Saturday, May 14, 2011

Part the XXXV: Where Nick Watches Eurovision or: Welcome to the Mindscrew!

The Eurovision Song Contest (FrenchConcours Eurovision de la Chanson)[1] is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. Each country participates via one of their national EBU-member television stations, whose task it is to select a singer and a song to represent their country in the international competition. The Contest has been broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programmes in the world. It is also one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world,[2] with audience figures having been quoted in recent years as anything between 100 million and 600 million internationally.

What is most interesting about this is the fact that so many countries simply don't take the competition seriously.  The Ukraine in 2007 entered a drag finished 2nd.  Finland won in 2006 with an act that looked like the band GWAR and blew away all their competition.  In 2009, Ireland entered a turkey puppet.  In the 70s, a band named Abba won on behalf of their home nation, look what they did afterwards!  This is singlehandedly one of the oddest nights of television ever.  England's BBC coverage was once famous for Terry Wogan covering it and basically laying into the other presenters.  After 2008, Graham Norton took over.
   Terry Wogan's Commentary in '06.
Perhaps one of the most famous band's to come out of Eurovision, in my opinion was Dschinghis Khan.

  So now, with cider firmly in hand, I have decided to watch and blog along with Eurovision 2011.  
8:00PM, it starts on BBC1 with the German hosts talking and introducing the show.  Graham Norton plows into the early mocking some of their adlibs.
8:15: Finland is first with a song called "Dadadum", feels a bit useless after Lordi, the GWAR style band in 2007.
8:17: Bosnia and Herzegovina "Love in Rewind".  It has a mandolin in it...and a triangle.  Very eclectic.  Oddly interesting.
8:22: Denmark, "New Tomorrow"  This band met in London and is now popular in Canada.  The lead singer looks like a troll doll.  Catchy song, Graham seems to like it.
8:26: Lithuania, "C'est Ma Vie" Feels like a number from a musical.   
8:29: Hungary, "What About My Dreams?"  Starting the pop portion of the show that tends to dominate.  She's like a weird combination of Madonna, Celine Dion, and Maria Carey...and not in a good way.
8:33: Ireland..."Lipstick", Jedward...this band...yeah.  They were famous after a good run in X-Factor last year.  Then they got picked for this.  They have been a kind of running joke in the UK.  They even appeared in a few of the Pub Quizzes I have taken part in.  The song is a kind of bubblegum pop song.  In other words, this is the exact song that could win this by a landslide.  Just odd.
8:37: Sweden "Popular"  Sugary sweet pop music.  Sounds like the X-files theme song.  Maybe this is what Bieber will be like in the future, he looks a bit like an older version of him.  Interesting use of props and lighting.
8:42: Estonia, "Rockafeller Street"  Younger girl who is very popular in her home country.  She is actually quite pretty.  The song is very repetitive, like Rebecca Black should be performing it.  Norton: "I have never felt grumpier or older".  I give up on Pippa Middleton, this is my new dream girl...
8:45: Greece, "Watch My Dance"  Includes a rapper who is the head lecturer of music at the University of Westminster of  London.  This is basically spoken word over music.  Now it is more like opera.  This song is just all over the place.  
8:49: Russia, "Get You".  Norton can't even pronounce the singer's name.  Dear God!  It's the Russian version of N-Sync.
8:53: France, "Sognu", A tenor, one of the few examples of just a man and his voice.  He is one of the favorites entered.  At 21, he is also one of the youngest competitors.  He has a great voice.  
8:57: Italy, "Madness of Love" Italy's first entry in 14 years.  A great jazzy piece.  The singer's last note sounds like a dying bird, however...the see-through piano is cool though.
9:01: Dino from Bosnia is being interviewed.  He competed here 12 years ago.  Norton lays into some of the other competitors here.
9:03: Switzerland, "In Love For a While"  Considered a dark horse.  The ukulele intro is pretty cool.  It has a very laid-back feel to it.  It sounds a bit like a song I have heard before, however, although the title escapes me.  She seems to have abandoned lyrics for "Na na na na" over and over again.
9:07: UK, "I Can", The band is Blue.  For the first time in a while, the UK hinges their hopes on a band that is actually pretty well known in the country.  It will be interesting to see where they place.  The song itself sounds a bit like a normal boyband from the US in the 90s.  The thing is that that is still quite popular here in the UK.  A truly poppy song, could this be the year?
9:10: Moldova, "So Lucky", as Norton says "They were so lucky to get through the semis."  Rap and Rock combined while the musicians wear what appear to be dunce caps.  And a girl playing a horn dressed as a fairy riding a unicycle.  I can't make this up.  Just finished my cider in a hurry after this one.  Norton unloads on them...hard.
9:15: Germany, "Taken by a Stranger"  The defending champions, Lena returns to personally defend the title, the first time ever this has occurred.  The song starts out well but it is nowhere near the level of last years winning song, "Satellite".  Just didn't quite get going.  Norton hates the dancer's costumes.
9:19 Romania "Change", Sounds like a Tom Jones or Barry Manilow song...just not a good one.  None of the lead singers clothes match, he looks like Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York.
9:23 Austria, "The Secret is Love", Celine Dion ripoff...that is all.  She looks like Marcellus Wallace's wife from Pulp Fiction.
9:27: Azerbaijan, "Running Scared"  From what...Moldova's act?
9:31: Slovenia, "No One"  Damn, shes giving the girl from Estonia a run for her sounds like "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fidler though.
9:36: Iceland "Coming Home"  Imagine a country song from Iceland, well, now you don't have to.  Then it kicks in a big band feel.  I really like this.
9:40: Spain, "They Can't Take The Fun Away From Me"  What is this...I don't even....It's so sweet, upbeat and peppy that you can taste the sugar rotting your teeth.
9:45: UKRAINE "Angel"  Hell yeah!  Lets do this Ukraine!!!  In the background the winner of Ukraine's Got Talent (You didn't read that wrong, it seems that does exist) a sand painter, performs her art to the song.  Song wasn't great but a good presentation.
9:48: Serbia "Magical"  Cool old 1960s groovy feel to this one.  I like it a lot.  Not a winner but cool.
9:52 Last song, Georgia "One More Day"  Rock songs don't tend to do well at ESC.  Looks like that won't change.

My Favorites.  I liked Denmark a lot.  They are my pick to win.  
I'll take UK, Ireland, Ukraine and Iceland to close out the top 5.
Let's see how it goes.

Interval Act Time: Norton: This is slightly underwhelming.  Nice suit for Jan Dulay.  That Plaid was awesome.
And begin the filler....
And the voting begins...politics start.  Austria gives 10 to Germany and Germany gives 12 to Austria.
And... Azerbaijan wins...the hell!!!!  Really...?  The song was boring and not that good.  Jedward beat Blue which was rather interesting.  
PS: Moldova equals the world's newest meme.

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