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TIME-WARP TUESDAY | Sha-la-lie, sha-la-la(aaagh!!)

Where + when Oslo 2010

What Ik Ben Verliefd (Sha-la-lie), written by Pierre Kartner and performed by Sieneke

Sometimes, the song I select for Time-Warp Tuesday is one that I love so much, I’d marry it if I could (and I just can’t help getting my PDA on right in front of your faces). On other occasions, I decide on one I despise so I can figure out which of you share my opinion and which of you I will no longer be on speaking terms with. THEN there are the times I unveil an entry half of us have forgotten even existed, because it’s always nice to rediscover how much love, hate, or indifference you have towards a particular track.

Today, though, I’ve gone for none of the above (making that intro pretty pointless).

In 2010, the Netherlands sent a song to Eurovision that I neither love nor hate – and I definitely hadn’t forgotten about it. I do have strong feelings about this little ditty (no, I haven’t evolved into someone’s grandmother since my last post…’ditty’ is just an appropriate way to describe it) but the main reason I picked it is because, lyrics aside, it could pass as a Christmas song. And Turkey ‘n’ Pudding Day is right around the corner (I am yet to wrap a single thing, so expect me to sign off quite quickly today).

As someone who’s not the biggest fan of Christmas music – i.e. you’d have to pay me a large amount of cash and/or bribe me with copious quantities of Nutella-filled donuts to get me to sit and listen to any without complaining – that’s a downside, rather than an upside, to Sieneke’s Ik Ben Verliefd. But there are positives to be acknowledged here: a) the song is cute and endearing, so hating it with a passion would be like hating an adorable puppy with a slightly irritating bark; b) the staging and prop choices were bang-on, so what we saw matched perfectly with what we heard; and c) Sieneke sang like a champ. Parceled up as a package, this Dutch entry checked box after box, and could have been successful on the scoreboard…

…had it competed at Eurovision circa 1967.

That, right there, is the trouble with Ik Ben Verliefd, and it prevents me from feeling much liefde at all for this track. I swear it could have challenged Puppet On A String’s victory back in the day, but it had zero chance of advancing anywhere in 2010. I guess that’s what happens when you recruit the guy who penned The Smurfs theme to write your ESC entry, in a decade that doesn’t remotely resemble the Swinging Sixties.

Not that we can blame Mr. Kartner for every flaw in this plan. Whose fault was the horrendously vintage styling of Sieneke? She was seventeen at the time, but looked like she could have been the mother of a seventeen-year-old in that lacy jumpsuit-type arrangement. Girl was Nadav Guedj-ing before we knew that was a thing.

(Yet she still looked better than Trijnte Oosterhuis, our reigning Barbara Dex Award winner. The BDA went to Serbia in 2010, which I think was thoroughly undeserved. Why should you be punished for bringing back the bowl haircut and manufacturing ball gowns out of bubble wrap?).

Anyway…how badly would you say Sieneke was dressed in Oslo? Or, if you’d prefer to discuss something less fashion-oriented, what’s your verdict on Ik Ben Verliefd as a competition song? Is it retro and fun, or does it remain just as dated and kitschy as you (probably) thought it was at the time? Let me know below.

I’m heading off now to do that wrapping I mentioned earlier. While I’m doing it, I’ll be sending many festive vibes your way to make up for this TWT pick completely draining you of Christmas cheer.

In case I don’t post again pre-Friday (highly likely), God Jul, ladies and gents. May the best gift of all, for us all, be a great song from Albania on the 27th. Because national final season is about to kick off, and that’s the real season in which to be jolly. So go and be jolly already!

 

xmassig

 

EBJ turns FIVE!! | Five years of fashion trends, triumphs and tragedies

Hey there, ladies and gents. You are reading the second-last of my bloggy birthday posts on this *insert description of the weather here* Thursday, and this is a post unlike any one I’ve done before. DUH DUH DUUUUUUUUUH!!!!

So, the deal: Eurovision may be a song contest in some respects, but just turning up and belting out your entry without any regard for how you’re lit, who or what is with you, and what you’re wearing (segue into today’s topic alert) is rarely going to be enough to guarantee success. Costumes in particular can have a dramatic effect on the overall appeal of an entry: they can suit a song perfectly or look totally out of place; they can be commendably crazy or just plain distracting; and they can be young and fun or inappropriate and frumpy. I think it’s safe to say we’ve seen all of the above at some point in our lives as ESC freaks (I mean that in the nicest way possible), and so much more.

On that note, I thought I’d take a look back at the contest fashions from the years EBJ has been in action – and not just at the highs and lows, but also the trends that have had artist after artist opting for the same look with varying degrees of success. Cast your critical eye over my selections and let me know below who’s floated your fashion boat over the last five years, and who’s made you wish it had capsized!

Let’s start with the trends…

 

a

Everything was all white for the likes of Kuunkuiskajaat (Finland 2010), Sieneke (Netherlands 2010), Magdalena Tul (Poland 2011), Pastora Soler (Spain 2012), Birgit (Estonia 2013) and Tanja (Estonia 2014). For some, it was about elegance and simplicity, while others took the bed-linen look to the next level via rhinestones and more lace than a sixteen-year-old should ever be seen in.

 

b

When in doubt, however, going back to black works a treat – and it doesn’t have to be basic! Just check out the statements made by Paula Seling & Ovi (Romania 2010), Christos Mylordos (Cyprus 2011), MayaSar (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2012), Kaliopi (FYR Macedonia 2012), Cezar (Romania 2013) and Mei Finegold (Israel 2014). These guys worked leather, sharp tailoring and plunging necklines into their dark ensembles to make an impression.

 

c

Somebody else well aware of the power of black is Lena (Germany 2010 and 2011), who wore an LBD for her winning performance of Satellite and a belted jumpsuit the following year when she represented her country on home ground. The pared-back styling was obviously a good omen for her.

 

d

Eurovision is one colourful contest, so when they’re not donning black or white, many artists take on the idea that brighter is better. In the last five years, we’ve seen a veritable rainbow of fabulous (and not so much) frocks from Lucia Pérez (Spain 2011), Suzy (Portugal 2014), Elena Ionescu (Romania 2012), Raquel de Rosario (Spain 2013), Pernilla (Finland 2012), Dana International (Israel 2011), Kati Wolf (Hungary 2011) and Niamh Kavanagh (Ireland 2010) to name just a few.

 

e

Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on who we’re talking about) being naked on the Eurovision stage is a no-no. But that didn’t stop Anna Bergendahl (Sweden 2010), Aurela Gaçe (Albania 2011), Emmelie De Forest (Denmark 2013), Zlata Ognevich (Ukraine 2013), Ruth Lorenzo (Spain 2014) and The Tolmachevy Sisters (Russia 2014) from going nude for their respective three minutes – if only in their choices of costume colour scheme.

 

f

One of the biggest trends of recent ESC history has been the mullet dress. Party at the front and black tie soiree at the back, unevenly hemmed getups have been rocked by Feminnem (Croatia 2010), Safura (Azerbaijan 2010), Eva Rivas (Armenia 2010), Chanee (Denmark 2010), TWiiNS (Slovakia 2011), Nikki (Azerbaijan 2011), Mika Newton (Ukraine 2011) and Natalie Horler (Germany 2013). Keep ‘em coming, I say. I love the look of what I call ‘the lady-cape’.

 

g

When your song calls for a decision one way or the other, and you’re after an air of elegance, it’s time for full lengths all round. We’ve seen more evening gowns at the contest in the last five years than the Miss Universe pageant has (well, maybe…that’s some fierce competition) worn by, for instance, Sofia Nizharadze (Georgia 2010), Filipa Azevedo (Portugal 2010), Evelina Sašenko (Lithuania 2010), Despina Olympiou (Cyprus 2013), Tinkara Kovač (Slovenia 2014) and Dilara Kazimova (Azerbaijan 2014). From sexy and slinky to prom-style poofiness, we’ve witnessed it all.

 

h

The boys tend to put a little less effort into their onstage wear, generally speaking. Street clothes have remained from rehearsal to the real thing for Jon Lilygreen and the Islanders (Cyprus 2010), Roman Lob (Germany 2012), Max Jason Mai (Slovakia 2012), Dorians (Armenia 2013), ByeAlex (Hungary 2013) and Firelight (Malta 2014). Whatever makes you feel comfortable, guys…or in Max’s case, whatever slowly falls down as you’re performing so that you end up a millimetre away from giving Eurovision an X-rating.

 

i

But wait – the men-folk can bring it in the formal stakes too. Sometimes a suit is the best option, whether sharp and suave complete with tie, or more casual without. Just ask Didrik Solli-Tangen (Norway 2010), Harel Skaat (Israel 2010), Engelbert Humperdinck (UK 2012), Kurt Calleja (Malta 2012), Eythor Ingi (Iceland 2013), Marco Mengoni (Italy 2013), Axel Hirsoux (Belgium 2014) or Basim (Denmark 2014). NOTE: Basim also answers to the name ‘Harry Highpants’.

 

j

A big trend over the years has understandably been anything shiny or metallic. If you can’t go OTT at the ESC, something is very wrong. For 3+2 (Belarus 2010), Stella Mwangi (2011), Maja Keuc (Slovenia 2011), Anggun (France 2012), Nina Zilli (Italy 2012), Jedward (Ireland 2012), Conchita Wurst (Austria 2014) and Molly (UK 2014) all that glittered was gold, silver and bronze. I can’t confirm that no sheet metal or tinfoil was harmed in the making of these costumes.

 

k

For those less keen on blinding the audience with reflective materials, and more interested in emphasising ethnicity, there’s been the option of something traditional. Whether it’s been a hybrid of old and new á la Ansambel Žlindra (Slovenia 2010) and Cleo and the Slavic girls (Poland 2014), or a totally trad look from the likes of Buranovskiye Babushki (Russia 2012) and Klapa s Mora (Croatia 2013), it’s always been nice to see on stage.

 

l

Last but not least, there’s always a place for costumes that look less like clothing and more like creative craft projects for which the only guideline was ‘you’re only limited by your imagination!’. Since 2010, we’ve had: Alyosha (Ukraine 2010) in the contents of her grandma’s knitting box; Olia Tira (Moldova 2010) and Vilija (Lithuania 2014) taking tutus out of the ballet studio; Sofi Marinova (Bulgaria 2012) and Rona Nishliu (Albania 2012) getting architectural with pleather (and a dreadlock); Eldrine (Georgia 2011) practicing their quilling skills on a bin liner; Eva Boto (Slovenia 2012) cultivating a cottage garden on her gown; Gaitana (Ukraine 2012) sponsoring Shamwow by wearing one; and Moje 3 (Serbia 2013) in the inexplicable. Some of these experiments paid off and some didn’t, but I applaud all of the creativity.

 

And now…my five most stylish moments in EBJ history (and remember, this is veeeery subjective):

m

Maja Keuc (Slovenia 2011) – Who would have anticipated that modeling yourself after an intergalactic stripper would prove to be so hot, hot, hot? In her metal-plated, fringed bodycon with thigh-high platform boots and matching fingerless gloves (naturally), Maja looked UH-MAY-ZING. With emphasis on the ZING.

Margaret Berger (Norway 2013) – It is still TBC whether M. Berg was dressing up as a contemporary Nordic version of Princess Leia, but it’s obvious to everyone that she nailed the ice princess look. Both she and Birgit opted for long white dresses with added bling last year, but the then mum-to-be got out-fashioned in this instance.

Getter Jaani (Estonia 2011) – Cute, colourful and coordinated with the backing peeps? Check, check and check. Getter’s dress was bright and bold but not distracting, with just enough quirk and fun to perfectly suit it to Rockefeller Street. Plus, she could sit down and/or eat in it without splitting the material, unlike (I should imagine) Maja or Margaret.

Anggun (France 2012) – I have frequent fantasies in which I get to parade around in a gold leotard with miles of chiffon fanning out from the back in a glamorous manner. Of course, without Anggun’s stunning figure and ability to stay upright in stilettos, I’d be less likely to parade than fall flat on my face and swear my head off. But luckily for her, Anggun had the poise required to pull off this striking look.

Alyona Lanskaya (Belarus 2013) – Her song left a lot to be desired in terms of originality and English pronunciation, but Alyona looked like the tinsel-covered fairy off the top of a Christmas tree in her blue and silver fringed number (a good thing IMO). Fierce and festive. I award extra points for the backing singers’ ombre outfits, also with fringe. See, it’s not just for cowboys!

 

Going now from wonderful to ‘WTF?!?’, here are my five worst style moments of the EBJ era:

o

Daria Kinzer (Croatia 2011) – Tall, blonde and beautiful Daria had not one, not two, but three dresses on during her performance…and somehow, they were all hideous. I’d say they got worse as they went along, but the pink monstrosity in the middle that looked like a child’s party dress gone wrong was the most fug by far.

Dana International (Israel 2011) – Back in 1998, she was a woman who rocked feathers like no other and looked fabulous doing it. Then Dana goes and wears a shredded outdoor chair cover for what was supposed to be a triumphant return to the contest! Whaaa?!? I think John Paul Gaultier lost his touch after the 90s. Just look at what he dressed Petra Mede in for her hosting duties in Malmö…

Blue (UK 2011) – They’re called Blue, and they wore blue. We get it, it’s hilarious, blah blah blah. But when four attractive men ruin a great song with aesthetics alone (lighting and giant heads included) it’s hard to see the funny side. Shiny suits are a risk that didn’t pay off on this occasion. Not even making Simon go sleeveless in the hope we’d all be too focused on his biceps to notice anything else helped.

Moje 3 (Serbia 2013) – It’s too complicated to explain why here, but I lay 95% of the blame for Serbia’s failure to qualify last year on these outfits. These were like ice-cream sundaes with all 31 of Baskin Robbins’ flavours and available toppings included – i.e. way overdone. They also made the angel/devil dynamic virtually impossible to detect.

You have to wonder if this was the moment Nevena realised 'THIS is what we have to perform in?'.

You have to wonder if this was the moment Nevena thought to herself ‘So…we’re actually wearing these? Like, for REAL?’.

'OH. MY. GOD!!!!!!'

‘OH. MY. GOD!!!!!!’

Aisha (Latvia 2010) – It’s been four years and I’m still trying to figure out why Aisha wore her dressing gown on stage. You’d think someone would have told her backstage that she’d forgotten to put on her actual costume. How embarrassing!

 

And finally, what would Eurovision be without the odd costume reveal? These are my five favourites, 2010-2014:

3 + 2 (Belarus 2010) – I for one never saw those butterfly wings coming. Well, not at the semi-final stage. Still, if ever there was a moment in a song that screamed ‘INSERT COSTUME REVEAL HERE!’ it was that key change, and Belarus did not let that pass by.

Aliona Moon (Moldova 2013) – I’m not referring to how Moldova made Azerbaijan’s dress-projection abilities of Baku look amateur, although that was spectacular. The costume reveal in this case was that Aliona could have worn stilts and still had enough material in her skirt to cover them, as seen when she was raised up high enough to look down on Ukraine’s towering Igor.

InCulto (Lithuania 2010) – Because sequinned hotpants.

Daria Kinzer (Croatia 2011) – Yeah, the dresses were rank, but the way she got in and out of them was impressive. If I could get changed that fast, I’d actually be on time for a change, so long as I didn’t choke to death on the confetti or cloud of smoke.

Alex Sparrow (Russia 2011) – All those in favour of light-up leather jackets, say ‘OMG YAAAASSSS!’. I’m going to assume you all said it, ‘cause who wouldn’t want to own something that not only keeps you warm, but also lets people know what letter your name begins with? You’ll also come in handy in a power outage if you get one. What are you waiting for?

 

So that pretty much sums up who wore what, and when. It also serves as proof that I disagree with the majority of Barbara Dex Award winners of recent history (don’t even get me STARTED on 1997-2009). If you have a disagreement re: the Eurofashion I’ve mentioned, now’s your chance to get it off your chest. Whether you thought something was good, bad, ugly, or situated in a very confusing place in-between, I want your opinion. What’s your favourite costume trend? Who got their look right and who failed to flatter their figure? Spill, guys!

 

NEXT TIME: With Junior Eurovision on the horizon, it’s only fitting that my final fifth birthday post should reveal my top 10 JESC entries since this blog got going. That’s a warning for all of you who are anti-JESC to steer clear for a while…

 

Eurovision Challenge: Day 16

The song that never fails to make you dance

Almost there:

Džuli by Daniel (Yugoslavia 1983)

Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz (UK 1981)

Dime by Beth (Spain 2003)

1 Life by Xandee (Belgium 2004)

Always by AySel & Arash (Azerbaijan 2009)

Ovo Je Balkan by Milan Stanković (Serbia 2010)

Haba Haba by Stella Mwangi (Norway 2011)

 

But the one that ALWAYS gets me dancing is:

Allez Ola Olé by Jessy Matador (France 2010)

It has to be said that Mr. Matador did plenty more dancing than singing in Oslo, but who cares???? This song is great fun and every time it comes on I feel compelled to shake my booty. Which is why I make sure I don’t shuffle my music in a public place. Tout le monde dance now!

 

EBJ’s top 10…hosts of the last decade

1. 2007  in Helsinki, Finland: Jaana Pelkonen & Mikko Leppilampi

I’m pretty sure these two wrote Hosting Eurovision In A Genuinely Comedic, Enthusiastic, Engaging and Professional Way Without Making The Home Viewers Want To Thrust Their Fists Through The TV Screen: For Dummies. Bravo, and douze points!

 2. 2010 in Oslo, Norway: Nadia Hasnaoui, Haddy N’jie & Eric Solbakken

There’s always a shining beacon among a trio of hosts and in Oslo it was Eric, who provided some much-needed comic relief by donning a Milan Stanković wig and InCulto hotpants (I’m still wondering where you buy those), among other things. But the ladies were faultless, despite begging the question, “Why so serious?”.

3. 2004 in Istanbul, Turkey: Meltem Cumbul & Korhan Abay

I’m still not entirely certain that Mr. Abay was alive back then, but he did a pretty good job of compeering alongside Miss Cumbul. I particularly liked their banter about George Clooney and Pamela Anderson (the resemblance is uncanny!).

4. 2011 in Düsseldorf, Germany: Anke Engelke, Judith Rakers & Stefan Raab

If it’d been Anke on her own, she’d be at the top, but as it is she can thank Judith (who I’m sure is a great news presenter but at the ESC had all the enthusiasm of Norway when they discovered they hadn’t qualified) and Stefan (who needed to be surgically removed from his guitar) for dragging her down to 4th place.

 5. 2002 in Tallinn, Estonia: Annely Peebo & Marko Matvere

There’s little I love more than hosts presenting a pre-shot fantasy sequence of themselves singing an ode to their ‘love’ and laughing gaily when one catches the other in a face pack. Amazingly 2002 gave me exactly that. Very sweet.

6. 2008 in Belgrade, Serbia: Jovana Janković & Željko Joksimović

These two weren’t bad, but I reckon they should stick to their day jobs if Eurovision lands inSerbia again in their lifetime.

7. 2005 in Kyiv, Ukraine: Maria “Masha” Efrosnina & Pavlo “Pasha” Shylko

If you look up ‘Painfully scripted dialogue’ in the dictionary, there’s a toothy photograph of this duo underneath it.

8. 2006 in Athens, Greece: Maria Menounos & Sakis Rouvas

Great show, Greece. Not so good = the presenters. Did Maria know what Eurovision was before she was asked to host it? I’m not sure. Her partnership with Greek god Sakis was a bit of a shambles in any case, with plenty of stumbles to go round and a cringe-worthy lip-sync from his end.

9. 2009 in Moscow, Russia: Natalia Vodianova & Andrey Malahov/ Alsou & Ivan Urgant

Alsou and Ivan were perfectly adequate hosts, but they pale in comparison to the horror show (or lust-fest, whichever you prefer) that was the Supermodel and the Sleaze of the Semi Finals. Shudder.

10. 2003 in Riga, Latvia: Marie N & Renars Kaupers

I’m sorry, but if I’m watching the ’03 contest and there’s a wall nearby, it’s usually less than a minute after Marie and Renars emerge that I’m driven up it. I wasn’t a huge fan of (read: I really hated) the former’s winning song, so it was easy to turn my nose up at her hosting skills. But I loved Renars in Brainstorm! Perhaps that’s the kind of fronting he should stick to.

 

Just to let you fellow Eurovisionaries know: I’ve made it my mission to blog all year, every year, which can be a tough ask when there’s little happening on the ESC/JESC fronts. But I do have a bunch of random posts lined up, so I thought I’d do up a little schedule to keep you informed of when to expect them, if you’re interested. Remember, it’s two or more a week in twenty-eleven!

Tuesdays: Time Warp Tuesday

Fridays/Saturdays: A random feature, rant, news update or top 10

And of course, a surprise post anytime if I feel like it!

Stay alerted by following EBJ on Twitter, liking on Facebook (links in the sidebar) and/or subscribing (link at the bottom of the page).

What’s next for twenty-eleven?

Hello all!   

I hope you’re doing well wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. I’ve spent the last few days “studying” for my exams next week and wishing I could be blogging instead. I’m determined to keep doing so (the latter, that is, not pretend to study) all year round, but it’s a bit hard at the moment.

This is especially frustrating when I’m wanting to put up my retrospective reviews for you! I’ve been putting them together in bits and pieces, looking at the songs, artists and performances from 2011, in between doing what I’m supposed to, and I’m hoping to post them in installments from early next week – the first being countries A to B. So please come back to check them out and share your own opinions (subscribe to EBJ to get alerted…pretty please? Just go to the bottom of the page). In the meantime, why not relive my 2010 retrospective reviews from here: https://eurovisionbyjaz.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/retrospective-reviews-a-to-b/

In the (350 or so) days before Baku, here are some of the other posts I’ve got planned:

– Top 10’s: JESC to ESC, songs that shouldn’t have come last, and anything else I can think of!

– Articles: What does it take to be a runner-up in Eurovision? What have the last decade’s winners been up to lately? Plus, some contest questions that have to be asked…

– Time-warp Tuesdays: I’ll be shining the spotlight on a personal classic moment from the glittery ESC history every week, courtesy of Youtube, just for nostalgic fun!

– And of course, my take on all the developments from Armeniain the lead up to 2011’s other contest, Junior Eurovision.

To conclude, I’ll continue the randomness of this particular post by saying:

a)      I picked up my copy of the Electric Pictures documentary The Secret History of Eurovision today. From an actual shop. Finally, we Australians get something Eurovision easier! I haven’t watched it yet, but I remember how good it was from the broadcast in May, and if you do, or if you didn’t get the chance to see it, you can get it online right now. It’s stocked at www.dymocks.com.au and http://shop.abc.net.au/ for $30AUD, and both ship overseas. What are you waiting for?

b)      My first Time-warp Tuesday begins…now! Yes, I am aware it’s more like Forgotten Favourites Friday, but who’s caring? Let’s go back to 1989 and one of those runners-up…one that really should have gone all the way. It’s the United Kingdom, who back then asked themselves the question that they should be asking themselves more often now (the answer can be found in song form in their 2010 entry): why do I always get it wrong? This is from Live Report, and it’s one of my all-time favourites. Talk to you soon!

 

The top 20 most-played ESC songs on my iPod

 

In random order:

This Is My Life by Anna Bergendahl (Sweden 2010)

Lejla by Hari Mata Hari (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2006)

Lako Je Sve by Feminnem (Croatia 2010)

Tornero by Mihai Traistariu (Romania 2006)

Džuli by Daniel (Yugoslavia 1983)

Horehronie by Kristina (Slovakia 2010)

Die For You by Antique (Greece 2001)

Wild Dances by Ruslana (Ukraine 2004)

We Could Be The Same by MaNga (Turkey 2010)

Allez Ola Ole by Jessy Matador (France 2010)

Angel Si Ti by Miro (Bulgaria 2010)

Glow by Madcon (Interval 2010 – I think it counts!)

Rijeka Bez Imena by Maria (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2007)

Anytime You Need by Hayko (Armenia 2007)

Run Away by Sunstroke Project (Moldova 2010)

Follow My Heart by Ich Troje (Poland 2006)

Rändajad by Urban Symphony (Estonia 2009)

Cipela by Marko Kon & Milaan (Serbia 2009)

Se Pa Mig by Jan Johansen (Sweden 1995)

Nur Ein Lied by Thomas Forstner (Austria 1989)

 

What are your most played Eurovision songs? Let me know!

The 2011 split results revealed, and ranked!

THE FINAL

 
It wasn’t until July last year that the split results were released, so to wake up this morning and see that the EBU had made them public just a fortnight after the contest was a great surprise!
 
I’m wondering if you’ll be as shocked as I was by some of the entries that both the juries and televoters decided were worthy of their highest points…here’s a brief look at the final stats as seen above.
 
  • If the outcome of Eurovision was still decided by 100% televoting (as it was up until a few years ago), this year’s top 10 would have consisted of Azerbaijan, Sweden, Greece, Ukraine, UK, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, Russia, Germany, and Ireland. So not too different country-wise, but quite different position-wise!
  • And in a fantasy land (not mine) where Eurovision is decided by the pros alone, Italy would have won, followed by Azerbaijan, Denmark, Slovenia, Austria, Ireland, Ukraine, Serbia, Sweden and Germany.
  • That means the J’s and TV’s have just 50% of their top 10’s in common.
  • Azerbaijan and Sweden were very close with the fans, with just 2 point separating them.
  • The UK might take some comfort in the love they got from the televoters – all 166 points worth –  despite the fact that the juries didn’t rate them.
  • Fan favourite Denmark shockingly owe the juries their 5th place – not the televoters, who pushed them down to 18th!
  • The countries on the most equal footing are Lithuania, Iceland, Romania, Germany and Azerbaijan, who attracted a similar amount of attention from both sides.
 
 
Check out the split semi finals below (click them bigger):

SEMI FINAL 1

  • The juries got 80% of the qualifiers they wanted; the televoters got 70%.
  • You can see two very different winners from each group…both more than a bit stereotypical! The juries lavished the love on Lithuania, a grand, old-fashioned ballad belted out with gusto (and a bit of sign language, which was a nice touch, albeit stolen from Latvia’s 2005 performance) whereas the televoters couldn’t get enough of Greece’s ethnic-modern fusion (and perhaps their absurdly attractive singer).
  • Also expected is the popularity of Norway with the TV’s in comparision to its rear-end-of-the-scoreboard relegation with the J’s.
 
SEMI FINAL 2
  • Here, the juries, got 80% again, whereas the televoters got 90%. It seems the compromise is working out fair!
  • Once again, we can see two very different, but not surprising semi winners. The powerhouse vocals of Maja from Slovenia won out with the pros, whilst the Popular powerhouse performance/party anthem of Sweden got the TV’s dialling.
  • The viewers shared Anastasia Vinnikova’s love for Belarus, it seems.

 

What do you think of the split results? Were you shocked or surprised, or did you expect what you saw? Let me know down below!

Statistically speaking: the 2011 top ten and beyond…

1. AZERBAIJAN

Artist: male/female duo Ell/Nikki

Song: Running Scared

Language: English

Style: pop ballad

Change from last appearance: +4

Last top 10 appearance: 2010, 5th place

With:  female soloist Safura and Drip Drop

Which was: an English-language pop/r & b ballad

2. ITALY

Artist: male soloist Raphael Gualazzi

Song: Madness of Love

Language: English/Italian

Style: jazz

Change from last appearance: +2

Last top 10 appearance: 1997, 4th place

With: male/female duo Jalisse and Fiumi Di Parole

Which was: an Italian-language ballad

3. SWEDEN

Artist: male soloist Eric Saade

Song: Popular

Language: English

Style: Club pop

Change from last appearance: Did not qualify

Last top 10 appearance: 2006, 5th place

With: female soloist Carola and Invincible

Which was: English-language schlager

4. UKRAINE

Artist: female soloist Mika Newton

Song: Angel

Language: English

Style: Pop/rock ballad

Change from last appearance: +6

Last top 10 appearance: 2010, 10th place

With: female soloist Alyosha and Sweet People

Which was: English language rock

5. DENMARK

Artist: male quartet A Friend In London

Song: New Tomorrow

Language: English

Style: rock anthem

Change from last appearance: -1

Last top 10 appearance: 2010, 4th place

With: male/female duo Chanee & N’evergreen and In A Moment Like This

Which was: An English-language pop ballad

6. BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

Artist: male soloist Dino Merlin

Song: Love In Rewind

Language: English/Bosnian

Style: Folk pop

Change from last appearance: +11

Last top 10 appearance: 2009, 9th place

With: male quartet Regina and Bistra Voda

Which was: Bosnian-language folk rock

7. GREECE

Artist: male duo Loukas Yiorkas & Stereo Mike

Song: Watch My Dance

Language: English/Greek

Style: Rap/ethno-pop

Change from last appearance: +1

Last top 10 appearance: 2010, 8th place

With: male soloist Giorgos Alkaios and OPA

Which was: Greek-language ethno-pop

8. IRELAND

Artist: male duo Jedward

Song: Lipstick

Language: English

Style: Pop

Change from last appearance: +15

Last top 10 appearance: 2006, 10th place

With: male soloist Brian Kennedy and Every Song Is A Cry For Love

Which was: an English-language ballad

9. GEORGIA

Artist: male/female group Eldrine

Song: One More Day

Language: English

Style: rock

Change from last appearance: =

Last top 10 appearance: 2010, 9th place

With: female soloist Sopho and Shine

Which was: An English language ballad

10. GERMANY

Artist: female soloist Lena

Song: Taken By A Stranger

Language: English

Style: I actually have no idea!

Change from last appearance: -9

Last top 10 appearance: 2010, 1st place

With: female soloist Lena and Satellite

Which was: English-language pop

  • 6 countries in this year’s top 10 were in the top 10 last year.
  • Of those, 5 sung completely in English in 2010 and 2011.
  • Last year’s winner recieved 9 lots of 12 points and 5 lots of 10 points. Ell and Nikki managed 3 lots of 12 points and 5 lots of 10 points.
  • Azerbaijan have placed no lower than 8th since their debut in 2008. 75% of their Eurovision time has been spent in the top 5!
  • Last year, 9 of the top 10 entries were completely English language, compared with 7 this year. That is despite the fact that 59% of the 2010 songs were in all English, 60% of the 2011 ones were.
  • If the last few years are any indication, these have the best chances of ending up in the top 10: Female soloists performing a pop ballad/ straight pop song sung in English, OR a pop/rock song with an ethnic influence sung in English/ a combination of languages.

Eurovision fan haul: Part 1

The pins: These (from left: Athens 2006, Helsinki 2007, Belgrade 2008 and Athens again) came from the official Eurovision.tv shop, in a surprise package. All you do is order it, and you get a bunch of random items in the mail - merchandise from the last few years - for a great price. There is a risk in that you may receive something you already have (like me) but it’s often worth it. I can’t say I’ve worn the badges yet, but I may have to decorate myself with them this year, as they’re less messy than writing ‘GO TURKEY!’ across your forehead with eyeliner as I did in 2010.

The podcasts: It’s a long story as to why I have these on disc instead of on my iPod, so I’ll try to condense it for you: Chapter 1) They are comprehensive, which is fabulous, but they take up a LOT of room on any device, and my iPod eventually gave me an ultimatum: ‘It’s me or the podcasts, Jaz!’; Chapter 2) I deleted them from said device, but wanted to keep them to listen to again (and again and again); Chapter 3) My laptop is unreliable, having had a meltdown last year of epic proportions. It’s not been the same since, and I didn’t want to risk losing all the podcasts and have to download them all again; Chapter 4) So I burn them onto CDs as I see fit. The End. Get the SBS and ESC Today podcasts on iTunes, and the ESC Insight podcasts at escinsight.com, or iTunes…for FREE of course.
The CD’s: I’ve only recently completed my official album collection (sans 2011, of course), which consists of: 2000-2005 which all came from eBay and together cost me under $50 AUD which is AMAZING; and 2006-2010 which came from both the Eurovision.tv shop, Amazon.co.uk, and music stores here in Australia. I love having them all, not just for display purposes, but because many of the songs from the earlier 2000s aren’t available on iTunes over here. Those CDs are becoming harder to get, but I suggest eBay as a first resource every time, as it is so cheap, and if you pick a reliable seller, you always get what they say you will. My 2001 and 2004 albums cost about $20 AUD…together…including postage. Hence words cannot express my love for eBay.
The ‘other’ CD’s: The first two are: The Very Best of the Eurovision Song Contest from JB Hifi; and Ultimate Eurovision Party from amazon.co.uk. If I had to suggest to you one to get, I’d go for the former, as it features a lot of winners, and all the unforgettables, whereas I think the Party CD originated in the UK, as it’s very biased. It considers James Fox’s Hold On To Our Love a party anthem…still, both are great listens. Lastly, I have: Junior Eurovision 2010 from amazon.co.uk; and Melodifestivalen 2011 from ebay.com.au. I’d never considered buying the JESC or Melodifestivalen albums before these, but I felt both were so strong that I couldn’t go past them.
The videos: Now, before you go emailing the EBU and telling them to arrest me for copyright infringement, I assure you that these are for my private, in-home use only. They are the 2009 and 2010 editions of Junior Eurovision, taped from TV onto trusty VHS and covered to look decent by moi.

Sorry for the layout of this post, but I’m having trouble with the graphics/text combo at the moment. Anyway, this is Part 1 of my ESC haul, which is something that I’ve wanted to do for ages, ever since I became obsessed with watching haul videos on Youtube. For those of you not clued-in to the trend (I for one was quite behind on getting into it), hauls are basically: random people uploading videos where they show you what they bought on a shopping trip, or got for Christmas, or have collectively amassed over a long period of time, and where they got it.

My Eurovision merchandise has been collected over a long period, and though I have done a collection blog before, it has gotten a lot bigger since then – so I wanted to show you how! This is a true haul however, so not only will I be showing you photos of the stuff, but letting you know exactly what I love about it, and where I got it from. So if you’re missing anything from your own hefty pile of ESC trinkets, I hope I can help you out.

Just a few notes:

  • I haven’t got any 2011 things yet, so don’t call me up on that!
  • If you think I’m missing something that every fan should own, please let me know here or via Facebook/Twitter (you can find the links to both of those on the sidebar). And of course feel free to chat to me about anything else ESC.
  • Hauls are great, but they often attract a lot of negative attention from people who think showing off what you own/have purchased is, well, showing off. This is in no way what mine is about. All I want is to give you a look into the ESC side of my life (a large side!). So if you don’t like this sort of thing, don’t read!

 

But if you do, look out for Part 2 soon.

Jaz x

PS – There’s 10 days until Semi Final #1, and the rehearsals begin on Sunday. It’s really happening! You can download the full (and very complicated) rehearsal schedule from eurovision.tv to see when your country will take to the stage for the first time.

An EBJ top ten: ESC to JESC!

Bonjour, everyone, and Happy Easter! I’m finally back from what feels like a year-long (involuntary) break from blogging. In reality, it was just over a week, but I’ve got so much stuff lined up to do in the few weeks left to Düsseldorf, that when I couldn’t do it, time went very very slowly.

You may have noticed a subtle change in this blog upon your arrival today. Gone are the candy stripes and merry flags of yesterday, giving way to sophistication and rainbows…which then gave way to candy stripes and merry flags once again. Still, it’s a little more streamlined now. I’m easily bored with the aesthetics of things, and so I thought I’d try something new – let me know what you think! And don’t be surprised if EBJ looks completely different next time you drop by…

I’m kicking off with a brand new top 10 today. In case the title didn’t give it away, the topic is my top 10 Eurovision songs that could have entered (and possibly succeeded in) its precocious younger sibling, Junior Eurovision! To save myself a lot of time I decided to look at ESC songs from 2003 onwards – that is, those that literally could have competed in the first ever JESC in Copenhagen (although there would have been some stellar contenders prior to that year…Boom Boom Boomerang, perhaps, eh Austria?). Note that this list isn’t intended to rubbish JESC or the songs that make it – I love the mini version of Eurovision very much, and I think a lot of the kids in it could do a better job of writing good songs than the “seasoned professionals” penning for the big ESC (I’m definitely in favour of Armenia drafting in 12-year-old Vladimir Arzumanyan to write their 2012 entry). Anyway, no more stalling!

My top 10 ESC to JESC entries are:

10. Leto Svet by Kreisiraadio (Estonia 2008) – Summer light, it’s summer light…Subtract the trio of tubby, middle-aged men with receding hairlines and primary-coloured polyester suits from the equation and add in a trio of under-tens clad in sequins, as well as a few more flash cards of onions and cakes, and you’ve got yourself a JESC triumph! This song failed miserably in its 2008 semi final, as it should have, but if taken toCypruslater that year, I reckon it could have stolen the victory right out of the Georgian bumblebees’ feelers.

9. Salvem El Mon by Anonymous (Andorra 2007) – Left, right, up and down, turned up and down, that’s how we treat the world right now…I really like this song, but I feel it was just too ‘young’ for Helsinki. It puts me in mind of Anders, the catchy soft-rock track performed byBelgium’s Trust at JESC the same year, which fared about as well then as Anonymous had in May. The tweenage girls inRotterdam would have adored it.

8. Let’s Get Happy by Lou (Germany 2003) – Let’s get happy and let’s be friends, for tomorrow never ever ends…Apart from the fact that the average JESC entrant should not be observing the goings-on in a discotheque (at least, none that I know of) this song fits Eurovision’s younger sibling like a glove that has an irritatingly chirpy mantra embroidered onto it.

7. That Sounds Good To Me by Josh Dubovie (UK 2010) – You bring the sunshine, I’ll bring the good times…I think we all knew that the UK was destined to bring up the rear of the scoreboard last year inOslo. But perhaps if Josh had enlisted his younger brother (whether he actually has one or not, I can’t say) to jet over toMinskand belt it out whilst attempting some clever choreography, it could have fared better.

6. Teenage Life by Daz Sampson (UK 2006) – “What did you learn at school today?”…A catchy song about school days, performed by a bouncy, smiley artist in a track suit, surrounded by girls in uniform, blackboards and wooden desks? If that bouncy, smiley artist hadn’t been Daz “I’m steadily approaching middle age but trying to fool you into thinking I’m not” Sampson, the Russian twins may have been pipped at the post.

5. Weil Der Mensch Zählt by Alf Poier (Austria 2003) – Little hares have short noses and little cats have soft paws…You may think the reggae-to-rock sound of this song – and Alf himself – too frightening for JESC. But think back to the Belarusian entry from 2009, which was about a magic rabbit but sounded more like a song about the devil attacking you in bed and eating your soul as a midnight snack.

4. Ik Ben Verliefd (Shalalie) by Sieneke (Netherlands 2010) – Shalalie, shalala, I can’t get it out of my head…There’s been plenty of retro, cutesy stuff at Junior over the years, though none with a Smurf connection. Maybe that should change? The Dutch won it in 2009 with a song that included the lyrics ‘Wha-oh-wha-oh, ba-daba-di-do, ba-daba-di-do yeah. Tikkeditak, tikkeditak click clack!’ (one of my favourites) so a bit of ‘Shalalie shalala’ wouldn’t go astray, in my opinion.

3. Let’s Get Loud by Suntribe (Estonia 2005) – Come on girls sing along that song, shake the house till the early morning, boring yesterday is gone…Just writing those lyrics has got the chorus stuck in my head!Estoniahas never participated in JESC, but if they do, let’s hope they send something like this. Cartoon T-shirts and coloured boots included!  

2. Coisas De Nada by Nonstop (Portugal 2006) – Gonna make you dance, gonna make you smile, I’ll make you stop thinking sad things for a while…This is more harmless, inoffensive and dated than downright bad. I think it would have fared exponentially better on the Junior stage, so long as there were more pants involved.

1. Celebrate! by Piero and the Music Stars (Switzerland 2004) – Clap your hands, oh clap your hands, have a wonderful time…I want to say this song sounds like it was written by a 10-year-old, but most of the 10-year-olds in JESC are more eloquent and less clichéd. This bunch look like Hi-5 (or The Wiggles in those multi-coloured shirts) – Australians will know what I mean. Everything about them and this entry (which, may I remind you garnered ZERO points in the semi final) screams ‘Kids entertainment troupe’ – and yet, I can’t even see the kids liking this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVkJd4r7Pd4