Fun fact: As I write this, Iceland is leading the voting on SBS’s website. Is this a good sign? I reckon so.
Tonight however brings contenders Armenia, Azerbaijan (supposedly really popular amongst the bookies), Denmark, and Romania into the mix.
Add on my personal favourites The Netherlands and Switzerland, and tonight ought to be interesting.
Will Julia & Sam manage to crack something approaching a smile?
Will HE prove themselves to be more than pretty faces?
Will Nadia deliver the smackdown that we all know that she’s dying to deliver? (And I don’t think she’ll care whoever it’s directed at.)
We can only hope.
Te Deum is played and we’re off.
Julia & Sam in their intro call it “The Semi Final of Death,” while passing Norwegians laugh at them. They also talk up Azerbaijan, and surprisingly (for me at least) Lithuania and Israel.
Same intro video with the floating bubbles of many colours.
Haddy does the “Good Evening Europe” tonight.
Sam mentions that only 10 of the 17 countries will proceed to the final. Those are really good odds frankly.
HE do the voting and final spiel. Nadia must’ve demanded a better dressmaker as she looks a lot more stylish than HE. (Was that the smackdown?)
Sam mentions that he’d vote for Armenia “55 times.” I wonder what he sees that I don’t.
Lithuania: Julia & Sam really like InCulto, who they call the “funnest act” this year. InCulto arrive on stage making funny noises and in checked pants. They proceed to do a very ska song and call it “funk.” It’s kind of cute and pleasantly daft, and they harmonise well. Julia and the audience like the strip. Eh, say I. Julia remarks that they are all straight. (Seriously, do we care?)
Armenia: Julia & Sam remark that there’s a lot of imagery. Just after they mention it there is a close up of Eva’s bosom. Anyway, Eva cavorts about the stage while the backing dancers do their calisthenics. It’s a pleasant bouncy number although I definitely see why it could inflame some old historical grudges too. I don’t see contender here, but that’s just me.
Israel: Julia says the bookies went berserk over Harel. Sam wants to put his hand through Harel’s hair. Harel looks a lot like Sakis Rouvas. He sings a pretty ballad and tosses enough “come hither” looks at the cameras to last a lifetime. It’s very simple staging and I must say this is screaming dark horse to me, especially as it builds up. This is working very well on television. Dodgy ending, but the audience goes crazy according to Julia & Sam.
Denmark: Sam calls it a “breakup song.”Interesting, I never thought about it that way. N’Evergreen does his mediocre Ronan Keating imitation (seriously must all Danish male singers do that?), meanwhile Chanee busts out her Shirley Bassey gear and vocal pipes. She’s definitely the stronger of the two and frankly she’s also doing the heavy lifting. It still sounds dated, but it’s such a rousing song that you don’t mind it. That said, the wind machine makes it very OTT. Julia likes it, Sam doesn’t.
Switzerland: Michael looks quite elfin backstage and onstage. His backing singers have their war faces on, and their march enhances it. I’m tapping along, but I‘m biased too. There really should be more movement onstage, and it’s really letting it down. I still get children’s show opening song from it, and even though Michael & Co. are giving it their all. It still doesn’t quite get there. Shame.
Julia & Sam send us off to ad break from the booth. Oh my god, Sam smiled! He also says “sometimes three minutes is longer than you think it is.” (Yes Sam, like Armenia. Ha!)
Adverts: SBS is the Australia’s World Cup channel. They REALLY want you to know that.
Back from adverts and it’s time for our commentators to harass the contestants. Julia talks to InCulto and they mention that they’re straight. (WE DON’T CARE.) She talks to N’Evergreen who slags off ABBA (those are fighting words), and also comes across as a bit of an arrogant tosser.
Sweden: Sam mentions that this is a big hit in Sweden. I think girl with a guitar at Eurovision and think Ase Kleveland back in the Sixties. Anna is no Ase, especially with that warbling. Now Anna is definitely trying to go the cute route, but the song is calling for whinging uni student. It improves as the song gets faster but she keeps on going vibrato and jumping around like preteen is rather daft….especially since the song is all about becoming an adult. Eh.
Azerbaijan: Safura busts out in blue while walking down some stairs. The song starts out like a power ballad, but verges into comedy territory when she tries to go all ghetto during the chorus. There’s also some unintentional comedy with the manic dancer, but it’s all about the chorus for me. Why? Because she looks like a spoiled princess trying to act like she’s down with ‘hood girls. Well sung, but hilarious…for me, at least.
Ukraine: Sam tells us that Alyosha didn’t like him. (I wonder why?) Julia calls her voice very “rocky.” Alyo is alone onstage in a cloak with her deep voice and STRONG accent. She takes off the cloak and reveals that she is Ukraine’s answer to Avril Lavigne. The wind machine kicks up, the guitar kicks in, and Alyo gets more incomprehensible beyond the words “Sweet People.” It’s a lot better than I thought, and this is the performance that I think Anna should’ve done. Alyo does the traditional Ukraine-at-Eurovision yodel.
Netherlands: Woo hoo! Julia mentions the Father Abraham connection as well as the fact that it is so vintage that it might win. So two dancers dressed as music clock musicians move around woodenly as Sieneke bounces about to unabashedly kitsch music. I’m sorry, but I just love it for this reason. It also can’t be more of a contrast to anything that has proceeded, and that’s a good thing. Ok, the male backing performer may be hamming it up unnecessarily, but so what.
HE are back in the green room acting all self-important, promising that they will make everyone “feel at home.” So why do you look like dear caught in the headlights?
Sam makes note that Australia didn’t care for Alexander in SBS’s vote.
Romania: I personally think this is a serious contender for the lot. Paula hits the keyboard hard. They also are camping it up a bit, which really works. Paula’s big hair and catsuit being camp enough for several entries. Then there’s the operatic singing she does towards the end. I foresee a Romania vs. Moldova battle in the voting. Sam calls Paula “a Romanian Eartha Kitt.”
Slovenia: This is like a really charmingly quirky version of last year’s Macedonian entry, except it’s meant to be a bit silly. I suspect there’s a witty element to the lyrics. It’s camp fun, though not a vote-getter. At least they having tonnes of fun onstage.
Ireland: Julia warns us that Niamh is feeling under the weather. Niamh gets a round of applause after the first few notes. She looks very regal and sounds in good voice. It’s not a terribly remarkable ballad (In Your Eyes mk. II and slower), but does the business. Niamh brings a lot more charisma than Thea did last night and that may save Ireland from the same fate. Crowd goes wild.
Bulgaria: Julia says that it has “very powerful choreography.’ I see women dressed in the leftover Maltese costumes. And men as well. The men do acrobatics and then shift into pure Hi-NRG dance moves as the dance beat kicks in. Miro is kind of a non-entity in this performance which is a terrible mistake. It’s not that bad of a song nor performance, but the main problem is that Miro’s lack of presence makes you forget it.
Cyprus: Julia really likes the song, though it’ll take a lot for me to like this. Why? This is Tom Dice: Welsh/Cypriot version. Even worse, Tom was better. Everyone is good voice, but there’s not a single thing I like about it. The lyrics are corny. The performance is smarmy.
Julia makes a overly excited gasp of joy/lust at the end of Cyprus. She recovers quickly enough to join stone-faced Sam in sending us off to adverts.
Adverts: Qantas really wants you to know that you can fly the A380 and be comfortable. Your flight will be delayed for days due to mechanical issues…but you’ll be comfortable….at some point.
Back from adverts for more harassment from Aussies. Julia does all but kidnap poor little Jon Dice. She talks to Safura who talks through a translator (who isn’t that hot in English either). She spends more time talking to Safura’s choreographer who is straight out of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
HE remind us that there are three countries left. Sam does his Norwegian Josh Thomas joke again, and it still works.
Croatia: So Femminem are in their nightgowns on a park bench singing about how everything is easy. There are so many jokes I could make about that, but why go for the easy ones? (hahaha) The song sounds like it going to build up into a dance stomper, but it doesn’t. No, it builds up into them just singing louder. Then there’s that very impressive but still out-of-place dance break. They have great voices, and look excellent, but the song like many last night…just. ends. Julia remarks on how many of the female singers are barefoot this year. (She fails to mention Sandie Shaw though.)
Georgia: Sofia is in red and being pushed about by male dancers. This is another acrobatic performance for everybody onstage. It’s rather interesting choreography that also distracts from the fact that song is rather bland. Interestingly, I’m reminded of last night’s Polish entry, except there’s no dramatics onstage.
Turkey: Finally, bring on the Rock! Nice staging with the screens being black. It’s oddly like last year’s Bosnian entry but with a lot more bite. I like it. It’s no Deli, but oddly charming. I don’t quite get what the helmet dancer is supposed to symbolise. Ooh, someone’s scratching on the turntable. Nice. Not too bad. Symbolically, I’d like this to win, doubt it will. Qualification, however, is assured.
HEN remind us that only 10 will make it. They fail mention that the odds are still pretty much pretty good for everyone.
Recap: InCulto strip (but want us to know that they’re straight)…Eva’s bosoms and that stone bounce about…Harel was dreamy and shouty…but not as much as Chanee & N’Evergreen…Michael did the best he could, but didn’t quite make it…Anna was too cute for her good…Safura tried to be ghetto and was hilarious…Alyo brought the drama and mangled pronunciation…Sieneke was kitschy kool…Paula & Ovi brought it…Slovenia just had fun (sod the score)…Niamh got everyone’s attention (but was it just because she’s a former winner?)…Miro was there (or was he?)…Tom Dice managed to annoy me tonight even though he wasn’t onstage…Croatia took it too easy…Georgia got pulled all over…MaNga impressed with their fusion.
NE (not HE) talk about last place Eurovision hits. Amongst the featured are Jahn Teigen, Jemini, and PingPong. It’s sadly too quick.
Erik says that the Norwegians celebrate last-placers. Nadia says that “no one comes last, but only 10 make it to the final.” Um, Nadia, there still will be last-placers.
Recap again. My opinions stay the same. In fact, I think Alyosha was even more impressive the second time around. Those playing the Eurovision drinking game would be drunk just by the recap alone.
HE give us a bunch of silly facts about the performers in the green room. The Irish delegation are already hitting the sauce. Christ, Erik is wearing the shiny InCulto hotpants. Usch.
Stone-faced Sam and Julia send us off to adverts. Hold on, Julia cracked a little bit of a smile. Caught ya!
Adverts: Bettie Page doco after Eurovision. World, welcome to SBS…Sex, Sport, and Eurovision.
Back from adverts and Sam tries to get Anna to say Sweden is better than Norway. Julia speaks with Niamh, who is charming and funny. She also talks to Safura (via translator) and she’s still kind of stuck up.
Interval…I think…and it’s another video/live one. This time involving a kid going around Oslo forcing a poor group of people to mimic the noise he makes. Given that some countries are only showing one semi, I understand why we’re having this interval again, but it really is a one-trick pony.
And the kid runs onstage and we have the whole a capella finale involving beatboxing and break dancing.
Yes, Norway, we know you’re modern now. Several thousands of UN surveys have told us that already.
Nadia talks to 2 Australians in the audience. Julia & Sam comically gripe about the fact that SBS wasn’t mentioned.
HE do the age joke again, this time with senior versions in addition to the junior versions. This as we learned last night is their intro to the 5 countries in the final. It dawns upon me that Harel does Didrik’s song better.
HE tell us that “you can feel the tension.” You certainly can’t tell it in HE’s voices, because they are wooden. Please tell me Ingvild makes some appearance to liven this lot up.
Nadia is back at the lectern of Qualification, and she definitely enjoys the power.
Dramatic drum roll and Georgia gets it. Julia is relieved. I’m indifferent.
Drum roll…Ukraine gets it. (Well-deserved.) Julia is 2 for 2 on her top ten.
Shot of the Swiss and the Dutch (I hope they make it!) Turkey makes it! Julia & Sam are surprised. I’m pleased.
Julia & Sam barrack for Denmark and Israel. Israel gets it. (Slightly pleased here.)
Drum roll…Ireland gets it. Irish fans go crazy at Telenor.
Shot of Romania (please make it!)…Cyprus gets it. Julia screams in delight.
Drum roll…Sam really wants Lithuania…Azerbaijan gets it. Safura freaks out. Australian commentators indifferent, in fact, slightly peeved.
Drum roll…Julia & Sam really want Lithuania & Denmark. I want Romania…and they get it!
Drum roll…Armenia gets it. Australian commentators getting pissed at who is going to miss out.
Drum roll…Shot of the Danes looking sullen. Chanee is happy, N’Evergreen is indifferent.
Julia & Sam are pissed that Lithuania didn’t make it. I’m glad that Denmark & Romania made it.
So here are some potential bloodbaths I see happen on the scoreboard:
- Armenia vs. Azerbaijan
- Romania vs. Moldova
- Norway vs. Israel
- Greece vs. Iceland
- Germany vs. Spain
- Belgium vs. Cyprus
- Turkey vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina
What does this mean? I have no idea who the hell will win this.
Now here comes the real tricky part of my Eurovision blackout. By the time I wake up tomorrow, the winner will be known. SBS, however, will be airing the final at 7:30pm tomorrow night. Still, I’ll do my best to stay oblivious.
I also have an early morning flight on Monday, and with Eurovision voting being the cruel beast that it is, I reckon I needn’t bother with sleep at all.