Shocks, frocks and missing reprises: a wrap-up of Amsterdam 2012
Bonjour! Here we are, approximately a million days after Junior Eurovision, and I’m finally ready to recap the show. You know how you have nothing on for weeks and then suddenly, BAM – your calendar for the next few days is packed? Well, that was my weekend and week-beginning. And that’s my excuse for not producing a post-show dissection until now.
I hope you’re up for a challenge, because this may be the longest post I’ve ever written. Seriously, you might want to call in sick for work/school, and get some food and water for the journey. This is my epic recap of the 10th (but hopefully not final) JESC. May it not bore you to tears, and help cure any Post-Eurovision Depression you may have.
Here are my thoughts on the twelve acts who took to the architecturally magnificent stage:
– Belarus got things going, but with less of a ‘bang’ and more of a ‘pfft’ if you know what I mean. No? Well, I mean they fell a bit flat. Egor sounded pretty good but not the best I’ve heard him, the costumes were good but not spectacular, and the song was a slower version than I’d heard before (which meant he didn’t have to race his way through) but the repetitiveness seemed more obvious than ever. It definitely didn’t end on a high, what with that voice-breaker of a note, unless you count the glass-shattering scream that came after it. I still like the song, but after that performance it was clear Egor wouldn’t be following in Lidiya Zablotskaya’s top 5 footsteps.
– Sweden sang second, with Lova making a better impression. She looked stunning (I assume she borrowed the hair crimper from Igzidora Gjeta) and her voice, unlike Egor’s, sounded the best I’ve heard it. She gave me goosebumps with her rendition of a song that nobody thought would go anywhere, but that I love (and actually did go somewhere in the end).
– Azerbaijan brought Azeri to a Eurovision stage for the first time, not including Ell and co’s ubiquitous multilingual greetings in Baku. Girls and Boys is so much better in Azeri than English, so that was an entry that made me super glad about the 75% rule. Omar and Suada aren’t the best live singers, but they managed to cover up each other’s weaknesses pretty well, and the performance was energetic. I can’t deny or confirm if any tinfoil was harmed in the making of their outfits.
– Next up was Belgium, and they did pretty much what I expected – a decent, inoffensive performance of decent, inoffensive Abracadabra (I love it, but even I know it’s vanilla). I liked the magic tricks which made Fabian’s musos appear, but they were distracting. I’m wondering now if his top 5 finish was mostly due to the tricks, not the song.
– Big favourite Russia was fifth, and the only reason Lerika didn’t knock my socks off was because she was always going to be awesome. Next to the performances that had come before she looked extra polished, and her prior JESC experience showed. I do really dislike the English bits that were thrown in to the song and would much preferred the whole thing in Russian.
– I loved Israel’s performance. They were the debutants I was most excited to see on stage, and I wasn’t disappointed. I loved their costumes, choreography and vocals (if the boy doesn’t appear in an Israeli stage adaptation of Phantom of the Opera in the future, I’ll be very surprised). Following Russia was never going to be easy, but they did a great job.
– Albania’s Igzidora did win something on Saturday: the award for Most Improved From NF To Now (as I predicted). The revised arrangement of her song and her stronger vocals – as well as the lack of hideous gray stockings – made for a much better performance than we saw at the Albanian selection. I do think it was a mistake to give her a Madonna mike and no backup activity, but this entry was destined for last place anyway. Fingers crossed they still give it another go, if there is a JESC to have another go at.
– Armenia’s Compass Band did exactly what they did at their national final, minus Teeny McScaryson (my nickname for the littlest member who was apparently too young to come to Amsterdam, but did appear without warning to announce the Armenian votes). The song really stood out, something you can’t deny even if you’re president of the I Hate Sweetie Baby fan club. I was pleased to see them looking dapper in suits as opposed to sloppy in unironed shirts, which I suppose is more rock ‘n’ roll but comes off so apathetic.
– Ukraine was the first (and last) act to blow me away, both in terms of Anastasiya’s talent and the intensity of the wind machine. Everything came together for her: the vocals (which I now deem to be impressive not just for a ten-year-old, but for anyone), the costume, the backdrop, the slow-mo Loreen close-ups, and the fountains of dry ice which probably asphyxiated everyone in the front row. Having heard people predict her as a dark horse, I could see why by the time she bolted off stage.
– I was pumped to watch Georgia’s Funkids in action. Their vocals could have been slicker, but all in all they met the standard we’re accustomed to in Georgian entries. The energy, costuming and choreography were all top-notch.
– Moldova came next, and I quite enjoyed them. Like Azerbaijan’s song, Toate Vor Fi is a million times better when it isn’t in English, so it was nice to hear the bilingual version. The flag-waving reminded me of Carola in Athens, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
– Last but not least was the Netherlands. Femke was the only act who managed to get a half-decent cheer from the crowd which at least meant they weren’t asleep (they may as well have been up to that point). It was all very similar to the Dutch final, staging-wise, but she put in a performance she should be proud of. If the Netherlands sent Femke senior to the ESC with that song, it would probably do better than the 3js and Joan Frankas of late.
The before, after and in-between
– The opener of the show was Rachel, runner-up of Yerevan 2011 and the Netherland’s sweetheart (I totally made that up) singing Euphoria. She may have been a disappointment to all the press who heard the song being rehearsed and assumed it was Loreen, but I think she was amazing! I’m not 100% sure if she was miming or not (we’ll get to those who clearly were and were not in a minute) but if not props to her, because she sounded spot on.
– Later on, all the contestants took to the stage to blatantly mime We Can Be Heroes, the 2012 group song. In the brief moments when I managed to ignore the inexplicable lip-syncing, I thought to myself ‘this sounds a lot like Abrabadabra’, but believe me, those were very brief moments. I will never understand the miming thing. Dima Bilan did it for his winner’s reprise in Moscow, Ani Lorak did it during JESC 2009, and now this. You’ve got twelve acts who can hold a tune, and you make them come out and mouth the words to a song that’s supposed to be meaningful. I don’t care if they all came down with golden staph immediately after their performances, I’d rather have heard them sing live.
– Ralf Mackenbach popped in to possibly mime a catchy number about partying and stuff. It’s been three years since he won Junior, and in that time he’s gone from the Dutch version of Justin Bieber to…well, a more mature Dutch version of Justin Bieber. I actually think he may be the Netherlands’ sweetheart (sorry Rachel).
– Someone who definitely sung live was co-host Kim-Lian, whose hairdo could only have been caused by sticking a knife into a toaster and whose Katy Perry brand PVC dress was nothing short of hideous…but whose voice sounded fine. Considering what she came after, I have to applaud her for choosing not to mime. *insert applause here*
– A quick word about the postcards: it was a relief to have the kids involved again so we could learn, for example, that Anastasiya Petryk is ‘small Ukrainian girl’ (I never would have seen that coming) but overall they were a bit boring. There’s only so much ice-breaking imagery a girl can take at 3am on a Sunday morning.
– Another quick word re: the host chats with the contestants. These are always a little uncomfortable to watch, but this year they reached a whole new level of ‘MAKE IT STOP!’. First Ewout asked Lova if she’d eat ‘moos’, then he tried to force Fabian and Femke to confess their undying (nonexistent) love for each other, and then he attempted to have a discussion with the kids who speak little or no English and make them touch the trophy that they clearly would not be receiving, bar Ukraine. Oh dear.
– Ralf had the honour of announcing the kids jury points, which awarded 8 to Russia, 10 to Ukraine and the douze to Georgia. At this early point I got excited, having foolishly predicted that Georgia would win again (but not-so-foolishly guessed that Russia wouldn’t). I was surprised by Ukraine’s 10, but that was only the start of their haul.
– The most pathetic points received by Ukraine were 4 from Azerbaijan and 6 from Albania. 10s and 12s were the only other denominations to be sent their way. How sad.
– Surprisingly, Russia didn’t receive any sets of douze. Ukraine nabbed eight, Armenia two and Georgia, Sweden and Albania one. Albania’s from Azerbaijan must have been more of a message to Armenia than anything else. As in ‘look, we’d prefer to give a ton of points to the worst song in the field than give a single one to you.’ Unless…they actually liked it that much?
– Both Belgium and the Netherlands neglected to exchange top points in favour of giving them to Ukraine. Belgium gave Femke 10 and the hosts gave Fabian 8.
– Albania’s 12 to Sweden was unexpected, but made me (and probably Lova) very happy.
– Anastasiya’s top scores from Belarus, Sweden, Belgium, Russia, Israel, Armenia, Moldova and the Netherlands make her the winner to have received the highest number of douze points in JESC history, alongside Marìa Isabel, winner of 2004.
– My internet stream reverted back to the pre-show loop as soon as Ukraine was announced as the winner and never returned. I don’t know if this was a universal occurrence, but it kind of sucked to have gotten up so early and for it not to be totally worth it. I caught the reprise on Youtube the next day, so it obviously took place. Any thoughts?
For the second year in a row, I was blindsided by the winner, only this year I was happily blindsided. Nebo is the most atypical JESC winner we’ve ever had, and a very deserving one in my opinion. To all those lamenting that Russia or Georgia should have won, I’m afraid the fact is that Ukraine beat them fair and square, nabbing big points from Eastern and Western Europe and triumphing over the runner-up with the largest point margin ever. Anastasiya is a real talent and was clearly thrilled every time she got a top score. And she’s so adorable!
Here’s the full scoreboard:
- Ukraine – 138
- Georgia – 103
- Armenia – 98
- Russia – 88
- Belgium – 72
- Sweden – 70
- Netherlands – 69
- Israel – 68
- Belarus – 56
- Moldova – 52
- Azerbaijan – 49
- Albania – 35
The top three is fine by me, although I was as shocked as you (if you were shocked) to see Armenia claw their way so high. I guess ‘give me smile’ is synonymous with ‘give me truckloads of points’.
Lerika did top her 6th place from Yerevan, but she failed to meet expectations in equaling Russia’s last result. I hope she moves on and appears in adult Eurovision one day. I think it would be a more likely forum for her to do well in.
I was hoping Sweden would get bumped up into the top 5, but 6th is a stellar result for a humble ballad, and anyway, Belgium making it was a pleasant surprise.
Israel deserved better, but they must be happier with the outcome than Azerbaijan and Albania. I have to admit, it was satisfying to see Azerbaijan tank for the first time in any Eurovision event. It proves they aren’t bulletproof.
Are you still awake? Because I have some good news for you. This recap is over! If by chance you want even more JESC, you can relive the whole EBJ Junior Month (including my reviews) by clicking on the ‘Junior Eurovision’ category at the bottom of the page.
If you’re still feeling low, don’t worry, because the Malmö preselection season kicks off on Friday, with Belarus’ Eurofest. I’ll be back at the end of the week to review it, and look at the exciting NF news I missed during Junior month. If I promise you that post won’t be ridiculously long like this one, will I see you there?
What were your personal highlights and lowlights of Amsterdam 2012?
9 Responses to “Shocks, frocks and missing reprises: a wrap-up of Amsterdam 2012”
Hi Jaz! I finally got to watch jesc 2012 after my stupid internet died right after Israel’s performance. Most traumatic moment of my entire existence…I’m still not over it, sorry
Anyway, jesc 2012. The show was awesome. I loved the opening with Rachel, but I guess I just love Rachel so much because she’s flawless and I actually enjoyed her version of Euphoria (and you know my eternal love-hate relationship with Euphoria).
Performances: I agree with you on Belarus-ish, but that last note was painful. Azerbaijan wasn’t energetic at all, they looked bored. At least to me. And gosh, those costumes were hideous.
Agree on Belgium, cool tricks, but totally distracting. Agree on Russia, she should have kept it 100% in Russian. Still, Lerika is amazing and she was so underrated, I mean below ARMENIA ugh. Agree on Israel, and they were VERY underrated. Well, everyone who ended below Armenia was underrated, but Israel was among the faves to win. Agree on Albania, improved a lot, but still hopeless.
Armenia: HOW DID THIS EVEN HAPPEN?!?!?!!!?!?! I have tortured myself watching their performance trying to understand how it ended so high and it still bores me and makes me cringe. I might as well create the Sweetie baby haters association, though I’m probably the only member. Ukraine’s performance was really outstanding and she’s really talented. I’ve developed something against the song, but she totally deserved to win. Georgia was ok, not a fan of the choreography but it was enjoyable. Moldova was really weak vocally I thought. Loved the flags and the colors. The Netherlands was pretty much the same as the nf, nothing surprising, but fine.
Kim-Lian’s hair was a disaster xD I liked her dress..not the wedding dress tail kind of thing though.
Apparently Femke said on Dutch tv she has a crush on Fabian, so I guess Ewout was only trying to help, but yes, I agree, those interviews are so awkward. The “How are you” “yes” bit was a highlight of the show though xD
I’m clearly not ok with the top 5 at all. I can live with the top 2 though. Azerbaijan’s result was a shock, not necessarily a negative one though. Sweden’s result was a positive surprise. Armenia, ugh don’t even get me started -_-
And yeah, that’s about it I think. I can’t wait until next year’s JESC
Ps: I love the new banner too 😀
I can’t believe your internet chose that time to die. It should be ashamed of itself.
I definitely agree about Egor’s last note, which may not have come across. My ears did not appreciate that.
I don’t think you’d be the only member of the SBHA, and to be honest I’m also having trouble figuring out how it did so well. I guess it stood out from the rest?? Or maybe ‘give me smile’ is some kind of subliminal mind-altering phrase that hypnotised people into voting for them.
Hahahaha, ‘how are you’ ‘yes’!!! That reminds me of this time I was trying to avoid one of those people who come up to you on the street asking for money for a charity or whatnot (which I never have coz I’m poor) and I had my response of ‘No, sorry’ at the ready since I assumed they would say something like ‘Do you have a minute?’ and they actually said ‘Hi there, how are you?’. Apparently I was no, sorry. Anyway, long boring story that has little to do with anything.
PLEASE let there be an 11th JESC!! I wonder when we’ll know if we actually can legitimately look forward to it or not.
PS – Thanks for the banner appreciation =]
Oh yes! I’m about to waste 15 minutes typing this! Let’s go
Belarus- I’m not familiar with how the running order is selected in JESC, but I have a feeling that it’s what SVT and the EBU want to do with adult Eurovision in the sense that the producers choose the running order. If that is, in fact, the case then the producers must have been choosing the order in an Amsterdam coffeehouse because why should this, of all songs, start the show? Now, regardless, Egor gave a pretty solid performance, but this isn’t something to begin with.
Sweden- Heja Sverige!! Heja Lova! Jag älskar dig! Aside from that gratuitous and elementary Swedish, I have to say that this became my number one just after her performance. EVERYTHING was perfectly staged and Lova totally brought it vocally. The voting was so exciting, especially when they lost the signal with Albania right before they gave Sweden their 12 points! Probably the second funniest moment of the night, right behind one of Lerika’s weird faces she made during her performance. Anyhow, loved, loved, LOVED this performance and song. I hope she enters Melodifestivalen in two or three years and goes to the big show. She deserves it. 🙂
Azerbaijan- I’m not afraid to say that this song was gypped. It was fun, well (enough) performed and the first lively song of the night, which really worried me about Sweden. In fact, during the performance, I think I literally said, “Oh they’re screwed by the draw now.” Well, I was wrong. However, it’s sad to hear about this song. If the rumors about Omar and Suada ditching the after-party because of their result is true, then that’s really sad. I really hope they do try again.
Belgium- I totally agree with you, Jaz, the magic act saved this one. Poor Fabian was really trying to make something out of very little with his vanilla, teeny-bopper song. However, he gave a clean performance and was rewarded with fifth place for it. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, in the sense that other countries will end up sending plain stuff just to guarantee themselves a good place rather than pulling a Ukraine and doing something REALLY off the wall.
Russia- As much as might have come around to Armenia after the contest, I have to say that Lerika should NOT have finished below them. In fact, you could argue the same about Georgia being higher. I think that the biggest problem with this entry was that the Russian delegation tried to sap all of the youth out of the performance and that might have something to do with Lerika just being older than most of the field or just the song itself, but either way, I think that’s what did them in. Sad really, because this is one of only two songs I can see being really successful in the big ESC (Sweden being the other.)
Israel- They let me down completely. The biggest problem here, in my opinion, was the staging. Now, I’m no expert, but Kids.il looked really uncomfortable with those dance moves. If I were them, I would’ve taken a page from Loreen’s defining book on Eurovision staging (Copyright Melodifestivalen, SVT, EBU. Baku, Azerbaijan, 2012) and had spotlights illuminate the singing child/children individually before lighting up the whole stage at the end, with the camera tight on them at all times. However, they really deserved a top half finish.
Albania- This made me happy. Not in the sense that the song was good, but that it didn’t do as poorly as people had thought. Poor Igzidora should’nt have had to carry the whole stage performance on herself and the quality of her vocal suffered for it. Same with Azerbaijan, I hope that she really did go to the after-party because she shouldn’t worry about place. Hell, she might’ve been the biggest surprise of the night getting out of the 20s!
Armenia- Poor Annika! Not only did she miss most of the show, this object of her hate finished third! Well, like I said earlier, I’ve sort of warmed to this (to a certain extent). Their performance was solid and, in a female-dominated field, they probably split the teenage-girl vote with Belgium. Moving on…
Ukraine- Totally deserved, surprising winner. Right after the performance ended, I thought to myself that she’d managed to destroy Russia’s bulletproof victory shield. Then I repressed that thought up until about halfway into the voting sequence, when it was apparent that she would be storming to victory. Anyhow, superb performance, with all the right effects and restraints. And the voice, oh, who could forget the voice!? Fantastic winner.
Georgia- Somewhat disappointing performance from the FUNKIDS (I can’t stand things in all caps that aren’t acronyms, so they had that against them from the beginning) vocally. However, second place is nothing to scoff at or complain about. Keep it up Georgia, and send some of that talent big ESC’s way, ‘kay? Nice.
Moldova- Denis, aside from winning the most flamboyant dress award, looked like the happiest performer on stage. Although his song was really dated, he sold it really well. I think that, although he didn’t deserve it, 10th place was probably the only place he would end up going. Sad, really.
The Netherlands- Of course, the hometown girl gets the big applause. Aside from half of Femke’s performance being screaming (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, à la Pastora Soler), I thoroughly enjoyed this song. Seventh might have been a little low, but in such a crowded field, I guess someone other than Israel had to be disappointed.
And now, the extra bits! Call me crazy, but I think the group song was my favorite on the night! Loved all of the individual bits, especially Fabian’s, who sounded like he had invited the other 11 artists to sing on HIS track. I can’t wait to get an iTunes card to buy it. Ralf’s performance was also good, but somewhat generic stuff. It wasn’t bad, though. Rachel might have had the best performance on the night. The drum remix of “Euphoria” was brilliantly thought out and executed. Great opening. And, let’s not forget Kim-Lian, who certainly won the most Femke-esque award for a shouty performance. 😉
The voting was fun, but also seemingly fraught with technical issues, like the aforementioned Albania incident, but also with the Belarussian girl completely zoning out partially and that really weird segment with Ewout in the “Ice” Room making the contestants rub the trophy. Note to future hosts, don’t ever do that. However, about halfway through, it was really obvious that Anastasiya was our winner. My favorite moment of the evening might’ve been her reaction right after the Dutch points had come in and she was confirmed the winner and hugged one of the Georgian kids sitting right next to her. Such an “Aaaawww,” moment, especially from the so-called “demon child.”
Geez this is a long comment. Hell, it might be longer than the freaking article! So, I guess it’s fit to end it up here and, maintaining self-control, finish on a sad note with the withdrawal of Slovakia from the big show. But, on the bright side, Belarus, is selecting in three days (or two days. I can’t be bothered to fiddle with higgeldy-piggedly time zones.) and is probably going to pick something good, unless the Dictator rules it invalid. Alright, this really is the end. Looking forward to another JESC! 🙂
P.S. The above comment takes up two and a half pages in MS Word and is 1,253 words long. Just FYI.
P.P.S. Love the new banner, even more than the last!
P.P.P.S Macedonia was robbed in ’08. I’ll never get over that. 😉
You sir, are the author of the longest comment I have ever seen. Bravo. I must say, however, I am shocked that you would refer to talking about JESC as a ‘waste’! The nerve! JK JK. And I will stop talking like some out of an Oscar Wilde play now, I promise.
Re: the running order, I think the first and last places were drawn randomly, with the rest being drawn halves and then ordered by the producers for the best variety. So Belarus opening was decided by chance. Out of interest, who would you have put first out of all of them? I’d say Azerbaijan.
Speaking of Azerbaijan…as I said, I can’t help feeling a little pleased that they didn’t do well. But ditching the after-party? It’s not like they were last. And even then…I just think that comes across as bitter and childish. I know they are children, but yeah. Maybe there was another reason, if that’s true.
I think Georgia deserved a higher place than Lerika. The act and song was a lot more interesting and original. That’s just my opinion, of course, and plenty of people would hate me for it (maybe you?).
I disagree with you on Sweden being successful in the ESC. I think Mitt Mod would go the same way as Finland did this year, which was/would be unfortunate, not that it matters because it’s never going to happen! I personally like a humble ballad, but it would take something very special to even qualify in adult.
Igzidora’s performance improved tenfold from the national final, so I was strangely proud of her. She seems like such a nice kid, so I hope she didn’t think through the whole ‘getting 12 points from Azerbaijan’ thing and just appreciated the “gesture”.
Was it just me or were the crowd really lackluster (apart from when Femke came on)? It was like they couldn’t be asked to cheer for anyone except her. And then they were doing all the aggressive chanting when the Netherlands got 5 or less points. Ugh.
I love how Anastasiya is this adorable little thing off stage, and then she gets on stage and she turns into the demon child, all growly and intense. How good would a Petryk sister duet be at Eurovision in six years?
Well, I hope there will be another JESC to look forward to. I know a few countries have confirmed for it already, but there’s got to be at least 11 for it to go ahead. I really want Serbia and Macedonia to come back. Some of the oldies returning would be good too (Spain, Denmark etc) but I know that won’t happen.
Thanks for noticing and complementing the new header, BTW. I feel all warm and fuzzy X]
PS – MACEDONIA WUZ ROBBED!!!
Yes! I won! I’m sorry about my word choice. “Waste” was a little harsh. “Spend” would’ve been better.
Hm, if that’s the case, I would’ve opened with Georgia. A super fun, near-camp entry is what every Eurovision needs to get it started.
Well, yes. Seeing Azerbaijan get knocked off its high horse was satisfying, but it was upsetting to hear about Omar, Suada and crew passing up the party, even if it is a bit immature.
I agree with you, I just think that there are probably some people who would argue against that.
Really? I think that Sweden would be, at the least, more successful than Pernilla, mainly because “Mitt Mod” is something more of a “truer” ballad. It feels more emotional than easy listening, which is how “När Jag Blundar” sort of sounded on the night. Also, there might be a slight bias because it’s Sweden.
Yeah, because for anyone who knows about Armenia and Azerbaijan, it’s really obvious why she got the 12.
That pissed me off! When Belarus announced the first points and gave Femke only one, I was shocked at the reaction. Even in Azerbaijan this year, when a country snubbed Sabina, there was no booing in the hall. Lowlight of the show, for sure.
If Ukraine did that, it would be the best thing ever. Bar none. (Spare another song from Soluna Samay 😉 )
I hope that this is lowest we get in terms of both ESCs. I want big, long shows with as many countries as possible!
It’s a really nice header! I did something like it for a newspaper cover I designed at my high school!
P.S- Still in shock over how few people “Prati’d” Bobi an “SMS.” *insert groan here*
Ohhhh my god…Bobi joke!! I wish I could have prati’d him an SMS XD
It wasn’t totally groan worthy? Yes. But wasn’t he on Aussie X-Factor recently?
He was on Australia’s Got Talent in 2010, which I got way too excited over!! He didn’t win but he did make the final. Here’s his audition if you’re interested/haven’t already seen it.
Azerbaijan so obviously manipulated the results of the voting. Can’t believe the EBU didn’t do anything. They gave very high points to the countries that were last in the score, and low points to the ones that were winning. The girl annoucing the votes for azerbaijan seemed to be looking at someone behind the camera to tell her what to say. Then the connection was lost, conviniet right? Then whe she was gonna announce the 12 points it took her ages, much longer than those dramatic pauses some spokepersons make, it was so obvious she was waiting for someone to tell her what to say. And it was just so ridiculous to give 12 poits to albania, it’s MANIPULATION all over it.
BTW, does anyone know why albania and azerbaijan gave each other high points? They’re not neighboor countries.