by Catriona Mills

Articles in “Television”

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.

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.
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.

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:
The Netherlands

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!

Live-blogging Eurovision: Semi-Final 1, 2010

Posted 28 May 2010 in by Catriona

Well, let’s set up the live-blogging nice and early, shall we? And I say “nice and early,” but I’m actually less prepared than I intended to be: I was all set to have the song titles written out, so there wouldn’t be any of that embarrassing “And I didn’t quite catch the title on that, so just make it up” stuff, but I never got to it.

So if I miss any of the titles, just make them up, okay?

Or head over to The Memes of Production, where John has taken the trouble to type them all out for you.

Now, bring on the flying space dolphins!

I’m just going to get my biggest complaint out of the way right now: I miss Terry Wogan. It just doesn’t feel like Eurovision without Terry.

And on a similar note, I understand (from The Memes of Prodution), that this years’ competition has dulled down the frequently insane acts we usually get in Eurovision.

I disapprove of this. I disapprove strongly.

I want to see men in primary-coloured suits squatting over giant beetroots. I want to see brides from Bosnia and Herzegovina knitting for no apparent reason. I want to see Azerbaijani singers pouring goblets of fake wine on each other. I want fireworks and flamethrowers. I want wind machines. And above all, I want to see people get their kits off.

If there are no such things, why am I watching Eurovision and risking the sudden horror of a flying space dolphin?

Nick has charged his iPhone up in preparation for your commenting.

I hope Eurovision starts soon, because I’m tiring myself out shouting at these health-reform advertisements. Righteous anger: so tiring.

Hooray! Eurovision!

Nick just took a picture of his beer. That should sum it all up for you.

This one’s Norway—I loved the Russian staging last year. So, so beautiful. I hope Norway does us proud, as well. (I say “us,” but I“m not actually Norwegian.)

Oh, small children with pink balloons? Bad start, Norway. Bad start.

NICK: Oh, look! They’re sharing ear infections.

Seriously, what is with all these balloons?

Apparently, Norway’s holding their semi-final in a completely CGI concert hall. That’s certainly an innovation.

Oooh, lovely frocks. A big improvement on the Russian woman in lacy bicycle pants. Or was that 2008? (I’m with Sam Pang: I’m going to continue pronouncing it “Oss-lo.”)

John, is this new voting system an innovation? What does it mean for the show? Explain it to me!

NICK: Such emphatic hosts.

It seems the catchphrase is “Norway, are you ready to start the competition”. Not very catchy, is it?

And we’re straight into the songs, it seems.

Sweet! Fireworks!
NICK: Violinist on a lazy Susan!
Oh, poor girl: someone spray-painted her.
I haven’t seen saxophone playing like that since The Lost Boys.
She’s not going to be taking that outfit off, is she? There’s not really enough of it.
NICK: Man, this better [redacted] have a key change.
Uh-oh, the saxophonist’s back.
This is unbelievably boring. And I had such high hopes from the violinist on the lazy Susan. Actually, where did he go?
ACK! There he is.

RUSSIA: Lost and Forgotten
I like that this is Peter Nolich “and Friends”. It feels like watching Blue Peter.
Oh, I’m bored already.
And it’s in English, too.
I like the fake snow, though.
NICK: That’s why he’s wearing a scarf.
So far, Norway’s staging isn’t a patch on the lovely sets from Russia last year.
Peter Norich has expressive eyebrows, though—wait, is he singing to a sketch he just drew before he went on stage?
Never seen that at Eurovision before.
Okay, I need either a key change or someone to take their kit off.
No, that high note does not count as a key change, frightening though it was.
NICK: I think the wind machine’s scared of him.

I’m impressed already, just on the strength of that man’s purple and gold tie.
These guys are an indie act? Hmm.
NICK: Man, I think he glitters in sunlight. Fabulous jacket, though.
The back-up singers are preparing for a penalty.
Not seeing much indie here—it’s like an early Blur song.
It’s not that I’m not liking it, but I’m not much liking his wacky dancing.
Of course, I have run out of alcohol. That might be it.
I don’t really know what to say about this one, except that the camera work is making me seasick.

SLOVAKIA: Horehronie
Oh, no!
NICK: Wood elves!
There appears to be a jellyfish hovering above them.
NICK: They’ve got an Ent trapped in there.
Is that Gandalf the White over in the corner?
At least this one’s not in English. And I’m a sucker for enthusiastic back-up dancers.
NICK: What’s the Slovakian version of “Hey nonny nonny”?
I don’t think those boots are very Elvish. And her performance is a bit static and boring—I suspect she wore the boots for their looks, and can’t actually walk in them.
NICK: It’s actually sounding like the end-credit music for an anime.

FINLAND: Tyolki ellaa (I skipped the accents)
The band is called “Moon Whispers”?
Oooh, piano accordion! Piano accordion played by a puppeteer!
NICK: She seems to be standing on a stuffed, bleached Tribble, as well. It’s glowing!
Well, this is livelier than anything that’s gone before.
And you’ve got to respect the back-up dancers who are just there to make up the numbers.
NICK: She has a completely unironic relationship with her accordion.
Oh, the jellyfish is still there! Has it been there all along, and I’ve just not noticed it?
I have no idea what’s happening in this song, but I haven’t noticed a key change yet.
I suspect that if I want a key change, I’m going to have to put on some Bon Jovi.

LATVIA: What For?
So she’s just hanging around on the stage waiting, then?
No jellyfish for Latvia—just lots and lots of curtains.
NICK: That’s a Vulcan priestess’s dressing gown.
And it doesn’t go with those shoes.
NICK: She appears to be wearing weasel cages around her feet.
You weren’t reading this for a commentary on the actual songs, were you?
All I’ve learned from this song is that apparently her Uncle Joe is a mute, which seems tragic.
Is she singing about “Mr Guy” or “Mr God”? Neither makes much sense to me.
This seems oddly leaden for a song with such a jaunty beat.
And she didn’t hit either of those notes.
I think it is “Mr God.” That’s my final word on the matter.

Wow, these commentators are bitchy tonight.

SERBIA: Ovo je Balkan
Oh, what is that coat? What?
ACK! Shadow puppets.
NICK: Pull your belt up, lad!
He’s jaunty, but I’m hypnotised by his hair.
NICK: He may be the most bishonen performer in Eurovision history.
ACK! Robot dancing!
I’m so distracted by the belt and the hair and the back-up singers robot-dancing in their see-through tulle and sequin dresses that I can’t even judge the song. Not that I ever do.
Okay, I was fairly sure that back-up dancer was going to shimmy right out of her bodice just then.
And why haven’t we had a costume change yet?

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: Thunder and Lightning.
Very very frightening?
Oooh, smoke machine. Good start.
Shame it’s in English.
Well, this is less boring than the preceding songs.
I suspect the people in the front row are particularly enjoying the back-up dancers.
Oooh, fake guitar! And fake guitar solo!
(It might be a real guitar. It’s fake in an ontological sense.)
He’s smirking at me! I don’t like it when they smirk at me.
ACK! Squatting!
ME: What is he doing to that microphone stand?
NICK: I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure it’s illegal in Brisbane.

POLAND: Legenda
I have no idea what the commentators said about this one.
But I’m liking it already. Gotta love some national costuming.
A combination of ordinary fruit and high camera angles leads Nick to ask, “How about them apples?”
Hmm, it suddenly got a bit boring. Shame that.
The swirling skirts on the overhead camera shot are lovely.
This is such an odd mix of strong, aggressive choruses, and rather dull Michael Bublesque verses.
Woo hoo! Costume change!
Albeit a slightly creepy one!
And a key change!
And then, as the commentators point out, it just ends.

That’s the green room? That’s a horrible green room.
NICK: It looks like the bridge of the Liberator.

And is the host knitting a Polish flag?

BELGIUM: Me and My Guitar
I have no high hopes for this at all, just based on that title.
But, as Nick points out, it’s a terribly nice guitar.
Oh, dear: it’s in English.
I’m sure I heard this song on Triple M in about 1996.
Hang on, where are his back-up dancers? How is he allowed to be on stage on his own? Or are they just being obscured by the camera angles?
Am I misremembering the rules, or do you not have to have a minimum number of people on stage?
I would comment on the song itself, but I’m afraid of slipping into a coma if I pay too much attention to it.

Ah, so I am wrong on the rules. I don’t think I’ve ever seen just the one person on stage at Eurovision before, though.

MALTA: My Dream
More smoke machine!
Hang on, Nick seems to have accidentally flipped the channel to a Disney musical.
No? This is actually the song?
NICK: Unfortunately, it looks like the smoke is coming out of her backside.
This is a kind of music with which I have no patience whatsoever.
NICK: Use some more concrete imagery, girl!
ACK! She’s being attacked by a seagull!
NICK: She’s got wings coming out of her arse! And they’re not anchored to her spinal column!
ACK! She’s cloned herself!
NICK: Is she about to sing “I’m the goddamned Batman”? ‘Cause that would be awesome.

ALBANIA: It’s all About You
Albania are already more interesting than anyone else.
NICK: Oh hai, ’80s!
I was sure she was about to sing “It’s Raining Men” just then.
Those are crazy unflattering pants.
Violinist with epaulettes. Is he on a lazy Susan, though? No? Then I ain’t interested.
Those pants are honestly the most unflattering thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how they can fail to flatter so many parts of her lower body all at once.

Is that song title meant to be in caps? Oh, well: either works.
NICK: He’s just come from a rehearsal fro Reservoir Dogs, from the looks of him.
There seems to be a strong semiotic dissonance between the back-up dancers and the singer.
The back-up dancers, I think, are actually auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance, whereas the singer, Nick thinks, looks like a used-car dealer.
The song’s energetic enough.
ACK! Man with unidentifiable instrument! And drums! And a turntable!
Sorry: I’m easily startled by this point in Eurovision.
Oh, the song suddenly dropped into a ringtone. How odd.

PORTUGAL: Ha Dis Assim (Again, ignoring the accents)
Oops, the jellyfish is back.
NICK: Ironically, it’s actually a Portuguese man o’ war.
This is another . . . well, the commentators called it a “power ballad”: I’m sticking with “Disney musical.”
At least it’s not in English.
The singer does a head-flip on a high note, and Nick says, “She’s like ‘Oh, where did my vocal just go?’”
NICK: This is the song where the Lion King learns to be king of the jungle, or something.
It’s seriously boring, that’s what it is.
Oh my god! Where are those disembodied hands coming from?

I remember being really annoyed when SBS went commerical, but now I’m just pleased about the toilet breaks.

Why isn’t the host knitting another flag? That’s a bit lazy.

FYR MACEDONIA: Jas Ja Imam Silata
I like his sparkly brooch.
Well, that back-up dancer’s not going to be taking any clothes off. Not in a family-friendly show like Eurovision.
Oh, wait: the others managed to shed something fluffy and unnecessary. Somehow, the costume changes aren’t as exciting this year.
Nick thinks the back-up dancers are a bit listless, but luckily we’re distracted by a pointless rap performance.
NICK: That guitarist’s got no idea where he is.
Ah, another fake guitar solo. What, no wind machine? It’s coming to something when the fake guitarist has to flip his own hair around.

BELARUS: Butterflies
Okay, a woman better come out of that piano.
Especially since the song’s in English.
Nice harmonies, and lovely frocks. But still a bit boring.
This is like Boyz to Men, but with girls.
They haven’t co-ordinated their dramatic hand gestures.
ACK! Attack human-butterfly hybrids!
There was actual screaming in this living room at that point.
And why even have a piano if you’re not going to have a woman come out of it?

ICELAND: Je Ne Sais Quoi
Oh, a bit of electronica, is it?
Still in English, though. I’m a bit bored by the songs in English.
Oh, this is old-school Eurovision. Nick says this is what we’re here for, and it’s true—except I still need fireworks, flamethrowers, people getting their kit off, and key changes.
Not necessarily all in the same song.
I love her floaty skirts—nice and dramatic, without the sheer horror of, say, a human-butterfly hybrid.
This is the only song all night that I would have picked out of a line-up as actually being a Eurovision song.
Key change!
Nick has declared this his song of the night, just on the basis of the key change.

Why is that woman in the audience clutching a giraffe?

I have to say—no offence, Norway—that the actual staging has been a bit dull. Russia’s lovely staging last year has given me a false sense of expectations, perhaps.

They’re reminding us of the songs, which is handy, because I’ve forgotten them all already.

I hadn’t realised that one of Latvia’s back-up singers was Cher.

So, with about nine minutes left until the results are announced, I’m taking a quick break from the live-blogging. I’ll be back for the results, though.

Why didn’t I notice how horrifyingly tight the Belgian singer’s pants were the first time I saw that song?

You know, these repeats of the song are just reminding me how boring everything was. And I really don’t need to see that bit from F.Y.R. Macedonia again—it’s not as though they were leaving much to the imagination in the first place.

Speaking of horrifyingly tight, the cameraman might want to rethink his angle on Malta, as long as the seagull-man’s in shot.

I don’t normally live-blog the adverts, but I must say I despise ads that says the Socceroos have the “true Aussie spirit” because it’s “not over until the last minute.” Because, of course, most football teams just sit down on the field at the 66th minute and wait for the whistle to blow.

These announcers have a tendency to make the most pedestrian statements seem portentous: “We have heard seventeen songs from seventeen countries.”

Okay, so far this exploration of human song sounds like nothing so much as an anti-smoking campaign. Filler, filler—all is filler!

Seriously, why am I watching ten minutes of people wandering around historic landmarks and coughing? This could have been so interesting, but instead it’s just a bit abject and revolting.

See? Totally unnecessary cowpat.

That was the interval act? Dude, Norway: pick up your act!

Ah, the automatic entries!

SPAIN: Something Tiny.
Dude. Clowns.
That’s just not right.

NORWAY: Sorry, missed the title!
I thought this one was the U.K, it was so boring.

U.K: That Sounds Good To Me
Boring as always.

FRANCE: Missed it again!
I only listened to this thirty seconds ago, and I’ve already forgotten it.

GERMANY: Satelitte
Boppy but forgettable.

And now, the results!

1. Bosnia and Herzegovina. Oh, the man in the red jacket.
2. Moldova. The woman who’d been spray-painted?
3. Russia. Fake snow and scarves.
4. Greece. I’m frankly stunned by that, but I shouldn’t be.
5. Portugal. Oh, the Disney princess? Dull and more dull.
6. Belarus. Seriously? The human-butterfly hybrids? I can’t watch that again.
7. Serbia. No real surprise there, despite the hypnotic hair. Perhaps because of it?

The Belgian man and his perfunctory flag waving is killing me.

8. Belgium. Oh, he was dull.
9. Albania. I can live with Albania, as long as she picks new pants.
10. Iceland. Well, thank goodness. I would have been deeply annoyed if she hadn’t gone through.

So that’s our first semi-final: half an hour of performance and two hours of voting/padding.

Thank you, delightful commentators.

Let’s do it all again tomorrow night, shall we? Maybe we’ll get another violinist on a lazy Susan.

An Annual Eurovision Reminder

Posted 27 May 2010 in by Catriona

It’s time for The Circulating Library’s annual live-blogging of the Eurovision Song Contest’s semi-finals.

If you haven’t joined us for these before, 2008’s semi-finals are here and here, and 2009’s are here and here . . . just so you can see what you’re getting yourself into.

But, seriously, you should come over! Electronically! I get a bit tipsy and live-blog, Nick gets even tipsier, gets bewildered about how ’80s Eurovision is, and moderates your bemused comments. It’s just like a real Eurovision party, except that we can’t guarantee there’ll actually be anyone in the same room as you, and you’ll have to bring your own refreshments.

Semi-final one begins tonight at 7:30 pm on SBS, and tomorrow’s is the same (bat) time, same (bat) channel. You can catch up on the contestants themselves over at The Memes of Production here, here, and, for those countries who get automatic entry, here.



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