Some of you may have been expecting my top 10 ESC entries to be revealed in this post. I’m sorry to say that I couldn’t bring myself to end the suspense just yet, so I came up with something else – but as you can tell by the big words up there ↑ (a.k.a. The Title) it’s something entertaining…I hope.
The last time I posted a quiz, I was told it was too easy, and ever since I’ve had this terrible urge to do another one so difficult, it makes the chances of the United Kingdom winning Eurovision in 2013 look positively off the charts in comparison. Unfortunately, I don’t think this quiz, a multi-level/multi-task lyrical extravaganza, is that hard. But I am 57.5% confident in saying that, without having a peek at the answers, you’re unlikely to get a perfect score. MWAHAHAHAHA!
Ahem. Anyway, on with the quiz. It’s pretty self-explanatory – there’s a bunch of questions all relating to the lyrics of past Eurovision songs (to make it slightly easier, all of them are from the year 2000 onwards) which you, my friends, can test your knowledge with. You’ll find the answers at the bottom of the post.
Now go forth and conquer…the EBJ Lyrics Quiz.
FYI, all lyrics have been verified at http://4lyrics.eu/ (how very official!)
Guess the song – Level 1
1. Like me like I like you…
2. Is he magical? Logical? Natural? I wonder.
3. You were the eyes in the face of fortune.
4. Never leave me and believe me, you will be the sun into my raining season.
5. Answer my question, say something. Why are you acting out?
6. I’m in orbit all the way around you.
7. Don’t look back, hold on to your spirit. Keep moving every minute.
8. I can make Beyonce and Shakira dance for you.
Guess the song – Level 2
1. I’m gonna start my weekend with gin, tonic and lime.
2. If we get together now we’ll burn this place down.
3. …devotion’s finding a way when highness exists for those people who pray.
4. You can feel me in your mind with every breath you take. Burn the earth with flame of sins, I’ll make you feel dismay.
5. If I never made a single mistake, oh, I wouldn’t be here, part of the plan I believe.
6. Love, love’s not enough. I need your trust, but you don’t try anymore.
7. I feel so intoxicated I’m struggling to keep my feet on the ground.
8. Waves of eternity, waves of serenity.
Guess the song – Level 3
1. I know I’m gonna find you somewhere in the clouds of my confusion.
2. I go through the motions, stumbling my way, life is a blur.
3. It’s a two-way street.
4. No matter where I am, I’m always thinking of you.
5. Everything you share with me turns a little darkness into light.
6. Beat the odds.
7. All we’ve done is to pass back to frame number one.
8. You’re the one who’s never satisfied, after all…
Fill in the blanks
1. ____ is a story and you’ve got to tell it
2. And we’re like ___________ flying to the ___
3. _____ ____, I’m gonna strike like _______
4. Don’t play that ____ again, reminding me of how it used to be
5. We are ______ on the planet, we live _____ lives
6. If my ____ would fall, or disappear at all
7. I would ___ for you, look into my ____ and see it’s true
8. Out of the _____ like a star, like a ____
9. We’ve got to hold on to our ____ tonight
10. Heavy clouds, no ____ and every move causes ____
Random Qs & As
1. How many la’s are sung in Cyprus’ 2012 entry – 100, 134 or 156?
2. How old is Ines according to the chorus of her 2000 entry, Once In A Lifetime?
3. Who knows ‘what for, are we living’?
4. In Athens, Tina Karol wanted to see it, André didn’t know what to do without it, and Brian Kennedy thought every song was a cry for it. What was ‘it’?
5. Which former Irish boyband member co-wrote the music and lyrics of Ireland’s entry for the 2004 contest?
6. And which former Irish boyband member co-wrote the music and lyrics of Denmark’s entry for the 2009 contest?
7. In Helsinki, Belarus’ Koldun had the key to what, if the lyrics to Work Your Magic were anything to go by?
8. As long as he’s doing something in particular, there are no limits to what Dima Bilan can dream. What is that something?
9. The lyrics of how many entries of 2012 referenced Eurovision itself – 1, 2 or 3?
10. What is Sahlene (Estonia 2002) always doing that could earn her a hefty fine…if it weren’t just lyrically and metaphorically?
How did you go? Did anyone end up tearing their hair out with frustration? Let me know down below. I’d also love to know if you enjoyed the quiz and would possibly want me to make up more in the future. Beware, they would get harder as they went along. By 2060 I may actually achieve my dream of coming up with questions nobody can answer, a bit like my math teachers used to for school exams. Or so I thought.
NEXT TIME: I swear on Dana International’s feathered Gaultier that the next post will count down my top 10 ESC entries of all time.
GUESS THE SONG L1: 1. Love Me Back, Can Bonomo 2. 7th Wonder, Ira Losco 3. I Can, Blue 4. My Number One, Helena Paparizou 5. Drip Drop, Safura 6. Satellite, Lena 7. Once In A Lifetime, Ines 8. Ninanajna, Elena Risteska
GUESS THE SONG L2: 1. The Balkan Girls, Elena 2. Playing With Fire, Paula Seling & Ovi 3. Fight by Natalia Barbu 4. Day After Day, Elnur & Samir 5. This Is My Life, Euroband 6. Cry Baby, Jemini 7. Even If, Andy Abraham 8. Stand By, Senit
GUESS THE SONG L3: 1. Angel, Two Tricky 2. The Image of You, Anjeza Shahini 3. Would You, Iris 4. Stronger Every Minute, Lisa Andreas 5. Open Your Heart, Birgitta 6. This Is Our Night, Sakis Rouvas 7. Every Way That I Can, Sertab Erener 8. No One, Maja Keuc
FILL IN THE BLANKS: 1. Life 2. Butterflies/sun 3. Shady/lady/thunder 4. Song 5. People/human 6. Star 7. Die/eyes 8. Light/hero 9. Love 10. Rain/pain
RANDOM Qs & As: 1. 134 2. Seventeen 3. (only) Mr. God 4. Love 5. Brian McFadden of Westlife 6. Ronan Keating of Boyzone 7. Your tower 8. Breathing 9. 2 (Latvia and Montenegro) 10. Driving through red lights
Is anybody else completely shocked that Eurovision 2012 is almost upon us? I literally feel like Düsseldorf was a few months ago, when it fact it has been just about a whole year (which is good and scary…Hooray, it’s ESC o’ clock! But where the heck have the last twelve months gone?). In fact, its been an almost-whole year in which I still haven’t come to terms with, not so much Azerbaijan, but Running Scared itself, winning the contest. This year the field has proven just as strong as that of 2011, with any number of countries having the potential to succeed Ell & Nikki on their turf. That means it could be another edition where an under-the-radar entry gets lots of 7s and 8s and 10s and ends up on top, which could be a cause of celebration (if it’s, say, Estonia) or another shocker (if it’s, say, Belgium. HA. HA.).
Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that years go fast, Eurovision can be surprising, and blah blah blah.
A lot can change in a year, too. For those of us who keep listening to the songs after the contest (if you don’t, you know, that’s fine. SHAME ON YOU! Totally fine) that includes our opinions of them, and that’s what this final DIR post aims to prove. The difference between 2 or 3 listens of a song, and 20 or 30, is huge. There are some songs that begin to drive you crazy even though you liked them in the beginning, and others that you really get into after the event.
This is what my top 10, I’m-waving-a-flag-for-you song list looked like just before the contest last year:
- United Kingdom I Can
- Bosnia & Herzegovina Love in Rewind
- Sweden Popular
- Iceland Coming Home
- Cyprus San Angelos S’agapisa
- Ukraine Angel
- Latvia Angel in Disguise
- Italy Madness of Love
- Norway Haba Haba
- Slovakia I’m Still Alive
One year on, these are my 2011 favourites:
- Sweden Popular
- Bosnia & Herzegovina Love in Rewind
- Cyprus San Angelos S’agapisa
- United Kingdom I Can
- Ukraine Angel
- Hungary What About My Dreams?
- Slovenia No One
- Italy Madness of Love
- Norway Haba Haba
- Iceland Coming Home
Okay, so 8/10 countries are the same, and 3/10 have stayed exactly were they were – but you can’t say I haven’t changed my mind at all. Now is the time for you to chip in with your two cents. How have your opinions of the 2011 entries changed over the last year? Which songs that you formerly disliked are you now into, and vice versa? Is your favourite of the 43 still the same? I’d love to hear your answers to these questions!
For the record, I’m backing Spain, Norway and Estonia in 2012. Remind me to check back on this in April 2013 by which time I’ll be obsessed with San Marino, Georgia and Montenegro.*
* That is, if Hell has frozen over and pigs have learnt to fly by then.
NEXT TIME: Get ready to argue with me to the death, because it’s time for my 2012 reviews! First on the alphabetical-except-for-the-Big-6 list? Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Bulgaria.
gimmick /ˈgɪmɪk / noun. A trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or trade (The Oxford Dictionary)
This list features gimmicks of the prop and people variety (and no more pompous definitions, I promise). There actually weren’t that many to make a list of in Düsseldorf, but for you, I have managed to locate ten.
Which one was your favourite?
#1 Ukraine’s sand art
Tried and tested by: nobody
I love it because: I loved everything about the Ukrainian entry last year. But I also love how original it was. Many, many gimmicks have graced the Eurovision stage, but 2011 was the first time a woman dressed like Dracula’s missus got up there and proved that playing with sand can be impressive, if you do it the right way. I don’t think Ukraine would have managed 4th place without Kseniya Simonova, sand artist extraordinaire.
#2 The UK’s reformed boy band
Tried and tested by: technically, nobody
I love it because: boy bands like Blue defined the music of my girlhood, alongside Westlife, Five, the Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, and any other band from the 90s or early 00s that featured a bunch of relatively good-looking guys, including one who got really famous and one whose name nobody remembers. The news of Blue’s reformation for Eurovision turned my then nineteen-year-old self into a hysterical, screeching fangirl (something that will only happen again if One Direction represent the UK in a future contest…a.k.a. never).
#3 Belgium’s a cappella performance
Tried and tested by: Cosmos (Latvia 2006)
I love it because: it’s an amazing talent, and it takes guts to stand on a teensy stage in front of thousands with millions watching on TV, and provide not only the vocals, but the music for your song too, using only your mouth. Witloof Bay’s live performance was studio perfect, and even though I’m not a huge lover of their entry, I’ve watched it back more than a few times over the past year.
#4 Sweden’s smashing glass
Tried and tested by: nobody, unless you count Søren Pilmark’s “Whoops, I dropped the trophy!” gag during his co-hosting gig of Eurovision 2001.
I love it because: Eric Saade looks terrified when he goes in for the smash, and I find that very funny. It’s unknown whether he was afraid that a) he might end up with a shard of glass permanently wedged in his person or b) the glass-smashing detonator would fail to work and Sweden would be responsible for a big boo-boo on live TV, but either way I get enjoyment out of the barely disguised ‘HELP ME!’ expression on his face.
#5 Croatia’s costume revelations
(This image refused to upload. Apparently my computer refuses to cooperate with images depicting such hideous clothing…)
Tried and tested by: How much time do you have? There is two words for the quintessential costume reveal, however, and they are Bucks, and Fizz.
I love it because: it never gets old. Despite the fact that each and every one of Daria’s revealed outfits was appalling (and that the magician guy was always loitering creepily in the background) the quick changes were well executed and timed.
#6 Germany’s returning winner
Tried and tested by: several, including Carola, Dana International and Charlotte Perrelli – but the last winner to defend their title directly after winning was Corry Brokken in 1958.
I love it because: it showed how proud the Germans were of Lena and their victory, figuring she would do well again. I am still bitter that, in making the top 10, she did leapfrog Blue, but ultimately I have to be pleased about Germany’s turnaround in luck, which will hopefully continue in Baku.
#7 Cyprus’ bendy choreography
Tried and tested by: Sakis Rouvas (Greece 2009)
I love it because: it’s amazing! HOW do they do that? If you know the secret, I’m begging you, tell me. It’d be a great party trick to have up my sleeve (or possibly the leg of my pants).
#8 Slovakia and Ireland’s double acts
Tried and tested by: someone, I’m sure. Or should that be ‘someones’?
I love it because: one set of twins would’ve been great enough, but two sets? Well, that opened up the opportunity for some hilarious and “spontaneous” photographs, one of which I’ve stuck here for your enjoyment.
#9 Russia’s light-up leathers
Tried and tested by: Safura (Azerbaijan 2010). Sort of.
I love it because: who wouldn’t? Russia found an inventive way of getting Alex’s name up in lights, and for that I congratulate them.
#10 Lithuania’s lyrical sign language
Tried and tested by: Walters & Kazha (Latvia 2005)
I love it because: well, it’s the only notable gimmick left that isn’t Armenia’s giant boxing glove. I’m sure there’s people out there who would appreciate the gesture, although any hearing-impaired viewers would surely have lip-read the lyrics as Evelina sang them. Kudos to her anyway for multitasking.
NEXT TIME: In my last DIR post, I’ll be comparing my top 10 from this time last year with my current top 10. Have things changed? Time will tell…
Apparently Slovenia is home to a lot of insanely talented teenage singers who just keep getting shipped off to Eurovision. In my opinion, Maja sang the pants off the 42-strong competition (it’s a good thing she wasn’t wearing any; that could have been embarrassing on live TV).
The last and longest note of Madness of Love can only be described as ‘epic’. As for the rest – well, when you can’t tell the difference between the live and studio versions, you’ve got to be impressed, and Raphael sure was impressive.
Christina Aguilera with an asymmetrical bob (except Nadine can remember her lyrics…and I can’t imagine her ever wearing leather pants with the bottom cut out).
Witloof Bay/ Belgium
Love the song or hate the song, you’ve got to give the group credit for their top-notch a cappella/beat boxing abilities. And the fact that they didn’t incorporate a rather tacky-looking robot into their stage presentation as their music-less predecessors decided to do.
His performance wasn’t quite as perfect as it was when Sognu debuted on French TV (apparently couldn’t find his earpiece through his hair, so when it fell out it stayed out) but it can’t be denied that Amaury’s got talent; as much, if not more so, than many opera singers thrice his age.
It wasn’t enough for Mika to look like an angel and sing about one…she had to go and sing like one too, albeit one who’d choked on an m & m 30 seconds before showtime.
Ah, Aurela the Yeller. Albania sure loves its shouty singers. Still, there’s an obvious skill in screaming so tunefully, and I guess the country appreciates that.
Yes, I did happen to notice Nina’s vocals amidst all the nauseating LED swirls. She’s another one who makes it hard to tell the difference between the live and studio.
Naturally The Wolfster (as I am referring to her from now on) has got commendable vocal chops, being the winner of Hungary’s X Factor.
C’est Ma Vie = one of my least favourite songs last year. But I reckon I would have disliked it even more without Evelina’s pitch perfection. The sign language gimmick didn’t hurt either.
EBJ extras: Here’s who just missed out…Poli from Bulgaria, Eldrine from Georgia and Musiqq from Latvia.
Who were your favourite singers of Eurovision 2011?
COMING UP: There are only two more Düsseldorf in Rewind posts remaining before I kick off my 2012 song reviews. I should probably get on to those…
There are definitely some Eurovision entrants who have been tragically separated at birth from some other random famous person, and I reckon there’s some money in reuniting them (even without their knowledge). But today I’m putting aside my hunger to achieve world domination via the exploitation of vulnerable sequin-clad songstresses to bring you a simple, no-strings-attached exposé of the look-alikes who graced the ESC stage last year. That’s right, ladies and gents, the doppelgangers are back!
I have to admit, I’m scraping the barrel a bit with these ones. I did already expose a few secret siblings after last year’s contest, and I didn’t want to repeat myself this time. So, these ones are brand new, but not as convincing! Yay!
Please do me a favour and squint as you look at them, because that makes them appear uncannily similar…
Armenia’s Emmy and Australian actress Mary Coustas’ alter ego, Effie
I’m telling you; in about fifteen years Emmy will be Effie’s identical twin.
Azerbaijan’s Ell, kids TV character Noddy, and Australian comedian Charlie Pickering
Again, Ell may be the spit of Noddy at the moment – minus the lurid knitted clothing, of course – but in a few years he’ll be Charlie 2.0.
Belgium’s Witloof Bay and the cast of US TV series Mad Men
The latter probably would have done better at Eurovision, but apart from that…
Bulgaria’s Poli Genova and US actress Samaire Armstrong
They’re both women with short blonde hair. I dare you to tell me they couldn’t be related!
Croatia’s Daria Kinzer and French-Canadian singer Celine Dion
I wonder if Daria noticed her similarity to Celine and considered it a good omen, since Celine won the ESC in 1988, coincidentally dressed in an outfit just as hideous as those Daria chose for 2011.
Finland’s Paradise Oskar and UK singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran
If I wasn’t so skeptical about Oskar’s ability to grow facial hair I’d actually think they were the same person.
Moldova’s Zdob şi Zdub and this croquembouche (profiterole tower)
Thanks to Masterchef, I know now where ZsZ found the inspiration for those gravity-defying head decorations (probably knitted up by the grandmamma when she wasn’t busy beating her drumma).
The hair of Norway’s Stella Mwangi and the hair of San Marino’s Senit
I think Stella might have loaned hers to Senit when she didn’t qualify. If so, it may be a bad luck charm…
Ukraine’s Mika Newton and this slightly creepy porcelain doll
Yes, they’re both wearing wedding dresses, which helps, but I reckon Mika’s got the doll thing going on anyway.
What do you think? Did I miss any twenty-eleven twins?
COMING UP: Just when you thought I couldn’t cobble together any more posts about Düsseldorf…well, it turns out I can, because DIR Month ain’t over yet! Next time the spotlight falls on the most spine-tingling singers of last year’s contest (DISCLAIMER: This list will not include Stefan Raab).
I may be slightly obsessed with Ukraine’s last entry, but I honestly love Mika’s costume and want it for my own wardrobe (although I’m not sure where I’d wear it. At the supermarket, perhaps?) – unlike that of her sand-drawing companion Kseniya, who was apparently going for the ‘Bride of Dracula’ look. I love nude shades, feathers and mullet dresses, so when all three combined in this outfit I was never going to turn my nose up. Especially when the feathers were used for shoulder pads. Sartorial genius.
I never thought I’d praise someone for wearing Perspex-platformed, thigh-high stripper boots, but here we are. Having said that it was the mini-dress manufactured (presumably) from Maja’s mother’s old fry pan that earned her the #2 position. How she managed to sit down in the green room without causing herself serious injury, I’ll never understand.
Before I say anything else, let me just mention that no, the backing vocalist to Nina’s left is not pregnant. The ability for the ladies’ 60s shifts to make them appear withchild is the only downside to them I can think of, because the other 99% of the time they are just too cute: retro printed perfection, with Nina standing out just the right amount.
A year ago I despised Estonia’s choice of costume, mainly because I was in love with Getter’s national final dress and was heartbroken when it evidently didn’t make it into her suitcase for Düsseldorf. But a lot can change in 12 months (including trends – Peter Pan collars are totally in right now). Fun, cutesey, colourful and voluminous enough to conceal magic wands, handkerchiefs and probably a rabbit in a hat as well.
[This image refused to show up. If you need a refresher, you’ll have to Google. Apologies!]
These were voted the worst costumes of 2011 in the annual Barbara Dex Awards, but I completely disagree. I mean, sure, I haven’t seen that much quilled ribbon since the International Card-Making Convention, but you have to admit that anyone who’d staple the stuff to a black bin liner and wear it in front of millions deserves a virtual pat on the back. Striking and appropriate.
The mullet dress strikes again, only this time it’s not alone. The Slovakian twins could have worn snuggies on stage and still looked stunning, but they went for something more in keeping with the ESC dress code, and though it didn’t get them to the final, it got them a place on this list (not quite what they’d hoped for, but it’s something).
Not many people can carry off a jumpsuit, but Lena is the queen of simple black, and besides the fact that this outfit made her look freakishly long and thin in the body (if you’re reading this Lena, I only said that out of body envy) she worked it. Bonus points for the amazing shoes.
‘Russia: Making Azerbaijan’s use of lights in Safura’s costume back in Oslo look second-rate since 2011’. It’s a wordy and very specific tourist slogan, but it could work. It’s also a good thing Russia made the final last year, because if they hadn’t, we never would have gotten to see the magic A-L-E-X, which for some reason was ditched for the semi in favour of plain ol’ lights. Leather jackets have never been so awesome (or likely to burst into flames).
It’s not just hair that this Irish twosome take to new heights; shoulder pads too became victims in their quest for ultimate volume in Germany. Jedward may have looked like they skinned Dorothy’s ruby slippers in order to achieve such shiny redness, but it was worth it. Top this in Baku, boys!
There are two main reasons why I loved Dana’s dress. Firstly, it was chosen by the public – anyone who cared had the chance to go online and vote for their favourite Gaultier creation, and this flappy green arrangement proved the most popular (BTW, I was one of those who did care). Secondly, it took me back to my pre-school days of paper weaving, which is always a fun thing to reminisce about (although not as much as making jellyfish out of polystyrene cups and cellophane).
EBJ extras…Don’t think I’ve forgotten about the worst outfits of 2011:
Armenia – taking the boxing theme a little too far for my liking.
The UK – blue suits for Blue = not so good an idea.
Croatia – not one, not two, but three hideous outfits.
Moldova – what was the deal with those “hats”?
The Netherlands – yawn.
What do you think? Who got it right and who got it oh-so-wrong when it came to the fashion of 2011?
It’s about time you had some fun here at EBJ. You must be so sick of my long-winded psycho-analytic evaluations of the fashion choices of Dutch Eurovision contestants during the period of 1958 to 1975 (actually, that’s not a bad topic for a PHD project, if anyone’s looking for one. Thank me when you’re a certified doctor). So today I’ve prepared, as part of DIR Month, a little visual quiz for you. All you need to complete it is a functioning pair of eyes, although I probably don’t need to tell you that because if you didn’t have those you wouldn’t be reading this blog in the first place.
ANYWAY, here’s the deal. The following postcards (frozen in time by moi) belong to Sweden, Ukraine, Italy, Russia, Denmark, Azerbaijan, Germany, and Georgia – but not in that order. Can you match each still to its rightful nation before it’s too late?**
* For your convenience and as is the standard with most quizzes, the answers can be found at the end.
* No pressure. Nothing’s going to happen if you take your time, or if you cheat and go straight to the answers. Though if you do cheat and I somehow find out, I will shake my head in a very disappointed manner…beware.
Perhaps this country decided to make sails out of the material they could have used to put a back in their frontman’s shirt…
These two look happy enough, but they’d be even happier if they were driving a Ferrari.
The little people on the monitor didn’t travel too far at all to get to Eurovision 2011, which is convenient since they were so heavily involved.
This Viking’s getting a bit cheeky letting you know where he’s from.
Ballet is a big thing in this country. Come to think of it, the country’s a pretty big thing too.
This country sure likes to draw – sometimes on paper, sometimes in sand.
If these two entered JESC 2012 they’d have a hard time outdoing their country’s last entrants in the mini contest.
Go ahead, blow your own horn! You deserve it after a dream result in Düsseldorf.
1 = Denmark/ 2 = Italy/ 3 = Germany/ 4 = Sweden/ 5 = Russia/ 6 = Ukraine/ 7 = Georgia/ 8 = Azerbaijan
How did you do? Okay, so it wasn’t amazingly difficult, what with the not-so-cryptic clues and all, but it’s possible I stumped one of you. If not, I’ve definitely stumped myself by trying to think up a good ending for this post.
Until next time…no.
Auf wiedersehen? Nein!
Forget it, J.
COMING UP: DIR Month continues with my top 10 costumes of 2011; and those long-awaited Düsseldorf Doppelgangers finally make their appearance…
#1 UKRAINE Angel by Mika Newton
#2 UNITED KINGDOM I Can by Blue
#3 CYPRUS San Angelos S’agapisa by Christos Mylordos
#4 IRELAND Lipstick by Jedward
#5 POLAND Jestem by Magdalena Tul
#6 SLOVENIA No One by Maja Keuc
#7 NORWAY Haba Haba by Stella Mwangi
#8 SLOVAKIA I’m Still Alive by TWiiNS
#9 MACEDONIA Rusinka by Vlatko Illievski
#10 ISRAEL Ding Dong by Dana International
EBJ extras: Here are the ones that just missed out…Sweden, the Netherlands, Russia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Germany
Which 2011 entries have you played most over the last year???
Location: Esprit Arena, Düsseldorf, Germany
Hosts: Anke Engelke, Judith Rakers & Stefan Raab
SEMI FINAL 1
When: May 10th, 2011
Opening song: Jestem by Magdalena Tul (Poland)
Closing song: Watch My Dance by Loukas Giorkas & Stereo Mike (Greece)
Interval act: Cold Steel Drummers
My highlights: The walking, talking hilarity that is Anke Engelke; Finland’s amazing backdrop that was simple but stunning; Sjonni’s Friends proving they had more than just a tragic back-story through their charming performance of Coming Home; and Greece once again demonstrating their Eurovision invincibility with a song that few saw qualifying, but made magic happen when it came to the live show (Loukas & Stereo Mike turned out to be the Alyosha of 2011).
My favourite performance was from: Serbia
Shocks and surprises: Poland ditching the leather and grunge of their MV in favour of white and silver nappies – a big mistake; Alex Sparrow and his posse fooling us into thinking their performance was over, then launching into an epic choreographed curtsey; Kati Wolf’s frighteningly bouffant hairdo (a definite shock); Lithuania and Switzerland qualifying, and Norway and Turkey NOT qualifying.
SEMI FINAL 2
When: May 12th, 2011
Opening song: Love in Rewind by Dino Merlin (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Closing song: Lipstick by Jedward (Ireland)
Interval act: Flying Steps
Qualifiers: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Austria, Ukraine, Moldova, Sweden, Slovenia, Romania, Estonia, Denmark, Ireland
My highlights: Belgium, believe it or not – Witloof Bay’s a cappella vocals were terrific, even if the song created by them was not; hearing the ROOOOOAAAARR of the crowd before, during and after Eric Saade’s turn onstage; Dana International’s last-minute catwalk strut that got me wondering how she acquired such supreme stiletto skills; Maja Keuc, her suit of armour, and those boots…and the Flying Steps, whose interval show was so attention-grabbing I did not blink once while it was happening and consequently needed to be fitted for a pair of bionic eyeballs shortly after the contest.
My favourite performance was from: Bosnia & Herzegovina
Shocks and surprises: Sand artist and Ukraine’s Got Talent winner Kseniya Simonova accompanying Mika Newton in one of the greatest gimmicks ever seen at the ESC; and Cyprus’ knockout performance, one that I think deserved a place in the final.
THE GRAND FINAL
When: May 14th, 2011
Opening song: Da Da Dam by Paradise Oskar (Finland)
Closing song: One More Day by Eldrine (Georgia)
Interval act: Jan Delay
Winning song: Running Scared by Ell/Nikki (Azerbaijan)
Losing song: In Love For a While by Anna Rossinelli (Switzerland)
Completing the top 5: Italy, Sweden, Ukraine, Denmark
Completing the top 10: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Greece, Ireland, Georgia, Germany
My highlights: The inventive opening reprise of Satellite, featuring a surprise cameo from Lena ML, who emerged from a seething mass of look-alikes; Judith’s bang-on imitation of Lena before said reprise; Blue, one of THE acts of my girlhood, on the Eurovision stage (albeit in dreadful shiny suits and in front of massive headshots of themselves that gave off a rather narcissistic vibe); Italy’s triumphant, trumpeting return after 14 years of contest absence and/or disdain.
My favourite performance was from: Germany/Sweden
Shocks and surprises: The grand (and highly symbolic) unveiling of the green room pre-voting; Italy raking in the points during the latter half of the voting and reaching a well deserved but completely unexpected second place; Eric Saade being Popular enough with the juries and televoters to nab the bronze medal and secure Sweden’s best result since 1999; and finally, Azerbaijan topping the scoreboard with a song that wasn’t even close to being on my winning radar.
A year on, I still can’t believe Running Scared took home the prize, but I’m ultimately happy it did, because in eight weeks time Eurovision will go somewhere it’s never been before, and I have no doubt that the Land of Fire will put on a spectacular show for all of us.
What was your favourite part of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest?
COMING UP: A month of Düsseldorf in Rewind continues with my top 10 most-played entries of 2011. Plus, it’s time for another exposé of doppelgangers…they can run (scared) but they can’t hide!
Who should have won this year?
Bosnia & Herzegovina – if the winner was determined by the country with the most douze points, Dino would have!
United Kingdom – keep in mind this is based purely on the song.
But the country that REALLY should have won is:
No, it wasn’t my favourite song. In fact, it wasn’t even on my ‘winner’ radar. But I don’t want to take anything away from Ell & Nikki just because I personally was surprised (I literally could not speak for an hour afterwards) with their win. They beat everyone else fair and square with a well-written song and very well choreographed performance. They say what will be will be, and I think whatever happened in whatever Eurovision year is what was meant to…whether we like it or not (cough, 2002, cough).
And with that, I say…EUROVISION CHALLENGE: FIN!!!