The 2014 EBJ Awards for Eurovision Excellence | Part 1 (The Artists + The Songs)

In incredibly scintillating news, I received my Eurovision 2014 DVD in the mail last week. Well, it was exciting for me. And now I’m thinking, what better time to reveal the winners of my contest awards for this year? At least that’s what I’m telling myself, to distract from the fact that it’s taken me THIS LONG to get my s%!t together and post them. But hey – this way you can be sitting down watching your DVD while you read this, and reminding yourself why the winners are worthy…or, as will probably be the case with many of you, questioning my terrible judgment. But remember, you got to choose the winners of six awards this year, three of which will be revealed in this first installment of the EBJEEs. There were almost 150 votes in today’s People’s Choice-ers alone, so thanks for making the decisions in such vast (by this blog’s standards) numbers!

I won’t ramble on about the specifics of Part 1. You know the deal by looking at the title of this post. I’m just going to leave you to enjoy the “ceremony” in which 17 trophies will be handed out, and hopefully accepted without incident – i.e. NOT in the style of Dana International in Jerusalem. Keep an eye out for the People’s Choice Awards, because the full voting results are included.

*clears throat*

Ladies and gentlemen and everyone in-between, this is…

ebjees14

The Artists

a
Andras Kállay-Saunders
Nikolas Raptakis (Freaky Fortune)
RiskyKidd
Sebalter
Theofilos Pouzbouris (Freaky Fortune)
Topi Latukka (Softengine)
Waylon (The Common Linnets)

046

Between them, Freaky Fortune and Riskykidd more than upped the hotness quotient in Copenhagen. But with Theofilos being on the short side (as a woman of stature, I tend to steer clear of diminutive men) and Nikolas having had some dodgy hair moments, I have to give this first gong to the sheer beauty that goes by the stage name of Riskykidd. At 19, he’s slightly too young for me (I hate how that time has come already) but I’m still going to bask in the ambience of his chiseled cheekbones and often intense ‘wrong side of the tracks’ vibe.

 
b
Cleo
Conchita Wurst
Dilara Kazimova
Kasey Smith
Maria Yaremchuk
Paula Seling
Ruth Lorenzo
Tanja

047

This is always a tough category, and it’s unlikely that we’re all going to agree on the result (this also extends to the ‘He’ award. Sorry if Riskykidd doesn’t do it for you). My personal preference is the hot tamale from Spain, via the UK/US, Ruth Lorenzo. With or without a faceload of slap, with a retro updo or rocking the wet look, in a fancy frock or holey hand-me-downs, this woman looks stunning. I look at her and the main word that comes to mind is ‘bombshell’. FYI, others include ‘How come my eyebrows never look that perfect?’, ‘Wearing a red lip: any tips, Ruth?’ and ‘How you doin’?’. I guess you could say I’ve developed a girl crush.

 
c
Conchita Wurst
Men of Pollapönk
Nicolas Raptakis (Freaky Fortune)
Sebalter

There was no beard more talked about this year than Conchita’s, and I’m not just referring to the talk regarding Eurovision. In fact, I don’t expect another beard to become as much of a household name (in my house, it’s called Frank) for the rest of 2014. It is perfectly-groomed facial hair that graces the chin/cheek/upper lip area of a stunning woman, and that makes it a beard with a difference. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time talking about a beard in my life. Such is the power of Frank.

 
d
Basim – 20%
Heiðar Örn Kristjánsson (Pollapönk) – 9%
Jöran Steinhauer (Aarzemnieki) – 24%
Nikolas Raptakis (Freaky Fortune) – 7%
Sebalter – 39%
Teo – 2%

You guys chose – and pretty firmly – Sebalter as your Mr. Congeniality for 2014! The Swiss fiddler/whistler/waistcoat-wearer beat out Latvia’s Jöran by 15%, presumably with his on and off-stage charm and charisma. By all accounts, he’s friendly and funny, making him as nice on the inside as he is on the outside (as far as some are concerned…he’s no Lepland/Mengoni for me personally).

 
e
Conchita Wurst – 15%
Mei Finegold – 15%
Ruth Lorenzo – 25%
Sanna Nielsen – 15%
Suzy – 15%
Tijana Dapčević – 17%

Someone else who’s good inside and out is Ruth Lorenzo, who bumped Tijana to take out the Miss Congeniality award with a quarter of the votes. Far from the fiery, fierce stereotype of your average hot-headed Spaniard (and I emphasise, stereotype…Spanish women, don’t get mad) Ruth is cool, calm and collected, and from what I’ve seen, always willing to give anyone a bit of her time. She’s a woman I’d want to be friends with – in fact, when I’ve finally nailed down Kaliopi and Hannah Mancini as half of my ladies’ wolfpack, Ruth will be next on the list.

 
f
Basim
Emma
Pollapönk
Sebalter
Teo
Twin Twin

I get the feeling these guys never have an off night. Then again, I think I’d be constantly energetic and entertaining too if I got around in a bright blue (or *insert the colour of your choice here*) suit. With a matching velour tracksuit for lazy time, of course. As a band catering to children and adults, Pollapönk have to have the enthusiasm to cover all bases. They definitely conserved it for their six minutes in the spotlight.

 
g
Conchita Wurst – the bearded lady
Elaiza – underdogs of USFD
Paula Seling & Ovi – Eurovision royalty return
The Tolmachevy Sisters – JESC (t)winners
Valentina Monetta – third time’s the charm

Conchita Wurst

She made up a considerable amount of the discussion bulk within the ESC bubble, and basically all of it in the outside world, making many of us wonder why something so simple as a five o’ clock shadow (albeit an exquisitely-groomed five o’ clock shadow) was causing such a stir. There can be no other rightful winner of this award than Conchita, who I’m sure doesn’t rock the beard with the intention of it being a gimmick, but doesn’t have much of a choice. If beardless Nadine Beiler had donned the gold lace and busted out Rise Like A Phoenix, we’d be headed to Amsterdam next year.

 

The Songs

h
Austria
France
Greece
Latvia
Malta
Sweden

Moustache may not sound eerily similar to another song on the whole – although I could make a case for it being a masculine, less raunchy version of Katy Perry’s Peacock – but the verses ignited such loud screeches of ‘PLAGIARISM!’ for their resemblance to Stromae’s Papaoutai, I’ve got to give this one to Twin Twin. Plagiarism or not, I’m indifferent. I love both songs, so I’m just going to congratulate both artists on stumbling upon a catchy string of notes. And make a plea with Stromae to one day represent Belgium.

 
j
Austria
Estonia
Romania
Spain
Sweden

Dancing In The Rain is one of those songs you’d only hear at Eurovision. There are so many elements that make it come off as contrived for the purpose, i.e. the mix of languages and those massive money notes, which may not be in Spanish, but can be roughly translated to ‘I’m trying so hard to push FTW, I may burst into smithereens’. I’ll admit that you could say the same re: My Beloved Sweden, but as Sweden = more than a fanwank in the end, and Spain = not quite as much, I’m not going to.

 
k
Austria
Azerbaijan
Montenegro
Norway
Spain
Sweden

Speaking of Sweden (as I have done way too often since Sanna won Melfest and will continue to do for the rest of eternity), my bias towards Undo cannot be totally quashed for the purposes of these awards. There were some damn good ballads competing in Copenhagen, but as Sanna’s has given me the feels/goosebumps from the first listen through to my most recent, and because I actually cried during her semi-final performance (hey, it was a freaking long time coming, and I was emotionally invested, okay?!?) it’s far and away my Ballad of the Year. My apologies if that gives you a sad that’s hard to undo.

 
l
Azerbaijan
Georgia
Montenegro
Poland
Portugal
Slovenia

They were thin on the ground this year, so anything with a vaguely traditional instrument thrown in has made the shortlist. But five have made way for the half-folksy, half-hip hop, all sexy Youtube sensation that is My Słowianie. The song somehow manages to be divisive and edgy as well as perfect for Eurovision and appealing to its audiences, which couldn’t be achieved by the likes of Igranka. Carried with attitude and talent by Cleo (Donatan’s actual contribution is yet to be measured) it’s everything I want from my ethno-pop – yet miles away from your typical examples of the genre.

 
m
Denmark
Estonia
France
Greece
Israel
Portugal

This isn’t a difficult category to narrow down for me, because every year there’s at least one entry that I CANNOT HELP shaking my thing to. These songs have some kind of force that catapults me off my couch and has me doing my best Shakira imitation before my brain has had time to process what’s happened. In 2014, I was a little torn between Greece’s trumpets and Portugal’s wa-wa-wehs, and I’m still not sure what swayed it in Greece’s favour, but as the MC and big boss of these awards, I don’t have to justify my decision. Instead, I’m just going to twerk a bit, as the mere mention of Rise Up has awoken the mysterious booty-shaking powers within. BRB.

 
n
Azerbaijan
Belgium
Finland
Georgia
The Netherlands
Russia

There was a decent amount of songs that I didn’t ‘get’ initially this year. Something Better made a huge leap in my estimations – so much so that I went from wishing Finland had literally chosen something better to digging the heck out of it (whilst still holding a candle for some other UMK gems). It was the live performance and ‘more is more’ approach to lighting that helped win me over. The song is a stadium anthem that, when it won UMK, wasn’t in the right setting to show it off to full advantage. Plus, the months between the NF and the ESC gave Softengine time to polish up (and grow up).

 
o
Russia
Ukraine

ENTERTAINMENT-DENMARK-EUROVISION-SONG-CONTEST

Just a couple of not-so-special songs IMO were elevated by aesthetics this year – elevated all the way into the top 10, in fact, which in Russia’s case was particularly surprising to me. The Tolmachevy sisters’ three minutes on stage featured everything but the kitchen sink (though I’m not convinced that wasn’t hidden away somewhere in amongst the see-saws and staffs and papier-mâché suns). But, with pared-back costumes and seamless choreography that utilised all of those props, I couldn’t stop watching. This is one example of why the Eurovision Song Contest doesn’t always live up to its name.

 
p
France
Greece
Romania
Slovenia

I may be referring to studio versions here, but Moustache also works better in another kind of studio – the intimate TV kind, as opposed to a massive arena with a massive stage to fill. When it comes to listening though, the studio version is cleaner and slicker. Plus, you’re not being distracted by a failed attempt to use a big space in the right way.

 
q
France – 4%
Hungary – 11%
Iceland – 15%
Moldova – 4%
Poland – 37%
Spain – 7%
Switzerland – 22%

There were faux game shows, dramatic storylines and wayward servings of spaghetti to choose from, but you guys went for what I will re-title ‘Breast Preview Video’. Poland wins! And by a decent length from Switzerland, too. I can’t say I’m in total agreement with this, but the video certainly stays true to the statement being made by the song. It’s not as though setting it in a convent and having the Slavic girls churn butter very clinically whilst wearing ankle-length habits would have made sense.

 
r
Azerbaijan
Belarus
Denmark
Germany
Macedonia
Poland
Portugal
Slovenia
United Kingdom

All the contestants went out of their way making their #MyEurovisionFlag, though some clearly put in more effort than others (a painting, Valentina?? Really? At least Suzy chose to paint herself). As such, this is the biggest, toughest and probably most subjective category of the entire EBJEEs. My pick is host country Denmark, for its mix of effort and creativity (see Valentina? More non-canvas painting!) and daringness in not only repurposing a heap of ancient furniture, but also a stretch of road that I’m sure got Basim and his buddies in trouble with the local council.

 

That’s Part 1 taken care of, and it’s now time for intermission. The line for the toilets will be long, but since Part 2 won’t be coming to you for a few days, don’t be concerned. Just before you go, it’s time to let the disagreement ensue…

 

Tell me what you’re thinking re: the People’s Choice winners, and my personal picks.

 

NEXT TIME: Before they get too dusty, I’ll be handing out EBJEE trophies in the categories of The Performances, The Costumes and The Results.

 

About Jaz

I'm Jaz, I'm 26, and I'm 110% Eurovision-OBSESSED. The contest is one big party, and I like to keep it going 365 days a year - that's why I write about anything and everything ESC on my blog. Come join the fun, and I promise you'll never have a nul-point experience! www.eurovisionbyjaz.com/

Posted on June 26, 2014, in Eurovision 2014 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Ah, that would be Frank as in Wurst, right?
    People have been squeamish about the connotations of the word “gimmick,” but from a technical perspective, and as a tool for communication, the beard is a very effective instance of one.

    I don’t think Russia were “saved” by staging. It was an odd jumble, but made little impact on me beyond “they have no clue.” Maybe that made it memorable to some, at best.

    So, have you daydreamed about how you’d postcard your own flag yet? Maybe your state flag? Denmark has it easy 😀

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  2. Can I just say I love the little trophies for each award? They’re fab :3 And the categories themselves are really interesting too 🙂

    The results… well I’m very happy to see Finland winning one, and I totes agree about France being better in studio and Russia being saved by the staging… I’m shedding a tear for Sebalter though, as I’d have him down as the Hottest He (omg how can you like Marco but not Sebastiano?! I’m in awe omg! (although Marco is perfect too) [bracket overdose aaagh help] :P) where was I?! Oh yeah, Hottest He, Best postcard (twas so adorable), Best preview video and Born entertainer.. I do admit I’ve fallen slightly in love with him though so erm.. yeah, maybe a bit biased.

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  3. Ohh and may I add my appreciation for the naming of Frank, and just say that I have hilarious mental images of you doing a Dana International with these trophies now :’)

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  4. Great choices, J.
    My vid vote of course went to Sebalter – (cleverness over cleavage).
    I’d probably have put either Kasey or Emma as my Hotter She – but possibly out of feeling bad that they both seem to be going away completely underappreciated / empty handed.
    And hey, perhaps with your SF1 blubbering to Undo, a category for next year’s awards might be “Tearjerkiest”?
    For me, this year, it was Light a Fire. Call me a big girl’s blouse, but I confess I caught myself weeping (!) when listening late one night to the official-video version, for the somethingth time. Unfortunately, in the B&W-Hallerne setting, with the way the song was done, a lot of the intimacy (and lyrics) were overwhelmed/lost. But it still ended up as my second fave overall.

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    • Sadly, the cleavage did win out this time 😥

      Good idea for the Tearjerker category. Though I’m not sure it would happen often enough for a whole category to be made of it! Maybe if I watch Titanic directly before the first semi, that will get me going. *tears up just thinking about that damn movie*

      I can actually see why Azerbaijan had that effect on you. They certainly made me cry (with evil happiness) when they came 22nd! In (semi) seriousness, SAF is an emotive song, and it is a shame they didn’t stage it with a sense of intimacy befitting it. I feel like taking cues from The Common Linnets’ staging (the focus on the artists) or Loreen’s, or even Ukraine 2011 (honing quite closely in on the artist but having some gimmick telling the tale in the background…shadow puppets or something??) would have helped. The whole trapeze artist thing made the stage look cavernous.

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  1. Pingback: VOTE FOR THE WINNERS | Have your say in the People’s Choice categories of the 2015 EBJ Awards for Eurovision Excellence! | Eurovision by Jaz

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