S’wonderful…

What a great final of the Eurovision Song Contest last night. I had a ball – and I hope that you did too. You know how much I like (love) the Austrian entry, but I don’t think I’d ever imagined that it would win. It’s brilliant that it did! Looks like we’re of to Vienna in 2015…

This last week has been very busy, but as always it’s very enjoyable. I am looking forward to returning home, but not to the pile of marking that awaits me tomorrow! Copenhagen has been a comfortable host city. The venue is probably the most disappointing aspect of the week. It was a bit of a dump to be honest. The shabby shell housed the awesome arena and stage, and the good news is that it didn’t dampen the spirits of the audience this week.

To us fans, the Eurovision is a marathon, not a sprint. Most of the national finals kick-off at the start of the year, and we’ve been living with the songs for months now. There will be some songs that I will rarely listen to when I get home, whilst there are some songs that I know will be classics: Austria, The Netherlands, Sweden to name just three. Looking at iTunes across Europe today shows Conchita and The Common Linnets leading the way in terms of popularity. It’s good to see that, across all charts, Eurovision entries are clearly popular – good news for a song contest! I think that the big song will actually be The Common Linnets – I can see Radio 2 latch on to it, as I said at the start of the week.

So I’ll sign-off now, time to pack and make the short trip to the airport. Thanks for reading this week, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my Eurovision experience in wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen.

Farvel!

😀

 

 

#It’s time!

Here we go guys!

Time for us to to start our Eurovision party! Whatever you are doing, and wherever you are doing, and whomever you are doing it with, I hope you have a ball.

As always big hugs go to my bestest Eurovision buddy back home, none other than Rachel Rolfe. Have a ball tonight, darling. To the rest of you, thanks for reading my travels and exploits this week. I hope that, in some small way, I have added to your Eurovision experience.  I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I am sure that we will have loads to talk about tomorrow.

Here is how our jury have voted tonight, and how we think the songs will be placed. How about your list?

  1. Sweden
  2. Denmark
  3. Austria
  4. The Netherlands
  5. Greece
  6. United Kingdom
  7. Armenia
  8. Norway
  9. Ukraine
  10. Hungary
  11. Finland
  12. Spain
  13. Azerbaijan
  14. Poland
  15. Russia
  16. Romania
  17. Iceland
  18. Malta
  19. Switzerland
  20. Belarus
  21. Slovenia
  22. Montenegro
  23. France
  24. Italy
  25. Germany
  26. San Marino

Love to all back home! 😀 xx

Power to the people…

…these are the final lyrics that you will hear from the songs competing tonight. We can dream a little and hope that they will be the last sung after the encore as Molly brings the title back home to the UK, for the first time since 1997. We already have a successful song as Molly is in the midweek charts top 40, and her performance tonight will propel it higher for when the official UK chart is announced tomorrow.

You will enjoy the performance, and it is fantastic to hear it get a great reception in the arena. And, as I mentioned in my previous post, singing after all the other songs should hopefully give us a boost.

Most importantly, will I win my bet with John Cater? Five quid says the UK will finish in the top ten (goes to me), five quid says it doesn’t (goes to John). Just a bit of fun, and I’m sure John is good for it!

Our final full day in CPH, another cloudy day, but with more exploring to do (no visit to the arena today)…

2014-05-10 13.12.03I visited CPH way back in 1988 – a school trip after I finished my A levels – and I vaguely remember visiting the little mermaid. It felt almost obligatory to do that again on this trip. You know – the full tourist experience and all that. A nice walk through CPH with Brian Singleton to this tourist attraction also showed me the venue from across the water…

2014-05-10 13.49.33Around the corner, a short walk, and there she was…

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…and a tourist board’s dream: the venue as a backdrop to this iconic statue…

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That box ticked, it was back through town and the ‘Fan Mile’ for the last time. You can see that it is much busier today – a great vibe and buzz, for sure.

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Brian has been a patient friend today as he navigated us around the city. From time to time today I am sure that all fans wish we could just fast-forward through the day and get on with things, but that said feeling the buzz in the host city is always pretty cool, and wherever you go you hear conversations about the festivities tonight.

One more job before the broadcast tonight – the final napkin of death. Once again we will be ranking from 1 to 26 – to determine the winner. We’ve not used the jury method until this year, usually selecting our top ten and a winner. Let’s see how we go! Do you own and #JoinUs!

In the meantime, get the drinks and nibbles sorted and I’ll be back with our jury result before the start of the grand final…

😀

 

It feels like skuba duba dabda dididaj, skuba duba dabda dididaj…

It really does!

Those wise words are from the chorus to the Danish Entry, and they are inescapable this week, as you would expect. Walking down the street everyone is singing  “skuba duba dabda dididaj, skuba duba dabda dididaj, I love you”. Fans, kids, teens, me! I mean *everyone*. The song is really, really catchy, which makes me think that there’s a real possibility that we could be back in Denmark next year. It does sound and look like a Bruno Mars song, so the instant familiarity will be useful for those hearing the song for the first time tonight. And when you see it, the now familiar theme of togetherness and inclusivity is there for all to see…

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The dress rehearsal on Friday afternoon was fun. You will enjoy the flow of songs (hopefully now familiar to you all). It was the first full run through, and this year all 26 acts take to the stage at the start of the final. Here’s ‘our Molly’ taking to the stage…

2014-05-09 14.22.08For this rehearsal I was down in the standing area. I had a great view of the artists, with Molly standing next to me on the plinth with the other acts, including the Dutch act The Common Linnets. I wished Molly good luck and she seemed genuinely chuffed. Molly looks great, and styled a bit like Barbarella (to the left below)…

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Great news for Molly is that she will be the last song of the night. What better way to finish the performances, ahead of the public telephone vote, than with the main sentiment of the song – “Power to the People”.

The Icelandic song has grown on me this week. Pollapönk have been great fun this week, I hope they do well tonight, but if they don’t then they have made their point. As the lyrics suggest, “let’s do away with prejudice, don’t discriminate, tolerance is bliss”. Right on, Pollapönk!

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For fans of the Polish entry, the churning girl didn’t break character throughout the performance. There was a scramble in the pit for a photo. And a man behind me taking far too much interest…

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Our diva of the moment got a great reception once again. As I type this entry Conchita (Austria) is now second with the bookies…

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One of the things that the host broadcaster, DR, have got right this week is the trio of presenters. They’ve got natural chemistry, and they seem really into the competition. We have noticed that their script is constantly changing from rehearsal to live broadcast. In the dress rehearsal for semi one there was a skit about the rivalry between Denmark and Sweden in the Contest. This didn’t make it to the broadcast – perhaps we’ll get it on Saturday night. Lise, Pilou and Nikolaj have done a great job…

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Sweden’s Sanna Nielsen has also done an amazing job performing her entry. I haven’t heard a bum note all week. The staging is great, and the song does everything it needs to to blow you away at the end. Sanna is currently the favourite to win. That’s great for her in this highly competitive field…

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Could Sanna be our winner? I’m finding my loyalties are pulled in all directions. I want Molly to win for the UK as this is the best song we have sent to ESC in years. Sweden is classy, but they won two years ago, so is it too soon? Austria is a great package all round, Denmark’s song is one of the best, The Netherlands is awesome too. Etc, etc. Europe has a big decision tonight, and it will make one.

Here is the full running order for tonight:

  1. Ukraine – Mariya Yaremchuk with Tik-Tock
  2. Belarus – Teo with Cheesecake
  3. Azerbaijan – Dilara Kazimova with Start a Fire
  4. Iceland – Pollapönk with No Prejudice
  5. Norway – Carl Espen with Silent Storm
  6. Romania – Paula Seling & OVI with Miracle
  7. Armenia – Aram MP3 with Not Alone
  8. Montenegro – Sergej Cetkovic with Moj Svijet
  9. Poland – Donatan & Cleo with My Slowianie – We Are Slavic
  10. Greece – Freaky Fortune feat. RiskyKidd with Rise Up
  11. Austria – Conchita Wurst with Rise Like a Phoenix
  12. Germany – Elaiza with Is it right
  13. Sweden – Sanna Nielsen with Undo
  14. France – TWIN TWIN with Moustache
  15. Russia – Tolmachevy Sisters with Shine
  16. Italy – Emma with La Mia Città
  17. Slovenia – Tinkara Kova? with Round and Round
  18. Finland – Softengine with Something Better
  19. Spain – Ruth Lorenzo with Dancing in the Rain
  20. Switzerland – Sebalter with Hunter of Stars
  21. Hungary – András Kállay-Saunders with Running
  22. Malta – Firelight with Coming Home
  23. Denmark – Basim with Cliche Love Song
  24. The Netherlands – The Common Linnets with Calm After the Storm
  25. San Marino – Valentina Monetta with Maybe (Forse)
  26. United Kingdom – Molly with Children of the Universe

On Danish television already today there has been a morning of documentaries about the production of the show, and as I type there is a re-run of the semi-finals for the rest of the  afternoon – it’s nice to see it on the telly!

More chat from me ahead of the final later, but for now it’s all about a trip to see the little mermaid. I love that film…

😀

 

From Wurst, the best…

Thursday brought with it the second semi-final of ESC2014. It also brought with it more cloudy and damp weather. A bit of a mooch in Copenhagen found us at City Hall, which opened the Contest last Sunday evening.

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As in Malmö last year, there is a countdown clock to the final on Saturday which is located next to City Hall. Every day brings us closer to finding our winning song for 2014, and a host country for 2015. Such is the perpetual nature of the Eurovision Song Contest, the dates for next year have already been announced – and if I remember correctly we will be back in the ‘bubble’ slightly later next year.

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I have previously mentioned the Eurovision Village and Fan Mile. I’m not entirely sure what criteria they are being measured by. True, there are lots of people moving around the city who are here for the Eurovision, but the fan mile does *nothing* to add to their experience. As you can see, the corporate bunting is up, but all it does is lead us through the high street, past designer shops, fast food joints, and tourist shops. Not exactly inspiring stuff!

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Take a look at the photo below. Is this Copenhagen readying itself for roadworks in the city centre?

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Nope, it is part of a Guinness Book of Records attempt to make the longest kissing chain ever. Slightly random, isn’t it. I’ll have to check whether the record attempt was successful. In that rain, I’d be surprised!

Arriving for the semi-final last night, the weather was being suitably unkind as the heavens opened…

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There are plenty of rainbow flags here in Denmark this week, and as if to acknowledge that, Mother Nature did her bit. I don’t think I have even seen a double rainbow before. Such was the weather is lasted for at least 20 minutes…

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Inside the main entrance, the 10,000 strong audience were being greeted by supporters of Austria’s artist, Conchita Wurst. It was a really fun thing to do: we were given a free hug as we arrived. It was a nice touch. There is a lot of love for Conchita Wurst. As I mentioned in my earlier review of this semi-final, the song is great, and the fact that the artist is anything other than conventional is really incidental. #JoinUs, #WeAreInclusive…

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I know I have mentioned the rather ramshackle approach to the organisation of the event this year. You saw the rather humorous image of the merchandise stand next to the waste bin, well here is further evidence of a rather underwhelming approach to customer service.  Here is the ticket help desk..

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😀

Back in the arena there was a more energized buzz for the second semi-final…

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We had great seats once again. As you looked a the stage I was sitting by the walkway arrow to the right of the stage as you look at it, with a great view of the artists when they came off stage…

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It was a great show. On both the ‘expert’ napkin of death and my own I got 9 out of 10 songs. I only got Israel wrong, and left Poland out. Did you see what I meant with Poland – it’s filthy, isn’t it! Finland and Greece were fab, good for Malta, fantastic that Norway got through, Romania – dull but predictable.

Last night, if you were to have asked me what my favourite Eurovision memory is since attending for the first in 2008, it would be an easy choice. When Belgrade played host to ESC2008, they did a great job. On the evening of the final I heard a reaction to a song that I have never heard before, or since: it was the hometown cheer for their own Serbian entry. Actually it wasn’t a cheer, it was a roar – a wall of sound that would make the hair on the back of your neck stand-up. It was amazing. It might be because it was my first final that I remember it so vividly, but it was more special than that – it was being amongst the energy and emotion of that crowd – it was truly breathtaking.

Ask me today what’s my favourite moment – it was the performance from Conchita Wurst last night. Well, actually it was her performance and, once again, the reaction (and indeed performance) of the audience. It was a-ma-zing. I’m sure you guys at home could hear the reaction of the audience throughout (I watched it back on You Tube!). The ovation started as she took to the stage, and it pretty much lasted throughout – I have never seen or heard the like before. The reaction was extraordinary – and that’s what made is extra special for me. I am proud that I was part of the whooping and the hollering!

I think the reaction represented more than just the buoyant good will of the LGBT community – it’s going much further than that. Take a look at the betting odds today and Conchita is now third favourite (previously she was 10th). Clearly there is momentum building for this song. Part of it is because of the artist and the LGBT support she will have around Europe, it is also probably partly due to anti-Russia sentiments and attitudes to sexual equality. Also, because it’s a really good song (like I said, Bond Theme much). I think the television presentation was fantastic too – the ‘spidercam’ shot from the back of the arena to the close-up on Conchita was inspired. And the phoenix flame wings at the end looked really cool. I will remember that moment for a long time.

The television producers did their bit to add to the drama by leaving the announcement of Austria progressing to the final until the end. Great stuff. Live telly, eh! There was clear relief and excitement for the finalists, and the ‘walk of shame’ for the not-so-famous-five countries…

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We now turn our attention to the Grand Final. Indeed, I was on BBC Radio Lancashire early doors this morning discussing just that – was anyone listening at 7.20am?!

I will be back at the arena today for the Grand Final dress rehearsal, where for the first time, the ‘big five’ plus hosts Denmark will be in the mix. I would expect that the UK odds will narrow later today, as will Denmark. I still think that they will do the double, and an each-way bet might well reward you with a dividend. I don’t bet, but if I did there are too many good songs, this year and this whole thing is wide open. It’s great fun though…

More reaction to the final later…

😀

ESC2014: Semi-final 2 – Napkin of death

The votes have been counted and verified – but for whatever reason my excel spreadsheet wasn’t cooperating, so there was a slight delay!  Here is who we, your ‘expert academic jury’ (ahem) think will qualify for the grand final tonight…

Going through…

Greece

Norway

Malta

Finland

Romania

Austria

Israel

Belarus

Switzerland

Poland

Going home…

Ireland

Macedonia

Slovenia

Lithuania

Georgia

It’s a close vote, however, with not all members of the jury agreeing. How about you – what’s your song of the night? Enjoy the show, see you on the other side when we will have a complete line-up of finalists…

😀

#Eurovision circus and the bearded lady…

It is a rather British obsession to feel the need to relay information about the weather here in Copenhagen. FYI, on Wednesday it was a mixed day of rain showers and sunny spells. More rain than sun, it has to be said. That said, even on a damp day it’s a beautiful city…

2014-05-05 20.30.05The main business of the day on Wednesday was to attend the first dress rehearsal of the second semi-final. Travelling to and from the arena from my hotel takes approximately 30 minutes. Good metro links take us to the city centre, then we hop on the bus to ‘Eurovision island’. A short walk to the arena and we we’re back in the thick of it.

The atmosphere was really manic for this visit. This is not as a result of the press and fans, more that there were thousands of excitable school children who had been taking part in a singing competition of their own. It looked like primary schools competing with each other. Clearly they had stayed on for the afternoon for the dress rehearsal. It was nice to feel their energy and enthusiasm – and at times their cheering was deafening. It must surely have given the performers a lift.

So here are my thoughts about the runners and riders for the second semi-final, which you can see on BB3 at 8pm in the UK, or via www.eurovision.tv.

o1. Firelight – Coming Home (Malta) 

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This is a gentle start to the second semi, but still a melodic and catchy song from Malta. We will be clapping along in the arena, and I am sure that you will be at home.  Watch the video below to see the poignancy of song, and it’s link to the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1. It should make it through to the final.

02. Mei Finegold – Same Heart (Israel)

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A good effort from Israel this year – there have been some strange song choices from them in the last two years. Uptempo and well performed by singer Mei. There are a few entries in this semi-final that could cancel each other out (for example this with Macedonia), but I would like to see this in the final, as we could do with a few more uptempo tracks in the mix.

03. Carl Espen – Silent Storm (Norway)

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I hope you are playing spot the performer in my pictures, by the way!

This is one of the best songs in the whole competition. It might be a case of ‘too good for Eurovision’, but that is usually said by people who really don’t appreciate the strength of the songs that are in the mix. Carl Epsen has great tone to his voice, with simple stage presentation. It should sail through, probably with the assistance of the national juries, but I hope that the viewers voting tonight – including the UK – will get behind this beautiful song.

04. The Shin & Mariko – Three Minutes To Earth (Georgia)

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There are always kookie songs in Eurovision. This is one of them! It’s all kind of crazy: a bit folky, a bit Jethro Tull sounding, with a Charlie Dimmock lookalike on vocals. Oh, and a parachute for whatever reasons.  It is hashtag bonkers! Surely it will be taxi for Georgia…

05. Donatan & Cleo – My Słowianie – We Are Slavic (Poland)

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When you view the music video (below) for the Polish entry you will be entertained and appalled in equal measure. Or appalled. Or entertained. And you may well think, as most of us do, “You can’t do that!”. The performance on stage, and the television presentation of it, is similarly inappropriate. And entertaining. Never before on the Eurovision stage will you have seen such inappropriate churning and scrubbing. No really, seeing is believing. Or disbelieving!

As for the song, I quite like it. Reminds me a bit of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl”, and it’s catchy for sure.  But has the whole package done the best for the song? What do you think?!  50-50 whether it goes through.

06. Conchita Wurst – Rise Like A Phoenix (Austria)

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This is one of may favourite songs of the year, even outside the ‘Eurovision bubble’. Regular readers of my popblog will know that. My dear friend Carol Poole is also a big fan. You might well be intrigued by the performer, Conchita Wurst. Yes, she is a singer in a fabulous dress, with great hair and a beard. This is how she describes herself.

#Why not! #We’re open minded enough to cope with that. #It sounds like a Bond theme. #Shirley Bassey should record it.

Having blogged earlier about how permissive and openminded this Contest is in terms of LGBT, let’s hope that people listen to the song as much as judge it on Conchita’s fabulous performance, rather than dismissing it because a drag queen is performing. It’s in my top ten on my napkin of death today, 110%. We will see it again in the final.

07. Vilija Matačiūnaitė – Attention (Lithuania)

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(apols for the blurry photo!)

This is all a bit too ‘shouty’ for me. And not the best song. I can’t see this in the final, you might!

08. Softengine – Something Better (Finland)

The kids went *wild* in the arena for this one, and you will see why. Great song, great performance. The kids are all right on this one – it’ll sail through to the final. Boyband good looks and a room full of pre-teens, you can imagine the screaming! Oh wait – that was the Eurofans…

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09. Can-Linn (feat. Kasey Smith) – Heartbeat (Ireland)

Blimey. It’s twenty years since the Eurovision Song Contest introduced the world to Riverdance. Not that I saw any of that interval act at the time – I was on the telephone to my best friend Rachel discussing who we thought would win that year! You will hear and see the celtic influence in their entry once again this year. It doesn’t sound particularly fresh and the staging uses the usual, and perhaps now slightly too contrived/cliche elements. It’s borderline whether it’s going through or going home…

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10. Teo – Cheesecake (Belarus)

I met this chap yesterday. It’s funny how much smaller in real life people seem after you’ve seen them on the telly! One of my top ten songs of the year. The video is fun and a bit tongue-in-cheek. The performance is way more sophisticated and smooth. That said, Robin Thicke should ask for his suit back! No blurred lines here though, I think this will make it through…

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11. Tijana Dapčević – To The Sky (F.Y.R. Macedonia)

As I said earlier, this and Israel may well spilt votes as they are quite similar. It’s a good effort, well styled and presented. That said, I don’t find the song particularly memorable. You might have seen Tijana and my buddy Paul Jordan on BBC3 during the semi-final broadcast on Tuesday, being interviewed by Scott Mills. She seems like a great personality, and that might carry the song through. I’m not convinced…

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12. Sebalter – Hunter of Stars (Switzerland)

We’re not clapping or tapping to this one – we’re whistling! That’s the main hook of the song. The video below really doesn’t do it justice. Luckily the performance it strong, so it should entertain you, and on the recap the whistling hook should attract votes. Going through, I think…

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13. Freaky Fortune feat. Risky Kidd – Rise up (Greece)

One of the best songs in the whole competition. For sure we will see this in the final. Look carefully at my photo. It’s a spot-the-ball type thing: can you see the trampolining man? You will tonight…

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14. Tinkara Kovač – Round And Round (Slovenia)

There’s something about Tinkara. She has a flute. That might be good enough to get her to round two…

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15. Paula Seling & Ovi – Miracle (Romania)

Paula and Ovi did rather well representing Romania back in 2010, finishing a very respectable third place with a better song than they have this time around. If I was Will.i.am or one of the Black Eyed Peas I would call the lawyers – it’s more than a bit similar to their song “I Gotta Feeling”. See what you think.  Going through for sure, but keep an eye out for the least convincing piano/keyboard during the performance. Who are they kidding – looks like a piece of painted circular MDF!

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So, by the end of the evening there will be ten songs left, and we will lose five. The second napkin of death to follow later.

By the way, is it just me – but do you feel sorry for the majority of backing singers this year – they are mostly banished to the shadows and given very little, if any, screen time.  Imagine if you were one of them and you had told all your friends and family that you would be on Eurovision – you’d be gutted. There was a scene during the rehearsals for Spain on Monday when the backing singers were removed to the shadows – they didn’t look happy. But then again, as we I will discuss tomorrow, there’s only room for one Spanish diva!

More later… 😀

#Did you?

Since my arrival on Saturday there has been a lot of activity to ready the arena for the arrival 0f 10,000 people at the B&W arena. You know how I mentioned that I was yet to approach it via the main entrance – it turns out that I had, I just didn’t realise it! The venue has now been transformed into a welcoming, if still rather shabby-chic location…

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I hope that the arena looked great on your television screens. We had fantastic seats, as you can see from the images below. A clear view of the stage, and of the green room where the contestants awaited their fate…

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I thought that the opening sequence was really well conceived. It showed the family of Eurovision as much as the family of Europe and beyond coming together to – and I am borrowing the host theme from Olso 2010 now – “Share the moment”. Despite how some people may perceive the event and the fans of Eurovision, there is more than sexual diversity here. Yes, the gay community is very well represented as always, but this is a very popular event amongst male and females, teens and older, as much as it is by families with young children. That’s what made the opening sequence special. It showed the Eurovision audience to itself, and accommodated all kinds of difference (all kinds of everything, you might say!).

Throughout the show there was a subtle but knowingly political subtext about inclusion and difference. As a Eurovision fan I loved that, and as a music fan I loved it even more. There will always be a certain amount of fromage amongst the songs each year, but each year we are introduced to something different, which broadens our understanding of other countries musical tastes and influences, which in turn influences ours.

I thought the show was excellent overall, and on my personal napkin of death I selected nine of the ten songs – how did you do? The ‘expert jury’ of academics got 8 out of 10, so that was a relief! It was fun to see the reactions of the countries in the green room as their songs were recapped during the voting and the results. You can see that I had a great view…

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It was, as I had expected, a bit awkward to see the disappointment from the six countries that didn’t make it. What was nice to see was a sense of camaraderie between winners and losers last night. Some hugs for the Latvian’s and consoling of Axl from Belgium, with the Portuguese singer cheering on all the winners, and dancing about to all the songs. We forget that it is an achievement to get to represent your country on the Eurovision stage, so all things considered everyone did well last night.

The perhaps inevitable, and I am guessing for you guys at home, very audible booing came with the announcement of Russia progressing to the final. We know that that booing is about the political situation between Russia and Ukraine at the moment, as much as it is about attitudes to equal rights and sexuality in Russia. I can’t disagree with the voicing of those sentiments, but I do feel sorry for the young Russian twins who must surely  have felt that it was aimed at them. The moment was short lived, as the successful finalists took to the stage…

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Ah well, onwards we go. Brian and I are off to the arena to meet Karen and Paul for the dress rehearsal of the second semi-final.

More later…

ESC2014: Semi-final 1 – Napkin of death…

For each of the semi-finals and the grand final you will probably know that the public telephone vote accounts for 50 percent of our UK vote. The other 50 percent is decided by an expert jury of music professionals. The votes are then combined and relayed for the ultimate ‘douze point’. What the expert just do now is to rank the songs in order of preference, so tonight that will be from 1 to 16, best to worst. We thought that we would try that with the napkin tonight and see how we get on. Here’s our results:

Going through to the final:

Sweden

Armenia

Hungary

Azerbaijan

Netherlands

Ukraine

Estonia

Russia

Montenegro

Moldova

Going home…

Latvia

Portugal

San Marino

Iceland

Belgium

Albania

See how we get on, and compare it with your own list.

As always have a great evening and I hope that you enjoy what will be a great show. The opening sequence is one of the best ever, and will connect particularly strongly with any fans.  I felt quite emotional watching it. No spoilers from me! See for yourselves tonight on BBC3 at 8pm, or via www.eurovsion.tv.

😀

Here come the six super troupers…

It has been a cloudy Tuesday here in  Copenhagen…

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The sights and sounds of the ESC are noticeable the more I make my way around the city. Today was the first time that I’d made it to the area known as the ‘Fan Mile’, around which there are contest themed events and a more noticeable presence of the Eurovision brand…

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There is a gentle buzz around this area, also known this week as the ‘Eurovision Village’, and there is a noticeable international crowd building ahead of the semi-final tonight. Earlier today (Tuesday) Brian and I went to the first open rehearsals for the ‘Big 5’ (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain) and host country Denmark.

On entering the arena I wasn’t exactly inspired to purchase any merchandise…

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These rehearsals (where each country gets three performances) are the first for these countries that have been open to the press and fans. It all started with Germany performing their decent song, with an interesting backdrop against which the trio perform, largely static. The backdrop is doing most of the work! It’s effective enough, and the song is a bit of a grower – not exactly what you need in the ESC for first time viewers…

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Second on stage was the United Kingdom, with ‘our Molly’…

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It’s a really good performance!  And that isn’t me being baised. Check the betting odds – she’s now third favourite. Molly is really confident, has a distinctive voice – and the backing singers do a great job. Best of all, the vision mixing and the choice of shots for the television really do add to the vibe of the song.  We will not be disappointed by Molly on Saturday night!

We were all ushered out of the Arena when France took to the stage for their first run through, not sure why. I didn’t get back in time to see the other two, so I have nothing to say about their song “Moustache”.

Representing host country Denmark is Bruno Mars. Sorry, I mean Basim -he’s a bit of a clone of Bruno as you will see will probably be in the top three at the end of the day, if not win for Denmark again…

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Brilliantly choreographed, and it’s one of the catchiest songs in the contest this year. As Wogan used to say, “I have a feeling”…

Italy were next. Awesome graphic design for the backdrop of the performance. The singer is styled in a very glam rock, Lady GaGa knock-off attire. The song does nothing for me, but the visuals are great, as you can see…

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Finally, it was Spain that blew me away. Ruth Lorenzo, whom some of you will remember from the X-Factor a few year back, is outstanding. Madrid maybe next year, it’s that good! Ruth is “Dancing In The Rain”, and the staging uses the motif of rain throughout. I love the Swedish ballad, as you know, but this outdoes Sanna Nielsen to be the strongest ballad, by a whisker…

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Not a bad performance amongst these countries. The ‘Big 5’ have upped their game in terms of their participation song selection. Great entertainment from all these countries on Saturday night.

Leaving the rehearsals, you can see that the organisers still haven’t quite got their act together with the merchandise stand…

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😀