by Catriona Mills

Eurovision 2012: Semi-Final One

Posted 25 May 2012 in by Catriona

I’m getting this whole thing rolling a little early, so I can be ready when the actual music starts.

As always, Nick will be moderating comments as we go, even though I just tried to break up with him, because he claimed that he’d never heard Johnny Logan’s Hold Me Now.

I don’t know what’s wrong with that man, sometimes.

To really get into the Eurovision spirit, I’ve also spent part of the evening adding tassels to my lovely, lovely orange, green, and brown pseudo-poncho, which I intend to wear for the final.

NICK: Hey, do you want a drink?
ME: Yes. Yes, I do.

Apropos of nothing, I am typing this while sitting on my new carpet. It’s exceedingly exciting, because we’ve lived in this rental house for nearly eleven years and no one but us has ever walked on this carpet before. Except the people who installed it. You couldn’t say that about the old carpet.

Hooray! Eurovision!

Oooh, I love the bombastic Eurovision music. I’m marching round the living room right now, in fact.

I hope the male host isn’t a jerk this year. Have we ever had a male host who wasn’t a jerk, though?

A quick poll for the comments, while I’m getting started. Am I cold enough to wear my cardigan? I can’t make up my mind.

ME: That host was born in 1989?
NICK: Jesus. But he has facial hair!

And we’re starting with Montenegro.

Montenegro – Rambo Amadeus – Euro Neuro

Really? He loves both Mozart and Rambo? I would never have guessed that. And also? Why?

Oh good: a Trojan horse.

NICK: When did they start letting Sith Lords into Eurovision?

I don’t know how to feel about this. Somebody tell me!

I suspect it needs to either be less insane or more insane. At the moment, it’s not insane enough to attract me but too insane to actually be, you know, watchable.

Iceland – Gréta Salóme & Jónsi – Never Forget

Now, I’m trying to work out whether this is the Jónsi from Sigur Ros. If it is Sigur Ros I’m thinking of. Oh, who am I kidding: my knowledge of Icelandic ambient post-rock is shocking.

ME: Shall we have a quick game of musician or serial killer?
NICK: I’m waiting for a maypole to descend.

That robotic arm movement is really distracting.

The song’s not awful, and I daresay it’ll go through. It’s not my cup of tea, I admit. And those four men just standing on the stage are completely bizarre—oh, wait. They’re singing now. Good.

Also I think a couple of them might be women, now I look properly.

Key change! Drink!

Greece – Eleftheria Eleftheriou – Aphrodisiac
I’m worried already about this song, just on the strength of the title.

Yep, those are legs. But that’s … that’s not an outfit. It barely covers one side of her and doesn’t cover the other side at all! I hope she doesn’t take any of it off: there’s barely enough as it is.

The illuminated clam shell is classy—and symbolic.

This is so Eurovision. “You make me dance, like a maniac. You make me want your aphrodisiac.”

Firstly, doesn’t sound like an aphrodisiac is necessary. Secondly, that’s a bad euphemism. Bad euphemism!

NICK: Every inch of your aphrodisiac, from the sounds of it.

Blame him! Not me!

Latvia – Anmary – Beautiful Song
A self-referential song about winning Eurovision. Oh, really? Oh no.

NICK: What’s with the staging? It’s like an Amway convention.
ME: In 1965.

I am so, so bored.

The staging’s pretty, though.

Did she just name-check Mick Jagger in the middle of this song? I just … I can kind of see where she’s going with this, but it’s not doing a single thing for me. Costume change? Key change? Fireworks? Something! Anything!

Was that a key change? It was a bit perfunctory. Really, you can’t even manage a key change?

Albania – Rona Nishliu – Suus
Azerbaijan is pretty, huh?

I do like the songs that aren’t in English. It’s so much more boring when they’re all in English.

Not typical Eurovision, eh? That can be a good thing or a very, very bad thing.

Unlike that hair, which is just a bad thing.

NICK: She looks like one of the Bene Gesserit.

The problem with this being in Albanian is that I feel I should be having an emotional response to this, but my Albanian’s just not up to it.

NICK: She’s telling us that fear is the mind killer.

Oh, do you think she meant to miss that note?

Is her hair actually trying to kill her, d’you think? This is really starting to feel like an out-take from Once Upon A Time, and I feel bad saying that, because there’s probably something really traumatic and painful behind this.

Bit like that note.

NICK: I want to give her a hug and tell her it’s only Eurovision.

The chappie from Iceland is quite charmingly mad. Or Icelandic. I can’t quite tell.

Romania – Mandinga – Zaleilah
This is only song six? This feels as though it’s been going for forever. Maybe that was just Albania.

Why did they bring seven people and then make Tony the trombone player sit in the green room? Poor Tony!




NICK: Why? Oh, god. Why?

I can’t process this song at all: I’m too distracted by the bagpipes and what Nick calls the singer’s “leather control knickers”.

Then again, when have I ever talked about the songs in this live-blogging?

Still, flame-throwers! I do like flame-throwers.

Switzerland – Sinplus – Unbreakable
Oh, good. Fake guitar playing. And English lyrics in a transatlantic accident.

NICK: It’s a little bit Nickelback at this point.
ME: Nick!
NICK: Okay, that was a bit harsh. Sorry, Switzerland.

Does anyone else get the impressive that he’s struggling to keep up with the pace of the song? It reminds me of the time Nick walked too quickly down the hill to the laundry and ending up trotting frantically in an effort not to face plant.

Only with singing.

Oh, and they’ve got things shaved into their hair. I can’t be having with that. No, even the flame throwers aren’t helping here.

Belgium – Iris – Would You?
Julia, if she’s only 17, then you really shouldn’t be asking that rhetorical question.

The staging’s been really pretty this year. But if she’s only 17, they really should have checked her dress with the back-lighting before she actually performed.

I’m amazed she can even open her eyes with those eyelashes.

The song? Totes boring. As Nick says, there better be a key change.

NICK: Hmm. Key change, but I didn’t feel it.

I looked up just in time to see her grasping for the camera. I may have screamed out loud.

Finland – Pernilla Karlsson – När Jag Blundar
I’m liking Finland just on the strength of that lovely green dress. Such a pretty colour. And that’s how you wear a dress in front of a wind machine!

Plus, not in English. Bonus.

Of course, I don’t think I’d have matched both my nail polish and my eye shadow to the dress, but what do I know?

NICK: She’s okay, but she’s no Lordi.

I quite like this, actually. It’s about the only one so far that I haven’t deeply hated.

Israel – Izabo – Time
Azerbaijan is awfully pretty. I had no idea.

Retro? Oh, lord. Give me strength. Though I do like the Hebrew/English combination.




You see, there’s good retro. My pseudo-poncho, for example. And then there’s bad retro. This, for example.

NICK: The bass player’s doing some retro ’60s dancing. Okay, now he’s humping the bass drum. Less impressed by that.

Quick poll: this is awful, right?

San Marino – Valentina Monetta – The Social Network Song
Nick complained about this song for a full half hour, and he’s already forgotten about it. He’s a fickle creature.

Oooh, social commentary. She says, on her blog.

“If you want to come to my house, and click me with your mouse”?

The song-writer’s not really got any idea what cyber-sex is, does he? Why would he need to come to her house, if it’s cyber-sex? The mouse comment also makes me suspect he doesn’t have a good grasp on ordinary sex, either.

On another note, those pants are horrific. And I don’t know why there’s a cheerleader.

I’m frightened …

I’m not big on gimmicky songs, but I’m even less keen on rubbish gimmicky songs.

Cyprus – Ivi Adamou – La La Love
Nick has been looking forward to this one ever since he saw the singer an hour or so ago.

Sam Pang’s a bit obsessed with bridesmaid dresses tonight.

Well, the dresses are okay, but who on Earth would wear them with knee-high socks and then wear those knee-high socks with sandals? And I’m saying this as a woman with a poncho, people!

The song is deeply dull. So deeply dull that I’ve only just noticed that her bodice is see-through.

And have we had a single costume change yet?

NICK: She put a lot of faith in her tailor just then.

All the key changes have been a bit perfunctory, haven’t they?

Denmark – Soluna Samay – Should’ve Known Better
It always goes so quickly once it starts. Only five left after this.

Writing your first song at ten is really only impressive if the song’s not, you know, terrible. I’m not saying it was terrible, I’m just saying we can’t say it’s impressive in and of itself.

Oh god: epaulettes. And sunflowers! I’m anticipating a flying space dolphin any minute now.

What’s missing rain? I can’t quite make it out. Of course, I also can’t quite care. Oh, she’s good enough, but a bit dull. Still, at least she can hit her notes.

Russia – Buranovskiye Babushki – Party For Everybody
Good on you, Russia. Glad to see you’re breaking the mould here.

Is that actually an oven behind them?

This is the first song I’ve bopped along to all night. I’m officially going for Russia.

I’m not anticipating a costume change here, though.

I think this is the first time anyone’s ever baked during their Eurovision performance.

I love the Russian grannies so much. So adorable. And having so much fun.

Hungary – Compact Disco – Sound of Our Hearts
Oh, good: a hood. I hope it’s not another Montenegro.

I was inclined to like Montenegro, too, because of Nero Wolfe. Then he actually started singing. Shame, really.

Do you think Nero Wolfe would like Eurovision?

Not keen on this being in English, but at least it’s not another ballad.

Hooray! Flame-throwers.

Nick’s throwing his vote behind Hungary. I guess they’ve got a Goth vibe. The music’s a bit swinging, too.

Okay, I’ve got to give these guys credit. It’s not boring. There’s a lovely swing to it, and they’re certainly whole-hearted.

I’m not big on the “oh-oh, oh-oh” bits, though.

Austria – Trackshittaz – Woki mit deim Popo
I just skipped straight over Austria and into Moldova. So confusing, for a moment.

Oh god: there actually is pole dancing.

NICK: This is the douchiest thing I have ever seen.

Then he made a comment about waxing, which I’m not going to repeat here. He’s not wrong, though—and the cameramen are making sure we know it.

Please, please don’t let Austria get through. I don’t want to watch this again.

NICK: You know who else was from Austria …
ME: Nick!
NICK: It’s a meme! It’s a meme!

I can’t blog my reaction just then. Imagine gales of hysterical laughter.

NICK: I need help reacting to this!

Moldova – Pasha Parfeny- Lăutar
ME: Well, this is lively and terrifying.
NICK: The perfect Eurovision combination.

Nick just pointed out that the singer looks like Colin Farrell in knickerbockers.

I have no idea what’s happening here, but it’s refreshing to see the women in something other than stilts.

We can’t work out his jacket, though. Nick thought it was a crotchless kilt, except it doesn’t seem to have a back, either. So it’s just sides? Why? Does he need extra pockets?

Key change!

I’m not hating this. I hated Israel. But I’m not hating this.

Ireland – Jedward – Waterline
Final song. Here we go!

NICK: Paladins of daftness! Bless them.

Somehow I can’t bring myself to hate Jedward. I know they’re ridiculous. But I think they know they’re ridiculous.

Lord, they make me tired, though. Where do they get all the energy from?

Are they in a fountain? Or is that a fake fountain? Either would be awesome.

Oh, bless.

Oh, slightly awkward gymnastics! Aren’t they adorable?

And that’s the performances over. But look! They’re put in another one of those completely identical Eurovision voting rooms that look like something out of the Galactic Senate. Who is making these things? Is there a factory devoted to their production? Or do they just re-use the same one and move it across Europe every year? I need to know! The identical Eurovision voting room is one of the great unsolved mysteries in my life.

I’m still here, by the way! Just sitting back and waiting for the votes.

For the record, Nick and I were partial to Finland, Russia, Hungary, Moldova, and Ireland.

Oh, the free-entry six!

England: Well, yeah. That’s what I expected.
Italy: Not terribly exciting. Bit boppy, I suppose.
Azerbaijan: Oh, good. Another ballad.
Spain: And another one. Ballads galore!
Germany: Forgotten it already, actually.

The results!

1. Romania. Not one of my favourites.
2. Moldova! Hooray! We loved them.
3. Iceland! No surprises there. And they look so happy, bless them.
4. Hungary! Nick’s very excited. He really bonded with Hungary. That’s two of our five.
5. Denmark! Even fewer surprises there.
6. Albania! Oh, wow. I don’t want to hear that again.
7. Cyprus! I think that’s a vote for the bodice, myself.
8. Greece! We’re doing this in silence, because the sound’s gone. Is it just us?
9. Russia! Hooray! Bless the Russian grannies.
10. Ireland! I knew it. Nick was terribly worried, but of course they went through.

So, no Israel. No Montenegro. Not too worried about those.

See you again tomorrow night, all? I’m off the make tassels.

Share your thoughts [31]


Nick wrote at May 25, 10:25 am

“Do you wanna come to my house and click on my mouse?” Or words to that effect. Holy what.


Kirsty wrote at May 25, 10:31 am

I too am shocked that Nick has never heard ‘Hold Me Now’. Just cause, Catriona, just cause.


Catriona wrote at May 25, 10:33 am

I know, right? How can he not have heard it, short of being wilfully deaf?


Belegdel wrote at May 25, 10:34 am

Yay! Eurovision!


Nick wrote at May 25, 10:37 am



Wendy wrote at May 25, 10:40 am

Yes you need a cardigan…I’m wearing one


Belegdel wrote at May 25, 10:40 am

Damn, no fireplace. We could lob a match into a nearby cupboard?


Nick wrote at May 25, 10:43 am

The Montenegro entry is … just incredible. Bad like Australian parody cricket commentary rap songs.


Wendy wrote at May 25, 10:45 am

Needed more insane I think


Belegdel wrote at May 25, 10:46 am

We’ll take one of him and one of her thanks. In those outfits.


Belegdel wrote at May 25, 10:47 am

Barbie doll with Eurovision action!


Wendy wrote at May 25, 10:50 am

Ewes Greece..I know intonation is not a priority but this is awful


Wendy wrote at May 25, 10:55 am

It’s not a beautiful song actually. Sorry Latvia :-(


Belegdel wrote at May 25, 10:58 am

Latvia mugged Servalan for that outfit


John wrote at May 25, 11:00 am

Hey everyone! Albania: that was terrible!


Wendy wrote at May 25, 11:02 am

And I thought Montenegro was unsettling…Albania just plain frightening on so many levels…the complete package really!


Belegdel wrote at May 25, 11:02 am

Except I meant Albania. Oops, too much cider already


Kirsty wrote at May 25, 11:02 am

Oh, I was struck dumb for the first two minutes of Albania, just processing the, the… still processing obviously.


Belegdel wrote at May 25, 11:11 am

Vicky: Did he learn English from James Reyne?


Wendy wrote at May 25, 11:15 am

Oh Belgium… That’s just foul…. It can’t be that tricky to hit the notes…perhaps ifmyour dress was less see through?


Wendy wrote at May 25, 11:20 am

The highlight isnthe train on the dress


Belegdel wrote at May 25, 11:26 am

I gave the singer some points for camp but otherwise yes, terrible.


Wendy wrote at May 25, 11:28 am

I adored Israel ! Seriously….whereas this San Marino…words fail me


Wendy wrote at May 25, 11:42 am

I am going out on a limb…Russia will win!


John wrote at May 25, 11:43 am

If Russia doesn’t win it’ll be an international tragedy…


Belegdel wrote at May 25, 11:53 am

Does that count as a costume change?


Nick wrote at May 25, 11:59 am

Oh, Jedward. Next time I play a paladin, I want my armour to look like that.


Wendy wrote at May 25, 12:09 pm

Btw your nick nearly tripping over story made me laugh a lot :-)


Catriona wrote at May 25, 12:16 pm

It was even funnier in person! I nearly died.


Wendy wrote at May 25, 12:39 pm

I was for Moldova and Russia…liked Israel…happy to substitute Ireland!


libby wrote at May 25, 02:45 pm

I was watching the Albanian video earlier today and it was clear to me that the song was about how unbearably frustrating it is when one is unable to prevent kids from drawing on the walls on account of having one’s feet stuck in a box. I’m not so sure now.

I was disappointed that Moldova filled the stage with pointless dancers rather than musicians. I really like that song.

My 9 year old was angered by Trackshittaz’s “childishness”. So very glad we don’t have to sit through that again.

And Jedward in a fountain!!! Yay!!!

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