Sunday, 31 March 2013

My slightly delayed 2nd half review - PLUS tips!

Well after the fantabulous success of the audio shite - we'll go for the written word instead huh?

From the first moment I heard this song, it made me have a smile on my face. It is totally and utterly brilliant and can you remember another Eurovision song that has the word "Tsunami" in it?? - It's a song of the old school schlager with that modern twist ( I know i'm making it sound like a cookery program) It even has a key change in it - what more could you want?! - Apart from the ablilty to make people vote for it perhaps. I think this should escape this semi final in a top position, and should Cha-cha its way into the lower reaches of the final result. It *is* light on substance, but Europe like Fun... sometimes.

No amount of cosmetic surgery on this song can hide the fact that Belgium's broadcasters have totally either given up or lost the plot. Its a MOR, average track sung by someone that would be better at his sisters wedding than at a Eurovision Song Contest,. About 50 seconds into the song you realise that its going to do nothing else and despite the fact that its inoffensive, it doesnt have the requiste attack to do anything. It loses the listener at about the same point and it gives them nothing to re-engage with.

Desparate Olympics, apparently, doesn't sing this song - but desperate is about the best way to describe this effort. It's a woman singing a Ballad, now there's something the contest needs (!). To me it is a nice ballad, but Cyprus seem to think its 1987 when this kind of song would have done well, and even with the schlagerists requisite keychange I can't for the life of me see who is going to pick the phone up for this and, frankly, the juries are in trouble as well - It doesn't stand out which it has to do in this semi final but, having said all of that, *something* has to qualify.

Ryan on the Dole thinks his song is actually Popular in the first few seconds, then he's on his knees begging for votes. Its a low budget Cascada for the male singer in my opinion but its sailing through this semi final as it is different enough to get people voting for it. It's strength is also its weakness, however, people have heard this kind of thing before and that might be it's undoing in the Final (which it will definitely get to), Juries not so much, Televoting, yeah.

I wonder how they had billions of Semi Finals to get to this - It's My Star 13 years too late, It has the same vibe, but with no talent and no group to help him.

Oooh look, another female wordy ballad! - However, this one has something that makes it stand out, Moldovan. To me, however it was better in English but they have had to do something to get them to stand out, so why not make it Moldovan?! - It doesn't half work though but, like a couple in this bit, it reminds me of something else that I have heard before - but I think that it could have got an advantage by not being in English. Yup, this is qualifying!

I understand that this is called "dubstep" and has a lot of people going " cor blimey" when they see a pair of ladies Funbags.... but back to the song..... Am sure in its genre its very good ( So Roy Tells me), and I can see it qualifying - but in the Final... not so much.

A Serbian Dance song which I happen to like, it'll have cross border appeal and enough of a decent stand out for it to get through the first bit I suspect. In the final, however, it'll be in the mid table melee.

Qualifiers From this Semi Final I think the Following :

Belarus, Ireland, Moldova, Serbia, Estonia, Denmark, Ukraine, Russia - Definitely
Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Lithuania - In the Shake up
Belgium, Cyprus, Austria - Nope

Friday, 29 March 2013

View from Oleviste Kirik - Part IV

As you'll know, the running order has now been set by the organisers of the Malmö bunfight.  Since my first three parts were simply in alphabetical, I've kept these the same.  Monty has doing a sterling job in his reviews, but here are mine.

Albania – Our friends in the south always do the same thing. Pick a song three years prior to the contest concerned. They re-arrange the tune, the words, cut it in half and Tanel’s your uncle. A work of pure genius. At least, it would be normally. Like their immediate neighbours to the north, Albania has been brave and tried one of those genres that to Eurovision is a bit like Marmite (other yeast-based extract products are available). I’ve no idea how this will do. It could catch the mood on a humdrum Thursday night in May. Or it could be universally ignored.

Armenia – We have some heavy metal pedigree here I understand, but it doesn’t show. In fact, a song promoting a range of travel books is a masterstroke. If only there was one for Malmö or Skåne. A bit like the song really. It promises much but really fails to deliver. I suspect Armenia will really struggle to make the final this year. There’s one extra song in this semi-final, so a song needs just that little bit extra to make it.

Georgia – In 2011 Ell & Nikki sang a duet ballad and limped home to victory in dear old Düsseldorf. This year’s vintage of that formula has been hijacked by one of their neighbours. In my view, a straight fight between them Azeris and these plucky Georgians would see the Georgians win every time. It’s a far far classier attempt and it ticks all the boxes.

Greece – If only the title of this song were true. Heady days of a Moscow Euroclub spring to mind. We appear to have a bit of an identity crisis going off here. They’re Greek, but they’re wearing skirts/kilts. Is there some Helleno-Scottish alliance no-one’s talking about? There must be, because we know how much the inhabitants of Pollok love their Buckfast wine. As a song, it’s executed very well. It’s got the right ingredients if you want something typically Greek. The British will like this I’m sure. But I suspect the Greeks don’t want to win as Mad TV blew the budget on the national final.

Hungary – We have another country eschewing the chance to sing in English, and I therefore have a lot of respect for the Hungarians. Sometimes a song in your own language indicates that you’re not afraid to take risks. And even though I need a translation of the lyric to work out what Byealex is singing about, I really like this song. It’s very simple although maybe a little wordy. Perhaps that’s the Magyar way – why use one word when 38 will do. But I would like to see this in the final.

Israel – Another female power ballad. While I’m sure the Hebrew language means well, it sometimes doesn’t come across best musically. Portuguese and French are musical languages, but Hebrew and German aren’t always as easy on the ear. I can’t really say how I think this one will do. I somehow suspect it might just fall by the wayside because it is another ballad. I’m going to sit on the fence here and predict it’ll come between 7th and 13th on 16 May.

Norway – This is serious song. There’s no fun element here. Just listen to the lyric. Knives against backs and all that. Sounds like a night out in my own home city. The Norwegians don’t appear to be in Malmö to have fun, but more to almost bully everyone into voting for them. More than that, after the titles of the songs from Belgium and Ireland, I’m not sure whether I’d want love feeding to me. Now if the title was ‘I feed you my cheese’, at least I could die a happy Riigi. That said, Margaret is an eye-catching blonde and she’s going to have a large contingent of patriotic countrymen in the audience. This will qualify.

Romania – Falsettos (I think that’s the right word) David D’Or and Krassimir Avramov were similarly blessed/cursed in the voice department and both failed to get out of the semi-finals. There’s something slightly unnerving about a man with such a strangely high voice. Not so long ago, we were all making predictions that Romania could win within five years. Maybe that was a little optimistic, because Romania is not going to be singing on the Saturday night.

Switzerland – Way back in the depths of winter, before someone came down my chimney bearing gifts, this song won in a town that is almost in Germany. I did want Anthony Bighead to win the competition, but it seems that both the producers of the show and the populace of the Confederation had other ideas. I understand that Mr Oneurope did briefly see/interview/overhear one of the members of HeilsarmeeTakasa in Malta and generally the vibe is positive about the song. I’d like to see it qualify, just to p*ss on Lys Assia’s chips as potentially the act with the oldest person ever to appear on a Eurovision stage on a Saturday night.

I'll deal with the 'Big 5 plus 1' soon.

Spot ya

R x

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Monty’s Eurovision Countdown 2013 Part 5 - BELARUS Solayoh by Alyona Lanskaya

You Tube link

Good old Belarus, always good for a bit of controversy. This year marks their 10th participation, but they’ve only qualified for the final twice. That looks set to become an easy three this year with Alyona’s contribution. Alyona was the winner of the Belarusian final last year until the President intervened querying her televoting result and she was bumped in favour of the Litesound boys. To put that into some kind of context for viewers at home, it’s a bit like Tony Blair ordering an inquiry into Terry Wogan’s mistaken announcement of Cyndi ahead of Scooch in the 2007 UK final. She’s got her time this year though, and won the first national final of the season back in early December. This being Belarus though things are never that straightforward, and this time she’s kept her place but not her song, which has been changed. She’ll now Salayoh, a Spanish-hued number that wouldn’t have been out of place on a Summertime Special replete with scantily clad dancing boys mincing around her like 4 big Jessies. It has the possibility of being a summer hit in all those countries where Eurovision music still gets an airing on the wireless and in the beachfront bars, and might well be Belarus’ best chance yet. If Alyona’s voice can hold out whilst she dances it will lend her an extra advantage, although she may cancel that out if she doesn’t manage not to look quite so startled. I don’t see it as being quite so catchy as it’s trying to be though, and whilst it may well be a top 10 finisher I don’t see it as a winner. Minsk will have to wait another year.

My score: 7 points

Monty x

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Monty’s Eurovision Countdown 2013 Part 4 - AZERBAIJAN Hold Me by Farid Mammadov

You Tube link

In its short Eurovision history Azerbaijan’s performance has been very impressive, culminating in their 2011 victory that took half of the regular crowd to Baku last year. The remainder stayed at home, put off by the dual fear of high prices and highly staged political posturing. Neither quite turned out to be as bad as expected, and the genuine gusto with which many ordinary Azeris approached the Contest was borne out in a mixture of warm welcomes and friendly curiosity at us invading fans. Personally I loved it and would be back like a shot. Which we may yet be. Hold Me, cries Farid, an almost-swarthy type with eyebrows that one day may rival Dennis Healey’s. He ought to be careful what he’s asking as already there’s a disorderly queue of a certain persuasion lining up in the hope of doing just that as photos of the fruits of Farid’s labour in the gym are circulating the social networks. Vocally he needs a bit of coaching as at times he’s a bit on the nasal side and the more energetic (by which I means shouty) parts of his live performance appear to have been overdubbed in this video, but there’s time to sort all of that out. Whilst they’re doing that they’ll probably choreograph this to within an inch of its life for maximum effect (and I predict a golden-shower of fireworks at some point, mark my words). Add into the mix it being just the kind of middle-of-the-road generic stock that can poll quite highly at Eurovision and with no Turkey this year for their wide diaspora to support this could scoop up just enough points to be back in Baku next May. If that happens then get your piece of Farid whilst you can before he becomes the next Dima Bilan.

My score: 7 points

Monty x

Monty’s Eurovision Countdown 2013 Part 3 - AUSTRIA Shine by Natalia Kelly

You Tube link

Poor Austria had high hopes for their performers last year, the Trackshittaz, who had narrowly missed out on going to the Contest in 2011. Unfortunately the ‘Shittaz ‘comeback’ was considerably less successful than anticipated with one spraining his ankle so badly during their performance that had they qualified his appearance in the final may have been in question. As it happened they finished last so there was no need to worry. Some fans hoped that we might see a return of last year’s Austrian runner-up, bearded drag-queen Conchita Wurst, but this was not to be as broadcaster ORF treated us to 5 fresh new acts. Or so they claimed. Natalia’s song is a modern pop and R’n’B influenced number, and she delivers it very well indeed, with a confident voice and engaging presence, although for me it doesn’t really seem to go anywhere. This isn’t a style I’m particularly drawn to, although it’s a combination that could see qualification and a fairly solid result. In the national final it was helped by the ever-popular golden-shower of pyrotechnics that however many times you see it still seems to add a little oomph to that final chorus, though I’m rather suspecting we’re going to see a lot of them this year.

My score: 4 points

Monty x

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Monty’s Eurovision Countdown 2013 Part 2 - ARMENIA Lonely Planet by Dorians

You Tube link

Blimey, we’re only two songs in and already we have our second rock song! It doesn’t all end up like this, believe me, we’ve got plenty of ballads still to come, and thankfully a few uptempo numbers although admittedly it is an odd year. Armenia has called in the support of Tommy Iommi, founder member of Black Sabbath, to do the songwriting honours, and he’s already quoted as being wary of the panning his song might face. He’s right to be concerned.  With only 4 songs in their national final, all performed by the same band the Dorians fronted by Gor Surjan, the Armenians didn’t really have much to choose from to be fair, but based on this they might as well have sat another year out. It was disappointing not to see them last year as neighbours and foes Azerbaijan hosted, an opt-out based on genuine security concerns and a bit of political posturing, although given the stonewalling any Armenian Eurovision song faced after one slipped onto the playlist in the EuroClub this may have been a wise move. Gor himself needs a crash-course in charisma before he takes to the Malmö stage as this is decidedly lacklustre at the moment, but any pizzazz he is able to add will only be window dressing around what is a disengaging tune. “We can stop it” sings Gor at the end. You rather wish he would.

My score: 2 points

Monty x

Monty’s Eurovision Countdown 2013 Part 1 - ALBANIA Identitet by Adrian Lulgjuraj and Bledar Sejko

You Tube link

Nobody can accuse Albania of not taking risks in Eurovision. This is after all the country which came 5th last year with a dreadlocked jazz singer who spent almost half of her three minutes singing the same syllable up and down the scales and who saw fit to once put their principal dancer in a green gimp mask. This year the risk is to send a rock song, a genre not know to set the scoreboard alight unless you’re Finnish and dressed up as a monster. In the video Adrian and Bledar have snuck their band into a building site in downtown Tirana without so much as a nod to a workman’s helmet (suggesting the main draw for immigration into the UK might not be economic but merely a desire to enjoy some decent health and safety legislation). There they bang out their rock number with a hint of Balkan instrumentation. I fear this won’t capture the televoting imagination and the chaps don’t seem to make the best of their presentation; Bledar’s lank hair lends him the look of a 1970s pub band member who probably hails from Wolverhampton and coupling him with Adrian is a most unlikely pairing. Musically it’s not unpleasant, should you like that kind of thing, but frankly I don’t and I can’t see this making the final.

My score: 4 points

Monty x

Monday, 25 March 2013

View from Oleviste Kirik - Part III

I'm not sure whether the first or the second semi-final is the stronger one this year.  They both have their good and bad points.  Indeed, there are both some gems and some dirges in this first half.

Azerbaijan – The Azeris have picked another dramatic yet formulaic ballad. It will make the final, because Azerbaijan always does. But it’s a lacking something in the verse. The chorus has a vaguely memorable hook which wouldn’t be enough for many other countries. Farid’s vocal seems a little weak too. It’ll qualify, but probably doesn’t deserve to.

Bulgaria – The orgasm to music is back, complete with a bit of nipping and tucking along the way it seems. Bulgarian TV couldn’t make their mind up about the one they originally chose, so in time-honoured tradition they disqualified it and picked a different one. I can see why they’ve gone for the only Bulgarian act to make a final, but this sort of stuff has been done before. Voda/Water was better.

Finland – I watched the whole UMK thing this year and my heart kept sinking at every turn. They had songs featuring banjos, which is always a good thing in my book. Unless it’s in a ‘Deliverance’ sort of context. Anyway, this thing went and won and trounced some far superior competition. I can sort of see its appeal. But the lyric portrays Krista as someone very submissive in a very domineering sort of way. Reminds me of a girl I once knew. I don’t think it’s really good enough and just a little bit too gimmicky.

Iceland – I have to admire the Icelanders for choosing to be proud of their language once again. I never thought I’d hear the unique ‘Þ’ and ‘Đ’ sounds heard on a Eurovision stage, but I’m glad they’re back. Iceland has seemed a fairly safe bet for qualification over the last few years, and the same seems true this year. A ballad, but sung by a bloke. It all sounds good to me.

Latvia – Hmmm. My mother always said to me that if I couldn’t find anything to say, I should keep quiet. Silence. OK, so silence doesn’t come across well in a blog so I better say something. What were my neighbours thinking? Dziesma had potential. Samanta Tina’s song was there for the wonning (sic). Even Ott Lepland showed up. But no, there are times when democracy doesn’t work. The Lats sending PeR to Eurovision was one of those times. Maybe they should have called this song ‘Here we stay’.

Macedonia FYR –If your first choice song doesn’t go down too well, just pick another one. After all, it has worked for other countries. Oh, hang on a minute, no it hasn’t. This is ethnic with a capital ‘ETH’ and it quite appeals to me. Bloke Lozano has a voice slightly reminiscent of the late great Toše Proeski. Esma has an interesting look. A little mature, a little ‘Divine’ if you get my drift. Without her, this song would be going nowhere.

Malta – My Oneurope colleagues were there when Gianluca won. I wish I had been too. A bit of a surprise to some, but Mr Hacksaw called this as a winner ages ago on his highly useful blog. The Maltese are always a fun bunch and are bound to be this year, judging by what I’ve read and seen. I like it because it’s different, it’s very enjoyable and Mr Bezzina is going to have a darn good time in Malmö. He strikes me as the singer who won’t screw things up on the night too. Let’s get the Med’s happiest island(s) to the final again.

San Marino – What has the Serene Republic gone and done this year? They’ve gone and entered a bloody good song, that’s all. My heart sank when I’d heard we were getting the unholy alliance of Monetta and Siegel again. My question is, why couldn’t they have entered this beauty 12 months ago? Or was the German candidate for Mr Eurovision just saving it up for a perceived weaker year? In any event, if this doesn’t qualify for the final my name isn’t, well, whatever it is.

We're nearly there you'll be glad to know dear reader.  I'll be back in a few days.

R x

Sunday, 24 March 2013

S'uppose I had best give my Views - Part 1

Thursday, 21 March 2013

View from Oleviste Kirik - Part II

While my most learnèd colleagues deliberate and cogitate over this year's crop of songs, I'm giving you, the discerning reader, my humble thoughts on them all.  These are in the second half of the first semi-final.  But you probably knew that already.

Belarus - When I first heard this I thought she was singing about ice cream type confection. The EBU won’t allow that I thought. But no, it was just me mis-hearing. I understand some other luminaries on this site really like this one, and I’m inclined to agree. Them White Russians sometimes have a little trouble getting to the final, but I think this one could be through.

Belgium – I remember a long time ago in a country far far away actually tuning in one Sunday morning to watch the Belgian final. Three songs and a three hour radio show with webcams if I recall. Who says RTBF doesn’t take this thing seriously? Sadly, I think plucky little Belgium will be way down in the order when we see this semi-final’s result. Poor little Roberto appears to be like a lamb to the slaughter this year.

Cyprus – I always like it when Cyprus sings in Greek. It sets them apart from the anodyne singing in English in a bad accent that often happens. However, it’s a ballad sung by a pretty girl. Amongst lots of other ballads sung by equally pretty girls. And the thing it’s missing it Greece in the same semi-final. Will it qualify? I’m not sure. I’d like it to but I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t.

Ireland – Ah, Ireland. I have to take my hat off to you. You’ve finally got that twin fixation out of your system, and now you can move onwards and upwards. This time, much to my surprise, I actually really like the Irish song. It proves that a good song trumps a hackneyed gimmick every time. It uses the odd Celtic element (see Denmark) but I think this has more reason to do so. It’s a qualifier.

Lithuania – Year after year I wonder what goes off in Lithuania. I should show a bit of solidarity with the country, but I’m still not convinced they ‘get’ Eurovision. But they completely confound me and end up getting through the semi-final. What are they doing right that the likes of the Netherlands are getting so so wrong? I just don’t understand. The song itself is a little odd – it’s got a 80s vibe about it. The guy wears a top hat looking like someone out of the Clockwork Orange. But it might, just might work.

Moldova – Yet another ballad. Now there’s a novelty. She’s a very striking woman with a bit of a bedhead and a long dress combining the Linda Wagenmakers and Sabina Babayeva looks. If she’s book-ended by two fast songs, she’s in with a chance of a place in the final – as Moldova often manages to wangle. Otherwise, I don’t think this will go anywhere.

Montenegro – I love Montenegro. Rather than trying to pick something they think Europe might like, they just pick something they like. If Europe doesn’t like it, that’s just Europe’s hard luck. I think this song is incredibly brave, and incorporates all of those things that no-one else dares to try.  I would love love love this to finish 10th or higher on 14 May.  People of Europe, you know what you've got to do.

Serbia – I like the Serbs. Over the years they’ve entered quality ballads, usually written by the Balkan Dennis Waterman (written the song, presented the show…). This time we have a Serb for every mood. I call them nice (brunette in white), nasty (brunette in red and devil horns at a jaunty angle) and neutral (blonde in gold). Easy on the eye ladies not singing a ballad? A refreshing change. I suspect this will be another one of those vote sponges. Although we did say that about the lovely Femminem a few years ago.

I hope you can't wait for Part III.  I know I can't.

Love ya

R x

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Monty's Eurovision Countdown

So "that Rigi" has kicked off the previews with his opinions on the first part of the show. Not to be outdone, and now that all the entries are chosen, I shall be extending my own Eurovision Countdown from its now-traditional home on Facebook to these very pages for your delight and delectation as we prepare to go to that Malmö. I'll give you my views on each in alphabetical order and my own score out of a Eurovision douze. I shall be back presently with Albania to start the ball rolling. Ooh it's exciting, isn't it?

Monty x

Sunday, 17 March 2013

View from Oleviste Kirik - Part I

I'm going to stick my neck on the line and briefly review the songs in bite-sized chunks.  I must add that these are in alphabetical order.  The actual running order will doubtless be determined in a fair and above board manner.  While running order doesn't completely affect who will qualifies and who will not, no-one wants the dreaded second spot.  Having said that, we have semi-finals with 16 and 17 countries taking part, so they all have a slightly better than average chance of making it through.  You do only need to finish 10th after all, and a song on second can quite easily do that.  And once a song's in the final, anything can happen.

With that in mind, here are the countries in the first half of the first semi-final.  I suspect you won't always agree with me, but there you go.

Austria – Their compact final yielded this slightly better than average number. She’s no Trackshitta but I can’t help but look at her. Maybe it’s those dark eyes. Shine is formulaic, but in this very open year she has a chance of making the final. 

Croatia – The contest thankfully throws up national styles and stereotypes, despite its protests to the contrary. I mean, you can tell this isn’t a Finnish song for instance. The six guys all have excellent voices – after all, they are a Klapa supergroup. It’s very pleasant so could go down well in a sort of way. Or it could sink without trace. 

Denmark – “How many words can we cram in a song?” Our waif Emmelie from Malmö Senior takes us all Celtic. So Celtic in fact it’s to the point of being too contrived. Helene Bøksen did it much better when she sang Vardlokk in a Norwegian final two years ago. Having said that, it does have the potential to be a vote sponge. And it will have a huge amount of raucous Danes in the arena to give it a boost. 

Estonia – Now even though the glorious Winny Puhh didn’t make it, my Baltic nation has again done good.  Again.  Birgit has tried a few times, so in the time-honoured tradition of myturnology, she’s finally got there. So what have we got? A darn good ballad sung by someone who is easy on the eye and can carry a tune. It’s a song that really suits her too. This is the sort of song that made me fall head over heels in love with the Contest in the first place. 

Netherlands – Every year a song comes along that all of the fannage except me seem to get. That honour this year goes to Birds. It never gets going, and I generally find it all very tedious. It’s all a bit depressing too. And here’s me thinking the Dutch were a happy race, full of interesting mind-altering substances. I wouldn’t have this as a qualifier. If I had my way, I’d have it on second. But we’ve got a fair and above board draw taking place soon, haven’t we? 

Russia – When Russia won they obviously decided to take a year or two off trying to win again. This tactic almost backfired last year when our Udmurt-spouting babushki nearly won the thing again. This is a half-decent effort that I quite like. It is another one of the many ballads sung by easy-on-the-eye ladies but it does have enough about it to set it apart. 

Slovenia – Our Adriatic friends shocked us all last year by being roundly ignored by half of Europe’s voters and failing to get to play with the big guns. It had the pedigree, so what went wrong? RTVSlo obviously thought the same, so they’ve plumped for the other dominant genre this year and gone for the dance-floor filler. It’s another one of those OK songs. Not brilliant, but not awful. It might be one of those you hear and remember it was in the contest, but have no idea who it represented. Borderline for me. 

Ukraine – Another bug ballad with soaring vocals rounds off this little review. Zlata (Goldie to her friends perhaps?) belts this one out and seems to have the necessaries for getting out of the first semi-final bloodfest. It pushes all the right buttons, even without any alleged neighbourly voting. Definitely through.

Part II to follow soon

R x

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Welcome to Moldova!

Don't say OnEurope don't go to the ends of the earth for you - yes, I sit here in a knock-off Starbuck liveried coffee bar in the centre of Chisinau, all poised for the joys that the first Moldovan semi-final is bound to hold.

I've just popped out to the TRM studios for a quick squizz, and the whole ace appears to be made of wood panelling and formica. The stage area looks pretty posh, but is also about the size of a small town gig hall around the back of a pub, so I'm guessing there won't be much of a crowd in there.

The green room's an altogether different affair, and appears to be crafted from office dividers in the corner of a wide corridor. They were just delivering the lurid orange beanbags when I was there, but they were too wide to get through the doors, so I fear they may have to dismantle the whole room to get them in.

But despite all that, the Moldovans are putting their heart and soul into this. Every ad break on the local telly features a handy guide on who the acts are and how you can vote (and even what the dear old 12-10-8 system means). On top of that, there's posters featuring many of the acts all over town, mostly for my favourite shouty woman Doinita Gherman. She's even turning up on some of the big advertising screens in town, with clips of her bouncing about, and the legend Eurovision 2013 flashing on and off. Looks like someone wants this to be her year - well, it is her fourth go.

The other act to watch out for at Christina and Glam Girls. If they can actually sing live and aren't a frightening harpy racket, I reckon they could do some business.

But I'll leave you to make up your own minds on tonight's fare. Hopefully I'll be able to find soem wifi at the studios so I can post some pics and stuff. Mind you, the only other place I've caught a signal in town so far is the Maccy D's window sill, and I'm blowed if I'm watching it from there!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

It was 20 years ago today (give or take)

It only occurred to me the other day that for half of Europe, their Eurovision adventure started 20 years ago. From those wobbly days of 1993, the eastern half of our fair continent has now provided six winners, all in the last 12 contests (plus six runners-up in 13 contests). While some of the purists out there may argue that Eurovision is not as good as it once was, I think the gradual expansion was the best thing to happen to the contest. 

It’s become a far more dynamic beast now, and once my beloved Eesti became the first ‘New Europe’ country to win on that balmy evening in Copenhagen, the game was most definitely raised. So much so, ‘New Europe’ came to dominate the show, catching most of ‘Old Europe’ napping a little. Indeed, amongst the first ‘oldies’ to get the hang of the new order were those perennial also-rans Turkey and Greece. Yes, you can argue that the ‘newbies’ all gang up, but you need more than neighbourly voting to win Europe’s favourite TV show. It’s only more recently that ‘Old Europe’ has started fighting back.

I think the contest this year in Copenhagen junior (sorry, Malmö) will be an interesting affair. All of Europe now wants to win. Since three of the last four shows have been won by ‘oldies’, even a certain pessimistic island off the coast of France that used to run the world thinks it’s in with a chance. It’s going to be a close show this year. I’ll put my thoughts about the songs down on virtual paper over the coming weeks, but despite all the nay-sayers, this year might just be a vintage contest.

Anyways, to celebrate those early 'New Europe' days, here’s the little gem that represented Eesti from the innovative Kvalifikacija za Millstreet. It wasn’t my favourite from that year (the brilliant Amnestia na neveru was robbed, partly through Slovakia’s odd voting), but it’s pleasant enough to get an airing.

Keep on believing. 

R x

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Greeting from Bucharest!

Yes, in an unprecedented spot of cosmopolitansm, On-U not only bring you Uncle Monty live from The hall in Sweden, but little me in the green room in Bucharest!

Will Luminita Anghel make it a second appearance in the finals, despite some facial surgery that could curdle milk? Will the gloriously stompy Electric Fence go one better than last year and bag the ticket to Malmo? Will scary Cezar hypnotise the voting public, or will the boy soprano dazzle us all?

And will we all be singing "Spinning spinning spinning round" for hours after the show has finished?

Only time will tell, and I'll be there, backstage to give uou a blow by blow account! If I can get wifi on my phone...

What other site gives you all this, eh?

Greeting from Stockholm

Greetings from a sunny but chilly Stockholm! I'm finally here for Melodifestivalen weekend, despite the best efforts of British Airways and the London fog to scupper me. Having trekked all the way to City Airport for an ungodly hour I found myself hot-Tubing it all the way to Heathrow for a flight 5 and a half hours later. Thankfully they realised who I am and put me in a posh seat with some bubbly booze, but it was touch and go as to whether I'd make the arena or not for last night's rehearsal. But I did and was rewarded with a from row seat, literally so close to the stage I could have reached out and touched Sean's Banan.

It is admittedly a mixed bag this year in MF but the eventual final line up isn't too bad, if a little repetitive with several pretty boys singing almost identical songs. This could split the vote and let a less likely choice through, like the Dead Kipper woman, or even Mr Banan himself. The Munther boy opens with a pretty ropey rendition of his Tell The World I'm Queer (I'm typing as I hear it, you understand) which is a bit lacklustre and pales a little after the second swing, and it's not often you can say that at a Eurovision event. David Lindgren is full of energy and this has come up a lot for me.

State of Drama need to bother really, and before you know it Anton is throwing his shapes on the stage, and flinging his jacket into the crowd. It landed right at my feet but before I could grab a whiff of Anton off it to being home for Jody an efficient stagehand had whipped it away to clear the stage for Louise and her stunned mullets. This is OK, and whilst many people find the lyric of the Dead Fish Following The Sea off-putting for me this is what lends it some character. It's quite a snooze fest but with a divided note and sympathy vote for her illness who knows?

Ralf next and being in the front row caused its issues as our eyebrows were almost singed off with his perpetual pyrotechnics. Blimey it was warm! I like this and it had a chance I think, and I'll admit it, I find him strangely attractive. Happy for this to head south to Malmö.  Tommy Körberg and his comedy wedding band plod their way through En Rimtig Jävla Shitsong and it seemed in the crowd that the joke had already worn thin on the Swedes, or maybe they were just waiting for Sean Banan, who then brought the house down with a highly busy but thoroughly entertaining Copacabanana. This is dangerous, or delightful, depending on your bent.

Next up is Robin with You, the best song of the night for me, but will they pick a qualifier from the Andra Chancen? They could be well advised to really. And closing is the uniquely capitalised YOHIO, who I find intriguing but would be better left to come back with a more engaging song and truly cause a stir at a future Eurovision. The interval duties are split between Loreen and Carola, the former getting other people to sing most of her song for her, the latter looking a little too old for hot-pants and chiffon, and getting a little close to the pyros for comfort. I hope it's flame-proof.

So who's going to won? I've no idea, it really feels the most open final in years, but also the one I care least about, in the sense I don't have a burning favourite. It could be any of a good six to eight songs, with only the old boys and State of Drama truly out of the running. The international jury vote could count for a lot.

Afterwards I shimmied at Paradise, the customary Friday hangout for those in town from across Europe of a certain persuasion. All very jolly, though after the afternoon champagne I ended up drunk for the second time. I'm relaxed now and m heading to a very dear friend's place to watch it this evening and have a good old catch up. Enjoy the show, folks, and blog to you soon.

Monty x

Friday, 8 March 2013

The March hair and the final songs push

I'm still alive folks!

Despite the vast quantities of caipirinha and beer consumed in three and a half weeks in Brazil and the lake of red wine quaffed over the festive period, Rosé is still kicking and ready for another bash of this madness we call the song contest.

The fact I took ALL my winter leave in one lump smack bang in the middle of national finals season to go and sashay on the Brazilian beaches for almost a month is now leaving me with a Melodifestivalen headache! In that I CAN'T RUDDY GO!!  I had relied on days off but hadn't remembered it's Mother's Day so most other trolley dollies (close to their mums, and that's most of em to be frank) had requested the same days off.  I'd even got a semi new 'do' for Stockholm, well a different shade of peroxide at least, wanted to appear more Swedish in the hope of not being ripped off at the bars, ahem!

So I'm stuck here in London (with new hair) and working the trolley tomorrow to Tel Aviv instead of trolling around Slussen singing in bad Swedish, trying not to fall off Patsy boat and looking for the McDonald's at 5am!  I suppose it will save me about 5000 kroner and at least three hangovers?  Every cloud and all.. Plus I will be watching MF tomorrow in the company of an my gorgeous Israeli friend Betty who cares about all things Swedish more than the most schlagery of fans I know.  Shalom Sverige!?  It has a ring to it....

Talking of those two, I'm liking the MF lineup in what has, again, been described as a bad year. The late addition of the two twinks (both with massive hair) from the Andra Chansen has upped it for me into an average year for Sweden rather than a dull one.  Anton has the sexiest little dance moves and a half decent up tempo number and Robin has a radio friendly song and an impressive pyro wall. Ulrik Munther squeals Tell The World I'm Queer and any of those three for me would be a worthy winner though I can't remember the last time something that came through AC won the thing (though someone will tell me no doubt). Ulrik has Danny's opening slot (ooer) so must be in with a shot but the bookies are backing Yohio.  I don't get Yohio though admittedly I don't know much about the artist but I do feel the song is very dated and only carried over the line by a flamboyant and clearly popular singer. The one to watch could be the fiery Ralf which has gained support in the closing stages, I'd prefer him to win than Yohio but let's see what transpires.

Israel went all Melodifestivalen on us and provided us with some very pleasing on the eye performers, noteably Judah Gavra, however the winning power ballad is leaving me a little cold. That is a really big deal to me, for those that have come within five miles of me will know I'm a big old ballad girl. I want to love it! I mean Israel is my new Portugal!!  I just find it all pained and forced and a but shouty although the sound did seem a little off at times during what was otherwise a good kdam final. Some people seem up in arms that Shany Zamir won the televote yet scored nothing from the juries. Now I'd have loved her to win for her name and backing dancers alone, but she bludgeoned the last living breath out of that vocal!

I obviously am playing national finals catch up dear reader and I'm not the quickest at this, I only just did my last holiday washing three weeks after returning!  So I'll be wading through national finals for a while now but some last brief musings.....

I'm totally ok with our Bonnie for the UK for generally the same reasons as mentioned below by our
Phil and I'd love her to do well.  It's fairly catch on first listen and well crafted and I hope she belts it out and gets top ten!

I won't be popular with many for this but am so happy the Puhh nonsense didn't make it for Estonia! Truly awful in my book and no I'm not just a schlager and ballad boy!!

For me it's Norway's to lose at the moment! Totally contemporary and relevant. Margaret looks authentic, the sound of Feed Me Your Love is great and I can see this stomping home leaving the average main field of safe ballads far behind.  We've still got a few left to come but if nothing else changes, it's back to Norway next year folks.....

Or Tblisi...

Or Dublin...

Love it here don't we?!!

Lots of Swedish and Israeli love this weekend peeps!  Oh and Romanian too!!
We are not quite there are we!


Thursday, 7 March 2013

And so it beings......

... *sigh*

The BBC have announced that Bonnie Tyler will be singing the UK song in Malmo and, within seconds of the starting gun being fired, the same old people on "the internets" are saying the same old things about the entry that they do every year. -

I'm not going to repeat them, because i'm sure, dear reader, you know who I am talking about and what they are saying and they are becoming as predictable as a Eurovision press conference question about singing your song in your own language being asked and, just like those press conferences, I'll give them a wide berth and be objective ( I suspect people look in the dictionary about that one).

I'm going to divide this up into 3 parts :

Song - Yeah it's 1980's power rock lite - granted but its crafted well and written by an established song writing team.  This is a bonus.  People claim its forgettable - however, my counter-argument is - "So you have been saying that about many songs this year!!" - It's a non vintage year and there are many songs that are the same type and style.  This one fits in with that mould.

Voting - As said above, it's a fish, in a large school of fish, in a large pond.  it's oen of several songs that are going to be begging for the same votes.  That, granted, is going to be a problem.  However, where this one leaps above them, is that it's clearly aimed at the jury scores.  remember, they are instructed to vote for well crafted, professionally written songs, and you clearly can't say that this isn't one of them - combine that with the fact that Bonnie can actually, you know, hold a tune in a bucket live and provided she believes in the song that should have some extra weight.
Televoting, however, is a different matter.  "those people" will have you believe that everyone that votes is either 16-25 or tone deaf.  He're a clue, they might be the 2nd, but they are not the first!  There is a lot of people that vote who remember the 80's and who she is.  She has a shot, but its dependant on the draw too!

Result - This is the total unknown here. There are going to be such a wealth of underwhelmingness clogging up the higher reaches of the scoreboard - votes are going to be all over the place and with the scatter gun aproach to voting, no one can be sure as to where it's going to end up.  It *could* be top 10, It could be accidently 26th (totally unlikely to be honest). 

Overall - It's a perfectly pleasant song which will be sung well by someone with relevant stagecraft experience, had millions of record sales and who performs regularly.  Ultimately, what's wrong with that?!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Some things are clearly not meant to be

Now, then, Estonia.  Have you been watching the German final? - Cos if you had, you'd have seen the older people giving 0 points to the rawk there too!

You did exactly the same here!! - 2 x 1 point to Winny Puhh effectively negating the rest of the jury - PAH!

Death to Old People on Juries!!

Friday, 1 March 2013

You know it makes sense - Winny Puhh for Eesti!

The Estonian is right - It'a about time some goddam Punk got the the Eurovision - Therefore, Vote Winny Puhh!

Eurolaul has been far better than MF............ again, Therefore I think that an audience of 2 will be watching the Andra Boredom, and thousands will be over at ETV.....

Winny for Eurovision!! - What a dream that is ;)