Saturday, May 16, 2009

Eurovision 2009 Final prep

After the sizzling 1st and 2nd semi-finals, tonight's the night!

Going through tonight's Final, country by country with critiques (some recycled, some updated for extra bitchiness) and semi-final screen captures. What are you voting for?

01. 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.

02. 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.

03. France
Patricia Kaas
Et S'il Fallait Le Faire

... at the risk of repeating myself and/or sounding corny: Viva la Diva! France's performance sails or fails with the significant Dame's delivery of the one-woman show-stopper tonight. The videoclip unleashed an intense, passionate and captivating performance - packed with expressive moments and an outburst of palpable emotion, which I couldn't recognise in the fan-captures of the final rehearsals. Hopefully all will go well for her, noone wants to have to deal with snotty disappointed Frenchies all night.

04. Sweden
Malena Ernman
La Voix

Unquestionably classy, haunting and glam. The final is front-packed with stage divas, it might make for an uneven second half. 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

05. Croatia
Igor Cukrov feat. Andrea
Lijepa Tena

A beautiful 'sea-breeze' ballad, performed in black and white contrast, with a simple but powerful costume change. The first costume trick of the night 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 ;)

06. 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. It's bright, it's uplifting, it... will be lucky to get in the top 10 unfortunately, but I very much hope it does.

07. 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. In the end of the day, could you really pick this one out from a Eurovision ballad police line-up?

08. 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 :)

09. 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, and scarily bold wardrobe choices. The Euro-voting crowd in the semifinal surprised me pleasantly by pushing them through to tonight, but now they have to appeal to the slightly less gay general public voters, and I fail to see any challenging wings in them. Twin belly-dancers are sexy in principle, but this pair look more prone to chop your member off and spit it back at you, I fear the straight male audience is prone to cover their private parts and shiver on their couches.

10. Russia
Anastasia Prikhodko

I did not expect this one. Russia makes up (in my eyes) for last year's empty dazzle (all pomp, no pop) victory in Eurovision, with the most unsettling and evocative performance in this year's competition. Anastasia performs live in front of an oversized pre-recorded video replay of a very plain but intimate close-up rendition of the song. At first, the comparison between the two is unavoidable, as one performance at times overshadows or at other times pales before the other. As the song reaches the crescendo, one Anastasia surrenders to emotion, a helpless bawling victim, while the other defiantly overpowers the stage with her voice and movement. Brava!

11. Azerbaijan
AySel & Arash

What an interesting mish-mash. And by interesting, I of course 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 reconsider a quick run to the loo, we're barely halfway through!

12. Bosnia and 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). Because of the gruelling choice of songs for the 1st semi-final, 'not offensive' was actually a rare enough quality to put a song in my top picks. In the final, there's a considerably higher bar to pass, and Regina doesn't cut it.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. Estonia
Urban Symphony

Estonia takes this year's Slovenian recipe (string quartet + eye candy) one step further. 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...

16. Denmark
Believe Again

Gawd, you folks must be bloated after this long night. Denmark is thinking of you and is providing you with a well-deserved 3-minute slash-break after the half-point of the show (remind me again, why is their singer dressed like a horse jockey?). Hurry back though, we've got more to cover.

17. Germany
Alex Swings Oscar Sings!
Miss Kiss Kiss Bang

Germany attempts to manufacture their own Ricky Martin, by separating the Ricky from the Martin, having one guy sing and another attempt to swing, with an accompaniment of dancers who, at least at the time of the rehearsal shoot, had no coordination, and some more dubious wardrobe choices that you can see for yourselves below. If the German were meant to swing and dazzle, they would have been born w-- no scratch that, the German were NEVER meant to swing.

18. 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 to the top 10...

19. 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.

20. 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? :)

21. 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!

22. 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.

23. United Kingdom
Jade Ewen
It's My Time

I'm amazed how often I find brits in conversation who are so happy and hopeful about this year's Eurovision, as they "finally have a great song" and "won't be getting nil points this year". Hilarious. Andrew Lloyd Weber has created what is -without contest- the blandest, most boring, uninspired and -frankly- tedious song of the contest this year. It just goes on and on and on:
(My time
It’s my time
It’s my time
My moment)x100

with music, lyrics and performance so bland and generic that they could be used as a space-filler number for *any* of his broadway musicals. The legendary name of sir Weber is not enough to win you points, UK, try again next year, good luck. Nil points!

24. Finland
Waldo's People
Lose Control

Skank-tastic! The whole 3 minutes I had the jabbing suspicion the backup singer girls were hired by the hour from the Moscow plaza sidewalks. I held some reservation in the previous write-up as the entire ensemble cast had different costumes between the two rehearsals I watched online, but the end result in the semi-final did not save this flop, which surprisingly made it through regardless.
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?

25. Spain
La Noche Es Para Mí (The Night Is For Me)

Last song of the night, and if you're exhausted as I am, you won't have the energy to put up with Generic Eurovision Sing&Dance routine #256 from Spain, which combined the accentuates all the generalities from Greece, Albania and such this year. Like a 3-minute conclusions chapter with really bland lyrics.

...and the actual final tally of the evening? Here's my personal top 10, which will likely have no resemblance to the general consensus at the end of the night.

1. Norway - Fairytale
2. Sweden - La Voix
3. Russia - Mamo
4. Ukraine - Svetlana
5. Portugal - Flor-de-Lis
6. Turkey - Dum Tek Tek
7. Armenia - Inga & Anush
8. France - Patricia Kaas
9. Greece (just for remnants of Greek pride)
10. Romania - the Balkan Girls


Soula and Mirela said...

Yay I'm rooting for Norway and Sweden too (in that particular order)...!

I,too, hope that Suckis falls flat on his face and breaks that bloody colgate smile off his stupid mug!!!!

TheVaiosShow said...

Αs i wrote to my top 5 is
5.Εstonia 4.Iceland 3.Greece 2.Norway 1.United Kingdom