Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Books I've read in 2011 - May

Flickan under gatan by Roslund & Hellström
De første geseller by Johan Falkberget - AUDIO
Awkward Situations For Men by Danny Wallace
Naiv. Super. by Erlend Loe - AUDIO
Ascanio by Alexandre Dumas
Potensgiverne by Karin Brunk Holmqvist - AUDIO
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Solstorm by Åsa Larsson - AUDIO
I hammerens tegn by Johan Falkberget - AUDIO
Pi - det fantastiska talet by David Blatner
Barnepiken by Kathryn Stockett - AUDIO
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Monday, May 30, 2011

One In A Million

Aren't we all. Some maybe more than others? For some reason I really like this song. Not because of the topic of this video ;-) but just in general. Can't say why, I just really like it. :-)

Widescreen here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Reptiles in Barcelona Zoo

Remember I went to Barcelona a couple of months ago? And I visited Barcelona Zoo. They have a pretty large reptile house that is supposed to be good - of course I had to see that. :-) And it was definitely well worth the visit. Of course I made a video. ;-)

This first one is from the reptile house ... like I said it was good, a lot of interesting species, very nice enclosures, the animals seemed to be very well taken care of. I posted some pictures from there already - you may remember the turtle trying to mate with a very uninterested female. He's in the video too, in living color. Enjoy. :-)

Widescreen here.

In addition to the reptile house, the Zoo also has a smallish group of Galapagos turtles. There were five or six of them. They have their own enclosure with a relatively roomy indoor area and a nice outdoor area as well. Some of them were outside when I arrived, so I really got to take a good look at them. Which of course I was thrilled about. Amazing animals. Watch the one that wades out into the water. Kind of slow, but very determined ... ;-)

Widescreen here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Recent postcards

Some wonderful postcards I've received recently. From Finland (guess which one ;-), the Netherlands and the UK. Always so much fun to check my mailbox and see what has arrived.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Quote of the Week

God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos: He will set them above their betters.
H.L. Mencken

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Is food expensive in Norway?

That's an issue where opinions are divided, to say the least. It's what they call a hot topic of discussion. I'm not going to say all that much about it tonight ... believe me, this is something I can talk about for a looong time. I won't do that tonight. I just have to get something off my chest that is highly relevant to this debate.

It's also relevant to a lot of other issues that are similarly hotly debated in this country. Most of them, probably. This is because - I think - we as a society don't have any real problems, so we tend to bury ourselves in our non-problems. And then we get too caught up in details ... which is negative, because it distracts us from the real core of the issue.

In this case, as to whether food is expensive or not, but also in a lot of other debates, a lot of arguments tend to be brought up that aren't relevant, but because Norwegians are stupid (like everyone else), they are nevertheless perceived as relevant, so we talk about them and waste time on them and lose sight of the real issue. That's what I'm complaining about tonight. :-) All these non-arguments that people actually accept as having something to do with the problem. Or, OK, 'problem'.

I'll give you an example. A Eurostat report was published this week on how much wage earners across Europe are spending on food in terms of percentage of income, so that brought the debate to the boil again. And in one of these discussions someone said that it isn't true that food is cheap, it's expensive. And his example was that if you go to the store to buy your dinner, you have to pay probably 90 crowns for a Big One [frozen deep pan pizza] and then you need something to drink with it too, and a Coke will cost you another 20. So that's well over 100 crowns for just one dinner.


This is the guy's argument. But how is it an argument? It has nothing to do with anything. What he's saying is that he's a stupid idiot who can't cook. OK, there's no law against that. But what the hell does that have to do with the food prices??! And how dumb do you have to be to think that there is a connection??

Rant over for now. I could go on about this all night. Don't get me started. But if you're starting from where that guy is coming from then there is NO FUCKING POINT in having this discussion. You're talking out of your ass. And your arguments are, predictably, shit.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Overheard on the bus

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011. 10:55am.
On board a line 30 bus standing at Railway Square, Oslo.

Girl (ethnically Norwegian) getting on board bus, to the driver
(speaking in an Oslo dialect):
Does this bus go to the National Theater?

Driver, looking at girl like it's the dumbest thing he ever heard
(which it may well have been): No.

Local knowledge 101 FAIL.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fantastisk bloggpost

Av og til må man bare skryte litt av vennene sine. :-)

For enhver norsktalende som er interessert i kritisk tenkning og skeptisisme (som forøvrig er et temmelig heslig ord) er selvfølgelig unfiltered perception et absolutt must. Dagens bloggpost, om homeopati og de såkalte argumentene for det, er helt fantastisk. Enda en strålende innsats i fornuftens tjeneste.

Gunnar, takk for jobben du gjør!! :-)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nature weird and cute

So many things wrong with this that I hardly know where to start. But at the same time it's almost unbearably cute. Ouch, my head ...

Widescreen here.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Amazing 'crossing coinkydink

So, I went downtown yesterday, had some errands and whatnot to take care of. I always read on the subway, but the only book I was reading is an enormous brick and has the words NAZI DOCTORS in huge letters on the front, so I figured it might be better to get something lighter, in all senses of the word, to start on as well. So I grabbed a book from the shelf where I keep all the BookCrossing books I've gotten from other BookCrossers. Well, the ones I haven't read yet. I have way too many of these and I try to look on that shelf first, so to speak, when it's time to pick a new book to read.

Anyway. The one I grabbed yesterday was Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote. It's supposed to be good, I've read one other book by him which I really liked, and it's on the 1001 list. So, must be read. No time like the present. I started reading it on the subway going downtown and then continued later on the way back home. Got to my station, put the book away, walked to my house. It's a pretty short walk, only about five minutes. When I got there I found this postcard in my mailbox.

What are the odds ... ??? :-D

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Let's take in a show!

In fact, let's do it on my birthday! Sure, it's five months away, but a little forward planning never hurt anyone. Who's with me? On my 35th birthday, let's go to the theater and see a play - this play!

Sure, it's meant for kids, but 'five years and up' - that's totally me. I am so five years and up. :-) And I HAVE TO SEE THIS PLAY. OMG. I didn't even know they were doing it. Findabair and I were just wandering towards Saga on our way to see a movie tonight, and there it was. Opens October 13th, so it's perfect. And it's on the main stage! Who'd a thunk it. They must really be going all out on this one. I must see it. Who's with me??

You'll have to pay for your own tickets. :-D But I can probably get a discount on at least six. ;-)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quote of the Week

I'm an atheist and that's it. I believe there's nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for other people.
Katharine Hepburn

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

First video

This is the first video I've made with the new camera. Constitution Day again. This tiny little thingummy actually films in full HD. That's pretty impressive. Of course it does have several video settings so that you can film crappy quality too. Or something in between. :-) This is full HD. Enjoy.

Widescreen here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gratulerer med dagen!

Some more pictures from my new camera. Like I said, there were more fun things to shoot at the Folk Museum. :-) The weather was soo much better than the forecast said. I'll never trust yr.no again. And I can tell I'm going to have lots of fun with this camera. :-)

Monday, May 16, 2011

New camera!!

I've got a new camera! Yay!! Happy! :-) I've been wanting a new camera for a while ... not because the old one is broken as such, it still works fine for the most part, but it is two and a half years old and that is quite a while in the world of the digital camera. As I'm sure all my readers will know. :-) It's also kind of broken ... it's fallen to the floor a few times and been banged about quite a bit, and it doesn't work quite right all of the time.

What it mostly struggles with is the macro setting, and that really sucks, because I take quite a lot of macro shots. You know, the turtles and whatnot. Then the night before the trip to Hemsedal, it looked like it had actually really broken. It couldn't read the memory card at all, no matter what I did. And it had worked just fine a couple of hours before and nothing had happened to it in the meantime. o_O Of course I freaked out. The next day I brought it to work with me ... well, I always bring it to work, I bring it everywhere :-) ... and I showed it to O., who managed to fix it with some CRC product that we sell. :-D I was soo grateful ... I hated the thought of going away on this once in a lifetime trip with Tanumine and the others and not have a camera that was working. :-(

So that really decided me that I would get a new one. Like I said I've been thinking about it for a while, and now I just decided that there's no way in hell I will risk being at Tanumine and B.'s wedding with no camera. No way in hell. :-) Today seemed like the perfect day to buy it, since it's Constitution Day tomorrow and I will have lots of opportunities to experiment with the new camera. :-) I can hardly wait. :-) So I bought it today and already I'm so happy with it. It's exactly the one I wanted. I probably should have gotten another slightly different model - I was thinking this one - but I just wanted one particular camera so much. This one. Coolness.

It's so tiny, I can hardly believe it. Minute. It weighs hardly anything. I love the color. :-) But of course I do understand that more than appearances are important here; it takes great pictures as far as I can see so far, and it has all kinds of fun settings to play with. Unfortunately the most exciting thing I've had to take pictures of tonight is the view of the sunset from my balcony.

All the cool effects, they don't really show up that well with this kind of picture. I should probably have crowd shots or something. Tomorrow ... !! :-D

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Congratulations to Azerbaijan

Widescreen here.

Fantastic stage, but the rest of the show basically sucked. More on that later. ;-)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Düsseldorf 2011 - final!!

OMG it's on ... !!!!!!1!!

I'm at KAS and trilltrall's place - of course - and trilltrall had a fantastic surprise for us, he's invested in a foldout screen and a projector! :-D It's like being at the movies! They've got a new couch too which is super comfy. Fantastic ESC party hosts!! :-)

The arena looks fantastic ... the presenters a little less so. He looks kind of boring, the brunette looks like she's plucked a parrot and the blonde's dress looks like it's made from the spare tiles from the ladies' room in the Opera here in Oslo. Oh well. They'll probably change outfits pretty soon, hopefully ...

Of course they have to open with last year's winning entry, but seriously, WTF is this? It's very German, but it also sucks ass. I wouldn't recognize Satellite from this if I didn't know what it was. Bad choice, doesn't work. Hm.

And again with the German humor! What's with all this punching? Are we really supposed to laugh at this? I asked the others over our very German dinner and they don't get it either. o_O

But who cares, the show is on! I LOVE it when they show this speeded up version of the whole process of setting up the arena. Awesomeness. I love it. I want to see it again.

Finland. It's presented very well, although his diction seems worse than in the semi. I love the look of this, and he's very confident on stage. But this is a really bad starting slot for them.

Bosnia. I like the performance here but the others aren't digging it. :-) It's a pretty strong entry. I really like the singer, he's charming. But I don't think either of these can be the winner.

Denmark. A pretty good entry but not with any kind of a hook, and I still hate his shirt. N. is seeing this for the first time and he's shocked that this is in and we're out. But, as AudiX78 points out, these guys are white. She's got a point. Definitely not the winner.

Lithuania. Kind of boring song but a gorgeous voice. The first time we've all shut up so far. :-) A great performance, although I don't see how it can win, it's too slow and anonymous ... but it's a really good entry. Wonderful dress. The Lithuanians can be very proud tonight. :-) Although it is kind of tacky with the white piano and the white suit.

Hungary! One of my favorites. KAS and trilltrall think it sucks, they're laughing at me for liking it. :-D They're calling her 'the muffin witch' because of her gargantuan ring. :-D They're right, it's kind of distracting. But I love this song. And she's singing ten times better tonight than on Thursday. Definitely a possible winner. Love it. :-)

Ireland. WTF is this?? Who voted for them?? We're all hating it and totally not understanding how they can possibly be a favorite. o_O AudiX78 hasn't seen any of the entries yet, hardly, so we keep asking her for a fresh opinion. She hates it but thinks it may end up doing really well. NOES!!!

Sweden. Well. trilltrall's not liking it, he thinks Eric's too slick, and boy is he right. I think I'm too old for this, performance-wise. And the lyrics are still retarded. But the music is so insanely catchy. The presentation is very professional and carefully worked out. Sweden is definitely a contender. But we're not impressed. We're old. :-)

Estonia. The strangest entry in the show. Probably won't do too well. Very peculiar song, belongs to no genre ... unbecoming outfits ... and Getter sings no better than in the semi. In fact, maybe worse. Nope, not holding my breath for this one.

Greece. Oh, how I hate Stereo Mike. And when I think of how good this song could have been without him ... !! Calyx thinks Loukas is gorgeous so N. wants to take her glasses away :-D or, failing that, cover the projector. :-D Oh, the grecian pillars, take them away ... !!

Russia. The intro to this song is so great, I may not have mentioned that before, but I love it. :-) The rest ... very boy band from the early nineties. Calyx says that Alexej looks like a cross between Vanilla Ice, NKOTB and a Bond villain. Well, he's Russian, he can't help it. Also a contender.

FRANCE!! Vive la France!! I'm so excited to see this performance, I haven't seen it before. Whee! At least we know he can really sing. But it sounds like they're having some problems with the audio?? Help! The presentation is AMAZING, best use of backgrounds tonight, hands down. We're loving it. But the others don't think he'll win! Traitors!! :-o They must be wrong, it must win! This could have been better but it's wonderful. I'm voting! :-)

Italy. A really good song but the singer can't sing. KAS likes this, she's going to vote for it ... she always likes these big band entries but they never get anywhere. :-D It's really good though, but it would have been so much better with another better singer. Great to have them here though.

A tiny interval and a check in at the green rooms. The Danish singer shows off his hideous shirt and trilltrall is shocked, he didn't notice it before. He is appalled and he takes back every positive thing he's said about the Danish entry. :-D

Switzerland. Now we're talking. We're liking this ... Calyx is a fan. AudiX says the background makes her think of CareBears. :-D Good singer, good song, good presentation - what's not to like? KAS thinks she's rooting for Switzerland now. :-) I'm not sure it has what it takes but I really want it to do really well. Fingers crossed for Switzerland.

The UK. Blue ... in blue. OMG. What is this? Giant photos of themselves in the background ... whut? o_O Calyx doesn't understand what it means, have they all been arrested naked? LOL! N. got it - he looked at the photos and said, Oh! Jean - Claude - van - Damme! LOL!! But this is awful. Awful, awful, awful. Garbage. Worthless. I like the song in the studio version, but this performance is beyond horrible. I'm shocked. I've been saying for a year now that the Belarusian presentation in 2010 is the tackiest thing I've seen in my life, but I take that back. This is worse. United Kingdom, nil points!

Moldova. It's saying something when this entry comes as a relief. :-) I like it, it's fun. It's almost too much fun, at least N. seems to think so. It's giving him a headache, poor fellow. :-) He's covering his eyes and whimpering Stella ... Stella ... :-D I like this although it's a bit much. Not a winner, but fun.

Germany welcomes its own! I really really really like the German song, and I both hope and think it'll do well. But I can't believe it's a winner. It's just too ... advanced. If that makes sense. It's not accessible. Just hearing this once isn't enough to appreciate it. I've heard it dozens of times, of course. ;-) I LOVE the performance and presentation. Awesome. Fantastic. Love it.

Romania. It's only a question of time before the contest will be going to Bucuresti, but it won't be in 2012. A fun song, I like it - although the others aren't entirely convinced - but also pretty forgettable.

Austria. Pretty song, pretty singer, good voice, classy performance. Deserves its place in the final, but isn't a winner. Not what you'd call catchy. I like it, but I'll have forgotten it by the time the next song starts.

Azerbaijan. The others are all hating this. KAS is really anti-Running Scared. :-) I agree that the performance is pretty tacky. But I really like the chorus here. Azerbaijan is going to do really really well this year. A potential winner, definitely.

Slovenia. Good song, but an overly dramatic performance. N. likes Maja's outfit, he thinks it says 'spank me'! He may be right. :-) I don't think this'll be going anywhere. Too much drama ...

Iceland. KAS totally hates this. She thinks it's a mystery that this got through and we didn't. o_O I kind of like it. At least while I'm listening to it. :-) I think it's a really feelgood song, I think quite a lot of people will really like this. Not a winner, but may do very well. And I'm sure they don't want to win either, with their economy the way it is.

Spain. I don't like this but trilltrall loves it. He and N. are dancing to this, we're enjoying their performance more than Lucia's performance. :-D KAS thinks it may have a chance ... I really don't, it's boring. :-) I hope they do badly ... I'm sorry, but I think they can do much better.

Ukraine! One of my top favorites now. I love this song and I love the performance and the presentation. Wonderful. I love it. Potential winner and would really deserve it if they did win.

Serbia. Another favorite. This is soo cool ... and will be fantastic if Nina sings better than she did on Tuesday. And she does! Much better! Aw, this rocks. I love it and I hope to see this in the top five. At least. ;-)

Georgia. Again with the weird costumes. But the singer is good, and the song is too. And the raccoon ... :-) It's the rap parts that ruin this entry for me. But it's good, definitely. KAS is voting for it. She has a special bond with Georgia, ever since 2007 when she soo wanted them to win with Visionary Dream. I don't think they'll win this year either, but it's a good entry.

That's it!! It's done. Well, the performances are. :-) Now we'll get a couple of runthroughs of the lineup, and a while longer to vote ... of course we have been able to vote throughout the show, but now is when people really vote. Like it o rnot. An early slot just isn't good. So ... doesn't look too good for Finland. :-)

I've voted ten times for France, once for Hungary and Switzerland, twice for Ukraine and three times for Serbia. :-) The others have voted for ... a lot of the same except France. :-D And Georgia. :-) Fingers crossed.

The presenters have changed their outfits now ... and look like ... Katarina Witt and Anne Sophie Mutter, says Calyx. :-D I really like the blonde's dress but the brunette's, not so much. Quick, someone punch her in the mouth!! o_O

End of voting. I managed to get in two votes for France just in time. :-)

Interval entertainment. If that word applies. WTF is this? Trash that we hate. trilltrall is about to fall asleep. What is this? We're totally hating on this; sorry, Germany. Piece of shit. Germans are weirdos. This is the year after Madcon, people!! o_O

These presenters and their antics ... I don't know what to say. We are extremely underwhelmed. This is a very unimpressive show by ESC standards, I have to say.

OK, we're about to start the scoring. Help! I have absolutely no idea how this is going to end. Who can win this?? I'm finding it impossible to guess this year. There's nothing that stands out. Except France!! But no, they won't win. Alas! But who will??

One good thing about this is that it'll be fun to watch the voting, because it'll probably be very even. So that's good. But who on earth will win?? At a guess I have to say that I think Azerbaijan and Ukraine will battle it out. Here's hoping for Ukraine ... !!!

Some other potential winners ... Sweden, unfortunately. Maybe Russia? Hungary? No, I can't even guess, this is too crazy!!

I really like the scoreboards they've come up with. It's almost the best thing about this production. So, not a compliment, really.

This heartbeat sound is really making me nervous.

Who on earth are these people who have voted for the UK??? Who are they? I can't believe that they're actually competing in the lead. What is this? They don't deserve a single point. And Ireland! People have been voting for Ireland! Incomprehensible. Please stop ... ! I actually almost prefer Greece ...

It's looking up for Sweden. OMG, what if they win?? They'll be unbearable. But the others are totally hating on Azerbaijan. They are not open to the idea of Baku 2012. :-) But what's the option, Stockholm?? :-o Or London, sheesh. If the UK win I think I'll have to jump off the balcony. Anything but the UK!!

Aw, Greece gave France 12 points. Thank you Greece! :-) It's going to be either Sweden, Ukraine or Azerbaijan. Ukraine, please!! But it's soo even at the top, it's amazing. Bosnia's doing really well. Good. But I can't believe how badly Switzerland is doing. :-( Spain is languishing at the bottom, unsurprisingly. trilltrall is disappointed ... but he didn't vote, he just told KAS to vote on his behalf, but she doesn't like them so she didn't. :-D

Now Azerbaijan is pulling ahead ... I'm thinking Baku 2012, seriously. Wow. That'd be awesome. :-) And Spain's managed to climb up a bit. But look at Italy! They're on third! How did that happen? o_O

Things are looking down for Sweden. Whew. But down for Ukraine too. Switzerland last, alas. Azerbaijan will probably make it. Wow.

Denmark got 12 points from Ireland. It's the hair, it's to do with the hair.

What will the Estonians do with their 12? It goes to ... Sweden! OK, they can still win. Wow, this is exciting! It's been a long time since the voting was this even. My nerves!

10 points from Moldova to Azerbaijan. Two countries left to vote. Azerbaijan is the winner. Aand ... they've realized it. LOL! They are soo happy! :-D Their fourth time competing, first time winning. And Italy came second! Yay, they beat the Swedes! Because, boys and girls, the important thing isn't to win, but to beat the Swedes. Except ...

... the Azerbaijani entry was written mostly by Swedes, so they won anyway! DAMNIT!

Congratulations to Azerbaijan!! Say what you will - and the gang here certainly are - but I'm pretty sure we'll be getting a show from Baku that will be well worth watching. :-) It certainly can't be worse than what we saw tonight. When whatshisname picked up whatshername, threw her over his shoulder and shoved her ass at the camera, that was truly a low point in Eurovision history. Thank you, Germany, I guess. I'm thankful that it's over. o_O

Congratulations to Azerbaijan!! :-)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thoughts on last night, again

Finally getting around to posting a few random thoughts on last night's show, after Blogger's been through their dies horrendus last night and today. Better late than never. I was a little worried when yesterday's two posts totally disappeared, but now they're back. The latter slightly edited since Blogger went nuts before the show was over last night. o_O

OK, random thoughts. I'll be missing Belarus tomorrow. :-) Or will I? No, I guess only in spirit. The song itself is hands down the funnest entry this year, but, alas, the presentation was pretty tacky and the performance much much worse than I was expecting. Alas for Belarus! They haven't really got this figured out yet. :-D

I have no idea who these people are who voted for Ireland. WTF were they thinking?? No consideration for the rest of us who now have to suffer through that horrible mess again. Selfish bastards. I was chatting with Paz while the results were being read - I wish I'd thought to copy his response when I told him that his least favorite twins of the night had gotten through. It went something like this:
for about twenty lines. :-D I'm sure he's had lots and lots of fun at work today, driving around and listening to the radio ... :-D

I'm so looking forward to seeing the scoreboards on Sunday and see where Ireland's points actually came from. :-D

Something really really funny is that even though people here in Norway were blaming eastern bloc voting for our unfortunate result on Tuesday, all the other Nordic countries have gotten through, we're the only ones that are out. LOL! Cognitive dissonance much? :-D All I can say is that if we'd sent Susperia, we'd be in the final too now. :-D

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Düsseldorf 2011 - semifinal 2

Of all the evenings for the subway to be late - twice!! I had a plan, but it fell to pieces. I literally only came in through the door two minutes ago. Whew!

So, I missed the opening, but of course I'm recording it, so I'll watch it later and update. ;-)

Bosnia. I like this entry. I like Dino. Not only because of his name. ;-) I've got some hopes for this one. The one thing I didn't like about it in their national final was the performance, his crazy dance moves and so on. They've changed it now, like I hoped, and it's much better. In fact it's really really good. Wahey! They're charming. :-) The only thing that can keep them out of the final is their pretty lousy slot. But they gave the show a great opening!

Austria. One of the countries I initially didn't have a lot of hope for. The song is kind of ordinary, and it's Austria. But this presentation is really appealing to me. An a cappella intro and her totally along on stage for so long - I like this. It shows confidence, which has appeal in itself. And it's quite original in the lineup this year. I love the little podium she's standing on. :-D And she has a good voice. There's hope for Austria yet.

The Netherlands. Another nation haunted by bad luck. Well, it's been partly their own fault. I've almost managed to block their entry from last year out of my memory. This year ... well, it's an infinitely better song. Not that that's saying much, but it's a pretty good song. And the singer can sing. In fact so far tonight all the singers have been pretty good. Unlike last night when almost everyone was awful. o_O I'm not sure what else to say about this country. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it, but there's nothing special either. Good luck to them, it's not fair to say they don't stand a chance, but I'll be really surprised if they get through.

Belgium. Totally a cappella. A fun entry, but I rather suspect it'll be too weird. And a little too old-fashioned. I like the song, although it's not on my list of favorites this year ... and I like it that their entry is so simple. Even the Bosnians had to add some pyrotechnics. :-) But this is very simple and stylish. Except for those red pants. Parts of the audience may like this ... but probably not enough. Kudos to them for sending something different, though. But they should have been wearing outfits that matched better. >:-(

Slovakia. This year's contests first set of twins. Actually the best ones. But the song isn't much to write home about. It has a pretty melody, crappy lyrics (I believe in my life and try to learn every lesson/Now I see what I've fighted for - I am not kidding with that last verb), and pretty singers who aren't very good at singing. Worst so far tonight, in fact. Clearly the night's worst entry at this point. Their singing is pretty bad and the song is monotonous and repetitive. But they've got pyrotechnics, at least. Please, let's get rid of this asap.

Ukraine! Please please please, let this be a more normal presentation of this lovely song. I really like this song, so much. But the presentation in their national final was totally nuts. Fingers crossed!! ... Oh, wow. Wow!! It's totally different and it's so much better ... !! Seriously, this is beautiful. I love her dress. And I love the sand artist! Wow! This is so creative and so original. I love it. And the pretty pretty song and Mika's voice ... which could have sounded better, but she wasn't at all bad, really. Wow. Go Ukraine! If I could have voted tonight I would have voted for them. But I'm absolutely sure I'll get the chance to vote for them on Saturday. :-)

Moldova. I know someone's who's watching now ... !! :-) I know a couple of ladies who always support Moldova in the contest, regardless. They're both Norwegians. :-D This entry will clearly be pretty nuts, but I'm sure we all expect that from these guys. The song is pretty good, not as good, IMO, as their first effort in 2005. But this is still a lot of fun. Catchy. May be a bit too crazy-looking, though. But they may well get through, I have a certain hope for them. :-)

Sweden! Our brothers across the keel. Here's hoping everything goes well, so he won't take his dancers with him and walk out on us. :-D His singing isn't all that ... not as professional as I feel we've been led to expect by his braggadocio in the media. >:-) But the presentation as a whole is clearly very professionally put together. It's a bit young for my tastes, and he smiles too much for this song's retarded lyrics to seem even vaguely credible. But it's extremely catchy and I'm sure it'll get through. Aw, his window broke. Yay, I guess. :-)

Cyprus. I've got my fingers crossed for this, I like this song a lot. The melody's beautiful and I like the ethnic feel to it, which I with my limited knowledge of Cypriotic culture perceive to be genuine. :-) I love this guy's name! :-D And I don't think he's such a lousy singer as all that - I think he's doing a pretty good job, his voice works well with this song. Kind of crazy presentation though. But it works. I like this. Fingers crossed for Cyprus.

Bulgaria. Kudos to them for singing in Bulgarian again. I like that. I also like this singer ... she has a good voice and she's a really good performer, she has great stage presence and lots and lots of confidence. I like this presentation too. When I first heard it I didn't have much hope for this entry, but I like it more and more every time I hear it, and even though this performance of it isn't that original, there's certainly nothing wrong with it. My hopes aren't too high, but the Bulgarians can hold their heads up this year.

Macedonia. Finally a properly selected entry from Macedonia. Annoying song, but what will it look like on stage? Umm ... weird. He's a lousy singer, the tune is kind of aggravating and IMO it's really weird to be forcing elements of ballet and folk dance into this entry. Blech. It's been years since Macedonia's been in the final. Here's hoping for another year.

Israel. Yawn. This entry has, let's see ... a dull tune, a stupid title, a singer whose voice is surprisingly weak. And of course irritating visuals. I really can find almost nothing that appeals to me in this entry. I seriously hope it won't get anywhere beyond this, even though it's Dana. If it does get through, it'll be mostly or wholly because it's her. Sheesh.

Slovenia. Drama! And a kind of slutty outfit ... with gloves. Sweet. :-D Another performer who can actually really sing. They're all in this semi, all the shitty ones were in the first. :-D I like this song a lot while I'm listening to it, but it's rather forgettable. Still, a striking performance. I think my father's probably enjoying this. ;-D I wouldn't be surprised to see them on Saturday, but I think it's far from certain. At least they've picked a singer with some real talent, so kudos for that.

Romania. One of my favorite countries in the ESC. They've sent some fantastic entries. This one isn't quite up there, but it's still very catchy and fun. The singer's not too bad and they look like they're really enjoying themselves. Without seeming to be clinically insane like Glen from Malta. And of course they've got some fireworks. They'll get through, I'll be shocked if they don't.

OK, what's the deal with these miniature interval thingies where the presenters try to be funny? Is this German humor? Punch me in the mouth and I'll spit my teeth at you? I don't think I get the funny part. o_O

Estonia. I like this entry even though I kind of feel like I shouldn't. Not at all sure how they'll do. It's a fun entry, but may be too weird. Like Armenia, they tried to be really creative too. That doesn't necessarily pay. And I think Getter must be really nervous, I know she can sing much better than this. Could have been better. But overall a pretty good entry, stands out a bit, but, well, it's not a contender.

Belarus!! Yay! This is the song that I totally shouldn't like, but I love it! LOL! It's so totally shameless and in your face, it's just nuts. I think Alexander Lukashenko wrote this. :-D Wahey, serious fireworks ... and a lot of really really ethnic elements ... but unfortunately this is undermined a bit by Anastasia's very slutty dress. Hardly a folk costume. And she sounds nervous too, she's not singing very well tonight. I'd been hoping to see this on Saturday, but now my hopes are fading fast. This isn't at all as good as it could have been. Still a lot of fun and I'm still hoping :-) ... but this performance is actually worryingly bad.

Denmark. A good melody with silly lyrics, a singer with a relatively good voice but very stupid hair. He's nervous though; he’s not singing his best. And I have to say I really don't like his shirt. I think this may well have appeal though ... the melody is instantly appealing and has that kind of singalong factor. When I'm listening to it I'm kind of pulled in despite myself. I think this may be likeable to a lot of different groups in the audience ... so I'm not willing to discount Denmark quite yet. :-) Maybe a bit too forgettable though. It'll be interesting.

Ireland – speaking of stupid hair ... >:-) But now with stupid outfits too. Some people are seeing Ireland as favorites, but I really don't get that. The song is repetitive and annoying and as for the singers – who aren't the worst, not this year and not tonight – I think that androgynous look is a mistake. (Sorry, I don't want to make Eastern Europeans out to be bigoted fools ... but if the shoe fits and so on.) I don’t get the appeal of this song. I really don’t. Sorry to any sensitive Irishmen reading this (obviously not you, Paz ;-) but I think this entry will achieve nothing but to perpetuate Ireland's wandering of the Eurovision desert. It is annoying first and foremost and, a close second, irritating.

Overview of all the songs ... once with the performances and once with the postcards. Obviously of less interest to those of us who can’t vote tonight.

Another overview! Sheesh. Is short term memory loss very common in Germany?

Oh, now the presenters have changed their outfits! The second semi's worth it! I see. >:-)

Interval entertainment – what do they have for us tonight?? Breakdancers dancing to Bach. o_O OK, let's see that. Hm. This is actually kind of fun. A fun idea, and the dancers are pretty good as far as I can tell. I really like the incongruous backgrounds. :-) Great concept. Ooh, now they've even got a ballet dancer. I love this background of the huge cathedral! Coolness. Much better than Tuesday. Now I'm really looking forward to seeing what they've cooked up for Saturday.

The Big Five and a little chat with Lena. Relaxed and laid back. Nice. :-)

And now, the results! Sheesh, I'm nervous again. :-) Fingers crossed for Ukraine. :-) Let's hear it!

The finalists are ...

Estonia! Am I surprised? Yes and no. Good for them. :-)
Romania. Definitely not surprised.
Moldova. Yup.
Ireland?? WTF!? Europe officially has no taste.
Bosnia. Unsurprisingly and well deserved.
Denmark. Yup again. :-)
Austria. Hm. Not bad, Austria.
Ukraine! Yes!!
Slovenia. Respectable.

But where's Sweden? Who's the tenth?? :-o

Yup, there they are. Sweden, finalist number ten.

I'm happy with the finalists tonight except for Ireland. Boo hiss. Who voted for them?? It's a mystery to me. But at least we got rid of Israel. But alas for Cyprus! And Belarus too. But Cyprus deserved it much more going by their performance tonight. Alas! See you next year. :-)

More predictions, semifinal 2

I did at least relatively well with my guesses on Tuesday, but tonight I don't think I'll manage to guess half of anything. There are hardly any standout songs tonight and also no real clunkers - IMO this field is totally open. Anything could happen! :-D In this semi I'll almost have to 'guess', if you can even call it that, by what I want the results to be rather than what I feel competent to 'predict'. :-)

There are definitely some songs I would prefer not to see again on Saturday, and I hope and believe I'll be spared that.
Slovakia, hopefully

There are a few that I'm pretty certain will get through.
Ukraine - depending on the presentation
Sweden - if little Erik doesn't walk off in a huff
Belarus! :-D

I'm also relatively confident in Moldova and Bosnia.

I would love to see Cyprus in the final, but I'm not quite convinced. It'll depend partly on how well Christos sings and how badly the others do. ;-)

That last sentence also applies to Slovenia.

Some that I'm not optimistic about.

Considering how well Iceland did, I'm thinking that Denmark may have a realistic chance. But I'm so petty that I actually prefer for them not to get through as a punishment for their retarded lyrics. >:-)

Sure, Sweden's lyrics are a hundred times worse. But they've got a tune that is just unbeatable, and considering how little English much of the audience can be expected to understand, I can't imagine they won't get through. Unless something goes wrong and they storm off the stage in protest, of course. :-D

Estonia - yeah, quite possibly. But it'll depend on the presentation. As Armenia proved last night, too weird isn't good.

Finally, the Netherlands. Could go either way. Nothing wrong with the song, and a good singer, but ... doesn't really have that little extra something. I'm not optimistic. But good luck to them, this isn't half bad. :-)

Just as well I can't vote this time, there isn't really anything here I'd like to vote for. o_O

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thoughts on last night

One down, one to go. :-) I thought it was a great show on the part of the NDR ... not so great on the contestants' part. I was quite surprised by several of the performers. (Poland, I'm looking at you. o_O) Several of the singers, or in fact most of them, did worse and some even much worse than I had expected. I really thought Poland had a chance of getting through, until about twenty seconds after she started to sing. And Croatia ... !! Don't get me started. They might as well not have had her even sing, but just put a sack full of cats on stage and have her hit the sack with a stick. That seriously wouldn't have sounded any worse.

A lot of people have been really surprised here in Norway because we didn't make it through to Saturday. How could this have happened?? Well, I'm sure there were several reasons. Stella's black. It was an African song from a Scandinavian country. It may be true that it sounds a bit too much like Waka Waka, which I've heard both Norwegians and Swedes say today. She can't sing for shit. #2 is a pretty bad slot.

I'm not really that bothered, though. Of course I love seeing us in the final, but the show is so much fun anyway that I don't really care that much. :-) See, I'm a real fan. ;-) I have friends who watch it provided that we're in the final - if we're not, they won't bother. But I could never dream of such a thing. I root for the entries that I like, not ours ... at least not because it's ours. Yesterday it was Serbia especially, and also Hungary, that I wanted to get through, so I'm happy. Although in fact it doesn't really matter, because it's France that I'm really rooting for, and they're in the final anyway. I can hardly wait for Saturday ... !!

A few people have been saying around here that this is because of the east countries, because they never vote for us. (How quickly they forget ... !) Riddle me this, then: If the east countries don't vote for the west, how come both Iceland, Switzerland and Finland got through? If you understand Norwegian, you can hear more of my thoughts on this issue in the latest edition of the Saltklypa podcast, here.

I've also heard people say that we 'deserved' a spot in the final and so on ... that there were 'at least nine songs that were worse than ours'. Wow, what an accolade. I'm not so convinced by that though. Us in would mean someone else out. Who would that be? There are only ten slots available from each semi.

Ten slots, and Azerbaijan, Hungary and Serbia were obvious, so that's down to seven. Lithuania was well deserved and I have to say shows that talent is in fact rewarded in the ESC, despite what people say. They were in an excellent slot, #17 ... Evelina is a very good singer, head and shoulders above everyone else in this semi, and especially coming after SO many who sang so badly, she really stood out and I'm sure was a welcome relief to more ears than mine. ;-) So they definitely deserved it. That leaves six. Finland absolutely deserved it, their entry is very original in the lineup this year and their singer did a great job. Which leaves five.

Switzerland has a really good song this year, it was well performed, the presentation is very charming, the singer is pretty good and the entry is quite original this year. I wasn't hoping for much by way of results, because it's them :-) but it was definitely one of the better entries last night and deserves to be in the final. Four places left. Russia has some issues this year but the song is definitely catchy and tailored to appeal to the younger crowd in the audience, which is a huge section of it in the east. They've put in a real effort and IMO deserved to get through. Three left. Iceland is also pretty original this year, the guys are very charming and their story just beats everything. So yeah, good for Iceland. Two left, and it's one of these places that might have been ours, but did we really 'deserve' it so much more than Georgia or Greece?

Yeah, I think we did a little more than Greece. :-) But other than that, I don't really see anything particularly wrong with the list of finalists so far. This was a very even semi and it was hard to tell where the chips would fall, but IMO the choices were mostly pretty spot on. And I'm so happy for Switzerland. :-)

The really big surprise for me was that Armenia didn't get through. That's a first. Also a first for Turkey, although that surprised me less, because their singer was so weak and their presentation pretty crazy. But Armenia's out, wow. I didn't see that coming. Some heads will roll in Yerevan pretty soon. ;-) And maybe people will think twice about the diaspora theory now.

One thing I'm really looking forward to, except of course the final, is seeing all the scoreboards on Sunday. I wonder how we did. Did we get any points at all? :-D

One thing we deserve credit for, though, is trying new things. I like that about us. Some countries mostly just send the same song over and over. We're at least trying some really new things every so often. I'm proud of us for doing that and I'm not disappointed in our entry this year either. It was a good effort and well worth a try. But next year we have GOT to send some death metal ... !!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Düsseldorf 2011 - semifinal 1

IT'S ON ... !! :-D

Feel your heart beat! Yes!! Oh, I'm so happy to metaphorically be in Germany. :-)

The Esprit Arena looks great. So many happy people. I'm not entirely thrilled with the presenters' outfits ... but I'm sure they'll be changing into something else soon. ;-) I love that thing in the ceiling ... although it's a little distracting, but I love it. Coolness.

The presenters are fun at the moment, but they may get a bit too funny if they go on like this.

We're off ... ! Starting with Poland. I like this song, I'm hoping it will get through. I don't like her tacky outfit though ... and I have to say her performance is really weak. Wow. This is kind of a surprise to me. I've heard her sing so much better than this. She looks kind of nervous and she sounds really nervous too. I had hopes for Poland but now I'm totally losing them. Aw. She's getting better as the song goes on, but ... this performance is seriously disappointing. I don't like the presentation, but it could have worked, it just sounds like shit.

The stage looks fantastic, but it's wasted on this shitty performance. It looks tacky and her voice is SO WEAK ... I'm kind of shocked by this, I've lost all hope in Poland in three minutes. Wow.

And now - Norway!! GO STELLA!!

Another weak singer ;-) but she still sounds a hell of a lot better than Magdalena. And she looks so much better. She doesn't seem nervous at all, she's obviously loving it up there. We're getting a much better reaction from the audience than the Poles got. The presentation looks much better too. Much classier and much more fun. I like the way they've changed the opening. Wow, the audience is really loving it. Alright!! People are shouting Stella's name even. Yay! The only thing I'm nervous about is that people won't want to vote for her because of the color of her skin ... it's mostly the easterners I'm worried about ... but on the other hand, when Estonia won ten years ago one of the singers was black. So it can happen. Not that I want us to win. But being in the final is fun. :-)

Albania. One of my least favorite entries this year. (They were one of my top favorites last year. :-D) I don't like her outfit. And she doesn't exactly have a great voice either. I mean, like the previous two singers. :-) She's still the best singer so far though. But the song is just so totally ... meh. It just gives me absolutely nothing to listen to this. I can't imagine we'll be seeing this again on Saturday.

Armenia. I like this song, even though it's not necessarily that good. I acknowledge that. But it's so catchy. I dig it. :-) And what a presentation! LOL! That's so like Armenia ... they're often really creative, I love that. This is kind of crazy but the song is too, and it definitely stands out. I like it. A boxing ring! LOL!! Someone's had a lot of fun with this choreography. :-D Only thing I have to say that's negative is that the performance started really great and then weakened ... but it picked up again towards the end. Overall I like this a lot. I'd love to see this again on Saturday. :-)

Turkey. I'm really looking forward to seeing their performance. I like the song, although it could have been much better with a better singer. (That's this year's refrain. ;-) Oh, wow! I was about to say how tacky is outfit is, but then I noticed the fantastic contortionist in the cage behind him ... ! :-D Wow. I said in my review that they needed to do something to make it more original for the final, and, wow, they really did. I like this. Definitely in the final.

But, in all honesty: We're clearly the best entry so far. And we definitely got the best audience reaction. I'm thinking this'll work out pretty well. Fun little interval bit there.

Serbia! They're my favorite in this semi. I'll so totally be voting for this. I love this entry. But what will they do with the stage?? OK, they're taking it all out. I love the backing singers' outfits. More than Nina's actually. But she's totally adorable. IMO it's too much with the enormous varicolored background, and her voice is weaker than I expected - she must be nervous - but this entry is really good. I'll be so surprised if they don't make it through. Such a wonderful song and actually really original in this year's lineup. A fun presentation and good performance too. Go Serbia!!!

Russia. Like I said in my review, I really like this song, but I can't tell you why. I can only tell you like ten reasons why I think I shouldn't like it. :-) But I do like it and I hope they get through. But sheesh, these lyrics! I lost my mind somewhere between/Your face and your perfect shape - LOL! Energetic performance ... and a charming singer for those who like that kind of charm. Yup, Russia'll be there on Saturday. This isn't very original, but kind of. Not at all bad.

Switzerland the cursed. I really like this song. And so far in the lineup this entry is really original, so who knows? The audience seems to like it a lot. She's so sweet and unlike almost all the other singers so far, she has a good voice. Unfortunate dress choice though, but we can't have everything. Adorable presentation! This so totally deserves to get through, and judging from the audience reaction I think they may stand a chance. Fingers crossed for Switzerland!!

Georgia. Hm, not at all bad. The singer's doing a good job ... really good compared to the one they had when they won their national contest. Replacing her was an excellent choice. Weird costumes. And WTF is with that rapping?? Totally inappropriate in this song and kind of ruins it IMO. But it's a good entry. My hopes rose a bit for Georgia seeing this.

Finland. An entry that I didn't like that much first time I heard it, but it's really grown on me. I like it more and more every time I hear it. (With the Turkish song it's kind of the reverse. Alas.) This is really original in this year's lineup and I have a hard time imagining it won't get through to Saturday. I love it that he's alone on stage. And that he doesn't have a lot of fireworks and SFX. Well, except the giant planet earth slowly rotating behind him, of course. ;-) He's doing a really very good job. Kudos to Finland. Very good entry.

Malta. Oh, the poor Maltese. Will they ever win? Quite possibly, but most likely not this year. Their song this year is pretty catchy and the singer's not that bad, but ... I don't know, I don't think it quite has what it takes. That little something extra. Kind of a weird presentation. Some audience members may be frightened off by his crazy Joker smile. Overall, not a bad entry, not at all ... but I just don't think this is really it. They may get through to the final, but I don't think they'll do very well there.

San Marino. This is a pretty ballad (with weird lyrics) which I think will be rather easily forgotten. Like with a lot of others tonight, I've heard her sing much better. Is there something in the water? o_O This is like so many other songs this year, there's nothing actually wrong with this entry, it's just too bland. Nope, no more San Marino this year. But I really like her dress. :-)

Croatia. Daria sounds awful but looks much better than I've seen her before. She doesn't look nervous and she looks genuinely enthusiastic. Too bad that she sounds like shit. Worst singer so far tonight, hands down. Ouch, my ears! The gimmicky outfit changes seem to be a hit with the audience, but I don't think it's enough to save this song. Which, again, there's nothing wrong with per se. Just not enough personality. And what hideous vocals.

Iceland! Aw, they're so cute. It is very sweet what they're doing for their friend. I can kind of understand people who are moved to vote for them when they hear that story. And there's nothing wrong with the song either. It's a sweet and fun entry. A nice melody with a good beat and a good message. This may go pretty well for Iceland. I like both the presentation and the performance. Although it does look like the stage is kind of too big for them. :-D Good luck to Iceland!

Ooh, now they're talking to our delegation in the green room. Which of course isn't green. Or a room. :-D They must have picked Stella to interview because we hosted last year, right? Don't know what other reason they could have had to pick her ... ;-)

Hungary! One of my major favorites this year. And not just mine. I dig this and I'm sure it'll get to the final. Not least because here's a singer who can really sing!! Best singer so far tonight, hands down. I'm not loving her dress ... and actually this isn't her best performance either, in fact rather far from it. There's got to be something in the water down there! But at least she doesn't look nervous on stage, at all. And it's a great song. I'm not too charmed with the presentation. What do these jumping dancers have to do with the subject matter of the song? o_O The audience seems to be loving her, and no wonder. A shoe in for Saturday, definitely.

Portugal. Sheesh. This is just so totally trashy. I don't even know what to say about this. There's nothing whatsoever that I like about this entry. It's garbage. Yes, I know they're protesting the injustices of the world, etc. But I just don't care. Push off, Portugal.

Lithuania. They've at least got a singer who can really truly sing. The night's best singer. And this has got to be a first - sign language in the ESC! :-D I think our Swahili chorus is a first, and France's Corsican entry may be a first too, but sign language is definitely something new. :-D Evelina is an absolutely wonderful singer, very charming, and the song is good too. Fingers crossed for Lithuania!

Azerbaijan. Another shoe in for Saturday. The night's only duet, although they seem to mostly be singing to the cameras rather than to each other. :-D I really like this song, there's something about the chorus that's just ... it's that little something extra. They're favorites this year and they totally deserve it. Everything is so right with this entry. Totally professional. An excellent entry, I like it. No need to wish them luck. :-)

Greece. I'm not a fan of this entry, because of the rapping. It's pathetic and stupid. This idiot rapper sucks ass. And the two parts of the song have nothing to do with each other, it's ridiculous. 'Stereo Mike' totally ruins this entry, which otherwise is dramatic and kind of interesting. STFU, dumbass! And really, are they serious? Greek pillars? Ouch. This entry not only sounds ridiculous, it looks ridiculous too. Which is so sad because it could have been really good. It'll be really interesting to see if the Greeks get through to Saturday with this ... they don't deserve to, but they actually may manage to, because the parts that are good are really good. Weirdness. o_O

Last entry done! The traditional overview of all the songs. I've voted five times for Serbia, once for Hungary and once for Switzerland. I was overwhelmed with sympathy. :-) Fingers crossed for Nina and Stella!! :-D

Nothing special about the interval entertainment so far. They're saving the good stuff for Saturday. :-) I'm surprised none of the presenters have changed their outfits. o_O Countdown to the end of voting ... done ... there!

Gotta say again that I really love this stage.

OK, a little German music to keep us entertained while the votes are tallied. Looks like fun. :-) Marching band with all drums. Fun. And quite athletic. But rather overlong. If I was writing this in Norwegian, I'd be using the word langdrygt right about now. Although I am suddenly feeling a strong urge to go to Bergen ...

OK, now it's almost time for the results. Come on! No, we have to see the Big Five first. Yay France! I love France! Although their video is weird and Amaury looks kind of deformed in parts of it. I love the German entry too. And their video is extremely weird. :-D

Aw, Nina from Serbia is just the cutest. :-) Ooh, they're talking to the new Svante Stockselius, he's Norwegian! Coolness. And he says that the results are ready. NERVOUS ... !!

Come on Serbia!! And Stella!! :-D

And the ten finalists are ... *drum roll*

Serbia!!! YES!! Whee!!!
Lithuania! The night's best singer gets her reward. :-)
Greece. Shit, now we have to listen to 'Stereo Mike' again. But not too surprising.
Azerbaijan. Of course. Well deserved.
Georgia. Again, not that surprising.
Switzerland! Yay!! Oh, they're so happy! I am too! :-D
Hungary. I knew it. :-)

Wow, the audience is chanting NORWAY! NORWAY! ... ! Wow!

Finland's in! I knew it! :-D
Russia. I was starting to get nervous for them! But of course they're in. :-)

One spot left - who will it be?? I AM SO NERVOUS ... !!

Iceland! Not a shock ... but ...

We're out! Aww! And Armenia's out too. That's more of a surprise than us. Huh. But overall unsurprising results. As long as Serbia and Hungary are in, and Portugal out, I'm mostly happy. :-)

Thanks to NDR for a great show so far. Can hardly wait till Thursday! What will be Sweden's fate?? ;-)

Some ESC predictions, semifinal 1

OMG OMG OMG ... !! I'm so excited! I just can't hide it! :-D OMG half an hour to go!! Be still, my heart.

Yup, the show's about to start ... about 35 minutes to wait, I'm almost beside myself. :-) Of course I will be blogging the whole thing live. But I thought I'd start it off with some predictions. Or guesses, whichever. It's always so much fun to compare what you think before the show with how it all turns out after. I love it. :-) But let's see.

Order listed is not significant.

Some entries I'm absolutely sure will get through:

Some that I'm pretty sure will get through:
Norway - here's hoping ;-)

Some that I'm sure don't stand a chance:
Portugal (good riddance)
San Marino

Some that I don't have high hopes for:
Croatia (although it'll depend a lot on Daria's performance)
Switzerland (not because the song isn't really good, but because Switzerland is cursed)

The rest could go either way. Iceland will quite possibly get through, it's a real feelgood song and if people have heard the back story of that entry they'll get some sympathy votes. Georgia - it'll depend a lot on the performance. Malta - not at all unlikely. Same with Greece. Lithuania I'm not that optimistic about. But we'll see. Nobody knows. That's what makes it so much fun. :-)

Basically I'll be happy if only Serbia and Hungary get through. Of course I'm really hoping we will too. Portugal is the only one I really want to get rid of. And I have to say that I'm pretty sure I'll be happy with the results tonight. ;-)

Monday, May 9, 2011

One more day ... !!

I can hardly wait ... !! :-D

Tomorrow at nine, be there or be square. :-) I will of course be blogging the whole thing live. Fingers crossed for Serbia and Hungary ... and us. :-)

For those who haven't managed to read all my endless reviews, here's an easier way. My overview of all the entries in video form. Enjoy. ;-)

Widescreen here.

Widescreen here.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weekend in Hemsedal

No blog posts for the past couple of days - I've been incommunicado, or at least offline, at a cabin in Hemsedal, about three, three and a half hours from here. It's famous as a ski resort, I obviously didn't go there to ski, but because the company I work for owns this cabin up there. I had arranged for a surprise trip up there this weekend - or at least it was a surprise to one person ;-) - as a bachelorette party event for my best friend Tanumine. She is getting married on June 4th and I am lucky enough to be her maid of honor. She's not really a party girl so I planned something else instead - a weekend getaway for her, her sister, their cousins and a friend, and myself of course, to a place she knew nothing about, where secret things would happen. Just nice things, of course. She knew she was going away that weekend but nothing more. I'm pleased to report that everything went perfectly, we had a wonderful weekend and we all enjoyed ourselves tremendously. So, kudos on a good job to me. :-)

Some pictures, of course. I only took a couple hundred. ;-)

Lovely scenery.

Like I said, this place is mostly known as a ski resort. Still some snow on the slopes.

The rest of us had time to do a little shopping in the local arts & crafts store while Tanumine was being pampered. This artist had also made a little ceramic turtle, which went home with me. :-)

The bride!! :-) Trying to figure out the parasol on the veranda - we eventually gave up on it. But not before I got this wonderful shot. :-)

Whee!! Not too hard to figure out which one is me. ;-)

Cake! There must be cake!! We like a bit of cake.

Crazy monster city that grew and grew and grew during a late night game of Carcassonne, but, miraculously, was actually completed.

The sun has gone to bed and so must I ...

... knowing that after all the stress of planning it all went exactly as I'd hoped. Yay. :-)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

SWEDEN 2011 - Popular

The perfect way to end this year's reviews - both slamming and praising the Swedes ... !!? :-D

I am SO torn about this entry. I both love it and hate it. I don't know which side to come down on. In one way, this song sucks so hard ... but at the same time it's fantastic. My brain, it hurts ... !! o_O

OK, some details: I LOVE the music. The beat is so fantastic and I just love it, I've listened to it umpteen times already, it totally kicks ass. The intro especially, but just basically the whole thing is fantastic! I love it. It rocks. Because of the music and the incredible catchiness of it, I think this song is going to do extremely well. Maybe a little too well for my countrymen's tastes ... ! :-o

And in some ways it absolutely doesn't deserve to do well AT ALL. In some ways it deserves to totally bomb. This is one of those songs where I wish so much that the lyrics were in some foreign language that I couldn't understand. Because the lyrics are what kill this song for me. I loathe and despise the lyrics. They are horrendous, ridiculous, embarrassing. Complete & utter crap. Fredrik Kempe is getting to be a real ESC vet, but ... I mean, he's written some clunkers, but come on. This is what comes of being as crazy prolific as he is. It reminds me of the opening scene in Once In A Lifetime, with the guy accosting Mona on her way to the subway. Fredrik Kempe is that guy. For those of you who haven't seen the movie, that is not a compliment. I have a hard time getting my head around the fact that these lyrics were written by a man who's almost 40 years old. o_O

Basically the lyrics make the singer sound like a totally immature jerk and the biggest douche you've ever met. I'm not sure I even get the story. That's because it's so dumb that I can hardly take it in. The guy likes a girl, but she's such a shallow stuck up bitch that she only goes for popular guys? So ... he's going to ... be on So You Think You Can Dance ... and be a celebrity ... so he'll be popular too ... and then she'll let him fuck her? Is that it? I really think that's it. Even though I can hardly believe that that can be it.

Sure, there are a lot of superficial lyrics in this contest. It's not where you go for profundity and depth. But this song really takes the fucking cake. How shallow can you get?? You might not think it to read this, but I was speechless the first time I heard this song.

But as I said, the music is fantastic, and since large sections of the audience either know no English or know so little of it that they won't catch the lyrics anyway, this song may end up doing very well indeed. Which may be sad, because my dreams for our entry is 1) that we'll get to the final and 2) (which maybe should be 1) that we'll beat the Swedes. I'm not at all sure about that this year.

But hey, you don't want to miss this, so check it out for yourselves. This is Eric Saade performing Popular by Fredrik Kempe. He'll be competing for Sweden on Thursday, May 12th.

Widescreen here.

Incredibly awful lyrics here.

SAN MARINO 2011 - Stand By

Yay, San Marino! I'm so thrilled to see San Marino back. And what's so great is that things can only possibly go up for them. They cannot possibly do worse than they did in 2008, which is the only other time they've been in the contest. :-D They came last in their semi. :-D I shouldn't laugh ... !! I feel bad for them. But come on, you've gotta laugh. :-)

Anyway ... I think their song this year is much better than their first effort. Not good enough - it's nowhere near a winner and I'm not convinced it will even get to the final. But I think it deserves more than five points. :-D It's a rather beautiful ballad, quite well performed. The singer has a good voice, and of course a pretty young woman never goes wrong in the ESC. ;-) So ... nothing wrong with the entry, as such.

That's really the recurring theme in this year's lineup, IMO. The vast majority of songs are just fine, nothing wrong with them, but nothing very special about them either. They may be quite lovely to listen to, but once they're over they're quickly forgotten. I'm sorry to say that this entry is yet another song on that list. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it, I actually like it a lot. But it just doesn't have anything that makes it stand out. There's nothing really special about it. But as I said, it definitely deserves more than five points. :-)

This is Senit performing Stand By, with music and really weird lyrics by Radiosa Romani. She will be competing for San Marino on Tuesday, May 10th.

Widescreen here.

Lyrics here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

RUSSIA 2011 - Get You

Russia's song this year is one of those that I like sort of despite myself. Or rather, I can't understand why I like it, but I like it anyway. :-)

What's not to like? The lyrics are atrocious. In places even a little creepy. The tune, although catchy, isn't all that original. The singer's not very good. That thing that they're doing with his voice is annoying. (Gimmicks like that tend to tell me that the song is too weak to stand on its own, and that the production team know it.) The performance is mostly standard. All these things are true, and yet I really like this song. In fact I liked it immediately, the first time I ever heard it. It quite caught me up, but I don't know why.

The one word I'd use to describe this entry is probably 'addictive'. You know it's not really good for you but you can't stop. :-) I'm even sometimes annoying by it while I'm listening to it ... but I don't change to another song. This one has a beat, or something, that just pulls me in. Russia is one of the entries people are really talking about this year, and although I see a lot of flaws in it I totally understand where they're coming from. It's like with Greece in Kyiv. And we all know how that went. :-o

No, I don't think this is the winner - at least not with the kind of unoriginal performance you can see below. But I'll be very surprised if it doesn't get to the final.

This is Aleksej Vorobyov performing Get You which he cowrote with a bunch of other guys calling themselves silly things. They'll be competing for Russia on Tuesday, May 10th.

Widescreen here.

Lyrics here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

HUNGARY 2011 - What About My Dreams?

Whee, Hungary!! Hungary is one of my favorite countries in the contest. I LOVE their song from 2005. I'm always looking forward to seeing what they'll come up with. Last year they didn't participate - they couldn't afford to because of the financial crisis. I'm not entirely sure what they were thinking with this year's entry ... because the crisis is nowhere near over yet, and if it was too expensive to compete, it'll definitely be too expensive to host ... ! :-D

IMO this is one of the best entries this year. In fact the only thing I don't like about it is that it's partly in English. (You can hear it in Hungarian here.) This song is catchy, it has a great beat, it's much more original than so many of the other entries this year ... or any year. :-) It's professionally performed by someone who really knows what she's doing. Great voice and great personality. (I mean, as a performer, obviously. :-) Lyrics that actually mean something more than just the regular boy meets girl kind of thing. What's not to like?

Only problem is that I've felt that way about other entries in the past - the first example that springs to mind is Iceland six years ago, I love that song and I could hardly believe it when it didn't even get through from the semi. At the time I primarily blamed her outfit. But obviously there were other reasons too ... to my mind first and foremost that the entry was too professional, too ... I want to say over-produced. Too slick and too commercial. It didn't have enough personality and character left to appeal to the ESC audience. Another song that happened to was Belgium's in 2006. That was a real surprise to a lot of people. Not least the Belgians. :-)

Anyway ... I think this song is wonderful, I love it, it's one of my top three favorites this year. I hope, and I believe, that Hungary will do extremely well this year. I'm worried that their song will suffer the same fate as If Had Your Love and Je t'adore. But I very much hope not. Hungary deserves nothing but praise this year. Go Hungary!! :-)

This is Kati Wolf performing What About My Dreams? by Gergő Rácz, Viktor Rakoncza, Péter Geszti and Johnny K. Palmer. This talented quartet will be competing for Hungary on Tuesday, May 10th. Good luck!!!

Widescreen here.

Lyrics here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

ISRAEL 2011 - Ding Dong

I love Israel's song from last year ... and I love their song from last time they won. So I was intrigued to hear that their entry this year would be performed by the same singer as in 1998, the hotly debated Dana International. I was hoping for the best. But alas, I was disappointed.

This song has nothing of the fire of Diva, and none of its catchy rhythm. This is sort of a ballad speeded up. But it has no hook and no personality. I can hum along to it while I'm listening it, but as soon as it's done I forget it. It is soo harmless and bland ... a very disappointing effort. I don't know what they're thinking we're supposed to like about this ... ?

As for Dana herself, it's been 13 years, so of course her voice will have deteriorated ... and it has, audibly so. Her voice is much weaker now. That too showing much less personality. She doesn't look that much older, but a pretty face just can't make up for the weaknesses of this song. The performance is also very dull. I'm not sure what they think they're going for. It's all totally standard and totally bland. Vanilla. :-) This will fade into the background as soon as the music fades out.

Basically I don't know what the Israelis were thinking when they picked this song. That it would be good enough because it's Dana? I like it that she's written the song herself - there aren't that many female contestants in the ESC (remembering, of course, that it's the composers and lyricists that are competing, not the singers :-) - but that's pretty much all I like about it. I predict a sad fate for Israel on stage in Germany. Ouch. :-)

This is Dana International performing her own composition Ding Dong (I know ...). She will be competing for Israel on Thursday, May 12th.

Widescreen here.

Lyrics here.