I love Eurovision. Okay, I may not be as obsessed with it as some others but I always make a ritual of watching it – semi-finals and all. Usually it involves a party at James’ place (and a couple of times at my place) but this year it was suggested that we try something different and we go to the Eurovision night held at the Flinders Hotel. Well, that was a disaster and Graeme has reported quite fully on that debacle.
In the comfort of my own home, I watched the final again on Monday night and I now feel that I can actually comment on it. It was just so hard to get a proper feel for the final when it was being drowned out in an over-crowded gay hotel and having to keep looking around the person standing in front of the chip machine!
I was very happy with the result. I had already fallen in love with the song ahead of time and had bought the single on iTunes. “Fairytale” is catchy, happy and uncomplicated. Once you added the charms and energy of Alexander Rybak and his violin, it was always going to be an unbeatable combination. Even though it was an inevitable conclusion from quite early on in the voting, you could tell that Alexander was both humble and overcome with emotion as the result was announced.
I was also happy that Iceland came second. I love Icelandic pop music and I have generally loved their Eurovision entries. This one took a while to grow on me since I had initially dismissed it as a boring ballad but it’s quite a beautiful song and Yohanna does have a great voice.
My second favourite was actually Sweden and I must say that I was surprised that it did so badly. The song “La Voix” was an early favourite with bookies and was performed with gusto by a well known opera singer. The song is an epic that soars and takes the listener along for the ride. It should have done much better but I guess that it sounded too much like a British Airways commercial and maybe that’s what killed it.
My other big favourite came last! I love the dance song “Lose Control” from Finland. I snapped up the single on iTunes with all the remixes. I’m not normally a fan of rap songs but the rap fits very well into the dance rhythm and the female singers really make it for me. Maybe it just wasn’t mainstream enough and I’ve yet to find anyone else who likes it.
I must say that Moscow put on a great show although with the amount of lighting, I had to wonder what their contribution to Earth Hour must have been. The staging and lighting were spectacular and it was great how they were able to easily customise it to each of the acts. The opening act with Dima Bilan was impressive and the interval act with the suspended swimming pools quite breathtaking. The voting moved at a decent pace and it was a pleasant surprise to see diva Sarah Dawn Finer present the Swedish votes. Our little group at the Flinders let out a cheer when we realised it was her.
An early source of relief was that the hosts were anyone other than the appalling ones for the semi-finals. Ivan and Alsou didn’t have to do much to improve on the previous hosts.
Overall, a cynic might suggest that this was just Russia sparing no expense to show off to the rest of the world but what the hey, they did it so well, you can almost forgive them. They shouldn’t be forgiven for their heavy handed approach to the gay protesters. In this day and age, that is appalling and shows that Russia isn’t as progressive as it tries to suggest.
A few other comments about the acts. Sakis did well for Greece with his high energy performance on top of what looked like a giant stapler. I loved Svetlana and her drumming for the Ukraine. Her backing dancers may have looked like extras for the movie “300” but boy, were they hot! Russia’s stark and confronting performance was quite arresting and the song really grows on you. The Israeli entry was good and the sentiment spot on but I guess it did smack a bit of propaganda to counter the very negative image of the country. I really liked Germany’s effort too but again I must have been in the minority.
A special mention for the UK. It was great to see them do so well and this might go some way to changing the attitude of the Brits against Eurovision. Jade Ewen is a great singer and I’ll be interested to hear more from her in the future. Graham Norton did a great job hosting for the UK. Getting rid of Terry Wogan was the best thing ever. Our Australian hosts took a while to warm up but by the second semi-final they were doing a good job.
It was a well presented show and the songs were overall quite a high standard. I’ll finish off with my top 7 of the night.
- The Ukraine