EuroVision Part Deux


Eurovision, part two. Watching from the couch here in Amsterdam, Thursday night promises more of the same - 80% fromage, 10% sexy, and 10% being music that you would readily admit to listening to.

1) Bosnia-Herzegovina kicks things off with a folksy tune sung by the oldest person in the competition, a graying, tweed-jacket wearing Bosnian-Herzegovinian. Sex appeal at its lowest point in the contest.

2) Austria - rights the sex appeal ship within seconds, as a very fit girl in a black mini-dress. These aren't your grandpa's lederhosen. The Whitney Houston-ish song (early Whitney, not crack-Whitney) is actually quite nice.

3) Netherlands - the "3J's" do a soft-rock ballad. I'm guessing the J's stand for Jan, Jeroen, and Jawnnn. Fittingly for the Dutch, it's pretty cheesy.

4) Belgium - no waffling here. Brutal. Singing A Crapella, about 8 men and women sing without instruments. A beat-boxing youth spices things up as background music, but it is not salvageable.

5) Slovakia - "The Twins" sing a soulless but nicely melodic song, shades of a Brit girl group from the 90's whose name thankfully escapes me. No, it's actually All-Saints. I feel shame, knowing this. Early front-runner.

6) Ukraine - Some kind of yelling power ballad, with a sand-drawing artist projected onto the background screen. Clearly a ruse to distract from the shoddy song. Insane in the Ukraine. So far all the songs have sounded roughly the same; sleep beckons.

7) Moldova - Bam! Wakes me up in a hurry. Trumpets, huge cone-shaped hats, a girl on a unicycle. I've had dreams just like this. Part-rap, part... sort of early Red Hot Chili Peppers. You know, I can't describe this any other way. Huge points for trying to be different though.

8) Sweden - by far the slickest, most professional act of the night. A boy band to the max. Very poppy, a little 80s techno, and pre-teen European girls are crying already.

9) Cyprus - Tonight, these countries are making my job tough. They are mashing up categories to make description nigh impossible. Eat me, Cyprus. That's all I got.

10) Bulgaria - More power-ballad, complete with fire effects and huge wind machines. I am not blown away. Their chances of making it to Saturday's finals are nil.

11) FYR Macedonia - Very FYR Macedonian.

12) Israel - Hmm. Not every day you see a post-op transvestite (now a woman) wearing a dress apparently made entirely of palm fronds. (In Amsterdam, however, it's every second day). Above-average doctor, average song.

13) Slovenia - Tonight is power-ballad night, it seems. Again, I need a shot of Vitamin Moldova to wake me up.

14) Romania - Accompanied by a spunky piano, a Mika-voiced Romanian sensation rocks the Eurovision nation. Actually, not really, but it was fun to write. Lose the pianist, I say. (That's what #12 said too).

15) Estonia - ANOTHER impossible-to-describe type of song. I think Jay-Z said it best: live bloggin' ain't easy. Call it Katy Perry, with more talent and some "doo-wop" thrown in for good measure. The song is called Rockefeller Street, and see if you can describe the style.

16) Belarus - sings a fist-pumping song that makes it seem that they are making fun of themselves, "I Love Belarus". Well, somebody has to. Next!

17) Latvia - these guys did a kind of nerdy rap pop duet. Actually kind of cool, enough so that they've robbed me of any mocking juice. Damn.

18) Denmark - like Sweden, pure pop, and a little sumpin sumpin for the ladies. The guy is wearing a backless shirt, which seems odd. So generous, he gave the back off his shirt.

19) Ireland - WOW. Ireland as a nation is likely cringing. Jedward, as they're called, are twins. And if you've ever longed for music that bridges the gap between Devo and the Spice Girls, well, tonight is your lucky night. They put the gae in Gaelic. Check their song out here. Warning: you will be singing the chorus all day.

No doubt a familiar position

Head to YouTube and enter any country and "eurovision" and you can check out any songs I haven't included here.

The finals go Saturday night, with 25 nations competing (France, Italy, the UK, and Spain all get a free entry, as does host country Germany). And then I can go back to never admitting that I watched every second.



*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.

1) Norway
2) Azerbaijan
3) Finland
4) Turkey
5) Hungary

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.

Drumroll please...

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!