Jaz on film, JESC split results and a Viennese top 5 – Welcome to 2015!

Yes, ladies and gents…we are now in the year after 2014 and before 2016, and I am scared, confused and excited, in that order. I didn’t get the chance to say auf wiedersehen to 2014 here on EBJ because I’m a disorganised slowpoke; nor did I get to say a big HAPPY NEW YEAR to those of you who inexplicably still read my ramblings even though they’re usually as up-to-date with current ESC-vents as Daria Kinzer was up-to-date with her fashion choices in Düsseldorf. I.e. not very. So…yeah, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I hope you had a fabulous NYE which involved getting your non-fan friends drunk enough so that they actually confessed to enjoying the Qele Qele remix you were playing on repeat. Unless you’re under the legal drinking age in your state/territory in which case I’m sure it was fruit punch all the way, woohoo.

Clearly I’ve been indulging in some “fruit punch” this evening, but let’s push that to one side and crack on with today’s posting. I’m starting 2015 with a wild and untamed ramble, covering multiple Eurovision and Junior Eurovision bases and mostly filled with info that you already know – just to prove that I’m staying the same old Jaz this year (only with a long-promised new-look blog on the horizon). Here’s a summary so you can choose to abandon ship now, or continue on into the murky yet glittery depths…

  • EBJ takes Youtube: Talking all things ESC with Terminal Three!
  • Divide and (not quite) conquer: The JESC split results, revealed
  • What’s good enough for Russia is good enough for San Marino…right?
  • Ladies’ night: The awesome foursome who’ll host contest no. 60
  • The first five Vienna-bound entries: first impressions and rankings!

If you’re still interested? Then let’s get going!

 

EBJ takes Youtube: Talking all things ESC with Terminal Three!

Once upon a time, way back in November – Junior Eurovision weekend, to be specific – I had the pleasure of attending a Eurovision gathering of the club variety (a.k.a. a Euroclub…duh) right here in Perth, highlights of which included a) dancing on a stage with a mass of flag-draped revelers, belting out Fairytale word-for-word, and b) actually being encouraged to judge the fashion choices of others as a decision-maker in a Best Dressed comp.

I must admit though, my absolute highlight of the evening was meeting the boys from Terminal Three – Fraser, Matt and Jason – who have turned their respective ESC obsessions into a schlager-ific Youtube channel. Hashtag Aussie Eurofans are the best Eurofans (in our own minds). In amongst the countdowns, news flashes and other awesomeness of the T3 channel are interviews aplenty, and recently I was lucky enough to be the subject of one!

As much as it pains me to say this, as I am the Queen of Awkward when a camera’s on me (and at most other times) you can watch me chat one-on-one with Fraser below re: the origins of this li’l ole blog, Melodifestivalen, and my undying love for Ott Lepland. Please keep in mind that I’m much funnier, personable and attractive in real life.

I’d like to thank Terminal Three for wanting to interview me in the first place, then taking the time to do it. You can check out everything they have to offer on Youtube, and/or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t deprive yourself of such Eurovisiony goodness!

 

Divide and (not quite) conquer: The JESC split results, revealed

It took some time, but the EBU did finally release the split scores of November’s Junior Eurovision this week. That’s a belated Xmas gift to all of us who now get to spend weeks dissecting the differences, and discussing how irritating it must be to Armenia to find that they were ranked second with both the juries and televoters, but ended up in third place (that’s just how the system works at this point in time, Betty. Besides, bronze ain’t a substance to be sneezed at). Here’s my dinky little version of the results, with a much more professional one feat. all the figures available here.

js14

Firstly, congratulations to both Bulgaria and Italy for winning their respective halves of the vote. I’d consider that almost as good as a legit victory for Bulgaria, whose previous JESC participations have ended very differently. As for Italy, it’s just further proof that they’ll always have power over the juries because they are classy as f%#k. Unlike myself.

Vincenzo didn’t manage to wow the folks at home in the same way he wowed the industry pros. I blame the fact that I wasn’t on European soil and was therefore unable to vote for him until my fingers fell off. I can understand viewers being spellbound by Bulgaria instead, considering a) how magnificent Planet of the Children is and b) how ridiculously adorable Krisia is. Oh, and c) how talented Hasan and Ibrahim are at tickling the ivories.

The jury was more impressed by Federica’s age-defying operatic pipes, ranking her third versus the televoters’ seventh. They also appreciated Sophia Patsalides’ flawless performance (and Cons + chiffon combo) considerably more than the televoters, which is surprising. As is Sweden’s situation – 15th with the fans and 11th with the juries, in spite of the staging and costuming being stronger than Julia’s vocals. I can only assume there were some jury members just as partial to the glittery fringe-fest as myself.

Sympho-Nick may be scratching their heads right now as they attempt to comprehend their 3rd/12th results. Maybe all the jury members went on a group trip to see Frozen at the movies, hated it, and Ukraine’s performance brought back bad memories? Or were the fans won over by the girls’ vocal transformation since the Ukrainian final?

Still, only four countries were seen as equals by jury members and televoters alike: Armenia (2nd), Belarus (8th), Georgia (10th) and Croatia (16th). I guess poor Josie made a breathlessly off-key impression on everyone, whilst nobody could resist Betty’s sunny charms and bendy backup dancers. Fair call.

What do you think of the results? Are you flabbergasted that Krisia & Co topped the televote or would you have seen that coming even with Donny Montell’s crystal blindfold glued to your face? What is up with that disparity between how the televoters and juries saw Ukraine? And how much would you bet on my asking inane questions like these at the end of every section of every post I put up in 2015? Let me know below.

 

What’s good enough for Russia is good enough for San Marino…right?

WTF am I talking about, I hear you ask? Sending a couple of ex-JESC contestants to carry the hopes of a nation on their teenaged shoulders, that’s what. While Russia went with a pair of twins who managed to win Junior Eurovision back in the day, San Marino have selected two much less successful teens from different wombs to represent them, neither of whom is Valentina Monetta (obviously she’s not a teen, but it’s so shocking to not have her flying the Sammarinese flag I thought I’d clarify).

croppedAnitaMichele1

Ages combined, they’ll still be younger than most of their competitors in Austria.

Michele Perniola and Anita Simoncini are the sixteen-year-olds in question, as you’ll no doubt know since they were internally selected around the time man discovered fire (as always, I’m on to breaking news with all the speed of a comatose sloth). Both he and she failed somewhat unfairly in JESC in my opinion – Michele finishing 10th out of twelve last year in Kyiv, and Anita and her fellow Peppermints coming second last in Malta. Some might say that doesn’t bode well for the duo, but I disagree. Here’s why:

  • JESC is separate enough from ESC that it shouldn’t affect them negatively, IF they have a good entry that’s grown-up enough for the adult contest. Did the Tolmachevy sisters make the top 10 in Copenhagen because they’d won JESC six years earlier? Nope.
  • We have high-definition proof that both Michele and Anita have stage presence, live vocal abilities and good camera engagement. Plus, they both look super pretty on TV.
  • They’ve experienced the closest thing to a Eurovision rehearsal that isn’t a Eurovision rehearsal by competing in Junior, so they won’t be clueless kids on an adult stage.
  • Age has no bearing on Eurovision success. People went nuts for the Russian grannies, but Engelbert Humperdinck floundered (granted, he didn’t provide everyone with woodfired treats baked on-stage, but the point’s still valid). Meanwhile, Anjeza Shahini, Olta Boka, Safura, Maja Keuc and Roberto Bellarosa have all held their own in adult Eurovision in recent times as teenagers. And there was that nineteen-year-old named Lena who did fairly well for herself in 2010.

I’m not sure why I’m leaping to *insert genius couple name for Anita and Michele here* defence when they haven’t even been subjected to a barrage of hate from the rather opinionated Eurofans…yet. But if you were skeptical when you heard the announcement, why not wait until their entry is debuted and then have a good ol’ bitchfest? Or not. You never know, you might like it. At the very least, it can’t be more immature than The Social Network Song.

 

Ladies’ night: The awesome foursome who’ll host contest no. 60

I use the word ‘awesome’ purely because it rhymes with ‘foursome’, as we won’t know how yay or nay these women are when it comes to hosting duties until the contest comes around. Mirjam Wiechselbraun, Alice Tumler and Arabella Kiesbauer (say that three times fast) are ORF’s choice to head up the proceedings of the 60th contest, with reigning champ and generally exquisite creature Conchita Wurst taking on the role of Green Room host.

ORF_ESC_Mod_small2

This is as close as we’ll ever get to the Spice Girls hosting Eurovision.

Now, I’m all about girl power, but as someone who believes no more than two people should host Eurovision at any given time, I’ve got to label this as excessive. How many people do you need to engage in cheesy scripted banter sporadically over seven hours, really? Sheesh. I am looking forward to seeing Conchita in action though, as I think she’ll make the often awkward interviews with contestants seem effortless – and no doubt she’ll be wearing something amazing when doing so.

 

The first five Vienna-bound entries: first impressions and rankings!

We’ve reached out first milestone in terms of ranking the Class of Vienna, with five entries now decided (more or less). Until we meet again at ten, here’s how I’d stack them up.

  1. Malta – it’s a mess, but a hot one. MESC wasn’t that high-quality this season, and even with the clear amount of work the needs to be done on Warrior, it did stand out, and I can’t help liking it. I hope they don’t swap it for something else. PS – Having a rule that stipulates the winning song can be changed is the stupidest thing ever. Why even hold a national final if that’s the case?
  2. Albania – First listen = forgettable Disney ballad. Second listen = girl crush on Elhaida and sudden appreciation for Diell, which has that Albanian something-something to it that intrigues me. Please don’t switch to English.
  3. Netherlands – It’s good. It’s catchy. But it’s repetitive and I don’t think it’ll sound fresh come May.
  4. Belarus – Not Uzari’s best effort, but I love him and I love Maimuna, so having them both on the ESC stage will be phenom. Assuming no rigging scandals emerge that get them disqualified.
  5. Macedonia – I don’t hate it. It’s going to be a slow-burn grower for me, I reckon.

Feel free to share your Viennese top 5 below. Just keep the swearing to a minimum, won’t you?

 

I’m going to wrap things up now, before you lose the will to live. The thought of the month ahead might pep you up, as there’s more national final action than there might seem at first glance. We’ve got prelims and semis from Lithuania, Cyprus, Hungary and Iceland throughout January, as well as the Georgian final on Valentine’s Day and the Swiss final on the 31st. That’s just the start of the wonderful craziness to come as we barrel down the road towards Eurovision no. 60. I’ll be reviewing and predicting as many NFs as I can, in amongst the top 10s, playlists, country profiles and other random stuff that will make 2015 basically the same as any other year as far as this blog’s concerned. I hope you’ll join me on the ride!

Until next time.

EBJ Signature

 

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 January 3, 2015, in Eurovision 2015, Junior Eurovision and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Just found out about your blog via Terminal Three – great interview, I enjoyed it!

    Look forward to reading more of your musings – I have my own Eurovision blog (http://eurovisionthroughtheages.blogspot.co.uk/), more UK biased but also focussing on general ESC stuff as it comes along!

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    • Merci, merci, merci (cherie?)!! I’m glad to hear you saw through my on-camera hopelessness and enjoyed the interview! T3 do great work, in and out of the editing suite.

      I’m checking out your blog as we speak, and I like what I see 🙂 As long as you’re UK-biased we can live happily in the Eurovision-themed blogiverse without secretly plotting to ruin each other’s reputations and blogging futures, right?

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      • Of course Jaz, there’s more than enough room in the Eurovision world for blogs of every persuasion!

        Just to say that I agree with how you rate the five entries so far, although I’m sure that Albania and Macedonia will be singing in English so they will need another listen. Malta is my favourite, especially if Amber persists in her ‘Matrix’ outfit in Vienna!

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        • Sigh…I always get used to the English versions, but somewhere inside I’m mourning for the original (or non-original, in some cases). I can stand for Macedonia, but I’m worried Albania will lose its beauty and become a stock-standard cheesy ballad if the English version goes to Vienna. Hopefully I’m wrong (it’s been known to happen every now and then!).

          I think Amber’s outfit should get a special pimping for Eurovision!

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  2. Hey there, Jazwell.

    Oh boy, what an EBJ treat that last blog was. Yes, let’s hope we do get to hear some Albanian sung in Vienna. It’s actually my fave of the current five. But am not convinced any of them is a left-hand column prospect, which would be especially sad for the Netherlands.

    And so, anyway, I noticed the new-look EBJ website has arrived, and — no doubt like many of your subscribers — I’ve had to spend several days in intensive care as a result. You do realise you’re almost revealing a shoulder blade in one of those shots? Your recklessness is frankly breathtaking … but I like it.

    Speaking of conduct endangering life, thanks for not skinning me out because of my (very slowly abating) NF-aphobia. Tolerance is bliss!

    I feel I should explain, though (and apologies in advance for making this point slightly circuitously). You would no doubt agree that the ESC is a phenomenon worthy of intense academic research, and that such study should ideally be interdisciplinary. Well, in my view, there has to date been insufficient emphasis on exploring ESC as part of the natural sciences, in particular chemistry, physics and cosmology. It is my firm belief that, given sufficient blackboard and lab work (perhaps including use of the large hadron collider), the ESC will at some point be recognised as a new element in the periodic table. Until that hypothesis has been confirmed, I believe the currently recognised element that is closest to ESC is — oxygen! I won’t go into the full theory here, but suffice it to say that, although it is obviously essential to human life, exposure to it at too high an intensity can actually result in blindness, and even death.

    So you can perhaps understand why an otherwise belts-and-braces ESC-aphile might nevertheless be fearful of the consequences of diving head first into the intense aqua profundo of NF-land. Pathetic as it might seem, I think I might just paddle in the baby pool (i.e. indulge in occasional viewing of highly regarded non-qualifying NF participants) for a bit longer.

    Another promising scientific theory I’m working on — I assume you’re ready for anothery? — is that the ESC represents a parallel universe, in which every individual alive has an ESC doppelganger that appears in a broadcast performance of a semi and/or a final (no NFs — at least in the current theory). The doppelganger need not be the lead performer, and might even be in the orchestra. So, anyway, having now watched your Terminal 3 performance (well done, BTW! – I took your reference to Ott’s package to be a slip of the tongue – relax, we all have our Jacqui-Lambie moments every now and then), and having put the data into the ESCdoppelgangerometer, it appears your ESC doppelganger (at least in terms of hair-down Jaz) is the backing vocalist furthest to the right (from the audience’s perspective) in Portugal’s 1979 performance. (How’s your ‘babadabadabadabadabadah’-ing going?) Check it out, but please don’t take offence: the instrumentation is still in development.

    Well, I think that’s enough (too much?) of my maniacal rantings for today …

    Ciao-ee.

    ;0)

    Ali

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    • Thanks for your monstrous (in the best way) comment and post praise! Both are always welcome 🙂 I’m terribly sorry about the ICU situation…just count yourself lucky I didn’t go with my original plan of showing ankle in my header shots. #scandalous

      I’d agree with you at this point with regards to the chosen five not being overly-successful prospects. I think Albania or Malta will fare the best, but it’s way too early to call it and/or put money on it with barely any other entries chosen and so much that can be reworked between now and May! The Netherlands may struggle to ride their still-fresh wave of success, but “Walk Along” still marks exponential growth in the quality of their entries since the days of De Toppers, for example. I can’t help wishing O’G3NE (i.e. Lisa, Amy and Shelley of JESC fame), winners of The Voice season just gone by where Trijntje judged and performed her entry, were going instead (with their winning single which is pretty darn good IMO). Maybe next year?? HINT HINT.

      Skinning you out? Nah, I’ll leave that up to Mei. Sounds too messy for my liking! And after your justification for your self-imposed NF absence, I understand a lot better. But I reckon death by Melodifestivalen would be a great way to go. Now I’ve seen Sanna Nielsen win it, I’ve seen all I need to see!

      Confession session: when the word ‘package’ comes out of my mouth in reference to Ott Lepland, it’s always on purpose! The moment where I drew attention to the use of that word was cut out of the interview, though I can’t imagine why…

      I LOVE this idea of a doppelganger-driven ESC-iverse. And thank you for giving me the gift of my very own lookalike, as I have wanted one for forever, and I must say, that was so on point I could not stop laughing! My babababababadahs are not quite on par with hers, but I’ll keep practicing. Now I feel compelled to ask who your doppelganger is, unless you haven’t stumbled across them yet. For your sake I hope it’s not Mr. Lordi.

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  3. A new year and a shiny new post, yay, onward to ESC 2015!

    Where to begin? How about letting the music play first with my random thoughts on the entries so far, after a handful of listens.
    (Apologies in advance for meager notes. My brain is literally in a deep freeze suffering through another Ohio winter.)

    Albania: definitely the finest. I see a date with the Finals. Keep this as it is Albania, no switching to English.
    Belarus: second and subsequent listens garnered more appreciation. Time or Accent would have both been acceptable songs to send.
    Netherlands: let’s just keep walking along across that bridge to Vienna. Not off it as I’m tempted to do as the song goes along. I can only tap my toes to it for about 5 seconds, maximum.
    FYRM: disappointed but recovering from one of my perennial favorite countries. It’s improving with more time.
    Malta: please, no. Been there, done that.

    San Marino: I’ll be cautiously optimistic. After checking out the ESC Junior videos for the announced contestants I’ve concluded that Anita sounds promising–as long as Michele doesn’t get in the way. Granted wailing “O-o-o-o” for 2:00 doesn’t give one a great feel for how he would perform with a genuine song. I have to believe his voice has changed to a deeper timbre by now, which could be a game changer.

    Conchita handling duties in the Green Room will alone make up for, and make bearable, any potential drivel by a threesome of hosts. After last year I especially agree that three hosts is one or two too many. Gazing upon Nikolaj was the only saving grace from the Copenhagen stage. Any future country that hosts need only to look at the fine standard Petra set in Malmo (minus a few of those outfits, yes). One woman is all it takes.

    Speaking of which, congrats on the youtube interview debut with Terminal Three! Nice touch with the flags as well.

    Now it’s time for me to pile under the blankets and pin my eyes open (to thwart freezing closed) while awaiting those lovely Scandanavians in Melodifestivalen and Melodi Grand Prix. I will survive this winter on the strength of schlager.
    Auf wiedersehen!

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    • Onward to ESC 2015 indeed! The fact that it’s not THAT far away makes me feel slightly better about the fact that 2014 is somehow over.

      Word is Albania will be switching to English, so I guess we’ll be forced to find the magic in the new version. I really like the song as it is, but if it does well I think it’ll be more down to Elhaida’s ability to sing the shiz out of it than anything else.

      Time and Accent were the best of a very bad bunch in the Belarusian NF! There were literally one or two more that wouldn’t have horrified me if they’d won. Daria’s song was one of the worst things I have ever heard in my life. *shudder* I’m psyched to see Uzari and Maimuna together in Vienna (from my couch, I mean) and I appreciate the uniqueness of the song, but I can’t see it going far at this point. It’s so much classier and so much less tacky than the likes of Solayoh and, I have to admit, my beloved Cheesecake…but it wouldn’t be a surprise if it didn’t do as well as those entries.

      Michele’s JESC song might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but his performance showed his charisma, energy and vocal chops, which I’m sure will carry through to adult Eurovision (at least, I hope). My worry is that the duo will come across as childlike in the adult contest – Anita doesn’t even turn sixteen until April, I think. But if the Tolmachevy sisters can do it, anything’s possible. All they need is a giant see-saw, and a papier-mache sun operated by a hot Portuguese guy, and they’re set!

      You gazed upon Nikolaj in Copenhagen, and I gazed upon the adorable/drunk Pilou, so that works out perfectly (Lise’s the chopped liver). Petra was a great hostess and proved that going solo is a perfectly fine idea, but my all-time favourite hosts were Jaana and Mikko from 2007. Flawless, professional, genuinely amusing, had chemistry, and made their scripted banter sound un-scripted. They are my pinnacle!

      Schlager will see you through the freeze, I’m sure, and myself through the sweaty summer. Stay warm 🙂

      Like

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