Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Eurovision 2009 1st Semi-Final prep

Not a lot of time left to go before the Eurovision 2009 (30 mins as of this publication). The mission again this year: skim through today's competition on the www.eurovision.tv webpage and find the best and the worst. The good I'll talk in detail, the bad I'll mock and the dull I'll just skip before finishing the video. We're on a tight time leash!

(This serves as a good guide to plan your evening and your toilet breaks. You're better off spending more time in the loo and the kitchen than the actual TV room.

Super-Speed-ing through:

01. Montenegro
Andrea Demirovic
Just Get Out of My Life

You can take your time tuning in tonight, the first act's a dud. A decent enough pop number, ruined by the poor choreography and costume choice. The poor prom queen haunted by the ghost of... disco fever John Travolta? Just Get Out, Get Out, GET OUT!

02. Czech Republic
Aven Romale

A Gupsy Pride anthem, performed by an orange-clad SuperGupsyMan, in front of a cutesy comics pop backdrop. They probably couldn't find fresh watermelons and trucks for decor in the frozen Moscow markets in time for the performance, right? Still, the performance wins point with direction, coming through like a Tim Burton-esque superhero musical affair.

03. Belgium

... still not sure for watermelons, but Moscow has certainly sold out of sparkle and gold lame after these first three entries. Belgium does Vegas all the way, with the full glamour and kitsch. There's a reason we don't invite the yanks to participate in this contest, people.
And that face... euch. Take your time in the loo, there's still no rush.

04. Belarus
Petr Elfimov
Eyes That Never Lie

The white ghost of Belarus makes for an impressive stage presence, but why did noone think to instruct mr Elfimov to move on stage, rather than nervously pacing up and down like an expecting father in the maternity wing? Mis-match number 4 already, will this night get any better?

05. Sweden
Malena Ernman
La Voix

There we go. Not winner-material by a long stretch, but unquestionably classy, haunting and glam. I'm a sucker for a good high-pitch shriek, and handy stage props. Why do I feel so dirty after mrs Malena constant love-making to the camera? I feel penetrated :(
Je t'aime, amour, quand
J’entends la voix…
Je t'aime, ma vie
C’est jamais sans toi
Je vis ma vie pour toi
C'est l'universe pour moi

06. Armenia
Inga & Anush
Jan Jan

An adeptly performed (and only ever so slightly creepy) gothic pop/oriental dance from Anush and Inga (all together now, In-GA!!!). Solid Eurovision-level performance, good use of the stage, but I wouldn't say they have actual challenging wings for the final. Twin belly-ancers are sexy in principle, but this pair look more prone to chop your member off and spit it in your face, I fear the straight male audience is prone to stay the heck away.

07. Andorra
Susanne Georgi
La Teva Decisió (Get A Life)

The ghosts of the Abba-Teens loom over Russia. Who you gonna call? If you've already seen Mamma Mia last summer, you can stroll to the kitchen and refill your drinks.

08. Switzerland
The Highest Heights

Apart from the actual band name (the Lovebugs? really now... just because the Beatles made it big, everyone's getting ideas), I must admit I dug this song, the gig-ey attitude, and the exemplary use of the provided videoscreen backdrop. Learning it was not actually written for eurovision makes sense, and makes it so perfect for the competition.
I climb this tree
the highest heights
from beneath the stars
I see little lights
the deams I dream
demand their rights
will you catch me when I fall
from the highest heights?

09. Turkey
Düm Tek Tek

Wow, talk about playing it safe, and by the checkpoint list. An admittedly catchy tune onslaught, the likes of which Turkey hasn't dared unleash since the international plague of 'kiss kiss', a voluptuous JLo wannabe, stagefarts, sexy chicas, belly-dancing, endless legs, manly stage totty. There's no doubt this will make it through...

10. Israel
Noa & Mira Awad
There Must Be Another Way

Diva-tastic. The two Israeli and Arab ladies fill the stage with their presence and chemistry, but I would still like to see the person responsible for that little drumming session in the end shot in Moscow plaza.

11. Bulgaria
Krassimir Avramov

There's glamorous extravagance, and then there's this well-known Greek artist named Floriniotis. Guess which extreme is best suited to describe this Medrano-lite Eurovision performance? Despite his clothes, the eerily oedipal pairing with the griffin claw Dolly Parton on stage is enough to scare away the greatest opera lover.

12. Iceland
Is It True?

A picture perfect ballad seems to have leaped straight out of a Disney feature, complete with the singing princess, magic moonshine, candy-stream clouds, and one fat pair of back-up singing stepsisters.

13. F.Y.R. Macedonia
Next Time
Neshto Shto Ke Ostane

Not as ground-shaking a performance as all that broken glass on the video wall would have you think. More High School of Rock Musical than they'd care to admit?

14. Romania
The Balkan Girls

Surprisingly NOT a hot-line ad, although it skits the limits ooooh-so-close! One of the night's catchiest songs, it's sure to win the elusive hungry wolf str8 man-votes. If it still fails, at least we can be sure the girls have done their part to boost summer sex-tourism to the balkan countries. Rumouredly, a big hit in the Sofia 2009 human trafficking convention circuit too. From rehearsal to performance, the entry gained a 'daughters of Eve' theme and costumes that can only be likened to bridesmaid dresses (the principle of dressing all the other girls around you on stage as ugly as you can get away with, to make yourself shine better).

The Balkan girls they like to party like nobody , like nobody,
For crowd delight , we’ll shine all night.

15. Finland
Waldo's People
Lose Control

...speaking of whores, how about those Finnish girls on stage? I'll hold some reservation as the entire ensemble cast had different costumes between the two rehearsals I watched online, but -barring some unexpected Jesus Christ Superstar intervention by the camera director- this flop will not float.
p.s. what's with the Circo obsession this year? 15 songs in, and we've already seen stiltmen, superheroes and fire jogglers. How long before the Bearded Lady and the Geek?
p.s.2. edited after semifinal viewing... Damn, they've made it worse yet! The whole 3 minutes I had the jabbing suspicion the backup singer girls were hired by the hour from the moscow plaza sidewalks.

16. Portugal
Todas As Ruas Do Amor

I'm particularly soft to the Fado sounds of the Portuguese heritage, and the music here actually accomplishes the impossible, to merge with and justify the magic candycane background. Unfortunately, I'll be surprised if it manages to reach to a satisfying percent of the viewers.

17. Malta
What If We

So reminiscent of the similarly Disney-ish Iceland entry, only with the Dragon having eaten the princess, AND her sisters (also, very probably, the entire signing dancing kitchen set and assorted talking animal supporting cast) and taken the stage. Just because a performer is large enough to fill the stage by herself does not mean it's the wise way to go. Her actual semifinal performance won me over, in a Broadway musical magic quality, she's certainly a mama Diva.

18. Bosnia & Herzegovina
Bistra Voda

It can't be just me who sees the similarities between this and the enchanting Leyla from a few years back. An admirable stage presence, choreography and non-offending costumes (for a change, tonight. see? nothing wrong with playing-it-safe white, people). After the gruelling choice of songs for the semi-final, 'not offensive' is actually a rare enough quality to put a song in my top picks.

As a tally, here are my top 7 picks (well my only 7 picks, there's abyss after this), and by no means do I expect more than 1 or 2 of them to actually make it through. :)

1. Sweden
2. Portugal
3. Switzerland
6. Turkey
7. Bosnia & Herzegovina

see you tomorrow for 2nd semi-final prep!

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