Sunday, September 4, 2016

Eurovision 2016: The Aftermath

It's been a month since the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, and only now have I felt the need to sit down and write about it, because unlike many previous years.

1.   Logo kind of ruined Eurovision for me.

I have to say that at first blush, Logo and the Eurovision Song Contest seemed to go together quite well.   The Eurovision Song Contest has a huge gay following and Logo is the "gay" network.

But when my husband and I tuned in, I was kind of appalled by the slapdash commentary provided by Carson Kressley and Michelle Collins.   Neither of them knew much about Eurovision and Kressley's ignorance combined with vapidly pointless comments made me very angry.   It's something that I hope that they don't repeat in the future.

2.   There is no way for people in the US to watch Eurovision.

Because of the agreements between the EBU and Logo, the site at Eurovision.TV that allows you to stream the contest at will is not longer available here in the United States.     All the clips of the contestants are blocked, and this means I can't link to any of them here in this blog.

Croatia's entry was supercool, but I can't post it in my blog because I'm in the US.  (source eurovisionary.com)

I suspect that Viacom, the company that owns Logo and all the other NBC networks is attempting to cash in on Eurovision.   I don't see this happening any time soon and hope they will allow us to view them soon.  

I doubt that--it just means that I'll likely get a DVD of this year's contest and watch it on my European DVD player.

3.   The winning song was the best song in this year's contest.

There was a lot of sour grapes when the voting ended and Ukraine wound up winning the contest, especially among Russians, who felt that the rightful winner was the Russian entry.

But my little Eurovision party disagreed with that, as my friend Lori said, Jamala's performance "gave (her) goosebumps".  

Even in this clip, the winner's reprise, there is still power in the song



Jamala   "1944"

Needless to say, it was the winning song in my little Eurovision viewing party as well.   It's the first time my friends and the European public have agreed on the winning song.

4.   The new voting system worked.

I wasn't a fan of the new voting system, where the countries' jury votes were announced separately and the public votes were combined together when it was announced.   But when it was put into practice, the suspense was nail biting.


When the points for the winner of the televote were announced, Russia Sergey Lazarev, I fell on the floor when the points he received were not enough to win.

The voting can stay.

And that's pretty much it for me.   I wish I could say more, but the inability to share the clips here takes away most of the fun.

Hopefully things will change next year.








Thursday, May 12, 2016

Semifinal Two 2016: Who Will Qualify

Here we go again:   My picks to make the final tonight.

Here's my first analysis of the songs and where they'll fall:

The Sure Qualifiers

  • Serbia
  • Bulgaria
  • Ukraine
The Songs Without A Chance
  • Switzerland
  • Slovenia
  • Denmark
  • Albania
The Undefined Middle
  • Latvia
  • Poland
  • Israel
  • Belarus
  • Ireland
  • Macedonia
  • Australia
  • Norway
  • Georgia
  • Belgium
So, with very little knowledge of the behind the scenes drama, here are my picks.

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Latvia
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Serbia
  • Ukraine
And my request for anybody who is voting for in this semifinal, please consider voting for this song.


Jamala    "1944"   Ukraine

Jamala is the most talented performer in this year's contest and this is my favorite song in the contest.  There's nothing more I can say.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Semifinal One 2016: The aftermath



And here are the ten songs who made it through to the final on Saturday
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Cyprus
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • the Netherlands
  • Russia
Seven out of ten isn't particularly bad, and after watching the final, 

I can't really say that I disagree.  After watching the show, nine out of ten of these are ones that were obvious finalists.  

The Biggest Surprise


Nina Kraljić   "Lighthouse"  Croatia

I had thought an early place in the running order combined with an over-the-top costume would prevent Croatia from qualifying.  The Croatian broadcaster hasn't always been the best at staging songs, so I'm glad to see this overcame the visual deficiency.

The Biggest Disappointment


Samra    "Miracle"   Azerbaijan

In my opinion, "Miracle" was the song that didn't deserve to qualify in the top ten.   The staging was tacky and the vocals were weak.   And the gold plated American football uniform?    Don't get me started.

The Song I Would Have Voted For


Highway   "The Real Thing"   Montenegro

Although the Czech Republic would have gotten my first vote, Montenegro came in a close second.   While the somewhat experimental hard rock was something that would have never qualified, I really responded to the music and staging.   In a semifinal of things that were polished to an inch of their life, "The Real Thing" was interesting because it was deliberately unpolished.

The Can't Miss Song


Serhat   "I Didn't Know"  San Marino

I could have gone with the Armenian or Russian entries here, but really you'll see them elsewhere.   San Marino's utter weirdness deserves to be highlighted here.   It's trying so hard to be kitschy camp and it fails.  It's worth a watch. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Semifinal One 2016: Who Will Qualify

Tomorrow is the first semifinal of Eurovision, and it's time for me to make my predictions on the countries that will qualify.

The Sure Qualifiers

  • Hungary
  • Armenia
  • Russia
  • Malta
The Songs Without A Chance

  • Finland
  • Moldova
  • San Marino
  • Montenegro
The Undefined Middle

  • Greece
  • Croatia
  • Netherlands
  • Czech Republic
  • Cyprus
  • Austria
  • Estonia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Iceland
  • Bosnia/Herzegovina


As opposed to previous years, I haven't been following the ins and outs of the contest as prior years, so these are more personal guesses that anything else.
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bosnia/Herzegovina
  • Czech Republic
  • Cyprus
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Malta
  • Russia

And as I do every year, I'm putting in a request.  If you are reading this and are in a country that votes in this semifinal, please consider voting for this song.



Gabriela Gunčíková   "I Stand"   Czech Republic

This is a bog standard ballad, but Gunčíková performs it perfectly.  Besides, the Czech Republic have never qualified for the final and this is a good song.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Eurovision 2016: Austria


Austria has chosen the musical version of a kitten calendar picture
I have to hand it to Austria, when watching their national final, Wer singt für Österreich?, I was not bored.    The program, presented back on February 12th, didn't fall back on the usual Eurovision tropes.

I still don't know the musical genre this song belongs to


AzRaH   "The One"

The music just calls out to be played over and over again.  Is it jazz?   Is it rock?   I don't know.   I just wish the singer's nerves hadn't gotten the best of her, because boy is it hard to listen to.   Go search out the recorded version of the song.  

I'm also amazed by the provocative nature of this song:


Bella Wagner   "Weapons Down"

I really never expected a song like this to be presented in a national final, much less come in third.  The song is about a standard Eurovision topic--peace--but the song style and presentation were meant to unsettle.   That is something that is rarely seen at Eurovision and I have great respect for Wagner as an artist and the Austrian jury for ranking this so highly.   

But when all the votes were tallied, this is the song that won


Zoe    "Loin d'ici"

Yep.  It's in French.   And she is dressed up like a Disney princess.  Zoë is nineteen years old, but the styling of the song makes her look much younger, and like Iceland's entry last year, it's something I I actively dislike   The combination of the pretentiousness of the use of French and preciousness in the presentation of this song make me cringe.  As is, I cannot see anybody wanting to vote for this unless they were young girls unlikely to be allowed to vote in the semifinals because it's past their bedtime.

I wish I could be kinder to Austria's choice, but when it cam from a contest that had such interesting music and this was the song chosen, I can't help but be a bit disappointed.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Eurovision 2016: Netherlands

My husband, who is both a Europhile and a bit of a smart ass, has always said that the Netherlands is the "America of Europe".  I've always taken that statement with a grain of salt, but with with each new Eurovision entry I see, I'm starting to believe him.


Douwe Bob   "Slow Down"

Alt-country?   Alt-country is a thing in the Netherlands?  I thought The Common Linnets was a one off thing...

Seriously, this is the first song that I have heard this year that makes me think that it could win the contest.   The song is upbeat, catchy, and unique.  It made me immediately want to pick up the phone and vote for it.   That is what I consider to be a successful song.

If the Dutch get the staging right and the song has a good placement in the final, this song has a good chance of doing extremely well.   









Sunday, March 13, 2016

Eurovison 2016: Macedonia


No matter where they fall at Eurovision, Macedonia is always on top of national flags.
As I mentioned in my review of last year's Macedonian entry, Kaliopi is one of the best singers their country has, and it's unsurprising that they have turned to her to represent their country again this year.

"Crno i Belo" is one of my favorite Eurovision songs, so I had high hopes for the song she would bring to Stockholm.


Kaliopi   "Dona"

Unfortunately, this song is not as strong as her previous entry, with no build and a repetitive chorus.  While her ability to clearly interpret lyrics is as strong as ever, she has been let down by the song she has been given to perform.

"Dona" is a marginal qualifier at best and it saddens me to say that.