Hello Dusseldorf!

Viva Helvetica!

In years past I’ve tried to write comprehensive reviews of the Eurovision Song Contest – the first semi-finals of which were broadcast here in Australia last night. I have to admit that I haven’t been very good at this – the constraints of work, grocery shopping, cleaning cooking and all the other daily distractions have left me with little opportunity to rattle off crystaline prose about Norwegians punks playing violins (or whatever).

So this year I’m just jotting down some disparate, stream of conciousness thoughts about each act, and giving them all a rating. Deal with it!

My ratings are from 0 to 5, with the following definitions…

0 – I sincerely never want to hear this crap again! Kill it with fire!
1 – This song is either dull, or annoying or both, and has nothing to recommend it.
2 – A generally poor effort. There are a few decent bits but overall this song fails to impress.
3 – A passable effort, but nothing particularly special.
4 – Now this is a good song. I approve!
5 – This is awesome! 12 Points!

So, on to semi-final 1!

Poland
Sounds suspiciously like Tainted Love. In Polish which is good. Some problematic lighting choices makes the women look like they have glowing crotches. 3 out of 5

Norway
It’s in Swahili??? OK, Swahili and English. Hmmm, she sounds a bit off key – the bits where the other singers are backing her up are a lot better. It’s very Lion King, but kind of catchy. 3 out of 5

Albania
Singer looks like the Albanian version of P!nk. Kind of slow to get going. It picks up a bit more in the chorus, but it’s not grabbing me. Very tense and angsty. That’s it! It sounds like an Alanis Morrisete song! It’s pure Albanian Alanis! 2.5 out of 5

Armenia
A boxing glove!? What!? In English. A bit off key in parts. Oh good lord! That chorus! It’s completely at odds with the verses yet still utterly dreadful! OK, that boxing ring bit is kind of clever, but the song still sucks. Hmm, apparently the rehersal performance was a lot better – which wouldn’t be hard. 2 out of 5

Turkey
Rock song. In English. It’s OK but nothing special. And what’s with the girl(?) in the cage? Singer reminds me of the guy from Wall of Voodoo. 3 out of 5

Serbia
Very 60’s mod style. Quite good, although it reminds me pretty strongly of some other song I can’t pick. In Serbian, which is a plus. 3.5 out of 5

Russia
First up, one of the dancers looks like that weasely guy from Con Air. Steve Buscimi! That’s him! A moody intro before a rock pop boy-band song. In English. The chorus isn’t bad – until it hits the last bar and goes straight into Backstreet Boys territory. “Puts my mind in the dirty zone”? Really? 3 out of 5

Switzerland
A ukelele! Awesome! In English. It’s not spectacular, but I’m quite liking this. Again it really reminds me of another song. Well done Switzerland! 4 out of 5

Georgia
Liking it so far. Wow, that’s one serious set of pipes! Fairly heavy sounding rock. Oh dear. Well. It was going quite well until they started rapping. You’re not Linkin Park guys! Hmmm, parts of it were excellent. 3.5 out of 5

Finland
Paradise Oskar? What? Coldplay sounding intro. Oh man. Those lyrics are… awful. Yes, it’s clearly a Coldplay song with dreadful lyrics. Should have done it in Finish, then no one would be able to tell. Oh well, maybe it’ll appeal to the sentimental market. Creepy smile at end – he looks like a sex offender! 1.5 out of 5

Malta
Good intro. Oh wow, it’s techno. No, wait, it’s Tainted Love again! Not spectacular, but a decent dance track. Oo! Piano break! And there’s the key change! 3.5 out of 5

San Marino
A ballad apparently. Lush opening, though she sounds a bit off key. Now she’s really sounding off key! Song is nothing special really. Loses half a point for consistant off-keyness. 2.5 out of 5

Croatia
What the?! What’s with the guy in the top hat?! What is this?! Ah! It’s a trashy Europop track! About time, we haven’t had one so far! I still want to know what’s up with hat dude though, he’s creeping around like a humaoid mantis. Oo! Costume change! Aha! Key change! Here comes hat dude again for… a third costume change! What a waste of time. – 2.5 out of 5

Iceland
There’s a sad story behind this one. The intended singer died a few weeks before the local semi’s, so his friends got together and sang it instead. Sounds like a Beatles track – a Paul one though. Nothing spectacular, but not bad. Will probably punch higher than its weight from sympathy votes. – 3.5 out of 5

Hungary
Sounds suspiciously like a Celine Dion rock ballad. Oh yeah, Celine all over. Hmmm, a verse in Hungarian. Wait for the key change…. What!? No key change!? Celine would be appalled! 3.5 out of 5

Portugal
Oh wow, they’re in weird, Village People style costumes and have placards. Song is sort of Portugese protest folk pop. Compentent performance, but… weird. And not good weird. I don’t usually say this, but it might have been better in English so we could tell what they hell they’re trying to say. It’s like watching sub-standard Hi-Five, but hey, at least they tried something different. 3 out of 5

Lithuania
An operatic ballad apparently. Ouch, lyrics appear to be in badly broken English. Very musical – as in something you’d hear in a musical. I can tell it’s a good performance, but it’s just not my kind of music. 3 out of 5

Azerbaijan
Lots of “Oh Oh”. Ack, it’s a duet. And one that’s a bit flat too. Hmmm, pretty average pop ballad. Nothing to see here folks, move along. 2 out of 5

Greece
Here come the drums. What? It’s some guy growling things into a mic? Like an angry rapper? And now some other guy singing? What the hell is this? And now we’re back to the growling. You know this could actually work with a bit more integration, but as it stands it’s a mess. Of course the Greeks have a history of winning with absolute garbage, so we’ll see how they go. 2 out of 5

So there we go. I plan to watch the second semi-final tonight and write up a similar review, and the final tomorrow. Let the good times roll!

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