Drummer boys, golden boys and Italian stallions: My very Swede Eurovision final experience (Part 1)

Let’s begin by stating the obvious: it’s taken me an eternity to put this post-final post together. It’s a good thing I’m not a news service, or being paid to run this blog – because if that was the case, I’d be failing epically at the former and be über undeserving of the latter (but if anyone wants to pay me for running this blog, I promise I’ll lift my game and work hard for the money).

My lame excuse for the lateness is the fact that all I’ve been capable of since Saturday night/Sunday morning *considers moving to Europe to eliminate the need of saying stuff like that anymore* is basking in the glow brought on by my favourite song winning Eurovision for the very first time. My beloved Sweden, and Måns, and his leather pants (like I could bypass any opportunity to mention those) won the 60th contest on the weekend, fairly and squarely and in accordance with all EBU rules and regulations – a concept some people are struggling with.

After a voting sequence that was pointing us in an easterly direction for about half the time, Sweden began to close the gap, eventually taking the lead, then building up a decent point buffer from there. It wasn’t a battle for victory on par with the likes of 2003 in terms of how profusely my palms (and some other places we won’t discuss) were sweating, but it was the most exciting round of results we’ve seen in a while. For once, that algorithm designed to disguise the winner for as long as possible excelled itself.

This year’s contest featured a lot of firsts for me and many of my fellow Australian fans. Watching live, voting, and cheering on our own country became part of the package, and I did all of this on Saturday night/Sunday morning (seriously, AAGH!) at an epic live screening party in Perth. Held at The Backlot private cinema, the soiree was organised by some esteemed and very awesome members of the Aussie Eurovision community – Kate Hansen, Renee Pozzi and Kingsley Dawes. With a 2014 Euroclub evening AND this screening under our rhinestone-encrusted belts, we Perth peeps are well on our way to making our city the Eurovision capital of Australia…or at least one of them. I send Il Volo-endorsed grande amore to Kate, Renee and Kingsley, for the effort and attention to detail put into the party planning and execution. Douze points for everyone!


A little more re: the party, for those of you who want to know just how EBJ spent her Eurovisionmas…draped in flags, nearly fifty of us fans (among them several interstate visitors, including Sharleen from ESC Insight) drank from light-up glasses, weighed up the pros and cons of Marta Jandová tossing her shoes aside during the second semi final, and went bonkers when Guy Sebastian took to the Wiener Stadthalle stage. This was the closest I’ve ever been to sharing the Eurovision experience with a crowd of fans, and it was made even more memorable by the fact that we were Australians cheering on Australia in our first – but potentially not our last – appearance in the contest. I mean, we sang along to Tonight Again like we were competing in the Group Karaoke World Championships or something (which we totally would have won, by the way). And afterwards, I really did want to ‘do’ the night again. But I couldn’t. Thanks for the false hope, Guy.


Anyway, in addition to the drinking, singing, dancing and voting, there was a Best Dressed competition – I’m dubbing it ‘The Anti-Barbara Dex Award’ – judged by a well-known radio personality, and won by Daryl Dickson, a.k.a. ConchiDaz. To top it all off, we gave out some points of our own, with the douze going to Italy even though we were allowed to vote for Australia (don’t let anyone tell you we’re biased). It seems the boys from Il Volo really did have sway over the SMSing public.

All in all, I had a blast, and I’m not sure I can bear to sit at home by myself, on my couch, watching a delayed broadcast of the final, ever again. And on that note, allow me to make public my intentions for May 2016. It probably won’t shock you to learn that I want to be on the ground in Stockholm/Göteborg. Not only that, but I want to be in the Press Centre, with laminated accreditation hanging around my neck. After ten years of being a Eurovision obsessive, I want the live experience with all the trimmings. As Jade Ewen might say if she was as excited as I am right now, it’s beyond my time.

I promised myself that if Sweden won in Vienna, I would do everything possible to make my Eurovision dream a reality (killing two birds with one stone, as Sweden is at the top of my travel list) and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Nothing’s for certain, unfortunately, but if I don’t make it in 2016, I want to be able to say I tried my best. I have a year to go for it, and as fast as that year will go by, I will make the most of it – planning, saving, and generally annoying the crap out of my friends who have attended the contest by constantly asking them inane questions. Brace yourselves, guys.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business. Every other Eurovision site in existence may have already reviewed the grand final, but in the spirit of being better late than never, I’m doing it today. Since there’s a massive amount to talk about, I’m going to stick with the performances only at this point – the meat in the ESC sandwich. You’re cordially invited to accompany me on my tour through the bum-numbingly long, but brilliant evening.



The conclusion to Eurovision 2015 turned out to be a great one – not half as weak as I’d thought it would be earlier in the season. In spite of some (i.e. a LOT of) shaky camera work, and a string of second-half ballads that put our abilities to stay conscious to the test, I enjoyed every minute of it. I would say ‘every three minutes of it’ as I’m about to review all 27 performances…but that’s not technically true.

Let’s begin on a positive note (#musicalpun).


The good

Any country that manages to have a hundred people backing their singer without breaching the six-person rule deserves a high five – so high five, France! N’oubliez Pas is a slow burner of a song, but the many (many, many) drummer boys, 3D and 2D, who joined Lisa in the last thirty seconds, made the crescendo worth the wait. It put me in mind of a better-executed attempt of Ukraine 2012.

Israel’s Nadav told us to come here and enjoy (although he didn’t make good on his promise to show us Tel Aviv) and I was more than happy to allow myself to be bossed around by a teenager on this occasion. Tonight Again aside, Golden Boy is the song I’d most like to have seen performed live, just to experience the energy and atmosphere it stirred up in the Stadthalle.


I hate to break it to Nadav, but his backing dancers might have more claim to the throne of fun than he does. (Thomas Hanses, EBU)

I can’t deny (see what I did there?) that Armenia turned a shambolic studio song into a successful live one. The theatricality of Face The Shadow means it was bound to be better in this environment. Awesome outfits, great graphics and a possible lawsuit from Cadbury due to the use of so much purple later, I’m verging on being pro-Genealogy.

Ah, Sweden. If any country knows how to do Eurovision and make it look effortless, it’s Sverige. The subtle and not-so-subtle changes made since Måns won Melodifestivalen took something perfect, and somehow turned it into something even more so. I am glad no changes were made in the leather pants department. Måns should bring out his own line of those things.

Australia’s debut was a mighty good one. I am so gosh darn proud of Guy, who spent his ground-time in Vienna charming the press and fans – and then, when it came to his big moment, charming us all over again. His performance of Tonight Again couldn’t have gone down better, and he even pulled off beige trousers (not literally. Eurovision is a family show, and I don’t think anyone would be considering Australia as a permanent participant if that had happened).

Belgium’s performance was undoubtedly the coolest thing I have ever seen on an ESC stage. I already raved about it in my semi 1 review, but I’m still in awe of the minimalist monochromatic visuals, and the cutting-edge choreography, and the fact that I’m talking about Belgium in such a positive light right now. ‘Once agaaaaain Motherrrr’ BELGIUM.


Loïc, wondering if his forward-combed hairdo was the most stylish selection for Eurovision. (Thomas Hanses, EBU)

Montenegro put on a show that was the love child (or should I say ‘ljubav’ child?) of Molitva and every stage show that has ever been associated with the name ‘Željko Joksimović’. And it was totally on point as a result. Unfortunately we’ll never know how Knez felt about it, as his face is incapable of displaying anything other than slight surprise.

Let’s forget what happened later on in the evening for Germany and just focus on…you know what? I can’t. Nul points? For THIS? We’ll discuss exactly how that happened later, but Ann Sophie was incredible on that stage, in that jumpsuit (where she found one that actually flattered her behind, I don’t know). She took saucy and sultry to a new level, and her vocals didn’t have the slightly irritating nasally sound they had during Germany’s drama-filled NF.

Latvia’s Aminata is such a revelation. She may be teeny tiny, but her voice is huge, and note-perfect every time. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and the reason she didn’t get to represent Latvia last year was so she could come back this year and take them to a place they hadn’t been in years: the final. In return, she required at least four people to take her to the toilet, because there’s no way that dress was pee-friendly.

Tugging on our heartstrings for Romania, Voltaj looked good, sounded good, and got their message across in a non-sickening manner. Even the post-performance cut to the kid from the music video melted my heart and brought a tear to my eye…okay, maybe not. But it didn’t make me roll my eyes, which makes it a success by my standards.


Why have giant hamster wheels or Trojan horses when you can have suitcases and shipping containers? (Thomas Hanses, EBU)

Polina Gagarina had a song at her disposal that Eurovision winners are made of, and put on a show worthy of a winner too. A few more Olympic ice skaters by her side, and Russia may have gone all the way.

I know I didn’t warn you that this post may contain sexual references, but here’s one: Italy was orgasmic. Stunning in every possible respect, and spine-tingling from start to finish. I actually died a little bit when Gianluca winked at the camera, and I refuse to be ashamed of that.


The not-so-good

There was something missing in Slovenia’s performance (and unfortunately, it wasn’t the headphones). Here For You in studio is brilliant, but radio-ready songs can be challenging when one must figure out how to plonk them on a stage in an aesthetically-pleasing way. The camera work wasn’t up to scratch, but as I mentioned before, that wasn’t exclusive to the Slovenian performance.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love A Monster Like Me, and for those keeping tabs, yes, I still have a lady crush on Debrah and her majestic mane of tangle-free wonderment. But I found the lighting and the costuming Norway opted for so incredibly unsuitable for such a dark and moody song. It was distracting, and that’s definitely not good. I hate to bring The Dress into the Eurovision bubble, but what was white and gold should really have been black and blue.


The WTF?!

Did the United Kingdom look at a bunch of old Eurovision clips and think to themselves ‘anything you can do, we can do better!’ and then throw everything they’d seen into the same performance? That’s the impression Electro Velvet gave me. Safura’s light-up dress from 2010 was a clear influence, as were Cristina Scarlat’s ratty hair extensions from 2014 (Bianca’s brunette version being used to disguise the hefty battery pack responsible for lighting up her dress). The duo’s vocals were very good, and the staging could have been a lot worse – but it still had ‘WTF?!’ written all over it.

Since Spain’s rehearsals had caused the watching press to laugh rather than applaud, I expected to do the same when Edurne made her televised Eurovision appearance. But the stage show torn out of the ESC 2006 playbook, feat. a costume reveal, OTT arm movements and some very dramatic dance moves (I did feel a bit like I was watching an episode of Dancing With The Stars) actually worked for me. Even I wouldn’t call it sedate, however.


Spain’s performance was a hair-raiser…at least for Edurne. (Thomas Hanses, EBU)

Here’s a fun fact about Georgia’s Nina Sublatti: she’s not asthmatic. How do we know this? Because she was engulfed in an overload of dry ice during the final, and when it dissipated, she wasn’t on the floor in a wheezing heap of feathers and thigh-high boots. The person in charge of dispensing said dry ice at this time is probably out of a job by now (or at least left the arena with a Sublatti boot-mark on his forehead).


If I might interrupt myself (I just checked with me and I say it’s okay)…I do realise I’m rambling here, so try to keep the rest of my performance reviews brief. Expect more in-depth dishing on the good ones listed above when I rank my top 10 performances of the year in a near-future post.


The rest

There was nothing wrong with Estonia’s performance, apart from how mildly infuriated I was by Elina wearing pink lipstick instead of red (which would have complemented the smoky retro-glamour feel of Goodbye To Yesterday so much more). ESCrush update: I am still strangely attracted to Stig. He can jingle his keys at my door any time.

Speaking of lips…Lithuania suffered a mishap when Vaidas and Monika got a little too into their ‘one kiss’ (which was technically their 498th kiss, if I’ve done the math correctly) and missed the next line of This Time. Oops. This performance was too cheesy for my taste in the second semi, and it continued to be so in the final.


‘If we squeeze our eyes shut hard enough, maybe all of our competition will be gone when we open them!’ (Thomas Hanses, EBU)

I’m still not 100% sold on Beauty Never Lies lyrically-speaking, but the reaction Serbia received before, during, and after Bojana’s performance was something to behold. I would have killed to have been in the crowd for the up-tempo section of the song (although it probably would have been me who was killed or maimed in that seething mass of hysterical, hip-shaking fans).

ORF placed Cyprus between Sweden and Australia, which was good for us in terms of musical variety, but not so good for John in terms of being remembered. I hate to say it, but I think the  Aussies erased him from most people’s memories.

The Makemakes represented Austria on home soil with pride, a flaming piano and a member of Occupational Health and Safety personnel waiting in the wings with a fire extinguisher. There was nothing to criticise here, but there was nothing that would compel people to pick up their phones and vote for the host country either. Hence, I figure, why they placed last with the televoters.

Greece’s Maria Elena pulled off the best Céline Dion impression of the year whilst dressed as Delta Goodrem at the Logie Awards (Aussie reference alert!). That’s pretty much all that happened. There were no bouzoukis, no trampolines and no shouts of ‘OPA!’. Is it wrong of me to miss stereotypical Greece?


Maria reaches out for the Hollywood Tape after one last breath resulted in some, ahem, shifting. (Thomas Hanses, EBU)

Poland won on the prettiest staging front – their blossoming background was blooming beautiful. I did find myself focusing more closely on that than on anything else though. It’s almost like the floral graphics are to Poland 2015 what the butter-churning, laundry-doing ladies were to Poland 2014.

Hungary’s wars to succeed in the contest pretty much did amount to nothing. I was actually quite transfixed by Boggie’s performance, and I do think Hungary staged Wars For Nothing as well as they possibly could have. But positioned in the viewer fatigue zone in slot 22 of 27, they were bound to struggle with such a sleepy song.

Azerbaijan appear to have lost their Eurovision touch to an extent. How they managed to make a man-filled glass box which eventually filled with rose petals as a woman with the world’s longest dress train belted towards it NOT be a distraction from their entry, then two years on pare things right back with two interpretive dancers who WERE a distraction, beats me. Should we be impressed by that?

A change of outfit and a less out-of-control vocal from Elhaida Dani meant Albania crept up a bit in my estimations…but just a bit. I wasn’t blown away. I do feel like the originally-selected Diell would have blown me away, but it was nice to have Albania in the final again even if all I felt was a slight breeze.



I suspect that this post may have gone on longer than the actual final at this point (now the most drawn-out in Eurovision history) so I’m going to bring it to an abrupt end right now. ‘Right now’ of course meaning ‘in a few minutes after I’ve gotten around to it.’

There was obviously a lot more to Eurovision 2015 than just the performances – take flying Conchita, for example. But I’ll leave my thoughts on that marvelous moment, plus the rather exciting voting sequence and the intricacies of the scoreboard, for next time.

If you can’t wait, I have to wonder why you haven’t read all of the results analyses published by numerous other ESC websites promptly after the final. You guys know my motto is ‘never do today what can be worked on over the next three or four days and then finally completed when it’s to your liking but when your readers are starting to think you might have died.’ Fear not – á la Elhaida, I’m alive (ay-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi). And I’m already halfway through the belated scoreboard scrutinisation, so it will be up prior to Eurovision 2020, I promise.

Before it does go live, be sure to let me know what you thought of the Viennese final. Of the 27 acts that made it to Saturday, which ones impressed you and which ones did you use as a toilet break (a much-needed break if you were involved in a drinking game during Spain’s performance)? And, how did you watch the final? From the comfort of your couch, at a party, or in the arena until you were poked in the eye by a flagpole and were carted screaming off to First Aid? I want all the details. Think of me as someone who’d read your diary if you left it unattended. But nicer.




5 Responses to “Drummer boys, golden boys and Italian stallions: My very Swede Eurovision final experience (Part 1)”

  1. wschmidt1206

    It looks like you’ve had a great time at your private cinema party in Perth! 😉

    I’d wish I could say that for the public viewing in Düsseldorf, too. Unfortunately I can’t!

    I’m STILL in a state of (post-Eurovision) SHOCK!
    And that is not because of Ann Sophie came out last in the final. After our NF drama it was totally clear that we would end up in the last third on the scoreboard this year.
    And although I didn’t have much love for “Black Smoke”, I really feel ashamed for Ann Sophie, because she did the best she could on Grand Final night. I think her vocals were good, but in her performance the “Rampensau” she normally gives on stage was missing (maybe because she still felt sick!). And I think her song was not of that kind that the random Eurovision viewer would listen to or vote for.
    It is a shame that Ann Sophie will be now mentioned in Germany the same way with acts like Gracia (last place, 2005) or the “No Angels” (joint last place in 2008). She did not deserve the last place with those nul points, IMO! I like the post-Eurovision-video she posted where she did a special version of “Heroes” with her backing singers, singing “We are the zeroes of our time”; that’s pretty cool and she shows with it that she can take her result with a smile. 😉

    I feel even double ashamed for Austria and the joint last place with nul points for the host country! For the very first time in Eurovision history a host country received nul points and ended up last place, that was a shock to me! I don’t have any explanation or understanding
    for that result, as I thought Austria had chosen the best song and artists in their NF this year.
    And the “Makemakes” had a good performance in the final, vocally and stage-wise, and they were one of the best acts Austria has sent to Eurovision in recent years, I believe!
    I have no idea how that could happen??? 😦

    But the big drama in Düsseldorf started with the announcement of the votings. When Russia took over the lead on the scoreboard, the first bottles flew on the screen with people booing along! But when Babs Schöneberger announced our German votes with Germany giving 12 POINTS to RUSSIA, the crowd was truly shocked! Period AND silence: I mean 12 POINTS FOR RUSSIA, any country but Russia!!! Are we nuts?! That never happened before in Eurovision history!
    The best score Russia got from Germany were 8 points for “t.A.T.u” in 2003; even their winning song by Dima Bilan from 2008 only scored 7 points from us. I mean, I can understand 12 points for Russia comming from Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia or Latvia, but not from Germany. And we were the only western European country that gave Russia those douze!? How embarrassing and unbelievable!

    That was a real party-killer, I can tell! People started crying about that, it was absolutely annoying and frustrating. And it was the moment when people started to go home while the voting results were still going! Helloooo, I cannot remember a Eurovision that came to an end before it officially ended!

    A closer look at the detailed German votings tells us that those douze points for Russia were only possible because of Eurovision arithmetics: the favorite of all German jury members was Latvia, which only got on 12th place in the televoting, and the German televoters had “Grande amore” for Italy that won the televoting, while the German jury only scored it 18th!!! So Russia was the ‘lucky third’ with getting 2nd in televoting and 4th place by the jury.
    I think we have to blame the Eurovision voting system for this result, don’t we!

    Finally I felt very glad and relieved that Mans took the trophy in the end, and also won a Marcel Besancon award for “Heroes”. A well deserved winner!

    And I would look forward to see him (and Sanna) again as the host(s) of next year’s Eurovision in Stockholm. I am absolutely sure they will make a better show, all in all, than Austria did this year.

    Austria 2015 will stay in my memories as the show(s) of ‘triple-f’s’ – flops, failures and fumbles.

    PS. Apart from all that the weather ín Germany was horrible, too – cold, rainy and stormy with temperatures under 10 degrees; but Roman Lob was lovely on stage – a little light in all that “Black smoke”! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jaz

      Firstly, I am very sorry about your nul points. It was totally, 110% undeserved in my opinion (and in the opinion of both the televoters and the juries). I LOVED Ann Sophie’s performance! Perhaps she was a bit restrained in comparison to her NF performance, but she looked and sounded great. The staging was bang-on in my opinion. But *sigh* some things just aren’t meant to be, I suppose. Ann Sophie really does have a positive attitude towards the situation, though. She and The Makemakes should release ‘Zeroes’ as a single 😉

      This case of double-nul has to be down to more interest in other songs than specific non-interest in ‘Black Smoke’ and ‘I Am Yours’. The massive share of points taken up by the top-rankings countries proves there were a handful of very popular songs this year. I mean, Serbia in 10th place only scraped 53, so there wasn’t that much to go around among the 11th-27th-placed countries.

      Your party in Düsseldorf didn’t end so well, then! That’s a shame. Shame about the weather too. Russia certainly benefited from the drastic differences between Germany’s televoting and jury voting. But that happened in a lot of instances – Sweden benefited from Italy being placed 6th with the juries overall, with their placement in the top three of the televoters and in the top spot with the juries.

      Sadly, Stockholm/Göteborg 2016 probably will outdo Vienna 2015. It’s a shame the 60th show was marred by technical and host-related issues. I still think it was a great show though, with a very strong final line-up and a beautiful stage.

      Let’s cross our fingers for a Sanna/Måns (Såns?) pairing next May. That would make my life – especially if I’m there to see it in the flesh!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. AmyBBuzz

    Wowsers, considering the good fortune to have your favorite country win and the gentlemen from Italy coming in strong at third, I’m surprised you were able to piece yourself back together in a matter of days!

    I watched SF1 two days in a row, same with SF2, and likewise with the GF. And on the seventh day I rested. I’ve been trying to cobble my thoughts together all week so here goes:

    Golden Boy is a dance song that I’d rather see performed (hello trio of guy dancers, hello) than listen to very often at this point. I can listen to “Rise Up” from Greece last year virtually non-stop, but the Golden Boy lyrics are becoming too much if I listen to it more than a few times lately. Also, no, Nadav, I don’t like your dancing in particular, but those friends of yours can show me Tel Aviv anytime. Any.Time. The golden footwear, why didn’t it make him fly at least with those wings? They came off looking like garish novelty slippers instead.

    Montenegro and Armenia didn’t make me go “meh”. As long as Montenegro included the same sweeping landscapes in the background it was a safe bet with me, until they staged it perfectly for a Balkan ballad. Armenia was about Inga all along and that was enough to carry me through the other dozen singers. Maybe that was her influence with all the purple too? It was predominate in Jan Jan.

    Sweden wasn’t my jar of lingonberries this year, however I’d be happy if Måns continues the trend of bringing a song to ESC 2016 that I like better than the previous years winner (ala “Rainmaker” by Emelie and “Unstoppable” by Conchita). It’s a given that Sweden will find the host(s) or hostess(es) with the mostest. No LLT in 2016!

    Well Guy did charm the pants off everyone else in Vienna! The interviews I saw left me impressed and Tonight Again was definitely one of the best songs this year. Margaret Berger even had it as #2 with her jury vote (Sweden #1 and Latvia rounded out the top 3, fyi).

    Aside from Loïc’s debonair suit, my reaction to Belgium’s performance was “Oh, that’s not going to go favorably with voters”. Turns out, what do I know? He also had a beautiful answer for Conchita during the SF when she asked him about the song. I couldn’t be happier that he finished fourth. Let’s rap-pap-bap!

    Ann Sophie has to have the best nul pointer in the history of Eurovision. Big time *scowly face* from me when I saw the (lack of) result. Her vocals were better, the staging was clever, and DAAAAAMN if she wasn’t one of the sexiest women on stage. My theory is the “0” was actually the expression on peoples faces for the jaw-dropping hawtness of the outfit. Back to the music..the clips of the Big 5 during the semi finals showed a different performance of Black Smoke (not the NF one) where she didn’t have as much nasal drag. I couldn’t tell if her cold had any affect during the grand final.

    Latvia: a spell-binding event. It was terribly cruel that I lost the stream during both performances, what gives ESC? I missed the beginning in SF2 and the majority of it in the GF. Aminata was my dark horse pick going into the final. I think she toned down the gestures from the NF because there was one in particular I liked where one arm was above her head, the other parallel to the ground and she makes a nearly 180 degree turn to the front of the stage. I’m still geeked that quirky songs from Belgium and Latvia finished strong.

    Polina sung her guts out. “WOW” was my one word text to a friend as soon as her tears of disbelief at what she had just done started falling. Hands down one of the best performances of the contest. Sweden didn’t need to keep this song to win, but there wouldn’t have been hand-wringing in the arena either if they had retained this (growing on me rapidly) ditty for a gut-busting belter of their own.

    I winced upon learning Slovenia would go first in the final. It was like the Kiss Kiss Bang of death (sorry/not sorry for that). Compared to their quaint NF studio, the cavernous stage of Eurovision, and Marjetka becoming as rooted as a tree herself, didn’t help accentuate the song. Raay is my strangest attraction at ESC this year, but don’t worry Marjetka it would just be for a cup of coffee!

    Norway: Debrah sounded better in the GF compared to SF2. She seemed to have the wobbles at the beginning of her verses both times that extended to her voice. And did she know there was a piece of aluminum foil stuck to her head? Mørland was pitch perfect. I have an overwhelming preference for the style of the video, but despite the white at least they kept the stage clutter free and the focus on them.

    A number of the postcards led me to believe organizers were trying to put the contestants in peril whether it was bungee jumping, skydiving, flame juggling, or a visit to an apiary. When Mørland and Debrah boarded the boat on the tranquil lake it was reminiscent of the scene with Clyde and Roberta in Theodore Dreiser’s novel “An American Tragedy” *literary reference*. Fortunately it didn’t end the same way for Debrah and we didn’t have Mørland solo on stage singing about something awful he did in his adulthood.

    The UK suffered without the glam and contingent of flapper dancers. Alex’s scat was surprisingly listen-able. They shouldn’t have rushed down the stairs so quickly. It was a cute element of the video and would have delayed the flaws on stage.

    Whoa there Edurne, save some of the drama for the Cz Rep! It as entertaining as a melodramatic performance could be without stepping out of bounds. Okay, that glittery tear might have been a wail too far. It’s one of the weaker, most repetitive LLB for me. That certainly was a lesson in how to perform with a handless mic, wasn’t it San Marino?.
    Was Georgia’s entry titled “Black Smoke”? I’m was so confused and relieved that my tv didn’t blow up. Nina’s doppelgänger could be Lynda Carter (of Wonder Woman fame) with an outfit switch and lighter make-up.

    Estonia: classy and stylish. Not than I expected anything less. I give them the edge as the most intriguing couple. Elina (tearing up?) was spot on and Stig, with his muted observation and fish eyes of Elina entering, that was cold man. Why does that appeal to me? I think I get your odd attraction, Jaz..

    Austria: A fire in the piano but alas no fire in the belly for this song. Long hair and a beard is so 2014.

    Greece: I only listened to it all these times before ESC then, watching it live, WHAM the Celine comparison hit me in the face. Trying to ignore the mimicry, I wish I liked this more in the beginning because the crescendo is one I particularly enjoy.

    Azerbaijan failed to pull off a cunning performance. No tug effect for me at all. If I had been Elnur I would have been doing the universal “Get Down! Get Away” hand gestures as the wolves danced near. Incredibly annoying and unnecessary choreography.

    Albania: the ESC stream cut out (one of five times during the final) at the beginning so I was shocked to see that they styled one half of Elhaida’s head and not the other once programming resumed. Wardrobe advice: never give up an outfit with a cape. Especially when it enables you to move freely about, you know like you’re Alive. The SF performance had the ommph to get to the final and unfortunately for Elhaida’s lovely voice, not much farther.

    Toilet break/mute button entries: Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, and Hungary

    A couple of random thoughts from SF2 that I’m going to plug in.

    Ireland: Yes, it’s one of my favorites this year and yes I thought the performance was a worthy, gently produced affair. It still hurt so much when it wasn’t included that I didn’t re-watch SF2 the same evening as I had planned to do. It was like losing your appetite after getting bad news.

    San Marino: as if our young duo wasn’t battling enough odds with a hopeless song, they were sent on stage without a microphone to hold. Anything else you could do to make this more awkward? How about using those LED’s to display a looming montage of Valentina in the background? Wait, wait, she gave us one while reading the voting results instead (and thus confirming that only three people still inhibit SM). When Mirjam said something about seeing Valentina in ESC next year I thought, “shut yo’ mouth!!”

    The viewing party of my dog, a couple packs of Viennese wafers, a book about flags of the world, and myself wouldn’t have been too terribly exciting to espy through the window. I changed my position on the couch periodically to prevent bed sores. *success*

    Gothenberg would be my choice to host next year. Although I do worry about the potential for it to handle the mass of Eurovision fans and contestants compared to a larger city like Stockholm. It was charming when I visited waaaay back in 2004 and I could advise you on which hostel to avoid. A few of my mates had unwelcome guests in the form of bed bugs. Talk about an unstoppable force!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jaz

      I agree with you on Israel, mainly regarding Golden Boy’s merit as a listening song versus a watching song. Me busting a move in the privacy of…well, any room of the house that’s unoccupied at the time, is no match for watching Nadav and his man dancers (there must be something in the water in Israel…back in ’08, Boaz had, like, five extremely hot men singing backup for him. I’m starting to think the hotness factor is responsible for most Israeli qualifications) up the energy of the already energetic song, and get the crowd going. I didn’t mind the shoes, though. A golden boy needs Herreys-esque golden shoes for sure.

      Ah, a fellow Rise Up fan! *fist bump*

      Good point about Armenia’s purple fixation and Inga. Perhaps that was her tribute to Anush being sidelined in her favour. ‘You won’t be there with all 250 of us, but you’ll be there in spirit…or in hue.’ Great costumes, in any case.

      Yep, that lack of LLT in 2016 is something to look forward to. My dream duo is of course Måns himself, and the heavenly Sanna. It’s a natural progression for the latter, since she competed in Copenhagen, then co-hosted Melodifestivalen, then co-commentated for Sweden in Vienna. Come on, SVT…do the logical deed.

      Why am I not surprised that Margaret Berger rated Latvia so highly?

      I’m pretty sure we had an ad break every time Conchita was chatting in the Green Room, because I didn’t see any of her in any of the three shows. May have to rectify that ASAP by re-watching online. I’m betting she was as flawless as ever. Lady can do no wrong.

      My mouth was definitely in zero form when I saw Ann Sophie’s outfit! A lot of people say that because she had her back (and behind) to the camera/audience for the entire first verse, she didn’t connect with the viewers, and that could have got things off on the wrong foot, blah blah blah…I mean, maybe there’s something in that, but I thought the way Germany staged and choreographed Black Smoke was awesome. I was really impressed. I love the whacking great lights. It was a bit like a cheerier version of Lena 2011, and absolutely didn’t deserve nul points. I think the combined system needs such a rework when a country can end up with such a dire result when they weren’t ranked last by the televoters OR juries.

      Belgium and Latvia placing so well makes me super happy too. Even happier than Australia coming 5th, to be honest. It’s not like we’ve had the opportunity to have the bad luck that Belgium and Latvia, in particular, have had of late. I’m sure that will come eventually if Björkman invites us back, and then we’re in it for good. The novelty will wear off, we’ll start sending crap…I can see it all crumbling now!

      So I’m thinking we should come up with a portmanteau duet name for you and Raay, just in case the coffee turns into something more and Marjetka has to swiftly remove herself from the picture (if she can, in fact, walk, which neither the NF or ESC performance gave any indication of). Maybe Maraaya will become Amraay. Or Raaymy. Thoughts?

      Of all the artists one could bombard with smoke, ORF’s now-jobless (I assume) machine operator chose Nina Sublatti, who I’m sure had a dagger secreted in one or both of her thigh-high boots just in case. Never mind jobless, actually – the man/woman is probably in a body cast in hospital right now. Nina, I imagine, shows no mercy.

      Romania for toilet break/muting? How dare you!! Just kidding, I get it. But I am consistently spellbound by that song in whatever form. Suitcases or no suitcases.

      The awkwardness levels of San Marino were off the charts, which I think most of us anticipated. What I didn’t expect personally was Anita and Michele NOT coming last. I think that deserves a round of applause.

      Your viewing party sounds pretty darn good to me! You had the canine companion and the appropriate snacks – what more do you need? That’s how my semi final viewings went, more or less. It’s hard to party at 3am when everyone else in your household is in bed.

      I’m very keen to visit Stockholm, so I’m kind of hoping that’s where 2016 will take place. But Göteborg would do quite nicely, if not as mahusively. I’m not going to assume anything after the ‘Of COURSE we’re going to Stockholm!’ debacle of 2013. Sorry I doubted you, Malmö.

      PS – Cheers for the bed bug tip. That’s something to avoid if you want an itch-free experience.



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