Last night Damon & I went to a little Eurovision party at a friend's here in Heidelberg. We all drank wine, ate Flammkuchen, and took notes so we could make our guesses at the end about who would win. Of course, I also conveniently made extra notes so I could post about it here for those who didn't get the joy of watching it, or those who did and just want to compare thoughts!
*Romania: A yawner duet. There was nothing special whatsoever. Things must have been bad for this to make it through the semifinals. This does not bode well.
*UK: Much, much better than their embarrassing entry from last year! A passable dance pop number, but really memorable only for the big disco backdrops.
*Albania: My notes say "chick ballad". Damon's notes say "diva ballad". Boring no matter how you write it, but it was an improvement over Romania. I don't watch Eurovision for the ballads. Slow songs are only my thing if there is a great voice, great lyrics, or especially interesting instrumental action/melody...generally, Eurovision ballads don't hit the mark.
*Deutschland!: This song was okay, but the performance was pretty awful. They looked very stiff and nervous and were nasal. Damon noted they were the only ones all night to go off-key. (I'm not musical enough to know.) Germany had the same problem as last year - the songs are alright (last year's was really pretty decent and I liked that it was in German) but the performances just aren't interesting.
*Armenia: Dance number with hilariously cheesy male dancers and minor ethnic touches - very Eurovision-esque. This was the best one to this point. I really like it when the lyrics are not in English so I can't tell how bad they are.
*Bosnia: Oh, this is what we watch this for. High performance!! I have no words. Too weird even for me.
*Israel: Silver-wearing guy with a slow song with the little ethnic touches that are so Eurovision. He sings pretty well, but is boring.
*Finland: They do their whole pseudo-metal thing again. Finland, they're so reliable.
*Croatia: I was worried at first when it started with spoken word (something I hate). Then there was some strange dancing. I did like the old guy, though. Especially when he started yelling toward the end. Old guys are awesome. Then there was a chick playing wine bottles!! That was cool. The song sounded like it would be good, before the pop filter and production got to it. This got our party's endorsement.
*Poland: Another chick ballad. Kind of a Whitney Houston wannabe. Again, I don't know how such bland things can get through the semi-finals!
*Iceland: A very generically clubby dance number. Damon though the singer looked like Neil Patrick Harris! (Too much Harold and Kumar for him!) Of course, terrible lyrics.
*Turkey: A rock band with a cute-ish male singer wearing too much makeup. It was a little on the bland side but it was cool that they did this genre and in Turkish!
*Portugal: ANOTHER CHICK BALLAD, and over-dramatic to boot. Come on, man! Is this because a chick ballad won last year? This one did have a particuarly good voice, so it stood out in the ballad crowd a bit.
*Latvia: A song called "Wolves of the Sea" and PIRATE COSTUMES, hell yes. And it gets better - the song is like a kid's cartoon theme. It's terrible, awesomely terrible. Everyone at the party got behind this one, too.
*Sweden: Tolerable dance pop. Memorable only because the woman singing was really scary. I don't know who she should fire first, her plastic surgeon, her makeup artist, or the person who designed the lighting for her set. I'm not kidding, she just didn't look right. That's not how you want to stand out.
*Denmark: A very classic pop song, of the variety that could become a hit for weddings and family reunions. Of course, lame lyrics.
*Georgia: The lead singer was blind, justifying the sunglasses-at-night look that might have otherwise been a little strange. Not-great poppy song. This wasn't nearly as good as last year's song from Georgia, though it seemed they brought back the same crazy male dancers.
*Ukraine: Writhing men in booths!! Yes! Too much rhyming, but otherwise pretty decent dance song. Even some gymnastics, woo! You must see the writhing men:
*France: We already know I liked this song. Tellier arrived on stage in a golf cart with a French flag on it, after we got to see that all his back-up singers were dressed up as him. Awesome. Then he sucked air out of a globe beach ball? That part was kind of lame. His voice wasn't tops, either. All made up for by the mid-song eclipse! Yes!!! And, the overall coolness of the song. Thanks, France!
*Azerbaijan: First year in the contest. Seriously high theatrics here, with giant fluffly angel wings, falsetto wailing, and fake blood!!! You must see it to believe it. Oh, so bad.
*Greece: Another okay ethnic-touch dance number with bad lyrics. Actually, really bad lyrics. Damon and I were cringing our way through it, but the Germans all thought it was okay because it is easy to block lyrics that aren't in your native language. "My secret combination it's a mystery for** you! . . . I'm not easy but I'm true!" GACK!!!
**somehow the use of "for" here instead of "to" makes it about 10 times worse, but this would be lost on non-native speakers.
*Spain: It starts with a toy guitar, it's got to be great, in that awful Eurovision way. And it is.
*Serbia: Another dramatic ballad. And the cheesy stormy-ocean backdrops have got to stop, this has to be the 4th or 5th by this point. Bad!
*Russia: Starts with a guy singing on the floor, in a dramatic and non-ironic way. Yuck. However, this guy makes his boring ballad with indiscernible English lyrics (Damon and I both couldn't tell they were English) stand out by having a FIGURE SKATER SKATING ON STAGE. THAT is cool.
*Norway: With a title of "Hold On Be Strong", great lyrics were again promised. (Uh-huh.) A good singer, with a generic R&B sort of song. She looked a little too cheery for her sad lyrics, though. Again this isn't going to bother any non-native English speaker who can block them.
Time for voting - and Damon and I were the only ones who did!! I guess no one else really wanted to. I debated a little bit because the French performance had its downsides, but in the end I couldn't resist. France again this year. I'm setting up a bit of a tradition for myself. And France is setting up a tradition with me to - of bombing when I vote for them. They did do better than last year. Germany bombed even worse, being spared from even further humiliation because they got a lot of points from Bulgaria, the home country of one of Germany's singers. Russia won. Now commence all the over-serious griping about block voting!! Can't wait 'til next year for more!! :D