by Catriona Mills

Live-blogging Eurovision: Semi-Final 2, 2010

Posted 29 May 2010 in by Catriona

So this is the second of 2010’s semi-finals—and the last live-blogging for Eurovision until 2011.

I’ve heard that this batch of performers are even less wacky than last night’s, which is a distinct disappointment to me.

Oh, and Norway? Where are the travelogues? The little snippets of Norway we’ve come to expect from Eurovision? The Moomins?

Okay, Moomins are Finnish. But there must be something almost as adorable as Moomins that you could show us. So far, we’ve had nothing but belching and women stepping in cowpats.

Admiring the new commercial for Zantac heartburn remedies: “Put out what you put in”. Don’t we all put out what we put in, sooner or later?

Oh, man: it’s the pink balloons again. I’m just not feeling the pink-balloon love.

Plus, there’s nothing about this that screams “Norway!” to me. The staging, the focus on low shots of buildings or the panning over the skyline—it’s all so generic.

Oh, good: Norwegian Josh Thomas is back. (Not my joke, but a good one.)

I’m not listening to the hosts—I’m too busy trying to work out what the people in the background are waving. I think one of them’s waving a wedding cake with a teddy bear on the top.

Or is it a kangaroo wearing a T-shirt and a lei?

LITHUANIA: “Eastern European Funk”
Oooh, interesting.
No, not the pants. The pants are terrifying.
NICK: They’re all wearing William Hartnell’s trousers.
Shame it’s in English, though.
I’m not hating this, but I my suspicions that it’s not quite Eurovision enough to do well. They might get through to the finals, but I don’t see them winning.
It’s slight, obviously, but it’s not making me scream at my television.
NICK: Oh, no. No. Don’t touch your crotches.
Does this qualify as a boy band?
Woo hoo! Costume change!
And what a costume change!
Changed my mind: I hope they win. They’re wearing sparkly swimsuits! They deserve to win!

ARMENIA: “Apricot Stone”
ME: Is that a recorder?
NICK: I think it’s just a stick.
That man’s dancing with an urn.
NICK: God bless the Wonderbra.
Fireworks! And what I thought at first was a monk. But I think he’s just a back-up singer. Shame, really.
Dear lord, that’s a lot of hair.
I’m loving the interpretive dance with the urn.
She’s quite stunning, and the song’s not as boring as you think it is when you actually listen to the lyrics.
I’m a bit creeped out by the giant apricot stone on the stage, though—it’s a bit flesh-coloured.
Key change!
NICK: This song has everything. Except a costume change, so far. I’m still thinking someone might burst out of the fleshy clam.

ISRAEL: “Milim”
So this one’s in Hebrew? It’s been a bit English-centric so far, I admit.
I have literally nothing to say about this song—except I have a sneaking suspicion I once heard the melody in the ’80s.
It’s not that it’s bad—there’s just nothing to talk about yet. He’s just standing there and hitting all the notes. It’s just not Eurovision, frankly.
I mean, he’s singing in tune, he hasn’t taken his clothes off, nothing’s burst out of the piano, he doesn’t have a flamethrower or back-up dancers dressed as trees.
Whither the bad taste, Eurovision?
I’d say this one’s going through.
NICK: He’s actually quite good.
If this is the way Eurovision’s going, then there won’t be much fun in it.

DENMARK: “In a Moment Like This”
Come on, Denmark. Weird it up for me!
Oh, dear: I seem to have hit my head and woken up in 1988.
NICK: Look out! There’s a shadow behind you!
The performance is working beautifully on telly, but it’s not going to be very dynamic for the audience.
Oh, hang on: now they’re ABBA.
Oooh, travelator! Sweet. Except now they just have walk all the way back across the stage to one another.
Oh, I don’t envy her those shoes.
This is pretty much ABBA meets Roxette. I rather like it.
Key change!
This semi-final’s really bringing the key changes.
Oh, and a wind machine.
Bless you, Denmark.

SWITZERLAND: It’s Raining Gold”
Not raining men? As the commentator says, raining gold sounds quite appealing, but in reality is quite dangerous.
Oh, our first gold suit of the night. And a beard! So terribly ’70s lounge act.
I see that jellyfish is back.
And I don’t know if those are fireworks or flames or just lights that keep springing up at emotional moments in the song, but they’re really saving it from the rather boring delivery.
Wind machine! But the song bores me so much, it took me a minute to spot his scarf fluttering behind him.
The commentator agrees with me on the boredom: “Sometimes, three minutes takes longer than other times.”

Oh, even the Danish singer thinks their song sounds like ABBA. He hasn’t mentioned Roxette, though.

SWEDEN: “This is My Life”
Oh, songs with the word “life” in them are usually rubbish.
Either she’s minuscule or that’s the world’s largest guitar.
This Eurovision’s really pushing the single-singer-on-stage motif. I don’t care for it, myself. I want nutty back-up dancers.
NICK: Given that’s she only miming, she should have just got a ukulele. It would have been easier to manage.
Hey, what happened to the guitar? I was just trying to remember how to spell “ukulele” and it vanished!
This is boring enough to be in an Apple advertisement.
This is what would happen if the guy from Travis and Chris Martin had a child and raised it in an emo commune.
At least we have some back-up dancers, even if she’s making them stand as far away from her as possible.
Terrifying vibrato at the end, there.

AZERBAIJAN: “Drip Drop”
Another “power ballad,” apparently. Is this going to be another Disney princess, like Portugal?
Oh, it’s “Nothing Else Matters”!
No? Sounds a lot like it.
Why is she wearing half a Smurf glove?
See, the thing is that I’m just deeply, deeply bored by power ballads. Unless they’re by ’80s hair-metal bands. So, basically, I’d be more interested in this if it were “Nothing Else Matters”.
You smell like lipstick? Honey, I don’t think your lipstick should be noticeably fragrant.
If this woman has been working with Beyonce’s choreographer, she should ask for her money back. She’s just walking around! I could teach her how to do that, and I just fell down a flight of stairs.
Okay, but illuminated dress. That’s kinda cool.

UKRAINE: “Sweet People”
Oh, good: a wind machine. Now we just need a key change and a costume change.
And she could probably lose that hood at some point.
NICK: I [redacted] hate Druids.
Something needs to happen here: this is both over-wrought and under-baked.
Oh, wind machine!
Not enough.
But at least she’s finally taken her unstructured felt hood off.
The lyrics are fighting with the music here.
This would be vastly improved by some male back-up dancers dressed as Druids dancing around a tiny little model of Stonehenge.

THE NETHERLANDS: “Ich Ben Verliefd”
NICK: Carnies!
Oh, bless you, Netherlands. Bless you for these rotating circus folk.
NICK: The Celestial Toymaker has come for us!
Nick thinks the back-up singers could have been themed, but we’re both bopping along to this.
I’ve even forgiven the fact that it was written by the man who wrote the Smurf song. (Smurfs! I hate them! Cheery little sods. And how can one word be a noun and a proper noun, a verb and an adjective, even an adverb? It’s linguistically improbable.)
The song? Still bopping along.
This is very old-school Eurovision indeed.

ROMANIA: “Playing with Fire”
Duelling pianos? Don’t get my hopes up, commentators. If these performers don’t start smacking each other around with baby grands, I’m outta here.
Apparently, that’s not going to happen, but there are flames, a fake perspex piano, and back-up singers with ostriches glued to their bottoms.
I tell you, if Eurovision’s main export was hair, they’d make a fortune from this year’s performers.
Oh, wow: that’s a vinyl catsuit.
NICK: I think my glasses just shattered.
That was certainly a high note.
Nick’s voting for that one. Just for the song. The song. Not the cat suit.

SLOVENIA: Oh, I can’t type that quickly enough. Sorry, Slovenia.
This is a fusion of folk and rock, they tell us.
Oh, squatting!
Hmm. It’s not so much a fusion as just a basic alternation between the two forms.
Another accordion, though—our second of this Eurovision. And I do like the outfits—especially the boots.
It’s . . . interesting, but a little too gimmicky for my taste. There’s not a huge amount of difference between this and a singing turkey puppet.

IRELAND: “It’s For You”
Oh, speaking of singing turkey puppets . . .
Smoke machine.
The smoke machine doesn’t get an exclamation mark, because the song’s not exciting enough for exclamation marks.
I don’t want to say anything mean about this, because apparently the singer’s not feeling well. But this is just the sort of song that bores the living daylights out of me.
It’s not the song’s fault.
Lovely traditional flute in the middle there.
Key change!
Still bored.

BULGARIA: “You Are An Angel”
Oh, wow.
Wow.
NICK: He’s the Eurotrashiest man they’ve had on in years.
And there are “angel” back-up dancers. The angels are in inverted commas because they’re scantily clad, wearing over-the-knee boots (well, the women are), and slathered in silver body paint.
Not so angelic, are they?
He’s seriously wearing a rhinestone motorcycle jacket.
The back-up dancers are energetic, though—although, as Nick points out, they look incredibly slippery. Maybe one of them will be dropped on the stage at some point?
I have absolutely no idea what the song’s like. Ask me in ten minutes, and I won’t even remember hearing it. I’m mesmerised by the back-up dancers.

CYPRUS: “Life Looks Better in Spring”
Their singer is Welsh? That’s a bit of a dodgy rule you’ve got there, Cyprus.
Oh, is that our first drum-kit of Eurovision? We’ve had drums thrown around by the back-up dancers, but not a proper drum kit.
Nick’s distracted by the fact that the drummer is really hitting his cymbals, despite the fact that you’re not supposed to play your instruments on stage. I suggest that the cymbal might be made of painted cardboard, but Nick doesn’t seem compelled by this argument.
Have I not mentioned the song yet?
That’s because it’s terribly, terribly boring.
It includes the line “Tell me about your feelings.”
To nick a line from Scott Pilgrim, if this song had a face, I would punch it.

Oh, now they’re interviewing Beyonce’s choreographer, and I feel guilty about being mean about him earlier. But only a little bit guilty.

CROATIA: “Lako Je Sve”
As with every song tonight, the opening bars sound like something I’ve heard before.
Oh, a park bench. That’s not something we’ve seen before.
That jellyfish is back, too. I don’t trust that jellyfish.
This is all a bit Victoria’s Secret, isn’t it?
If this translates as “Everything is Easy,” why is the delivery so overwrought? Is it ironic?
Back-up dancers in slinky catsuits, and lots of emotive arm-waving now.
Once again, Eurovision demonstrates its devotion to massive quantities of hair.

GEORGIA: “Shine”
NICK: Looks quite promising so far.
He’s only saying that on the basis of the flailing back-up dancers.
And the commentator’s right—lots of these singers are barefoot. That’s a bit casual, isn’t it? Especially given their fancy frocks.
Was that a dance move, or was she just trying to keep her bodice from falling off?
I feel a bit sorry for the female back-up dancer—she’s so often off on her own in a corner while the male dancers are dancing with the singer. Hardly worth putting on that much tulle, I would have thought.
Oh, good: flamethrowers.
Nice.

TURKEY: “We Could Be The Same”
We haven’t actually had that many bands this year, have we?
NICK: Dude.
ME: What?
NICK: I think there are some Cybermen in there.
And so there are. Well, robots, anyway.
I do love the bands in Eurovision: I love watching them bounce around with their instruments when I know they’re not actually playing them.
Oh, now the Cybermen are robot dancing.
This is significantly less boring than most of tonight’s songs.
NICK: I think they’re lady robots.
Oh, and now the lady robot is angle-grinding herself.
No, that’s not a euphemism.
Good to see that Turkey is still bringing the madness.
And now the robot’s taking her kit off!
Is there anything that Turkey haven’t done?
Maybe no wind machine. They should have had a wind machine.

Okay, so that’s the semi-finals.

I’m taking a bit of a break, but I’ll be back for the voting, if not before.

Actually, before I go, I’ll list the songs Nick and I liked:
Lithuania
Armenia
Denmark
The Netherlands
Romania
Turkey

We’d be surprised if Azerbaijan and Israel didn’t go through, but we didn’t care for either of them—Israel purely on the grounds that he was too competent.

Since we’re only really partial to six songs, surely at least some of them should go through? We’ll see, after about half an hour of filler.

We must be coming up to the results soon, because we’re running through the automatic entries, and they’re all as boring as I remember from last night—though I don’t recall thinking that the U.K.‘s entry was quite that auto-tuned last night. That does not bode well for a live performance.

And now, the results.
1. Georgia. Not surprised, but it wasn’t one of my faves.
2. Ukraine. Oh, dear: I didn’t want to watch that again. Too over-wrought.
3. Turkey. Oh, good! One of the ones we fancied.
4. Israel. No surprise there.

Nick and I are doing well with our guesses.

5. Ireland. Not one of the ones we fancied, but we’re not surprised. Very Eurovision.
6. Cyprus. We’re not surprised by that, but we are bored.

Now we’re doing badly with our guesses.

7. Azerbaijan. No surprise—again—but I wasn’t thrilled.
8. Romania. Oh, we liked them, though the catsuit was a bit disturbing.
9. Armenia. Oh, good! Nick really fancied her.

The last one has to be Denmark, surely?

10. Denmark! Oh, joy! I would have been so upset if they’d not got through.

So, no Lithuania? I’m not terribly surprised: the gimmicky ones don’t tend to do well. (Case in point: Slovenia.) Shame about The Netherlands, but that was a bit old-school Eurovision, maybe.

So that’s the semi-finals for 2010. With luck, see you here in 2011 for the next set of semi-finals!

Share your thoughts [10]

1

Wendy wrote at May 29, 10:33 AM

I have been out and am recording to watch tomorrow. I will save reading and commenting til then :-)
I will definitely be ready for the big Finale though. Does it clash with Doctor Who liveblogging?

2

Quintus Sertorius wrote at May 29, 11:20 AM

Moomins are Finnish! To be more precise, the characters were created by a member of the Swedish ethnic minority in Finland, Tove Jansson, and they live in Moominvalley, which, as everyone knows, is located in Finland.

I have issues with both Israel and Azerbaijan being in it, neither of which can seriously be considered to be part of Europe. Russia maybe but only due to Kaliningrad. Although given that Celine Dion has taken part, I guess geography is not really their strong point. Or music for that matter. Maybe Australia should enter next year?

On with the tasteplosion!

3

Catriona wrote at May 29, 11:28 AM

Oh, I know Moomins are Finnish! I adore the Moomins.

I’ve just found the interval acts so dull and the lack of travelogues so disappointing. The Finnish production a few years ago, complete with Moomins, was so much more fun.

4

John wrote at May 29, 01:38 PM

I can’t believe that Lithuania didn’t make it. It’s a scandal.

5

Catriona wrote at May 29, 09:59 PM

It seems to be the one everyone’s annoyed about. And I say that the gimmicky ones don’t do well, but was it Croatia who had the pirates with plastic swords a couple of years ago? don’t see why there isn’t room for five men in sparkly swimsuits.

6

Wendy wrote at May 30, 03:25 AM

Here we go… I am going to attempt to comment on everything all in one. I’ll try and keep it short!
I missed the glowing sphere intro on semi-final 1. Lucky for me by the looks of things

Surely they could have got smaller face microphones for the hosts? It’s like they have a huge growth on their faces.
Does anyone understand the voting? I guess I don’t need to.

1. Lithuania: Oh I think I saw this in the SBS preview last week. Sam says “funnest”. I guess that’s a word now. Check pants…cool. Sort of Bobby McFerrin crossed with New Kids on the Block? Pretty catchy actually. I’m not going to get up and dance but I might if I wans’t typing. Love the props. OK…those glittery hot pants are worth points for all of their own. Chutzpah? Is that what that is?

2. Armenia: who writes a song named after the kernel of a fruit? Lots of smoke and weird interpretive dance. Early use of flames and fireworks. Perhaps too soon. Unless of course there is going to be a key change? Why does that man keep twirling with the urn? Yes boring song…made interesting only by weird staging.

3. Israel: In Hebrew..nice change from English. Soft start…hoping this builds to a big finish. He certainly is very pretty. Are there points for that? Oh the piano man is singing too. That’s nice. uughh…little bit out of tune on your “money notes” there. I guess it’s the lighting that is more important. Surely they could have transposed it down for the poor fellow.

4. Denmark: I hear Roxette here. He’s even got the hair and the pseudo military jacket. Oh thank the lord she hasn’t got a punk peroxide do. Whoa..hit the power ballade early on. Probably best not to waste time faffing about with a verse. Song is dullsville. Need some fireworks please. I wonder if Princess Mary gave this the thumbs up. Phew..key change…that’s something I spose. And wind machine. good. still I see no silver glitter hotpants.

5. Switzerland: Oh he’s wearing gold. Just in casewe’re visual learners I imagine. And he’s using the baubles . This one is freaking me out slightly actually. Too much fire lighting. How did we survive without wind machines? It’s a no from me.

6. Sweden: has her own guitar. Impressive. a feminist folk power ballad? Wait….where is the guitar? I guess it would have inhibited the effect of the wind machine. Too many genres in one song. and a weird vibrato in her voice. and it’s boring.

7. Azerbaijan: beyonce’s choreographer hey? let’s see shall we. weird blue glove. yes i see the beyonce effect in the way she is descending that mini staircase. too much blueness. oh see now we’re getting some “girlfriend” kind of moves. is this the same guy who did the interpretive urn dancing? I’m twirling around…etc. Is it just me or are all these songs the same?

8. Ukraine: at last a colour apart from blue. slightly unusual costume with the druid hood but whatever takes your fancy. tattered dress makes the most of the wind machine. still waiting for the song to start though. is there a chorus? if so I can’t pick it. just a lot of wailing really. too harsh? the guy on the lights is going crazy though.

9. The Netherlands: Why so many women soloists? it’s got to be good if the smurf man wrote it. or not…No this is delightful with the music box thing. boppy. sing along time. clap everyone. I want this to win…together with Lithuania (even though I now know it doesn’t). At least they’re not boring power ballads sung by women with unnaturally long wavy hair. I think the smurf influence is highly evident. And maybe a little bit Waterloo?

10. Romania: oh yes I saw this piano thing in the SBS preview as well. It’s quite odd. Always good to have “fire” in the title. Oh they actually played the pianos as well. I was starting to wonder for a minute. Is she trying to crack them though with that note only dogs can hear?

11. Slovenia: NOw, this is more like it. Just plain strange mix of traditional and aerosmith wannabes. Even better than the netherlands. might even pip lithuania for my favourite. Tremendously repetitive though.

12. Ireland: Someone thinks they are Bette midler a la the Rose/ Wind Beneath my Wings. Oh dear…she didn’t quite make that big moment.

13. Bulgaria: More wings. Because there weren’t enough winged moments in SemiFinal1. White suit. Because we havne’t had enough white costumes already. Smoke. Because there hasn’t been enough smoke already. Some lyrics could be handy.

14. Cyprus: Welsh? what? An actual song? That’s unusual as well. This sounds like Bryan Adams. Enough said.

15. Croatia: aaah… a tableaux to begin. Noice. Bored now though. get moving with the song Croatia. A power ballad times three. Three times as painful to listen to? Dance break. Destiny’s child meets Desperate Housewives?

16. Georgia: right ripping off Total Eclipse of the Heart to start with. Bad move. Very thin upper register….Still with the twirly dancing.

17. Turkey: Oh…a band. With robot men. token hard rock act? Well the dancing robots are a highlight. Someone is in love with the strobe lighting. Oh now the robot men are blasting fireworks from their hands? Oh it’s a robot lady? my mistake.

What a way to finish indeed Sam and Julia. Now I can read the liveblogging.

7

Catriona wrote at May 30, 03:48 AM

Wow, that’s a comprehensive comment, Wendy!

I honestly have no idea who won this, yet—we have a no-Internet-on-Eurovision-final-day house rule—so I’m curious to see what the outcome will be.

(No spoilers, if you know!)

8

Wendy wrote at May 30, 05:33 AM

I do know…so will definitely not spoil it. I felt I needed to make up for my lack of attendance last evening. :-)

9

Catriona wrote at May 30, 05:56 AM

Oh, I’m glad you did! Though we don’t seem to have agreed on anything but Lithuania and The Netherlands, and neither of them made it through.

(I, for example, loved Denmark. So cheesy, so ’80s, such lovely cheekbones.)

I thought you might know, from the phrasing of the comment where you mentioned that you know Lithuania doesn’t win. That’s no spoiler itself, but I thought I’d jump in anyway. I know the people at the Eurovision final party we attend every year have a strict no Internet/no spoilers policy themselves, and I’ll be drummed out of the party if they get spoiled on my blog.

10

Wendy wrote at May 30, 09:24 AM

No worries! You’re going to have a great party :-)

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