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Thank you for the music

For Susan:

Eurovision Semi-Finals (Helsinki) - the re-telling

It begins, it begins! First up are the entertainers: woman with strange icicle hat playing accordion. Then, Yetis dancing in the background. Snazzy dance number with spiky haired people and clowns with lightsaber skis.

Hosts in first outfit – yellow dress and silvery suit – dissapointingly neither looks particularly crazy and they keep their senseless prattle to a minimum. Here come the songs!

First up – Bulgaria!
A chick in chainmail dress and a guy who spins drums. Now everyone is drumming! A lot of handwaving and rhythmic finger-pointing. The guy looks delighted to be drumming.

Now Israel! A catchy semi-rap song about terrorism. They also have an accordion. It’s being played by someone who likes like Jack Osbourne. "I want to see the flowers bloom/ Don’t want to go kaboom". Now they’re jumping up and down. Threat of terrorism is exciting! Now a soft interlude with melancholic pause. Now more jumping! A rousing crescendo.

Third – Cyprus! And they’re singing in French. Go EU! Goth theme once again in costuming. Another chain-mail-like dress, except this one is shiny and full of sequins. I am in visual ecstasy. I can’t tell if her microphone is also blinging or whether it’s simply reflecting the shinyness of the dress.

Fourth – Belarus "Work Your Magic"
Now they’re working a sort of James Bond meets Matrix meets David Coperfield messes around with fake tan thing. The lead singer could be mistaken for something Cinderella could take to the ball. I guess it’s part of the magic. His backing dancers are getting stuck to sliding screens. This is entrancing.

Fifth - Iceland – Valentine Lost
the first rock song of the evening. Long hair and thwarted love. It is quite moving. I like the four young men in the backing band playing guitar with perfect synchronicity. The lead singer is wearing a leather tux.

Sixth – Georgia (for the first time on Eurovision)! I am so proud.
Pretty lady singer although also too acquainted with fake tan. Traditional dancers prancing in a folk manner behind her. Their outfits have daggers. Georgia to win! Song sounds a bit like Madonna if she enjoyed bagpipes thrown in. The young men have taken out daggers and now they are fighting with each other while dancing.

Seventh- Montenegro.
Starts with energetic guitar riffs and idiotic lyrics. Their decision to secede from Serbia is starting to look like a gift. I am happy only a limited amount of people can understand their words. I am loath to translate. ("Come step up! Step up and jump up!") The lead singer’s hair colour is not remotely related to his eyebrows. Strobe lights! Energetic drumming and guitaring.

Eighth- Switzerland (Vampires are alive!) It’s like a musical dream of Joss Whedon dressed in metallics. "Vampires in Helsinki! Come alive! I’m a vampire not a slave! In the darkness, in the shadows, here I am! Here I am!We’ll never come undone and we’ll be forever young." (If Nicole Kidman keeps up with the botox she can be int his band). They sort of vaguely remind me of the Venga Boys.

Ninth- Moldova – more leather. I’m not too sure what to say about this except that I am entranced by the backing dancers who are spinning each other around when they're not waving red scarves. There’s a guy spinning curtains. The singer lady has quite a nice voice.

Moments from the intercession:

"It’s taken Finland a thousand years to win the Eurovision contest, but we’re so pleased to be here."

"The Belarus singer – I have been told many times that my faces look like Princess Diana’s faces" (actually, he’s right)

People with funny hats are trying to lasso reindeer. Run reindeer! Oh no, they’re making it pull snowboards.

Ten- The Dutch – On Top of the World.
There's a lot of ladies sitting on top of the table on which the singer is standing. I like her outfit. She’s got a lovely voice. Her song is called On top of the world and … she is on top of the table… do you see what she’s done there? Symbolic, dude! A guy who was playing guitar at the beginning now comes on to do backflips. He is multi-talented.

Eleven- Albania- Hear My Plea.
Starts atmospheric. More Gothica. Very ethnic. The lead singer is staring at the singeresses' boobs. He is giving the song his all in an operatic tone. Now people have whipped out violins. The singeress' main job seems to be to lift her arms up and down. There's a disparity between the EMO on the singer's face and the grins of the backing singers. The singer falls to his knees! The backing singers are still grinning-the heartless devils. Singeress is still arm-waving. The lead singer clutches his heart! It is very moving.

Twelve – Denmark- DQ
The first of the drag queens. His costume is fabulous. Priscilla Queen of the Desert does Eurovision! Screw Georgia, Denmark to win! His headdress is fabulous. Now everyone is waving fuscia ostrich feather fans! "Everything will be all right…. I will be your guiding star" He is and I believe him. His outfit gets shorter and shinier! My heart soars!

Thirteen- Croatia – Vjerujem u Ljubav
The lead singer is famous. He is an old rocker and well respected. I cannot bring myself to mock anything here. I believe in love too! More leather trousers and chainmail tops!

Fourteen – Poland
There’s backing dancers in an egg made of bars. The lead singer is English. Is that cheating?. Now they've brought out chairs. It's very like Chicago meets Britney Spears and copies Beyonce's booty-shaking. It's all for nothing though, my heart belongs to Denmark.

Fifteen- Serbia! The reason I didn’t go out to dinner tonight.
She's got a lovely voice. My loyalty to Denmark is shaken. Her voice is really lovely. And in tune! A Eurovision first. Serbia to win! No Denmark! No, Serbia! Ah, pan pipes. The backing singers are looking at each other lovingly and reaching out… to… something. Now they're hugging! Group hugging! Vote for girl on girl action!

The cat has joined us.
Sixteen-Czech Republic –
They sound like smokers. I can’t make out anything they are saying. Are they singing in burps? I have never heard singing like this. Neither has the cat. She is entranced. It’s like trash metal that has been softened for Eurovision and now they can only speak in growl. Maybe that will be Bjork’s next source of inspiration.

17 – Portugal
They’re walking around with gigantic red fans and teeny flouncey dresses. It’s very happy clappy. More giant fan action. What is it with all the fans?

18 – F.Y.R.Macedonia – Karolina- Mojot Svet
She’s cute. And the dress is not bad. Backing dancers are ballerinas. She’s very leggy. Her legs are distracting from the singing. I think that may be her secret strategy. More pan pipes! Her dress is very short. I hope she is wearing underwear.

19- Norway
Norway’s song is called I want to dance and it looks rather Spanish. Due to the lack of pan pipes and feathered headdressed I am failing to warm to them. Who are you trying to trick Norway? The cat has turned her back to the TV. Norway have FAILED. But suddenly, the lead singer does an outfit change and strangely it’s a longer dress! A Eurovision first! I feel proud to witness and record this historical moment.

20- Malta – Vertigo by Olivia Lewis.
A half naked man playing violin! Another banging gongs! More wavy fans. Seriously, what the hell is the deal with all the fans? The cat has given up and left the room. I feel she is the most apt commentator.

21 – Some Mc-Fly-like boyband from Andorra.
They are cute BUT they are wearing neither headdresses nor feathers nor sequins and I feel I cannot reward this lack of effort with any enthusiasm. Inexplicably they all seem to be bouncing in rhythm as they play guitar. I feel vaguely motion sick.

22- Hungary – Unsubstantial Blues
Nice jazz number. Singer walks onto stage with suitcase. Their prop is a bus stop. Nice singing and arrangement. This actually sounds lovely. For the first time I find myself approving of something in Hungarian.

23- Estonia
Everyone is perky. I don’t hold this against them however. Yay for Estonia! The backing singer looks remarkably like a Ken doll come alive. Down to the strangely static and rectangular hair. Strobes! Wind machines! The’ve gone all in.

24- Belgium- Love Power
I imagine this is what would happen if Thunderbirds decided to do Eurovision. However , I love the guy playing trombone.

25- Slovenia – Flowers from the South.
Her outfit is an entrancing mix of milkmaid and goth (it brings up my leather costumes count to 8). Her singing is very operatic. The other cat has fled. The singer has obviously gone to the Celine Dion school of facial/hand gestures.

26- Turkey- Shake it up Shekerim!
In any other context the lead singer would be mistaken for a creepy pervert.
Turkey brings up my count of white satin oufits to five. Now he is swinging something lacy above his head. It could be knickers. Maybe a handkerchief. Pyrotechnics.

27- Austria- Get a life, get alive.
Sequin hoodie! An aids bow made of feathers! More ostrich feathers! And sequins! Although headdresses could have used more effort – their faethers are too small. I think the backing singers are meant to be dressed as roosters. He entertains and lifts Aids Awareness!

28- Latvia.
This is different - a guy in tophat and tux. And he sings in Italian. He’s joined by another one! And now a third singer! And now a fourth. And a fifth. And a sixth. I’m losing count. It’s like pulling bunnies from a hat. It’s certainly different.

Voting time, and an outfit change for the presenters!
Votes are revealed.
At the end of the night Bulgaria, Belarus, Georgia, Latvia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Austria, Serbia, Hungary and Moldova are through. My national pride is salvaged but I am sad about lack of Denmark or Croatia. I wouldn’t have minded Albania giving things another go either.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
minnesattva
May. 12th, 2007 10:02 am (UTC)
Eurovision is one of the very few things that makes me sad I don't have a TV. Thanks for letting me experience it anyway. :-)
rainsinger
May. 14th, 2007 12:32 pm (UTC)
I wonder if there's places to download extracts from the net... maybe some of it swimming on youtube.
mzdt
May. 12th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
keep an eye on izzles who is getting equally excited.

Me, I'm off out for the evening to celebrate land_girl's birthday... ;-)
rainsinger
May. 14th, 2007 12:32 pm (UTC)
Still want to go out to dinner sometime soon?
jadedlibertine
May. 12th, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC)
I was not allowed to watch and instead forced to watch a film :(
I am being allowed to watch tonight though but have been told I will be sent to the TV in the bedroom if it gets too crap :(
rainsinger
May. 14th, 2007 12:33 pm (UTC)
Disguisting sanctions!
This is a clear violation of your human rights!
The worse it gets the louder it should be broadcast!
izzles
May. 12th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
Hello :) I've been sent in your direction by mzdt - I'm a fellow Eurovision obsessive, going crazy waiting for tonight... One hour to go!
rainsinger
May. 14th, 2007 12:33 pm (UTC)
Yay! Always good to meet fellow enthusiasts.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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