Saturday, May 10, 2014

Copenhagen 2014 - final!


Great intro! Simple and fun. DR has really done a fantastic job with this. We're loving it.

Ooh, a new thing ... ! They're introducing all the performers in order with their country's flags in lights. Coolness. This should be a thing every year from now on. :-)

KAS has a good point though: They should have had a little bit of text on the bottom of the screen making sure that everybody catches which country it is ... it's a little bit hard to hear what's being said over all the cheering and maybe not everyone recognizes the flags by sight, I don't know. :-)

The hosts! The guys in suits, the way too skinny female host in an at least acceptable dress. But it's too big though, she's too skinny for that dress. Oh well. She'll probably be changing into something else soon.

It is SO FUNNY to hear Danes speaking English ... ! :-D

OK, there's no reason to wait ... !! It's on! Eeek!!

Ukraine. I'm not a big fan of this song, so I wasn't thrilled to see them get through, but then again I totally dig the giant hamster wheel. I LOVE it. So I've actually been looking forward to seeing this again. Hah. The song kind of packs a punch, so it's actually a good way to open the show. It's growing on me.

Belarus. This was so hideous in their national final and actually looks kind of stylish now, although the lyrics are still so dumb ... but it doesn't totally kill me to see this now. He's not a hit here in Drammen though. KAS wants to give him minus points. trilltrall says we should call it penalty points. :-D Hm. The song gets kind of enervating in the last minute or so. Nope, don't want to hear this again.

Azerbaijan. Beautiful singer, beautiful dress, beautiful voice, beautiful song. The trapeze artist is a little hard to relate to though. I don't quite see how it relates to the lyrics. She's very good though. But it's a beautiful entry. I would have liked to see them win with this - although they're not likely to - rather than Running Scared. They'll probably do quite well this year though.

Iceland. Blech. Maybe my least favorite entry in the final. So annoying. Almost everybody else here likes the song though. What's wrong with people. It's the fricking teletubbies. Sheesh. But as it's being said further along the couch here, there's only 300 000 of them, there's a limit to how much talent there can be on that island. People are dancing in the arena though. But I hope they'll bomb. >:-)

Norway. Come on, Carl Espen ... !! Now's the time to go all out depressed! Give us all the feelings! Quiltoholic wants to see a grown man cry. Oh, his beautiful voice ... !! But he did a better job on Thursday. Still good though. And getting better. Ooh. This is gorgeous. Nenad says it reminds him of whales singing. :-D It's a beautiful song though. I love it. Kudos to us. The arena looks beautiful too with all the cell phone screens lit up. Yay us.

Romania. I like this song but the performance annoys me a bit ... the round piano's so gimmicky. The song's got a good beat, and it's totally different from our song, which is good, keeps the audience on our toes. :-) I really hope Romania will win the contest one day, but I don't think tonight's the night for them. I could be wrong though, I think they will do well.

Armenia. Nenad's shocked by how much makeup Aram's wearing. He's right, he looks almost dusty. LOL! Nenad's on a roll with these animal analogies. Iceland ducks, Norway a whale, Romania chickens and Armenia a frog. :-D This song starts out as a tender ballad and then suddenly totally takes off ... and he's alone on stage and totally owns it. I really like this tonight. Yerevan 2015? I'm tempted to say they deserve it.

Montenegro's a swan. :-) I really really like this song, it's beautiful ... and I love that they're singing in Montenegrino. The rollerblader's a little klutzy tonight though. But overall a good presentation, just a little distracting. But beautiful, a beautiful entry. Hope they'll do really well.

Poland. KAS wants to give them a minus vote too. LOL! Minus ten! She's making a note of it on her bingo sheet. I actually think it's fun though. And the guys are loving the "cultural exchange" as trilltrall's calling it. :-D We're having a lot of fun with this now. This could be one of those gimmicky entries that ends up doing scarily well.

Greece. LOL! The intro ... we're obviously back on the Balkans, and Nenad says that "this is how it sounds when you die". LOL. Hmm ... funereal opening and then we're told to "rise up". Hmm. ;-) This is a fun entry that gets a little annoying. But it's Greece, they'll do great.

AUSTRIA ... !!!! Sshh ... ! Seriously. This is THE BEST ENTRY EVER. I'm serious. This entry IS Eurovision. Some of the crowd here has been standoffish about this but now everybody agrees. We all applauded when it ended. It has everything. The song itself, the singer, the dress, the presentation, the performance. EVERYTHING. It must win ... !!!

Germany, making their flag out of candy! Sweet. Just like the song, sweet. But also somewhat forgettable. Would be better if we'd heard this more than once, so to speak. It's not good to be one of the big five, it really isn't. They have weird outfits. I really don't know about this. I'm hoping they'll do pretty well, but they had really needed to be heard twice. Oh well.

A short break with a word from our host and a new record, highest high note ever. And the record goes to Croatia. Ouch! The other two hosts pop up ... she's still in the same dress, what a waste.

Sweden. Oh, I love this entry. But the broken English is a little painful. Beautiful singer though, and she's looking so great tonight ... and the song is just so fantastic. Great presentation too. Overall I really love the stage and what they're doing with it. They're really making it work for Sweden. This is fantastic. I wouldn't be surprised if they won tonight. But I don't want them to ... ! Sorry Sweden, you guys rock tonight. But Austria ... !

France, making their flag out of smoke in a way that kids probably shouldn't try at home. Silly song that we mostly don't like, though Nenad thinks it's fun ... and we're kind of laughing, but no. It's so samey too. Nope. France bombs again.

Russia. Pretty young girls is never wrong. Pretty young Jedi knights is absolutely never wrong. Very appropriately we are all eating Fazer's vodka liqueur fills right now. Na zdorovje! I really like this song. It's very pretty. There's a lot of distracting elements though. But they're going to do very well.

Italy, making their flag out of food, of course. And Emma's wearing an outfit from ancient Rome. LOL! Coolness. This is sounding a lot better than the studio version. They're totally rocking it. But the song itself is too forgettable, I think. And that crawling around is a little off-putting, at least for part of the audience. Ahem. Good luck to Italy, but, meh, I don't know.

Slovenia. With her fancy blue gown. And her piccolo and her really very good voice. I like this entry a lot. The dress is sort of too ... bulky, though. It's not quite becoming. But the song is beautiful, I really like it. I've been listening to it quite a lot. Good luck to Slovenia!

Finland. KAS has been complaning since Thursday that the singer has such horribly poor diction, she can't understand a word they're saying. I think I can understand one word in about four. But aside from that it's a pretty good entry. It's forgettable though. Calyx is making a prediction: This will get lots of points from northern Europe, and basically nothing whatsoever from anyone else. :-D We'll see ... !

Spain, yarnbombing their flag ... ! Awesomeness. Ahahaha, her hair is wet because she's dancing in the rain!! Ahahaha, brilliant. I love this entry. The best from the big five, hands down. Great presentation and wonderful song. Love it! Go Spain! They can come third, after Austria and us. ;-)

Switzerland. Oh yay! I'm so happy to see them in the final. :-) They're totally getting the arena going. But I've heard from several people now that the first time they heard it they didn't really like it, but it's really grown on them. I feel the same way. So that's not good since a bunch of the audience will be hearing it for the first time now. Fingers crossed though. I'd love to see them do well.

Hungary. This has become very arty. Harder to understand. The original presentation may have been too explicit ... but this is harder to get the story from. Hm. The song is good but the entry as a whole is quite depressing. Really not sure that this is what people are looking for tonight.

Malta. I really don't understand how this got through. Most boring entry of the night. This is like a flashback to ten years ago. I guess that could be the appeal. But I really don't get it. Mysterious.

Denmark, making their flag out of ... what was it, pallets? We were talking and I didn't pay attention. Sheesh. Oh well. This is catchy and fun while you're listening to it, but kind of forgettable. It's a summer hit kind of song. Not a classic, but fun. I hope they'll do OK, since they're the host and all. I'm not entirely convinced, but good luck.

The Netherlands, making their flag out of tulips, of course! I missed that in the semi. :-) And the hostess introducing them, seriously ... ! Go eat something, woman!! But the song is wonderful. Beautiful melody and great performance. I really like the presentation too. But it's not really a Eurovision song. It's fantastic, but is this what the audience is looking for? I'm not entirely convinced. But I wish them the best of luck, I really do. Quality-wise, it's quite possibly the year's best song.

San Marino. So cool to see them in the final! I like this song. It's one of the ones I've been listening to the most this year. The presentation's a little weird, but the song's so pretty. And Valentina's so happy ... !! Hope they'll do well. They could, it's a beautiful melody.

United Kingdom, making their flag out of red cars and buses and ... garbage bags? This is another example of how it's no good to be in the big five. This needs to be listened to more than once. It's a good song, but it's weird. And her outfit doesn't make it less weird, to put it diplomatically. I like this, and it gets the arena going, but ... I really think this would have benefited from having gone through the semis. It's one of the better UK entries of recent years, but still ... it's the UK.

It's over!! :-( Or one might say, it's about to begin. ;-) A few words from the hosts, thanking the commentators, that's new. And then, time to vote ... !!!

Runthrough of all the songs.

OK, twenty votes sent for Austria ... ! I've done all I can. :-) There are others I kind of want to vote for but I don't think I dare, I don't want to contribute in any way to anything that risks damaging their chances. That's going to have to be my strategy.

Really weird interval entertainment. The hosts sing their own song about the contest - that's so meta. This is a strange video. Jebus, is that you?

To the green room ... ! Our crazy skinny hostess chatting to a Junior Eurovision winner.

Another runthrough. The fun one with the performers leaving the stage. This needs to be a thing every year from now on.

OK, the voting's over. Panic attack ... !!!!

And now for the real interval entertainment. Which is super fun, of course!! Of course the Danes are making it cheap, simple and seriously funny. We're loving it. :-) Go Denmark!

Starving hostess in the green room. She needs to change out of that dress! Sheesh. Chatting with the performers. A full English for the Maltese singer, a cake for Molly Smitten-Downes, a restaurant meal for the French band. Fun. I love hearing Danish people speak English ... !

And now, finally, last year's winner ... ! They have broken with tradition by saving it for the interval, rather than opening the show with it. I have no beef with that. DR can do no wrong tonight IMO. Only Teardrops over, and now, The Rainmaker. Both of them presented in a really weird way. Well, she already won, so it can't be too weird now. :-)

All the performers on stage ... ! Carrying their flags and everything. Aw! This is what Eurovision is all about. This show is soo good ... !!

She is seriously not going to change that dress ... !! But at least she's found Jon Ola Sand. The votes are almost counted ... ! OMG I HAS A NERVOUS ... !!!

First 12 to Austria already from the second jury!! Wow! I am cheered.

8th country voting and it's so even. Which I claim to think is the best way for it to go, why do I keep saying that ... ! Augh. We are seriously weirded out by how well Hungary is doing.

Russia voting and being totally booed by the arena. And their jury leader is totally hearing it. WORD.

Thank you to the Netherlands, 12 points to Austria!

My guesses tonight have been pretty off ... ! This is an extremely difficult lineup to call. We are loving the fact that France has 0 points and they are the only ones who still have that score. Hah. 

10 points from France to Austria, and they're in the lead! I'm sorry France ... ! Thank you!

UK keeps Austria in the lead! AWESOMENESS!

12 points from Armenia to Montenegro ... ! Love it!

The Netherlands are doing so well, that's so cool ... !! But Austria's still in the lead. I SO HAPPY ... !

Sweden only gave us 3 points, that's so to typical ... !! But 12 to Austria! Thank you Sweden! Bet you we'll give your our 10 ... ;-) And 1 point to France, noo ... ! That means they will have 1 point. Sheesh, Sweden.

Now Germany. They will give their 12 to Austria for sure ... ! What? The Netherlands? No points to Austria ... ??! WTF, Germany??? >:-(

What?? A silly record now??! Most lalalas?? Spain has the record, but seriously, now??

This is seriously a thriller ... !

Hostess, still in her unbecoming dress, in the green room. Talking to Conchita of course. Who is so happy she's about to pass out. Awesomeness.

Israel ... ! Now they'll give their 12 to Austria for sure. Germany, I hope you're listening ... !

Us ... ! 10 to Sweden, 12 to Austria? No! 8 to Sweden, 10 to Austria! That has to mean ... 12 points to the Dutch song? Yep. Oh, OK.

Another 12 points to the Dutch.

Moldova voting, and good point from Calyx: The more folksy the jury leader's dressed, the more dictatorial the regime of that country. Keep your eyes peeled, she's right. :-D

Ireland's 8 points to the UK, what a shock. 12 points to Austria!

Finland gives another point to France! Is there something in the water?? 12 points to Austria!! :-D

We are cheering SO WILDLY for Austria here ... !!

Austria voting, so no points there, but the jury leader has THE BEST OUTFIT EVER. OMG I am crying with laughter.

Spain - 12 points to Austria.

This is so incredibly cool. I have no words.

Belgium gives 12 points to Austria. Thank you, Belgium!!

12 points from Italy to Austria. The entire Austrian delegation is practically in tears. This is a beautiful night.

OK. Wow. There are three countries still to vote, but no one can beat Austria now. They've won. OMG.

Conchita's so happy that I'm almost wondering if she'll be able to sing one more time. :-) Especially now that she even got the last 12 ... !!!


Thomas Neuwirth for president ... !!

Seriously. This is just exactly perfectly right. The best entry, a performer who really has a message, and a very important message too. And Europe embraced it. Seriously. Best Eurovision ever.

I love this entry. And I love the thought of all the Russian heads exploding right now. >:-)

The lyrics to this song are now incredibly profound.

Thank you, Denmark, for an absolutely fantastic show. And thank you, Europe, for making such a fantastic statement. Vienna 2015!!!

Vote Austria!!!

OK, so I just have to post something before the show starts, I'm super nervous and just can't wait for it to just happen already ... !!! so we'll all know how it'll go. :-) I am SOO hoping for Austria to win tonight. I think the field is wide open and pretty much anything can happen tonight ... there's no obviously brilliant song that's guaranteed to leave everyone else in the dust, like Fairytale or Euphoria. But Austria's entry is my total favorite, and although the song isn't perhaps the best this year qua song, the entry as a whole is hands down the best in this year's lineup. And the performance ... !! They've made quite a few changes from their national final and absolutely everything's just made it better. A fantastic presentation and a wonderful performance. Conchita's no Maria Callas, but who cares! She's the perfect performer for this song and the whole thing is just clearly the best. So vote for Austria, people!!

VIENNA 2015 ... !!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Eurovision bingo for Copenhagen 2014

So, I made a bingo game for the big night tomorrow. My first effort at this, which means it will probably be better next year. ;-)

Just posting it in case anyone else might feel like printing it out and using it. Feel free to do so. :-)

(It's in Norwegian, because everyone at our party either is Norwegian or speaks Norwegian.)

Copenhagen 2014 - Random thoughts III

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Copenhagen 2014 - second semi-final

THIS IS IT ... !!!

Yay yay yay ... ! We're back!! And now, yeah, this really is it. Do or die for Silent Storm. I have faith in our entry this year, I seriously do ... I'm happy to say that we really have a quality song this year. That doesn't happen every year, so yay us. :-)

A rather arty opening with lots of music and weird dance. Modern. Why the hell not, go nuts! I'm already so convinced that this will be good that they'll have to really screw up to make me change my mind.

Ooh, a virtual tree. That's so pretty. And with apples falling ... ooh. Pretty.

And now, our gracious hosts. The guys in boring suits, the gal in another unbecoming dress. But this is slightly better than Tuesday's. Seriously curious about what she'll be wearing on Saturday. Again, so happy that we can only vote after the performances are over ... and that there's a cap on the number of votes from each phone number. Still not ideal, but much better.

Malta starts the show, making their flag with fireworks. Nice. But the song's just way to meh. Not the best song to open with. But of course that's what you get with the luck of the draw. Actually this is sounding better than the studio version ... much more engaging. I actually kind of like this now. But still, probably too generic to get anywhere. And samey.

Israel, making their flag with a ... what now? Huh. This is one of those songs that are kind of freaky but that just hook you anyway. Her performance is much milder than I'd expected though. Maybe she's been asked to tone it down a bit. :-) She is so super aggressive in the video ... but it fits the song. She's too smiley now, the lyrics are so serious, she shouldn't be smiling. The song sounds really catchy but her performance, while energetic, is wrong for it now. IMO. But she definitely has the arena going. This is what really opened the show. ;-)

Norway! Our performer, who is a glazer, of course makes our flag from a window. Aww. But can he sing?? The arena's full of fans, sounds like. He better not smile at them ... !! Seriously though, this is such a beautiful song. We really don't need all these effects ... the smoke, the lights, the four (!!) violinists ... it's overdoing it, IMO. It was better in Oslo, where it was just Carl Espen and a pianist, nothing fancy at all. But he's doing a great job, he's emotional and genuine and really showing off his beautiful voice. Yep, this is good. We're in. :-)

Georgia next, with a flag made from glasses of wine. And a bizarro entry made of garbage. They sound weird, they look weird, and the song literally takes one minute to even start. The last two minutes aren't worth waiting for. Seriously, what were they thinking. They should have saves their money. This is just total weirdness and not even charming. Blech.

Poland ... !! OK, they have been slammed for being trashy, and I thought they totally were too when I first saw them, and heard their entry, but this has seriously grown on me. I like this a lot now, I listen to it all the time. I hope they'll get through. Kind of a shame that they've been talked into singing mostly in Polish, and of course it doesn't have the same effect with so few people on stage ... and hearing it now I have to say this doesn't pack the punch the studio version does. It's less catchy in real life. :-) But still one of the entries that I have ended up really liking despite myself. And I like how they're just going all out with the Polish thing (interesting, because I would totally hate it if, say, Ireland did that ;-). And it's good that they're singing mostly in Polish. So yay, go Poland. :-)

Another silly record. Clapping. Austria has the record. I should have guessed ... !! because Austria is up next. GO AUSTRIA ... !!!

Hosts, still in the same outfits, thanking the fans. And introducing Austria. Yay!!

Conchita makes their flag out of evening gowns, of course. Ooh, I'm shivering in expectation. Gotta turn up the volume on my TV set. :-) OK, I've heard her sing better. But she's looking gorgeous, the dress is beautiful ... and the presentation is fantastic, OMG, I love it!! Austria!! I love you guys!! I SO want to see this on Saturday ... !! THIS SONG IS SO FANTASTIC I LOVE IT SO MUCH PLEASE VOTE FOR IT ... !! Wow. I has a happy. This was perfect. THIS IS EUROVISION YOU GUYS ... !!1

Lithuania. One of my least favorites. OMG her outfit ... ! Dumb outfit, annoying song with ridiculous lyrics. Epilepsy-inducing presentation. The best thing I can say about this is that it's making Austria look AMAZING in comparison.

Finland, making their flag out of blocks of ice. Nice. This is another song that has really grown on me. It's not a great entry, and the presentation's not doing it any favors, but it's very enjoyable to listen to. Compared to Attention it's a masterpiece. The poor singer sounds out of breath after the first two minutes. :-) But the song's pretty catchy, nothing wrong with it. Probably too bland though to get very far.

Ireland. Flag made from balloons. Clever. I really like their song this year, it's very catchy and has a really good beat, but they'll probably mess it up by bashing us over the head with Celtic knots and what have you. And ... yep. OMG they even have Irish dancers. IDIOTS. The song itself is Irish enough, we don't need all this other crap. And she's not singing very well .... and what's with the dress, seriously. And she's looking very stern. Alas! I had certain hopes for Ireland this year, but I fear they're fading very fast now ... Still a very catchy song, but rather badly performed and presented. :-(

Oh no, Belarus ... !! Shudder. Maybe the worst entry this year. A flag made out of hockey pucks can't save it. This song is just so totally, dare I say it ... cheesy. BUT I will give them this, that they're sounding, and looking, a hell of a lot better than they did in their national final. Then again that wouldn't take much. >:-)

Macedonia. With a flag made from ... sound waves. Wow. Oh, I love what they're doing with the flag colors transferring to the #JoinUs diamond. I like this entry, kind of ... the song itself is really nice, pretty, a nice melody ... but the presentation is weird, I'm not sure I get this guy in white running around. And her singing isn't the best we've heard tonight, to put it diplomatically. Optimism fading for Macedonia too ...

Switzerland. Sebalter making their flag from dominoes. Or domino-shaped things. Yet another song that has really grown on me. I'm crossing my fingers for this entry ... the Swiss keep getting a bum deal in the ESC, they've sent several really good songs that haven't even gotten through to the final. Hoping that won't happen this year. This is catchy, charming, a kind of "loud" presentation, but fun too ... I like this entry more and more every time I hear it. Good luck to Switzerland!

Our hostess reminding us to vote. And a silly record, for ... people licking their lips? Ireland has the record. Johnny Logan ... ! LOL!

Greece! Flag made from towel and shells. :-) This was a song that I felt sure I wouldn't like when I heard what kind of music it was, but then when I heard it found myself really liking it immediately. The intro's so cool. Great singers they're not, though. And while the song is catchy and has a really interestng beat, it does get kind of repetitive. It's a ... ooh, there's the trampoline ... song that you don't want to listen to too many times, it can get on your nerves. But hopefully most people aren't like me and haven't heard all the songs dozens of times already. ;-)

Slovenia, flag made out of books. What's not to like about that. :-) Another good intro. And a striking presentation. I like that the song is partly in Slovenian and partly in English. And it's catchy too, not exactly memorable, but really catchy when you're listening to it. I like this. Getting a little dizzy from the swirling blue lights, though. :-)

Romania. Ovi and Paula are making their flag out of ... let's see .... reflections from fireworks on water. Paula's got a bunch of fans in the arena. :-) I like this entry, but it's not as good as Playing With Fire. It's catchy and has a good beat but it doesn't just instantly grab you like that song did. Oh jebus a circular piano ... ! Seriously ... I do like the song, but really, a truly quality entry doesn't need bizarre gimmicks like that. I would LOVE to see Romania win one day, but with this song ... not so much. A fun entry though, and a great way to end the performances. We'll definitely be seeing this again on Saturday. :-)

Ooh, the voting is about to begin ... !!

A runthrough of all 15 songs. Doesn't matter to me, I don't need it, I already know who's getting my votes. Go Austria ... !!! :-D

A word from the hostess - a shoutout to Australia ... ! Aw, sweet. They deserve it. :-) But so annoying that they're making the joke "you can't be in the contest, you're not in Europe" ... that just confuses people who really do think that that is the rule. What's Israel doing here, then? The answer is of course that the contest is for EBU members, not European countries. Still, really cool that they're making a point of the Australian fans. Fun interval entertainment. :-)

OK, ten votes to Austria. My civic duty is done. :-) Oh, OK, two for Switzerland as well. :-)

Another runthrough.

OK, some guesses. Let's see. This is a hard one to call. I'll say I'm certain about these:
Norway ;-)

Pretty sure about Poland too. Slovenia? Other than that, sheesh ... !! I want to say I'm sure about Switzerland, but ... if that song had been sent by anyone else, I'd say it was a shoe-in, but since it's Swiss there's just no telling. But fingers crossed.

There will definitely be some not stellar entries getting through tonight though ... since ten of these songs will be in the final, this is unavoidable. ;-) But some are too crappy even so. Hoping we won't see these again:

Of course there's one entry I'm dying to see get through though ... ! Austria! If there is justice in the world then Austria will have gotten through ... ! But of course there isn't enough of just that ... and far too much prejudice against people who don't fit the standard mold, especially in ... certain areas. :-(

Loving this medley of dancers from all over Europe and of all ages, what a brilliant idea. And so cheap, I'd imagine. Way to go, DR! :-)

A saunter through the green room ...

Silly record, though this one actually isn't entirely silly - longest note held, and the record goes to Malta, for 13 seconds.

Wow, Conchita has a whole arena full of fans there ... !! A good sign! But our singer in 2011 had lots of fans in the arena too and we all know how that went, so I'm still in dread of what may happen, or rather not happen, in the next fifteen minutes. I has a nervous ... !!

Brief presentation of the big five and our host. Same as Tuesday. Yay Spain. :-)

Checking in with Jon Ola ... who's not ready with the votes, what a shock! Technical difficulties? Oh well, another runthrough, why not. Augh, I'm so nervous ... !!

Eek! The results are ready! NERVOUSNESS ... !!!

And the finalists are ...
Switzerland! Oh yay!! HAPPY!
Slovenia. Yep.
Poland. Unsurprisingly.
Romania, of course.
Norway, of course. ;-)
Greece. Yes.
Malta! Really?
Belarus! What the fuck??
Finland. Good for them.

OMG they made it! Does this mean that there is a god?? ;-) YAY AND HURRAY!!!

OK, so, seven out of ten tonight. And one that I seriously thought we'd gotten rid of. But we got through, and most importantly, Austria made it!! I has a SUPER happy!! :-D

Vienna 2015 ... !!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Copenhagen 2014 - first semi-final

Seriously, when I hear the Te Deum, it's one notch below hearing the national anthem. Seriously. Shivers down my spine.

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

Very good intro. Casual, down to earth, takes us back to last year and reminds us of the winner without rubbing our noses in it. Excellent.

Of course they have to open with their winning entry from last year. A good way to do it though. I'm impressed so far.

Three good-looking hosts, but what a hideous dress she's wearing. Sheesh, I really don't understand fashion.

The usual lame chitchat. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. It's like Christmas. How can anyone not love this. Swoon!

I'm very happy that the voting doesn't start until after the songs have all been performed. Also happy that there is a limit to the number of votes from each phone number now. 20's still a lot, but at least there's a limit.

Brilliant idea to make the performers make their country flags ... ! Love it. Oh Denmark, I knew you would come through.

Armenia ... !! Ooh, that's cool with the #JoinUs diamond switching to each nation's colors like that. Yay for DR!

But yes, Armenia. Alone on stage, good. Awful lot of effects though, that may overpower the song itself a bit. Then again it's the first song, they always do want to open with a bang, so to speak. Hm. Pretty good performance, and got going pretty soon, which is a plus for this song which is kind of a slow starter in the studio version. Not at all bad. But doesn't quite live up to the massive favorite hype ...

Of course the Latvians have to bake a cake with their flag ... !! Aww. A silly song, but fun, and can be really charming if they get it right. Looks like they do. Certainly charming the arena. And it is catchy. There aren't a lot of songs this year that you can sort of instantly hum. This is definitely one of them and that may really work in their favor. Nowhere near as repetitive as I feared it might get. Hm.

Estonia ... and they're building their flag with containers! So cool, I love it. They've kept the original choreography for their entry and it's quite memorable. Nice touch making the stage floor look like a plain hardwood floor like you'd see in a dance studio. Walls that give the same impression too. The song is ... it's good, it's actually really good when you listen to it, but I worry that it may not stick in people's minds qua song, but mostly for the presentation. We'll see.

Ahahaha, Sweden made their flag from a swimming pool. Clever clogs. This is one of my favorites this year, despite the broken English. SO happy for Sanna that she finally made it all the way to the international final. But the big question is, what is she wearing?? Yes, something much much more becoming than what she wore in Stockholm. Whew. She's so pretty, the song is so beautiful ... Ooh, lighting extravaganza. She's alone on stage, that's the right choice. Good performance. Very good actually. The arena loves her. Yay Sweden! If this doesn't get through then I don't know what to say.

Iceland. Flag made in the snow with colored lights. An ESC first: this is the first time an incumbent MP has performed in the contest. He's the purple teletubby. This song is unique in this year's lineup, I think, at least for me: every time I hear it, I like it less. The opposite is happening with pretty much every other song. This just gets more and more annoying. I don't even agree with the message in the song. Inside we're certainly not all the same. Sheesh. I guess people may find this entertaining but I hope it won't get through.

A slight break with some entertaining silliness. Highest hair in ESC history? Duh, Jedward! Yep.

Albania. I like their song, it's pretty, but may be a little too bland. Ooh, their flag as a tattoo on their performer's back ... ! Seriously? If so, respect. :-D Aw. She's so cute and her voice, wow. She really has a very unusual voice. If nothing else, people will remember her voice. Her performance is ... kind of ... weirdly intense. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Guitar solo from a guy in very casual clothes, doesn't really go with her evening gown ... OK, a good entry, but yes, too bland. Nothing catchy. Good luck though, Albania! :-)

Russia. I really like their song. Flag made from LED decorations, OK. But the song is seriously pretty. Wait what? Do they have their hair braided together? Wut? OK, no, it was just a trick. Wow, they are really playing the twin thing with this teeter-totter. Hope nobody falls off. Ooh, smoke ... and a random hunky backing singer. Nope, he's not random, he's there to make the sun rise! LOL! Ahahaha, those wacky Russians. Not unexpectedly their choreography is seriously OTT, but the song is really good. Beautiful. They will definitely get through, no question.

Azerbaijan. Flag painted in light, with basically a lightsaber. :-D Another beautiful song. This one even more so though. And no doubt with a MUCH more low-key choreography. The song is so strong that it really doesn't need anything more than just her voice and a heartfelt performance. That's one stunning dress she's wearing, wow. This acrobat is a bit unnecessary though. And Dilara's a bit ... smiley. But, well, overall, this is one of this year's strongest entries. Kudos.

Ukraine. Flag made with post-its and a train car. Nice. :-) The song though, hm. It was really awful in their national final, I've heard it's supposed to be much better now. Well ... Better yes, but much? The hamster wheel is fun to look at, but what does it have to do with the song? Her performance is kind of ... meh. The whole thing looks a little weird to me. People may remember it just because of the hamster wheel if nothing else, but seriously, as a song, not really. IMO. :-)

Belgium. Norman Axel knits their flag. Why am I not surprised. And why is this song not in Flemish or French?? It's a beautiful ballad, but the lyrics are JUST SO CREEPY that I just want to drag the pair of them out back and set fire to them. Seriously. The fact that that dancer in the back there is actually his actual mother is just beyond weird. Please no one vote for this, I soo don't want to see this ever again.

Moldova. The flag created by three clay jugs. Hm. I get that. What I don't get is what the hell this song is about. I was hoping that this performance would make it clearer, but no. The song is interesting, at least while you're listening to it, but what are they trying to say? This choreography just confuses me more. I don't think I'm the only one. o_O

San Marino. Yay Valentina!! She's painting their flag. And now she gets to sing for her country, again ... ! LOL! I really like this song though. She's very smiley, I'm not sure that's right for this rather philosophical song. But it's a very pretty melody and I like it more and more I every time I hear it. I don't really have very high hopes for this, to be honest, but I like it a lot and I'm hoping for the best. :-)

Showing off the trophy ...

Another little bit of silliness. Most silver ever? Ukraine!! No contest ... !! :-D

Lame jokes from the hosts. :-)

Portugal. One of the best AND worst entries this year. Fantastic song that at least in their national final was presented in basically the tackiest way ever. Will they have improved it? After using body paint to create their flag, they haven't given me high hopes. And ... no. NO. And she's singing badly too. Ouch. Seriously, Portugal. No wonder you guys have never gotten anywhere. You either have a bad song or you have a good one that you totally fuck over. Sheesh. Her makeup and the drummer's body paint have improved, but her dress is a lot sluttier than her other outfit. Which I guess people like, she really has the arena going ... ! Well, it's an incredibly catchy song. But I don't think that those of us who see the whole thing all the time in proper closeup will be quite as enthusiastic ...

The Netherlands. One of the year's best songs. SO hoping that they get through. A really unusual song in the lineup so I'm hoping that will work in their favor. Hopefully people won't think it's too American ... even though it kind of is ... but it's also just so good that that just shouldn't matter. Fingers crossed. Nice choreography. Ooh, I love the black and white thing they have going on here, very cool. They're getting the arena going too. Fingers crossed!! They have to get through, seriously.

Montenegro. Their flag in a puzzle. That kind of seems like cheating, but whatever. The song is so pretty ... ! I'd be thrilled to se them in the final for the first time. Ooh, a rollerblader instead of a dancer. Clever. :-) And look how the light's following her around. Aw, it's so pretty. And the song too! This may be this year's most beautiful ballad - except ours, of course. ;-) This is by far and away their best entry ever. I would love to see them get rewarded for this excellent entry. I wish I could vote for them, but this isn't our semi. :-(

Hungary. András is making their flag from Rubik's cubes. Hah! But what will the entry look like? All these actors running around? Or will they trust us to understand the lyrics? Seems like it's the latter. With lots of flashing lights. Or, OK ... two dancers act out the basic plot. But it's nowhere near as in-our-faces as it was in their national final. Good. This is much better. And the song itself has quite an impact too. Love the ending to this choreography, very well done.

That's it!! Over so soon. :-( Thank goodness this is only the first of three nights. ;-) The voting's about to begin, not that that matters to us here in Norway. Alas. Now a brief runthrough of all 16 songs. And I'll have to try to make some educated guesses here. Let me think ...

Some interval entertainment ... inspired by HC Andersen. Oh wow, I never would have guessed! :-D Ballet. Pretty. Mixing different styles of dance. This is actually quite creative. Interesting. So far the Danes have done very well indeed. :-)

OK, some guesses. I'm pretty much convinced that the following will make it through:

Also pretty sure of these:
The Netherlands

And maybe Latvia? Also really hoping for Montenegro ... and San Marino, although I'm not too optimistic for the latter. :-)

Hopefully Iceland and Belgium will just go away till next year.

Another runthrough. Fun to see all the performers on their way to the green room. :-)

Voting's over!

Now for the real interval entertainment ... ! Comedy, not unexpectedly. Wonderful Copenhagen! :-D

Checking in with the performers in the green room. Still in that awful dress, wtf is that about?

Another silly record, biggest shoulderpads. Jedward again. Will we ever be rid of them ...

A look at the entries from the Big Five and our gracious host. Actually pretty good this year, all six of them. Seriously.

Ooh, the big reveal ... !! At least after our friend in the awful dress sucks up to Jon Ola Sand a little bit. The vote is legit. :-) Now - the moment of truth ... ! :-o

And the finalists are ...
Montenegro! YES!!! Happy!!
Hungary. Yep.
Russia, of course. The arena's booing them, seriously??! :-o
Armenia, unsurprisingly.
Azerbaijan. Yep yep.
San Marino! OMG yes!! :-D
Ukraine. A mysterious favorite that came through. I'm actually looking forward to seeing the hamster wheel again. I liked the hamster wheel. Don't ask me why.
Sweden! Of course. But whew. I has nerves. :-)
The Netherlands! Yay!!!
Iceland! Damnit! I always screw up with one ... !

Runthrough of the finalists. I'm pretty happy with this list. My guesses were pretty accurate, I'd say. Eight out of ten's pretty good. And like I said, I always screw one up. :-) At least it wasn't Belgium ... !! ;-)

That's it for tonight. A very good show. Saturday's going to be awesomeness. :-) HOW SHALL I ENDURE THE WAIT ... !!!

By watching the second semi on Thursday, of course. I can hardly wait. :-)

Wheee ... !!!

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

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



Copenhagen 2014 - Random thoughts I

My thoughts on the entries in this year's first semi-final.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

ESC 2014 - the Norwegian final

Just so it's said: I don't like the format this year, and I don't think they've made a great choice in hosts either. Solbakken is OK, but Skavlan is no good ... and she seems to be dragging Solbakken down to her level. Without the so-called expert panel we were forced to endure in the semis, though, this is at least somewhat better.

And I quite like the Mammon spoof. Although it's hardly necessary - that show practically spoofed itself.

But! I'm very happy with the songs we've got to choose from. There were actually no ridiculously bad entries this year. Unlike what can be said about Copenhagen. But we've done well this year. Yay us. :-)

Entry #1: Ain't No Love (In This City No More) performed by El Cuero. I really like this entry. It would be cool to send this - some real rock'n'roll. It's really catchy, I love the chorus especially. They're real pros and they perform the song very well. Their band name may be a handicap though. I think this may do very well tonight ... it may appeal to the older generation where I know a lot of people will be watching. However, on the assumption that it's mostly the younger viewers who actually vote, that may be a handicap instead.

Entry #2: Sole Survivor performed by Elisabeth Carew. A pretty song, performed by a beautiful woman in a beautiful dress. That can't be wrong. :-) She sings it well, her voice fits the song well, and she's confident on stage ... it's a strong entry and should do well. What I don't like about it is the presentation - I resent it when songs are presented in our national final with a choreography that we can't use in the international final. It's kind of cheating. What you see will not be what you get. The song itself is a contender though.

Entry #3: Taste of You performed by Knut Kippersund Nesdal. Now this guy is really talented, he's so enthusiastic on stage and it really shines through. That's one of the things that can really bring in the votes internationally. And the song is good too, catchy, with a strong melodic line and a good chorus. I really like that he's alone on stage, that's a plus in my book. His voice is really good, and has character, I like him a lot as a singer. I would be happy to see this win although I don't think it will.

Entry #4: Needs performed by Dina Misund. A pretty ballad, but the blandest song in the lineup so far. Kind of ... fine while you're listening to it, but three minutes after it's over you can't hum it to save your life. I was actually surprised when this got through from the first semi, I didn't expect it to. I have nothing against it, but it also does nothing for me. Can't imagine this as our winner.

Entry #5: Heal performed by Mo. This is not the song I want to win, but it's the one I'm scared can really menace my preferred winner. Norwegians are stupid enough to actually vote this all the way to the top ... I don't know what's up with that, I really don't. We should pick the song that has the best chance to win, right? And this isn't it. It's not a bad song, not at all ... it's actually a good pop song. But it's a generic pop song. It's just that. And the singer's not that good, he's OK, but not what you'd call good. Plus the presentation has the same problem as Sole Survivor ... although in this case the choreography could easily be scaled down to fit the requirements. But I still resent it. There was a big cheer in the audience for this entry. I hope the TV audience is a little more clever. But past evidence indicates otherwise, alas. Fingers crossed that this won't win.

Entry #6: High Hopes performed by Linnea Dale. Oooh ... !! Now this is one of the songs I definitely want to see win. One of my top two favorites this year. I dig this song. It's almost a little magical moment to me when I hear this. The very first time I heard it, after just one minute I was totally in love with it. I mean, just listen to this. Her gorgeous voice, her performance, that melody, the lyrics ... this song is just the total package. Europe would so totally vote for this. And I will too.

Entry #7: Hit Me Up performed by Charlie. OK, not that there's any chance whatsoever of this winning, but if it did, I would seriously lose faith in humanity. Not that it's a bad song, it's fun to listen too, and while the singer is quite silly she is also very young and this is what you expect from this kind of bubblegum pop thing. But how anyone could hear this song immediately after High Hopes and then proceed to vote for the bubblegum ... that defies my powers of credulity. Let's all just forget about this.

Entry #8: Silent Storm performed by Carl Espen. OMG here it comes ... !!! This is my absolute #1 favorite this year. We MUST send this song. This is the perfect choice. This burly tattooed guy in a denim shirt and a beard comes out on stage and sings this sensitive ballad, and he has this AMAZING voice that just rips your heart out of your chest and leaves it bleeding on the floor ... !!! And his performance is soo emotional and genuine. They will love that down east.

We must send this song. And we will. I know something you don't.

Entry #9: Sing perfomed by Oda & Wulff. I was really happy to see this come through from the final. It's the funnest entry this year. I love their voices. They really have character. The song is so entertaining too. A very fun entry, really. Of course it can't win. But it's fun to see something like this in the lineup. I has amusement. Kudos to them.

OK, that's the whole thing. Now some of the songs will get through to a second round. My nerves ... !! My two favorites will get through, but so will their biggest threat. Augh, my nerves ... !!

I'm not a fan of this format, but I really like these little nostalgic collages in the intervals. More of those please. Although they are rather squirm-inducing.

So, now there's a break for some other program, and when we start up again in what, 40 minutes? four songs will be through to the final round. These will be Silent Storm, Heal, High Hopes and Taste of You, is my so-called guess. Like I said, I know something you don't.

Sole Survivor is totally bombing. I am slightly shocked by how badly it's doing. Like, Sing is totally crushing it. Wow.

Aaand ... we're back. My nerves have rather settled for the moment, since I know ... well, what I know. And the details have reassured me. But still, it's not certain yet. I'm still nervous, anyway. :-)

A quick runthrough of the songs, since we may have forgotten them in the 40 minutes that have passed.

Now they're going to go over the four songs. In random order, they say, but the order is actually this:
Silent Storm
High Hopes
Taste of You

Silent Storm ended ahead of the others by ... quite a bit. Then the other three are in a relatively even group. I'm pretty confident right now. Just hoping the foolish teenagers don't rally around Heal at the last moment. Fingers crossed ... !!!

Taste of You performed again. Still good. But, well, yeah. This is not our man.

Silent Storm is next. Called second but actually definitely in first place at this point. However, when it was competing against eight other songs, some of them not real contenders, then that was one situation. Now that it'll be up against only three entries, and they are all quite strong, well, that's something else again. I'm nervous ... !! If only your average Norwegian was a little brainier I'd be less so. But, augh. Fingers crossed again.

His performance ... !!! His voice!! We seriously HAVE GOT TO SEND THIS, people!!!

I'm seriously feeling shivers down my spine right now. And this guy has never performed in public before entering this contest ... !!! He will have all of Europe transfixed on May 10th. PLEASE vote for this entry!!!

It's a little mean of them to take such endlessly long artistic pauses between "the next finalist is" and the performer's name. Seriously. I say I have nerves, but these people ... !!

Heal is next. Actually in second place. Ho-hum ...

Stella Mwangi's hair ... !!! :-o

I actually kind of like Heal better each time I hear it. It's growing on me. It's not at all a bad song, in fact, it's pretty good for what it is. The singer would be a major handicap though. You all know what I mean. I personally don't have anything against us shooting ourselves in the foot like that, on principle - I dug it when we sent Stella, because that song was so cool and it was fantastic to be the first nation performing in Swahili, and in any case we didn't really have much to choose from that time - but in practice ... I do have something against it when we have something SO MUCH BETTER that we can send and have the chance to do really really well. A fantastic singer against a just OK one, and a great song against a good one. And the performances, well ...

To do really well in the ESC an entry has to appeal across the board. Both east and west have to like it. And I promise you, down east they are going to love Carl Espen's sincere and emotional performance. A slightly androgynous Somalian teenager*? Doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell. That's the reality.

*He may not be a teenager anymore, I'm not sure exactly how old he is. But he looks like a kid.

But I wouldn't care about any of that, I would happily see us bomb, if this was the best song. If the songs were switched between these two singers, then hell yes, send the Somalian. But they're not. Silent Storm is a much better song and for several reasons a much stronger entry. It really is the only choice.

Oh ... !! They're keeping their votes from the first round! YES!!! Then Silent Storm already has a significant head start. OMG nerves ... !!

A couple of old contestants to keep us entertained while we wait. And as they sing Silent Storm is pulling ahead. Way ahead. And High Hopes moving up to second place. Faith in humanity restored ... !!

The hosts are so unprofessional though, it's embarrassing ... !! Sheesh!

OK, Stella is so pretty even with that hair. Her smile ... !! She's going to read the east country votes. This is the most densely populated area of the country, so this is where the most votes will have come in. Mine among them. I've voted like 15 times for Silent Storm. :-) The results are very even between Silent Storm and Heal. But it'll only be here that Heal ends up in first place, I guarantee it.

Jørn Hoel with the votes from the north. Silent Storm pulls ahead. Yep yep.

Margaret Berger with the votes from ... what, the midlands? :-) Silent Storm wins again. It's still even, but that won't last.

Helene Bøksle from the south country. Wow, it's even!! But Silent Storm still ahead.

Christine Gulbrandsen representing the west country. Now they must have liked Silent Storm. Melancholy and all that. Plus Carl Espen is from Bergen. And OMG YES! They've gone crazy for it! And Silent Storm is our entry. YAY YAY YAY!!


Carl Espen has a happy too. Aw. :-)