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
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 ... !!
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 ... ??