Estonia was Robbed!!

Well that sucked! Estonia completely failed to get through to the finals at Eurovision. If it wasn’t for the fact that Shivaree are so big in France and Italy I’d accuse Europe of having no musical taste at all! Anyway in this post-Eurovision-Qualifiers /pre-Eurovision-Finals period I thought I might as well give my run down of last night’s performances. You know, just because I can.

FINLAND – This was a tango song by the “Finnish Tango King”. It was every bit as boring as you’d expect Finnish tango to be. Hey the Kalevala is great, but this guy was no Sibelius. 5/10

BELARUS – What the heck was this? A couple of refugees from a bad Lord of the Rings convention wailing about Galileo? What? 3/10

SWITZERLAND – The best I can do is quote the Australian commentator “Hi-Five should sue for plagiarism. And defamation of character”. Happily these losers managed the ultimate Eurovision accolade of ‘null points’. Yey! 4/10

LATVIA – This sounded kind of like a Googoo Dolls song speeded up. It wasn’t anything fantastic, but it was a whole lot more bearable than what came before. They also sang in their native language which always gets extra points from me, both for integrity and because not understanding the lyrics of a Eurovision entry generally makes it a whole lot more listenable. Oh, and the chorus seemed to mention Mozilla. 6/10

ISRAEL – This guy could actually sing, he had a tremendous voice. And when he was singing in Hebrew (I presume that’s what it was anyway) he wasn’t bad. Unfortunately he kept switching between Hebrew and English and the English lyrics were appalling. Some kind of mawkish call for peace, love and tolerance. Sure I agree with the sentiment, just not the medium. At the end it just turned into a bunch of high pitched wailing. Oh, and there were distracting graphics of gigantic birds flapping their wings constantly in the background, which was annoying. 5/10

ANDORA – An inoffensive pop song in Catalan, with extremely silly dancing. They also went badly off key halfway through and stayed that way for the rest of the song. 5/10

PORTUGAL – This was sort of like the flashbacks you’d have if you dropped some really bad acid while watching Saturday Night Fever. Or maybe what you’d see if your video of Saturday Night Fever got chewed up and started playing one of the dance sequences on a five second loop. It was in Portuguese, but even that couldn’t save it from being a hideous mess that should have been swept off the stage with firehoses. Firehoses full of acid. Thankfully it was short – either that or I blacked out. 2/10

MALTA – And continuing with hideous messes we come to Malta. The performers are apparently a couple. This is a very bad idea, neither of them should be having children, least of all with each other. The song was all about how their love is on-again off-again, and the first twenty seconds or so was the woman wandering back and forth across the stage warbling like a bad Kate Bush impersonator while the guy just stood there. Then with no warning he suddenly started up and began belting out opera! Full on Pavarotti style tennor opera! About how their love is on-again off-again! She continued to warble on with him interjecting now and then with more bursts of Pavarotti, until the end of the song when she (no doubt inspired to have a go) tried to do some opera as well, wailing it right into his face. Oh it was hideous. A conceptual nightmare that defies even the loosest definition of what it means to be ‘musical’. Sad to say it got through to the final, which means we’ll have to listen to it all over again on Sunday. *sigh* 2/10

MONACO – In a what was probably some kind of coup for the costuming department the girl from Monaco wandered onto the stage in darkness wearing a cloak studded with Christmas lights. That’s about the most notable thing to say about her performance, apart from maybe that anything said (or sung) in French sounds much classier than it actually is. The song didn’t really go anywhere, but it was pleasant enough listening, and at least had a beat. 6/10

GREECE – A fairly banal latin-influenced piece of filler. The singer nonetheless looked to be pulling it off with some dignity until he suddenly ripped the costumes off his female companions and they turned into go-go dancers in gold lame bikinis. About the one interesting thing about the song was that the bits of flamenco guitar giving it its latin flavour sounded like they were done on bouzoukis, which was a nice touch. 5/10

UKRAINE – OK, picture Xena Warrior Princess. Then picture her with a bunch of burly men (well two men and three women) in furs and leather. Then give them all whips. Then give them a magical expresso machine that never goes dry and can pump out 50 gallons of coffee a minute, wait until they’re all nicely hyperactive and enter them in Eurovision. This will give you some idea of the Ukrainian entry. I don’t pretend to understand what the heck they were carrying on about, but it was certainly impressive (it’s entirely possible that they were actually declaring war :). In any case the song was a bit of a mess at the beginning, but actually turned out quite well towards the end, and there was plenty of stomping and shouting to move things along in an entertaining fashion. They made it into the final too, so we can enjoy it all over again. Yey! 7/10

LITHUANIA – Lithuania really let down the Baltic States this year. Their song was so banal that I can’t really remember anything about it. What I can remember though were a bunch of guys dressed like insane clowns (think John Wayne Gacey here) posing and posturing in the background like they’ve been given an overdose of medication. And waving giant flags. Towards the end of the song they got up on a raised stage at the back and did some weird synchronised dancing, then ran forwards and showered the singers with confetti (I half expected them to pull out knives and gut them). 4/10

ALBANIA – The girl from Albania had a really impressive voice. Unfortunately she was singing a really unimpressive song. The quality of her voice was such though that she actually managed to lift it a bit and make it listenable. 6.5/10

CYPRUS – The song from Cyprus was really not my kind of thing. Too slow, no beat to speak of. But the girl singing it had really good technique. If it’dhad been more my kind of song she probably would have got a higher score. 6/10

MACEDONIA – The guy from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (to give it its full, non-offensive-to-nationalist-Greeks title) obviously wants to be Prince. He looks like Prince, he has the same hair and beard as Prince, and his costume, a sort of white version of the trenchcoats from The Matrix would certainly not be rejected by the Purple One. Unfortunately neither he nor his song-writers are Prince. His song wasn’t actually bad, it just had some very strange syncopation – I think they were trying for ‘funky’ but just ended up with ‘disjointed’. If they’d performed in Macedonian (is that a language? I’ll have to check) they may have pulled it off. 5/10

SLOVENIA – The singer looked kind of like my cousin (there is really nothing else to say) 5/10

ESTONIA – These guys were my favourites. Five women in weird sack-like traditional folk costumes, a drummer who could have been Satan himself, and all the words chanted in some obscure dialect of Estonian that only a few thousand people still speak. The dancing was nothing to write home about, but the drummer more than made up for any entertainment gap by refusing drumsticks and playing the kit with his hands, head and face. He’d actually announced before going on that he was going to do something ‘totally outrageous’ (I was expecting him to bite the head off a live goose) but in the end he just slid across the stage on his belly at the end of the performance (either the powers that be dissuaded him or things are really sloooow in Estonia these days). This was the best song of the night, and the fact that they didn’t get through to the finals is a true crime against music! 8/10

CROATIA – This was a somewhat dark and jazzy track reminiscent of Windmills of Your Mind – up until the chorus anyway when it went sort of ballistic. The singer had a pretty good voice, it’s a shame the song wasn’t performed in Croatian as originally planed. 7/10

DENMARK – This song sounded scarily like Ricky Martin crossed with Justin Timberlake. And scarily the guy singing it bore a strong facial resemblance to Eminem. Even scarier all of this added up to a pretty good performance, including an impressive slide across the stage that seemed to defy physics (I think he must have had wheels in the back of his shoes). The sound went kind of funny halfway through, but recovered before the end. 6/10

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO – This song has been touted as a possible winner and it’s easy to see why. It’s got plenty of spooky ethnic flute, and catchy ethnic drum backed up with the latin beat that seems to have infected just about every non-latin country this year. I think there was a scary violinist in there somewhere too, although I can’t quite remember. 7/10

BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA – This entry was utterly ridiculous. Ex-boy-band pretty boy “Deen” with his shirt undone trying (and failing) to look like a young Billy Idol strutting about the stage miming to a tape of himself moaning and hissing the phrase “In the disco”. And miming badly, his lips never even came close to matching what was coming out of the speakers. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if he got confused and was miming the Bosnian version. It got into the final, but didn’t deserve to. I’d give it 4/10, but it deserves at least 2 points for sheer camp value. 6/10

NETHERLANDS – This was one of the blandest and most banal songs of the evening. It was like a Back Street Boys ballad performed by two guys, neither of which could really sing. Predictably it got into the final. 5/10

So, that’s my opinion of Eurovision 2004. The qualifiers anyway 🙂

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