*Note - the date on this blog is a week old; the Blogger service wiped out this post last week.
So, having proudly watched maybe a total of three minutes of American and Canadian Idol my entire life, I find myself here in Amsterdam, forc, er, coaxed into watching Eurovision, a European icon for over fifty years apparently. It's either this or a rather sad time sitting upstairs alone. A Canadian, idle. So, purely in the interest of my relationship, I am here.
The show opens with spectacular awkwardness, with the German male host saying to his two female co-hosts "the voting is so easy, even a woman can do it." What an idiot. This is gonna be awesome.
The Dutch commentator speaks over 90% of the English commentary. Stupendously annoying, and unnecessary for a viewing audience that ranks second-highest in the world in terms of English comprehension for non-English-speaking countries.
I do like the condensed format - Tuesday and Thursday evening, two-minute songs, and the finals on Saturday. 6 hours, done.
A live blog of the evening's affairs.
1) Poland - a Polish Abba-type band opens with a lukewarm number that leaves me eyeing the staircase. (No photo - I was lulled into distraction by boredom).
2) Norway goes for Haba Haba, an African-infused pop ditty that features 3 black girls and 2 white male back-up dancers, turning our perceptions of the Scandinavian nation on its head faster than you can say Haba Haba. The early front-runners, easily.
3) Albania - sings a song in English, an Albanian version of Pink gets out some serious daddy issues as her massive jugular vein fills our screen. Scary, but does not resonate.
4) Armenia - Boom Boom Chacka Chacka, sings Emmy, a diminutive Armenian (really, is there any other kind?). Euro-pop at its peak, or valley, depending on your perspective. I'll go with valley. Though her boobs might rack up some votes. I might stick around for a few more songs.
5) Turkey - a rock-ish number complete with a Cirque du SoLame contortionist in a bamboo cage. Somehow it all works though.
6) Serbia - Nina sings a retro-dabbled number, with outfits straight from Austin Powers. No, Baby, No.
7) Russia - Alexej sings a lukewarm pop tune with an all-male backup crew, and sings "I'm coming to get you". Unless he means my order at Olive Garden Moscow, I don't think so.
8) Switzerland - a cello, a banjo, and a cute girl going for a Feist-like ditty. Not my stuff, but the crowd goes wild.
9) Georgia - A goth-rap screamer. What's that awful band called, Evanescence? These guys are better, which is like saying Milli is better than Vanilli.
10) Finland - Finnally! After nine group numbers, a solo act, a la James Blunt. Weak start, strong Finnish. With a shirt straight from Star Trek, this little dweeb's got a future. Along with their Norwegian neighbours, a strong contender.
11) Malta - So Maltese people look like Canadian figure skater Emanuel Sandhu. This dude somehow manages to be even gayer. More of an Emanuel Sandon't.
12) San Marino - To be honest, I didn't even know this was a country. I thought it was a retired Miami Dolphins quarterback. About the same, musically-speaking, and not far off in the masculinity area. Tran Marino.
13) Croatia - This song featured a magician with the ability to change the singer's costume 3 times. Sadly, the singer did not disappear.
14) Iceland - 6 guys, strumming and singing some indescribably cheesy song. I find myself wishing for volcanic ash to obscure my ears.
15) Hungary - a pop-rock tune of stunning mediocrity by a tranny-esque singer named Kati Wolf. A he in wolf's clothing, if you ask me. Still a very nice voice though.
16) Portugal - this is the worst thing I've heard in my life. Some form of playful political pop song with signs saying "The Struggle is Joy". No, the struggle is stopping my ears from bleeding. This must be Exhibit A when people point to Eurovision as a cheesy farce.
17) Lithuania - C'est Ma Vie, a French song sung by a Lithuanian woman in English while using sign language. (Seriously). Will be a hit with all deaf Lithuanian grandparents with Franco-Anglo ancestors. Yet a classy song with piano accompaniment. Third place behind the Finns and the Norwegians.
18) Azerbaijan - a very poppy duet, but melodic. Makes me want to hug an Azerbaijani. Tied for second with the friendly Finnish fellow. The most radio-ready of all the songs thus far.
19) Greece - a hip-hop entry segues into an operatic Michael Bublepolopoulous. So confused, my keyboard just blew up.
So, before the results are in to see who moves to Saturday's finals, my top 5 - a hybrid of what I like and what I think will play well with the voting public. 10 actually go through, but it's late and I am old.
The results are sent in over the course of the show, so they announce the countries that will go through to Saturday at the end of the show tonight.
UNBELIEVABLE... Norway doesn't go through. Blatant Euro-racism. Anyway, my Norwegian Benneton ad will be vindicated when Haba Haba goes to number 1 on all the worldwide charts. I can't type anymore, my fingers are filled with sorrow.
Till Thursday everyone!