by Catriona Mills

Live-blogging Eurovision: Semi-Final 1

Posted 23 May 2008 in by Catriona

Those are some nice lighting effects. I don’t know how they manage them.

Oh, look, Time Tots!

Are those women in national costume actually giants? They look strangely huge compared to the other people on the stage.

And now people painted blue and red. That’s odd—even for Eurovision.

Dear heavens—is that female presenter really wearing a dress slit up to the crotch with lacy bicycle pants underneath?

Montenegro: “I Love You To Eternity.”
What on earth are those back-up dancers wearing? And are they really doing the robot?
On the plus side, I’m distracted by what seems to be the repeated use of the word “booty.”

Israel: “The Fire in Your Eyes.”
Apparently, this singer’s only 20. I like his shiny silver vest, sans any kind of shirt. Oops, now he seems to have switched to English. Shame: I like the songs in foreign languages best, because I don’t have to worry about the banal lyrics.
He chose that song out of 450 songs?
What on earth did the others sound like?

Estonia: “Leto Svet.”
Wow—flags and gold bikinis before the song even starts.
On the plus side, the camp factor just went up. These guys are like 1980s Estonian Wiggles.
Is that a beetroot? Nick thinks it’s a turnip.
Where did that accordion come from?
What on earth is happening?
Actually, where did the accordion just go?
I—don’t know what to say.
Wait: a former MP and the host of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”? What?

Moldova: “A Century of Love.”
Nobody’s removed any clothes yet. I’m disappointed.
However, this woman is holding a teddy bear—is that weirder than the beetroot?
If living forever means listening to this song over and over again, count me out.
Now the trumpeter’s cuddling the teddy bear.
Wow, this is dull.
There does seem to be a wind machine, though.
Apparently, Moldova have never won. Odd, that.

San Marino: “Complice.”
Ooh, debut.
Uh oh, finger piano movements.
Nick is struggling with how 1980s Eurovision is—I wonder it’s taken him so long to notice.
What purpose does that back-up dancer serve, I wonder? And will she remove any clothes?
This is dull, too—I hope there’s a key change.

Apparently some woman in London thought the camp factor came in with Estonia, too.

Belgium: “O Julissi.”
This woman doesn’t look like an Ishtar.
Nick’s wondering why the term “hatefully twee” just popped into his head.
What are those musicians wearing on their heads? I do like the singer’s shoes, though.
I have a feeling that this song might make more sense, if I could understand it.

Oooh, ad. break. That makes things a little easier. I have no idea how I’m going to keep doing this while I’m eating dinner.

Actually, I have no idea why I started doing this—but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Dinner arrives and ad. break ends. Bad timing.

Azerbaijan: “Day After Day.”
Wow, that is high-pitched.
Oh, what on earth are those? Wings?
Actually, I like this. This is what Eurovision is supposed to be like—I’m casting my vote for Azerbaijan.
Oooh, smoke machine. And sparkly cummerbands.
And a costume change.
Oh, this is Eurovision.
Fireworks! Fabulous.
Oh, that was awesome!

Slovania: “Vrag Naj Vzame.”
I think—don’t check my spelling.
And no, Nick, Slovania is not where the Slaveen come from—although this woman is apparently a Time Lord.
Or, as Nick says, Servalan.
Cool—finally, the clothes start coming off.
Ew, but lime-green and purple dress. That’s not so good.

Norway: “Hold On Be Strong.”
Not impressing me so far. Nick’s right; it sounds like a cover—of just about anything played on B105 over the last ten years.
I guess they’ve stretched the definition of “original.”
Nope, that wasn’t the dullest yet.

Poland: “For Life.”
Smoke machine—but still not a good start.
Dear lord, I wish her luck getting that dress off. Ever.
Oh, wow: can we all say “sub-Celine Dion” in unison? It might make her stop.
If we don’t have a woman rising up out of that white grand piano, I’m going to be very disappointed.
Yep, very disappointed.

Ireland: “Irelande Douze Pointe.”
Finally! A singing turkey puppet.
Okay, Ireland are now my second favourite—they’re still behind Azerbaijan, though.
I’m wondering, though, if Ireland ever want to compete in Eurovision ever again.
Did that turkey just say “Let’s bring it home”?
I like his accent, though. And all the gold lame.
Hey, that’s booing! That’s not right. Serbians can’t be that humourless.

Andorra: “Casanova.”
Is David Tennant involved?
Oh, dear god, what is that? Even Nick’s shouted, “Cover your shame, woman!”
Oh, bloody hell—it’s a breastplate.
“Casanova—in a fairy tale I found you”: honestly. Keep your literary references straight.
This is so sub-ABBA.
And Nick and I are just waiting for the kit to come off.
Damn. Stayed more or less clothed.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: “Pokusaj.”
Again, don’t check my spelling.
Oh, what? Four brides?
And a man in a basket with a painted-on moustache?
Oh, I’m having nightmares tonight.
Hang on, she’s hanging out clothes? This is even weirder than Estonia.
Now the brides are knitting?
Seriously, what’s happening?
As Nick says, it doesn’t actually sound that bad, but the mise en scene is—nightmarish, really.
Ha! The commentator’s just said “If you close your eyes, it’s a lovely song, really.” Nick feels justified.

Armenia: “Qele, Qele.”
Still a disappointing absence of removable clothes.
Hang on, what’s happening around her knees? Oh, they’re back-up dancers. Odd.
I do like dresses made entirely out of fringes, but I’m not sure what these back-up dancers are supposed to be doing.
Ooh, fireworks.
I’m easily impressed by fireworks.
Ooh, and the first flamethrower of the night! Always a bonus.
The back-up dancers still seem superfluous.

I want travelogues. These pieces are strange.

The Netherlands: “Your Heart Belongs to Me.”
No, it doesn’t.
Oh, come one—those clothes have to be removable.
She’s pretty, but this is dull. And the dancers are superfluous, again.
If that skirt isn’t supposed to come off, why is she wearing shorts under it?
And I don’t think I’ve seen a single gold chain yet. What is this?

Finland: Whoops, I missed the title.
Oh, Lordi have a lot to answer for.
Quoth Nick: Spinal Tap is not dead.
You know, I’ve always thought that Eurovision needed more synchronised head-banging.
Ha! Wind machine is back.
Sadly, this is one of my favourites so far, such has been the overall standard.
And now fireworks!
NICK: Sadly, Elvish is based on Finnish. So this is basically an Elvish death-metal band.
Ooh, key change.
Aw, look at the fans. That’s so sweet.

I’m warming to these bitchy commentators, but I want Terry.

Romania: “Pe-o Margine De Lume.”
Damn, these titles are getting the better of me. And my wine’s going warm. Why did I start doing this?
Seriously, THAT skirt has to be removable.
Somebody start taking their clothes off, dammit!
Damn, this is dull.
Except for the lime-green-lined, leather shoulder pads—those are both kind of funky and terrifying.
Nope—the whole thing was boring beyond belief. I’m not voting for them.

I need a cigarette.

Woo hoo! Ad. break. Back soon.

Right, nictoned up. And frantically drinking my warm wine. Blame any spelling errors on that.

Actually, I need a top-up. Where’s Nick when you need him?

That Toyota Kluger ad. is the nastiest thing I’ve ever seen. Ooh, more wine. Awesome.

Weightlifters? What? Apparently, one of them’s “massive in the Balkans.” Oh, dear.

Russia: “Believe.”
One of the favourites, eh? We’ll see about that.
Oh, dear lord make it stop. Please.
I swear I’ve heard this song before.
Hang on, is that violinist kneeling? Why?
“I will let him put my fire out”? Wow, there’s that camp factor again.
Is that an ice skater? Oh, man.
Okay, I’m voting for these guys based purely on that ice skater.
And the fact that at least this singer is making a nod towards taking his clothes off.

Hang on, what are those two doing? I know this is SBS, but still.
A kissing competition? That doesn’t make it better.

Greece: “Secret Combination.”
Okay, good start—singing on top of a pole held up by your back-up dancers.
Otherwise this is totally generic.
And “secret combination” is just making me wonder what that can possibly be a euphemism for.
She didn’t really just sing “I’m easy but I’m true”, did she? Aren’t they mutually exclusive behavioural patterns? Or did I miss a word?
Damn! I missed the removable clothes while I was typing. Just my luck.
Ah! “I’m NOT easy but I’m true.” That makes more sense.

Why is a tennis player coming on stage? Does he sing?
Damn—look at the size of that tennis ball! Why?

So when do we get the votes? I want to know if my favourites are going through.

“When you throw a tennis ball into the crowd, the voting begins.” Is that traditional? I don’t remember that at previous Eurovisions.

Wow—he does sing. But not well.

Oh . . . wow. I didn’t notice the masked and leashed men in Slovenia’s entry first time around.

And if Azerbaijan don’t go through, I’m going to be very upset.

Ah, the Andorran breastplate. Aren’t Andorrans supposed to be blue?

We’d quite like Bosnia and Herzegovina to go through, as well.

Finland: butch or camp? (Not my question: some random person e-mailing the hosts.) Nick suggests “bamp,” but that’s just weird.

Ah, Russia. That ice skater tips the balance for me; it’s this year’s woman in a piano, or Turkish ballad singer with a blood-pack under his shirt.

Wow; twenty minutes to go? I’d forgotten how long the voting takes. And how random are SBS’s ad. breaks?

“Fewer commissions”, CMC Markets! “Fewer”! Not “less commissions.” Honestly, people—come to grips with countable nouns.

Hey, I kind of like this orchestra-choir-thing that’s on at the moment. Well, except for the strange arm movements. Very interesting sound: European but Eastern. But not entirely Eastern European. Oh, you know what I mean.

Except now the main singer reminds me of someone, and I can’t think who. It’s so frustrating when that happens.

Ooh, bagpipes. I love bagpipes. Even when they’re freakishly pig-shaped, as this one is.

What the hell does that woman in the pink pantsuit have around her neck?

Ew, the U. K. entry. Not as embarrassing as last year—I’m still blushing—but I don’t think I’ll be looking forward to that.

Germany doesn’t look much better mind. Girl band—and trilby hats.

France appear to have travelled back in time for their entry. And he’s wearing blackface? Not really?

Okay, Spain is now on my list of things that scare me senseless.

Serbia, on the other hand—I can’t tell if they’re trying too hard or if they figure they don’t have to try at all.

Seriously, pink-pantsuit woman—you need to have a doctor look at that. It doesn’t look healthy.

Where did the Greek contestant get that accent from? Is she American—pure Joisey—or is that via MTV?

Those red- and blue-painted people are everywhere! Run, audience members! Run while you still can!

Oh, just open the damn envelopes!

1: Greece. Seriously?
2: Romania. I can’t even remember them. Damn.
3: Bosnia and Herzegovina. Oh, good.
4: Finland. Woo hoo! More synchronised headbanging.
5: Russia. Ah, the ice skater. Fantastic.
6: Israel. No surprise there.
7: AZERBAIJAN! Awesome. I would have been gutted, otherwise.
8: Armenia. Who were they? Did I enjoy them? It’s all a blur, now.
9: Poland. Were they boring?
10: Norway. No, they were boring.

Damn. No turkey.

But otherwise, Nick and I did quite well, frankly.

Not impressed about Poland, Norway, and Romania. Could have done with seeing Estonia and their pop-up beetroot again.

Oh, well. That’s why you watch the semi-finals.

Damn, I’m going to have to do this all over again tomorrow, aren’t I?

Share your thoughts [6]


Nick wrote at May 23, 11:11 am

That. Was. Awesome.


Catriona wrote at May 23, 11:36 am

Aw, thanks, honey.


John Gunders wrote at May 23, 11:42 am

No really. I’ll try and watch without a 5 minute delay tomorrow.

I wasn’t expecting Ireland to go through: the people who vote in this thing don’t think much of piss-takes.

I also notice that the SBS website is unavailable…


Catriona wrote at May 23, 11:45 am

No, I like the five-minute delay! Gives me a chance to type more or less coherently.

I didn’t really expect Ireland to go through, either. Or Estonia—I gather that was a joke entry, too, although I didn’t understand a word of it.

Still, we get to see Azerbaijan again. That’s getting my vote.


Tim wrote at May 23, 11:22 pm

Some notes:

> NICK: Sadly, Elvish is based on Finnish. So this is basically an Elvish death-metal band.

Quenya is based on Finnish; Sindarin is based on Welsh. So they’d be a Noldor death-metal band (or possibly Teleri).

> “When you throw a tennis ball into the crowd, the voting begins.” Is that traditional? I don’t remember that at previous Eurovisions.

Yes, it’s an old Serbian custom.

> Where did the Greek contestant get that accent from? Is she American—pure Joisey—or is that via MTV?

Kalomoira is Greek-American, the daughter of Greek immigrants; she was born and raised in West Hempstead, New York. She went to Greece to compete in Fame Story (their Star Academy show). She won the show and became a household name in Greece.


Catriona wrote at May 23, 11:29 pm

I thought she was probably American, given the accent. I just always forget—despite the Celine Dions and Gina Gs—how far the desire to compete in Eurovision stretches. And it wasn’t that uncommon some years back to hear European kids from non-English-speaking countries who’d helped perfect and refine their English via the telly, so they had oddly American accents.

(For that matter, my sister read aloud in a broad Perthshire accent for years: still does a bit, on the double o sounds. She never spoke with a Scottish accent in everyday speech, but unconsciously mimicked the accent of the woman who taught her to read.)

Comment Form

All comments are moderated and moderation includes a non-spoiler policy based on Australian television scheduling.

Textile help (Advice on using Textile to format your comments)
(if you do not want your details filled in when you return)



Monthly Archive