Thursday, May 14, 2009

Eurovision 2009 2nd Semi-Final prep

I'm thoroughly impressed with how the first part of this speedy coverage was received on Tuesday, especially seeing as how all 7 of my top choices managed to make it through to the final. Check me out!

Tonight, same deal as the Tuesday post. Quickly running through tonight's contestants through the fan-posted videos of the performances from the rehearsals. 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!

Let's get this over with:

01. Croatia
Igor Cukrov feat. Andrea
Lijepa Tena

A strong start for the night, a beautiful 'sea-breeze' ballad, performed in black and white contrast, with a simple but powerful costume change. The first costume trick of the competition so far this year, too... I'm gladly be guilty to admit the costume flips and stage antics may be my #1 favourite Eurovision fad ;)

02. Ireland
Sinéad Mulvey & Black Daisy
Et Cetera

Oops, someone took a wrong turn backstage. The Irish band got turned around when they were meant to be following the signposts to the dingy 90s high school prom held next door. Run along now. (ok, they may get a FEW points for daring to go on stage dressed like a disco ball)

03. Latvia
Intars Busulis

What just happened here? I only admitted I'm a fan of these quirky stage tricks in Eurovision, yet in this case - with the two poor girls getting saddled with projection screen dresses that hang oh-so-unflatteringly, while they're actually performing in front of a ginormous video wall stage the whole time!

04. Serbia
Marko Kon & Milaan

It's the Serbian Village People, featuring the Serbian Tom Jones, George Michael and Britney! It's kitsch, it's fun, the atmosphere is ludicrous, but you know what? It absolutely works! The Serbians have already won recently and they're out to enjoy themselves, and it really does it for me. There's a chorus of twirly-shoed disco mountain elves on stage! There's Britney of the Alps, and of course a leather-fetish accordion man. VOTE!

05. Poland
Lidia Kopania
I Don't Wanna Leave

A paint-by-numbers power ballad, there's nothing actually wrong with any of the elements here (pretty girl with a deep deep throat and bellowing set of lungs, fat ugly backup singers to make her look more dazzling, glam costumes, a dramatic crescendo, and some guy chasing a girl around with a ribbon leash), tho they never transcend to anything I'll still remember after 10 minutes.

06. Norway
Alexander Rybak

On the flip side, there's Norway. There's no way, absolutely no way, you can listen to Fairytale and see Alexander's exuberance, enthusiasm and energy on stage, his magnetising eyes, and not remember this song for days or weeks later. The clear and uncontested winner of this year's Eurovision, I will be disgusted if any other song even dares to compete with this young boy. He's written the song himself, a pure love song, that breaks the stale confines of what's expected from a Eurovision entry and floods the audience with its raw emotion. Guess who I'm voting for? :)
I’m in love with a fairytale
Even though it hurts.
‘Cause I don’t care if I lose my mind;
I’m already cursed

07. Cyprus
Christina Metaxa

A 'magical starry night' ballad (I'm really pulling these categories fresh out of my ass here, I hope y'all realise), from the youngest contestant in the competition this year. I admire the youthful optimism that the song and the performance exudes, the neat light trick on stage, and the originality of the lyrics. I would be glad to see Cyprus make it through this year and make it onto the top 10!
It’s a question that drives us
to where we must go
It’s the unknown that drives from us
what we want most
but the firefly sits in the corner in rest

08. Slovakia
Kamil Mikulčík & Nela Pocisková
Leť Tmou

Welcome back to Eurovision, crazy Slovaks! Their ballad duet is flawless and powerful, but it needs an innovative stage presence to shine through to the top. The original released video with the exhausted lovers resting on top of the white piano, cradling the old-style picture frame video screen of the artist's performance was a fitting and strong visual composition... that they unfortunately chose to discard for their Eurovision night performance. I still wish them best! Gotta love the Slovaks :)

09. Denmark
Believe Again

Gawd, you folks must be bloated after this long string of good songs. Denmark is thinking of you and is providing you with a well-deserved 3-minute slash-break (Remind me again, why is their singer dressed like a horse jockey? ). Hurry back though, Slovenia isn't as accommodating to your biological needs.

10. Slovenia
Quartissimo feat. Martina
Love Symphony

The most captivating backdrop of the competition so far: a black and white symphony on a passionate red backdrop: Five doors, a string quartet and a blonde ambition economics student (who has appeared in Eurovision three times before as a backup vocalist for three different countries, huzzuh), and a love symphony packing a helluva lot of oomph!
Out of time, out of place
somewhere, inside my universe,
where you live your dreams...
Imagine, you and me,
we're flying above the sea,
feeling free,
like in this love symphony...

11. Hungary
Zoli Ádok
Dance With Me

Parents, lock your daughters away. It's the time of night for the Hungarian pimp and his bitches. Look at him, jiggle his moneymaker and work work work them bitches. Look at them grab him and rub him and shake shake shake that booty. Look at him ride them hard, and flex his legs. They're his to do with as he wishes. Pick them up, twirl them and parade them around like a Gucci handbag, or throw them away like a cheap imitation. I wanna see him make it big, just on the grounds of sheer sex audacity and utter gayness. You GO, Zoli!

12. Azerbaijan
AySel & Arash

What an interesting mish-mash. And by interesting, I mean hideous, boring, ghastly unoriginal or a combination thereof. It's a song and dance routine that would make the masses roar in some dingy Athenian entertainment centre several km out on the interstate, sometime in the late 80s to early 90s, but right here right now, I'll have to urge you to reconsder another run to the loo, only 7 songs left to go!

13. Greece
Sakis Rouvas
This Is Our Night

Caution: rant in progress. On principle, the lovely Greek queer daddy Sakis has everything needed to dazzle the Eurovision fans. Another paint-by-numbers (and therefore so forgettable) pop dance number, chiseled abs, picture-perfect frozen colgate smile, and a wardrobe with perpetually washing machine shrunk tees and torn jeans that were already two sizes too tight to begin with. Despite national pride and all that fuck, I so wished the old hag to fall on her face tonight, as the comparison to the young and talented Norwegian Alexandar only serves to accentuate everything that's fundamentally wrong about our old Greek hag in dazzling persil white and can't-believe-it's-not-spray-on body tan. Regardless, the absolutely shameless excess of his magic sparkling soap box stage, which rotates, elevates, binds, tilts and even lets you do your treadmill and will make you breakfast in bed in the morning, managed to win even me over. It's like something out of Sport Billy's bag! Dix points for the magic soap box stage, I still hope Sakis falls on his face :)

14. Lithuania
Sasha Son

A song that is both a love ballad and also a plea for European help to support education in Lithuania. The song is living, breathing, dancing, sparkling gay proof in a fedora to the limited dictionary of the Lithuanian people. I mean, really:
"If you really love
The love you say you love (really love)
Then surely that love would love ...
Then surely that love would love to love you back
They really don't know any other verbs. They live on love alone in Lithuania.

15. Moldova
Nelly Ciobanu
Hora Din Moldova

Eurovision has been proving year after year that there really is no traditional local costume or uniform that could not benefit from knee high leather boots, lots of sparkle and an i-can-see-your-fanny skirt! Oh, make no mistake, I still applauded all the way through this performance, one of the night's shining ones, as I fully support more ethnic flavour in each country's contribution.

16. Albania
Kejsi Tola
Carry Me In Your Dreams

I was surprised by the Albanian choreography this year. Performed by what could succinctly be described as the Albanian knock-off Kalomoira (Greece's twinky performer last year), the choreography has the sort of ever-moving, sitting down on people, getting up, moving, stepping on people, climbing, sitting, standing, again, moving etc restless feel that you only see when the producers are desperately keen to distract the people's attention from the song as much as humanly possibly (the improvement on the moldovan i-can-now-see-straight-IN-your-fanny skirt combined with the did-they-really-need-to addition of a floor fan under the girl only adds to the support of the posit. Of course, they do want to do well, but not actually win, because then comes the 'shit, we actually have to host this next year, we don't have any money!!' we're-fucked moment. And that's why there's a walking green dildo-man with glitter on stage with the girl. He's there for the interest of the national economy.

17. Ukraine
Svetlana Loboda
Be my Valentine! (Anti-crisis Girl)

Svetlana for Eurovision Prom Queen! The Ukrainian scandal queen shows an envious versatility, jumping from a Madonna music video intro with as many industrial gear set pieces as she could fit on stage, to a dirrty Xtina dance routine, spreading her legs and rubbing her crotch left and right on her boys' faces, and finishing with an 80s kitsch garage band revolution. Represent!

18. Estonia
Urban Symphony

Estonia takes the Slovenian attempt one step further this year. Keep the strings, get rid of the blokes, and fill the stage with young girls in long sparkling dresses and instruments. It could work. Unfortunately for them, there's been too many good performances tonight, and it forces the audience to actually consider song quality as criteria for once. I wish I knew what they were singing about...

19. The Netherlands
The Toppers

You know that old saying "they saved the best for last"? Well, not in this case. It's fun to even try to prioritise what went wrong here. I might be the only person who actually appreciates the sassy chubby Marilyn on stage playing DJ or whatever she's meant to be holding (if it's sparkly and hanging from neckstrings, that's enough for me)... but the tone of the performance, the song or the trio of Tom Jones knock-offs (we've had loads of them tonights) does nothing indicate this is a conscious act of parody or lighthearted attempt. It all simply reeks of that canned Eurovision act smell, found forgotten in some cellar from the 80s or god-forbid early 90s. Do not consume after Best Before Date.

And that's it for the semi-finals this year. As far as predictions go, here's my personal top 10:

1. Norway - Fairytale
2. Hungary - come dance with me
3. Ukraine - Svetlana
4. Serbia - the Village People
5. Moldova
6. Slovenia
7. Cyprus
8. Greece
9. Croatia
10. Slovakia


Anonymous said...

oh my can't be serious...Hungary?Greece?that is your favorites?you must be gay yourself...and with very bad case you're a girl...well...bad taste is a bad taste:)

Mel said...

'Bad taste is a bad taste'... Still LOLing about that!

Love to read how you write, man. Despite the fact that I couldn't care less about Eurovision (last year I watched it because of Sebastien Tellier), I can see where you're coming from, pretty much, as far as I can tell.

Still, high five for going against that whole 'national pride' toss. Yesh.