Saturday, August 19, 2017

Eurovision 2017: The Aftermath


It's been a few months since the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, and I haven't wanted to write about it because as a resident of the United States, the clips have been geoblocked, so I'm not able to post anything here on this blog that are viewable to me.

I have a couple things I really want to share.

1.  The best song in the contest won for the second year in a row.


Salvador Sobral   "Amor Pelos Dois"  (Portuguese national final)

The song was a three minute bit of stillness in the middle of painfully current pop and shouty ballads.   If you can go out and find the final performance online, it's well worth it.

2.   The European Broadcasting Union has proven to be an ineffectual European bureaucracy.

I have two reasons for this.   The first is their handling of the Russian/Ukrainian conflict.   Their inability to see the obvious propaganda war the two countries would have and deal and their tone deaf response to it just proves how ineffectual and out of touch the organization is.

The other thing that is that the organization has not addressed the geoblocking in North America.  I'm certain the reason is due to a rights deal with Viacom, the company that owns the television channel that broadcasts Eurovision in the US.  Yet the EBU has said nothing and questions about the issue are not answered by representatives of the EBU.   It is another example of the lack of transparency in multinational European organizations that is expected yet frustrating.

3.  Ukraine put on a pretty decent show.

There was a lot of drama over the production of this year's contest, but when all was said and done, Ukraine did a decent job.   Other than a Ukrainian idiot who stage crashed the performance of last years winner, everything went off without a hitch.

I also found a group that I started to listen to after the contest.


ONUKA & The National Academic Orchestra of Folk Instruments of Ukraine   "Megamix"

ONUKA's performance is a medley of a number of their songs and is well worth going and listening to more of their stuff.

That's about it for this year.   I am looking forward to next year's contest in Portugal and if all things go to plan, I'll be able to vote in next year's contest. 


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Eurovision 2017: Second Semifinal (predictions)

Eight out of ten isn't bad for predictions of the first semifinal.   Australia and Cyprus beat out Finland and Latvia.  

Sure Qualifiers
  • Bulgaria
  • Estonia
  • Israel
  • Romania
The Songs Without A Chance
  • Ireland
  • Lithuania
  • Macedonia
  • Malta
  • Switzerland
The Undefined Middle
  • Austria
  • Belarus
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Hungary
  • Norway
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • The Netherlands

So that said, here are my guesses for qualification
  • Austria
  • Belarus
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Israel
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • The Netherlands

And if you are reading this in a European country, please spare a vote for this entry:


Naviband   "Story of My Life"


Monday, May 8, 2017

Eurovision 2017: Semifinal One (who will qualify)

Now it's the post where I try to guess the thoughts of people all over Europe and fail miserably!   What fun.

The Sure Qualifiers
  • Armenia
  • Finland
  • Latvia
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
The Songs Without A Chance
  • Albania
  • Czech Republic
  • Slovenia
The Undefined Middle
  • Australia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • Georgia
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Poland
So my guesses are:
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Latvia
  • Moldova
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
It's quite different than the songs I personally like the best.

1.  Portugal
2.  Finland
3.  Georgia
4.  Armenia
5.  Azerbaijan
6.  Czech Republic
7.  Montenegro
8.  Moldova
9.  Belgium
10.  Albania

So please, if you are reading this, please drop a vote for the Portuguese entry for this American's sake. 


Salvador Sobral   "Amar Pelos Dois"  (live from Spain Calling)




Sunday, May 7, 2017

Eurovision 2017: United Kingdom

Hooray!   The last song!    

I am going to say that the United Kingdom have gotten most everything right this year.


Lucie Jones   "Never Give Up On You"

They have perhaps the best singer in this year's contest who is able to perform a technically difficult song impeccably.   The lyrics are terrible but Jones is able to elevate them to a point where they aren't a distraction.

If the staging is right (a difficult task for the BBC's Eurovision team), this could outperform the songs the UK has sent in the past ten years.

I'm shocked to say it's in my top ten.   I don't think I've put one in my top ten since I seriously started watching Eurovision.


Eurovision 2017: Spain

Do it for your lover/
Do it for your lover/
Baby, clap your hands/
and do it for your lover


Daniel Navarro    "Do It For Your Lover"

I get he's going for a frothy, relaxed, beachy summer song.    The chorus can only be described one way.

Ew.

I also get they're going for a frothy, relaxed, beachy summer look.   The look can only be described one way.

Ew.

Dude, button up your shirt a button or two.  You aren't that attractive.

This is just tragically terrible and the worst song that has been sent to the contest this year.



Eurovision 2017: Italy

The song most likely going to win the contest this year is the Italian entry.


Francesco Gabbani   "Occidentali's Karma"

It's upbeat, idiosyncratic, silly, and has a gimmick that will be in Eurovision clips from here on out.

Yet it's a silly song with a statement.   It's about Western cultural appropriation of Eastern mysticism.   Whether the song is commenting on or indulging in the cultural appropriation is up to interpretation.  It has, however, garnered a lot of press and helped the print sales of the book "The Naked Ape" by English zoologist Desmond Morris.

I will say this song is not my favorite.   That distinction still belongs to Portugal.   But this would be a worthy winner.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Eurovision 2017: Germany

Germany has had one of the worst Eurovision track records in the past few years.  They have sent songs that have moldered at the bottom of the results table.  (Even one that was one of my personal favorites.)

I don't think Germany is going to change this trend with this year's song.


Levina  "Perfect Life"

This is a perfectly nice song--very credible and very radio friendly.   The problem is the song, like the French song before it, is not particularly memorable.   Unless the stage show is spectacular, there is nothing for a viewer to remember to willingly vote it for and her voice is not unique enough for the juries to rank highly enough to get points.

Poor Levina.