Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Blogging the Eurovision Song Contest

Saturday night in Germany, time to watch the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest. This is the format:

1.) All the songs are performed with breaks for little skits that show life in the host country, Finland (1 hour, 45 minutes). The skits have tiny plots, some of which I would swear are plots from porn movies, and on the whole make life in Finland look cold and scary. There are 24 songs (I won't go through all of them) and there are no commercials.

2.) Everyone votes (15 minutes).

3.) The results for each country are very slowly presented (1 hour). And for some reason, Santa Claus shows up ... no, really, it was very odd.

I tuned in a couple minutes late and missed the first two songs, but dutifully watched the rest of the show. For comparison, BBC News describes and handicaps the acts.

The winners:

The winner was Serbia. Straight up power ballad, but the singer has a nice voice. What's up with the backup singers with Farrah hair? All in all, not bad:

The first runner up was Ukraine. Yes, that's a man in drag. Entertaining, but I'm not sure if it qualifies as a song.

Third place was Russia. Not good or interesting. Are those singers wearing 'slutty nuns' costumes?

The absurd:

U.K. What?!

France. Hilarious and highly entertaining, especially the bald guy with the fake cat around his neck who seems to be channeling Andy Dick or Andy Dick impersonating William Shatner.

And some of the rest:

Belarus. Terrifyingly bad. Pre-final speculation put this song close to the top and I saw one comment that said it sounded like something that would appear on the U.K. pop charts. I weep for the U.K. Commentary does rightly point out that it sounds like the theme song to a James Bond movie. It also has staging out of the David Copperfield oeuvre.

Greece. The Greek Ricky Martin, but dressed like someone's homemade Tin Man Halloween costume. Seriously, dude, you should have stuck with some basic black.

Armenia. He sings in English, but not like he knows how to speak English, which makes the song seem like bad karaoke.

Moldova. Electronic violin. Hold me, I'm scared. And, really, shouldn't this be the theme song to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome or something (not that I want to bring down the wrath of Tina Turner on me).

Finland. The Finnish version of Evanescence.

Sweden. Glam rock, but not really fun enough. The refrain to the song is "Baby, I'm the worrying kind." That's not right. An act like this should have a fun song, like the Fratellis "Chelsea Dagger" (not that they're a glam rock group).


Erin Sheldon said...

I am no longer so shocked that Europeans are so into crappy American pop music.

Eugene said...

Wow, I've almost felt like I've watched the whole show now, except with commentary by Jackie.

I pretty much agree with your commentary though I'd add the following :

(a) The Swedish band was so could-have-been. Catchy tune, nice idea, but the execution was so half-hearted.

(b) The Russian band must have sneaked into 3rd by sheer cute-ness alone.

(c) The James Bond/David Copperfield tune : EEEEEK!

(d) I didn't know Elton John has long lost twin brother who is Serbian.

(e) For some reason I remembered watching an old old 1981 Eurovision contest on video when I was a wee little kid. I remembered two songs from it vividly that I can actually still hum them : Bucks Fizz's Making Your Mind Up (the winner by far), and a slow sad ballad sang by a Norwegian (?) band which garnered 0 points total.

Jackie said...

Eugene - There were a lot more songs that I could have commented on, but I didn't want the post to get too big.

Anyway, in regards to the Russian entry, it's no accident that the top three were all from Eastern Europe. Each country gets an equal say in the outcome, and countries vote politically -- for their neighbors.

And you do realize that the Serbian singer is a woman, right?

Finally, Bucks Fizz! That's almost as good as saying you saw the show with ABBA.

Jackie said...

Eugene - Is this the song you were refering to? (If so, youtube is amazing!)

Eugene said...

Oh god, it's THAT song you just found. That's amazing. I thought it was not a bad song at that time (9 years old!), but now I realized why it got 0 points : it was sang out-tune and he missed all the high notes! Now go find that Bucks Fizz song Jackie.

I didn't know the serbian singer is a woman!!

Did they still keep that format where they show each country's votes in excruciating slowness? The other thing I remembered from the 1981 contest was a fascination on watching the numbers being tallied up for some reason....

Eugene said...

Youtube is amazing.

Here is the Bucks Fizz 1981 song!