Posted 29 May 2010 in Liveblogging 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”
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.
NICK: This song has everything. Except a costume change, so far. I’m still thinking someone might burst out of the fleshy clam.
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.
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!
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”
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.
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 . . .
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.
BULGARIA: “You Are An Angel”
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.
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.
TURKEY: “We Could Be The Same”
We haven’t actually had that many bands this year, have we?
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:
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!