Düsseldorf in Rewind: A recap of the 56th ESC
Location: Esprit Arena, Düsseldorf, Germany
Hosts: Anke Engelke, Judith Rakers & Stefan Raab
SEMI FINAL 1
When: May 10th, 2011
Opening song: Jestem by Magdalena Tul (Poland)
Closing song: Watch My Dance by Loukas Giorkas & Stereo Mike (Greece)
Interval act: Cold Steel Drummers
My highlights: The walking, talking hilarity that is Anke Engelke; Finland’s amazing backdrop that was simple but stunning; Sjonni’s Friends proving they had more than just a tragic back-story through their charming performance of Coming Home; and Greece once again demonstrating their Eurovision invincibility with a song that few saw qualifying, but made magic happen when it came to the live show (Loukas & Stereo Mike turned out to be the Alyosha of 2011).
My favourite performance was from: Serbia
Shocks and surprises: Poland ditching the leather and grunge of their MV in favour of white and silver nappies – a big mistake; Alex Sparrow and his posse fooling us into thinking their performance was over, then launching into an epic choreographed curtsey; Kati Wolf’s frighteningly bouffant hairdo (a definite shock); Lithuania and Switzerland qualifying, and Norway and Turkey NOT qualifying.
SEMI FINAL 2
When: May 12th, 2011
Opening song: Love in Rewind by Dino Merlin (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Closing song: Lipstick by Jedward (Ireland)
Interval act: Flying Steps
Qualifiers: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Austria, Ukraine, Moldova, Sweden, Slovenia, Romania, Estonia, Denmark, Ireland
My highlights: Belgium, believe it or not – Witloof Bay’s a cappella vocals were terrific, even if the song created by them was not; hearing the ROOOOOAAAARR of the crowd before, during and after Eric Saade’s turn onstage; Dana International’s last-minute catwalk strut that got me wondering how she acquired such supreme stiletto skills; Maja Keuc, her suit of armour, and those boots…and the Flying Steps, whose interval show was so attention-grabbing I did not blink once while it was happening and consequently needed to be fitted for a pair of bionic eyeballs shortly after the contest.
My favourite performance was from: Bosnia & Herzegovina
Shocks and surprises: Sand artist and Ukraine’s Got Talent winner Kseniya Simonova accompanying Mika Newton in one of the greatest gimmicks ever seen at the ESC; and Cyprus’ knockout performance, one that I think deserved a place in the final.
THE GRAND FINAL
When: May 14th, 2011
Opening song: Da Da Dam by Paradise Oskar (Finland)
Closing song: One More Day by Eldrine (Georgia)
Interval act: Jan Delay
Winning song: Running Scared by Ell/Nikki (Azerbaijan)
Losing song: In Love For a While by Anna Rossinelli (Switzerland)
Completing the top 5: Italy, Sweden, Ukraine, Denmark
Completing the top 10: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Greece, Ireland, Georgia, Germany
My highlights: The inventive opening reprise of Satellite, featuring a surprise cameo from Lena ML, who emerged from a seething mass of look-alikes; Judith’s bang-on imitation of Lena before said reprise; Blue, one of THE acts of my girlhood, on the Eurovision stage (albeit in dreadful shiny suits and in front of massive headshots of themselves that gave off a rather narcissistic vibe); Italy’s triumphant, trumpeting return after 14 years of contest absence and/or disdain.
My favourite performance was from: Germany/Sweden
Shocks and surprises: The grand (and highly symbolic) unveiling of the green room pre-voting; Italy raking in the points during the latter half of the voting and reaching a well deserved but completely unexpected second place; Eric Saade being Popular enough with the juries and televoters to nab the bronze medal and secure Sweden’s best result since 1999; and finally, Azerbaijan topping the scoreboard with a song that wasn’t even close to being on my winning radar.
A year on, I still can’t believe Running Scared took home the prize, but I’m ultimately happy it did, because in eight weeks time Eurovision will go somewhere it’s never been before, and I have no doubt that the Land of Fire will put on a spectacular show for all of us.
What was your favourite part of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest?
COMING UP: A month of Düsseldorf in Rewind continues with my top 10 most-played entries of 2011. Plus, it’s time for another exposé of doppelgangers…they can run (scared) but they can’t hide!
Posted on March 28, 2012, in Eurovision 2011 and tagged Anke Engelke, Azerbaijan, Dusseldorf, Ell and Nikki, Eurovision 2011, Germany, grand final, Italy, Judith Rakers, recap, Running Scared, semi finals, Stefan Raab, Sweden, winner. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.