#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… 😀

2 thoughts on “#Eurovision circus and the bearded lady…

  1. looks fab….hope you are having a great time….will be watching tonight and hoping Ireland get through!……I knew I saw Ruth somewhere before…..thanks for clearing that up for me!

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