And here we are for the second semi-final. Well, not quite. But let’s just get it all set up now, shall we? Then we can get back to picking on people’s outfits.
Before we got started, I had this conversation with my mother this afternoon:
MOTHER: I rang to explain a lie I told you.
MOTHER: I didn’t mean to. But I said we’d watched the Sherlock you gave me, but we thought we’d re-watch it the other day, and we realised we’d never watched it at all.
ME: Are you sure? You didn’t watch it and forget?
MOTHER: Well, that’s possible.
ME: We had a long conversation about it!
MOTHER: I know!
ME: You told me which episodes you liked!
MOTHER: I know! But I hadn’t actually watched it yet.
The burning question of the hour is “Why are we not listening to SBS Eurovision radio right now?”
Oooh, actual Eurovision semi-final!
Is anyone else filled with a burning desire to visit Azerbaijan? It just looks so pretty! And who is making these green rooms?!
Gosh, that blue dress the host is wearing is pretty. Gorgeous colour and a lovely fit.
This awkward host banter is awkward.
Serbia – Zeljko Joksimovic – Nije ljubav stvar
Apparently, the song is called “Love is Not a Thing.”
NICK: Also? Love don’t cost a thing.
I always hope women are going to pop up out of any piano that appears on the Eurovision stage. I mean, it’s not a fetish or anything. Does everyone remember that woman popping up out of the piano, or am I sounding really weird?
Does this song sound deeply familiar to anyone else?
I swear I’ve heard this song before. Am I having flashbacks to something other than Road to Eurovision?
It’s not terrible, it just sounds so, so familiar.
NICK: It sounds a bit like Scottish Highlands folk music.
ME: But I don’t listen to Scottish Highlands folk music.
Nick also thinks it’s “Euro-bombastic.” This is a positive thing, judging from his tone.
FYR Macedonia – Kaliopi – Crno i belo
Kaliopi is a good name for a singer.
I like the suit, but the hair is completely distracting. It looks, from some angles, as though she’w wearing a purple wig over black hair. I’m sure she’s not—or is she?
Actually, I can’t talk: I said to Nick this morning, “how does my hair look?” and he actually snorted. Don’t worry: he still lives.
Oh, this song just turned it up a notch. Not bad.
So far, this semi-final interests me much more than last night’s.
The hair looks better now, too, since they changed the lighting.
Netherlands – Joana Franka – You and me
Is anyone else feeling really awkward about their ethnicity right now?
Also, that really doesn’t go with an evening dress. Those are two competing levels of formality, right there.
NICK: Well, musically, this is making me wish I was blind.
This is awful on so, so many levels. Mostly racial.
NICK: It’s screaming Apple iPad advertisement, but the visuals are all wrong.
Malta – Kurt Calleja – This is the night
Goodness me, Azerbaijan is beautiful. I want to go there very much.
I hate this already. I don’t have a reason. Well, except the hair. And the line, “Hey, look at me. Can’t you see, I’m into you?” Get away from me, creepy stalker dude.
Seriously, “This is the night. This is the night. I won’t be stopped”? This is creepier than “Hungry Eyes”.
NICK: This is the strangest advertisement for heart surgery that I’ve ever seen.
Also, it’s a bit flat. Not musically. Well, I don’t know about that. But in terms of energy levels: it’s just … a bit flat. Yes, even with this strange guy in the lemon-coloured trousers. And the fireworks. And the perfunctory key change. And that note! God.
Belarus – Litesound – We are the heroes
I like the random gazelle tagging. There aren’t enough gazelles in Eurovision, as a rule.
NICK: Oh god! They’re Reavers!
Don’t they know that the Reavers are never the heroes? They’re the villains, dude. The villains!
Oh, this does nothing for me. I’m sorry. I obviously jinxed it by commenting on preferring this semi-final.
Wait, what’s with the leaning?
That key change was slightly less perfunctory.
They even seem to be singing “We are the Reavers”.
NICK: We are the Reavers. We’ll come and eat ya.
I said to Nick, “Is it wrong that I kinda want to see Rock of Ages?” and he said, “Why? Did it awaken something in you?” Don’t worry: he still lives after that, too.
Portugal – Filipa Sousa – Vida minha
I’m always keen on the ones where they bring in something a bit different. Hopefully, this is one of those.
That dress looks fantastic when she’s moving, but not quite so flash when she’s standing still.
NICK: Okay. This going to need at least three key changes to be interesting.
And that was the perfect opportunity for a key change! But did we get one. No. No, we did not.
Also, if you’re called “Sousa”, I expect something a bit more bombastic.
Ukraine – Gaitana – Be my guest
I was going to say “What’s with the outfits?”, but then I remembered that Julia insisted on calling this a “big gay anthem.”
ME: Blue Man Group branching out a bit?
NICK: To the rest of the spectrum.
Nick thinks she’s being upstaged by her own floral arrangement. We’d also both like to add that we were not at all keen on Julia’s description of this song.
But neither of those things are as important as the question of what the back-up dancers are wearing. Sorry: I mean what the hell the back-up dancers are wearing.
NICK: Traditional Ukrainian by way of Hypercolour, maybe?
Ooh, I don’t think she hit that.
Insert your “hit that” jokes here, if you must. But you probably don’t need to.
Bulgaria – Sofi Marinova – Love unlimited
NICK: You’ve got to read the fine print on these “love uncapped” plans.
The outfit is terrible, and as far as I can tell, this song is about the Luftwaffe. Am I missing something?
NICK: The outfit’s a bit Star Trek: The Motion Picture by way of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
Nick can’t hear the references to the Luftwaffe that I keep hearing.
Oh god: Catherine wheels! I was once chased around the garden by a poorly secured Catherine wheel. True story. Also, isn’t that a horrific kind of concept on which to base a firework?
Slovenia – Eva Boto – Verjamem
Oh good: a hood.
NICK: She’s only sixteen. I can’t be too critical, I guess.
ME: Yeah, but she’s not the one wearing the hood.
NIK: Every year there has to be a Druidic entry.
See-through dresses and random leaning. Not really my cup of tea. Though she might want to talk to Peter Jackson if he’s thinking of adapting The Silmarillion.
ACK! I just got a good look at her dress!
Um, don’t panic, anybody, but I think the Triffids are taking over the world. Starting with the Eurovision costume room.
NICK: They’ve cornered the market on voluptuous back-up singers, too.
NICK: I’m just saying!
Croatia – Nina Badric – Nebo
Oh, even the Azerbaijan food looks fantastic! Pomegranate! Let’s all go to Azerbaijan!
Oh good: another ballad.
Even the back-up dancers are bored by this. I move more enthusiastically at my physiotherapy appointment.
And, for the record, I like blokes in skirts. There’s jut nothing to get excited about in this.
NICK: Ooh, is she about to be defeated by those singers in white? Because that would be pretty cool.
I think I fell into a coma during this song.
Sweden – Loreen – Euphoria
So this one’s the favourite? She was charming in the interview, but I’m not sure. I’m just not sure.
I do like her fancy cardigan, though. I’m a sucker for a cardigan.
NICK: Her kung fu appears to be very strong. So she’s got that going for her.
Then he added, “Look, it’s Euro-cheese, but it seems to be aged appropriately.”
Of course, he is quite drunk. And so am I.
NICK: She does throw shapes pretty well, too.
I don’t feel committed to this song. It might be my native contrariness coming to the fore, though.
NICK: She’s doing pretty well, considering it’s snowing. That must be hard. Snowing. No shoes. And it’s Eurovision.
Georgia – Anri Jokhadze – I’m a joker
Right, who’s coming to Azerbaijan with me? This is glorious!
Oh no! Mad monk!
NICK: Look, monks are a pretty versatile character class. I’m just not sure you can defeat Eurovision with one.
White piano! A woman better come out of that. (It’s not a fetish.)
NICK: Costume change! He’s changed from a monk into a douchebag.
Oh, what the hell is happening now?
NICK: This is what I live for as far as Eurovision’s concerned, though.
This really isn’t doing anything for me. At all.
Turkey – Can Bonomo – Love me back
NICK: I quite like Turkey’s entry most of the time.
I’m prepared to like one, honestly.
NICK: Okay, there’s a bit of cape action. Six seasons and a movie!
Nick and are I liking this because we saw him interviewed and he was terribly charming. Plus, as Nick says, “He has a kind of grin like, ‘Hey. it’s Eurovision’.”
NICK: I’m not sure if the steampunk Batman motif is really working for his back-up dancers, though.
Prepared to like this as I am, it’s … kinda not working for me. It sort of is, but I need something else to happen. Something other than what’s happening now. Which is swirling capes.
Okay, making a boat out of your capes counts as “something happening.”
NICK: There’s a Bahktinian thing happening!
Estonia – Ott Lepland – Kuula
The Ronan Keating of Estonia? Tell him I hate him! Or tell him I hate Ronan Keating. That might be simpler.
Oh, I think I just travelled twenty years back in time. No, make that thirty.
NICK: The back-up dancers are going to have to re-enact the Spanish Civil War to make this interesting.
This is about the third song I would swear I’ve heard before. This time, I think it was a Bon Jovi B-side.
Not that I listen to Bon Jovi B-sides.
He’s hitting his notes and, as Nick says, he’s got a nice voice. Plus, not-at-all-perfunctory key change!
We’re now totally behind this boy, despite the fact that his waistcoat is chained together.
Slovakia – Max Jason Mai – Don’t close your eyes
I’m just going to like this on principle.
ME: Oh, what a shame. It’s just not ’80s enough.
NICK: He’s not wearing leather pants. There must be some export restriction issues.
Although that jacket is pretty ’80s.
He’s got energy. I’ll give him that. And I am a sucker for a man in heavy eye make-up.
NICK: Thank you, Slovakia.
Norway – Tooji – Stay
“From the ridiculous to the sublime”?
NICK: I think we’ll be the judge of that, thank you, Julia.
Moore hoods? And slow-motion walking? I think I hate this.
If we’re talking about “the sublime to the ridiculous”, shouldn’t we be talking about those pants? ‘Cause they ain’t sublime.
NICK: This song is basically three different choruses.
ME: Okay, nice flame effects.
NICK: Oh, god. They’re not even finished yet.
Bosnia-Herzegovina – Maya Sar – Korake ti znam
Another piano, another failure of a woman to rise up from inside it. (Not a fetish!)
The shoulder pads are impressive, but look a bit too much like a leftover from the Once Upon A Time wardrobe department.
NICK: The outfit looks like Necromancer dolling up for a night on the town.
And it is not flattering from behind.
I am so, so bored by this stuff. So bored.
Stop trying to make me feel things, Bosnia and Herzegovina!
Lithuania – Donny Montell – Love is blind
Is he wearing a blindfold?
Oh, I see, It’s a literal metaphor. Doesn’t that rather defeat the point of, you know, a metaphor?
ME: Am I getting old, or are these love songs a bit creepy?
NICK: Well, when you’re wearing a blindfold, it’s creepy, yes!
I just can’t get behind the Bedazzled blindfold. (Unlike this chap. Boom boom!)
NICK: Like a rhinestone blindfold!
Cue gales of hysterical laughter.
NICK: All is forgiven, Lithuania!
If you can’t believe she’s gone, you might want to take the blindfold off more often.
NICK: Do a few more somersaults. Bring it home, lad. Bring it home!
I think this is meant to be James bond, but it’s just pervy.
And that’s the semi-finals. Don’t worry: I’m staying here for the voting. I’m just going to be a little bit quiet for the interval act, unless it’s completely hilarious.
And now we have the constant re-playing of the acts.
For the record, Nick and I are partial to … not The Netherlands! Not the Netherlands! We’re partial to … well, very few actually.
Turkey, because they made a boat out of their capes.
We wouldn’t be surprised is Sweden won, but it didn’t do much for me. And Nick described Georgia as “awful, but quintessential Eurovision.” Nick also thinks Estonia will go through, and I concur. Slovakia, we liked.
I have added my tres ’70s poncho on top of my winter ensemble, because it’s suddenly freezing, and the poncho was right there. Plus, it just feels Eurovision.
NICK: This is like The Avengers of Eurovision!
I’m still loving that blue dress on the host: it makes her look about seven feet tall, and the colour is magnificent.
I’m not recapping the songs from Azerbaijan and the big five: I lived through the OH MY GOD TWO PEOPLE IN GAS MASKS KISSING last night.
But here are for the winners. Sort of. We have to deal with some awkward host chat first.
1. Lithuania. Really? Lithuania? Okay, then.
2. Bosnia & herzegovina. Are we sure they’re reading the winners?
3. Serbia. No surprises there.
4. Ukraine. I’m not liking any of these. And neither is Nick.
5. Sweden. Zero surprises there, then. Except that they didn’t leave her till last.
6. FYR Macedonia. Yeah, that was okay.
7. Norway. Oh, I’m so bored by all these. Bring on Turkey!
8. Estonia. I’m am so not surprised. I am a bit bored, though.
9. Malta. I have forgotten Malta already.
10. Turkey? TURKEY! Thank goodness.
And that’s semi-final two. And with that, that’s the Eurovision live-blogging for another year. You know I don’t live-blog the final, because of an urgent need to get drunk. But I’ll be back here in 2013, unless something horrible happens in the meantime.
Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.