was also with a semi-boring and safe song, so who knows ... ? Nah, I can't believe that. Although it might be a fun party in Copenhagen. ;-) And it would be SO much fun if they won with a song the Swedes rejected ... !! :-D

It looks like it'll be an even heat, that is so cool ... that's the best way, when there's excitement about who will win right up to the end. Although Germany does seem to be pulling ahead. Three twelves in a row! Awesome! Berlin 2011 ... !? :-D

But Armenia's doing just middling. Sob. But what can I say, I've been rooting for them, but haven't really been believing it. Look at us though, we're bombing. :-D Gotta love it. Stupid Brits are actually getting some points though, damn them. I hope we can beat them, at least. :-D

Belgium is really surprising me tonight. And Iceland's doing so badly, boo. :-( But what is definitely clear here is that Europe's in no mood for ballads tonight. Yes, the Belgian song is doing very well, but that's a different kind of ballad, not the kind of OTT power ballad that so many countries have sent this year. Bad choice. And the Belarusians are completely bombing ... :-D

It's so sad that Ireland is doing so badly. :-( Even worse than the UK, which is, to quote my mother on a different but related issue, deeply shocking. Ooh, they got some points from Switzerland, yay. :-) Serbia and Albania aren't doing as well as I'd hoped either. But Germany just got past 200, and they're a pretty good bit ahead now. Berlin 2011. Yees ... !! :-D

Armenia aren't doing as well as I'd hoped, but they are getting some twelves here and there - thank you to Israel. :-) Germany's getting points from pretty much everyone, not the Israelis, but that's hardly to be expected. Ahem. They've gotten points from 32 countries out of 36 who have voted so far. They're the winners, no question.

BERLIN 2011!!! :-D

Poor Lena, she's completely out of it. And the Germans are going crazy! :-D Too funny. She is so sweet and charming. Aww. Congratulations to Germany, you so deserve it!!! :-)

Well, it ended like Alexander Rybak said - the best song won. Happiness for all!!

Do I have to sing now??
OMG, this is soo crazy!!

Another reason to be very happy with this result: The UK came last. Excellent. >:-)

And now ...

From Russia in the east
to Portugal in the west ...

from Norway in the north
to Israel in the south ...

... this is the

EUROVISION
SONG
CONTEST!!!!!

Wheee ... !!!!

Welcome to Oslo, Europe!!!

Vote Armenia!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Just one more day ...

... but not for us! :-) Tonight is what they call 'dress rehearsal 2' which is basically the same show as the final except for the voting. This is the event that NRK will be taping to have as a backup in case something should go wrong with the live broadcast tomorrow night. It starts at 9pm and Anne Ida, KAS, trilltrall and I will be there. I've made one Armenian flag and one German one, and of course we'll all be bringing our own Norwegian flags as well.

Let the music play ... !!! :-D


Update, much later.

Excellent show!! V. excellent show indeed. We loved it. :-) So many great performances and so much fun to see. I'm SO glad we went. :-)

Some thoughts ... the sound is a great deal better live in the Arena than what comes across on TV. I noticed this first with Slovakia on Tuesday, and now again with Armenia at Eurovision Village, yesterday and today. Other than that, though, I think NRK has done a stellar job. The production as a whole has been scaled down a lot from last year's Soviet extravaganza, and IMO it's better for it. I love the light effects. It was interesting to see the reactions in the audience to the various entries ... Belgium got much less of a response tonight than Tuesday, and Israel was received in a rather lackluster fashion. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Germany was totally OTT. I love Germany this year. :-) She could hardly get off stage, the whole audience just went wild. France also got a fantastic reception. And of course Norway did too ... rather unsurprisingly. Although our entry would have been wildly cheered regardless, even if it had been the most abysmal crap. ;-) Didrik has conquered the hard t and has generally improved his diction a great deal, and he sings so much better than he did just a few short months ago. His nerves also seemed to be mostly gone ... fingers crossed that they really are, and that it wasn't just the fact that he knew that he wasn't really competing tonight, but just pretending. ;-) The UK entry was a total piece of shit and they ought to be ashamed of themselves. That's all from me tonight - see you tomorrow ... !! ;-)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Round two ... !!

Second semifinal starts ... now!! :-)

Competing countries tonight:
Lithuania
Armenia
Israel
Denmark
Switzerland
Sweden
Azerbaijan
Ukraine
The Netherlands
Romania
Slovenia
Ireland
Bulgaria
Cyprus
Croatia
Georgia
Turkey

Seventeen countries, ten places left in the final. Oooh ... !!!

I think it's so weird that this is where we can vote. Usually it's Sweden that we're kept away from. But I'm mostly happy because this means that I can vote for Armenia. Yay!! Go Armenia! I don't actually think they will win, but I would love it if they did. :-)

Anyway ... my guesses tonight. Let's see. Lithuania's in, I'm almost sure about that. It's so not my kind of music, and I won't be voting for them, but I have a really good feeling about them. It's about time too, they have a pretty sad ESC history. :-) Israel's in. Romania have got to make it, if they don't I'll be shocked. Ukraine probably, on the jury vote if nothing else. Azerbaijan, they're such a big favorite. I just hope they've changed the choreography. ;-) Bulgaria probably. Croatia, not unlikely. Turkey, I think. Armenia, I hope. :-)

Who's not going to make it? The Netherlands. About time for them to take their barrel organ and go home. I would like Switzerland to make it, but I don't think they will. Denmark ... 50/50 chances for them, I think. It's not a bad song, but it's so ... safe. Just nothing special. And their names are soo stupid ... ! >:-) Cyprus, no chance. Sweden ... may get through but may just as likely not. I don't get the hype about their song, it's nothing special either. Then again, they've never not been in the final. I won't be voting for them, though. We'll see. :-) Oh, and Slovenia is practically already gone. >:-)

On the fourth song now - Denmark, and what is the deal with his outfit?? - and I have to say that I'm slightly starting to lose hope for Armenia. The song is so wonderful ... but that performance ... !! IMO it was overblown and overstated and may have damaged their chances ... a lot. Oy vey!! Armenia, quo vadis?? I also don't think the singer sounded as good now as she did live in Eurovision Village. (The video of that performance is up on my Youtube channel now, btw.) Same with Slovakia on Tuesday, and they didn't get through. :-( Alas ... !!

Sweden on stage now and I have to say this was a very good performance. Best I've seen of this song. And she sounded really good. So I think I may have to take it back, Sweden will probably make it again. But if they do get to the final, their results there may not be much to write home about. >:-)

Wow, Azerbaijan!! OK, they're in. New choreography, SO much better. I love her dress ... don't love the glove so much, but what are you gonna do. V. good, Azerbaijan!!

Ukraine ... weird costume, I hope that won't distract from the song too much. That's the last thing this song needs. Her performance is good though - emotional and sincere. But I'm not sure about Ukraine's chances this year. As I said in my review, this song is very ambitious for an ESC entry. Here's hoping the jury will know what they're doing. :-)

OMG, the Netherlands ... they really have a fucking barrel organ on stage! A digital one! And her hair ... and the lyrics ... !! Ouchie ouch ouch!! Apparently the reaction's good in the Arena, though. It's a mystery. I think this song could only have been written by a senior citizen and he should have stuck to the smurfs. >:-(

Romania ... !!! Now they are a total shoe-in. And I don't just dig their song because Ovi's Norwegian as well as Romanian ... it's just a totally cool song. Welcome back to 2010. o_O I really like that they're actually playing instruments and not just standing or dancing around ... OK, the instrument is very gimmicky, but at least it's better than the Swedes, where the whole playing of the instrument was a gimmick. Ooh, fireworks ... Go Romania!! :-D

They didn't sound quite 100% - I am so happy that I've been to all these live performances downtown, seems like they've actually been as good or better as the official performances. But they'll definitely get through, I'll be shocked if they don't. Now Slovenia ... argh ... the less said the better. Ouchie.

Ooh, Ireland ... !! Now they deserve to get to the final!! I have my fingers crossed for them, they so deserve it, but I think it could go either way. It's an absolutely wonderful song though, but rather low key ... but what a fantastic singer, and such a beautiful song!! Vote for Ireland! Finally they're sending something good, they should be rewarded. :-)

Bulgaria, umm ... interesting costume choices. Not one of my personal favorites, but I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing this bunch again on Saturday. Silver wings and all. What is it with all the wings this year??

Cyprus, yawn. There's a Norwegian element here too, the producer or whoever is Norwegian. But who cares. This song is one of the most boring this year, I don't know what they're thinking. This can't be the best they can do, surely? Over and out, anyway.

Everything is easy for Croatia ... I wouldn't be surprised if they easily get to the final too. :-) I think my father may vote for them. ;-) I like their performance - keep it simple, that's the key! Armenia should have taken a leaf from the Croatians' book. Alas.

Georgia - gorgeous dress, very pretty voice, but bizarro choreography once again. Still, better than in the national final. And rather striking, I suppose ... good color scheme ... and a lot of emotion in the performance, which will probably go down well down East. (What a sentence. :-) They'll probably get through.

Turkey. Not quite my kind of music, but it's good. And they've never not been in the final. I'm pretty sure they'll get through, I'll be surprised if they don't. They gave a very good performance. A great way to close the show. :-)

Fun idea for the first interval entertainment ... !! A cavalcade of entries that have placed last. :-D Of course rather a lot of Norwegian songs ... ;-) Well, we don't have to be ashamed of that record (ie that we've placed last more often than anyone else, ten times!). Europe is unpredictable, you never know, but it's fun to be a part of the circus. :-) And we have also won three times, that's a lot more than others who may have done better than us on average. So there. :-) Fun idea, anyway. And now the voting's almost done ... !! :-o

OK, the voting's closed. Share the moment!! :-o I've voted twice for Ireland, twice for Switzerland (although those were probably wasted votes, I'm afraid) and x number of times for Armenia. Eight? I lost count ... :-)

I have to say that I think they've been pretty creative with the interval entertainment. Good job, NRK. And I think it's silly what the Swedes are saying about us not 'showing off Norway' in the first semi - I suppose they'll say the same about this one - but what does that even mean? Yeah, there's no trolls and bunads and snow-covered mountains. Is that the only way we can show off Norway? o_O This is something original and creative that people will see when they're watching a broadcast from Norway - something the majority of the audience pretty much never does. So how is that not a good thing? Bah, they're just jealous.

Getting nervous now, the results are almost in ... !!

OK, here we are. Georgia. No surprise there. Now Hanne Sørvaag will be competing against herself! She wrote our song too. Funny. :-D Ukraine! Oh, good for them!! They deserve it, kudos to whoever's behind this. ;-) Turkey. Yup, the tradition holds. Also not a surprise, it would have been really weird if they hadn't gotten through. Israel. Yet another non-surprise. They have a great song, they deserve it. Good choices so far. :-) Ireland!! YAY!!! Oh, fantastic!! Me so happy!! Paz, now you have to watch on Saturday ... !! (I bet Mrs Paz will try to make you watch. ;-) Cyprus! WTF?? Noes!! I don't want to see that shit. Augh, oh noes ... !

I'm losing hope for Armenia, alas ... :-( But Azerbaijan got through, as expected. Three more slots left ... ! :-o I am so nervous even though we're not even in this round! :-o Who's number eight?? Romania!! YES!!!! I knew it. :-) Whew. And number nine ... ARMENIA!!!!!!! YES!!!! Me SO HAPPY!!! :-D Yees ... !!!!

Wheee ... !!!

OMG, Denmark is number ten. Sweden is out. OMG. Now we'll get it ... !! :-o The first time they haven't gotten to the final. I bet they'll make it out to be our fault somehow. Don't forget that they 'deserve' at least our ten-pointer. >:-) But now they're out, alas. Anne Ida's watching the Swedish broadcast, apparently - she says that they're saying that it's Europe's fault because 'they didn't understand what she was trying to do'. By tomorrow I bet it'll be our fault because we invited Europe. ;-)

Well, my guesses were better tonight than on Tuesday. I was a little over-excited then, I think. ;-) Excited now too - Armenia's in the final!! Yay yay yay!! Happy happy, joy joy!!! Yerevan 2011?? No, I don't think so - Berlin 2011 is more likely. But it's good, it's all good. Happy tonight!!! :-D

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Whew!!

What a show ... !!! :-D My ears were ringing so I could hardly sleep when I got home ;-) but it was FUN ... !!! :-D It's not the ideal way to see the show, because you see a lot less than you do at home in front of the TV set, and you keep turning your head to watch the big screen to the side of the stage - my neck still hurts - but it was a fantastic experience, I'm so glad I got the chance to go. Right now I'm watching the rerun on TV, and I have to say that Slovakia sounded much better in the arena than they did just now. I'm actually a little shocked. Hearing their performance now I'm not surprised that they didn't get through.

So, I had five favorites, and three of them got through. I was so nervous though, they didn't list Albania till towards the very end, and I was just thinking that if Albania doesn't get through then I will have completely lost touch with reality. But, yay, they made it. :-) Serbia too, unsurprisingly, and Iceland. The audience just went crazy when Iceland got the last slot. Aw. They love us, and we love them!! Go Iceland!! :-D

Finland didn't make it, though. That's so sad ... and surprising, I was sure they'd make it, especially judging by the response in the Arena, which was wonderful to their song. But you never know. Anne Ida said that maybe everyone thought that everyone else would vote for them, so no one actually did ... :-D I guess maybe that's part of it, the thinking that 'they'll get through anyway, so I don't have to vote for them' ... Alas! All Finns reading this, I would have voted for you if I could!!

I was surprised when I realized that we couldn't vote in this semi - for some reason I've been thinking that since we aren't in either, we should be able to vote in both. But no. It's so strange that it's the second we can vote in, though, the one with both Sweden and Denmark in it. Isn't it part of the point to keep us away from the Swedes? o_O Weirdness ... but I will be able to vote for Armenia, and that's the most important thing. ;-)

Anyway ... I lost hope for Slovakia about when the fifth country to get through was listed, I just had a bad feeling for them all night. Too bad. :-( Greece I was right about though. And I have to say this ... before heading off to bed, I'm exhausted! - that I think that when we get the info on the points scored yesterday (ie on Sunday) it'll turn out that Greece was #1 or close to it. And although their song is far from my favorite this year, I'm still so happy about that, because it really proves that this contest isn't about politics, at all.

If it had been about politics, Greece wouldn't have gotten any points at all this year. :-D

Best joke of the night: As soon as Hasnaoui read 'Serbia' I texted my friend N. to say congratulations. He said thanks, but that he thought that Iceland and Greece have the best songs. I said that if so, he must be very happy! He texted back that he was, but their respective ministers of finance aren't ... ;-)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

IT'S ON ... !!!!!

... and I'll be there ... !!! :-o

I was planning to watch the semifinals at home - where of course I would have the best possible view ;-) - but thanks to Anéa, I'm going to be there!! OMG!!! :-D Anéa, you are so sweet, thank you so much for thinking of me. Although it was perhaps a rather natural thought ... ;-)

So, I obviously won't be blogging live about this semi ... I'll be watching it live instead. In 35 minutes I'm out of here to see Croatia and Armenia - yay, Armenia!! - perform live in Eurovision Village downtown before I meet up with Anéa, Anne Ida and hopefully Anéa's cousin to head out to Telenor Arena. I'm atremble with excitement ... !! :-D But before I go, some predictions.

Competing nations today:
Moldova
Russia
Estonia
Slovakia
Finland
Latvia
Serbia
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Poland
Belgium
Malta
Albania
Greece
Portugal
Macedonia
Belarus
Iceland

I have five favorites in this semi that I'm really hoping will get through to Saturday: Slovakia, Finland, Serbia, Albania and Iceland, in no particular order. Who will make it??

Out of my favorites, I'm pretty sure that Albania, Finland and Serbia will get through. Albania I think is a shoe-in this year. I'm pretty sure Iceland will make it too, and Slovakia hopefully, but I'm not entirely sure about them. I've been thinking that Greece wouldn't stand a chance, because they're not really very popular at the moment *cough* generally speaking *cough*, but looking at my views on Youtube I see that the video I posted of the Greeks performing in the Village is one of the most popular ones, by far. And their entry is catchy and fun when you see it live. So I'm betting Greece will be there on Saturday too. Macedonia, quite probably ... and maybe Belarus. If the TV audience don't understand much English, Latvia may make it, their song is very pretty. The music, I mean. ;-)

It's difficult, though - the field is so even this year. Very few songs that stand out above the crowd and very few real clunkers. It's got me stumped. :-)

Songs we won't see again ... ? Russia, I hope. >:-) Moldova, Belgium, Estonia ... Portugal, unfortunately ...

OK, I am so psyched that I can't figure this out anymore. Eeep ... !!! Gotta go, see you tomorrow!!! :-D

Monday, May 24, 2010

GERMANY 2010 - Satellite

Ending on a high note ... !!! :-D

I am SO impressed with Germany this year, I can't even tell you. I love it!! :-D The Germans are such an important nation in Europe in so many ways, but it's like they've never really figured the ESC out ... they send songs that either suck or are really good but just totally wrong for the contest. :-) But this year, wow!!! This year they've just got it all 100% right.

There's really nothing bad I can say about this entry - it's just so fantastic in so many ways. A wonderful melody, great lyrics, melodious and pretty and fun all at the same time ... the singer's so great, she's so charming and pretty and has a wonderful voice with lots of character. I love her accent when she's singing. :-) The song is both original and catchy, that's a feat. The only thing I don't love about this entry is that it's been written by non-Germans ... the team behind it is Danish/American. Oh well, you can't have everything. I would have loved for this to have been a truly German production, but regardless of who wrote it, it's a fantastic song and I totally love it. :-)

I know I'm rooting for Armenia this year - it is my favorite entry, and I would love to see the contest go to Yerevan one year ... so why shouldn't they win this year, because they have a song now that would really deserve it. But I'm not sure that I can honestly say that it's the best song - I think that honor may quite possibly belong to Germany. And if we'll be tuning in to Berlin a year from now, I will not be the least bit surprised. :-)

This is Lena Meyer-Landrut performing Satellite by Julie Frost and John Gordon. They will be competing for Germany in the final on Saturday, May 29th. It's generally not a good thing for an entry to only be heard once, but this song is so good and the singer so charming that it probably won't matter. :-)



Lyrics here.

FRANCE 2010 - Allez olla olé

Ah, France ... another of the Big Four who's sent a quality entry this year. Wonders never cease. :-) This song has also been chosen as France's World Cup song, and I've got to say that it's absolutely perfect in that setting. Literally couldn't be better. I'm not sure about it here, though. It's a good song, it has a great beat and lots of energy. With the right presentation it could be really good on stage. It's just kind of outside the box as far as ESC entries go. Not that I could really say for sure where the box actually is any more, with all the different songs in the contest these days. :-) But I think this song may end up not doing very well - not as well as it deserves - because it's not the kind of song people expect to hear in the ESC.

Although of course if a lot of football fans happen to be watching, it ought to rake in the votes. ;-)

Another thing this song has against it, and I'm sorry to say this, is the fact that the singer is black. Unfortunately there is quite a bit of racism percolating around Europe - not going to point any fingers, but you know what I mean - and this entry will in all likelihood lose potential votes from certain countries because of that. Which is too bad, it's a good song, and I applaud France for sending a black singer, the contest should have as much diversity as possible. But they'll probably to some extent be tripping themselves up with it. :-( Good luck to them, though, they deserve it this year. :-)

This is Jessy Matador performing Allez olla olé by Hugues Ducamin and Jacques Ballue. They will be competing for France on Saturday, May 29th - as one of the four main contributors to the EBU they have an automatic place in the final. Good luck. :-)



Lyrics with translation here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

GEORGIA 2010 - Shine

Another nation that struggles with the concept of 'no more than six' ... o_O

I hope that by Thursday, they will have figured out a different choreography for this entry, because in the national final (see the video below) the presentation of the song was totally distracting from the song itself. Which is a shame, because it really is a beautiful ballad. The singer is beautiful too and has a lovely voice, and performs with a lot of emotion ... I'm just struggling to pay attention to her because of the backing dancers. I don't know what the choreographer was thinking.

It's too bad that I have to keep saying this, but there are just so many ballads this year ... !! And that will probably be the biggest problem this song has, because it's a wonderful entry in and of itself, it just may drown in the sea of ballads ... because it doesn't really have the kind of 'hook' that some ballads have that make them instantly stick in your mind. Think Molitva or Angel.

It'll be interesting to see if these will help them any - ads in Oslo Central Station asking passersby to vote for Georgia. :-D

Anyway, good luck to them. This is Sofia Nizharadze performing Shine by Hanne Sørvaag, Harry Sommerdahl and Christian Leuzzi. Yes, Sørvaag is competing for Georgia as well as for Norway ... ! So I'm hoping that if nothing else, our song will at least beat this entry. ;-) Anyway, this trio will be competing for Georgia on Thursday, May 27th.



Lyrics here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

TURKEY 2010 - We Could Be the Same

OK, now, Turkey this year was a really pleasant surprise for me. They've got a history of sending sometimes good stuff and sometimes, well ... pardon the pun, but ... turkeys. Sometimes they come up with something good and sometimes they send the most amazing pieces of shit. However, they never fail to qualify. They have never not been in the final, for as long as there has been a final to either qualify for or fail to do so. If that makes sense. :-)

Anyway, this year I would be surprised to not see them there. This is a kind of poppy rock song with a great beat and a catchy ... not only chorus, but verse too. It has creativity and musicality, and the performance is energetic. Turkey has potential this year. The problem is that they may appeal mostly to the younger segment of the audience ... but I hope they'll be able to overcome that, they really deserve to, with this song. Kudos to Turkey. :-)

This is Manga - or they may spell it maNga, I'm afraid - performing We Could Be the Same by Ferman Akgül. He will be competing for Turkey on Thursday, May 27th. He is a member of the band, so he will be performing his own song. I like that. :-)



Lyrics here.

CROATIA 2010 - Lako je sve

Croatia is a country I really want to like in the ESC, because a good friend of mine lives there - she's Croatian, from Zagreb - and it's such a beautiful country ... but I had a hard time doing so for a while, they've sent such middling songs. Just ... meh. Or worse, of course. ;-) But then in Belgrade their entry was SO amazing ... !!! I just love that song so much, it is so beautiful and so incredibly charming. I love it. :-) And their song last year was wonderful too. So my hopes were much higher this year.

These were somewhat shaken when I realized the performers would be the girl group with perhaps the dumbest name evar - Feminnem. (I mean, what is that?!) They performed the Bosnian song in 2005 ... in English, brr. This year they're singing in Croatian, fortunately. ;-) But where was I.

Oh yeah - it's a good song. :-) Actually a very good song. A beautiful melody. The contest is just flooded with ballads this year ... too many, IMO, it's difficult to keep them apart. Ballads are traditionally a hard sell in the ESC, and I think it's going to be even more difficult this year, partly because of the voting system and partly because it's just so many of them. But this one really ought to stand out. A lovely melodious song, performed with good voices and a lot of feeling. The official video is pretty screwy, but we're not going to be watching that, so hopefully that won't matter. :-) I just hope the performance on stage won't be too weird. Fingers crossed. :-)

A very pretty ballad that should definitely get to the final. Here's hoping. :-) This is Feminnem (shudder) performing Lako je sve by Branimir Mihaljević, Pamela Ramljak and Neda Parmać. They will be competing for Croatia on Thursday, May 27th.



Lyrics with translation here.

For those of you who are interested, check out my Youtube channel - there was a concert tonight in City Hall Square where seven of the entries were performed, and I was of course there and recorded most of it. :-) Three videos are up now, and more will be uploaded soon ... and there are more of these concerts planned, so check back, I'll be adding a bunch more videos. :-) It was really fun to see the entries performed on this pretty tiny stage, and people had a great time, so stop by if you get the chance. :-) You can see the program here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

CYPRUS 2010 - Life Looks Better in Spring

This is the kind of song that about which I really feel the less said, the better. Cyprus has been sending some good songs the past few years, but, what can I say, not this year. The first time I heard this song, though, I thought I might like it ... but I was soon disenchanted. It opens pretty well ... OK, yet another ballad, but still, kind of understated and sweet. But then the chorus starts. Oy vey.

Seriously ... what were these people thinking?? Tell me, tell me about your feelings? WTF is that about?? This is 2010. I don't understand how someone can write lyrics like these and keep a straight face. It almost makes me think it must be some kind of joke. o_O

Other than that, the song is OK ... nothing special, and won't get to the final, but apart from the horrendous lyrics, nothing much wrong with it. It gets pretty repetitive, and the presentation of it in the national final was yawn-inducingly boring ... and the song really is far too standard and safe to get anywhere in this contest.

Tell me about your feelings ... !! Bah, humbug!!

This is Jon Lilygreen & the Islanders - sheesh - performing Life Looks Better in Spring by Nasos Lambrianides and Melis Konstantinou. They will be competing on Thursday, May 27th.



Crappy lyrics here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

BULGARIA 2010 - Angel si ti

Bulgaria can generally be relied on to suck beyond belief in the ESC. They debuted in 2005 with something completely horrendous that I've fortunately mostly succeeded in blocking from my mind ... and they've for the most part continued this tradition since. In 2008 they suddenly came up with something fun and different and pretty cool ... but of course it didn't last. They managed to place surprisingly well in 2007, 5th place with something really weird, but strangely catchy. That, however, is the only time they've even managed to qualify for the final. It's a weird country, ESC-wise. This year ... ?

This year they have IMO risen above their usual standards, although this entry is nowhere near the best and probably won't qualify. But it doesn't suck. :-) Unfortunately the performance in the national final was atrocious ... check it out below ... it has weird choreography, the singer wears an awful outfit (I hate his t-shirt so much) and they ought to get an award for Most Extreme Overuse of Wind Machine. So it's an OK song presented really badly. His voice isn't half bad - I gotta tell you, this song is SO much better on CD. ;-) It does get rather repetitive and isn't very hummable ... so no prizes for Bulgaria this year, but nothing to be ashamed of either.

This is Miroslav Kostadinov performing Angel si ti that he cowrote with Mihail Mihailov. Serious props for writing it himself. They will be competing on Thursday, May 27th.



Lyrics with translation here.

Ooh, and happy Draw Muhammed Day!! I can't draw for shit, or else I would have made a drawing. But here's an interesting post about someone else's drawing and what someone said about it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Constitution Day 2010

A few pictures from Monday. I took strangely few pictures this year. But there will be a video pretty soon. :-)

25% flag waving fail.

100% flag waving fail!

But they finally got it right. ;-)

Part of our delicious feast ... and look, what a beautiful bouquet of flowers KAS had decorated with.

Toasting Norway and birthday girl AudiX78 in my traditional May 17th jello. ;-)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

IRELAND 2010 - It's For You

YAY for Ireland ... !!! :-D

The Irish are the most-winningest nation ;-) in ESC history ... they have won a record seven times, four of which were in the 90s and three of these again were in consecutive years. It was a difficult decade for RTÉ. :-) However, those days are rather long gone, and for the past ten years or so Ireland has been really struggling. I'm sure we can all agree that the low point was the singing turkey doll. Brr.

I'm not going to go into the details of why & how it's been going so badly for Ireland in recent years BUT it would now appear that they have figured it out for themselves. This year the Irish song is so good ... !!! I was so happy when I first heard it - finally I can like the Irish entry again ... ! ;-) Major kudos for making a serious effort and sending something to be really proud of once again.

Before you say anything, yes, this is totally our song. I mean, there's always accusations of plagiarism being bandied about, but this is hardly even plagiarism ... this is just out and out the same song. o_O It is our song, too, not theirs - we chose ours more than a month before they had their national final. ;-) But it's really interesting. The similarities between these two songs are so striking, yet the less original one - the most recent choice - is the best one. :-)

Two reasons - partly the ethnic element, ie, the Irish entry has a bit of an Irish sound to it, the flutes and what not, whereas there is nothing Norwegian about the Norwegian song. If you didn't know it you'd never guess it was ours ... it could have come from pretty much any participating country. Well, most of them. ;-) Mainly though it's thanks to the singer. Try listening to the Norwegian entry first, and then the Irish. You may think that Didrik is a really good singer ... but you'll be cured of that delusion the moment the Irish singer opens her mouth. ;-)

In the last post I couldn't find anything I liked about the entry; in this one I can't find anything I don't like. There are some problems which may make it difficult for this song to do really well - it's a ballad, so it may get lost in all the other ballads this year, although it's certainly one of the very best of the bunch. Performing 12th in the second semifinal isn't going to help. We have one thing on the Irish ... our singer is a young hot guy whereas theirs is kind of a middle-aged woman. With a lot of young people watching & voting, he's a safer ticket than she is. But she is such a wonderful singer. Amazing voice, fantastic technique, great stage presence, she's perfect! :-)

Yay for Ireland this year and fingers crossed. :-)

This is the brilliant Niamh Kavanagh - who performed Ireland's winning entry in 1993, so she really knows what she's doing - singing It's For You by ... another bunch of Swedes, mostly. Lina Eriksson, Jonas Gladnikoff, Mårten Eriksson and Niall Mooney. They're everywhere ... !! This talented quartet will be competing for Ireland on Thursday, May 27th. Good luck to ye!!



Lyrics here.

Funny not-quite-story from real life: I brought the CDs to KAS and trilltrall's house yesterday and we listened to all the songs while we ate ourselves into a coma. trilltrall had never heard this entry before yesterday and he is a staunch Didrik supporter ... you may remember that he refused to wear black for Keep of Kalessin when we all watched the national final together. :-D He was really quite shocked by this entry. He wants to officially call foul on Didrik's behalf. :-D

But it's all to the good, because we don't want to win, remember?? ;-)

SLOVENIA 2010 - Narodnozabavni Rock

Ah, Slovenia ... fifteen participations, middling results, up until the past few years when they for some reason started bombing almost every year. Weirdly, IMO, because I've really liked most of their entries the past few years. The worse they do, the more I like them ... ;-)

Seriously, though, they are clearly doing something wrong as far as the rest of Europe is concerned, and I'm afraid they're only continuing the trend this year. They're trying to mix rock and folk music elements, and while that can be fun sometimes, it totally fails here. In pretty much every conceivable way. The tune maybe could have been fun, but nah, it's just annoying. The flips back and forth between one style and the other doesn't work at all, the two styles don't mesh well at all and the costumes, well, the least said the better. Ethnic elements are one thing, and I know that they like that a lot down east, but seriously ... if that's what people are looking for then Serbia blows this thing totally out of the water.

This song in itself isn't hopelessly bad, but there are so many elements that combine here and not a single one of them works out, so it's just ... It's just a lost cause this year for the Slovenians. This is the kind of entry that really makes you think that if this was the best they could come up with for their national contest, then what the hell were the other entries like. And then you think that you really don't want to know ... ;-)

Anyway, see for yourselves. I challenge you to find one good thing about this entry. :-) This is Ansambel Roka Žlindre & Kalamari performing Narodnozabavni Rock by Marino Legovič and Leon Oblak ... they will be competing for Slovenia on Thursday, May 27th. Never to be seen again. >:-)



Lyrics with translation here.

Ooh, I solved my own challenge! They're singing in Slovene, I applaud that. :-) But one more thing? Anyone?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gratulerer med dagen!!!



Norway, thine is our devotion,
Land of hearth and home,
Rising storm-scarr'd from the ocean,
Where the breakers foam.
Oft to thee our thoughts are wending,
Land that gave us birth,
And to saga nights still sending
Dreams upon our earth,
And to saga nights still sending
Dreams upon us on our earth

Men of Norway, be your dwelling
Cottage, house or farm,
Praise the Lord who all compelling
Sav'd our land from harm.
Not the valour of a father
On the battlefield
Nor a mother's tears, but rather
God our vict'ry sealed,
Nor a mother's tears, but rather
God for us our vict'ry sealed.

Norway, thine is our devotion,
Land of hearth and home,
Rising storm-scarr'd from the ocean,
Where the breakers foam.
As our fathers' vict'ry gave it
Peace for one and all,
We shall rally, too, to save it
When we hear the call,
We shall rally, too, to save it
When we hear, we hear the call.

Ca 1864.
Lyrics by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.
Music by Rikard Nordraak.
Translation unknown.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

ROMANIA 2010 - Playing With Fire

Romania is one of my favorite countries in the ESC. They've sent some really wonderful songs. Especially in 2005 and 2006, I just loved their entries both those years. Still do. :-) So I'm always looking forward to seeing what they'll come up with. And I'm of course extra happy to see their entry this year, since it has a Norwegian element. And not just any 'element' ...

Ovi Martin is Romanian but has grown up in Norway, and he really loves the ESC ... he's been in our national contest twice, with some pretty good songs. Last year he almost made it ... he got through to the last round ... but of course our little hobbit was totally unbeatable. ;-) But he really wants to be in the show ... !! And this year he's kind of made it. It isn't his own song, but at least he's performing it. And it must be so cool for him to be performing the Romanian song on stage here in Norway. Kudos to Ovi ... !! :-D

And what's even better is that the song is good too. I like this entry a lot ... it has a great beat and is really catchy, and it's a relief to see a good uptempo quick song in this sea of ballads. I really like this combination of singers too ... these two look good together, they've got chemistry and their voices work really well together. I think that how well this song will do is going to depend to a large extent on the presentation. The song itself has a lot of potential, but the performance needs to look good too. Fingers crossed that they'll do something classy with it ... !! :-)

This is Paula Seling and Ovi Martin performing Playing With Fire by Ovidiu Cernăuţeanu. He will be competing for Romania on Thursday, May 27th. Good luck!! :-)



Lyrics here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Two years and counting ... !!

Yes, believe it or not, today it's actually been two years since I started this blog. That is a slightly scary thought ... time goes really quickly. Maybe best not to think about it. ;-)

In these two years I've written, let me see ... 1,074 posts. This will be the 1,075th. Really best not to think about that ... !!

I'm sure no one else had any earthly idea that this anniversary was coming up ... I'd actually forgotten it myself up until the day before yesterday. (Hey, it's progress - the first anniversary I totally forgot until almost a week after it had been and gone. ;-) But even so I got a fantastic present today. The absolutely wonderful BookCrosser Travelina gave me wings on BookCrossing.com - doesn't that sound like total nonsense?? :-D OK, what it is is that there are two kinds of membership over on BC - regular membership, which is free, and 'members plus' which you have to pay a little money for ... only $5 for a month, but still, it adds up ... this is called 'wings' by almost all the members over there because that's what it was originally called, and management hasn't been able to make us stop using that term. ;-)

Anyway ... this afternoon I suddenly discovered that I had wings again. Go over there and look at my name, you'll see little dragonfly wings around it. I went to my profile to check the dates (you can see when your wings will expire, if you're logged in) and was confused at first ... Members Plus expires on May 15th, but that's today? How can I have wings for one day? o_O Then I noticed the year ... 2011! :-o Wings for a whole year, that's $30 ... I think that is incredibly kind of her to do that for me. Totally made my day. :-)

Thank you so much, Travelina!!! :-)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. Next up, Romania!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

THE NETHERLANDS 2010 - Ik ben verliefd (Sha-la-lie)

The Dutch entry. I don't know what to say. Welcome to 1968?

I really have absolutely zero idea what they were thinking when they picked this entry. It almost makes you think it's a joke, doesn't it? I mean, it's ... I don't know. I really don't know what this is. o_O

I have to say that I truly pity this singer ... I don't know why they are putting a 17-year-old through this. (I know, she doesn't look 17 ... !!) This song was chosen in a way that is quite foreign to us Norwegians - the song was picked first, by the NPO, AFAIK, not by vote ... and then the vote was to choose which of five singers would perform it. This poor girl won. I'm sorry, 'won'. There was a huge backlash against the song and the singer really caught it ... but the tide of public opinion turned, fortunately, and the song's become a big hit. But that's because people are feeling sorry for her, I'm afraid ... not because of the qualities of the song. Which are ... what, exactly?

I'm tempted to say non-existent. I mean, it's a fun song ... I guess ... it's uptempo and catchy. But it's like a time warp back to ca 1970. I didn't know people were writing songs like this any more. And I think it's completely crazy that they're sending this to the contest in 2010. I don't know what they think they're doing. Again, it's like a joke. This song might have done really well 40 years ago, but parts of the world have moved on since then.

They may get some votes from older viewers in the West who get nostalgic about their youth when they hear this. But that may still translate to nil points. And it will be well deserved, if so. >:-(

This is the unfortunate Sieneke performing Ik ben verliefd (Sha-la-lie) by the clearly sadistic Pierre Kartner. He will be competing for the Netherlands on Thursday, May 27th, and he ought to be ashamed of himself.



Lyrics with translation here.

UKRAINE 2010 - Sweet People

Ah, Ukraine ... perhaps the most schizo participant in the ESC. They send some great entries, some bizarre entries, and some embarrassingly shitty entries ... sorry, but last year was really a low point. Their results have, unsurprisingly, varied greatly. However, they have also won the whole shebang ... and that was only on their second try. So, you never know what to expect from the Ukrainians.

This year ... this year I'm in two minds about their entry. In a way it's good, I like it a lot, but on the other hand there are problems with it too that I think will be a stumbling block for Ukraine this year.

The song is interesting, it's quite original and I applaud their efforts to stand out from the crowd. The theme of the song is good, not just the usual love & heartbreak stuff. The singer is pretty standard ... a pretty blonde with a low-cut dress ... but she gives a good performance, and her voice is unusual, it has a lot of character. The problem with the song is that it's rather unmelodious ... it has a difficult melody that I think may be too ambitious for the ESC audience. It took me a while to like it, I had to listen to it a few times. But, alas, the voters won't have that luxury. I think the majority aren't like me and don't know half the songs by heart weeks before the event. ;-) So although I like the song and I'm impressed with their level of ambition, I'm not sure it'll do very well. I hope it does, fingers crossed ... but I think it's immediate appeal isn't really there. But we'll see. The professional juries will probably react very favorably to this song, and hopefully their input will be enough to push this song into a good score. :-)

This is Alyosha performing Sweet People by Borys Kukoba, Olena Kucher and Vadim Lisitsa. They will be competing for Ukraine on Thursday, May 27th.



Lyrics here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

AZERBAIJAN 2010 - Drip Drop

This song is one of the major favorites this year. I'm afraid I don't quite see that. I like it, I do, it's a good entry ... I just don't think it's up there with the best this year. Azerbaijan hasn't been competing for long, this will only be their third year, and they've done very well for themselves so far. No doubt they will do so again this year, but I don't think (and I actually don't hope) that they'll make it all the way.

Good things about this song are, let's see ... the melody's good, it has a catchy tune for a ballad, the singer has a good voice. Technically there's nothing really wrong with it. Bad English, but what do you expect from Azerbaijan. ;-) The one big problem with this song is the presentation. But that really is a big problem. I mean, seriously, take a look at it. WTF is that shit about?? That is a pretty screwed up outfit and a very screwed up choreography.

What it looks like is that someone needs to explain to Team Azerbaijan that when the rules say no more than six people on stage, the key phrase is no more than ... it doesn't mean that you have to have six people. So just fire that choreographer and get rid of those so-called dancers. Brrr.

This is Safura performing Drip Drop by Anders Bagge, Stefan Örn and Sandra Bjurman. These three Swedes will, somewhat absurdly, compete for Azerbaijan on Thursday, May 27th.



Lyrics here.

SWITZERLAND 2010 - Il pleut de l'or

'It's raining gold' ...

It may not actually end up doing so, but this entry really deserves to do well. The Swiss have been sending some pretty good entries in recent years - I absolutely love their song from 2008 - but have been doing badly nevertheless. A little ESC mystery there. It means that even though IMO they should have zero problems getting to the final with this song, I may be wrong. I thought the same about Paolo Meneguzzi.

Anyway ... I like this song. I like it a lot. It's catchy, has a great beat, I love that it's in French ... the singer's not your usual standard-issue pretty boy (check out his ears! :-D) ... it's very melodious, it's ambitious, there's just nothing wrong with this song. It has the potential to do really really well ... and I for one seriously hope that it will. I like it more and more every time I hear it. Fingers crossed for Switzerland ... !! :-)

I would think that the new voting system will work in this song's favor. It has a lot of energy and could well get people to reach for their cell phones while they're listening. Here's hoping. :-)

This is Michael von der Heide performing Il pleut de l'or which he cowrote with Pele Lorriano, Heike Kospach and André Grüter. Good luck to them when they compete on Thursday, May 27th.

A live performance here, nothing freaky about that ...



But here's the official video - lightsabers ahoy ... !! o_O



Lyrics with translation here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

DENMARK 2010 - In A Moment Like This

I am torn about the Danish entry this year. I like it ... I've been listening to it quite a lot, it's great as, well, pleasant background music. ;-) So I'm kind of hard pressed to find something to find something bad to say about this song ... it's the kind of entry that I can really say nothing much against, but on the other hand it doesn't have much in the way of personality or originality either. It's a completely standard pop song, and while there's nothing wrong with that as such, 'pleasant background music' isn't really what tends to garner the points in this contest.

The one word I would use to describe this song would probably be 'safe' ... if I was able to use just one word. ;-)

Ooh, there is one negative thing I can say about it, actually. The stage names of the performers are totally lame-brained ... especially his. Seriously, give us some credit.

This is Chanée and N'Evergreen - yeah, right - performing In A Moment Like This by Henrik Sethsson, Erik Bernholm and, take note, Thomas G:son. Bringing out the big guns, but not to much effect. I would actually kind of like to see this song do really really well, because it was originally entered in Sweden, but wasn't accepted there, the Swedish selection jury didn't like it. And then it won in Denmark. :-D So it would be fun if it placed really well, but, meh, it won't.



Go here to see it in full screen ... or anything other than partial screen. :-)

Lyrics here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ISRAEL 2010 - Milim

Israel ... often a supposed favorite in recent years, but has usually failed to live up to these expectations. I really don't know how they'll do this year. Their entry is good, quality work, no question ... and kudos for singing in Hebrew ... but it's also a ballad, so that makes it more difficult right there, and it's, I don't know, in some ways quite anonymous. I've listened to it a dozen times but I couldn't hum it now to save my life. Ballads can do very well in the ESC, but they have to have a hook, something that makes them instantly memorable, and IMO this song lacks that. But it's a beautiful melody and the fact that voting will begin from the start of the show this year will unquestionably work in this song's favor.

The performance was plain and unremarkable in the national final, I wonder if they'll be changing that ... if not, that'll again be making it less memorable. But it's a good song and the performance is sincere and emotional, which we know the Easterners like, so that may be good. ;-) But I have to ask one thing - WTF is up with his hair?? o_O

This is Harel Skaat performing Milim by Tomer Hadadi and Noam Horev. They will be competing on Thursday, May 27th.



Lyrics with translation here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

An atheist poem

From a Muslim ... or, I guess, an ex-Muslim. That's something you don't come across every day. Watch this video, it's really good. A great example of what is so great about Youtube. :-)



And look, even though this post is about religion, I can still force Keanu into it. He played Prince Siddharta in a movie once ... but did not become a Buddhist despite what you may have heard. o_O

Ooh, and happy birthday to Anéa!!! :-D

Sunday, May 9, 2010

LITHUANIA 2010 - Eastern European Funk

Unlike the other two Baltic nations, Lithuania has never won the ESC ... in fact, far from it. Their best result was an astonishing 6th place in 2006 - pardon my French, but that song sucked ass - other than that, they've generally done badly. I'm almost sorry to say that I don't think their entry this year will change that in any dramatic way.

However!! In some ways I do like this song a lot. I don't particularly care for the style of music, it's not my thing ... and in any case I think this melody is too flat, it appears catchy at first, but gets repetitive and, alas, slightly annoying. But the lyrics!! I love the lyrics. They are so creative and funny and tongue in cheek. Absolutely charming, and perfect for the ESC. :-) Only problem is that poor English diction on the one hand and lack of English skills in the audience on the other may combine to render the lyrics less than understood. But kudos for this effort, regardless. :-) The performance isn't half bad, but it may have limited appeal. I wonder if they'll bring their silver glitter hotpants to Oslo ... ?? :-D

This is Inculto performing Eastern European Funk by ... themselves! :-) This is their second time in the contest (although the first time, in 2006, they came 2nd in the national final) and they will be competing for Lithuania on Thursday, May 27th.



Lyrics here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Quote of the Week

I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process.
Benjamin Harrison

Today was World Fair Trade Day and there was an event here in Oslo, part of a bigger event, but still a lot of cool fair trade stuff going down. :-) Friends had a sales stand there - of course :-) - and that's where I spent my day. The weather was fantastic, there was live music, lots of happy people and an all-around good mood. Our sales went really well. So, yay. :-)

Friday, May 7, 2010

MACEDONIA 2010 - Jas ja imam silata

When people say that 'those Eastern countries are just totally dominating the contest these days' and that 'all those Eastern countries just push their own songs regardless of the quality' and all that shit, they aren't talking about Macedonia. A decade's worth of participating starting in 1996, and their best result ever is 12th. o_O That was with a tacky but catchy entry in 2006.

Anyway ... considering this track record, I was pleasantly surprised by their entry this year. Not half bad ... far from it, in fact. Catchy, a good melody with a good beat. Kudos for singing in Macedonian. Yes, I agree that the rapper guy is pretty embarrassing ... but we can't have it all. Overall this is an entry that I don't think will do all that well, it's a bit too anonymous for that ... it's good while you're listening to it but there isn't much to make it really stick in the memory afterwards. But it's certainly not half bad. I wouldn't be surprised if they get to the final with this. :-)

FYI, the name of this country is just Macedonia, but in the EBU universe they are forced to go by the name of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (abbreviated FYR) because the Greeks have a stupid hangup.

This is Gjoko Taneski performing Jas ja imam silata by Kristian Gabroski, who will be competing for Macedonia on Tuesday, May 25th. Good luck! :-)



Lyrics with translation here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

IT HAS ARRIVED ... !!!

OMG OMG OMG ... !!! :-o

OK, deep breath. Right. This has really been a day suffused with the ESC spirit for me. :-) First of all I've been listening to the CDs almost all day. They're on my mp3 player and I am plugged in, my friends. Then when I was at my book group meeting ... we weren't at the usual place, long story, but we met at a friend's office, he works nearby. While we were there, I noticed that they had all gotten these fantastic brochures all about ... well, you know. I wanted one ... !! There weren't any extras around just then, so my friend gave me his. Aww. Here it is, look how kewl ... it has the full overview of all the events this month related to and inspired by the contest ... you can read it from both sides, one's for Oslo and one for Bærum. Which is where the contest will actually take place. They're calling it Oslo 2010, but it isn't really in Oslo. :-) Anyway, here's my brochure, from both sides:

And then when I got home, ooh ... !! Here's where the OMGs come in. I've got mail!! Ooh ... !! A letter ... !

And what's more, OMG, the contents of the envelope besides the letter ... !! OMG OMG!!

KAS, trilltrall, Anne Ida - three weeks and we're there ... !!! :-D

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

BELARUS 2010 - Butterflies

OK, the Belarusians have sent some weird songs to the contest, but I'm sorry to say that some of them I have really really liked a lot. Especially their entry in 2007, wow. :-) They do tend to try pretty hard ... and kudos for that, although of course we can't ever let them win. Obviously. But I always look forward to seeing what they'll come up with.

This year they surprised me. This song is nothing like what I was expecting from them. A sweet ballad, very prettily performed and with a striking melody. No offense to any Belarusians reading this, but I totally didn't see that coming. ;-) I like this song a lot, I liked it instantly as soon as I heard it ... once I'd gotten over the initial surprise. :-) I think this song has the potential to do really well. It may be too low-key to truly stand out, but I think they'll overcome that ... I think that this song will stick in people's minds. I also think that the new voting system - that we can vote from the beginning of the show - will work strongly in this song's favor. Admittedly the lyrics are pretty cheesy, but I think the main reaction this will get from audience members is Aw, that's so pretty. :-)

I'd wish them good luck, but, well, obviously not. I suspect I should rather wish them the opposite with this song. ;-)

This is 3+2 performing Butterflies by Maxim Fadeev and Malka Chaplin, who'll be competing in the first semi, on Tuesday, May 25th.



Lyrics here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

ARMENIA 2010 - Apricot Stone

It's always exciting to see what the Armenians will come up with. They haven't been competing for long - only since 2006 - but they've consistently sent quality material and have done well every time. Their worst results, if you can even call it worst, is 10th place in Moscow last year. I fully expect to see the contest head to Yerevan before too long. :-)

Anyway ... the point is that I have high hopes of Armenia (which in their own language is called Hayastan, how weird is that?? :-D). And, way to go, they deliver again. This is a great entry ... one of my favorites this year. Beautiful singer with a lovely voice and a great stage presence, they can get far with just that. ;-) But the song itself has many strengths as well. A beautiful melody, pretty much as catchy as a ballad can get. Interesting lyrics, so much better than the usual lovey theme of ESC songs. (The German entry will serve as a good example of this, when I get that far. :-) To the extent that the audience understands English, or understands it well enough to get the point during the performance, this song will appeal to a lot of people down east. I love the title, it's so weird and meaningless, until you hear the song itself. Of course the English is a little shaky, but come on, it's the ESC, that's what we're here for. ;-) All in all a wonderful entry. I'm sure the Armenians will do very well this year too. Yerevan FTW!!

This is Eva Rivas (a rather un-Armenian name, isn't it) performing Apricot Stone by Armen Martirosyan and Karen Kavaleryan. They will be competing for Armenia on Thursday, May 27th, going on stage as #2, another thing in this entry's favor. Great slot for Armenia ... although I don't think they'll need it. :-)



Lyrics here.

Check out Rivas' official home page, here. I love it when people who speak bad English write websites in English. Now Eva is hardly preparing for the Eurovision song contest’s in Norway in May,2010. Eva is to present song “Apricot stone”(lyrics by Karen Kavaleryan, music by Armen Martirosyan). Aww!! :-D