by Catriona Mills

Live-blogging Eurovision: Semi-Final 2 (or, This Time, I Have Vodka)

Posted 24 May 2008 in by Catriona

Okay, this time I’m preparing myself in advance. Last night’s attempt was spur of the moment—or I would have had more to say about the Serbian children’s choir who looked like they were on sabbatical from the Academy on Gallifrey—but this time I have settled myself in advance.

Well in advance, since the semi-final isn’t televised for another half an hour.

Still, this should mean that I don’t miss any song titles, as I did with Finland last night.

On the plus side, I just spoke with my mother, and she agrees that the whole point of Eurovision is people getting their kit off on-stage: as she says, either you do it on purpose, or your back-up dancer slips, grabs your clothes, and the velcro comes loose, in which case it’s funny. So, Eurovision performers, let’s see some more removable clothes!

Back in half an hour.

Right, now I’m back. I’ve had a dinner and a cigarette, and I have vodka. I think those are all the essentials for the evening.

See, we’re taking this live-blogging gig very seriously this time around.

Of course, it hasn’t started yet. Instead, I’m watching Nigella Lawson talking about how good tea makes her feel. It certainly makes her look good, but I’m still sick of her and her insistence that ten pounds of fresh raspberries are essential to the recipe.

Oh, no—now it’s the CMC Markets ad. again. Although at least time they don’t talk about “less commissions,” so I should count my blessings.

Damn! Giant rabbit buying a load of carrots. Seriously?

I’m rethinking the vodka at this point.

Ooh, that’s a different Chesterfield than the one she was sitting on last night, isn’t it? Where do they get all these sofas from.

Latvian pirates? Where? Bring them on now!

Okay, the Eurovision theme is even scarier tonight than the big-haired ’70s version last night, if that’s possible. Are those people in camouflage?

Oh dear lord! Is that a centaur? Why? Why?

And more multi-coloured people—what is it with Serbian people and face-painting?

The centaur wants me to join his poetic circus? Oh, hell no. That’s the worst pick-up line I’ve ever heard.

Damn—the centaur has wings. This is hands-down the strangest thing I’ve ever seen . . . hang on, more blue and red people.

What does that man have around his neck?

Seriously, what is happening here?

The same hosts as last time—although the British commentators seem to be drunker than last night. I bet you’re looking at her biography, mate! These hosts are a bit dull, though, especially after the centaur.

Whoops, now we’re in French. I have no more idea what’s happening than the British commentators do.

Oh, hang on—there really was an apple. Right.

I don’t like these postcards. Bring back the travelogues and the Moomins.

Iceland: “This is My Life.”
An Icelandic tribute band.
Oooh, tribute to 1990s electronica, apparently.
Well, it’s dynamic—if you like boy bands with only one member.
Nick: Oh, god! Where’d she come from?
He’s also strangely freaked out by the pink high heels, which seem to me to be the most interesting thing on stage.
It’s a bit derivative—which seems par for the course—but I wouldn’t be surprised if they got through.

People throwing paint on each other. Great.

Sweden: “Hero.
Another of the favourites, apparently.
Oh, dear lord, no.
What on earth has she done to herself? And why is she that colour?
Hang on, is this the one who’s a plastic-surgery addict? Has to be.
Okay, this joins Spain in my nightmares.
Nice legs, though—I guess she hasn’t had anything done to them.
I haven’t heard a note of this song, by the way—I can’t stop looking the singer. Not in a good way.

Turkey: “Crazy.” (Missed the title again. It’s too early for that.)
If there aren’t any blood packs, I’m out of here.

But in the interim, have a picture of Charlotte Perrelli wearing an oxygen mask, via Defamer.

Actually, Turkey aren’t that bad. I like his shiny jacket.
Nick tells me people are commenting on the blog: he’s going to approve the comments, since I’m too easily distracted.
Yeah, that was quite fun. And refreshingly non-surgical.

Ooh, juggler.

Ukraine: “Shady Lady.
Another favourite. We’ll see. It had better have an ice skater.
Nick: Ooh. She’s a bit of all right.
The dresses are getting smaller, though.
Nick’s now decided she’s a bit plastic. He shouldn’t make snap judgements when I’m live-blogging.
I’ll send him out for more vodka.
Oh, the song?
“Baby, don’t call me baby.” What?
Hang on, how did she get up there? I only stopped looking for a second.
Yep, I can see this getting through, despite the awful back-up dancers.

Now people on swings. With paint. This is weird.

Lithuania: “Nomads in the Night.”
That’s a lot of hair.
Damn. I’ve just seen the pants.
Good thing, too—there’s no distraction to be had from the song.
Nick thinks the pants are TMI. I have to agree, albeit reluctantly.
The song is awful, though—and I’m not sure he’s hitting the right notes.
Oooh, wind machine. First of the night. That’s a plus note.

I like these commentators. “If you’re nervous about leather, watch out.”

Albania: I have no chance of writing that song title down, sorry.
16 years old? That beats the 20-year-old Israeli performer.
She looks 16, too, but not in a skeevy way. I like her for that alone.
Hang on, what’s following her around? Oh, it’s her coat.
I have a feeling this is a heart-wrenching ballad, but my Albanian is a little rusty.
She’s clutching her head, though, which is a good sign for a ballad.

Ad. break! Back soon!

Shortest cigarette break ever! And I’m still waiting for the Latvian pirates.

Gymnasts. Just what I was thinking we needed.

Switzerland: “Ero Stupendo.”
Wasn’t it wonderful? Didn’t Elton John write that for a Disney film about ten years ago?
Yep, this does nothing for me, sung in Italian or not.
You can smile at me all you like, mate; it won’t change my mind.
Damn—those back-up . . what? Dancers? Anyway, their hair is terrifying.
And yet more leather pants.
Still not interested.
And are those dancers only wearing one glove each? Why?

More gymnasts.

Czech Republic: “Have Some Fun.”
A DJ with wings—kind of. That’s new.
The silver dresses, not so much.
Nick thinks this defies comment, but give me a moment.
Actually, he’s just contradicted himself: “Those are the highest skirts I’ve ever seen!” I don’t know if that’s a good thing.
I’m just getting flashes of Ab Fab: “The world’s your gynecologist.”
Why do they need the half-naked dancers when the singers are half-naked? And is the DJ actually doing anything?
Oooh, fireworks. Too little, too late, Czech Republic.
The song? No idea.

LOVE the commentators. It was impeded by too many clothes.

Belarus: “Hasta La Vista.”
Oh, please involve a Terminator. Or Sarah Conner.
Damn, it’s Wham.
Has anyone taken their kit off yet?
Wait, what are those things on the stage. No, behind the dancers.
“I’m going to miss you. Maybe.” Brilliant! I’m voting for these guys.
Are those more leather pants?
Dear lord, that woman’s definitely not in her top. Actually, are any of them?
Oh. Thank goodness for close-ups—it’s just netting. I was a bit worried there.
Nick: “Can you measure your happiness in inches at this stage? That’s the question.”

Seamstresses. Very exotic.

Latvia: “Wolves of the Sea.”
Woo! Pirates!
Fabulous! These guys might almost take my love from Azerbaijan.
Ha! This is what Eurovision should be! Nick’s even tapping his feet—although he points out that the guy on the right at the back isn’t really into it.
Damn, that’s a crappy sword.
Do a hornpipe! Go on!
Nick: “You can be more than pirates, guys! You can be camp Eurovision singers as well!”
I want that coat for the next International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
I really want them to go through—they had model sharks!

Croatia: “Romanca.”
75 Cents the rapper? What?
Damn—how old is that guy?
This is strangely Mafia, but Nick likes the robot ballerinas.
The song itself is a little dull, though—although I haven’t been addressing the songs much, so far.
Actually, the Latvian pirates should have had fireworks. Or a wind machine. Or both.
What? Oh, Croatia. Still a bit dull and slightly creepy.
Actually, it’s picking up a bit in the chorus, with the strange instrument made of multi-coloured wine glasses. And scratching on a gramophone. Haven’t seen that before.

Bulgaria: “DJ, Take Me Away.”
What’s with the DJ theme?
Oooh, break dancing. I’m a sucker for break dancing.
A turntable guitar? Cool.
Actually, this is intriguing.
Hang on, what’s happening? This singer’s sucking all the life out of it!
Wait—stockings? That’s a cheap grab for attention. And, as Nick, says, a load-bearing dress.
Damn—the turntables are on fire! What’s happening?
I have no idea if I love this or hate it—and wasn’t she wearing feathers on her head.
Too much is happening here!
Actually, I think I liked that. Bits of it, anyway.

Denmark: “All Night Long.”
Isn’t that a Lionel Richie song?
Mellow—but he is wearing a newsboy cap. That’s a disadvantage.
No, wait—this is a Lionel Richie song.
Is this the 13th country already? Wow. No wonder I can’t remember anything I’ve written so far.
“Celebrate. Good times. Come on!” Now I know I’ve heard this song before.
Nick labels this an abysmal effort—even, he adds, by Eurovision standards.
Nick has never understood Eurovision.

Damn—nurses. That’s just weird.

Georgia: “Peace Will Come.”
Oh, this performer was born blind. Now I feel guilty.
Or I will, because this is really dull so far.
What are those back-up dancers doing? And wearing? And doing?
Nick: “O-kay. They kind of look like Farscape extras.”
How’s he staying on that angle?
Nope—still dull, even with gravity-defying, bondage-inspired back-up dancers.
Oooh—costume change!
Nicely done!
Right, changed my mind—fickle thing that I am. After all, she’s the first to get her kit off.
Not that there was much to take off, for the previous performers.

Shoe shopping? These are getting stranger and more boring, at the same time.

Hungary: “Candlelight.”
Once again, I expect a white-painted woman to rise up out of that piano.
That dress has to be removable, surely?
Whoops—I think I just went into a coma, briefly. Bloody diva ballads.
Is that a candelabra? Well, it is called “Candlelight.” But the daft thing’s not lit, which kind of undercuts the point.
Nick wonders why Hungary has to take it seriously, when no-one else does.

Malta: “Vodka.”
Well, that’s apposite. I’ve just sent Nick off to fill my glass.
Is that another breastplate? We need one, now Andorra has been knocked out.
Oh—just a bustier. That’s unimaginative.
Okay, this song is making me feel like an alcoholic.
I like her boots, though.
The song itself is lively enough, but I don’t know that I want to hear it again next year.
This really is just a song about wanting to get smashed, isn’t it? Complete with strangely Fascist back-up dancers, as Nick points out.

Dear lord! Stop bending over, woman! (Although I may be speaking solely for myself.)

Cyprus: “Femme Fatale.”
Ooh, another Time Lord! That really is the fashion statement of the season, isn’t it?
That coat has to come off soon, surely.
Yep—there is goes.
And there’s the breastplate I’ve been looking for, apparently.
Nick’s kicking himself—he’s missed both costume changes this evening.
Oh, okay. What’s happening?
Nick’s right—this is too Freudian for me.
I have no idea what that was about.

Oh, thank goodness. Ad. break. It’s true what they say about long journeys.

It’s just occurred to me—none of us are actually watching the televised performances; we’re all blogging, or commenting, or Twittering.

Ooh, Indiana Jones!

F.Y.R. Macedonia: “Let Me Love You.”
Were those boos? [I meant people booing. It’s not a typo.]
Oh . . . wow. More vest with no shirts.
Damn. No . . . I’m not commenting on the singer’s . . . couture . . . at all.
Nick: “She keeps pointing them at the audience!”
The song itself is rather banal—except for some rhymes about “angel’s wings” and “wildest dreams.”
What is it with wings at this year’s competition?
I just wrote that as “this Yeat’s competition”. Freudian slip or vodka?

Portugal: I’m not sure what the title is. What? It’s the last song.
I’m not sure Portugal can make anything out of this, final performing slot or not.
Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if this got through—though it’s thoroughly dull.
I like the singer’s purple hair, though.
Ooh, key change. That’s Eurovision, all right.

And that’s the last one. Felt a bit flatter than last night, frankly. [Nick’s just read this bit, and added “Felt a bit flatter than last night . . . except for Macedonia.” I’ll say it again: “Pervert.”]

Oh dear, the hosts are back.

Oh, the 1956 winner. Why?

How can she be the mother and the daughter of Eurovision? Honestly, English commentator, think about your metaphors before you use them.

Did she just thank the downloaders? Ooh, the FBI won’t like that.

Damn—Charlotte Perrelli is even scarier the second time around.

Nick thinks Turkey was too competent.

Ha! Lithuania. I’d forgotten all about them until now. That’s an awesome mullet, though.

I think the commentators are right—there won’t be a cow left alive in Serbia after tonight.

I kind of hope Belarus get through—just for the rhymes.

Latvian pirates! Arrrr!

Bulgaria: I have mixed feelings about this one. But I wouldn’t mind seeing them again.

Denmark, on the other hand, I’m happy to consign to the almost rans.

Georgia—wow, that’s a giant cross she’s wearing. I didn’t notice that the first time around.

I have no idea what I’ve been saying for the past hour and a half; I hope you all realise that.

Oooh, vodka song.

Ad. break! Also, cigarette!

Bloody hell, that was a short break.

Oops. U. K. again. Still not exciting.

France have definitely gone back in time for theirs. And by “time,” I mean the late 1990s, when ’70s retro came in again. Oh, and that is absolutely blackface.

Spain is still terrifying. And I haven’t figured out what the German singers have attached to their backsides. Or why.

At least the backstage woman seems to have seen a doctor about that awful growth on her neck.

Why are they giving people apples? Why?

Ooh, envelopes. I hope they open them faster than they did last night.

1. Ukraine. No surprises there.
2. Croatia. What?
3. Albania. Who were they? Oh, the young girl.
4. Iceland. Are they the pink shoes ones. Yep.
5. Georgia. Ah, the costume change.
6. Denmark. Really?
7. Sweden. Oh, damn. But she’s scary!
8. LATVIA! Woo Hoo! Arrrr! “Chest of gold?” Damn, commentator, that was unsubtle.
9. Turkey. No blood packs, though.
10. Portugal. No real surprises there.

No Macedonia, then. And none of the singers in tiny little silver dresses from the country who’s name I have already forgotten.

Still, tomorrow night should be fun. I’m not live-blogging that, though.

Wow! 22 comments? I might have to go and read those now.

Share your thoughts [28]


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 09:38 am

Right. Let’s see if you can blog and moderate at the same time :-)


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 09:50 am

Sweden: a Buffy vampire, methinks.


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 09:59 am

Lithuania: Leather pants should be a compulsory drink


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:03 am

Albania: dear god, she’s wearing a cape!


Sam Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:06 am

Oh gosh, even the ads are Eurovision affected. Or at least they are insane.


Sam Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:12 am

Switzerland: OMG, Vinyl pants!


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:14 am

Czech Republic: That’s tiny silver dresses, thank you


Matthew Smith wrote at May 24, 10:14 am

I’m not watching EV but loving this post. Keep it coming.


Sam Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:20 am

Latvia: Yes! Pirates!


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:21 am

Latvia: With a hie hie ho and a ho ho high?


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:23 am



Sam Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:24 am

2007 was vampires, 2008 is pirates, 2009 should be the year of the space-cadet.


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:27 am

No Sam: ninjas


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:28 am

Bring your own harmonica?


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:34 am

Denmark: Emma is singing along the first time she’s heard the song. Let me guess, we will all have forgotten how it goes in 3 minutes.


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:37 am

Georgia: do you reckon they told her what she is wearing?


Sam Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:38 am

Georgia: Sympathy vote anyone? Ooh, no this doesn’t need sympathy, it is brilliant.

Also, how did Denmark go again?


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:44 am

Malta: Treena, they’re singing your song!


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:47 am

Why were the dancers wearing gun holsters?


Sam Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:49 am

Dad has just missed seeing a sort of attractive woman stripping because he was looking at a guitar.

Still she was “wearing a fish” anyway.


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 10:54 am

Yes, I’m looking forward to tomorrow night, when I can just say comments, without having to type them…


Sam Gunders wrote at May 24, 11:10 am

Belarus, Latvia, Bulgaria, Georgia, best in my opinion, but definitely going Latvia for the win.


Catriona wrote at May 24, 11:27 am

Well, Sam, missing seeing an attractive, fish-wearing woman stripping because you’re looking at a guitar is what Eurovision is all about!

I think Nick’s a bit gutted that Macedonia didn’t get through.


John Gunders wrote at May 24, 11:28 am

Re-watching Bosnia & Herzegovina from last night. Still freaked out.


Catriona wrote at May 24, 11:28 am

Actually, I really need to read this post before I write any more comments. I seriously have no idea what I’ve written—and it’s not just the Malta talking. Live-blogging is harder than it looks!


Catriona wrote at May 24, 11:47 am

Okay, that’s 2,500 words. Why couldn’t I have written my thesis that quickly?

I seem to have been fairly justified, though.

I agree with Sam, largely—except Belarus bored the living daylights out of me.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if Ukraine won. I didn’t like it much, but I can see it winning.

I’m really not looking forward to seeing Charlotte Perrelli again, though.

I am looking forward to sangria, though. You can’t back down on that, John—not after comment 18.


Catriona wrote at May 24, 11:58 am

I should point out that Defamer Australia ( has coverage of this as well, and theirs has video (although I think it was written in a more sober state, that’s an advantage.)


Tim wrote at May 25, 06:36 am

> I am looking forward to sangria, though.

Sangria has a Eurovision entry? I thought they were part of Spain now.

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