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Spotlight on…Ukraine

If you’re not wearing a watch at the moment, I’m more than happy to tell you what time it is. It’s COUNTRY PROFILE O’CLOCK, PEOPLE! A.k.a. time I gave another country its own post, because I’m generous like that. Plus, we’re in the off season so there’s not a whole lot to talk about.

Unfortunately, I’ve already profiled all the countries that would’ve been relevant to do at this stage (Sweden, the hosts past; Denmark, the hosts-to-be…) which you can find here. But wait! There is a little thing called Junior Eurovision on its way, or so we hope, and for the second time it’s heading to Kyiv. So on that basis (an explanation that was really unnecessary when I could have just got on with things, but you know me) I’m shining my spotlight on Ukraine right here, right now. This is an overview of their relatively short, but very sweet time spent showing a lot of other European countries how the ESC is done.





Debut 2003 – 14th with Hasta La Vista by Olexander

Entries 11

Wins 1 – 2004

Silver medals 2 – 2007, 2008

Bronze medals 1 – 2013

Best result 1st – 2004

Top 10 finishes 7/11

Top 10 success rate 63.6%

Top 5 finishes 5/11

Top 5 success rate 45%

Wooden spoons (last places!) 0

Semi final qualifications 8/8

Qualification success rate 100%



My favourite entry

Wild Dances by Ruslana (2004). If this isn’t a dead-set modern Eurovision classic, then I’m not someone who can’t stop blogging about continental song contests. I doubt that sentence made any sense, so let me rephrase it: Wild Dances rocks everybody’s socks. I’ve never encountered anyone who doesn’t at least like it, and only one or two silly folks who don’t think it should have won in Istanbul. In my opinion, Ruslana embodied Ukraine at their very best, with infectious up-tempo ethno-pop and a (whip) cracking stage show.

Not to mention that she didn’t give an oversized horn about her hair getting messed up.

Not to mention that she didn’t give an oversized horn about her hair getting messed up.

My least favourite entry

Hasta La Vista by Olexander (2003). You’re allowed to be rubbish on your first try, so I won’t be too cruel here. Not that this entry was that bad. Not, like, Switzerland ’04-level bad. But it didn’t give us any hints of the awesomeness that was to come, that’s for sure. I think what I disliked most was Olexander/Oleksandr/???’s voice, which was kind of…unusual, to say the least.

More of the memorable

Dancing Lasha Tumbai by Verka Seduchka (2007) – I bet you’ve got this in your head right now. I also bet you have no questions about why I feel it was memorable.

Shady Lady by Ani Lorak (2008) – One of Eurovision’s most polished performances led to a second consecutive silver medal for the hosts of 2005.

Be My Valentine (Anti-Crisis Girl) by Svetlana Loboda (2009) – Hell machines, Roman soldiers, mobile drum kits and glittery thigh-high boots…yeah, you could say Ukraine went a little OTT in Moscow.

Sweet People by Alyosha (2010) – Then, we had a very pared-back version of Ukraine, which actually served them better. All you need is a costume knitted by your drunk grandmother and a girl who can sing the leg off a chair to succeed.

Angel by Mika Newton (2011) – I love this song, but I’m under no illusions as to why it did so well. Three words: the sand lady.

Their best stage show

Show Me Your Love by Tina Karol (2006)/Shady Lady. This country wrote the book on how to stage an ESC entry (I believe it’s called Whip-Cracks and Jump Ropes and Hell Machines, Oh My!) and here are my two top examples of perfection. Tina had her schweet backing troupe on hand to make her look good with their costume alterations, tambourines and dance moves, and she intermingled with them very well. Ani, on the other hand, had a backing troupe consisting entirely of masculine eye candy and some fun light boxes to play with. And pose in front of. And climb on top of. They’re so versatile. Can you buy them on eBay?

Backing dancer #4 gives a thumbs up to a great performance.

Backing dancer #4 gives a thumbs up to a great performance.

Their best costume/s

Alyosha. As I said earlier, her outfit did look a bit ‘thrown together by grandma after she had a few too many brandies and got hold of some red wool, nude Lycra and a hot-glue gun’. But against all odds, it really worked for the song and the simplicity of the staging. An extra-special touch? The hood Alyosha wore in the beginning and then shed at just the right moment.

Someone had better tell her that a ball of yarn is trying to devour her.

Someone had better tell her that a ball of yarn is trying to devour her.

Their best vocalist/s

Zlata Ognevich. She does alright. OMG JUST KIDDING SHE IS AMAZING PLEASE FORGIVE MEEEE!!!!! I will say that because she can belt out whatever she’s given so effortlessly, she can come across as going through the motions sometimes. But that doesn’t change the fact that her voice is incredible – powerful when it needs to be, but capable of basically anything.


To sum up, the Ukraine is one strong competitor. What with a win and multiple other successes (such as that 100% qualification record) under their Swarovski-encrusted belt, they’ve done brilliantly for a country that hasn’t been a part of Eurovision as long as it may seem. I don’t always love what they send, but 2003 excluded, I never dislike them, and I get a kick out of knowing they can be relied upon to stage a song in the best way possible. Even when they hire giants to carry their artists into the arena in a cringe-worthy move, it ultimately works. Be afraid, Europe, be very afraid. Ukraine can, do and will do things you can only dream of.


What have been your highs and lows of Ukraine’s years in Eurovision? And which country would you like to see profiled next?


Song Battles, Round #2: Then VS Now

Good evening/afternoon/morning, Europe/rest of the world, and welcome to a competition between Eurovision entries that is not Eurovision itself (as much as I’d love to sell tickets and slogan t-shirts on behalf of this post). A few months ago I held my first round of song battles, in which I pitted the songs certain countries sent to Baku against their counterpart candidates for Malmö, to see which ones you and I thought were better. Why? Well, there was no particular reason – I just thought it’d be fun. It was, so I’m totes doing it again. Hooray?!?

This time around, I thought it would be slightly less fun but more interesting to make entries from 2013 battle it out against those the same countries sent five years ago, a.k.a. in 2008. How do the Albanian and German songs of Belgrade, for example, compare to the Albanian and German songs fresh from Malmö? Were Croatia and Romania better back then or have they improved with age?

Am I the only one who wonders about this stuff?

There’s only one way to find out – by letting the battles of 2008 VS 2013 commence! I’ve already picked my winners, so check them out and then let me know which songs you would choose.  


Albania’s Zemrën E Lamë Peng by Olta Boka VS Identitet by Adrian & Bledar


If you ask me to pick between a ballad and a rock song, chances are I’ll go for the ballad (unless it’s between a ballad and Turkish rock…there’s something about the Mor Ve Ötesis and MaNgas of the world that gets me). So Olta’s unique take on the average female ballad trumps this year’s rockiest entry in my opinion. I always found her song an interesting one, and I think Albanian comes off really nicely in it. Don’t you worry though, Adrian and Bledar. Anytime I feel like headbanging I’ll turn to you.


Bulgaria’s DJ Take Me Away by Deep Zone & Balthazar VS Samo Shampioni by Elitsa & Stoyan

Sound the guilty pleasure alarm folks, ‘cause here’s a biggie! Back in the time of Belgrade, I was pretty happy with the choice Bulgaria made…only to discover that nobody else was (it’s happened a few times since). I know it was dated even for 2008, and had a ridiculously long intro, and that Johanna was only there to repeat the same lyrics over and over and OVER again. But it was catchy, and as you probably know that’s my main criteria in a good Eurovision song. Plus, Samo Shampioni has a lot more wailing.


Croatia’s Romanca by Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents VS Mižerja by Klapa s Mora

This is a tough one. So tough that if they were physically fighting each other, I’m not sure who would win (75 Cents has unfortunately passed away, so you can’t say he’d be a disadvantage to the former). They’re in a similar ballpark in terms of being instrumentally rich, ethnic songs from Croatia, but I have to give the edge to Mižerja because it’s Just. So. Beautiful. It makes you feel like you’re watching the sunrise on a rugged Croatian mountaintop even if you’re actually standing in the supermarket trying to decide which brand of toothpaste to buy.


France’s Divine by Sebastian Tellier VS L’Enfer et Moi by Amandine Bourgeois

I’d rather have more ditsy, cruisy ditties from France in the future than slightly sleazy retro numbers, merci very much. Even if it means helium becomes an onstage fixture. It’s not that I didn’t like what France served up this year; I just adored what they did five years ago. Divine was one of my favourite entries of the year, and I can’t say that about L’Enfer. Please don’t hunt me down and strangle me with a feather boa, Amandine.


Germany’s Disappear by No Angels VS Glorious by Cascada


For some of you, this would be obvious. But if we’re talking about songs as opposed to live performances, then I’m a huge fan of both. Cascada wins based on the Glorious level of dance-a-bility and anthemic-ness (I’m sorry, but sometimes you need to hyphenate to get your point across). Disappear is a bit limp in comparison. Although Natalie Horler could have done with some of the angels’ chiffon stapled to the back of her dress. It really needed some extra oomph.


Israel’s The Fire In Your Eyes by Boaz VS Rak Bishvilo by Moran Mazor

No contest. I’ve come around on Rak Bishvilo, but if you remember my all-time top 50 countdown, you’ll know that Israel’s Dana International-penned entry of ’08 is one of my absolute favourite Eurovision songs. Like I said earlier, I’m a fan of ballads. Yes, I know they’re both ballads…but there is a clear distinction here as far as I’m concerned.


Romania’s Pe-o Margine De Lume by Nico & Vlad VS It’s My Life by Cezar


To this day, I think Romania was robbed of a better placing in Belgrade. I blame Nico’s decision to swap the fierce leather/feather dress she wore in the semi for that blah silver thing in the final (bad costumes ruin lives, people). I can’t say the same about Cezar – I’m just relieved he didn’t finish higher. Pe-o’s opera-pop vibe, mix of musical languages, and male-female dynamic is still much more appealing to me.


San Marino’s Complice by Miodio VS Crisalide (Vola) by Valentina Monetta

Here we have two Italian-language ballads, one of which becomes disco out of nowhere. They are San Marino’s two best entries IMO (not that there’s a lot of competition) but I’ve always had a soft spot for their very first. I figure that’s mostly because it came dead last in its semi final (I seem to be drawn towards losers) but there is definitely a smidgen of genuine love in there for this classy, mysterious ballad.


Slovenia’s Vrag Naj Vzame by Rebeka Dremelj VS Straight Into Love by Hannah

Poor Slovenia can’t catch a break once they make the decision to put their backing dancers in heavy-duty masks. I do think they improved on that formula this year, with a considerably less…shall we say, controversial performance. But I’ll never get over the dodgy staging that ruined the awesome Vrag Naj Vzame. I LOVE this song, darn it.


Ukraine’s Shady Lady by Ani Lorak VS Gravity by Zlata Ognevich


Let’s end with a gut-wrenchingly difficult decision, why don’t we? This year, just as they did five years ago and pretty much every year in between, Ukraine brought it to Eurovision. Ani Lorak did a little better than Zlata in terms of placement, and I do like to get my Shady Lady on quite often…but…no, I can’t go past the Disney-but-not-cheesy beauty of Gravity. It’s all sunlight and majestic clifftops and CGI unicorns, and that makes it unbeatable.


Aaaaaaaaaaaaannndddd fin. This round of song battles is over, peeps. Though for anyone who cares, here are the stats of my picks.

Then (2008): 70%

Now (2013): 30%

Well, it looks like I generally preferred the musical buffet of Belgrade to what Malmö served up. How about you?


2008 VS 2013, country by country – who gets your vote?


EBJ’s top 10…performances of the past ten years

We all know Eurovision is a song contest, right?


Well, partly, anyway. I’m sorry for using such aggressive capitals to inform you of this, but if Eurovision was just a song contest, it would be a radio-only affair. Either that or every audience member and viewer at home would be required by law to wear a Donny Montell blindfold for the entire show.

That’s right – it’s a show. There are visuals. There are performances. There are vocals, costumes, props and pyrotechnics (good, bad and badder) that we all love to dissect over social media. Eurovision is both a song and a performance contest, particularly in this day and age. Do you think Ukraine would have come 4th in 2011 had it not been for Lady Dracula, the renowned sand artist? If people weren’t voting for the sand, it may well have been the sand that made them remember Mika Newton and Angel. Even I, as an Angel lover, can vouch for that. If a song is a bit weak, there are few of us who haven’t noted that it will need something special onstage to qualify. The performance matters, people!

So in honour of that, I’ve compiled a list of my favourites from recent history – the performances where clever props were used, vocals were faultless, choreography was mind-blowing, costumes were bang-on and/or the charisma of the artist was second to none. These entries weren’t all success stories, but they floated my boat. Prepare for a sickening amount of gushing as you read through.



Fairytale – Alexander Rybak (Norway 2009)

Kicking off my list (quite literally) is the runaway, record-breaking winner of Year Moscow and his amazing trio of dancers (that’s where the literal kicking comes in). Not to mention his two stellar backing vocalists, dapper waistcoat and supreme violin-miming abilities. I have to admit, I didn’t see Norway as an obvious winner at the time, what with a generally high standard of performances all round and particularly stiff competition from the likes of Iceland, Turkey and even *gasp* the UK. But looking back, I can see how they managed to destroy the other 41 entries. The choreography of both the dancers and backing singers, plus Alex’s boyish charm, polished up their three minutes so much so they simply outshined everyone else.



Taken By A Stranger – Lena (Germany 2011)

What I loved most about Lena’s title-defending appearance was how much of a contrast it was to her winning one a year earlier. Back then, she’d been an unknown, inexperienced 19-year-old who had a mighty fine pop song, and the gift of dancing so awkwardly that it was somehow endearing, up her LBS (little black sleeve). That Lena was cute and ditsy. The 2011 version was nothing of the sort. She strutted out on to that stage looking like a sexpot (whatever that is) and owned a dark and mysterious performance perfectly suited to her second Eurovision song. From the costume, to the dancers (again with the dancers!) to the moody lighting and that onscreen glass-shatter, this was a sophisticated show that proved Miss Meyer-Landrut had grown up.



Eastern European Funk – InCulto (Lithuania 2010)

Now for something I wouldn’t dream of calling ‘sophisticated’, but would call ‘extremely well-executed fun’. Say what you will about InCulto, you can’t deny they sounded brilliant live, especially when they were making music with their mouths one minute and harmonising like champions the next. That was the credibility factor taken care of. The fun comes in the form of the catchy song, instruments made out of secondhand gym mats, and the sight of five grown men ripping off their trousers to reveal sequined short-shorts. You couldn’t ask for a much better opening for a semi-final, and I think it’s a shame this didn’t squeeze into the final.



Lejla – Hari Mata Hari (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2006)

A performance doesn’t have to be OTT to get attention. And so it was that no amount of pyrotechnics, costume changes or Svetlana Loboda brand Hell Machines could have made this one from our dearly departed B & H any more magical. It was subtle body movements instead of dance, and that stunning starlit background, that made me feel like I’d just witnessed something special – something that maybe I’d end up writing about on The Greatest ESC Blog In The World one day. Well, I was half right. I’m sure the fact that Lejla is one of my all-time favourite entries makes me a little biased here, but I honestly think this performance was perfection.



Let Me Try – Luminita Anghel & Sistem (Romania 2005)

This is another song I’m mad about (and so was Romania evidently, since they sent it again in 2006) but it’s possible that I love the ‘industrial chic’ staging a bit more. Luminita’s killer vocal and general bad-ass commandment of the stage was the foundation – the batter, if you will – of a successful recipe, but the icing on the cake was most definitely all the banging and grinding that went on. My favourite part is when Luminita gets in on the action, but that ever-present element of danger was pretty exciting too. If I remember correctly, a few of Kiev’s bigwigs got their knickers in a knot over the flying sparks…but apparently relaxed enough to allow Ruslana to open the final with a gigantic blowtorch. Go figure.



Show Me Your Love – Tina Karol (Ukraine 2006)

The Ukrainians know how Eurovision should be done. I’m just saying that to prepare you for the multiple Ukrainian acts you’re yet to encounter on this list. The first is the lovely Tina Karol, who wore the most magnificent pair of boots I had ever laid eyes on in Athens, and who had an attractive and well-dressed posse on hand to dance around her a) with tambourines, b) without tambourines, c) with detachable skirts, and d) without detachable skirts. Oh, and e) with skipping ropes. This performance had it all! Tina was partly responsible for that, looking so hot and singing her guts out.  



Suus – Rona Nishliu (Albania 2012)

Here’s a woman who was almost entirely responsible for making her country’s performance great. Rona of the Gravity-Defying Dreadlocks found some way of nailing the emotion required by Suus every single time, complete with an expression of intense anguish throughout and that clincher of a sob at the end. As a result, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from her (although that could have been something to do with that infamous outfit). I would also like to congratulate the well-timed lighting person for coordinating the dramatic red glow with the music. A virtual high five from me to you.



Shady Lady – Ani Lorak (Ukraine 2008)

And so begins the Ukrainian domination. Ani Lorak’s performance was another in which absolutely every element was on point. Allow me to demonstrate (kinda): she looked uh-maaaayzing; her vocals were excellent, and would be even for someone standing still; the choreography was in total sync with the lyrics and music of Shady Lady; there was that nifty light box that was useful for silhouettes, posing in front of and climbing on top of, and even though it was a big prop it wasn’t too flashy; and, Ani gave it 110% of her energy. I am one of the party who believe Ukraine should have  taken out the contest in Belgrade, which says a lot because I am also one of the party who LOVE Dima Bilan.



Sweet People – Alyosha (Ukraine 2010)

Knock, knock! Who’s there? Oh, it’s Ukraine again. This time, it’s their jaw-dropper of 2010, a relatively pared-back performance (by Ukrainian standards, anyway) that made a massive impact. I don’t think many people were enthused by Sweet People when it was internally selected, especially after two songs had come and gone before it. I certainly wasn’t. But this was a song that thrived on being performed live, and the way it was presented changed everything. Alyosha appeared on that big stage all by herself, dressed in a fabulously weird getup, and proceeded to belt out her song like nobody had ever belted one before, accompanied only by flashing lights and the deft application of a wind machine. Nothing else was required to make this incredible.



Wild Dances – Ruslana (Ukraine 2004)

She won the contest in ’04, and now she tops my list of the greatest Eurovision performances in recent history. The staging of Ruslana’s Wild Dances has become something of a model for the perfect balance of…well…IT ALL. For me, it was at a level that made all of the other performances look a little dodgy (except for Lane Moje, of course). From the opening horns to the discarding of fur capes; from the fierce Xena costumes to Ruslana getting down with her backup dancers; from the whip-cracking to that final pose, it couldn’t have been done any better. This was one of the most deserved victories ever, and I’m yet to come across anyone who thinks another song should have won.


Do you think these performances deserve a belated round of applause? If not, which ones would make your list?


PS – UPDATE! The results of last week’s Big 6 poll are in, and here they are.

Germany 34.9%

Sweden 30.2%

France 13.95%

Italy 9.3%

UK 6.98%

Spain 4.65%


Have your votes predicted what will happen to the auto-finalists in Malmö? In a mere eight weeks time, we’ll find out…


Counting down to JESC: Kyiv 2009

Another day, another step closer to the next contest and, you guessed it, another EBJ JESC recap! We’re on the home stretch now with three more editions to cover, so let’s get straight into the 7th. It was hosted by the Ukraine and took place under the same roof as big Eurovision had four years earlier, but in the end it was all about a country unaccustomed to topping the scoreboard…


The stats

Edition: 7th

When: 21st November, 2009

Where: Palace of Sports, Kyiv, Ukraine

Motto: ‘For the joy of people’

Hosts: Ani Lorak, Timur Miroshnichenko & Dmytro Borodin 

Broadcaster: NTU

Entries: 13

Debutants: 0

Returnees: 1 – Sweden

Withdrawals: 3 – Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania

Interval acts: Ani Lorak performing Shady Lady and I’m Alive,  Art Studio Rizoma performing ‘Tree of Life’

First place: Netherlands

Last place: Romania

Most douze points: 4 – Belgium


The entries

Sweden/ Du by Mimmi Sandén

Russia/ Malenkiy Prints by Ekaterina Ryabova

Armenia/ Barcelona by Luara Hayrapetyan

Romania/ Ai Puterea în Mâna Ta by Ioana Anuţa

Serbia/ Onaj Pravi by Ništa Lično

Georgia/ Lurji Prinveli by Group Princesses

Netherlands/ Click Clack by Ralf

Cyprus/ Thalassa, Ilios, Aeras, Fotia by Rafaella Kosta

Malta/ Double Trouble by Francesca & Mikaela

Ukraine/ Tri Topoli, Tri Surmy by Andranik Alexanyan

Belgium/ Zo Verliefd (Yodelo) by Laura

Belarus/ Volshebniy Krolik by Yuriy Demidovich

Macedonia/ Za Ljubovta by Sara Markovska


The scoreboard

  1. Netherlands – 121


  1. Armenia – 116
  2. Russia – 116
  3. Belgium – 113
  4. Ukraine – 89
  5. Georgia – 68
  6. (= 6) Sweden – 68
  7. Malta – 55
  8. Belarus – 48
  9. Serbia – 34
  10. Cyprus – 32
  11. Macedonia – 31
  12. Romania – 19


My top 5…


Belgium – as you may have noted in my last post, this is only my FAVOURITE JUNIOR SONG OF ALL TIME! Ahem. I’m rarely averse to a song that starts out as a ballad and then transforms into something else, a la Donny Montell’s Love Is Blind, and this is a wonderful example. Catchy, fun pop music with infectious yodeling.

Sweden – I’m beginning to think ’09 was epic, since this is another of my absolute favourites. I missed Sweden so much when they withdrew from JESC 2008, but I couldn’t have asked for a better comeback. Those Sandén sisters know how it’s done, and Mimmi opened the show in style with her sophisticated but not too grown-up electro-pop-r-and-b number (or whatever you’d call it).

Netherlands – after the great ‘WTF?’ winner debacle of the previous year, it was good to have someone come out on top who, in my mind, deserved to be there. Click Clack has that retro vibe the Netherlands seem to favour, but with a little something extra – namely a singing, tap-dancing, awesome jacket-wearing dude called Ralf.

Armenia – I love a sports anthem at Eurovision, and this is no exception. It may be shouty, but that doesn’t matter when you’re right there shouting along with Luara. Go Barcelona indeed!

Belarus – I’m not even joking. You can abuse me all you want, but I’ll still like this song. It’s pure musical madness and I’m pretty sure Yuriy was possessed by Krassimir Avramov, but that makes it stand out.


Romania – I can understand Ioana’s song coming last (it’s nice, but gets boring) but her voice was too good to be in that position. Then again, it’s not called the Junior Eurovision Voice Contest…

Sweden – what is with this family? How is it possible to have so many talented children? It’s so unfair. They could at leastbe ugly so the rest of us don’t feel so inadequate.

Belarus – his prowess is not so evident when he’s yelling ‘volshebniy KROLIK!’ (a.k.a. for most of the song) but once he goes all opera, it’s on. I bet you couldn’t shatter glasses with your high notes. No matter how tight your underpants are.

Georgia – the song is not up my alley, but I think the group sound really good together, as all the Georgian groups tend to.

Ukraine – Andranik has a really strong voice which comes unexpected from someone of his stature.


Armenia – now here are some sport-inspired outfits I can get behind! Luara was in danger of being upstaged by her backup dancers in their super-cute soccer uniforms, complete with the Eurovision logo emblazoned on their shirts.

Netherlands – I want every single one of those jackets. Ralf, if you’re reading this while wondering what to get me for Christmas, there’s your answer.

Sweden – simple but eye-catching. Sequins aren’t a Eurovision calling card for no reason.

Belgium – yellow and flowers, two of my favourite things. This look was young, fun, and totally song-appropriate.

Ukraine – traditional costume never looked so good. Again, they’re bright and floral, but I’m not complaining. 

Luara, Ralf, Mimmi, Laura, Andranik and his dancers


My bottom 5…


Cyprus – I like the opening/closing riff, but apart from that I’d class this as one of my least favourite JESC entries. I find it quite whiny and monotonous. I also feel really mean right now, but I have to be honest.

Serbia – not dreadful, just ‘meh’.

Macedonia – let’s face it, anything was bound to be a letdown after the few minutes of perfection that was Macedonia’s 2008 entry.

Georgia – this takes a while to get going, and once it does, it doesn’t go very far.

Malta – I know this is Junior Eurovision (as if I haven’t mentioned it enough already) but this is just too kiddish for me, as catchy as it is. The lyrics are ridiculous.


Serbia – I’m sure Anica is a lovely girl, and excels in other areas of life in general…but my god, her voice is terrible.

Cyprus – it may be the song that makes Rafaella’s vocal sound worse than it is.


Cyprus – this look just doesn’t appeal to me.

Romania – it’s not so much the costumes that are bad (but I had to bring this up) than the creepy cardboard cut-outs which are apparently there to give the illusion of more people on stage. Just like the Swiss mannequins of ESC 2007, this trick wasn’t fooling anyone.

Georgia – they’re sweet, but they make the girls look like they should be going to bed, not performing in front of a crowd of thousands and a TV audience of many more.

Rafaella, Ioana and the Group Princesses



Did you get a kick out of Kyiv, or was Ukraine’s show a fizzler?


Eurovision Challenge: Day 12

A song that should have won

Almost there:

Congratulations by Cliff Richard (UK 1968, 2nd place)

Cinéma by Paola (Switzerland 1980, 4th place)

Why Do I Always Get It Wrong? by Live Report (UK 1989, 2nd place)

To Nie Ja! by Edyta Gorniak (Poland 1994, 2nd place)

Die For You by Antique (Greece 2001, 3rd place)

Shady Lady by Ani Lorak (Ukraine 2008, 2nd place)


But the one that really should have won is:

7th Wonder by Ira Losco (Malta 2002, 2nd place)

I feel I may have picked this simply because I detest the song that actually won, but in my heart of hearts I do feel 2002 should’ve been Malta’s year. Give me a catchy song, flared all-in-one and glitter blow any day over a strip tease and an ‘ay yai yai yai yaaaaa!’

PS – I just want to say that I was thinking of the families of the 9/11 victims today. Stay strong everyone.