TVE is deciding to go with an arts show at 1pm, so I decide to go with C1R.
And what a wise choice was that. The C1R preshow begins with Philip “Camp as Hell” Kirkorov singing Diva with a mini-Las Vegas show behind him.
Unfortunately, Andy is there as well. I will say this, he’s less annoying in Russian than he is in English. Although his hair continues to grow.
The audience is considerably more telegenic for the final, and amongst them I see a dead ringer for Donald Sutherland.
Who comes out (no pun intended) after Kirkorova? None other than Patricia Kaas, who looks stunning. I realise that the final has yet to even air and the winner isn’t as much decided, but Andy’s interview has a strong air of talking to a reigning Eurovision winner.
Or else she’s just that popular in Russia.
Andy talks to a grizzled, but dignified old man who if I am reading the subtitles correctly is the head of the French delegation, or possibly the French ambassador.
Disclaimer: I’d actually understand what La Kaas was saying if she wasn’t dubbed into Russian.
La Kaas is very dignified and demure, but I reckon she’d rather be doing her preparation. (Hey, she’s on 3rd.)
Andy talks to a bunch of Russian talking hands. Some very good looking actor gushes over La Kaas. Calm down, queen.
Next on the list: Sasha (Alexander) Son. They show a clip of him singing as a preteen in 1995. I feel old.
Poor Sasha is on first, you’d think they’d be a little more considerate.
Sasha looks very wholesome, but it might likely be that he’s getting a “good luck” message from his family.
I switch back to TVE (and I can I say that I am not a fan of this new logo for TVE? It looks cheap.) They are playing Soraya’s video. The song is still fierce, and I am truly struck by how beautiful she is. Whether that will come across onstage, I don’t know.
Apparently I have stumbled onto a TVE ad break, which gives me the strange position of being able to switch between Eurovision coverage on 3 separate channels in New York (TVE, C1R, and RTPi). I am pleasantly shocked and grateful. (It’d be perfect if one of them was TV5, but they’re carrying soccer. I actually have a choice of another one, TVP, but I have a fighting chance with Spanish & Portuguese, I wouldn’t dare try to figure out Polish.)
Going back to C1R, they are also in the middle of ad break. Interestingly, the ads on C1R skew American, so if I ever have to find a Russian-speaking lawyer in Brooklyn or want some really tacky furniture made locally, I know where to turn to.
There’s also a very bizarre ad for a podiatrist that involves feet doing Irish dancing, which makes C1R’s return from the ad break more jarring. Why? Well, a highly respected Russian singer (whose name I don’t catch, Ludmilla something) is singing her geriatric heart out and the audience is in tears. I have to say it was very stirring.
Guess who’s in the audience? Igor the Letch from Croatia. He compliments Russian girls. Eyes up here, buddy. Eyes up here.
Next up? Svetty, who wears a belt with her last name on it big as the sky. She struts and smirks like Ukraine has already won. (Or maybe she’s just very happy that Ukraine beating Russia on the scoreboard is a given.)
They bring out her mother, who surprisingly doesn’t haul out and call her “tramp.”
Elena Schitzophrenia from Romania is on next. She is casually relaxed, and kind of airheaded, based on her body language. Next thing you know, you see her mother (in national dress no less) embarrassing poor Elena with the state of her childhood room. Mama Elena sings. Russian audience appreciative, but Andy is quick to get her out of there.
This most be the no hopers section, because AsOs are on next. I catch Os talking about doing an international tour of West Side Story and I pretty much figured out his story. Os’s mother comes on camera (from California) and Oscar freaks out. As just sits there, unimpressed, even when they bring out his sister.
Miss World struts onstage and Os tries to butch it up inasmuch as possible as one can with that song.
Some guy called Maksim from “Love Radio” gives his opinion of the German entry. Indifferent is what I interpret.
Ad for Eurovision, and I have to say these promos are some of the most sharpest and just flat out cool looking ones I have ever seen. Good job, C1. Shame you had to win it with that song, but at least he isn’t hosting.
I switch over to RTPi, which is in the middle of the traditional pre-Eurovision news break. They mention the arrests of the gay rights protestors in Moscow. Good.
I have doubts C1R will do so. What they will do is bring out the sisters from Armenia and their very stylish mother. (Noticing a theme? Remember what this year’s Russian entry is all about?)
Having had a maternal overload, I go channel surfing again.
TVE: Still doing an Arts programme. (I think they’re pissed over the flack they’ve been getting over the botch 2nd Semi-final broadcast and lack of televote.)
RTPi: Fatima, Fatima, Fatima. Next time I start seeing things, I’ll call it a miracle too. Actually, it’s their news broadcast as mentioned earlier, but you’d think that nothing else was happening in Portugal except for Fatima celebrations.
Finally at 2:30, TVE begins its preshow. The hostess is a woman dressed in goth black and with many tattoos. Yet she is very professional and curt.
Guess what happens next though? They go straight to the news. So La Gothica & co. will be the postshow hosts.
I don’t think TVE realise that they’re breaking my heart with such scant coverage.
C1R: The same Sopranoskii panel from Thursday are cracking jokes with a pretty blonde woman (Miss World?). She is considerably taller than all of them.
Hikaru: Tea break.
Upon return I go back to TVE to find their man in Moscow reporting on how the Kremlin is advising citizens to not go to North America or Spain due to Swine Flu. There’s a big feeling of “screw you” in his reporting. Very little Soraya fanfare. (Ditto RTP, which had on their version of Points of View, which is hilarious in any language.)
Finally Te Deum is played and I finally get to see some Eurovision on TVE.
More floating letters through Moscow spelling out the word “FINAL.”
No Beatriz, but a male commentator. (Don Carlos? I don’t think so. This guy is too solemn.)
Another wacky retelling of a Russian fairy tale told by a man in a very menacing voice, with music straight out of Friday the 13th.
Onstage however, we have acrobats and a man capering about like he’s a bird in a top hat.
I think the theme they re going for here is circus, since this is pretty much like a Cirque de Soleil act.
And guess what? It is Cirque de Soleil!
Some man floats through the air and guess who is it? Dima Evita, who attracts an entourage of women and starts running on a platform while being hassled by papparazzi. The theme is now: I am Dima, You must love me. He strips and “flies,” while singing that song which won last year. (Yes, I didn’t care for it, in case it’ not obvious.)
Dima Evita seems to have finally read the lyrics and I see flashes of comprehension on his face. As for the staging, it’s DE being an overwrought diva while annoying the “violinists” surrounding him.
Spanish commentator? Unimpressed. Ditto.
And now we have Al & I. I looks a lot like Zeljko, and I think I may have been one of the Sopranoskii from earlier. They are both a VAST improvement upon the Natty & Andy show: subdued, competent, and elegant. Al’s French is great. They get on with the show with no filler. (Lesson to future hosts: that’s how to open a final.)
Lithuania: Appreciative roar from the crowd. Sasha’s performance is more confident than on Thursday’s, but more importantly, he’s now conveying the emotion behind the lyrics. He gets louder during the Russian section, but really no radical changes. Good opener, but probably not good for Lithuania points-wise.
Israel: Perhaps it’s the fact that I haven’t heard it since Tuesday, but the exoticism is seemingly enhanced. Mira has styled her hair differently, so she doesn’t look like Hillary Rodham Clinton. The performance is more intimate, but surprisingly less raw. Might do better than expected.
France: Roar for La Kaas from the crowd. She struts onstage and after singing the first line, the crowd cheers again. La Kaas alone onstage while the song’s title is displayed in several different languages behind her. She is definitely and successfully going the dramatic route. La Kaas is in excellent voice, although the little dance at the end might’ve been too much. Crowd goes wild.
Sweden: A good roar for SWBOA. This is also the first upbeat song of the evening. SWBOA has her permagrin on, which kind of doesn’t work lyrically. I must say that coming on after France is not going to hurt Sweden’s chances that much, but it does make it look noticeably weaker. SWBOA is not as strong as she was on Tuesday. Crowd roars. Portuguese commentator unimpressed. (Yes, I’m jumping about.)
Croatia: Igor the Letch gets a light smattering of applause when he comes on. He’s no dog, but trying to go the sexy male route in a contest with Sakis Rouvas is just asking to get your butt kicked. Both Igor and Andrea are vocally weaker than Thursday. Still, great staging saves it majorly. Croatia might not get beat as bad as I thought.
Portugal: Portuguese commentator getting excited with each second that Portugal gets closer. The first thing you notice is how colourful the video screens are for Portugal in contrast to the previous entries. The running order helps them out immensely as there is a happy, wholesome, hippy feel to the performance in contrast to Croatia. The lead singer is in even better voice. I think Portugal will surprise on the scoreboard if they choose the right bit for the recap. (She tried the tear thing again!)
Iceland: Spanish commentator gets excited about Yohanna for some reason. Now remember on Tuesday this came on in the middle of two very OTT entries. Today it’s on between Portugal & Greece, and it’s coming across as more melancholy, even kind of ominous in parts. Still, Yohanna’s voice is even better That said, I think the atmosphere of the Portuguese entry might overwhelm Iceland’s chances.
Greece: Will from 2006 gets the “Good Luck” postcard and an appreciative roar. He’s really working it today, not caring if we see more midriff than on Thursday. The crowd cheers liberally through the song, thereby covering up the fact that Sakis is increasingly breathless. SHOCK! Sakis actually pulled his shirt to show a nipple. Watch the Greek chances of victory rise.
Armenia: Russian commentators still neutral. The Sisters have their work cut out for them, competing with a Sakis Rouvas striptease and light show. The song is still catchy and their performance does convey the happy nature of the song. Good job.
Russia: Now the Russian commentators are getting excited, dare I even say babbling? Loud roar, but that’s to be expected. Now how is this for staging? Anastasia is singing in front of an image of herself. In fact the real Anastasia is upstaged by an aging image of herself. The staging is totally saving this as quite frankly the song is basically Anastasia screaming. (The aged Anastasia cries while the real life version goes into crazy.) Much. Much. Better. I think C1R might really have to do it again.
Azerbaijan: The running order might hurt them, particularly after Anastasia’s tour-de-force (courtesy of CGI). It’s clear that Arash is kind of the weak link in this song. He’s coming across uncertain while AySel and the dancing girls could very well be an entirely different song. Spanish commentator unimpressed, I don’t think anything but Spain would interest him.
Bosnia & Herzegovina: There’s really no way to tell, but I would be willing to guess that part of the reason that BiH got into the Final was that they performed last on Tuesday, and this is a song (like, um…Leija) that looks very striking when performed near the end. Nonetheless, the lads are doing a killer job, but factors outside their control (like, um…the running order) are working against them. It just all looks too forced and almost over the top, whereas it looked natural on Tuesday.
TVE is surprisingly showing some of the ad break filler. We are treated to Russians butchering their own national folk songs.
Moldova: The running order might scupper Moldova’s chances as well, or help, actually. Nelly’s voice is weaker than it was on Thursday, but the energy is higher and the song feels more like a genuine performance than like one by the numbers as it appeared in the semi. I pity those men’s kneecaps after flinging themselves down to the floor. Still, it just doesn’t seem as remarkable as I think it could be.
Malta: Apparently the Spanish commentator rates Malta quite highly as he starts sounding excited. Chiara is in better voice, but unfortunately she still has the same song, and is much higher in the running order than on Tuesday. Quite honestly, she’s giving it her all, but I just see it struggling on the scoreboard, particularly with a song that is a it dated. Good job though.
Estonia: Slight roar from the crowd the second Sandra starts singing. She’s also in better voice and the exotic quotient is still on full display. The downside, the song seems to drag a bit, but with the right selection for the recap that might not be a problem.
Denmark: One of the nice things about the new Eurovision is that bog breaks are a lot easier to make. I’ve seen Keatingsson. I pretty much expect him to do the exact same thing, and from the first few seconds, it’s pretty much evident he will. The only difference I can tell is that the song has gotten more of a country-rock feel. I don’t think it’s a failure, but I don’t think it’ll bother the top 10.
Germany: The Spanish commentator gets all excited over Dita Von Teese. Some time ago I used to use the word “cipher” to describe someone who is pretty much anonymous. Os’s performance is pretty much the definition of it. He’s trying to being a Jr. Sakis, and when Dita comes on she upstages Os with an open shirt. The funny thing? SHE DOES NOTHING BUT SIT ON A CAR.
Turkey: Everybody’s favourite Turkish-Belgian. I have to surprisingly put Turkey in the category of songs that come across weaker, although the chorus is fortunately still strong. That said, Germany may have saved itself from the bottom of the scoreboard with Dita, but that same trick also hurts Turkey’s chances of breaking the Top 5.
Albania: Russian commentators having a swell ol’ time now. Lots of banter. Kejsi still looking stunned like a Teenage Pageant Princess. I truly do not get the staging here: She’s flung about the stage by a man in green with a face ripped from a mirrorball while two Joker Jr. clones breakdance. If I was having these kind of dreams, I wouldn’t be so keen to live in them. Bizarre, and yet I see them breaking the Top 10.
Norway: I think C1R’s commentators have broken out the spirits, they’re that jolly now. Loud roar for Alexander and his damn permanent grin. He’s taking his clues from Dima, but unlike Dima Evita, he actually understands what he’s singing. Coming on after Albania and before Ukraine, this is like an island of sanity. I don’t see winner, but I see top 5. I still can’t stand that smile of his. It’s too forced. It must be said that Norway’s backing singers are consistently excellent.
Oh, it’s Al & I, I had forgotten about them. They remind us to vote. I screams, and yet it’s not annoying.
Ukraine: Russian commentators seemingly sarcastic towards Svetty. Slight roar from crowd. Svetty certainly is a flexible girl, isn’t she? The Valentine = Roman soldiers and hell wheels theme finally occurred to me. (The story of St. Valentine.) Whether it’s apparent to the choreographer or even Svetty, I don’t know. Anyway, Svetty still gets flung about, says “bom” a lot, and plays the hell out of those drums. The whole thing is still so incoherent that I can’t see it winning. Nonetheless, a great performance.
Romania: Portuguese commentator makes a “Dracula” reference as one must always do when Romania appears. Elena still doesn’t quite get the underlying theme with the lyrics (I want to party, but there’s more to life). The song however comes across a lot stronger than it did in the Semi. I don’t know if the whole Spring Nymphs theme works, but the running order and Elena being in good voice will help.
United Kingdom: I finally get the postcards, they are showing monuments from the performing country. Loud roar for Jade. Jade certainly is camera-savvy, although do we need to see even a second of Lord Andrew? (Joke…Somewhat.) Jade walks proudly through a line of violinists. (Take note: Dima Evita.) Crowd roars during Jade’s loud portions. Ghastly looking ALW applauds at the end. Not quite feeling certain about whether she’ll win, but top 5 very likely.
Finland: Now they have definitely improved. The women singing backup where already good, but the rapper (Waldo?) is also in better voice. Surprisingly better.
Spain: Spanish commentator happy at last. Soraya makes a very dramatic entrance, and pretty much makes us all forget about Waldo & Co. Depending on the penalty that TVE receives, this might be in contention or just close to it. The disappearing Soraya trick works well.
Al & I come back on and prep us for the recap. Guess who does the countdown? Two members of the International Space Station.
Recap: Lithuania, strong…Israel, earnest…La Kaas kicks ass…Croatia kind of dirty…Portugal wholesome and trippy…Iceland slightly anonymous…Greece, HE SHOWED NIPPLE…Armenia strong but lost in the shuffle…Russia, way better than expected…Azerbaijan, maybe if AySel did it on her own…BiH, still a mediocre Leija…Moldova believable…Malta lost in a timewarp…Estonia don’t mess with success…Denmark generic but not bad…Germany, thank god for Dita…Turkey see Armenia (strangely enough)…Albania, flat out bizarre…Norway, competent, but verging on annoying…Ukraine, saner than Albania…Romania see Armenia…The UK s.t.r.o.n.g,e.r. but…Finland surprisingly good…Spain, if it weren’t for the fact that TVE had made that broadcasting error…
Wow, Al & I are confident. Could we have them again?
Ad break filler involving the long suffering plucky C1R Reporter poking fun at Russian stereotypes.
Hallelujah! I finally get some Dmitry, and I realise he looks quite like ZsA ZsA. This is a good thing.
Al & I do the countdown all in English.
The interval is Fuerza Bruta, which either used to or still is playing at Union Square. It’s worth seeing if you have the chance, but as people walking on walls and swimming in pools suspended high up on the air has been a fixture of New York morning television for several months now, I won’t.
Al & I turn over to Daddy Svante, who announces that it is time for the results.
Spain (he’s cute): Portugal gets the 8, UK gets 10, Norway gets the 12. Norwegians happy.
Belgium (she’s serious): Israel gets the 8, Norway gets 10, Turkey gets the 12. (Well, she is Belgian.)
Belarus (she’s stunned or stoned): Russia gets 8, Azerbaijan gets 10, Norway gets 12.
Malta (she’s surrounded by ravers?): Norway gets 8, UK gets 10, Iceland gets 12. Norway’s lead is mounting quickly.
Germany (ahh…Hamburg, I think): UK gets 8, Turkey gets 10, and Norway gets 12. The UK is the only one giving Norway some competition.
Czechia: Russia gets 8, Azerbaijan gets 10, Armenia gets 12.
Sweden (who’s she?): Azerbaijan gets 8, Iceland gets 10, Norway gets 12. The Norwegians are partying already.
Top 3: Norway, UK, and Turkey
Iceland (must they always yell in Iceland): Finland 8, Estonia 10, and Norway 12. (She calls him the cutest guy in the contest. Sakis must be pissed.)
France (wow, a charismatic French spokesman): Norway gets 8, Israel gets 10, Turkey gets 12.
This voting is just speeding along.
Israel (that elephant joke just failed): Armenia gets 8, Iceland gets 10, Norway gets 12.
It’s not bad song, but god, I am not looking forward to seeing him perform it again.
Russia (she’s stunned even though she’s in the same stadium): Estonia gets 8, France gets 10, and Norway gets 12.
Spain still has yet to score. Ouch. Spanish commentator sounding slightly pissed.
Latvia (we can see your chest hair, Borat): Iceland gets 8, Estonia 10, Norway 12.
Montenegro (Hello, Wonder Woman): Croatia gets 8, Norway gets 10, and BiH gets 12 after see took forever to say that.
Top 3: Norway, Iceland, and Azerbaijan. God, I hope that changes (meaning #3).
Andorra (is she human?): Iceland gets 8, Norway gets 10 (already in the 100s), Spain gets the 12. (Spaniards celebrate.)
Finland (Oh, it’s Jari from when Finland wasn’t doing well at this contest): Norway gets 8 (ouch), Iceland gets 10, Estonia gets 12. (Happy Estonians.)
Switzerland: Norway gets 8, Portugal gets 10 (Portugal is beating Spain at this point), Turkey gets 12.
Bulgaria (wow, she’s blonde): Azerbaijan gets 8, Turkey gets 10, Greece gets 12. (Sakis is holding it in, but he’s not pleased one bit.)
Lithuania (is that Ronan Keating’s long lost brother?): Iceland gets 8, Estonia gets 10, Norway gets 12.
UK (he’s a slick one): Iceland gets 8, Norway gets 10, and Turkey gets 12.
Top 3: Norway, Iceland, and Turkey. (It’s a battle for 3rd place.)
Macedonia (solemn): Norway gets 8, BiH gets 10, and Turkey gets 12. Turkey & Iceland now tied for 2nd.
I like you Al, but “tense with tension?”
More ad break filler wherein the participants are lined up to play Russian folk instruments. Give me some Dmitry!
What do they play? “Not gonna get us.” Usch.
Al & I hawk the CD & DVD…in a dignified manner. The contrast between the final and Semis is huge.
Slovakia (he’s a bit of a silver fox, the Anderson Cooper of Slovakia?): BiH gets 8, Norway gets 10, Estonia gets 12.
Norway has broken the 200 point mark.
Greece (putting a brave face on): Azerbaijan gets 8, Norway gets 10, UK gets 12. (Happy Brits.)
BiH (it’s Laka, and he still looks crazy): Israel gets 8, Norway gets 10, Croatia gets 12. (Ivan noticeably not lecherous).
Ukraine (plastic, much?): Russia gets 8, Azerbaijan gets 10, Norway gets 12.
Norway shut-out, Iceland and Turkey tied for 2nd.
Turkey (perky or stoned): BiH gets 8, Albania gets 10, Azerbaijan gets 12. Turkey puts themselves at 3rd by giving Iceland 2 points.
Albania (he looks very tall): UK gets 8, Turkey gets 10, Greece gets 12. (Sakis somewhat pleased.)
Serbia (hello Jovana): UK gets 8, Norway gets 10, BiH gets 12. Turkey now at 2nd place.
Cyprus (very sober): Azerbaijan gets 8, Norway gets 10, Greece gets 12. (Sakis still giving his thumbs up.)
Poland (he’s cute in an uptight way): Estonia gets 8, Ukraine gets 10, Norway gets 12.
Norwegians still partying.
Netherlands: Turkey gets 8, Azerbaijan gets 10, Norway gets 12. Alex holding it in…poorly.
Estonia (Is that Maarja-Liis?): Iceland gets 8, Russia gets 10, Norway gets 12.
Norway breaks the 300 point mark. (A record.)
Croatia (solemn and a bit plastic): Norway gets 8, Azerbaijan gets 10, BiH gets 12.
Portugal (no Fatima reference?): Iceland gets 8, UK gets 10, Moldova gets 12. (Moldovans crying with happiness…I think.)
Romania (really perky): Greece gets 8, Iceland gets 10, Moldova gets 12. (Moldovans still freaking out.)
Ireland: Norway gets 8, The UK gets 10, Iceland gets 12. (Happy Icelanders.)
Denmark (go get a haircut!): Azerbaijan gets 8, Iceland gets 10, and Norway gets 12.
Camera on the Norwegians goes crazy.
Azerbaijan still mysteriously 3rd.
Moldova (he looks like he’s lost): Norway gets 8, Azerbaijan gets 10, Romania gets 12.
Slovenia (Peter finally got cleaned up. He makes a good joke out of Slovenia missing the final): Denmark gets 8, BiH gets 10, and Norway gets 12.
Armenia (She is pretty, She’s Sirusho?): Norway gets 8, Greece gets 10, Russia gets 12.
Anastasia is wearing a turban like she’s about to go to sleep.
Hungary (very dry): Ukraine gets 8, Azerbaijan gets 10, Norway gets 12.
Haven’t the Norwegians hands bled by all that clapping? Only Azerbaijan & Norway left to vote. So Norway gets to enshrine their own win.
Azerbaijan (super perky): Norway gets 8, Ukraine gets 10, Turkey gets 12.
Norway (surprisingly restrained, although it looks like he’s about to cry): Denmark gets 8, Azerbaijan gets 10, Iceland gets 12.
Norway wins, and they are kind of restrained. No crying. No intense screaming.
But finally, that grin has finally left his face.
Spanish commentator slightly pissed about the Spanish result. I would be too.
I don’t know what they all heard with that Azeri song, but they got up there.
Iceland did a lot better than I thought.
I would truly hate to be anywhere within a 10 mile radius of Will from 2006, because I think he’ll go postal.
Dima Evita & Lys Assia present the award to Alexander, who is now stunned. Alex & Dima Evita have a moment, but really it’s just Dima Evita trying to hog the spotlight.
Alexander says something in Norwegian, and then puts on that damn permagrin.
Oh well, next year is a pop year.