Thursday, May 31, 2012

Books I've read in 2012 - May

Den underbara historien om Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl
Faller fritt som i en drøm by Leif GW Persson – AUDIO
Red Bones by Ann Cleeves
Harry by Are Kalvø
The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy
Midtens rike by Torbjørn Færøvik – AUDIO
Människor det varit synd om by Kalle Lind
Englemakersken by Camilla Läckberg – AUDIO
Helbredernes hemmeligheter by Bjarne Røsjø
En hjelpende hånd by Trude Teige – AUDIO
Människor som gått til överdrift by Kalle Lind
Svermen av Frank Schätzing
Fvonk by Erlend Loe – AUDIO
Magnetisørens femte vinter by Per Olov Enquist – AUDIO
Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl
Død over regenten! by Alexandre Dumas
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

11 printed books - 3,353 pages
6 audiobooks - 63h 43m

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Baku 2012 - final

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 ... !!!

Finally ... ! Live from the Crystal Hall, the 57th ESC final! Squee! How will they open the show??

Some native music. Dancers all in white. That light up! And fly! Shouts in the room here of Backstreet Boys! and Matrix! :-D Native dancers! But where is Eldar and Nikki? There they are. Not a very good performance. Oh well. Done now.

Same hosts as in the semis ... and we have the same commentator, Olav Viksmo Slettan, he's doing a great job. The hosts are all in white. English skills not entirely up to snuff. Let's start the show ... !! :-D

United Kingdom. Opening the show, not the best slot, but could be worse. And at least we're opening the show with something good. :-) Kudos to the UK for sending Humperdinck! I really like this entry. A skilled performer who sings really well, a classy presentation - unlike some, I like the background dancers - and a really good song. We also have our own dancers since trilltrall and N. are dancing a waltz in front of the screen. :-D The lyrics are a little dodgy, but there's always something. A quality entry, which we rarely see from the UK. Good luck to them. I may vote for them actually. :-o

Hungary. Meh. Interesting entry in this context ... it's a little different from a lot of the rest of the lineup. OK presentation but nothing special. OK song but nothing memorable. Not a winner.

Albania. This entry has no fans here. :-) Interesting view from Calyx: the songs sent to the ESC should be ones that have wide appeal and that everyone can like, but then some countries send things like this, where someone has bizarre hair and wears bizarre clothes and stands in the middle of the stage and screams. And that's what we love about the ESC. :-D Umm ... kudos for being alone on stage and for singing in Albanian. But this is quite a strange entry. I both like it and don't like it. Good luck to them, they may need it.

Lithuania. KAS isn't a fan of this. She was surprised when it got through. But she says it's getting to be OK now that we've heard like forty ESC songs ... :-D This does grow on me, I have to say that. And I really like their presentation. It's fun, I like this. May do pretty well. The way it morphs from one song into another is rather memorable. Got a huge laugh here when he did a salto and started shaking his thang ... :-D

Bosnia & Herzegovina. Meh. Kudos for the same things as Albania - slightly more comprehensible than theirs - but overall a pretty generic ballad. Not sure I can tell this apart from all the other similar sounding entries in the lineup. Not sure most of the rest of the audience can either.

Russia! Yay! I dig this. The song is crap, but the entry as a whole is soo much fun and so charming. And this time we even get to see what's in the oven. Oh, Russia ... !! You wacky Russkis, whatever will you think of next. This is too gimmicky to win, but it'll probably do really well. Good for them. :-)

Iceland. One of our collective favorites. A beautiful song, dramatic, a wonderful entry. Singers with good voices too. But why is she smiling so much?? That totally doesn't go with the song at all. Sheesh. She's so excited she just can't help herself ... ! Good presentation, I just wish they'd have gone with the Icelandic lyrics instead. That would have helped them. Oh well. Hoping for the best for Iceland. Not a winner, I don't think, but may do well. But they're not in a good slot, unfortunately.

Cyprus! I really like this entry. Catchy, fun, well presented ... has pretty much everything except that the singer can't sing for shit. She sounded better in their national finals ... not very strange considering that they allow playback. She sounds pretty horrible here, but everything else about this entry is great. And it's somewhat impressive that she can carry a tune at all being hoisted around like that. Not a winner, we think - Anne Ida says that if this entry wins then there's something completely wrong with the world - but it should do well. Good luck, Cyprus!!

France. Beautiful singer with a good voice ... and they've changed their entry since their national selections, made it more interesting, that's good. We like the half naked men. Well, most of us do. ;-) But this is more boring than I remember it. I thought they might do well with this, but now I'm starting to wonder. No, don't think this will get anywhere much.

Italy!!! My favorite! I love Italy! This is the best entry this year, hands down. Nothing wrong with it. Calyx thinks it's too soon to dress like Amy Winehouse in public. But other than the hair she's all Imelda May! Ooh, I love this. I want it to win ... ! It probably won't, but I want it to ... ! :-D

Estonia. One of the room's least favorite songs this year, apparently. It's OK, but not that special. Another generic ballad. OK singer but overall not a very memorable entry.

Norway. Very dramatic opening to this entry. Ie, the presentation. The song itself ... it's growing on me. I like it a little more every time I hear it. And his voice is better than it was in our national selections. But still not good. And the performance is tacky, I really don't see how this can appeal to anyone over the age of 16.  I'm hoping we'll bomb, but the fact that we even got through has made me really confused. Can we actually get anywhere with this? I want to think we can't, but ... oh, my head ... o_O No, this has to bomb!! The world will not make sense to me if this doesn't bomb.

Azerbaijan. Our charming hosts. Who of course have had a difficult task selecting this entry - they need a song that can do well enough to not disgrace themselves, but at the same time isn't good enough to actually win. Ireland famously have no idea how to do this. Azerbaijan may have managed it. One among this year's seemingly endless lineup of big Balkan ballads, but one of the better ones. Good singer, lovely dress, classy presentation. Should do well. I like this song, although I can't for the life of me remember the tune five minutes after I've listened to it. But what else is new. .-)

Romania. A very catchy song, and really different from the previous entry. Beautiful singer. Energetic performance. Moonwalking with a bagpipe isn't really my thing, but I'm sure somebody likes it. Romanians, obviously. Romania is one of my favorite countries in the ESC generally, this isn't among their best IMO, but still a pretty strong entry. Mostly because it's fun. :-) Good luck to Romania - this isn't a winner, I don't think, but could do well.

Denmark. A song that I like a little less every time I hear it. And her outfit is just so distracting. The song starts out catchy, but then gets repetitive ... it's all the same, throughout the three minutes there's no real drama in the melody. It's good, but kind of boring. May do well but won't win ... and doesn't deserve to win either. >:-)

Greece. Now here is someone who actually may really win. This is a serious contender. Very catchy, a pretty singer who does a good job on stage, a fun presentation to watch, ethnic elements that are very clearly Greek ... their winning entry in 2006 also had all these elements. Plus they may get some pity points I suppose. They are so poor that they haven't been able to afford a whole dress for their singer. :-( This entry will do very well and may end up winning the whole thing.

Sweden. Or actually, Greece won't win, because Sweden will!! Go Sweden!! This entry is soo wonderful, it deserves to win. I love it. Extremely dramatic of course, as we've already seen ... but the performance is actually much better than it was in the semi, so now it's even better than it already was. Swoon! A brilliant entry. The one problem it has is that the presentation is so artsy. That may be off-putting to some people. Can't be helped. Good luck to Sweden!! They'll get my vote, and it'll be well deserved. Fingers crossed for Sweden! Stockholm 2013?!!

Turkey. Another entry that will do well, and deservedly so. The song isn't that special, but it is catchy, and the presentations is absolutely wonderful. Best of the night. Those capes are so weird, and you wonder what the hell is up with that, and then suddenly you see what they're for and then it's SO COOL ... !! :-D The singer is charming and the whole entry is just so much fun. I love it. 12 points to Turkey for creativity. :-)

Spain. Now this is one of the best ballads of the night. And the singer is absolutely wonderful. Fantastic. She's probably the best singer tonight. Classy performance. This is one of the best entries from Spain for years. I hope they will do really well so they'll keep sending quality stuff like this. But of course if they win it'd be a tragedy, they'd be ruined ... ! :-D They should do pretty well with this though, but I can't see this as the winner. But good for them, this is a really good entry.

Germany. Another song I really like. Basically all of the Big Five have sent good entries this year. But it's not a song that really suits this context. It's very good, but may end up doing badly. It's too good. :-) By which I mean that's it's not immediately accessible, it's a bit more demanding, and of course an ESC winner has to make a major impact the first time you hear it. Especially from one of the Big Five. So kudos to Germany, they've sent a wonderful song, but they may not get much of a return on their investment. Same as last year. The presentation is also very standard and pretty boring in this context.

Malta. I don't really see what they're doing in this final. But of course I'm happy for them. The song is generic and the singer not much more than OK. But the performance is better than it was in the semi. I really don't have much to say about this. It's OK. Meh.

Macedonia. A song I really really like, wonderful melody, but I really can't get on board with her voice. I don't know what it is exactly. Tanumine says she thinks it sounds strained, and that's exactly right, that's how I'm hearing it. This performance is also better than in the semi. Very catchy. If only they'd had a different singer I'd be digging this.

Ireland. LOL! A huge groan went up from the room here when they were announced. Soo annoying ... ! Blech. Anne Ida wants them to win though. She says that if it's true that RTÉ plans to send them every year till they win, then she wants them to win this year and just get it over with. :-D Me, not so much. I want them to bomb. This entry is slightly catchy but mostly annoying. Sheesh, Ireland!

Serbia. Another of my favorite entries. The opening is absolutely beautiful, we all love it. The presentation is a bit overly dramatic - why do the violinists have to bend like that? - but classy. Wonderful performance from maybe the second best singer of the night. Love this. Should do very well. Go Serbia! :-)

Ukraine. Sorry, but this is trash. I thought this was marginally OK at first but I loathe it more and more every time I hear it. Incomprehensible that it's in the final. Gaitana's not even here to compete, she just wants to get her song out there before the championship Sheesh. This is just annoying. There's not even any verse, it's all just an endless chorus, she just repeats two lines over and over for three minutes. Sheesh. Trash. Barf. I hope they'll come 26th.

Moldova. This is a relatively catchy song, and it's kind of fun too, but the presentation is just so weird. What's with the dancers? Their costumes? The choreography? We can't understand it. Bizarre. Good luck to Moldova, they'll need it.

The voting is on ... !!

Let's see. Sweden - three votes, or was it four? Italy - six votes. One each for Serbia, Spain, Turkey, Iceland, Cyprus and the UK. And one more for Italy! :-)

Voting's over. Now for the interval entertainment ... which of course we've heard a lot about. Starting out with something rather authentic-looking ... and -sounding ... local instruments ... pretty ladies playing violins ... Then lots of dancers on stage, they don't look very authentic. Where's the president's son-in-law? Oh, he is of course being dropped down from the ceiling ... while chewing gum. Sure, why not. Umm. OK, this is just a standard pop song, nothing wrong with it, but wouldn't be on stage tonight if it had competed in the semi. >:-)

Overall this is kind of dull but still miles better than what Germany came up with last year.

Watching the voting - of course watching with great excitement! :-) - and also texting with an Irishman in Istanbul, so now we're already up to the Moldovan results. Sweden in the lead! Yay!! It would be soo fantastic if Sweden won. We have zero points. My faith in humanity is restored. But I feel really bad for the UK. And Iceland! :-( Also very sorry to see Italy doing so relatively badly. I mean since I was hoping they'd win. Didn't think they would, deep down, but I was hoping. And I'm not only saying that because it'd mean we'd have Italian food at our Eurovision party next year. ;-)

Iceland just voted, Sweden in the lead! and Serbia second. Russia doing very well. Host country in a respectable 4th place. What is going on with Albania though, who's been voting for them so much?? We are shocked. But as long as they don't win, I'm sure the Albanians are thrilled. :-D

Finland's got Mr Lordi presenting their votes!! Fantastic!!

Sweden is so going to win this. Yay!! Yay yay yay!! Stockholm 2013! Fantastic!!

N. is upset because now we'll be having meatballs for dinner next year. :-D But KAS says no, we'll have herring! LOL! She is the cook so she'll decide. As long as we don't get a sandwich cake I'll be happy.

Sweden is the winner!! :-D Me so happy!! And Russia came second, Serbia third. Except of course for my broken hopes of Italy, I am very pleased with this result. The best entry won.

And her victory performance is fantastic too. We have learned tonight that Azerbaijan is a nation rich in streamers and confetti. Great show and no more propaganda than is generally to be expected. Kudos to Azerbaijan and congratulations to Sweden!!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Before the big day

Some thoughts on the six entries we will only see in tomorrow's final, the Big Five and our host.

Fullscreen here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Baku 2012 - semifinal 2

Here we go ... ! Back to the Crystal Hall, and this time even more exciting, because tonight I and my countrymen can vote. But, fortunately, not until after all the entries have been performed.

Did I mention that I love the green room ... ?

Serbia. One of my favorites this year. They have to get through. I'll be shocked if they don't. The song is beautiful, a lovely melody, the singer is good, the presentation relatively classy, and there's an ethnic feel to it that appeals to a lot of the audience. Wonderful entry, one of the best of the entire lineup this year. Love it. I will vote for them and I'm sure lots of others will too.

Macedonia. (Sorry, former Ottoman dominion of Greece, you can take your FYR and shove it.) This is an interesting entry. I like the song, it has a really good melody and a lot of drive, I like the somewhat rock'n'roll aspect and ... just the song generally. :-) But I really don't like the singer. She has a horrible voice. I know she has a boatload of fans, and she may do well because of that, but for me she really spoils the entry. So I really don't know about this.

The Netherlands. Oh, sheesh. This is one of the seriously weirdest entries this year. They got a good reaction from the arena, but ... look at her! WTF is with that thing on her head?? She makes the Danish singer look as normal as can be. It would have been so weird if the Dutch had sent a song that was about Indians Native Americans, but this is even weirder, because this song isn't about them at all, yet the singer is dressed like one. Personally I don't think the problem is whether this is disrespecftul of indigenous peoples, the problem us that she looks ridiculous. It's extremely distracting. o_O And that's a real shame, because this song is both catchy and sweet. She has a funny voice, but it kinda works with this song. That headdress, though, absolutely does not. This may get through on the strength of the song - the arena seems to really love it - but seriously, WTF.

Malta. One of my general favorites to win one day, because the Maltese would just go apeshit if they won ... !! :-D Valletta any year would be absolutely fantastic. But there won't be a Valletta 2013. Alas. I hope they will win one day, but this song just isn't strong enough to accomplish that. No chance. Kind of a fun entry though, nothing wrong with it as such, but just very generic and standard. Not a very good singer either. Alas for Malta! Better luck next year. One day ... !! :-)

Belarus. Who this year are following an interesting tradition by proclaiming themselves winners in their actual entry. Personally, I think that's a little bit tacky. But that may be just me. The song probably comes into it somewhere too. This is pretty catchy, and rather eye-catching what with the defying of the gravity and so on. But again pretty generic and standard also. May get through though - the lineup is so even this year, so many samey songs, it's really hard to tell. o_O Of course the Belarusians must under no circumstances be permitted to win ...

Roses for the crew, that's a great idea. Thank you for eating! LOL!

Portugal. Oh, Portugal! They never get anywhere but they soldier on. I love that they stick to Portuguese, that's just so wonderful. Gives them a special place in my heart. :-) This entry is one of their better ones. Of course it's not up there with Senhora do mar, but still. V. good. A classy performance. I love her dress. She's an OK singer, I've heard her better than tonight. She may be nervous, perhaps. But this is a really good entry and I hope they will get through. They definitely have a pretty good chance on the strength of the entry. Fingers crossed.

Ukraine. Oh, hello. Well, no one has ever accused the Ukrainians of being subtle, I suppose. This is a song that sounds like it should be catchy, but it gets repetitive very quickly and then it's mostly annoying. The presentation is also very strange. Shabby-looking men in neon-colored dresses playing fake trumpets and dancing like kindergarteners ... ? Oh well. If that's how they want to present it, then be my guest. (See what I did there?) I like the dancers on video, she should just have skipped the real dancers. And the song is also very ... American, I have to say. I don't think that will appeal to very many. I hope it won't. Don't think they'll get anywhere.

Bulgaria. A relatively new contestant that started out a complete no-hoper, but have been sending some much better songs in recent years. Not that they've gotten much in the way of results for it, but still. This is an upbeat dancey song that has an English title, but Bulgarian lyrics, which I think is a little strange, but what can you do. Kudos to her for being alone on stage throughout the entire entry. People should do that more. Tacky outfit, but a relatively catchy song. Not convinced this will break their unlucky streak though.

Slovenia. Who fortunately have lost the giant weirdass headpieces the backing singers wore in their national final. This song was composed by some real big shots - not only Vladimir Graic, but also Hari Mata Hari ... ! It's a traditional Balkan ballad, big and powerful and emotional ... a really good entry, I like it more every time I hear it. Great that it's in Slovene. Wonderful outfits and a great performance. Very good entry, I'll be surprised if this doesn't get through.

Croatia. Another big Balkan ballad. But not as good. And also with a much stranger presentation and a much less classy outfit on the singer. This is one of those very samey songs that the lineup is full of this year ... I can't find much wrong with it, but there's absolutely nothing special about it either. Can go either way. Won't be missed much on Saturday if they don't make the cut.

Sweden ... !! My second favorite this year. Yay Sweden for picking such a wonderful song ... ! Of course they had a wonderful song to choose in the first place, but what the hell. Great that she's mostly alone on stage. They've lost most of the fringe on her outfit, that's great too. This song has such a great melody, and it's soo catchy ... but the entry as a whole has some weaknesses. The presentation is pretty weird, very arty - this is for the young folks, clearly - and her enunciation leaves a little something to be desired. But the song itself is so strong that this has to be a total shoe-in for Sweden. Good for them. :-)

Georgia. Hm. This is one of those songs I don't really know what to say about. It starts out as one thing and then morphs into something else ... which is often a good thing ... this is pretty catchy, and the performance is eye-catching, to say it diplomatically ... Tacky costumes on the dancers. This isn't up to the standard I've come to expect from Georgia, but it's not that bad either. Meh.

Turkey. This year with a singer who's not much good at actually singing, but has written and composed his own song and is charming on stage. I think they come out ahead. The song is pretty typically Turkish - not that there's anything wrong with that - and catchy in a fun singalong kind of way. And although the bat capes on the dancers look a little strange, they have a plan with them ... watch! :-D A creative presentation, I like it. I'll be surprised if they don't get through.

Estonia. Another big Balkan-style ballad. Nothing wrong with it, but there's just so many of them ... ! Not a good slot for Estonia. A pretty song, well performed, good presentation ... good luck to Estonia, it's a quality entry, but it may drown in the sea of similar sounding songs this year.

Slovakia. Finally something that really stands out. :-) Wow, their singer really looks like a girl. Even more than ours. Again, not that there's anything wrong with that. And of course it's the song that counts. *cough*  This is both noisy and catchy - I really like the chorus - and it'll probably appeal to the teen segment of the audience. Not so much to their parents and above, though. I love having the Slovakians in the contest, although they have done soo badly so far ... unfortunately I'm not sure they'll be doing much better this year. The appeal of this may well be too narrow to get anywhere. But kudos to them for thinking outside the really tiny box this year.

Norway. Sheesh. I'm so not a fan of this entry. It has been growing on me though - I like it fractionally more each time I hear it. But of course for most of the voting audience it's down to this one time, so ... His singing voice is slightly better than it was in our national selections, which is good, because then it really sucked. The presentation is supposed to be cool but IMO is just tacky. Only cool if you're 13 years old. I'm a little embarassed watching this. I don't think we'll get through, and in fact I hope we don't. We don't deserve it. A lot of people think that this will appeal so widely because of its eastern rhythms and what not, but personally I'm sure that this isn't what people want to hear from us. Like it or lump it.

Interesting that our commentator mentioned that - supposedly - there was a huge cheer in the arena. I actually didn't catch that. Certainly there wasn't more cheering for us than there has been for pretty much everyone. Also, and this is the interesting part, remember last year ... ? Stella really did get an enormous cheer in the arena. The arena's response to her was through the roof. But we all remember how that went, don't we.

Bosnia. Singing in Bosnian and alone on stage with her piano, me like. But other than that, well ... see Estonia above. A pretty ballad, well performed, classy presentation. But also rather generic. Nothing wrong with it, but doesn't stand out in any way either.

Lithuania. Two songs for the price of one! This song starts out as an emotional ballad, but then he rips off the blindfold, turns a one handed cartwheel and suddenly it's something else entirely. Let's dance! :-D About the blindfold, you may think it's a kooky idea and sort of dumb and all. I thought so too, but now I love it. Because he had a plain blindfold in their national selections, just plain black silk. But now he's in the international contest, so now he has a new blindfold that is covered with sequins ... ! :-D Gotta love it. I also love the presentation of this song. Original and creative. I like this. Ending the show on a high note. :-)

V. good that we can only vote a limited number of times now ... !! I hope that will be introduced in our national selections too.

Now for the voting ... !!

Ooh, superpostcard ... !

OK, three votes for Sweden. Or was it four? Three votes for Serbia. Three for Portugal. One each for Slovenia and Turkey. The rest will have to manage on their own. :-)

That's it, the voting's closed. Now for a tense wait ... and in the interval, something that may be very cool, a medley of previous winners. Ooh.

Dima Bilan all in white, Marija Serifovic all in black. And Alexander Rybak with his violin. Aw. Also some Azerbaijani musicians that none of the rest of us recognize. Lena! And then the whole bunch, plus the hosts, sing Waterloo together. Really badly, but what the hey. Fun for the whole family.

Not much of a cheer for the Big Five. Well, that's understandable, I guess. There is kind of a feeling that they get something for free in this contest. That's probably a lot to do with the fact that - I suspect - a lot of people, or even most, aren't sure why the Big Five have their guaranteed places in the final. The reason is that they are the countries that contribute the most to the EBU, financially. Part of the cost of hosting is covered by the EBU, so this is a way of giving something back to them for their money. Of course this may not be a good thing. Often it's an advantage to have your song heard more than once. But that's the system we have.

And now, the finalists! Oh, the excitement ... !!

Lithuania! Yay!
Bosnia. Well, why not. Some of these have to get through.
Serbia. Yes, of course. Already looking forward to hearing them again on Saturday. :-)
Ukraine. Looking a little less forward to this.
Sweden! Yay yay yay!!
Macedonia. Yeah, catchy, and popular singer. I guess her voice has character.
Norway. Sheesh. Now for the umpteen million articles about how we're going to do soo super well on Saturday and probably win the whole thing and omg ... ! >:-(
Malta! Wow! Didn't see that coming. And they didn't either. :-) Good for them!

And now, Turkey! Come on, Turkey ... !

Yay, Turkey! :-D

OK, that's it. All the slots are filled. Both we and the Swedes are in ... plus Iceland and Denmark from Tuesday. Now can we all agree to remember this for next time we hear someone talking about how it's all an eastern European conspiracy ... ??

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Baku 2012 - semifinal 1

Wheee ... !!

OMG light your fire ... !!1!

First impression is ... pretty great, actually. Interesting blend of modern and historical. I love the inside of the arena. Hard to believe it's all been put together in just one year. Best not think too much about that right now.

Interesting reaction when the last of the big five was mentioned. But this year the UK have at least made some kind of effort. I'm soo glad the voting has been put off till all the entries have been performed. It's really unfair to start the voting immediately ... we've been doing that here for the last couple of years, I really don't like that. Good for the EBU for changing it back to this system.

The postcards are always ... I was going to say always interesting, but of course sometimes they turn out to be dull, but it's always interesting to see what the host has come up with. I like this first one.

Montenegro. This year's weirdest entry. I don't have high hopes for this. The song itself is most likely just too weird to appeal to more than a small segment of the audience and the presentation, well ... pardon, what was that about no political songs allowed? Sorry, not familiar with that. Anyway ... they may be hoping to appeal to young viewers with the breakdancing and the whatnot, but I really can't see this in the final. Just too weird all over. But I applaud them for sending something different ... there are depressingly few genres represented this year, so this is kind of refreshing. Even if it'll bomb.

Iceland. I like this entry. Looking forward to seeing how they'll present it. Ooh, mountains! Yay! This is exactly what I was hoping for ... understated (you have to compare it to their giant floating dolphin in Moscow) and evocative of Iceland. I really wish they would have performed in Icelandic. Oh well. It's dramatic and melodious and really all over an enjoyable entry. Good stuff. And of course it seems all the more impressive after Montenegro. I'm sure we'll be seeing this on Saturday. Already looking forward to seeing it again. :-)

Greece. Now this is a shoe in for the final. I'll be shocked if they don't get through. And they deserve to. Even though you can tell they've done it on the cheap. They haven't even been able to afford more than half a dress for their singer. Who is actually better at singing live than I had feared. So, good for them. They'll do well this year. Although it would be dreadful for them to actually win, of course. ;-)

Latvia. Oh, how I wish this had been in Latvian. And about something else. Because it really is a beautiful song - that is in fact the irony of it. The crazy lyrics totally ruin it. And the performance isn't too great tonight either. (Plus she should have considered a slightly tighter dress, right? o_O) I really don't know what to say about this song. It's just ... no. I really don't know. I think they'll be safe if they've made other plans on Saturday though.

Albania. Well, this song is ... really difficult to pay attention to because of that bizarre hairdo. o_O Good for her being alone on stage though. And wow, she's really getting the audience going. She does have a very striking voice. I think the song is quite beautiful, but it's also obviously very very sad, so that may be a little counterproductive. I'm not sure that this will get people voting. Although she's a very passionate singer, and really puts her heart into it. I'd be happy for Albania actually if they got through. But I'm not convinced they will. Kudos for singing in Albanian though.

Can I just say that I LOVE how the arena is lit up in each nation's colors when the postcards end ... !! :-D

Romania. I like this entry. She's not much of a singer, or in fact she's pretty bad at it, but the song is energetic and catchy. The costumes are very strange, apart from her dress, and I personally would have lost the bagpipes, but that's just me. I'm sure the rest of Europe is wacky for bagpipes. This is a very typical ESC entry ... upbeat, fun, catchy, performed by a pretty girl who can't really sing, and doesn't really mean much. I expect this to get through.

Switzerland. Interesting that there are two sets of brothers with very spiky hair performing tonight. Well, interesting is maybe not the word I'm looking for. This song is a little strange ... pretty boring verse and then really catchy chorus. Another singer who's not so great at actually singing. I like it that this is a little bit outside the genre standard, but this is probably too boring to get through. Poor Switzerland. But I'm sure they can do better than this. It's OK while you're listening to it but not much more.

Belgium. Very young girl performing, but one who can actually sing. I like her voice. Classy and understated performance. A lovely song, a melodious ballad, and she puts a lot of emotion into it ... they'd deserve to get through on the strength of the entry, but I'm worried it's a little too understated to really be noticed. To be honest I wouldn't vote for it myself, even though I like it. Good luck to the Belgians, could go either way.

Finland. Now this is the entry I would vote for if only I could ... !! (Note to foreigners: We can only vote in our 'own' semifinal, ie the one where we're competing. Which is too bad for Finland, because they would get a lot of votes from Norway tonight if that was an option.) I love this song. Soo pretty. I love the theme - it's a love song from a grown child to a mother - the singer is wonderful, the melody is so beautiful, the presentation is classy and understated (SO glad they decided to lose the dancer) and of course I love that she's singing in Swedish with her adorable Finnish accent. She sounds just like the Moomin! Problem is that at least parts of what I like about this song has only local appeal. So if could go either way for Finland too. But they soo deserve to get through ... !!

If you can vote in this semi, please vote for Finland on my behalf ... ! ;-)

Israel. Another entry where I really don't know what to think. I like it, it's fun. Again slightly outside the genre standard. But also again probably too weird. Pretty catchy, and at least makes for an interesting show. But probably too weird, yeah. Kudos to Israel though for sending something totally different after last year.

San Marino. Sheesh. The year's kookiest entry. The singer is doing better than I expected, but she can't disguise how stupid this song is ... and to be honest the presentation is pretty stupid too. Who picked these costumes? No, sheesh, let's get rid of this. It's slightly catchy at first but then just gets annoying. We'll all have a more enjoyable Saturday without this. Glad to know that there's no way they'll get through.

Cyprus. One of my favorite entries this year, but I'm afraid the singer may ruin it with her performance. Well, with her singing, actually. And ... yes, she is probably doing that. :-( The performance is certainly ... energetic enough, the presentation is pretty good and the song is really catchy. If only they had had someone who could actually sing! Alas. Fingers crossed for Cyprus, I hope they'll get through, but having seen heard this, I'm not convinced. :-(

Denmark. What is the deal with her outfit?? Seriously? Who picked that? Or possibly, who failed to talk her out of this? In fact there is nothing but bad wardrobe choices on stage right now. It's distracting. The song itself is, well ... I actually liked this quite a lot when I first heard it, but it's like every time I hear it I like it a little less. That's not good, is it. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, but there's nothing special about it either. And that outfit really is distracting ... especially the hat. And the sunflowers, what's the deal with those? Oh, and 'insh'allah' ... ! Yes, a Muslim country is hosting for the first time. What a wonderful occasion to pander. >:-( Good luck to the Danes, they're going to need it.

Russia ... !! Yay for Russia!! I totally dig their entry this year. Not the song as such, the song's not that special. But the entry as a whole is just wonderful. Grandmas! :-D When I say that there aren't a lot of genres represented, don't forget that within a genre there can be a lot of creativity too. ;-) I love this whole idea. Respect! to Russia for sending this. They MUST be in the final. I'll be shocked and appalled if they don't get to the final ... ! The entry's too gimmicky to win, most likely, but it's soo wonderful. We have to have it. :-)

Hungary. When I first heard the name of their performers this year, I was expecting something totally different. But hey, confusion gets our attention, I guess. And the song needs a little help ... like the Danish entry it's an OK song, there's nothing wrong with it, as such. But it's also rather bland and too ... standard. We've all heard this before. IMO they should have made this much more of a rock song, that would have stood out, and could have really helped them. But it's too late now. I won't be surprised if this is the last time we hear this.

Austria. Right. Although the songs are mostly pretty samey this year, there are some that stand out. Like this one. Which really stands out. This entry is theoretically fun, but in practice, mostly tacky. I'm really not sure who they think this will appeal to. It seems to be getting a good reception in the arena, but will people at home vote for this? I think not. I can't imagine we'll be seeing this again on Saturday. I certainly hope we won't.

Moldova. This is a pretty catchy song with pretty awful lyrics. Good thing most of the audience won't understand enough English to really get how bad they are. Would have bombed if they'd stuck with the same godawful presentation, but they've changed the outfits, so ... maybe there's a vague chance? The choreography's pretty hopeless. Meh. Probably not.

Ireland. Oh, yay, Jedward's back. They really are. Seriously, Ireland? Now you're not even trying. Same performers as last year, but with a much less catchy song. That doesn't immediately seem like a brilliant move, but who knows. They have slightly less crazy hair now. And look, they have a water ... fountain ... thing! And their song is about water! That changes everything! Or maybe not everything. 8th place last year, less than 8th this year.

My computer crashed like three times in the past half hour so I'm way behind right now ... the results are in as I'm writing this. The interval entertainment was good, really interesting. Now I don't have time to list my predicitions, alas! We'll have to look through the above. ;-) Now the results ... !

Romania. Yup.
Moldova! Well, good for them. Less good for us.
Iceland! Yay!!
Hungary. Really? Huh.
Denmark. Wow. And people say this is all decided for the easterners ... ?
Albania! Oh, good for them!
Cyprus. Whew! She didn't ruin it. :-)
Greece. Yes, of course.
Russia! Whew. I almost got a little nervous. But of course they're in. :-)

Who will be the last ... ?? Finland??

Ireland. So no. Alas!

Well, you win some, you lose some. It's hard to tell this year, because the lineup is so even and mostly so samey. None of the really shitty entries got through though. Tee-hee. Already looking forward to Thursday ... !! :-)

Monday, May 21, 2012

It begins ... !!

Tomorrow's the day ... !! Well, actually Saturday's the day, the big day, but you know what I mean. I'm pretty psyched about tomorrow too. :-) I know it doesn't seem like it, since I've been neglecting the blog so horrendously that I haven't even written up my usual ESC reviews this year. It's a disgrace, I know. :-( I blame Pinterest. But of course I have been following the build up to these increasingly suspicious couple of weeks in Baku, and since there's no time to write 42 blog posts by tomorrow, I've made a video instead.

Actually it ended up being two videos, since my new camera does some weird things sometimes and I can't get Any Video Converter to work with me right now. Oh well. These are my thoughts for tomorrow.

Fullscreen here.

Fullscreen here.