Saturday, May 14, 2016

Stockholm 2016 - final!

The biggest night of the year ... !! :-o

A little late starting up as we had some initial problems with the tv set and had to watch the first few minutes on my laptop. Fortunately we figured it out. :-)

OK, so in the opening they are not carrying their flags, but the flag colors spread out behind them instead. I like both, but this is cool. Those random models in geometric outfits are rather distracting though. KAS is not happy. But Calyx thinks that nothing can ever be worse than Düsseldorf, so she think it's fine.

There's Dami! Go Australia!!

Our hosts. Petra with a new dress, but again in a rather similar color scheme. Can no one think outside the box?? Greetings to Europe and the various other countries watching. Thank you to the fans. Describing the new system for listing the votes, but we talked over it. KAS is so negative, she doesn't agree with my assessment of Australia. And she thinks all the other songs suck monkey balls too. Oh well, I know better. >:-)

Belgium - What's the Pressure. Calyx: This looks like it's from the 90s. KAS: The lyrics don't match the melody, I'm confused. But trilltrall is humming along. :-) A colorful and energetic entry to open the show, but not the winner. This is one of the entries that have not been growing on me. Tanumine suggests it as a potential nil-pointer. :-)

Czech Republic - I Stand. Not among my favorites but I'm thrilled for them that they got to the final for the first time. The song is beautiful but forgettable. trilltrall says that it's a mature and sober performance. In other words there is no way he can root for this, he's not middle aged! But he is, actually. :-D A nice presentation, overall nice entry, but forgettable.

The Netherlands - Slow Down. This is among my favorites actually. I love their presentation, and the beat of the song ... it's just so nice to listen to. Calming. And this actually is quite catchy. Easy to sing along to. Calyx says no way will this win, but KAS says that at least it's possible to listen to it without dying. High praise. I like his tattoo. This is quite lovely really. I will be listening to this quite a bit, I think. But yeah, probably a little too slow and quirky to be a winner. :-)

Azerbaijan - Miracle. Now this is a song that has been growing on me. I love the chorus. trilltrall is impressed with all the gold everything. And did you notice than when she sang the word fire, holographic fires burst out behind her. Subtle! :-D Oh, here come the dancers. Tanumine can't stop laughing. Pyrotechnics! A fiery stage from the land of fire.

Hungary - Pioneer. Not among my favorites. Tuck in your shirt, you slob!! KAS says that it's supposed to be cool, I just don't understand it because I'm too old. She's only two months younger! And I may be old-fashioned, but that sloppiness is why young people can't get hired. Growl. Nobody understands about the drum, or the backing singers' outfits. KAS thinks Freddie's hair looks like her hamster's fur. I say this is the lowest point so far. Everyone agrees. Very disappointing, I usually really like Hungary.

Italy - No Degree of Separation. One of the big five - I'm the only one who's heard this entry before. But I haven't seen the presentation. Ooh, colorful. Calyx thinks that this looks like something from the 90s too. Her vocals sound low, is that just me? No, the others agree. This is a beautiful song, but rather forgettable once it's over. The presentation is absolutely stunning. Looks like barne-tv, says trilltrall. :-) But everybody would have liked to hear the lyrics ...

Israel - Made of Stars. N's reaction to the postcard: Boy George did it better. :-) I quite like this entry. Both the song and the presentation. N wants to do the spinning in a giant hula hoop thing with trilltrall. But they don't have the hula hoop. Maybe next year. Aw, this is so pretty. Loveliness!

Bulgaria - If Love Was A Crime. Ooh, I voted for this! trilltrall thinks Poli's outfit looks like she's a visitor from the future. A rather epilepsy-inducing entry, but the song has a very catchy beat. This may be getting some votes from Nannestad tonight.

Sweden - If I Were Sorry. Yawn! This entry is so dull ... ! The others haven't heard it before. N claims that it's like death metal, it's building up to something ... but no, it's not. It's just this for three minutes. KAS wants to know if the song has started yet. trilltrall thinks he must have had too much to drink already, he doesn't understand anything whatsoever. Tanumine is busy eating chips so can't comment, but is shaking her head. OK, that's the whole thing. I have to quite trilltrall's closing comment in Norwegian: Fy faen, det var ræva!! Ahahaha. The arena is going nuts. Must be full of Swedes. At least they don't have to worry about winning again. Hope they get 0 points tonight.

Some chitchat from the hosts. Bite me, stupid Swedes!

Germany - Ghost. trilltrall already doesn't like this, he doesn't like the German songs. KAS disagrees, her two all-time favorite entries are German. No, he won't be persuaded. The song is pretty good, and the presentation too, but her outfit just messes the whole thing up. Several of us have already forgotten what country this is because of her distracting outfit. "You're hurting my eyes" apparently. Oh well. Exactly what I said. I like this song a little less this time around.

France - J'ai cherché. Pretty catchy, but it reminds me of some other song that I can't remember. N thinks that he would perceive this totally differently if he was a woman. Possibly. I'm not really feeling it. This is kind of fun to listen to, but it's not, as KAS says, "hummable". I agree. Ooh, he landed on the moon.

Poland - Color of Your Life. trilltrall is a little upset that Michal isn't wearing socks, but KAS says that he's wrong, it's cool, all the kids are doing that now. She's read it in the paper. I think I would like the entry a little better if it was on the radio. The melody is very beautiful. The extremely dramatic performance is a little distracting. But overall we like it. I respect Michal, he goes all out. We like this. trilltrall will be voting for this. He is now convinced that socks are out. He will immediately stop wearing socks.

KAS and trilltrall are married, FYI. :-)

Chitchat with Petra now! What! No, it's time for Australia!! And now she's transferring us to the party arena next door to hear from Måns! No! Ooh, Carola and Loreen. And what are their all-time favorite songs? Duh, of course Carola would say Hallelujah, that fundamentalist bitch.

Australia - Sound of Silence. Oooh!! And everybody likes it! But of course. No, KAS doesn't like it. But of course. Oh, Dami can really sing. The presentation is a little weird, but who cares. If there is any justice in the world then this is the winner. Her glove jewelery thing! Her sparkly dress! The choreography!! My heart awakes! N says that this is truly Eurovision. The Australians are teaching us what the contest is all about. Yes! They have been watching the contest for 30 years and learning, learning ... Now it's their time to sweep us all off our feet and win!!

Cyprus - Alter Ego. Meh. N says he's ready for rock'n'roll. Well, I guess this is the ESC version. Rock'n'disco? KAS doesn't hate it. A tremendous compliment! I am indifferent. It's fine when I'm listening to it, but I also forget it quite quickly. But I'm glad I didn't get epilepsy.

Serbia - Goodbye (Shelter). N is annoyed that NRK's commentator is mispronouncing Sanja's name. He is Serbian so I think he's on to something. Apparently it's difficult to get it wrong. I quite like this, anyway. She's a good singer. I think they really don't need those backing dancers though. They're not necessary, the entry is strong enough on its own. Whoops! N tried to do some complicated dance move and totally failed. But now Calyx is helping out, in her way. LOL!

N and Calyx are married too. :-)

Lithuania - I've Been Waiting For This Night. N is dancing to this too. Hah. I don't really know what to say about this. It's just annoying. I actually listen to Love Is Blind quite a lot, but I will not be listening to this. Boring and repetitive. What were they thinking.

Croatia - Lighthouse. Haha, excellent joke from our commentator. Everybody's fired up about her dress. But obviously it will be torn away at a strategic point! Hah! N is shouting Cranberries, Cranberries ... This is another very pretty song that is very quickly forgotten once I'm done listening. But a good performance.

Russia - You Are the Only One. A visually stunning entry. Of course nobody is catching anything of the song, we're all enthralled by the presentation. The song is pretty good too. trilltrall demands an explanation! N says that this will definitely win, because now everyone wants to see this again. He's on to something ... !!

Spain - Say Yay!. Not happy that they aren't singing in Spanish. Hideous outfit! Oh, this is so much worse than I thought it would be. trilltrall wants them to leave the stage immediately. And here comes their special dance. We're shouting No, no ... but N wants to dance the dance with trilltrall. But omg, she fell! :-o That can't have been part of it, the screen went black. Now I feel sorry for her. But she's back on her feet! But the entry sucks anyway!!

Chitchat with Petra about souvenirs.

Latvia - Heartbeat. If anyone wants to take a nap, this might be the time. I don't understand the presentation ... and I don't like his performance. I've forgotten the song already. Bah.

Ukraine - 1944. An extremely dramatic performance but a song that I just can't get a handle on. The presentation is quite striking but the song just ... I can't get grip on it. Incomprehensible to me that this is one of the favorites. Must be because everybody hates Russia.

Malta - Walk on Water. Also not among my favorites. The guys are impressed with the opening of the presentation. trilltrall is impressed that Malta has sent Mariah Carey. I don't get this entry either ... why did we not get through, while this did?? Mysterious.

Georgia - Midnight Gold. And this bullcrap??! Haha, N liked it for three seconds, and then when they started with the split screen thing he started shouting No no no ... :-D I guess I'm happy with a different genre in the contest, but I just am so annoyed with this. Also I don't want epilepsy. Seriously, what is this?? The longest three minutes in Eurovision history.

There is something messed up with the production though. Not just on Italy. It's hard to hear the vocals.

Finally it's over ... !!

Austria - Loin d'ici. The sweetest entry tonight. As sweet as sugar! N thinks she must be a devil worshipper, no one can be this adorable for real. She probably drinks goat's blood. I love this! Obviously not more than Australia. But I totally love it. French is the perfect language to sing this in. The presentation is wonderful. I love it! And everyone agrees that it's super cute. We all agree! Wonders never cease.

United Kingdom - You're Not Alone. This is actually not complete garbage. So kudos to the British for that. But it sounded better in the video. This is actually nowhere near as good as I remembered it. And I don't think they will do anywhere near as well as I originally thought.

Armenia - LoveWave. KAS claims that Iveta is wearing a bathing suit. N says it sounds like Sonic Youth. But that was when the song had just barely begun. Now they are all weirded out like I told them they would be. trilltrall is whispering in his corner of the couch, Oh my god, this is so bad. This is so weird. Calyx is cracking up.

That's it! Ending on a bizarre note. Måns and Petra are back - Petra in green. So there are other colors available! Haha, a Vicious comment! :-D Now explaining about the voting. And the lines are open ... now!

Calyx and Tanumine are going to vote for Australia. It's their only option, they say. N wants to vote for Armenia. :-D No, now he wants to vote for Boy George.

First runthrough.

OK, two votes for Austria, and around ten for Australia. Calyx was talking to  me, I lost count. :-) KAS voted for Austria and trilltrall for Australia and Poland.

Måns in the green room, with all the performers and Justin Timberlake for some reason. WTF is he doing here. Yankee go home!! Seriously, I don't get it. Also am not a fan. But whoever it had been I wouldn't have wanted to see an American on stage tonight. >:-(

An homage to Swedish pop music through the years. Yes, their entry tonight is sleep-inducingly boring, but no one can deny that they are a powerhouse in northern Europe when it comes to pop music. This was fun. :-)

And now Justin Timberlake. Disney's biggest star through the ages. I hope this isn't the entire interval entertainment, but I'm afraid it will be. Oh well, still better than the tribute to their hopelessly dysfunctional multiculturalism that I was afraid SVT was going to be forcefeeding us. But Jebus this is boring. Now he's going to perform a brand new song - the perfect time for a toilet break, in other words. I need to get rid of that pink champagne.

Whew, glad that's over. A big hand for all the performers. The second runthrough.

Måns on stage with the junior winner. Will she sing?? No, just wave. Huh.

Petra in a new dress - black this time. Now to teach us how to win the ESC. Hah, this should be good. Haha, yes it's hilarious. Ooh, Alexander Rybak! Ahahahaha, this is brilliant!! Who needs Justin Timberlake! trilltrall wants to vote for this. :-D

Lynda Woodruff live. Hopefully not for very long. No, just long enough for Måns and Petra to catch their breaths and change their clothes.

More of that revisionist documentary. But this part is actually pretty funny. Although that bit about the violent youth gangs in Stockholm would have been funnier if there hadn't been actual violent youth gangs in Stockholm. But of course since they are immigrants we can't mention them. Oh well.

The voting is over ... ! Well, I've done my duty. Fingers crossed for Australia!! But first, Måns gets to sing. Not Heroes, fortunately.

No, dammit, there's Heroes anyway. Sheesh.

Petra in pink, explaining how the votes will be presented this year. Should be interesting.

And we're on ... !! Austria gives Sweden a lot of points. But the 12 goes to Australia! Yes! OK, I can't list all of the points. I have to pay attention. :-)

When so many of the points are just added automatically, it's a little tricky to keep up. But I don't care because Australia is crushing the competition!! Yes!! Of course this is only the jury votes. Maybe the popular vote will be totally different. Fingers crossed ... ! Incomprehensible that Ukraine is doing so well. But haha, look at Germany. trilltrall is sad that Poland is doing so badly.

Måns in the green room. Talking to the Australian contingent. Dami is so excited that she doesn't even remember what her country is called. :-)

EBU is right, this is definitely more exciting. It looks like we can tell what's going on, but actually we have no clue yet. Australia is crushing everyone. But that can totally change. Eep! trilltrall says that he think they will win anyway - half the audience has voted for them because they like the song, and the other half has voted for them because they want to see what will happen if they win. :-)

OK, Australia has won the juries over, very conclusively. This is so exciting!! What have the European audiences voted?? I am atremble ... !!

Jon Ola Sand is also excited. Super excited! :-D The popular vote is confirmed as correct. Eep!! I can hardly wait!

Come on, Australia!!!!

OMG Australia got the 4th highest score! Will it be Ukraine?? OMG! Panic!

It's not Australia!! OMFG come on Russia!!!!

Noooo!!! It's Ukraine!! FUCK!! That song ... !?

I am proud to say I did not vote for this year's winner.

N says that he can actually understand it - as an eastern European he feels that there is a sensibility to the song that resonates with him. Calyx says that singing about death and massacres is a surefire way to success in eastern Europe.

OK, I now conclude two things from this result.

1: This new way of announcing the votes makes it super exciting and should be kept as standard.
2: Everyone hates Russia.

Sob!!! :-(

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Stockholm 2016 - second semi-final

Our turn ... !! :-) And Australia's ... ! :-D

Nice intro, glimpses of different countries and flags.

Måns welcomes us, while Petra wears a dress that looks an awful lot like Tuesday's. Which I don't recall her changing. Sheesh! I will expect much better on Saturday.

Now addressing new viewers - the Americans and Chinese. How to describe the ESC? THE BIGGEST SHOW ON EARTH!! :-D

This musical history of the show is cute though. Ahaha, they're even trying self-irony. Remember in 2010 when they were so super offended we only gave them our 10. :-D This is actually pretty excellent. Although I'm not sure it's making things clearer for the non-Europeans ... :-)

But just keep watching, foreign friends! It will all make sense in just a few decades.

Info on the voting, which tonight is relevant to my interests, because tonight we can vote ... !! :-D Australia here I come, metaphorically speaking.

The first song ... ! Latvia opens the show with Heartbeat. Except that now Petra and Måns have kind of spoiled us all a bit with their performance. Oh well. This entry ... it's OK, far from the worst Latvia's sent. But it's nothing very special. The singer is extremely committed to his performance. :-) The presentation is interesting, rather eye-catching, but not garish. I would almost call it stylish. But it doesn't really have much of a catch to it. Forgettable.

Poland - Color of Your Life. Ooh, nice coat. And a very dramatic performance. Scenery-chewing, if that's the word I want. But at least he can sing. And the melody is quite beautiful. I'm not sure how long people will remember it though. They have a really bad slot. This is an extremely sincere effort though, good luck to them.

Switzerland - The Last of Our Kind. Another Canadian from Switzerland. A literally smoking one. Also quite pretty, but with unbecoming hair, and a rather peculiar dress. And very peculiar choreography. What is that?? Ooh, swirly blue stage ... pretty. The song is quite sweet, a pretty melody, but again, forgettable, and somewhat repetitive.  I don't think the Swiss will have much luck with this ...

Israel - Made of Stars. Ooh, this is one of my favorites. A beautiful song. And a good singer, with a voice that really suits the song. Oh, he's all sparkly tonight. And the stage is sparkling too. And the acrobats spinning around behind him are also sparkling. Everything's sparkling!! This is really all very very pretty and I will be shocked!! and appalled!! if they don't make it to the final tonight.

Belarus - Help You Fly. One of my fellow podcast panelists will be watching tonight to see if there are any naked men or wolves. I told her there wouldn't be, but she said she had to see for herself. :-) Hologram wolves, and also hologram naked Ivan. He's actually wearing quite a lot of clothes. And face paint. Would you look at that. But what about the song? Well, it's OK to listen to, but it's rather repetitive. I am underwhelmed.

Chitchat with Petra, and a ride in the Eurovision taxi. This is really sweet actually. Mr Lordi, is it really you?? :-o Hard to tell, obviously ...

Serbia - Goodbye (Shelter). Please don't overdo it with the face and the grimaces ... ! This song is actually pretty good. But in their national final she just really overdid it. Fingers crossed. No, this is much better. A striking presentation too. A quite dramatic melody, I can think of a number of countries where this will go down well. Hope to see this on Saturday.

Ireland - Sunlight. I am apparently supposed to know who Nicky Byrne is. I have never been a fan of any boy band so I honestly did not recognize him when I first heard this. Oh well. This may have a chance, not only because it's him, but also because we can't tell from listening to it that it's Ireland. I am SO SICK of them banging us over the head with their Irishness, no matter how irrelevant to the song. Must ... have ... Irish ... dancers ... !!1! This time they have come to their senses. And the lyrics are not projected in giant letters all over the arena. Yay. This is actually pretty catchy too. Ireland, you aren't totally useless after all, who knew.

Macedonia - Dona. Their singer this year got them to the final in 2012, with a fantastic song, I love that song. IMO this year's entry isn't quite as good. But ooh, gorgeous presentation. And the song is quite beautiful too. Rather dramatic, some people will like that. :-) I like her voice, it really has character ... it's not for everyone, but I like it. And kudos for lyrics in Macedonian. One of their best.

Lithuania - I've Been Waiting For This Night. Another familiar face. There's a lot of them this year. Lithuania's hopeful tries for the second time with another song about how he screwed it all up and please give him another chance. How about learning from your mistakes? This entry is a bit more memorable than many others in the lineup this year, but it's not as catchy as his 2012 entry. I don't know. The presentation's very showy. I don't know what to think about this. really.

Australia - Sound of Silence. My favorite this year, hands down. I love the intro. Love the chorus. Love the whole thing!! :-) A beautiful melody, a wonderful singer ... a peculiar outfit, but you can't win 'em all. A striking presentation too. That chorus ... !! Australia FTW!! This is so good ... !! And imagine how deliriously happy they would be if they won ... !! :-D

Slovenia - Blue and Red. Another striking presentation. Also another pretty girl ... and a very happy and smiley one. -) A good stage presence. And the song is catchier than most of the other entries so far. Not at all bad. I quite like this tonight. Ooh, an acrobat. And pyrotechnics. Worth remembering.

Bulgaria - If Love Was A Crime. One more returning hero. I really like their entry from 2011, that this same singer performed. She has a pretty good voice and she's very confident on stage ... but her dress sense is perhaps a bit more suspicious. But the song is pretty catchy and she definitely has the arena going. I definitely hope to see this again on Saturday, they deserve it.

Denmark - Soldiers of Love. Speaking of boy bands ... o_O Are these guys not a bit too old to get away with this convincingly though? The song is pretty catchy though ... at least while you're listening, but I think it's also rather forgettable. The chorus is catchy but it doesn't really have that kind of hook that a song needs to really be an earworm.

Chitchat with Måns, and a show of support to the LGBT community. Our broadcaster managed to translate "Bulgaria" to "Ungarn", that's pretty impressive. Petra in the green room, and she has changed her outfit! Maybe she did that on Tuesday too and I just didn't notice?? :-o Everything's such similar colors, I can't tell ...

Ukraine - 1944. History or politics? Certainly very serious, whatever it is. Strangers are coming to your house to kill everybody ... !! But I shouldn't joke about it, it really happened ... and it can happen again, not least. But what about the song?? Well, it has quite a lovely melody, the singer pours her soul into the performance, she has a great outfit and the presentation is striking. Ooh, I love that tree ... !!

Norway - Icebreaker. Ooh, a northern postcard. A little overdone but with some beautiful views of our wild northern nature. I'm really happy with our song this year, even though it is so weird ... it's like two songs in one. She just switches back and forth between two different songs. :-) But the two melodies are very striking and memorable. She's a very good singer, very beautiful, wears a beautiful outfit ... and the presentation is lovely too, and quite a propos. It's not good for us that she hasn't been doing any press. But her performance is great! We can definitely hold our heads high this year.

Georgia - Midnight Gold. Sheesh. Not only is the song no good, they want to give us all epilepsy too with their presentation. The more I hear this song, the less I like it. I do like that there is a variety of genres in the contest, so I do appreciate it in that sense, but this has got to be pretty much the most forgettable song this year. I forgot it before it was even over.

Albania - Fairytale. A pretty good singer this year, and a dramatic performance ... and lots of gold. Lots. A pretty melody, but forgettable, like so many other entries this year. I enjoy listening to it, but I forget it as soon as it's over.

Belgium - What's the Pressure. From a golden dress to silver shorts. An upbeat dance tune to end the show, that's not too bad. But this entry just seems very old-fashioned to me. Like this could have been sent in the 90s. Maybe that's the point. But it's a bit strange. A rather strange melody too. Catchy, I guess, but ... strange, somehow. I can't put my finger on it. An enthusiastic performance though. But I still can't really see this going very far.

That's the last song! :-( The voting is open! Eep!!

The first runthrough.

OK, five votes to Australia, and one each to Israel, Macedonia and Bulgaria. My civic duty is done.

Chitchat from our hosts, and more historical revisionism from SVT.

Second runthrough.

Petra and Måns exhort us to vote while we still can ... ! But now the lines will close ... now! Well, I've done my bit.

And now for the interval entertainment - people dancing with robots. OMG, what a metaphor for Sweden. Unintentional, I'm sure. In other news, during Oslo's culture night last year I saw a man dancing ballet with an excavator. It was actually really beautiful. Much better than this. And what's with the music they're dancing to ... ??!

Back to Petra and Måns in the green room, now introducing the rest of the Big Five. Haha, our broadcaster added more info on Rybak's record victory in the subtitles than what Petra actually said. Let's brag about ourselves to ourselves! :-D Some numbers from ESC history. Now the German, Italian and British entries.

Over to Jon Ola Sand who's got the confirmed results. But wtf? Måns says that he's our biggest export since salmon, and the subtitles say he's our biggest export since salmon and A-ha. WTF?? Translate what they're saying!

OMG, I forgot to guess! But all I care about is Australia!!

Georgia. WTF??
Bulgaria! Yes!
Australiaaaa!!! YES!!
Serbia! Yes!
Israel! Yes!

Wow, I'm glad I didn't guess, I would have totally messed up. :-D

Runthrough of the finalists. Go Australia!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Stockholm 2016 - first semi-final

OMG IT IS HAPPENING ... !! My hands are trembling ... ! :-D

I am crazy excited as usual but not quite as psyched as I was last year ... SVT is so overwhelmingly politically correct that I fear all three shows will be a giant three-part homage to the wonders of multiculturalism. Which is like literally the opposite of what the ESC is about. But I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Opening with last year's winner, not surprisingly ... not a highlight for me since I'm not a big fan of this song. I like Måns but I really believe they should have been disqualified with this entry. We should have been tuning in to St Petersburg tonight. :-) Maybe next year?? ;-)

Anyway, my #1 gripe with Heroes is the dumbass lyrics. Hummingbirds don't sing, dingbats!!

And now, our hosts! Petra and Måns. The stage looks pretty fantastic. And Petra's dress is very pretty. Presumably the first of many. :-)

Some chitchat, welcoming all of us to the show ... and a Europe joke. How cool would it be if they turned up! :-D Instructions on how to vote ... not so useful to me as we can't vote tonight, we're in the next semi. Too bad, I want to vote for Russia!! But I have no doubt I will get the chance to do that on Saturday. :-)

Finland opening the show with Sing It Away. Something totally different from last year, which can hardly do worse. I actually kind of like this song ... it has a pretty good beat and the singer is enthusiastic. But not actually that good at singing, unfortunately. And this outfit is also quite unfortunate. It's a good way to start the show, but I am underwhelmed.

Greece - Utopian Land. A pretty weak effort from Greece, IMO. Using "typically Greek" elements as usual, but I'm not impressed with this. They have done it so much better in previous years. The chorus is pretty catchy but the performance tonight seems ... I don't know, kind of stilted. The Greeks can a lot better than this. But it looks pretty with the yellow sun symbols. :-)

Moldova - Falling Stars. I really like this song. The chorus is so cool, I love the way the melody flows there. Her voice isn't the greatest but good enough for this. :-) But what is she wearing? And what's with the astronaut in the aluminum foil space suit? That's a little bit distracting. But the chorus ... !! Not at all shabby from Moldova.

Hungary - Pioneer. OMG TUCK IN YOUR SHIRT!! I do see that the floor is lava but you can still try to not look like a bum. This song is ... meh. Just really intensely meh. I think the lineup is so weak this year. Lots of mediocre songs, some pretty good ones, but no real standouts. This is one of the mediocre ones. I'm not sure what I have to say about this. It's just totally meh. Nothing memorable about this entry at all. Except that the singer looks like a bum.

Croatia - Lighthouse. Wow, her dress is the size of a lighthouse! :-D Possibly the most striking thing about this entry as it isn't very memorable otherwise ... but it is very pretty to listen to, and I really like her voice. Oops, there goes the dress. :-) She's so pretty though! This song is relatively unremarkable but so far it's actually almost the best song. o_O

A break for some chitchat and jokes. Actually quite charming with the fans in the back seat and Petra and Måns driving. :-)

The Netherlands - Slow Down. Oh, I like this entry! It's so charming. I'm not sure this oldfashioned thing will be a hit with the general audience though, but it's adorable. The song itself, the singer, the band ... and oh, the guitar solo! I love how you can sing along with the chorus before you've even heard the song through once. :-) I am charmed. Wish I could vote for them too. :-)

Armenia - LoveWave. I'm always intrigued to see what the Armenians send, they usually send something good. This year I'm a little stumped. The song has a good melody and the ethnic elements will probably go down well ... but it's not what you'd call catchy. It grows on you, but that's problematic in the format of this contest. Still one of the stronger entries tonight, and an interesting presentation, but not what you'd call an earworm.

San Marino - I Didn't Know. I wish I didn't! The first time I heard this I couldn't for the life of me figure out who on earth they're figuring this will appeal to. No one has been able to explain it to me either. It's a mystery. I think that even after tonight, we will not know. I'll be shocked if this gets anywhere.

Russia - You Are the Only One. Ooh, Russia! I really want them to do well this year, I feel that they were cheated out of their rightful victory last year. Fortunately their song is good enough that I can justify rooting for them. :-) What a presentation though! Wings! Shattering mosaics! And now, whoah! Optical illusions! :-o Very cool. Only problem is that it may distract people from the actual song. Oh well. No way will we not be seeing this again on Saturday. :-)

The Czech Republic - I Stand. A beautiful blonde is very rarely wrong ... and she's an OK singer too. The song is ... pretty to listen to, but forgettable. Nothing wrong with it though, but nothing really to remember it by either.

Cyprus - Alter Ego. This is actually not half bad. Unlike most of the rest of the songs tonight it's actually really catchy. And it's a rarity in the lineup this year ... an actual rock band. Hopefully they will stand out enough to get through. A good melody and a good beat. Good luck, Cyprus!

Austria - Loin d'ici. Finally a song that isn't in English ... ! And this song is so pretty. It could have been in a Disney movie about princesses and elves and shit. And her voice is so right for the song. I've heard people badmouthing this song, I don't see why. I think it's sweet. And actually really catchy. I realize it's hardly art, but this is about music! Let's just enjoy the pretty music. :-)

Estonia - Play. Oh, I really like this song too. I love this guy's style. He really takes it all the way. And the song is good too. It's not the type of song that's ever really catchy, but it has a really good tune. I love the presentation. Estonia really deserve a spot in the final!!

Chitchat from the green room and environs. Petra Mede is praising the Sammarinese entry. Spare me! Kissing the Russian ... :-)

Azerbaijan - Miracle. They ave a very beautiful singer if nothing else. And what an outfit ... ! :-D She's a pretty good singer and the song is pretty good ... not very memorable but still among the better ones tonight. She's very confident on stage, but maybe a little too smiley for this rather serious song. And those dancers ... ! o_O The song is very pretty to listen to. We'll probably be listening to it again. :-)

Montenegro - The Real Thing. Another weird entry from Montenegro. But that's good, they keep us guessing! :-) This entry is ... maybe not good, but it is good that it's so unusal. They'll be remembered that way ... and it's good for the contest to have this kind of diversity. This is probably too weird to make it very far, but kudos to them for sending it.

Iceland - Hear Them Calling. They definitely have a good singer this year. And such a unique presentation! I see they're going with the same thing they did in Reykjavik. It's v. cool. But the song is still pretty upbeat and doesn't really match the very grim and gloomy presentation. Still good though. Creative. Good luck to Iceland, I'd love to watch this again in Saturday.

Bosnia & Herzegovina - Ljubav je. FINALLY someone with confidence enough to sing in their own language! And this had such a ... striking video. What will they do on stage?? Ooh, barbed wire. And what a dress! Great melody, great beat, bizarre-looking instruments, a rap in Bosnian - what's not to like?? Go Bosnia!! :-D

Malta - Walk on Water. The last song already! :-( A striking presentation, but I'm not sure what to say about the song. It's pretty to listen to, but forgotten as soon as it's over. Like so many other songs this year. I really wish Malta would win one year, because they would be SO HAPPY and the show in Valletta would be fantastic. But they have to send a better song than this.

The first runthrough. I wish I could vote!! :-(

Second runthrough.

Chitchat from the green room again. They're all winners! Yes, they are in a way - they have all won their national contests. But we haven't heard their competition ... >:-)

Some entertainment. Oh yeah, here we go, badmouthing themselves like nobody's business. I've never known a nation to be so collectively down on itself. And the results are plain to see, tragically. This also appears to be a complete fabrication of history - when ABBA won in 1974, the Swedish establishment completely despised the contest and practically fell over themselves to denounce it as bourgeois garbage. ABBA won entirely on their own merit. it's ridiculous to suggest that they were backed up by the movers and shakers. Yes, I do understand that this is meant to be funny, but historical revisionism isn't that amusing to me coming from an institution that has done so much for so long to pull the wool over the collective eyes of the nation it's supposed to serve.

Third runthrough.

OK, some guesses. Who will get through?? Let me think ...

Russia, definitely.
The Netherlands.
Estonia, hopefully.

I'm really hoping for Austria, and also for Moldova, but I don't know if that's realistic.

Some who won't get through;
San Marino.

The voting's closed! Eep!

The interval entertainment - depressing, apparently, to honor the depressing world situation. Trying not to get political here ... but I am not interested in hearing anything about that situation at all from Swedish mainstream media. Beware. You cannot trust a single word they say, or print.

More chitchat from the green room ... going over who we will be seeing on Saturday, and introducing the French and Spanish singers. And the Swedish kid. That song is soo boring ... ! I don't understand how it can be a favorite. But sure, good luck.

The votes are in! Jon Ola Sand confirms the results. The Dumbledore of Eurovision. :-) Eep! The list!!

Azerbaijan. Yep.
Russia, of course.
The Netherlands! Yes!
Hungary. Huh.
Austria! Yes!
The Czech Republic! Wow! :-)
Malta! OMG!

OK, my guesses tonight were way off base. :-D Better luck on Thursday! :-D

One last runthrough, of course with just the finalists this time. Yay for Austria!!

But my real favorite won't be taking the stage for a couple more days ... ;-)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

ESC 2016 - Norway

Our big night ... !! :-D

OK, starting well ... funny in a way that is actually pretty funny, while also poking fun at the Swedes. I like it.

Now up from the submarine and onto the Oslo Spektrum stage. Nice segue. And, haha, they've got impersonators. A not very convincing Conchita and Lordi. This is a really cool introduction, better than they've had for a while. Cool. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to hire Jan Fredrik Karlsen.

I have to say that if they cut out the national semifinals and instead put their energy and resources into making an intro to the show of this quality, then I totally support it.

A glimpse from the eighth Lithuanian semi which is going on right now. Eight, that is a lot ... !!

Going over the rules ... and we're going to be allowed to vote from the beginning of the show again, I resent that. Should definitely change that back. >:-(

Song #1: Laika by Tonje Gjevjon, performed by The Hungry Hearts feat. Lisa Dillan. Now this is MGP!! Oh my fucking god. What is this. We are confused. How can anyone think that this could have any potential ... like, anywhere? :-o A good thing too! We're laughing our heads off now, but we don't have to be the laughing stock of Europe if we don't need to. I wonder if their English pronunciation really is that bad, or if it's supposed to sound like they have Russian accents? Sheesh. At least they have zero chance of getting anywhere since ANYTHING else will have to be better than this.

Maybe I already should have mentioned that I haven't heard any of the songs yet, just snatches of them. So these are totally my first impressions. :-)

Song #2: Into the Fire by Torstein Flakne, Anne Judith Wik, Mark Spiro and Hallgeir Rustan, performed by Stage Dolls. About what you'd expect from this band. Fine. A perfectly acceptable rock song, but with very little personality. Not what you'd call catchy. We wouldn't get anywhere with this, but we wouldn't make fools of ourselves in any way either. So far my favorite by about 1000 percent.

Song #3: Traces by Stine Hole Ulla, Ingrid Skretting and Trude Kristin Klæboe, performed by Stine Hole Ukka. A Disney-style ballad, apparently. Very pretty singer, with HUGE eyes. One of the songwriters was in the grade below me at school, uninterestingly enough. Pretty good voice. Peculiar presentation, if I'm being diplomatic. Ooh, but very pretty with all the lights in the audience. A enjoyable ballad although comparing it to your average Disney is overstating it a bit. Singer rather dull and anemic. Probably my new favorite now, although I would to be honest prefer to not vote for any of these. Fingers crossed.

Song #4: Stand Up by Danne Attlerud, Michael Clauss and Thomas Thörnholm, performed by Makeda. Now this one I quite expect to like. The singer has a pretty good voice and I think she'll have much more energy on stage. She does ... but her outfit is horrendous. Out of this world hideous.  And she's surrounded by guys in snazzy formal suits. Bizarre. What is this song about ... I can't pay attention to the lyrics, I'm so distracted by her clothes. OMG. Who would allow her to be seen in public like this?? :-o The song isn't half bad - I think, I could hardly hear it over her outfit. :-o

trilltrall is having an attack of sudden anger every three minutes because he's so annoyed by Karlsen popping up in all the artist presentations. He's shouting at the screen, "I want to SHOOOT you!!" :-D

Song #5: Anyway by Tommy Nilsen and Ronny Nilsen, performed by Pegasus. A power ballad performed by ... poodle rockers, apparently. Actually not half bad. This show is on a rising curve, each song is better than the last. Or I should say "better". ;-) I could vote for this. In fact I think I will vote for this ... but will have to consider the other half of the entries first. But so far this is the best, IMO. Although of course there is nothing so far that has a snowball's chance in hell in Stockholm. :-)

Ooh, pyrotechnics ... ! trilltrall wants us to just send the pyrotechnics show and forget about all the songs.

Song #6: Feel da Rush by Fredrik Auke, Simen Auke, Mikkel Christiansen, Trond Opsahl and Christoffer Huse, performed by Freddy Kalas. KAS and trilltrall are rooting for this because the singer is from Drammen apparently. And he's one of the favorites. But his likely victory will be prevented by the professional juries, because although this is fun and very catchy, we would of course be thrashed to within an inch of our lives in Stockholm. :-D He gets the arena going like crazy though. I kind of like this, but it's very embarrassing to hear a Jamaican accent from such an extremely white person. But this guy obviously doesn't care about embarrassing himself ... or us. :-D

Can I mention as I do every year that it's SO annoying that NRK allow more than six people on stage. It's actually a kind of fraud, IMO.

Song #7: Afterglow by Laila Samuelsen, The Beatgees and Jan Weigel, performed by Laila Samuels (obv. the songwriter's stage name). Very good presentation. I like her voice. Energetic performance. Beautiful melody, maybe not super memorable ... but the half naked dancer cavorting among the audience may jog people's memories during the recap. And quite powerful while you're listening. So far at least this clearly gets my vote.

Song #8: History by André Lindahl, Jeanette Olsson and Michael Jay, performed by Elouiz. Pretty singer with excellent diction. Nice outfit, but weird presentation. Those store dummies are totally gonna start dancing at some point. I like her voice. Good melody. I really like the chorus here. Hm. This is actually quite good. This one or the previous entry ... we wouldn't have egg on our faces with either of these. Ooh, pyrotechnics ... !

Song #9: Anna Lee by David Bjoerk, Andreas Moe, David Eriksen and Alexander Austheim, performed by Suite 16. Norway's answer to One Direction, according to Karlsen. In other words, not my type of music. Never been the boyband type. But now am obviously no longer in the target audience. :-) Not sure how many of those who are actually watch this ... but they have a bunch of fans apparently, who call themselves "suitehearts" ... and the teenyboppers are the best, or alternatively worst, at voting in these sms vote things. Wild screaming in the audience. This is relatively catchy, but I still don't quite see it. Although I'm sure we wouldn't do badly with this.

Song #10: Icebreaker by Agnete Johnsen, Gabriel Alares and Ian Curnow, performed by Agnete Johnsen. I like it when people write their own songs in this contest. And this is another of the big favorites tonight. Well deserved, I'd say. Good song, well presented, pretty singer with a good voice and a good stage presence. Really nothing wrong with this, it just should have been a little catchier. But you can't have everything.

OK, that's the lineup. Now the first recap, Let me make my prediction for the first round. Four songs will get through, and my guess is that we'll be seeing again ... Freddy Kalas, One Direction Suite 16, and two female soloists. Laila Samuels and Agnete Johnsen, probably.

Awesome interval entertainment - Kate Gulbrandsen performing Mitt liv ... ! trilltrall is beside himself with happiness, singing along and cheering. Wow. He's four years older than KAS and me, I guess this is evidence of the generation gap, because we totally don't know the lyrics to that song by heart. :-D Ooh, and our performers from last year with their beautiful A Monster Like Me. This time with NRK's full choir. Stunning song that gets better every time I hear it. And Debra looks amazing, even better than in Vienna.

So I've done my civic duty - I've sent five votes each for Afterglow and Icebreaker. Fingers crossed we won't make fools of ourselves in Stockholm. That's really all I ask. KAS demands that we get to the final too, but that's really more than I sign up for. We're Norway. All we can ask is not to totally embarrass ourselves. We may not get even that wish ...

Second recap, but it's too late, the first round of voting is over.

The four "gold finalists" are in ... !! Oh, the excitement. Afterglow!! Yes! Laila performs again, entry still excellent. :-)

Second finalist ... Anna Lee. No surprise there. I like this idea of having some of the performers' most obsessive fans making a speech to appeal to the audience before the second performance. :-) Wow, these kids can't sing for shit.

Third finalist - Icebreaker! Yes! Again no surprise. My powers of perception are excellent tonight. Agnete's speechmaker isn't a fan but a former coworker of some kind. He is less certain of victory than the other two, probably more realistic. :-)

The fourth and last finalist - Feel da Rush. I knew it. OMG this idiot. Please, professional jury members, save us from this total embarrassment. Ha ha, his biggest fans are ten years old! :-D But his speechmaker was the best of the bunch. :-D But that accent ... ! To be fair though he always sings in Norwegian, this is his first ever song in English. No excuse, but maybe an explanation. ;-)

Third recap. I've sent five votes for Afterglow. But I'll be happy with any of these entries except for Feel da Rush. 75% chance of a positive result as far as I'm concerned. And I trust in the professionals. :-)

More of this wonderful interval entertainment, I love it! We've seen a lot of glimpses of MGP history so far, but I've missed Voi voi, and here it is. A tribute duet to Nora Brockstedt. Wonderful. And now other classics. Wow, trilltrall knows a lot of these old GP lyrics, I'm impressed. A hidden side to him is revealing itself. :-D Oh, Optimist ... !! We all know the lyrics to that one ... ! :-D And while we're on the subject of Jahn Teigen ... :-D Will we see him on stage?? It's the 40th anniversary of Voodoo, after all ... :-o Yes, the man himself ... ! :-D

I love this. All the dancers are jumping around like crazy and Teigen is just standing there. That's all he has to do. He's the man! :-D He just accepting the adulation. :-) An applause for Jahn Teigen - definitely!!

And now the votes are in. Oh, I forgot - now they're keeping all their votes from the first round too. Now there's a thought. Going to the first part of the country, Midt-Norge ... and they've got Icebreaker on top, quite significantly ahead too. I'm getting a feeling about that song. It'll probably be our entry. Northern Norway have the songs in the exact same order as Midt-Norge ... and Agnete is a northerner so she gets lots of votes from there. LOTS! Wow! :-o The south country next ... Icebreaker on top, again significantly ahead. But there's most people live in the east country and of course this is where Freddy Kalas is from ... KAS says that maybe we will give him a hundred thousand votes and he'll win at the last moment. Fingers crossed that we won't ... ! :-D

Do they add the first sets of votes at the end? And do we even have professional juries this year?? :-o

The west country have Icebreaker on top too, quite a bit. But now the east country ... ! Well, it won't be Afterglow, alas. Come on, Icebreaker ... ! Wow! Almost 20 000 votes ahead of Feel da Rush in second place. Yes!! We have chosen an excellent entry! Is this really Norway? The fourth really good song in a row! :-D

Aw, and she's so happy. This was a good choice all round. We will definitely not make fools of ourselves this year. My wish came true! :-D