Saturday, May 23, 2015

Vienna 2015 - final!!

Be still, my heart ... !

We finished our dinner just in time - wienerschnitzel in Austria's honor :-) - and now we are SO ready for the show ... ! :-) Great opening with the orchestra. Flashes from Copenhagen, and now from Vienna ... and then to the Stadthalle. I am atremble ... !!

A tribute to Udo Jürgens, very fitting. Merci, chérie morping into Rise Like A Phoenix, clever ... and now, Conchita!! In hot pink sequins! :-D Ooh, and they're doing the same thing the Danes did last year, they have a theme song. But even better than Copenhagen, the song has the same title as their slogan. The hosts are singing too. Conchita flies! Children on stage are singing the theme song! Fantastic. :-)

An Austrian rapper, and more from the children singing ... and the hosts welcome us all. Whee!!

Now all the performers on stage with their flags. I LOVE this way of presenting all the contestants. I'm trying to listen for who gets the biggest cheers, but that doesn't really mean much in this context ... because that's all down to who's got the biggest delegation in the audience, and that's rather too much down to location and other non-related things.

Aww, fans all over the world! Wonderful! So adorable. :-)

A little chitchat and, omg, we are on!! :-o

Slovenia - Here For You. One of my absolutely top faves this year. I love this!! The melody is fantastic, such a fantastic beat ... and her voice is so cool. Great performance. Yay! Ljubljana 2016!! :-D Calyx is not a fan of the voice ... :-)

France - N'oubliez pas. What will this look like? Huh. A city in ruins ... and white doves taking flight. So we shouldn't forget ... the horrors of war? Ooh, and they've found a way to get around the rules about only six people on stage. Hm. The presentation is kind of interesting, but the song is too ... boring. Nope, no way. We will all forget this.

Israel - Golden Boy. Another of my favorites. Such a great beat, a wonderful entry. And I love the lyrics. Just cheesy enough. :-) The kind of fun lyrics that you tend to get at Eurovision - English-language lyrics written by non-English speakers. I love it. And the performance is significantly better than on Thursday. My hopes are rising ... !!

Estonia - Goodbye to Yesterday. Not among my favorites as such, but I really like this entry. A very good melody. I really like her voice. And a good presentation, simple. They won't get that far, I don't think. But they can hold their heads up.

United Kingdom - Still In Love With You. Still scratching my head over this one. I really don't know what they were thinking. I think it's a fun melody, but it's just so incredibly wrong for Eurovision. The presentation make it even more annoying, if that was possible. Another no-hoper for Britain! Our commentator was inspired to make a couple of really funny jokes, though.

Armenia - Face the Shadow. A beautiful song, and I like their presentation and their outfits. And the backstory is of course powerful and important. But the song is just too bland for it to really have potential.

Lithuania - This Time. My mystery contestant. But this is growing on me a little bit. Not that I would vote for it myself, but I can kind of see why other people would. It's a fun entry. They're really getting the arena going. No wonder after the last couple of entries, I guess ...

Serbia - Beauty Never Lies. Ooh, my favorite ... !! I love this entry, it's soo beautiful ... I love this melody, and her voice ... ! Her performance is much better than on Tuesday too. Awesomesauce!! Go Bojana!! The audience is going crazy for her. YAY Serbia!! Belgrade 2016! :-D

Norway - A Monster Like Me. A beautiful song, excellent singers, a very good presentation ... and the audience is really into it ... but it just may be too depressing. But they don't think so in the Stadthalle ... hm. N. really likes this, he hadn't heard it before, he thinks it's very interesting. And that a lot of the other entries aren't capturing his interest. Hm. Yes, We will definitely be getting quite a few votes from the Balkans ... :-)

Sweden - Heroes. Very catchy, a great beat, and I do like Zelmerlöv. I just feel so strongly that he should have represented Sweden in 2007. :-( The one thing I don't like about this is that the presentation has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of the song. Whatever that may be, I guess. Also, hummingbirds, as far as I know, don't actually sing. Anyway ... I like this, and I won't be sad if it wins ... except that I would LOVE for us to do better than them just to shove their arrogant faces in it.

Cyprus - One Thing I Should Have Done.  This is so sweet! Absolutely charming. I like this so much. Probably too low key to really get anywhere, but it would be hilarious if it did. :-) Totally charming and deserves every vote it'll get. :-)

Australia - Tonight Again. Oh, the uniqueness!! So cool that Australia is here this year. They'll get a bunch of votes just for being new and exotic. But this really is a fantastic song. Such a great beat, wonderful singer and a very good performance ...the presentation is weird, and the female backing dancer's outfit is hideous, but you can't win 'em all. Wonderful entry for Australia. Definitely a potential winner.

Belgium - Rhythm Inside. I really like this entry too. And I dig their presentation too. Experimental. :-) I think this is too weird for the audience in general, but I love the fact that it's here. Kudos to the Belgians for sending something so ... outside the box. The only innovative entry so far this year, says Calyx.

Austria - I Am Yours. I really like this entry. Lovely melody, great rhythm, wonderful lyrics. Totally charming entry. Yay for the host!! But of course nobody wants them to actually win ... :-D

To the green room and Conchita ... and some bad jokes. Aah, traditions ... !! :-)

Greece - One Last Breath. One of my least favorites this year. OMG she looks exactly like Cat Deeley, I never noticed that before. Her singing is so annoying ... all those breaths and pants. Annoying. Calyx says she must be very badly trained as that is one of the first things you learn to avoid in voice lessons. I don't know, I just know I don't think it sounds good. And the song itself, regardless of the singer, is just bland. Meh.

Montenegro - Adio. One of the most beautiful entries this year. I love this. Absolutely beautiful melody. A lovely Balkan ballad. N. is unimpressed ... and he's Serbian, so I'm willing to take his opinion into consideration. But I think this is beautiful. And major kudos for singing in their own language.

Germany - Black Smoke. I like this song a lot, but the others aren't fans. Calyx loathes the presentation. I'm not a big fan of it either. It's very choreographed and ... sort of calculated. I like this less tonight than I ever have before, actually. Hm. And what the hell is she smiling for, this is supposed to be sad??

Poland - In the Name of Love. A beautiful but not very memorable entry. Very cutesy presentation, A lovely song, and a beautiful singer with a good voice, but what's going to make us remember it? The wheelchair? Another entry that's just too bland.

Latvia - Love Injected. Like Belgium, this may be too weird, but I'm so thrilled to have it in the final. Creative and original. Wonderful! I love the chorus. And the presentation is fantastic. Major kudos to Latvia. N. thinks this is the winner. o_O I'm not entirely convinced ... :-)

Romania - De la capat. N. likes the singer's jewellery. :-) I like it too, plus I also really like the song. A very good melody, but too ... even, if that makes sense. A good band and a very good performance, plus the presentation is good, interesting. And I really like their subject matter. An topic that's actually important. Kudos. But a little too bland, alas.

Spain - Amanecer. Another of these powerful ballads that are lovely to listen to but very quickly forgotten. That thing with the cloak and the dress is the most memorable thing about this entry. Nothing wrong with this entry, but I'm pretty sure we won't be tuning in to Madrid next year.

Hungary - Wars for Nothing. N. thought Cyprus was dull, so I guess he may fall asleep during this one. :-) I like it a lot, though. Lovely melody, beautiful presentation, lovely singer with a beautiful voice. Important message, of course. But is it too low key? Probably. N. is still awake but not impressed. :-)

Georgia - Warrior. Now he's awake ... !! :-D So is the Stadthalle, by the sound of it. This entry certainly has a memorable presentation. Striking. Cool that she's alone on stage even with a song that seems to just beg for a crazy dance routine. It has crazy lyrics instead! A powerful entry.

Azerbaijan - Hour of the Wolf. One of the best ballads this year. An absolutely beautiful melody. I really like the presentation too. It makes a little bit more sense of the title. :-) I don't think it has what it takes to reach the top - but then I didn't think their 2011 entry had that either, so what do I know? :-) Definitely a very good entry from Azerbaijan, as usual.

Russia - A Million Voices. Another of the very best ballads this year. Beautiful song ... and a beautiful singer. It's so interesting that the Russians keep sending these songs about peace and fellowship across borders ... ! This is definitely memorable enough to make it very far ... maybe even all the way.

Albania - I'm Alive. Another singer who smiles while singing something supposed to be sad. Oh well, at least in this song the sad part passed quickly. Pretty singer, pretty song ... beautiful while you're listening, but by the time the Italians are halfway through their song we won't be able to hum this one to save our lives. And people are calling this a favorite? Nope.

Italy - Grande amore. Now this entry has it all! This is Eurovision! :-D Italian opera-singing hipsters ... and boy, can they sing! The kid with the glasses especially, he's fantastic. Grande amore!! :-D OMG they are SO Italian. And the old ruins ... !! :-D This is fantastic. They just have no shame. They have pulled out absolutely all the stops ... and why not?? :-D So fantastic. I love it. We all love it. This is seriously a contender. A wonderful way to close the performance part of the show.

The hosts start the voting ... ! How should I vote? Tactically or from the heart? :-)

A runthrough of all the songs. I'm thinking, I'm thinking ... !

One vote for Slovenia. Five for Serbia. Three for Israel. One for Italy and one for Australia. My civic duty is done.

The first part of the interval entertainment ... Austrian musicians. Percussionists and horn players. Now singers too. Nice!

Second runthrough ...

The voting is closed ... now!!

Ooh, Conchita on stage! Yay! I haven't heard this song before. I like it!! I think I'll have to buy her album ... What a blouse she's suddenly wearing. o_O A little chat with Conchita ... and then this year's Junior ESC winner. What a voice for such a young boy.

One of the hosts in the green room ... and the others with Conchita and the trophy. Now reactions from winners over the year, Adorable!! Squee!!

Now to Jon Ola Sand and his announcements ... in plural this time.

The first points .... !! Should I make a guess? I think the winner will be ... Serbia, Russia, Sweden? Italy? Australia? No, I have no idea. It's so even this year, and so many good songs. I can't guess. There's actually almost not a single song that I would be horrified to see as the winner this year. Except the UK, but that goes without saying.

Now it's time to eat cake ... !! Calyx's horribly deformed Esterhazy torte. But I'm sure it'll taste good. :-) And it has the Austrian colors since she didn't have any apricot jam and had to use raspberry. :-D

The Belgians are voting now. It's looking a lot like this will be a fight between Russia, Sweden and Italy. Australia's on fourth and the gap between third and fourth is just massive. Huh,

I cannot BELIEVE that Austria hasn't gotten a single point yet ... !! Boo, Europe!!

I'm soo glad that Belgium and Latvia are doing so well ... !!

Halfway through the points ... Conchita's in the green room with the Russian delegation. Aw, I love that she's so protective of the Russian singer. The audience aren't cheering very hard for her. But if you want to follow Conchita's philosophy then you would never dream of penalizing this young woman for the actions of her government ... !!

This is such an exciting scoring this year ... !! I love it! :-D So even and things are changing with every new country giving their points. Nerve-wracking ... !! :-D

Sweden's in the lead and Måns is deliriously happy ... ! :-D

And they've won!! 328 points and they can't be beaten! N. is thrilled, he's wanted them to win since he heard the song for the first time. Ie, about two hours ago. :-D Sweden is the winner! Måns is completely ecstatic ... ! And gets a very warm hug from Conchita. Aw.

Tredje gången gillt!! Congratulations, Sweden!! :-)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Vienna 2015 - second semi-final

It's on ... !!! :-D

Now this is the exciting semi ... ! Not because we're in it :-) but because the entries tonight are much stronger. Almost all my favorites are in this semi. And yay, I can vote for them!!

No big flashy opening tonight. Aw. I guess they're saving the big guns for Saturday. :-) Again pretty dresses on the hosts - but Conchita has the best outfit. Charmingly casual introduction of the contestants. Lots of cheers for us! I hope it's not just because there are lots of Norwegians in the audience. :-) And quite a big cheer for Israel too, yay.

I forgot to mention this on Tuesday but I think the stage looks great.

A pretty big cheer for Sweden too.

A brief presentation of the seven pre-qualifiers, and instructions on how to vote. I LOVE the fact that we can only vote a limited number of times for each entry. I wonder what would happen if each viewer only got one single vote ... ??

And now, the songs ... !!

Lithuania first - This Time. Ick, I don't like her outfit. Or his. And it looks like they're performing in front of the Macedonian flag. o_O The colors are changing ... and are quite distracting ... but that may be for the best. I don't think this is sounding good tonight. A totally typical ESC song. I'll be shocked if this gets anywhere.

Ireland - Playing with Numbers. What will this look like?? Please not ... you know ... Irish. Hm. It's actually looking really good. And the song is so pretty. She has an unusual voice, it really fits the song. Kudos for co-writing it herself. Ireland's best entry since I don't know when. Still, it's another one of the slowish ballads that are so abundant this year. So it doesn't really stand out.

San Marino - Chain of Lights. Not one of my favorites, to put it mildly. Ouch, her voice ... ! Supposedly this entry is so much better now, in this "new" version, than it was in their national selection. Someone told me that on Youtube. I can't really tell the difference. I like it even less now. The first time I hear the chorus I like it, there's something to the beat there ... but then it just gets annoying. Blech. Please, let's not have to hear this again on Saturday ... !

Montenegro - Adio. This song is so beautiful ... ! Not surprising considering who wrote it. Major kudos for having lyrics in Montenegrin. A beautiful Balkan ballad. I was worried it might be a little too bland - yet another ballad - but this packs quite a punch tonight. The audience is really enjoying it. Fingers crossed for Montenegro ... ! :-)

Malta - Warrior. My least favorite song called Warrior this year! I think this song is really just ... boring. The singer's not very good either. I would LOVE to see the Maltese win one year, they would go into a collective delirium with happiness ... but there's no chance of that happening this year. Yawn.

Conchita in the green room, The hosts on stage.

Norway - A Monster Like Me. A beautiful but depressing song. Talented singers, especially Debrah, she has a wonderful quirky voice. And wow, she looks great! Her hair looks so much better done this way compared to how they'd done it at our national selection. An extremely low key and simple presentation, which is good. Ooh, crescendo. The audience is digging it. Yay us. Pretty sure we'll make the cut this year. :-)

Portugal - Há um mar que nos separa. Lyrics in Portuguese as always, major kudos for that. They really never give up. :-) But I don't think this song has much potential. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just ... bland. The singer is putting in her best effort, but ... boring. :-(

The Czech Republic - Hope Never Dies. She's an OK singer, he's awful. AWFUL. Kind of fancy presentation but that can't save this entry. Another boring song. I've already forgotten it. Too bad for the Czechs, it's great to have them back ... !

Israel - Golden Boy. Yay ... !! My favorite this year. I can't stop listening to it. It's fun and modern yet sounds so distinctively Israeli. And it has those adorably cheesy lyrics that we all love in ESC songs. :-) His singing voice isn't too great tonight, though. But he definitely has the audience going. Oh, this is making me nervous ... ! I love the song but it doesn't sound its best tonight. And the presentation is ... kind of overwhelming, maybe too much so. Fingers crossed ... !

Latvia - Love Injected. Tonight's weirdest entry? I like it. Kudos to Latvia for sending something so original and different. Edgy. :-) I like her voice. And I really like their presentation - the way they're working her dress into the background. Coolness. This may be too weird for the audience, BUT I'm sure it appeals much more to the younger section of the audience, and they vote more. So ... ? :-)

Azerbaijan - Hour of the Wolf. Peculiar title, but a beautiful song. I really really like this. And the audience in the Stadthalle seem to like it too? Pretty presentation. Ooh, I like this. Good luck, Azerbaijan!

Iceland - Unbroken. What an awful dress she's wearing. Totally inappropriate, IMO. And ballet slippers. Sheesh. Ooh, aurora borealis ... !! OK, a striking presentation, and that's a great idea to show off Iceland like that. But the song ... pretty singer with a pretty good voice, and a song that's quite beautiful to listen to, but not memorable. No "hook". This might get through but it just as well might not.

Conchita in the green room again, talking to Debrah and Geir, and then Leonor from Portugal.

Sweden - Heroes. Finally, Måns Zelmerlöv on the Eurovision stage ... !! I wanted soo badly to see him there in 2007, so this is a bitter-sweet moment for me. :-) But this is a very catchy song. Definitely memorable. :-) They're using the same presentation as they did in their national selections, which I think it weird ... what does it have to do with the subject of the song? o_O But it's got a wonderful beat. The audience is loving it. This is a shoe-in for the final. :-)

Switzerland - Time to Shine. Kudos to whatshername for writing her own song. Very weird outfit. Or, wahey! It's a trick! :-D Her voice isn't sounding too great, but she's giving a great performance, and the audience is totally into it. I never really have faith in Switzerland but this is better than I expected. Though that doesn't really mean much when it's the Swiss. :-( Good luck, anyway. :-)

Cyprus - One Thing I Should Have Done. This is such a sweet and charming song. Adorable. And they're keeping it simple in every way. Love it! It may be too low key for this contest but that hasn't stopped a bunch of other songs. Like Hungary's the day before yesterday. :-) I don't know if they can manage it, but I would love to see this again on Saturday. :-)

Slovenia - Here For You. My other favorite! I just dig this entry. LOVE IT. :-D Love the melody, the beat, the lyrics, her voice ... and now their presentation too, it's totally Eurovision. OMG this is perfect. And it's sounding great!! I think this may actually be turning into my #1 favorite now ... ! :-o

Poland - In the Name of Love. A worthy end to the show. A beautiful ballad ... ooh, I love the intro. That little piano thing that is repeated here and there. The singer is beautiful and has a good voice ... and major respect for refusing to give up her career just because she's in a wheelchair now. I'd like to see this get through, and it well may, but it is yet one more ballad without too much personality. Beautiful, but a little bit meh. Nice presentation though. And will be remembered more easily because it's the last song.

Conchita in the green room, hosts on stage. The voting is on!! First overview. What to vote ... ??

OK, I voted. Three times for Israel, five times for Slovenia, and twice for Cyprus. Sorry, Israel! But Slovenia's performance was better tonight ... !

A little entertainment - Austria's non-musical contributions to the contest over the years.

Second overview. Too late, my mind is made up.

The voting's almost over ... ! Well, my conscience is clear, my civic duty is done. :-)

More entertainment while we wait on tenterhooks for the results. Haha, lots of screwups from past votes. I love seeing old stuff like this from contests of years past ... ! It's so cool to think that this has been going on for well over half a century. Here's to another sixty years ... !!

The hosts chitchatting to the rest of the Big Five. The UK and Italy. Ooh, Italy ... ! :-D Germany. I love their song this year. Their singer reminds me of Anna Kendrick for some reason. And then the Austrians - I like their song a lot too, I'm really happy that they've sent a good song. :-)

But OK, I have to make some guesses here. Let me think. Hmm.

These are certain to get through:

And probably Poland.

These won't make it:
San Marino
The Czech Republic

Obviously I'm hoping intensely that Israel and Slovenia will get through, but I honestly can't say for sure. I have faith in them, but it could go either way. Fingers crossed ... !! :-)

All the others are in the same situation, could go either way, hard to call it. But I don't care that much about them. Go Slovenia!! And Israel. :-)

Overview of the prequalifiers.

Jan Ola Sand is ready to approve the results. Yes, let's hear it ... !!

The last ten finalists are ... omg nerves!! ...
Lithuania! WTF??!
Poland. Yep.
Slovenia!!! YES!!!
Sweden. Extremely non-surprising.
Norway. Yes. I think we got a bigger cheer than Sweden ... ? ;-)
Montenegro, naturally.
Cyprus! Yay!
Azerbaijan. Another non-surprise.
Latvia! Yes!!
Israel! YES! OMG my nerves ... !!!

OK, so I got it almost right. I was just totally wrong about Lithuania, what's the deal with that? Other than that I am very happy with these results. Yoo-hoo! Slovenia!! And Israel! :-D

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Vienna 2015 - first semi-final

Wheee ... !!! It's happening! EXCITEMENT ... !! :-D

I am seriously so crazy excited to see what the Austrians have got for us this week. I'm sure it's going to be fantastic. And now it's starting ... !! :-)

Last year's winner is opening the semifinal, that's unusual. Normally I'd expect them to save this for Saturday. Makes it even more exciting to wonder what they'll have for us then. :-) Conchita is wonderful of course. I love this song so much, it's so beautiful ... and they're really making absolutely the most of it. :-)

Great way of introducing the performers! I loved it in Copenhagen when they all walked with their flags across the stage, this is a fantastic way of doing the same thing. Hmm, did I detect a few extra cheers for Serbia? They're my favorite tonight. :-) A big cheer for Russia, that is ... good, I suppose. Wow, biggest cheer so far for Georgia. Huh.

Dancing in the aisles ... !! :-D And now the crescendo of the song. Wow. This is really really extremely good. And it's only the semi ... ! I hope they're not blowing all their fireworks tonight ... ;-)

The hosts. Nice outfits, but they don't match each other at all. Peculiar choice. The traditional scripted jokes. Highlighting their motto for 2015, Building bridges, which is a really good one IMO. Instructions on how to vote, alas, I cannot vote tonight. The Serbians will have to make their way through without my help.

OK, we're on ... ! Eek!

Moldova opening the show with I Want Your Love. They have had soo much drama this year. And all for such a crappy entry, too. Although it is nice to see a Ukrainian on stage, at least, even if he's performing for another country. But wherever he's from and whatever's happened , he can't sing for shit. A lousy voice. The studio version is actually bearable, but live this is just so cruddy. And the presentation is beyond tacky. Cut your hair and get a job, kid!

Armenia - Face the Shadow. Ooh, medieval-style outfits. And that wheel thing they're standing on is cool. Some of the singers have good voices ... actually most of them ... but one of the women is just really annoying me. The song ... I'm going to say this a gadzillion times before the week is over, but it's one of those entries - ooh, a map of the world, and they're each going to their own continent! :-D What was I saying? Oh yes, One of those entries that is lovely to listen to while you're listening, and then you almost immediately forget about it. Too bland.

Belgium - Rhythm Inside. Ooh, I like this entry! One of the most original songs this year. One of the only original songs this year. It may be a little too far out of the common way to go very far - and the presentation's pretty weird too - but the Belgians should be proud of themselves for sending this. Great beat.

The Netherlands - Walk Along. What will she be wearing?? Ooh, something much nicer - much more age-appropriate - than what she wore at their national final. That was pretty easy though. The song though, that's the most important thing ... it's nice but not that special. Relatively catchy. Not going to get anywhere near as far as their entry last year though. Not memorable enough.

Finland - Aina mun pitää. I work for the Norwegian branch of a Finnish company, and my boss here in Norway is Finnish. He really can't stand this song. :-) He's so annoyed that they chose it and he thinks it won't get anywhere whatsoever. Personally I don't like the song at all as it's just not my type of music at all ... I am still happy to see the genre in the contest though, but I don't think it's going anywhere either. I don't think there are enough fans of this genre who will vote in this contest. :-) And I don't think the sympathy votes will carry the day either. Alas.

The hosts explain what the hell Australia is doing in the contest. :-D A trip to the green room where Conchita has changed both her dress and her hair. Awesomesauce.

Greece - One Last Breath. One of my least favorite entries this year. Not because it's bad, it's just boring. Beautiful but bland. And it doesn't sound Greek at all ... I think it'll appeal less to the audience because of that. The presentation is very striking though. So much drama. Almost enough to take my mind off how breathless she sounds. Maybe it's intentional, she's on her last breath ... :-)

Estonia - Goodbye to Yesterday. I really like this song, it has a great melody. A really good beat. I love the intro especially. Ooh, this presentation is great, they're really working the subject of the song. Pretty good voices too. Hers especially. Wish I could vote tonight, I would send a vote or two Estonia's way. :-) In terms of melody and lyrics this is definitely one of the most memorable songs tonight.

Macedonia - Autumn Leaves. Another song that is nice to listen to, but very quickly forgotten. Not particularly catchy. I don't think the performance tonight is very good either. He's not exactly a good singer. OK presentation. Overall ... boring. Can't see this going anywhere.

Ooh ... !! My favorite tonight, Serbia! Their entry is called Beauty Never Lies and it's soo beautiful. I love it. :-) But wtf is she wearing. :-o OK, that outfit is seriously unbecoming. Bad choice. And too much makeup. But the song is still beautiful ... a gorgeous melody, catchy, beautiful and meaningful lyrics with just the right singer. May be too similar to last year's winner though - not in how it sounds, but in what they're trying to say with it - and that's never smart. Ooh, the bridge. This song just totally rocks! I love it!! :-D  Sounds like the audience in the Stadthalle is totally digging it. YES! Fantastic. A+, Serbia!

Hungary - Wars For Nothing. Another song with an important message. But may be too low key. Ooh, gorgeous dress. And her voice is lovely. Hmm, this is actually packing quite a punch tonight. The presentation is a little over the top maybe, but overall this is very good. Much better than I expected. I may have to revise my ideas ...

Belarus - Time. At first, when I'd only seen the live version of this, I totally hated it. It was totally shitty in that version. The studio version sounds soo much better. What will they sound like tonight?? Hm. His voice is OK, not very good, but OK. The presentation is ... annoying. Distracting. Not a good choice. She plays beautifully, but looks a little wacky. Overall ... much better than at their national selection, but not as good as it could have been. I'm rather ambivalent about this entry.

Russia - A Million Voices. Ironic that Russia keeps sending these peace anthem-type songs. I would have been fine with it if Ukraine had been in the contest this year. :-( Anyway. Beautiful singer with a lovely voice. Someone who can actually really sing, yay. :-) She's really getting the audience going. Striking presentation. Deservedly a favorite, this is an excellent entry. Second strongest in this semi. :-)

Back to the green room. Cheers for Bojana! Yay! :-)

Yes, I would like to warm up my cell phone, alas, it would be pointless. :-(

Denmark - The Way You Are. Catchy and fun, but maybe too retro. I think this may appeal more to those parts of the audience that don't vote as much. On the other hand, these are four cute young guys who are clearly having fun on stage. And the song is really catchy. The entry as a whole is quite appealing. Good luck to our former colonial overlords. :-)

Albania - I'm Alive. Another ballad, another beautiful but bland entry. Lovely singer with a good voice. But she's not wearing her red sequined dress that I wanted to see her in again. :-( It would have been a much better choice than this weird outfit she's got on now. The presentation is ... a bit much, IMO. This is supposedly a favorite to win in some circles. That is seriously a mystery to me. This is very pretty to listen to, but quickly forgotten.

Romania - De la capat. Singing in Romanian, yay!! Major kudos to them. I really respect that. This is one of the really good entries tonight ... a beautiful melody, well performed by a really professional band, and with an important subject. Romania is one of my favorite countries in the contest ... I would love to see them win some time, but I don't think this is their year. Still though a very good entry.

Georgia - Warrior. WHAT is she wearing. OMG. And the lyrics of this song ... ! I kind of want to give her kudos for writing her own song, but seriously, does she speak English? I'm a warrior - oximated?? Oximated, really? I don't think that word means what you think it means ... o_O A very dramatic presentation of a dramatic song. I'm hard pressed to say exactly what is wrong with this, I just ... sheesh.

That's it!! 16 songs, over and done with. A brief visit with Conchita in the green room and then the voting is open. The only sensible way to do it. :-) I can't vote tonight since my country - Norway - isn't in this semi, so I just have to wait with bated breath. Now the runthrough.

Interval entertainment - a presentation of Vienna set to music from last year's contest, now also with fake animals heads. Well, why not.

Second runthrough.

OK, some guesses. Who will make it through?? I'm having a really hard time guessing tonight, this semi is generally so weak and there are hardly any really good songs, as well as no really bad ones. Huh. I'll have to try to guess.

These are shoe-ins IMO:

These probably won't make it:


... sheesh, no, I don't even know!!

The voting is over! :-o

And now, let's learn about Austria. Lots of fun facts about our host country mixed with memories from the ESC over the years. Hah, this actually is fun. :-)

And now some info about the Big Five, and presenting the Australian artist. Oh, haha, and the Australian connections! :-D And here are the French and Spanish singers. A runthrough of all the prequalified entries.

Over to Jon Ola Sand who will pronounce the results as valid. Oh, the excitement ... !! :-D

And the ten qualifiers are ...

Albania, why not.
Armenia. Damn their giant diaspora.
Russia, of course.
Romania! Yes!
Hungary. I wouldn't have thought so yesterday, but now I'm not surprised.
Greece. Hm.
Estonia, yay.
Georgia. No accounting for taste, I guess.
Serbia!!! YES!!
Belgium. Oh, good!!

OK, so all my certains and maybes got through, and all except one of my non-qualifiers were cut. Huh, pretty good guesses after all. Everybody up on stage!! An excellent show from the Austrians! I'm already psyched for Thursday night ... not to mention Saturday!! Eep!!! :-D

Overall a great show with satisfactory results. I'll have to ask my boss tomorrow what he thinks about theirs. :-)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Melodi Grand Prix 2015

Whee ... !! Our time has come .. ! We will be selecting our entry for Vienna tonight and of course I am live blogging it. Oh, the excitement ... !! :-)

First of all I have to say that it's SO annoying that they're calling it the "MGP final". There hasn't been any quarter or semi finals so how is there any final?? Try to think a little, NRK.

But that's just my little pet peeve. I'm hoping for a good show tonight as it's a big anniversary - the ESC is 60 years old this year, although of course we haven't been participating that long. But it's also the 30th anniversary of our first victory, and the 20th of the second. So apparently they're going to really celebrate. We'll see.

Ooh, and our official broadcasting orchestra is playing the music for each song, they're wonderful, so that's a very good thing. :-)

Opening with a short WWII-themed skit, how can that go wrong. Well, it's a nod to the biggest hit on Norwegian TV this year, which was a mini series set during the war. A few more little fun skits ... intended to be fun, at least .. and then, wahey, all the performers of the night in a rousing rendition of
Dschinghis Khan. Costumes and all. That really is a cool song. And it's a first - no song in German has ever been performed in our national selections before. Hope you're catching this, Austria ... ! ;-)

A few comments on this year's lineup here in Norway: it's not very good. We will definitely not be bringing the contest back to Oslo again this time around. :-) There are no really abysmal clunkers, though ... just a whole lot of songs that are completely meh. I do really hope that we won't pick the pizza song.

Entry #1: Thunderstruck by Joy Deb, Linnea Deb and Erlend Bratland, performed by Erlend Bratland. My favorite this year. That doesn't mean it's all that good, but it's the best of the bunch, anyway, IMO. In this context. Good lyrics, a good melody that really packs a punch ... and, not least, a singer who can actually sing. I'm hoping getting to open the show will work in his favor. It may not though. His performance is ... OK, pretty good. A hell of a lot of pyrotechnics.

Entry #2: Louder by Andreas Stone Johansson and Ricky Hanley, performed by Raylee. She's going to "inflict" her energy on the audience. OK. She looks really different off stage and on. Not that that's relevant. Her voice is pretty good and the song is sort of ... semi-catchy. Gets a little repetitive, maybe. Energetic stage show ... but now they're doing that thing that just pisses me off where they send lots and lots more people on stage than what we'll be allowed to use internationally. That's tricking the voters, NRK! You're asking us to vote for something that we won't be able to use in Vienna. Not that this is what we'll be sending, probably, but still. It's the principle of the thing. Sheesh.

Entry #3: All Over the World by Tor Endresen and Are Selheim, performed by Tor Endresen and Elisabeth Andreassen. This is supposed to be some fantastic thingummy because these two are such Eurovision greats and it just has to be great because it's them. But it's SO not great. Ridiculously oldfashioned and just too much of everything that no longer works in this contest. And now they have NRK's children's choir on stage! All of it!! Seriously. They're trying to sell us a nonexistent product. Don't vote for this, people, it's a scam!

Entry #4: Next to You by Jenny Langlo, Robin Mortensen Lynch and Niklas Olovson, performed by Jenny Langlo. Ooh, they've stuck her mike on a lightsaber. And then there's lots and lots of spotlights sort of echoing that. This is obviously something we're supposed to remember the song by. It might work. She also has a very unusual voice which make this entry stand out a bit. The song itself, I don't know ... The chorus reminds me of the Swedish song in Malmö. But only the chorus. The rest is ... rather unmelodious, so of course not very catchy. Kind of good, but also the sort of song that needs to be heard more than once for people to really get their heads around it, I think. Definitely not a plus, I'm afraid. I'm watching with Quiltoholic and she is very underwhelmed by this. :-)

A little interval entertainment there - the top 3 craziest costumes from the past 60 years of the international finals. Ukraine wins. No prizes for guessing which year ... ;-)

Entry #5: We Don't Worry by Øyvind Blikstad, Bjarte Giske, Ali Pirzad and Julie Bergan, performed by Ira Konstantinidis. The youngest performer of the night, only 17. Not a very good singer, IMO. She sounds constantly out of breath, They're playing up the high school aspect ... something awful, really. This isn't doing anything for me whatsoever. My least favorite so far.

Chitchat between entries ... showing people in various countries who are watching the show. Yay for the internet!!

Entry #6: Heaven by Jan Lysdahl and Jacob Collin Launbjerg, performed by Contrazt. Contrazt are what in Norway and Sweden is called a "dance band". Think Vikingarna, if that means anything to you. This entry is very typical of the genre. Easy listening, literally. The singer has a good voice, a very comfortable voice to listen to. Again, typical of this kind of band. They mentioned that their concerts normally last for four hours ... and this is definitely voice you could listen to for four hours. The song is easy to listen to, and catchy - as these things usually are - but also quite forgettable. So definitely not the winner. However, there's nothing on this stage tonight that can possibly win. So IMO we should actually just as well send this, try to spread the genre and at least know that nobody will be clawing their ears bloody listening to this.

Entry #7: Ta meg tilbake by Marie Klåpbakken, Linn Hege Sagen and Olav Tronsmoen, performed by Marie Klåpbakken. One of the only two Norwegian entries this year that is actually in Norwegian. So for my part I was inclined to like it before I ever heard it. And she's all alone on stage, that's very good too. I'm not thrilled with the presentation though - very modern, and the song seems a little oldfashioned. Oh, a couple more people on stage now. Violinists. And the singer is playing the violin too ... while being blasted with a wind machine. Oh, Eurovision ... !! This is a pretty good entry, but like all the other songs, too forgettable. Too bland.

Another top 3 - this time crazy choreographies. OMG how to choose ... ! Montenegro wins, with Euro Neuro.

Entry #8: En godt stekt pizza by Stian Thorbjørnsen, Petter Kristiansen, Lars-Erik Blokkhus, Jesper Borgen and Magnus Clausen, performed by Staysman & Lazz. The night's big favorite, because Norwegians are idiots. Also with Norwegian lyrics. Which is a very good thing if we should choose to send this, because no one will understand what they're saying. A "party song". I suppose it's catchy ... but it's mostly just annoying. And the presentation shouldn't be allowed, they have like 25 people on stage! I hope anyone who's considering voting for this realizes that in Vienna, it would look NOTHING like this. They probably aren't though. Sad. We might actually end up sending this.

Entry #9: A Monster Like Me by Kjetil Mørland, performed by Mørland and Debrah Scarlett. Now this is actally a good entry. Has some, whatchacallit, depth. The problem with it is that it may be ... too good, or whatever. It may need more than one listen to really get to the audience. Which is exactly what it doesn't get ... that's the format of the contest. That's a shame sometimes. His voice is pretty good, hers is wonderful. This is probably the best entry this year, but it may be a little too ... profound, or whatever, for its own good.

Yet another top 3 - this time the "most la la la" songs. WTF? The UK wins, with Boom Bang-A-Bang - Spain comes third ... ! Seriously??

Entry #10: Cinderella by Erik Smaaland, Kristoffer Tømmerbakke and Thea Oskarsen, performed by Alexandra Joner. A pink-haired Cinderella ... in fact, pink everything! Wow. This is tacky even for Eurovision. But it has potential. It could be made classy. I think. The song is a little unusual in its theme, which is good ... and Joner is a good singer. The catchiest song of the evening. This is the only song tonight that people will remember the tune of for longer than ten minutes. Maybe we should actually send this. o_O

Entry #11: Human Beings by Karin Park and Guy Chambers, performed by Karin Park. Her pre-song interview sent shivers down our spines. Karin, please: just speak Swedish!!! This song ... this is one of those entries that are pretty while you listen to it, but that you immediately forget once it's over. Her outfit is ridiculous, who picked that?? This won't get anywhere. Too bland, although her voice has character.

That's all! Now a quick runthrough of all the entries. While we all get the chance to vote ... although the voting has been open since the start of the show. I'm voting, let's see ... twice for Thunderstruck and once each for Cinderella and A Monster Like Me. Although I'm afraid it's pointless ... I can't tell you how I know this, but I have connections. :-) We're going to send the pizza song. It's almost completely certain. Damn you, stupid Norwegians ... !!


More chit-chat, and a look back at our Eurovision history ... and then our winner from last year. Now that was a good song! I love that song, I really do. Ooh, the songwriter's singing too! They've made it a duet! AWESOMESAUCE. A last glimpse of happiness before the pizza song takes over ...

The first round of voting is over and now the eleven finalists will be reduced to four. Dare I make a guess? One of them will most definitely be the pizza song ...

Tor & Bettan. Sheesh, people! This is my parents' generation who have done this. I hardly know which would be worse between this and the pizza song.

They're performing their song again and it's still IMPOSSIBLE TO PERFORM internationally. So wtf, NRK??

Top 3 something or other - crazy falsetto singing?? I didn't catch it, I was in the kitchen getting some pineapple soda. Albania wins.

Next through is ... the pizza song! Boo-hoo. They think that their song will appeal to lots and lots of people all over Europe. They think they can win the whole thing. Are they mentally ill?? Or can they really be that dumb?

The sad thing is that on stage right now it's looking really good, lots of energy, happy people, a real party. But it won't look ANYTHING like this in Vienna. Sheesh, humans.

Top 3 creative performances ... Azerbaijan 2013, Russia 2008 and Ukraine 2014, in that order. That hamster wheel actually kind of grew on me.

Third "gold finalist" - A Monster Like Me. Well deserved.

Top 3 "weird". Bosnia wins with Pokusaj.

Fourth and last ... Thunderstruck. Some small amount of faith in my countrymen restored.

All four have performed for a second time. It all went well and now we have five minutes to vote. I'll vote twice each for Thunderstruck and twice for A Monster Like Me. Let no one accuse me of failing in my civic duty.

BREAKING NEWS ... !! Like I said, I have connections. And now I can report that we most likely will NOT be sending the pizza song! OMG!! A Monster Like Me is pulling ahead! Be still my heart ... !! Can it be true?? I have to send a couple more votes their way ... !!

Meanwhile, the interval entertainment! And it is ... Bobbysocks! First the hosts with a ballad version of the first verse of La det swinge, and then actually Bobbysocks with the rest of the song. And what a song it is. This is fantastic. And the actual best song will probably win. FANTASTIC. Fingers crossed that it will actually pan out ... !!

And now - the results ... ! The country has been divided into five parts and they're calling the votes from each part. Starting with the north. Gasp! The pizza song came second! In the north! Now I believe ... ahem, my source. That's where I thought that kind of thing would really be a hit..

Middle Norway, or whatever I should translate it with ... and they've got the pizza song last! I believe! A Monster Like Me came second both here and in the north. And Thunderstruck first. Well, I'll be thrilled with either! Wahey!! :-D

The south country next ... and they have A Monster Like Me first!! YES!

The west country ... Pizza last and Tor & Bettan second. A Monster Like Me second and Thunderstruck first. By a lot! Wow! Maybe my actual favorite will actually win?? Coolness!!

The east country. Fear! The pizza song will win here! But ... but ... ! OMG! Not by that much. They came third and not last. A Monster Like Me has won!! YAY!!! YAY YAY YAY!!

OK, I apologize. I take it all back. Faith in my countrymen fully restored! YAY!

My conclusions from this are as follows: First, that if it wasn't for the extended voting, the pizza song would never have gotten to the second round. With only a brief window for voting, it wouldn't have stood a chance. Second, that their results in the second round was due primarily to Østfold.

Congratulations to the winner!! The best song won. No idea how this will do in Vienna, but we can hold our heads up high. :-)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's alive ... !!!

Yes, I'm still alive! Believe it or not. :-) You wouldn't think so with how I've been neglecting this blog recently ... and that's being diplomatic. "Recent" is actually not the right word to use at all. I feel bad. :-(

I really don't have much to say for myself other than that I'm a lazy procrastinator who lets the time get away from me again and again. This will not be the last time. I'm going to try to not be quite so lazy about the blog in the future, but, well, we'll see. I make no promises. But I'll try. :-)

I'm not sure anyone is really reading this anymore, although it looks like I keep getting a few dozen page hits daily, but, well, for what it's worth. :-)

What have I been up to since, basically, the summer of 2013? Sheesh. Apart from watching last year's ESC, of course. Well, I've been traveling ... I've been to, let's see ... Visby, Helsinki, Ålesund, various places in the north of India, New York City, York, Kolmården, Gothenburg ... and of course the usual places like Rondane and Värmland and the Nordic Ark. At the Ark we saw Sparta's babies, they were beyond adorable. Had some fun times. My next trip will be to Botswana in Africa for a two week luxury safari in and around the Okavango delta. Two months from now and we'll be there. Yes, I'm really excited about it. :-)

I've become addicted to Pinterest - you can see my various boards here. You can also find me on Youtube where I'm uploading an incredible amount of randomness ... over the past few days I've been starting my annual review of this year's ESC entries. Come check them out if you like, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the songs too. Unless it's to say that your country's song is the best because it's from your country ... that's not how it works.

I've been working - I got a new job in September 2012, and I love it, it's a zillion times better than my old job. This past fall we moved to a new location that makes the trip to work kind of a hassle for me, but what are you gonna do.

I've become a huge Zachary Quinto fan, I've read a shitload of books, I've recently become quite a bit more active again with both BookCrossing and Postcrossing ... I've even attended the first, and AFAIK so far only, Norwegian Postcrossing meetup. I'm still doing the podcast. I still have my three little turtles.

But basically I'm just really lazy and procrastinate ALL. THE. TIME. So. All I can say is I'll try to do better. If you miss seeing me around, you can always find me on Pinterest. :-)