Saturday, May 12, 2007

Eurovision 2007: Blow by suck

Coming up in a few minutes, our not-quite-regular Eurovision live blog (two years ago we went to Longleat instead), from the poorly-conceived humour of the opening sequence through to the last bitter bleatings from Wogan about how it's all a big political stitch-up. Control + F5 for song-by-song coverage.

Actually, before we even get as far as a note being sung in the final, there's a big political block-vote kick-off. Malta were booted out at the semi-final stage; they're crying foul and pointing out that 90% of the winning semi-finalists were from the Balkans or former Soviet Union. The European Broadcasting Union - an organisation created with the highest hopes of bringing unity to the continent, and now seemingly devoted solely to generating ill-will between neighbours - is being pressured to think again about how the voting system works; meanwhile, an action group is trying to persuade the Maltese to boycott voting this evening.

So, that's at least a new punchline to the old "how do you make a Maltese Cross" gag, then.

These are the finalists for tonight, though, who've won through either by doing well last year, rigging the semi-final polls, or simply stuffing the EBU with so much cash they have no choice but to let them in:

1 Bosnia & Herzegovina Marija Sestic Rijeka bez imena
2 Spain NASH I love you mi vida
3 Belarus Dmitry Koldun Work your magic
4 Ireland Dervish They can't stop the spring
5 Finland Hanna Pakarinen Leave me alone
6 FYR Macedonia Karolina Mojot svet
7 Slovenia Alenka Gotar Cvet z juga
8 Hungary Magdi Rúzsa Unsubstantial blues
9 Lithuania 4Fun Love or leave
10 Greece Sarbel Yassou Maria
11 Georgia Sopho My Story
12 Sweden The Ark The worrying kind
13 France Les Fatals Picards L'amour à la Française
14 Latvia Questa Notte
15 Russia Serebro Song # 1
16 Germany Roger Cicero Frauen regieren die Welt
17 Serbia Marija Šerifovic Molitva
18 Ukraine Verka Serduchka Dancing Lasha Tumbai
19 United Kingdom Scooch Flying the flag (for you)
20 Romania Todomondo Liubi, liubi, I love you
21 Bulgaria Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov Water
22 Turkey Kenan Dogulu Shake it up shekerim
23 Armenia Hayko Anytime you need
24 Moldova Natalia Barbu Fight

So, it's the hippo ident, which might prove crucial by the time Scooch come on. They've already popped up - on the lottery draw, which was hosted by Michael Ball (for no apparent reason) and featured Jay 'the bad sheep' Aston from Bucks Fizz and Fearne Cotton, who, obviously, will be playing Colin Berry this evening, because you can't have a live TV event without Fearne Cotton. It's like she's some sort of security device.

Lordi are welcoming us now with a rerun of Hard Rock Hallelujah on video. There's fire and explosions, but not much of a budget, to be fair.

Terry Wogan has just claimed to have eaten one of santa's reindeers. It's only eight o'clock. That's going to be some distraught toddlers, even without the scary visage of Lordi bearing down on them.

There's a surprise: the onstage presenter is a fairly attractive woman, and a grinning bloke who looks handsome in a "I've just killed my boyfriend" way. They're both dressed in black.

And the flirting has already begun. She's touched him below the waist. Despite staring at the autocue, they're both carrying cards large enough to contain all the names of all the winners of all the contests ever.

We're off:

Bosnia & Herzegovina Marija Sestic Rijeka bez imena

Introduced by a film of some bloke on a boat, for reasons the Finns will understand.

Marija has turned up in a skirt with lots and lots of bottle green layers; her song is like a death knell from a Greek Taverna. This might explain why she can't decide if she should be smiling while she sings it or not. Her backing dancers have elected to avoid falling into the 'half-smile, no frown' trap by freezing their features.

Just as you think the song is going to burst into action, it doesn't. But a bloke with a balalaika comes on instead.

Spain NASH I love you mi vida

Spain get introduced by a film of a goth stalking a kewpie doll in a fairground.

D'Nash have "thrusting trousers", we're alerted to by Wogan. Presumably that saves them having to thrust from within them.

Oh, god, they're like East 17 have spent too long in Ibiza. Still, extra marks for having two women drummers with bongos the size of the cutest member of the band. I suspect they're not really playing them, though.

Belarus Dmitry Koldun Work your magic

This is charming: a small movie about a bloke getting his library book from a travelling library, learning how to knit a scarf.

Belarus have gone with something a little James Bond for theirs - black clad women mysteriously stomping about the stage. Dmitry, though, would find several problems holding him back if he ever went for the Bond role, and clearly hadn't left enough time prepping to either do up his shirt properly. Or, indeed, got a song written for him, as this sounds like a slogan and a time beat in search of a proper tune.

The black clad women are now being swooshed about the stage on giant blocks, which looks less James Bond and more Paul Daniels. Which at least connects with the 'magic' theme. I can't wait until they all disappear, mind.

Ireland Dervish They can't stop the spring

The intro is two blokes swimming in an icy hole, which is inappropriate when the next song is meant to be about spring time.

Oh, it's one of those years when Ireland has gone uber-gallic, with pipes and all. This is starting out like it's going to be a folk-song, but surely - unless they're keen not to win - it's going to tranform into a proper pop song halfway through?

There's a bloke with a squeeze box, too. And a guitarist with the largest chin ever seen in any Eurovision band ever. Now she's got a drum.

But there's no sign of this trying to turn into something more populist, though. I bet this is the sort of thing they expected they'd be getting from everyone when they first started the contest. It's probably about as genuine as a Baileys advert.

Finland Hanna Pakarinen Leave me alone

The home team get an intro which appears to feature evil men turning John McEnroe into Fred Astaire.

Bloody hell, it's Amy Lee. No wonder she's been kicking members of Evanessence out so much lately - she's needed space for the Finnish ringers.

This really is like Evanessence. In other words, pisspoor watery goth rock wank.

The lyrics include the words "I've got to go crazy, just to stay sane." Now, I'm no psychiatrist, but I can see a flaw there...

Hanna also has an unfortunate her-out-the-Cranberries vocal "aaaah" mannerism to fight, too.

FYR Macedonia Karolina Mojot svet
Their intro is people skiing out the back of a yellow van and down a corridor. I think it's a global warming thing.

Karolina is what Beyonce would look like without a Loreal contract. Her song is one of those off the shelf "quiet introy bit - loud bellowy bit" standards. Actually, did we say Beyonce? During the bellowy bits she looks like Kerry Katona must when she's off her tits on coke and Iceland pavlova. I can't tell if Karolina is angry or delighted, but she's definitely convinced by whatever her emotion is. I think all the money was spent on the wind machine.

Slovenia Alenka Gotar Cvet z juga
Ice sculptures. If Finland was hoping to get rid of the impression it's an icy wasteland, it's sort of failed.

The song is called Talk To The Hand, although Wogan has told us that, and he's already three vodkas in. Alenka looks like the sort of goth who runs the body art stand in a provincial crafts market - which always does it for us. Slovenia have entered something that's part opera, part national anthem from a small but aggressive nation. It might not win, but it's going to make damn sure they don't get invaded this side of the 2012 Olympics.

Alenka's skirt appears to be flipping up at the back - for a moment I wondered if we were going to see a parade of farmers, all having taken up arms, march from underneath. Sadly, no, but it's still the No Rock favourite so far.

Hungary Magdi Rúzsa Unsubstantial blues
Children making snow angels run us into the song, with the word "unsubstantial" proving a stumbling block for Wogan.

Magdi is, as Shawndra points out, being played by murderous diabetic Katy from Corrie. She's wearing jeans and a vest top, and using a bus stop as a prop (maybe hoping for a Weatherfield Wayfarer to come by, perhaps with Martin carrying her stage costume.) The song is an Elkie Brooks b-side. You could picture it being the musical track introduced by Ronnie Corbett halfway through the Two Ronnies.

Lithuania 4Fun Love or leave
What's this? Is this Nokia being used to lead in Lithuania? At least there's no snow.

4Fun have the name of a gay boy band, but they're actually built around the teeniest, tiniest little girl with a 1970s Doctor Who assitant outfit and haircut. She's backed up with some giant sillhouettes, which is puzzling: have Lithuanina introduced a witness protection style programme to protect the identity of its Eurovision contestants? Will they wake up in the morning and be given new passports and lives as fishmongers in Bristol?

Greece Sarbel Yassou Maria
Bog football now, apparently - which is football played on bogs. No, us neither.

Sarbel's dancers have costumes which are one-half A Million Years BC and one half Bring It On. Sarbel himself is what you'd get if Ricky Martin joined the Cheeky Girls. "Lord a mercy" he cries, and you'd have to agree with him.

Maria, Sarbel informs us, is "an angel in a devil's dress", which would seem to suggest a sheep in wolf's clothing. Surely if an angel wears sinners clothes, she'd be a sinner herslef? We're not theologists, though. We can't be sure.

Georgia Sopho My Story
The intro for this is a bunch of Goths marching down a street (what could they be protesting about? What do we want? Blood! And thicker curtains!)

Sopho has chosen her best red dress to be on the television. Somewhere in Georgia, there's a restaurant without anyone doing the greeting tonight. She's backed up by cossack dancers, who - bloody hell - they've got swords. But it sounds like she's singing along with a ringtone.

Sweden The Ark The worrying kind
A traditional wedding with, erm, a bride carrying carrots. The person who catches the bouquet looks delighted at catching; soup tonight, then.

Sweden might try to, but no ammount of eyeliner and tinfoil jackets will cover up the fact that their song is Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes. With a spot of Status Quo in the middle eight. Winningly, Andy Bell seems to have been given time off from Oasis to join in on bass.

France Les Fatals Picards L'amour à la Française
They've taken an advert break, which Finland is filling for non-commercial networks with the sort of stuff that would make you wish for a Topps Tiles ad. France is being given a run in by an opera film.

Jean Paul Gaultier has designed The Fatal Picards' outfits; it's not clear if he holds the guilt for the unfortunate facial hair. Or Alan Carr being on guitar. The refrain seems to be "L'amour" and "again". Actually, they're called the Picards and one of the singers - the most theatrical does look like he's come off the bridge of the Enterprise. Let's hope next year they go for the Amazing Shatners instead.

Latvia Questa Notte
They're not all about the mobile libraries in Finland, this is introduced by a proper, building style library movie.

Latvia have entered three tramps in top hats. Hang on, there's a fourth one now. And three of them can sing a bit, in a mock-Caruso way. One just makes slightly alarming noises like a highly educated pig that's been studying showtunes. Or are there five of them? Where are the all coming from? The song is the sort of underachieving epic which usually signals it's time for a nip to the bar during a musical.

Russia Serebro Song # 1
Ah, this is the 'did we mention Nokia' intro, then.

Russia have gone with a bizarre cross between The Kids From Grange Hill, Atomic Kitten and Girls Aloud. We'd mark them down purely on being obvious - it's only one step away from holding up a sign saying 'vote for us, we'll give all of Europe a grope' - but it works on some sort of Tatu-esque Sugababes plateau.

They promise their "bad ass baby" for us, which is nice.

Germany Roger Cicero Frauen regieren die Welt
They're running out of ideas for intros now - they're down to saunas.

Women Rule The World, Roger Cicero tells us. He's apparently particularly fond of Peggy Lee, whose track he seems to have ripped off here wholesale. He's come dressed as if he's going to try and sell us a potion that's been used in the Middle East to trade for a hostage release. Shawndra points out he "could be the next Joseph", which is true. In his head, though, he probably thinks he looks exactly the same way Robbie Williams thinks he looks when he slaughters the Frank Sinatra back catalogue.

Serbia Marija Šerifovic Molitva
What's this intro all about? Girls breaking into something or other... eh?

Blimey - with all the excitement about the transvestite entry from Ukraine, nobody has mentioned Serbia's fielded the first ever Drag King in Eurovision history. She's very good, too, although perhaps a little bit too close to Roland Browning in the face for comfort. The song sounds like it's about something terrible, or maybe from the opening of an international sports event. It's hard to say which.

Ukraine Verka Serduchka Dancing Lasha Tumbai
Oh, fuck off. Santa is meeting the Moomins. And playing them at chess. I bloody hate the Moomins.

Thing about this is, it's not really transvestitism, is it? It's just a sweaty bloke dressed up as the Statue of Liberty. Admittedly, Liberty is a woman, but that's hardly the same thing, is it? He delivers his song in the same Julian Clary did Leader of The Pack many years ago, but, frankly, I think we need to set our standards for Eurovision cross-dressing a little higher than a pair of Sunni Mann's sunglasses and a few feet of Bacofoil. And in all the fun of picking out costumes, they seem to have forgotten to bother writing a song. This, even Black Lace would weed out of the set.

United Kingdom Scooch Flying the flag (for you)
How will they introduce our team? A lighthouse keeper in a big red hat, that's how.

Scooch, of course, you'll be familiar with. And know its shortcomings - first, it's all chorus; second, it's not sure if it wants to be campy or sexy, and so falls in-between the two. The 'ba-da-ba' bit is pretty good, and they do have a big bottle marked "Bucks Fizz" as one of their props, although they should have had Eau Du Bardot on the perfume.

But will a song which relies on spoken double entendres work when the voters speak English as, at best, a second language?

Romania Todomondo Liubi, liubi, I love you
Introduced by some trying to debug software only to discover a child in the computer.

Pete Doherty and Ricky Gervais have come together to do Romania's entry. It's not clear which one is Liubi. It sounds like a traditional drinking song, which could be the case - perhaps they were too drunk to realise they hadn't written it in the first place.

Bulgaria Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov Water
Breaking icebergs and celebrating ice breaking - see, a visual gag - for the intro.

Ooh... this is promising: it opens with a Lisa Gerrardesque wail. Unfortunately, after ten seconds, it's drowned out by enormous drums. But then she starts to bellow more. She's winning, like a kind of Faith from Buffy, only with a bellow instead of a pointy piece of wood. We don't know if there's a Fire, Earth and Air to go with the water, but we'd actually like to find out. It's not often the Eurovision leaves you wanting more by the artist.

Turkey Kenan Dogulu Shake it up shekerim
The intro is a bloke hitting things.

Turkey have managed to get the words "Shake It" flashed up on the screen at the back. The singer is dressed like he's trick or treating as a Matador. The track isn't Turkish enough to be interesting, nor poppy enough to be toe-tapping. Turkey look like they'll be back in the qualifying stages next year.

Armenia Hayko Anytime you need
Have we had an Armenian entry before? They get run in by a proposal intro - that's going to put people in a positive mood, which has got to help.

And Armenia could do with some help. Nick Cotton is wading his way through some "please, please, look, if you don't want to shag me, then at least can we be friends or something? I could do your washing" type dirge.

Moldova Natalia Barbu Fight
We're nearly there, the last introductory film shows some scrubbing women persuading the boys to do their work with some feminine wiles.

Wogan wants us to shout "pull your trousers up", apparently oblivious to the fact that it's all mesh, boots and chaps for Natalia. This is an attempt to do a Ruslana, but without Ruslana's balls. "We've got to fight forever... some things are bad" observes Natalia, and the audience might be forced to conclude we've stumbled across one of those things.

Down in the comments - actual comments while we're doing this, it makes me feel like I'm Anna Pickard doing the Guardian's Apprentice blog - Liam and Tash have pointed out the French entry looked like Cheap Trick, but to be honest, we never thought that Cheap Trick looked like they were actually turning cheap tricks.

Santa has come on to mark the start of the voting - Finland seems determined to claim Santa as their own, which is debatable, surely. Wogan has just made the first mention of block voting of the evening, which is the sign that we're now in judging mode.

And a reference to the block votes in the semis. That's 2. We'll be counting.

So, our choice would be Bulgaria, Slovenia, followed by Russia. Shawndra, however, tells us this is plainly wrong and has thrown her weight - and, oddly, our text vote - behind Georgia.

Did we hear Terry Wogan just say that "I wish somebody would beat him up" in reference to the Ukranian entry? Is this was his famously witty commentary has now been reduced to - jokey calls for a spot of gaybashing?

While the votes are being enumerated - we understand the Germans are behind the calculators this year, so we can't work out why it's taking so long - we're getting some ballet, fire-eating, acrobatics and, inevitably, heavy rock. The heavy rock is being played on double basses, though. So it's all a little Cirque Du Ozzfest.

The fairy princess who is hosting the backstage area is asking the Serbian drag king if she kills a rabbit before going on stage. Now she's moved on to asking the Swedes if they think being pretty helps in the competition.

"Is this supposed to be funny?" asks Terry. Clearly he doesn't think so, which raises the frightening question of what it is he's chuckling away at.

Prior to starting the votes, they plug the official CD, DVD, MP3 whatever you want. In the shops tomorrow, except for Catholic countries, of course.

Monetnegro is getting first go with the votes - only fair, seeing as they haven't had a song in the finals, so it means they can fuck off to the pub early. Their top votes go to Serbia. Wogan - who has been doing this for years - appears to have never noticed before that they don't give 11 points to anyone.

But at least he doesn't mention block voting. Belarus giving twelve to Russia, though, means he can't keep his mouth shut.

He seems to think Armenia and Greece are "close enough - along the old Balkans". Armenia give twelve to Russia.

Andorra turn up next. Wogan predicts "twelve points will go to Spain." They give their twelve to Ukraine.

The woman presenting the Austrian votes looks like she really wanted to compete. Not a sniff for the UK so far. Austria's 12 go to Serbia, who are taking an early lead.

We're not the only ones with zero so far - Latvia and Ireland share our shame.

France's 12 goes to Turkey. "Those belly dancers are British" says Tel, trying to salvage some national pride.

The Danes trot up next, giving twelve to Sweden, lifting them from languishing near the bottom to a more credible mid-table slot.

The Greek guy shows off by doing some stuff in Finn. Either that, or the Finns really like Greek. Bulgaria take Greece's maximum vote.

The Spanish presenter can't speak Finnish, so she just tries some flirting. She's hundreds of miles away, she feels safe. Romania pick up the Spanish 12; Serbia aren't doing so well now but remain on the top of the pile. Ireland, Latvia and UK still on the arse-ends.

Serbia give twelve points to Hungary - we'd forgotten they were even taking part, to be honest - but after their bit, Ukraine come to the top.

Finnland are doing their votes from outside in the Square where people who couldn't buy tickets on eBay had gathered. The Finn maximum goes to Roland Browning and Serbia again - taking them back to top.

Turkey's votes are announced by Shirley Manson. Their big twelve goes to Armenia.

Terry's "is there a Western European country in the top ten" is the 20th reference to block voting so far.

Bosnia comes in from the cold to give twelve to Serbia. They're back on top.

If we didn't know better, we'd say everyone in belguim is drunk tonight. Their twelve goes to Turkey.

Portugal - 12 points to Ukraine.

Albania have perhaps the gayest man in Eurovision presenting their votes - possibly the gayest man in Albania, too. Ireland pick up five points to get off the zero, leaving just us and Latvia to our shame. They deliver twelve points to Spain, to Wogan's surprise.

They're rattling through the scores - Romania give two to Latvia, which now means the UK is the only nation on Nothing. Romania's max goes to Moldova.

Cyprus give twelve points to Greece, and Wogan explodes with bitter cackling.

Can he really not come up with anything other than block voting to add to his commentary? Even ridiculing our zero score would be more entertaining, even as Croatia give twelve to Serbia.

Slovenia's guy is in a sparkly jumper; he does some business with a flashlight that is probably one of the Eurovision fans. They give twelve to Serbia, who seem to have it in the bag.

Israel's guy makes a reference to "Push The Button", which is as close we're getting to real controversey this evening. Belarus pick up the twelve from Jerusalem, as the Finns go to commercials.

Scooch are backstage with the fairy princess, making very big frowns. They probably don't deserve nothing. Just very little.

The Russians look despondent, too. Presumably worrying if they'll have to give blowjobs to all of Europe despite losing.

Back to the votes, with Germany delivering votes in a trilby. The scoreboard seems to have been designed this year on the mistaken belief that everyone will be watching on 50" TVs. 12 here to Turkey.

Lithuania also haven't given anything to Scooch. We're not going to be coming from behind. Their 12 goes to Georgia, the first time any country has ever put them top of a national vote.

Norway's woman has got wonky breasts - one peeking out; one tucked safely in. Her twelve goes to Sweden, bringing Wogan's fiftieth block voting remark.

The Swiss were robbed at the semis; they respond by giving twelve to Serbia. Is this continent really fond of the sort of thing that the Serbians did?

Over to Prague now - the first time the Czechs have voted, apparently. Can this be true? They give their twelve to the Ukraine.

Even the Netherlands don't give us anything. Their presenter does a bit of business, pulling in a co-presenter to deliver their 12 to Turkey.

Ireland now... surely the UK must be in for a single vote now? Surely?

Yes... seven points. Apparently, Wogan approves of this sort of bloc voting. We're now just third from bottom. Until they give their twelve to Lithuania, knocking us down to next to bottom again.

Did anyone vote in Malta, then? Apparently enough to generate a scorecard anyway. Bloody hell... they've given twelve to Scooch. That's nineteen in total now, leaping us up to, erm, still two from bottom.

Estonia deliver twelve to Russia - "a placatory move there" suggests Wogan.

Georgia up next, chucking their points to Armenia. Or "another satellite state"

Bulgaria gift 12 to Greece; Wogan tries to suggest that this is because people "vote in blocks" because they like to vote for those at the top, seemingly oblivious that everyone voted at the same time.

Sweden have sent in one of McFly in a cardigan, with a generous twelve for Finland.

Ukraine's presenter is grinning like she's getting something just out of shot; she gives twelve to Belarus, which makes Wogan winney like a horse.

"Great big bear... good evening, Mr. Putin" says Terry. Yes, the Russian votes are coming up; they return Belarus' twelve.

Serbia are forty-ish ahead with ten votes to come. It's in the bag for them, really.

Latvia is, apparently, the home of incredibly cheap braces. They give ten to Lithuania, which knocks us back down to almost-bottom; their twelve goes to Ukraine.

Iceland deliver twelve to the Finns; allowing Terry to remind us there's a Scandanavian block vote, too.

A geography teacher in Warsaw pops up to pass twelve to the Ukraine, but it's coming too late.

The Moldovan presenter delivers his results as if he was making a dating video - Romania get the cheeky wink and the twelve.

Ukraine have closed the gap to 22 points behind Serbia; they could do it. But will they?

Fearne Cotton manages to not screw-up the UK Votes. As a nation, we gave top marks to Turkey.

Macedonia, which was a Yugoslavian Republic in a former life, has chosen last year's entrant as presenter. She feels the need to burst into song. It's been a long night, love, just cut to the chase. Their top marks are for Serbia, too.

Hungary are last with the votes. The UK, then, are stuck on 19, which is presumably as badly - or better - than any of the other Song For Europe entrants would have managed; Morrissey, we suspect, would have struggled to get into double figures.

Hungary's points go to Serbia, who have, erm, then won.

Who would have thought?

Terry Wogan's monitor has gone blank (or maybe he's just gone blind). The official count of mentions of Block Voting this year is 64. The last time, he chuckles and says "but do we care?" God alone knows how many times he'd have gone about it if he did care, then.

So, all off to Serbia next May, then. Now, that's got to be worth shunting Doctor Who out the schedules for.


Anonymous said...

hey well we loved the french song, they looked good and reminded me of cheap trickykenv

Mr Eugenides said...

That's some great liveblogging, by the way. I can now turn the sound down...

Bupster said...

You are second only to hecklerspray, which, trust me, is high praise indeed.

Unknown said...

The British contributions of recent years lacked originality and quality really. There is so much potential and so little imagination!

But even with high quality songs there is hardly any chance against the Eastern European block of votes. Look at Germany: three years in a row great songs (ballad, country, swing) performed by great singers who sold loads of records after the contest (or during the qualification), but no chance to get even close to the top.

The Swiss are so disappointed about their DJ Bobo being kicked out of the semis that they are seriously discussing a boycott until the voting mode has been modified.

Before blaming now the former Yugoslav or Soviet countries - the copyright for this behaviour, which many people find so scandalous, goes to the Scandinavian countries. They practised this behaviour many years before the new contest mode was introduced and still do so. What was acceptable here can't be wrong there.

In my opinion, there are two simple options for modifications: either introduce different number of votes by size of population or, even better, depending on the number of votes submitted thus relativating the influence of the many small countries. The reaction to come is obvious: unfair, undemocratic and so on.

Or do not distinguish any more from where the votes come and count them all together for each song to give the final ranking. This would remove, however, one of the main ingredients, the announcing of national voting results.

Many people suspect also technical manipulations to boost voting results. Why not putting together a voting panel in each country consisting of 1000 individuals representing the population of their countries? Simple solution, just that the broadcasting stations would lose a lot of revenue from the voting itself. Unlikely to happen.

Anonymous said...

I really liked the French song too. Not only was it a good tune, the performance was good fun too (loved the baldy man chasing the camera around a circuit of the stage). It's the only performance I've since watched again on the Sky+.

And thank you for reminding me which song the Swedish entry was 'influenced by'. That was driving me nuts...

Unknown said...

I think the promo before Lithuania was from the Assembly demo party, which is held annually in Finland.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...


We've been suggesting for a couple of years that they should twin countries, so that instead of Greece having votes alone, it should be paired with another nation, perhaps chosen at random. it wouldn't eliminate block voting, but it might reduce its effects a little.

The panel of experts, of course, was the method used for the first forty or so years - the mysterious "juries" of times past. Like you suggest, it's unlikely to be an idea that will fly with the lucrative phone-line cash being raked in these days.

But something has to be done, if only to get Terry Wogan to shut up.

Anonymous said...

Oh my're EXTREMELY STUPID!! 'heavy rock'??? who in the world has ever heard of a music genre like that? please, don't speak of music before you get some clue about it first... and you definitely know NOTHING about Finland, but still amke those lame comments about the clips, which were delightful to anyone willing to look at them with only a bit of attention. Wake up.

Sarah Ditum said...

Poor Scooch. They deserved better. Even if they were, more or less, performing the Eurovision sketch from probably-forgotten-by-everyone-else sitcom "The High Life".

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Anonymous: Whoever has heard of heavy rock? Erm... well, it's a genre listed on, offers heavy rock as part of its service. allows music to be classified as heavy rock. As does and... but even if that doesn't convince you: Heart are clearly soft rock, and since there is rock which is monstrous compared to them, it stands to reason that there must a genre which exists at that end of the spectrum.

Do I know anything about Finland? Not much, and certainly, after watching the clips, I know no more than I did before. And it was the clips I was criticising - opaque shots of Santa playing chess with the Moomins and people knitting scarves using mobile libraries are, frankly, a little lame. That's not a problem with Finland, it's actually a structural problem with the Song Contest itself.

I could ask why you think that because I would classify a song into a genre other than the one you would that you think that means "I don't have a clue about music", but, frankly, I don't think you'd be able to justify such a leap.

Webbo: The reason why The High Life is forgotten is Alan Cumming has paid people never to mention it again.

Anonymous said...

It's not political voting, it's cultural voting. If politics was important, why would the former Yugoslavian nations be voting for Serbia? Has Wogan conveniently forgotten about all that ethnic cleansing?

The Eastern countries take Eurovision more seriously. They field established acts and they care more about winning. They vote for each other because they share similar cultural values. We reformed Scooch. Seriously, there's nothing wrong with the voting system, it's the UK's entries that are all wrong.

My vote was for the Ukraine.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea that people in this country (suffering from being sore losers with a serious case of the sour grapes) actually believe that people sitting at the other side of the continent are thinking to themselves "mmm... I've only got one vote. There's 23 countries for me to vote for. Who should I vote for? Oh look the British... oh no they're all bastards who I don't like because of their questionable foreign policy. Now all I need is a reason not to vote for the 21 other countries and I've found my winner!" dear oh dear people. If only you spent less time complaining about your unfounded perceptions of European relations and more time pointing out the fact that the competition claims to be about "music" but contributes absolutely nothing of value to the industry. Sometimes I wish that a lot of the morons in this country would go back to their Daily Mail and just shut up.

Tiuskea Rakki said...

Regarding the clips... as a Finn, I am SO glad we had the guts to actually show ourselves the way we believe we are. I was afraid there would be some lame-ass attempt to suck up to people abroad by trying to try to "prove" that we're able to "copy the outside world" and that therefore we aren't the backwater we fear others think we are! It would have been so pathetic.

Fortunately, whiners have been in the minority and mostly the clips have been well received. Most people understand that they are being exposed to another culture on a somewhat deeper level than the regular dumb travel brochure infomercials (ok, Santa was a bit too much in your face but you can't really just ignore him). And are you suggesting that we'd drop the sauna from Finnish Eurovision intro clips? In your dreams -- it's just far too much of a cultural centerpiece here.

The clips were meant to be a bit of a challenge to the audience... they give more of a "feel" of Finnishness than dry data, and I loved it. The library car thing was about another Finnish icon, although one that is soon a thing of the past, I suspect. If you judge everything based on how well it conforms to some Anglo-American pop culture model, no wonder you're confused, however ;-)

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

I can see what the idea behind them was, Captain - it's just that, however well intentioned, the intro clips always wind up looking like travel advert clips. Indeed, I was watching the Greece - Find Your Senses spot earlier, and thought "that looks exactly like a Eurovision intro clip."

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. It is always great pleasure to read your posts.

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