Saturday, 29 December 2012

...and it's Happy New Year from me


You’ll have seen by now that Webmaster Phil has put a comment or two down below and on this website’s Facebook page.  But I’d like to add that it’s a pleasure to write occasionally for this site.  Many thanks to Phil and the rest of the team for putting up with me (that is, if they know who I am).  And to you, the discerning reader, for looking at this blog.  My ‘employer’ probably knows that I write for this site, but I do it when I’m off duty so there’s no problem.

Twenty Twelve has been a good year.  Maybe not a great year, but most definitely a good one.  From two countries choosing songs for the 2012 fest in 2011, it seemed a long one.  It’s all loony, and that’s why we like it.  Singing grannies with revolving bread ovens; women with dresses on fire; songs about Facebook social websites; girls swallowing snowflakes; rap sung in a farmer’s dialect; twins outstaying their welcome.  And outstanding ballads finishing third and sixth (J).

What do we have to look forward to?  Lots of 2013 songs chosen in 2012 (confusing innit), a slightly smaller contest, ‘a draw to suit all the songs equally’, fewer rehearsal days and no seating for the fannage.  This little black duck will be in sin-city Malmö (and maybe its sister city København) to bring you all the fun and games on what will prove to be an interesting year.  Will the Greeks actually send a singer to Malmö?  Will the UK of stuff send someone under the age of 65?  Will the Estonian national final be the best of the bunch – again?

If you’re still reading, I hope what’s left of 2012 is good to you, and have a great 2013 travelling around this fair continent to watch national finals lasting five hours.  And keep reading.  You never know, Riigi might one of these days pick a winner.

Keep smiling, cos I love ya all

Riigi

PS - If you do know who I am, don't let on, as it preserves the magic! 

Happy New Year from OnEurope!!

Well.... more specifically me on behalf of the extended team really..

2012 has been difficult for the site, what with me not exactly being in Baku-On-Sea and other life shenanigans going on that most of you dont know, and wont know, about.  It is something of a shock, therefore, to tell you that we have survived pretty much intact for the duration of the year.

I admit we are not as technically flashy as some other sites, but we give you what you want.... not what we think you need to know - it's always been our mantra to do that - and, as far as we can, we'll do that for as long as people think they need to read what we write.

I want to thank Nick and Roy and Franko firstly for keeping me sane when my personal life has been falling apart around me, and by doing that, getting my head sorted out so I can give site what it deserves (!).  Jody and Monty for being invaluable in Baku and proving that the OnEurope name still has some credence with people that actually run the contest!, to Riigi for giving invaluable support through his secret bloggings and his current employer is lucky as hell to have him writing for them ( in my humble opinion).

Finally, I must thank you, our loyal and slightly unhinged readership, even if you come only for the music files ( mp3 whores that you are), or if you stay for the blog and the cheese and biscuits, dogs in shoes, cake and all the in-jokes that we have built up over the last 15 seasons, you clearly choose to come here out of your own free will, and for that the team and particularly myself, will always be grateful.  As British Caledonian Airways used to say " we never forget you have a choice", but we are glad that you choose to spend part of your Eurovision Experience with a bunch of middle aged weirdos!

On Behalf of the team, have a safe and happy 2013.

Phil

Saturday, 22 December 2012

FiK Rolling Blog

21.36 - And thats it... only 17 songs as Ani has been disqualified.  I'm off for a bit, might update with the winner in the morning - thanks for joining us tonight.. It's been...... LONG!! ;)

21.29 - Song 17 - Light lady rock now......  thankfully its nearly over!!

21.23 - Song 16 - Rap comes to Albania..and like most rap, its a bit shocking to be honest!! - Old man and his young/old son singing at me....

21.18 - Song 15 - Ku Je? - Another nothing song, best thing about is the drum beat and the ethnicy instruments.  It's lift lobby music!

21.15 - Song 14.  This is more like it - a bit of a powerful rock song, but I thought that it was in English - clearly the Joe Cocker of Albania here...

21.07 - Song 13 - Identitet.  All I can think of is " is it over yet"? - You need a constitution of strong stuff to get through this!! - More 80's rock 

21.02 - Song 12 - Anjesa..... Sounds like a slower version of her other songs, but this is clearly the best thing in it so far.  She has got a more rounded voice and it just looks the winner.  

20.53 - Song 12 -  NO - Adverts!!

20.49 - Song 11 - S'Jam Perfekt This is more like it - A decent song but, oh no, it goes horribly wrong in the bit between the verses - grrr! - But she sings it well enough - and she does look like every other winner!!
(Tech note - sorry if you havent been seeing this properly - Blogger is being inept!)

20.44 - Song 10 - This could well be the favourite to be honest - its a big old ballad!

20.40 - Song 9 - Dëshirë - Could mean Desire, could mean Traffic Warden for all I know.  This is very.... Ireland in the mid 90's.... Typical jury song, thankfully this song will have to impress a jury.  Very nicely sung, but could well be lost....

20.34 - Song 8  Kush ta dha këtë emër? - Jesus Christ she really isn't the prettiest.  That dress is accenting her....well.... Face really!! - more rock guitars and a staccato song that is actually quite pleasant and she has a good voice ( better than her face) - it'll do ok but not a contender. 

20.31 -  A flower presentation to someone.......

20.27 - Song 7 by Groupy Lynx - apparently.  Not sure which one is Africa and who the other ones represent, but I can smell a dog of a song with a very bad harmony in the first few bars.  More 1980's guitars and long rawk hair.  Oh dear oh dear...

20.22 - Song 6 now - S’jemi më atje by Kejsi Tola.  Not sure what to make of this.  Again, it doesn't do a great deal of anything but she is a "name" and she is selling it well.... I just think there are too many ballads in this contest and this isn't the best of them.  Carry me in Your Dreams was tons better.  This, however, has the obligatory (for 2013) rawk backing.....  not convinced. 


20.15 - If there is anyone out there and wants to get in touch - tweet me at @oneurope_esc and, if I get any, i'll shove em on the webs!!

20.14 - Adverts!

20.10 - Some presenter business - I think that there is a green room presenter that is looking slightly older than the pretends to be... and emerald green.... for the green room clearly!

2007 - Ti? Song 5.  I suspect we'll need something stronger by the time this is over.  Albanian women, it seems, are not blessed with beauty, but - having said that, she has a cracking voice and is powering this all over the place which is good.  Finally a semi decent song.  Should make the top few, but the false ending trick isn't up to much. 

2001 - Song 4 - Ylli im polar.  I thought right up until the song opened, that Kelly was a woman - how wrong can you be.   Another soft rawk song that leaves me cold.  If I had to pick a winner out of the first 4, it would have to be song 1 - which is a damning indictment i suspect.  

19.57 - Song 3 -  Këtu fillon parajsa.  Pass me the Valium, there isn't anything that this baldy balladier can do other than change song midway through... oh, wait... he has livened it up - but I can't concentrate on anything but his bald pate.... next. 

19.51 - Song 2. Nuk do të ndal le - Ballad number 1 of the night.  Yeah its not bad, but doesnt set the world alight.  Typicaly formulaic and that, sir, is a fine head of hair!!

19.48 - Song 1.  I çmendur për ty,  Light rock, which means not very good.  Doesnt have a backbone in it.  Nice trousers though!

19.47 - I think we're off....

19.46 - Jury is being introduced... DOn't they look happy to be there!!

19.43 - The presenting duo seem to be a little.... whats the word..... amateurish?

19.39 - and we're off with a mixture of 2 vignettes!! - This can only end well! Lets hope the 18 songs live up to their usual standard! - Quick retrospective actually looks good.  Anyone agree this contest has got loads better in the last 7 years?

19.34 - Still no show - quick etiquette message - If you are gonna comment, make it sensible!! - Offensive will be removed etc..etc.... ( GET ON WITH THE SHOW PLEASE!!)

19.32 - Nice TVSH adverts with baubels... still no songs yet or indeed a show lol

19.28 - So many windows, will my laptop cope!! - Who knows, or cares ;) - Keep refreshing as I write my thoughts and feelings bout the songs.... blimey the stream has kicked in!!

19.24 - Evening all - time for a rolling blog of FiK 2012/13 - No live chat shi - sorry, but this is the closest you can get ;)

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Blogging - on the train - It's yesterdays technology today!!

For an IT Manager, i'm a bit technically inept but I worked out how to tether my Iphone and now we have the net and a laptop on a train -  It's the past come right upto date.

Anyhoo, I hear you cry, what did I think of the 2 songs picked. 

Belgia.... oh dear oh dear.  Only they, and possibly TVE, can make a 3 song final last all morning, then pick the worst one of the three.  It's dire and he looked awful  and sounded hideously off key throughout the performance.  Nope... Not a prayer.

Switzerland, however, have done a good thing.  The Monkey, bless him, was weak - therefore the door was open wide for Melissa, wasn't it? - Clearly not, and I think that the Salvationistas have won by a wide margin.  Jessie was my shocker of the night - how on earth did that come top 3.  Clear he got the DSDS votes but there cant be that many people in Shitzerland that watch German Telly?!?!

Anyhow - back to my technical ineptitude and I hope this posts!!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Swiss National Final Live Blog - Updating here throughout the evening

2109 - Results time..  3 names in random order.  1st one, Heilsarmee.2nd one, JESSIE RITCH (wtf) and third one is.... Carousell (wtf... again).  Winner is....... Heilsarmee

2058 - voting over.  Time to count the votes while Sinplus remind us who they are. 

2039 - Back to the jury for some more pointless jury stuff.  

2034 - Jesse Ritch   - His name may be good, but he's poor when it comes to his taste in outfits and song because its very out of tune.  He was in Deutschland Sucht ein Superstar but they clearly had better taste than the Swiss.  This is the worst sung song of the 9. It just passes you buy but the plethora of bad notes could well get you bleeding from all your aural orifices ( and some non Aural ones as well).  3 minutes, sometimes, is far too long

2029 - Nicolas, Song number 8.  Thankfully there is only one more to go.  It's called Wake Up, but it'll need a bomb up his arse in order for him to wake the Swiss Voters.  He likes the camera, but i think that his band are better than he is and it just sorts of falls off at the end. Franko thinks its the best in it - he's deranged.

2019 - Melissa - The supposed favorite sounded very flat to me - but I was in the khazi and getting a cider so who knows lol

2008 - Song 6. Nill by name and nill by nature.  It's a very poor album track that will make Europe go to the bog if it is in Malmo, but I suspect we'll be escaping that luxury.  Here at OnEurope Towers we have had our fill of cheese for now and are currently eating fudge, packed by yours truly...

1956 - Song 5 - It's the Sally Army Band singing a song about peace and love.  Now Bighead has flopped massively, this is the obvious winner to be honest from here.  Not a bad thing to be honest as it a very good song and contemporary, I just worry about a 90 year old from the army being on stage!.  It's downfall, if it has one, is the very cliched lyrics and it plods on to everywhere you would expect this song to go.  It ticks all the Eurovision boxes, Middle 8 and all.  Do the Sally Army like the Friend of Dorothy?!

1945 - Song 4 - The song that needs no introduction, clearly the winner.  However it is a bit weak on stage with no backing track that was in the video.  Someone somewhere has done a number on this song, in a bad way.  It has lost everything that it had in the preview video.  I am mortified and disappointed in equal measure.  It still makes me smile but it has lost everything that was good about the song. 

1938 - Song Number 3 - Sophie and Leonard.... First thought - You don't get to see an Accordion on Eurovision any more.  However Leonard ruined the song after about 2 seconds of his first note.  This song does have a french feel to it - but again its too..... bland for it to have anything standout about it.  I feel that this could have been alot more, and a bit louder and uptempo perchance.

1935  - time to speak to the pointless jury!!

1928 - Song Number Two, Chiara.  Like her namesake she's trying to sing a song from the heart, but unlike her namesake she clearly IS a stranger to pies as she is wafer-thin.  Vocally however, its very Italian but I think that its very slow to get going and really doesn't do a thing for me.  It would appear that the Swiss Italians have a hangover from Sinplus.  F Minus for this one to be honest.   She's going to have to lose the hat as well.

1921.  Song number one - Ally.  One of our cohorts said " don't like it, too jazzy for me" - he's spot on of course - She does seem to just be wandering about the stage for no good reason other than being here to make up the numbers.  Its very formulaic Jazz that some people would like.  Should this get to Malmurrrr, It'd do a big fat 0 as it doesn't light anyone's imagination.

1919 - We might be about to start...... hopefully.   If anyone is reading, PUT DOWN THAT FOOD, MILK THE CAT - we're about to start.  

1916 - Fat lesbian on Swiss TV.  Someone explain why this is on my screen?? - Nothing to do with the show I suspect, but the swiss love her.

1911 - showing off some background from the jury.  They are, in no particular order:
Sanna, Danijel,Claudio and Mali.  They are all Swiss nationals with "foreign" roots.

1905 - And we're off - Sven to come on stage and open the stage and we're off - songs will be on in a minute - though we are having a technical moment here at OnEurope towers - but my technician has fixed it ( he's a good Estonian!)

1903 - waiting........ again ;o)

1840 - Still waiting for the stream to start but it will - soon enough.  I have pizza and Diet coke - what could POSSIBLY go wrong?!?

1813 - Here we are waiting for the Swiss Final live from the setee where I am watching this from!!!  This will be updated as and when things happen!! - Which might not be much lol!

Tonight's the night then....

The night when that fine fine song - or eponymous hashtag #dothemonkey will be winning the Swiss Final.....  Or maybe it won't.  Either way we'll be watching and waiting for him to do the biz!! - He'd better do or my street cred will be right through the floor lol!

There might be a live blog here tonight - if we can be bothered to give you the service you deserve!!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Belarussian Candidate is now on the site in MP3 format

I've shoved up a copy of the Belarussian "winner" onto the site in mp3 format - its on the front page  http://www.oneurope.biz


It's.... a little bit underwhelming for my tastes!

Friday, 7 December 2012

4 Songs in and.....

.. TAKE ME NOW!!

I'm not a fan really......

yeah I am - but this is hard work!

After 2 songs in Belarus

I can confirm that I hate Eurovision!

A Melodian and a song to slit your wrists by?! - Thank the lord for the Beaver Band to come later!!!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

In a new development...

We're off to Malta again. Hoorah!!!

Today will see the launch of a semi new feature on the site, famous Eurovision Birthdays and a video therein (snappy title huh).

I have three to choose from today, one will go on the site and another will be here.



There is also the chance of a live blog or chat for Switzerland on the 15th and Belarus on the 7th!!! Am good to you I is!!!

Friday, 30 November 2012

OnEurope supports Love-o-Holic!

Other Maltese semifinalists are available, but obviously the Deborah C one will be the best.

I suppose I'll have to have a scout around and give them a listen at some point. But c'mon... Love-o-holic. There's literally no way that it could not be brilliant.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

So here I am

On the train to work and I think to myself "ooooh, now I have a ticket, I have to actually GO to Malmurrrrrr". I think that could be the worst bit actually. Getting accreditation, hotels or apartments and not to mention money to spend on state controlled expensive alco-ma-hol. Is it going to be worth it? Oh yes!!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

It has suddenly occured to me....

That 13 days from this very post we'll have our first song.......

For a contest that will be 7 months away!! - Blimey!! - Shame no body is giving anything away in the news stakes then innit!!

Quiet as the grave this year... think they are all gonna spring the news on us all in one go!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Just in case you missed it....

We *did* the Monkey!

Anthony Bighead and his seminal work have got to the Swiss final in but three weeks time, beating lumineres like Mariella Farre and Lys Assis ( who demanded a wild card for no other reason than she was Lys Assis - Ralph Siegel, FUCK OFF!!)

Now on to Kreuzlingen!

Also, OnEurope appears to be off to Malta again this year ("stuff" willing) - where we shall dine at the Basilico Restaurant on the infinite Cheese Plate of Doom, avail ourselves of some Winter Sun and trot the 20 minute taxi ride out to a tent next to the National Stadium of Malta for some "music".  NickD of this parish helpfully made my mind up for me by pointing out that OnEurope Fanz Fave, DeborahC, was entering a song called "Love-A-Holic" - The clincher was a message of the book of face by said NickD stating that "With a title like that... it's bound to be GENIUS".

He could well be right - especially as this is some of her finest work...


Who are we to argue if she continues to enter genius such as this - She'll get my vote from the front row in Ta Qali and no mistake!!

Bananas, BTRC, Baltic republics and Bon Bons

So what has been happening in the world of Europe’s favourite TV show? I realise that our esteemed webmaster will be posting updates, but is it just me, or is the ‘season’ starting earlier and earlier every year? I’m going to leave SVT’s plans for the draw aside, as Nick has been very eloquent about it already.

Some countries have sorted out their national finals and we have four, yes, four (count them) in December. The Swiss are ace (provided the Confederation picks the right song) in that they have plumped for the Monkey but ditched Siegel (ha ha ha). Kreuzlingen on 15 December will be a fun place this year. It’s a pity Riigi’s funds won’t stretch to it.

Those White Russians out east pick even earlier! Friday 7 December to be exact. At least, this Belarus’s first final. Maybe they suspect all won’t be hunky dory so they’re leaving time for a future one. Cynical, moi?

Then we have Lithuania. Now I still don’t think they get Eurovision, but somehow manage to always come up smelling of roses. They’ve given us the delights of Sasha Son – he who likes to cram as many words into three minutes as possible. They’ve given us Evelina Sašenko – she with the dirge (say no more). And they’ve given us Donny Montell – their very own Corinna May tribute act, except he likes to throw in an air guitar movement when we least expect it. Are there going to be any diamonds in the dirt on 20 December? I think not, but I’ve been at Eurovisions since 1868 and I still no nothing.

Our final, erm, December final is in Albania. Confession time: I used to think Kengës was a town in Albania until I realised, not so long ago, that it actually means song.  Now we all know the drill there. They faff around for a few nights, pick a song, then change everything about the song in the subsequent months. But the delightful Kejsi Tola's and Anjeza Shahini’s names have cropped up again (I'm personally intrigued by the Bon Bon Band), so it could be an interesting little show to tune into while you’re wrapping up those last Christmas pressies.

Keep it real

Riigi x

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Has it really been a month since i posted

Blimey doesn't time fly when frick all happens - however, this new "draw" procedure has caused a bit of a stir.

If you haven't seen it - basically there won't be a draw but the producers of the show will decide where the singers will, well... sing.

Cue queeny fans proclaiming the end of the world.

Is it though??

Saturday, 6 October 2012

This may court controversy but...

With Love Baby by witloof bay should have got through!!! I've had no libations yet I hasten to add!!!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Filthy Denmark!!!

I'm all melancholic.... hardly any site news, so I thought I would turn your stomachs with some Filthy Denmark-ness!

Now - I had forgotten this lil ditty from 1989 - I love it in its Danish Final clothing, rather than it's mid Spring coat, but thats just me!




And I think this second one tells you all you need to know about my choice in Musak, again from 1989

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Well its still very quiet....

Thats why the site is still dormant......... more so than usual!! - All we know is that the Scandics are gonna have a final night to remember on the 9th February with Finland, Iceland and Norway having a final that night!

That'll be nice!!

AS soon as I hear anymore - the site will be updated... Promise!

In the meantime..... here's a musical interlude ( with thanks to Martin Faulkner of escnation.com) of a song that I love and have been searching for, for 15 years!

I may still have no taste, it appears!


Monday, 3 September 2012

Have you ever wondered...

...course you have. Everyone will, at some point in their life, have listened to their favourite Eurovision entry and thought "How much better would this song be if only it were being performed in Finnish by Katri Helena?"

By the magic of YouTube, let's find out!

Poupee De Cire, Poupee De Son
Tu Te Reconnaitras
L'Oiseau Et L'Enfant
Les Jardins De Monaco
Amsterdam
Johnny Blue
Ein Bisschen Frieden
Per Lucia

Monday, 27 August 2012

Well I was around the Tube of you the other day....

... and i stumbled across this!

And I discovered I liked it!! - Am I clearly insane? - or just stuck in the 80's - who knows, but it made me smile!!

Also, is it me, or has this been one of the quietest off seasons ever ever ever???


Sunday, 19 August 2012

Well the site is finally updated!!

Has taken a bit of a while as real life and lack of real news has hindered things, but we have finally opened ( albeit very slowly) the 2013 section. 

If you have any titbits of news that I have missed - then oneurope@ntlworld.com is the address you can send them to.

I'm back my European Children ;)

Saturday, 11 August 2012

My Creation - It lives again!!!

Well it will do by the end of the weekend. 

I am sticking a 2013 tab on - then a 2013 index page - then some news.....

IT RISES LIKE A PHOENIX!!!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Just letting you all knowDue

Due to computer issues I shall not be able to update the site by 1st August as promised. 

Fear not, though, It'll be back sometime in August!

I know you miss us!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Since i've been gone ( and now i'm back)

Fully refreshed from my Holiday in the North of France ( and very relaxing it was to) - it appears I am on a package trip to MALMO next May... controversial perhaps!

More so than the Dutch having 6 semi finals.... oh dear lord what are they thinking?!?!?

Site should be back open on 1st August.... Olympics permitting ;)

Friday, 6 July 2012

Well as I didn't get to bakoo.....

I'm taking my leave and jetting of to Brittany.... Should you care, in THIS very house :
http://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/rentals/spezet/81991

It doesnt have the webs, but we'll be back on the site on August 1st and on the blog as soon as I get back.

Ciao for Now, my European Children!!

Phil

Sunday, 17 June 2012

where the HELL are you??

I hear you cry?! - or maybe I don't

I'm doing the annual " Phil's buggered off for a bit" thing - never fear though, I are keeping a breast of the Eurovision news while I am relaxing with a new job and a uni course!

The site will live like frankenstines monster in about 6 weeks time!

Meanwhile.......  enjoy the silence lol

Saturday, 2 June 2012

So the Eurovision is *this* Saturday yeah??

.....perhaps not... but it has been a week since the contest, I have had a sleep and can commit some decent thoughts to paper.

Firstly, despite me not liking the winner, I can totally understand it - especially when walking past a computer shop in Manchester the other day with the new boyfriend and I stop in my tracks as Euphoria is being played. The conversation went:

"Shit"
"what?"
"They are playing Euphoria"
"Whats Euphoria?"
< Cue several seconds of scowling and explaining
"oh, I get it.... its rare huh?"

Damn right its rare Owen my child, It'll be top 5 in the UK charts this week and is already a European hit. Considering *I* thought she was a mumbling woman spazzing out on stage, just proves how wrong *I* am and Europe clearly weren't!

Honorable mentions for the rest of the top 4 as well - The Grannies were the only one that the party i attended remembered after several bottles of wine which suggests they won the televote by miles, Zeljko did what I expected him to do and got the result to match and those pesky Azeri's getting the home town result.

Positives and Negatives down the board?

Positives -

Estonia - Proof, if it  were needed, that singing a song still does well here.
Spain - That they can still "do" this contest. ( First top 10 since 2004 and highest score since 1995)
FYR Macedonia - Give em a chance and not only is qualification a possibility but so is their 2nd highest result ever.
Albania - Highest finish and points score ever for them!!! One note can do wonders!
Denmark - Finally the kicking this country has deserved for being so blinkered they sent the same song 5 years in a row!!
Malta - Just for making the final.  21st is no disgrace.

Negatives

Turkey - Personal negative here.  This song did not deserve 7th place, its awful.
Italy - Ah well, twice back, twice in top 10 but ultimately flattered to deceive?
Norway - NRK must be furious.  No wonder Per Sundnes has "stepped down" - Change of direction?
Ireland - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! - Sorry but this result makes me laugh out loud! - It may have been a more "mature" song, but one trick ponies will always be that!
Iceland - More shock and awe at the result than negativity I guess.

So where does that leave the UK.  As with so many attempts, A+ for the surprise factor and the reasoning, but again like so many years F for the performance.  He really did cock up the jury final and the song was not nearly instant enough to get the telephone voters picking up dem phones.  Kudos for them trying it, though and despite what the press would have you believe, the result wasn't fixed!!

We also learnt that Siegel is a t**t and should be killed or at least stopped from writing songs ever again, that shaking your ass garners you 8 points, that mental Montenegrins score in this contest, that Beautiful Songs are under-rated,  that Bulgaria will never qualify again from the semi and that Eva Bota was flaming robbed!!

So, basically we learnt we know nothing.... again... like every single year.

Stockholm in the "Friends" Arena anyone?? - 3rd to 19th May if you are booking holidays ;)

Monday, 28 May 2012

SWEDEN
LAND OF AMUSINGLY NAMED FOODSTUFFS


Personal bankruptcy has never been so tempting...



Sunday, 27 May 2012

5th - 1st

Albania - Jury sponge clearly, not so much with yer televoting. Her vocal skill will always be in doubt, but it clearly won some people.

Azerbaijan. Home town result methinks. Not strong enough or close enough to win, but just interested enough to keep them going.

Serbia - As nailed on a Top 3 as you could ever hope to get. It hit all the right notes in the East and gained enough west of the Balkans to come 3rd. Not a surprise.

Russia - Nuff Said.

Sweden - Possibly one of the most commercial winners ever? - Modern sound and walked away with 18 Top scores and 5 2nd places. You can't argue with that!

Results. 10th-6th

Spain. Best result in ages. Deserved more cos of performance but satisfied I would hope. Fans wouldn't be as not wonning.

Italy. Confusing result. Great song under performed leads to 100 points but not as many as she could have squeezed out of it. Underpar score for this song.

Germany. Complete opposite of above, over scored if anything. Good looks helped but still a dodgy song. Televoter friendly you would think.

Turkey. Frankly your guess is as good as mine. This baffles me!!!

Estonia. Hooray, good song and emotion equals points. Ott sung well without trying too hard. ERR should be well chuffed.

The morning after the night before

Or should I say the late afternoon after the night before! We really are going to be struggling to pull ourselves back onto a western european timezone aren't we? Getting to bed at 9am and sleeping til 4pm isn't going to be easy to adjust from! No hangover today though as we only had a few beers at the euroclub as it was getting light outside, crazy! Glad next year we will be on more normal times next year so we might get to see lunchtime in Stockholm!!!

We are getting some great results analysis here on the blog already so I'll just mention a few things on the voting. Firstly, I am euphoric for Loreen after missing out on the final in Sweden last year and equally euphoric for Sweden after putting on such great Melodifestivalen shows over the years and doing badly at the contest in the main. Say what you like about the formulaic nature of their selection and the recent slump in standard of music, it's a continuing success story and proof that the UK seriously needs to look again at our relationship with the contest. We spoke to the UK head of delegation and, whilst disappointed, he seems to know what needs to be done in the future though getting that message to the decision makers in the beeb will be a continuing battle. Gosh knows what will happen next year and who and what will be our entry on the Stockholm 2013 stage. But that's for later isn't it?

Englebert performed well though many people said he was slightly off vocally in the jury final, the staging was great and I think we deserved better than 25th. Definately a case of killed by the draw in a strong field. We've been interviewed for the beeb too giving our reaction. They expected us to be shocked and gutted and were surprised we had predicted a low score and how enthusiastic we were for Sweden. Will they ever understand us fanoraks...?

So Sweden scored from everyone except Italy (a possible tactical jury vote?) and received 18 douze points... I knew when she was getting 7's and 8's from the Balkans she was going to be up there. Out of everyone who voted for her, the lowest was a 3 from Portugal.

Russia scored from everyone except Switzerland but generally more middle scores in the 5-8 range. Interestingly only one 12 from Belarus.

UK narrowly missed coming 26th which, had it happened, would have given us the dubious honour of being the only country to ever come 26th and on two occasions. Thanks Tooji for putting Norway in that special club too! He must be gutted!

So pleased that Albania and Estonia scored so well. Ott deserved that and we had a chat with him too. He was having his first drink in two months and I informed him I'd not not had a drink for two months...

I think it's safe to say that Lynda Woodruff (aka Sarah Dawn Finer) will be one of the hosts next year. Loved the fact that she read the Swedish results like that!

We're off to meet some other fans who are lingering longer in Baku for dinner in Fountain Square tonight and I fancy a final visit to that bar!!  Tomorrow we will do a free bus tour of the city and have a stroll-ette in the old town and basically gather our thoughts, dirty clothes and euro tat and shove it our cases for our early morning departure to Heathrow on Tuesday.

xx



Euphoric – but also ill...


Hello all, just a very quick post to comment on last night’s result. I’m thrilled for Sweden and Loreen which was my favourite all along, though a bit surprised it was quite such a runaway winner, almost equaling Alexander Bareback’s record total (perhaps ironically as Norway themselves came last). A very disappointing result for the UK, but all accounts are that he fluffed the jury final on Friday which was where his votes were coming from really. The draw in the final killed the televoting chances. Our very lovely friend Liam Jarnecki has pointed out that over the past 4 Contests 39 different countries have awarded the UK points, so that somewhat disproves the simplistic allegation that Europe just doesn’t like the UK. Oh well. We chatted to the BBC Head Of Delegation afterwards who was philosophical and agreed with us that it would be good for the BBC bosses who are the ones who actually make these decisions to have a rethink – Sweden’s success with both this and Melodifestivalen has been the result of somebody with good knowledge and vision taking the helm, whatever you may think of the merits of the show’s content. Being the biggest show in Swedish TV can’t be a wrong approach.  

Kurt from Malta was one of the last to leave the after-show party having danced his pants off. We chatted for quite a while before he left. He was disappointed to have done so poorly, but we tried to boost his spirits by pointing out he’d beaten two global superstars in the UK and France. Ott from Estonia was being mobbed for photos, and enjoying his first booze-flavoured drink for two months. And I got one last look at that Romanian boy, but my hands were still not quite on his squeezebox. You'll be pleased to know we stayed until the bitterest of bitter ends being thrown out of the party with the dregs at 9am, just so we could bring you any late gossip. You know it's a late night and you've overcooked it when even all the Finns have left before you...

I’m going to be quiet from now on, as my traditional Eurovision raspy throat has proved to be a bit if a stinker of a cold so what with the late nights and all that double-ended action (I’m talking about candle burning you realise) I am feeling particularly under the weather today. I will do a final round up before the season ends though. Hope you’ve all enjoyed seeing it through our eyes and I’ll blog for you soon. Oh, and you may have seen us on BBC Breakfast today: I haven’t a clue what I said so I hope it was coherent!

Monty x

15th-11th

Ukraine. Stumped here. Thought it would have done better, had televote written all through it. Guess their trumpet didn't make them Europes?!

Lithuania. Clear jury sponge. Thankfully his dodgy dad dancing stuffed his televote.

Macedonia. 13th is perfectly respectable for this one. Belted out by a seasoned singer and was a joy to watch. She could teach Jedward a thing or 10.

Romania. Perfectly passable and uptempo. Should have televoted well but I guess not memorable enough in this year to get em voting. I would be a little bit peeved if I was TVR.

Moldova. If Ukraines trumpets didn't work, his certainly weren't going to!!!! camp dancing a turn off???

Results part 2. 20-16th

Am tapping this out at burger king in Marylebone station #Stickingittotheman.

Iceland. Perhaps Europe didn't like big overblown ballads. Oh wait.

Ireland. Proof if it were needed that one trick ponies only work the once. I suspect we shan't be seeing then again next year. Backing singer more evident this time round and boredom of them lead to 19th.

Bosnia. If its all political how come 18th?? Balkan song for Balkan people, sung well but no appeal out of the old country. It didn't get it's mandatory 12 from Switzerland either.

Greece. Lowest position for an eternity 17th. Sighs of relief all round but c'mon, when your formula has this many holes in it not even your own fans should be surprised. Badly sung, badly thought out and finally got what it deserved.

Cyprus. Beat Greece which was not a shock, but only by 1 which was. Came across well but suspect throaty style and dodgy notes did for this one.

Ok. So let's analyse the results. Part 1

Am gonna do the finalists in reverse order I think.

Norway. You can't hide the fact that you are having trouble with a bad song with a dance routine. Europe are many things but they are not stupid.

United Kingdom. Bit harsh but not unexpected. A sweet song murdered in the jury final and Unmemorable in the final leads to not enough votes. 12 is a bit low, but totally understandable.

Hungary. Accidental low placing here. It's a credible album track but again wasn't punchy enough to get anyone picking phone up.

Denmark. First shock for me. I would have put money on this being top 5 as it's what Denmark have been doing of late. Perhaps Europe got bored with plodding and forgot to call. Either way this should be a wakeup call to change the song style.

France. Another shocker. France3 sent her everywhere, however when it comes to the crunch it was shown to be performance over substance- didn't help that she was having issues with singing. 2nd year in a row they have failed with fancied songs. Poor singer choice?

Malta. Arguably lucky to get to the final, but he milked all the points he could out of this in all honesty, and then some. TVM should be happy with this. It's better than camp Vella.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

The whole year for this night...

So we are here...

At the press centre less than two hours to go before the show! This is the most exciting time of the year for all of us and I have images in my head of the people that are not here in Baku making their way to friends' houses for parties or Tesco's to pick up a box of wine and nibbles to accompany them through the evening. Wherever you are tonight, enjoy the show and vote wisely!  I have had an absolute ball here in Baku and, despite the tiredness, enjoying every minute.  But I think you knew that..

We enjoyed a fantastic party at the Mirakel Hotel that apparently went on til 6am (so if Pasha Parforthecourse looks a bit tired tonight, that's why). Thanks to Konstantin Ohr and his team for pulling off a great night at last minute. We popped into the club with no name and had an equally joyous time and failed miserably in avoiding the one manat vodkary shots.  So it was a very big edge that needed taking off this afternoon when we sampled the eurovision vodkas at the Hilton 360 rotating bar. Is it a sign that we all chose Sweden?

Another dinner at the City Cafe in Fountain Square and we plucked up the courage to ask our favourite waiter to be in a photo with us! He was a bit puzzled as to why we wanted him to be in it. They're a bit slow on the uptake here in Baku in these areas!  Now in the press centre which is heaving, these part timers eh?

I'll not humilate myself with a prediction here but I am joint in the lead with the napkin of doom which I think isn't too bad for my first year!!

I'll just say that it's between Russia and Sweden but I'd love to think Spain will be up there too...
Watch out for Estonia
UK won't do well from that draw I fear and there will be the usual bash the foreigners post mortem afterwards!
Looking at the voting order, Serbia will take an early lead only to be caught up by Sweden as the west and nordics vote and possibly then Russia will have a late rally?

Oh gosh, now I am excited people!

Rose needs a glass of rose but none available here, aaargh!!!

xx

Eurovision minus 2 - Happy Christmas everyone!

Good evening On Europeans, just time for a quickie (steady!) before we go in to the hall. We have just arrived in the press centre following a lovely evening with other UK fans at the Baku Hilton revolving bar, with a full list of Eurovision cocktails, one for each competing nation. No we didn't manage 42 (they're 12 Man-nuts each and not even I can drink that much in one sitting) but I did choose a Euphoria which was a fruity vodka concoction, and I hope I shall still be Euphoric at 3.30am local time. I have fancy I may be in a body-bag the way things are going on the socialising front: partying is most definitely winning the contest over its opposition of sleeping. We've also just had a final dinner with some of the team from All Kinds Of Everything and a very mysterious Estonian.

So now it's all over bar the shouting. I know several of you will be seeing the whole thing for the first time tonight, and it is admittedly a slow start with the draw, but Enge is up first and then things lull a little for the average viewer until the Babushki come along. From there it's a real vintage year and you're in for a treat, replete with the President's son in law as your interval entertainment. Somehow he's more important to showcase than the past five winners they bussed in for the second semi final. Presumably they have been sent home now?

The press centre is a little subdued to be honest, but so many have been here for two weeks now fatigue is setting in, but once those votes come rolling in we will be as perky as you like, as there's no obvious runaway this year, and whilst most are tipping Sweden, Spain, Italy, Serbia or Russia we could yet have a big surprise on our hands: Valetta or Nicosia 2013 anyone? Or even back here in the Baku Crystal Hall...I'm certainly in.

I'd like to echo Phil's thanks for reading, viewing, and commenting, it has been a true pleasure to be part of this. Enjoy the show, folks, and look out for the flags of all nations being recreated in the lights of this amazing arena before each song starts: they're being shot live and they are spectacular.

Right, I'm off before I have my annual moment when I realise I'm actually AT the bloody Eurovision Song Contest and come over all a bit lachrymose. Oops, there's a tear welling up, I might be just a fraction too late...

Monty x

There is a cello (there is a cello) (there is a cellooooooo...)

I've had an email from THE FUTURE, informing me of tonight's results. Having said that, it also informed me of the best place to buy cheap Viagra handbags online, so take it with the usual pinch of salt.

First up, apparently the bottom 6 are going to be UK, France, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway and Iceland in some order. Norway came as a little bit of a surprise, but I'm told he's going to miss half the notes so badly that it can't pass unnoticed.

The rest of the bottom half is going to include Albania, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Bosnia, Romania and Denmark. The latter two will be particularly disappointed with their result, but they're just swamped in a high octane part of the draw.

That leaves another three to finish outside the top 10, and that will be Malta, Moldova and Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan's 11th place will be a real shock to the system.

In 10th place, it'll be FYR Macedonia. Looking just at the votes from the Balkan region, it'll win. But as always with that country it won't travel.

9th place is lined up for Ireland. An excellent televote result all over will be tempered by a level of jury meh.

A safe 8th place is reserved for Turkey, apparently.

Greece will be 7th, just like every other year.

Spain will be delighted and disappointed with a 6th place finish, carried along on a wave of jury love.

Ukraine in 5th will put in a really solid show in televoting, but be dragged down a little by juries. This will annoy those of me who have backed them to finish in the top 4.

Serbia's lined up for Zeljko's traditional round-about 4th. He will be ever so pleased not to have lost to a Ukrainian woman who shouts "hey" many many times again.

Russia's a very respectable 3rd overall off a narrow televoting victory.

Italy's 2nd again - the jury winner by a narrower margin than last year bolstered by more televoting love than last year.

That leaves us with a compromise winner, and it's Sweden. Top 3 in both constituencies, taken over the line because so many music professionals around Europe know exactly what it's like to swallow a dollop of polystyrene snow when you're in the middle of singing a very lovely song, and will have sympathy. It's happened to us all, hasn't it?

I'm off now to buy an absolutely genuine Rolex for as little as £4.99. You can't argue with value like that! Enjoy the show, and don't forget to be irrationally angry about at least one of the results as that's three-quarters of the fun!

My usual round of thanks.

As is traditional, it's time I thanked people!!!

Firstly, to my spectacular team of 6. You have all been several shades of magnificent and compliment each other well Rosé and Mr Monty, this is a public statement to say you can ask any time to be accredited through us again. You clearly live the onEurope brand by caring just enough and not caring loads. Nick and F and Roy have had various shades of a life, but drive bys for the win, and a special shout out to Riigi who, despite the rigours of working for their website, made time to write for ours too.

Secondly, I'd like to thank a message board in a galaxy not that far away, for making me realise lots of things I can't type here, and mainly for making me trust my product and my own writing!!

Finally I'd like to thank you, the viewing thousands, for staying glued to your computers at Nina silly o clock in the morning waiting for me to write something!! I Always remember that you do not have to visit and there are other choices, but I am proud and honoured you chose to at least spend part of your Eurovision experience with us. it means the world to me.

Now. Presently. I am on a train to London town to watch the contest on telly live for the first time since 1999 and I hate it. Today is the day I have wished most that I was in Baku. I swear wherever it will be next year, OnEurope and I will be there!!!

So, who's to the wonning then?

Comment below. Winner, last and accidental last.

Me? Italy, Albania and possibly Hungary

Playback....


Morning! If this was an audio blog you would learn that I am croaking that with a rasp the size of Poland. Whilst others of this parish were writing and recording their thoughts Mr West and I were sampling the delights of firstly the excellent OGAE party that had been brought to our doorstep and which poured vodkas the size of Russia and subsequently the nightclub that dare not speak its name until stupid o’clock this morning . I shall be resting my larynx and be on playback for the rest of the week. I’m going to see if I can revive it with a medicinal cocktail at the swanky revolving bar in the Hilton Baku after I’ve picked up my ticket for the show. We’re anticipating security to be exceptionally tight tonight but hoping to be able to make it to the press centre to update before the show. But if not we’ll see you on the other side! FAB EUROVISION to you all, and thanks for being with us.

Monty x

Hacksaw musings

During a quiet time in the Press Centre, Roy of the Hacksaw gave his incredibly considered views on what we'll see tonight from the Crystall (sic) Hall.

See what you think.

http://youtu.be/SZEauCtextQ


R x

Day 956 in the Eurovision House

So we're here.  Happy Eurovision Day everyone.  I hope the roast Turkey is in the oven and the presents are under the tree with its Lys Assia at the top.

I'm having a quiet hour in the press centre with some associates and it's nice and quiet.  A bit like the first Sunday.  We're discussing what could win - more later - and determining the merits of cherry, feyxoa and pear fizzy pop.  It's all very pleasant.  And like the lull before the car crash that takes place at midnight local time.

Anyways, what could win?  We're finding possible reasons for pretty much every song.  I was working for another parish in the Crystall Ball Hall yesterday so wasn't really concentrating much on the performances.  But I have a sneaking suspicion it'll be a country beginning with the letter 'S'.

Loreen has been a favourite among the fannage for months and while she's not the best singer, it's a very modern progressive song and will be a summer hit all over Europe.  Serbia's Zeljko (Dennis Waterman of Belgrade if you will) is a solid performer.  He'll mop up large amounts of votes from his end of Europe, and he's on late in the draw.  And Pastora sings the arse out of her very very good ballad.

But what else could there be in the final mix on that lucky left side of the scoreboard?  The grannies will do well.  Maybe not win.  But will do well.  Iceland has arguably the best song from the Nordic area of Europe.  It's dramatic and a contrast to the aforementioned grannies before it.  Estonia (mu isumaa, mu õnn ja rõõm) has always been my own personal favourite this year.  Ott can not only carry a tune in a bucket, he can do it without spilling a drop and place it deftly in one of those water containers you used to see on 'Jeux sans frontieres'.  Fingers crossed he'll be there in the final mix.

Turkey was the big crowd favourite on Thursday night.  He sells a humdrum Turkey-by-numbers song very well and it's full of gimmicks that seem to work. Don't be surprised if the audience reaction bumps this up a few notches.  Jedward are Jedward.  Mad as toast and bouncing around the stage after what must be several litres of fizzy red pop.  Getting wet on stage is fraught with problems and could go horribly horribly wrong.  But they have a huge fan base all over Europe and might be up there too.  Ukraine has sent its anthem for Euro 2012 and is upbeat, catchy and will have the crowd on its feet.

Onto the rest of the rest of the big five plus one:  Engelbert is saddled with too early a draw to win.  But like Jedward he is a known name all over this great continent of ours and might mop up some middle order votes here and there.  Anggun (10 dollar) seems to be doing too much with this.  It's busy busy busy and gymnasts doing things with boxes just doesn't work.  Italy is a class act.  She's confident, professional and knows what she's doing.  A contest in Turin would be very nice.  Azerbaijan have gone down the respectable-yet-won't-win road.  A very wise choice as winning two years in a row is never advised.  Sabina'll do well on home turf, but we won't be here next May.  Germany had a world beater of a song when they got here.  Great performance, genial singer, good pedigree.  But somehow it gets lost immediately after Spain.  Fair play to ARD and the other big five broadcasters for really raising their gamesthis year, but it ain't going to Germany.

The other songs I've not mentioned are also all in with a slim chance.  You have your favourites - I have mine.  We know it's going to be a darn good show tonight.  We're going to have the winner we deserve, just as we do every year.  We're going to look forward to going to [insert city name here] in 2013 and doing it all over again.

If I don't manage to blog before the show, enjoy it, sing along, dance around, drink your fill.  And I'd like to thank you all for reading my musings over the weeks.

I love ya all

Riigiametnik  xxx

Friday, 25 May 2012

Final rehearsal Live Blog

Right, thats it - Bedtime for me. Winner? - Well Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Russia, Sweden, Romania.... oooh I don't know lol - Ask me tomorrow!!!

21.57 - Moldova. Song 26 and possibly the most lively one of the lot. Pasha will attack this I suspect tomorrow as he has nothing else to lose, sounds ok and will look camp as Butlins, but may well do very well.

21.53 - Ukraine. Very good song, lively and uptempo and worthy of a good finish. I hope she beats her chest again tomorrow!

21.49 - Serbia. Its ok - vocally spot on as usual, which is good - dangerous draw position!!

21.44 - Ireland. It is what it is. Dangerous and backing singer led pap.

21.40 - Song 22, FYR(or not) Macedonia. This is how a good song should be sung. Pity it's not Samo Ti really, but Eurovision owes her a chance - and she takes it with both hands. Good song sung well.

21.37 - Malta. Where is Deborah C Feat. Layla James?? - They aren't here but Kurt is. He's a good live performer, and did well to qualify (probably in =10th), but I just think in this final it'll not do a great deal.

21.32 - Germany. Eeerm, Standard fayre here from Herr Flick, sorry Lob. Its an average song sung averagely by an average performer. It'll do OK but nothing to set the house on fire.

21.28 - Spain. Sounds pretty decent in comparison to some of the failures that we have had tonight, Pastora hits the high note and keeps it in the right modulation, this just might have a chance as the big one. Spain to the wonning? - Maybe.

21.24 - Turkey. HOW did this qualify? - Anyway This sounds better than it did on Thursday and, again, will appeal to its disaspora, but very few jurors. This song is a walking euphamism isn't it?!

21.19 - Sweden. Clearly Loreen is over-rated fanwank at Even Money with many UK Bookmakers of repute. Might as well go home, right? - not so much actually. Again, its the EUROVISION song contest and not Euradio cos she is a very bad singer, performing a very half arsed song like something possessed. Winner? - Maybe, but only because it's the one people think they "should" vote for, it could be said. - Edit, untill SHE forgot her line as well, well coughed on some dandruff actually..... last 45 seconds less than perfect.

21.15 - Greece. Now we can hazard a guess as to why this qualified the other night, but to my ear she sounds worse than she did in the rehearsals. She really does sound like a petulant 8 yr old screaming the words at me. However, It'll do well in its usual places and that should be enough to scrape into the top 10 - Sadly.

21.11 - Denmark. There is not a lot you can do with this song to make it do anything other than plod into the higher reaches of the 6th-10th bracket. Jury sponge and she makes a good fist of it to be honest. Not in contending for winning, but close.

21.07 - Romania. They are going to win in a 5 year moving window dont you know. Not with this, but they'll do "right well" IF her in ear monitors don't fail - I think she did incredibly well considering. Sounds spot on tonight again. Top 5 RIGHT up until she forgot her lyric in the middle of the song. Cardinal Sin there love.

21.02 - Azerbaijan. Hmmmm... not really sure about this. Gets hometown support, clearly, but I just think its forgettable tosh sung well though.

20.57 - Norway. Tooji coming after Ott, thats a bad idea. Shows up how light this song is in comparison to the leaden voice of Ott. He sounds in better voice than he was in the semi - Top 10 I suspect.

20.54 - Estonia. Ott making me cry again, this is what a ballad should sound like. Definite Top 10 me thinks.

20.50 - Italy. Still a class song. Performed very well to my ear.

20.46 - France. Air Miles Anggun took Ivi singing lessons at the start of this one and was off key massivly. However, she perks up towards the end and remembers what key the song is written in. Very shaky vocal and trying too hard in places.

20.42 - Cyprus. Ivi has murdered her chance of jury votes by very off key singing and it is really uncomfy to listen too. It'll look better but it sounds very very bad indeed.

20.36 - Iceland. Fab vocal perfomance and a nailed on Top 10 I would think.

20.33 - Russia. Some people say that this is winning?! - I can tell you it isn't, but as has been pointed out its going to go close. If this wins, then the Eurovision has taken a step back 20 years at least.

20.28 - Bosnia. It is what it is - well sung but a little bit dreary, however Jurors will like this kind of thing. To what extent? - Not sure. Can't see it scoring highly.

20.25. Its a shame this isn't a radio contest, because Donny sounds really good, he just oversells the song though and, as its Eurovision and not Euradio......

20.21 - Albania. It is what it is. She is very strong - I just think the song is a bit too "out there" for the jurors.

20.17 - Hungary. Much as it pains me, this has pissed on The Hump's chips. This is in key and sounds very competent. If I was a juror, this would be scoring higher than UK by miles. Genuine Top 10 contender.

20.12 - Hump on first! - Massive cheer in the hall can't hide the off key notes here. There will be better performances than that tonight, however not without chances.

20.10 - OMG the hosts are annoying on Audio - in the TV they are going to be even worse!!

20.05 - Good news, I can hear the background noise of Baku so we should have some info for yer ASAP ;) - Song one, the UK of Stuff!

19.58 - If it works it will be here!

Danga danga!

Great quote from one of the Bosnian delegation after they qualified yesterday. They were so relieved that a simple song like theirs had gone to the final rather than "another one of those songs with all that danga danga"

Whether you like your danga danga or not, enjoy the show tomorrow wherever you are watching it!
Still having a blast but golly, I'm tired!!

And the winner is..... Spain!

Well not really. The first rehearsal has just finished here in Baku and the dummy voting has proclaimed Spain as the winner! Could that actually happen in reality tomorrow Oneuropaneers? You know what, it's not out of the realms of possibilty....

Maybe I'm totally submerged now in the Baku bubble but I was sat with Monty and Andrew of the other parish in the hall and all three of us were in bloody tears at the Pastora's performance. She nails it every time, will Europe go for it?

As I watched Loreen I did get a strong feeling that I was watching the winner. Sweden aren't daft, they are getting better and better and it does indeed work well on screen now.

Serbia is also very dangerous from that draw and with the points he already has in the bag, he has to be a serious contender.

I have a sneaky suspicion too that Estonia could provide a shock.

Nina for Italy has a bright blue wig and wearing a horrid silver dress that makes her look flat-chested. I'm hoping that this is only a rehearsal outfit.

We are surprised that there is a break coming before Azerbaijan as that normally hinders a song's chances though they need an excuse to big up her entrance I suppose, local girl done good...blah blah blah!

Denmark being sandwiched between Greece and Romania really helps Denmark and I don't see Romania doing so well now. Similarly, Germany are looking weaker after the rousing Spanish song.

All in all a great final and I think the winner will beging with an S, but don't ask me which one!





The opening sequence looks nice by the way. That Danny Saucedo has a lot to answer for, lots of insertions of glowsticks into the dancers costumes here! A modern and traditional dance mash up with guys being propelled up into the air on wires. It's a kind of Azeri riverdance and an impressive opening. Eldar and Nikki then mince in and reprise their winning song. Nikki seems to be wearing huge Jackie O shades and I really can't see the point.


It’s all about Sweden. And Spain. And Serbia. And maybe Ukraine...


Fresh from the first run through of the final, with a chance to see and hear how the songs all work in running order and against one another, some are coming up whilst others are getting lost. The draw isn’t the most exciting start, and it’s only really when the grannies come on that things get going, which may be a worry for the casual viewer. Once it dews though it’s cracking. I’m very sorry to say that Italy isn’t quite as promising as it was, and Nina’s frock, which is silver and cut high on one thigh isn’t working. Fear not though, On Europeans, we have sent a message to her right hand man and suggested it’s changed pronto. If she does and it works we’ll pop in a bill for our commission.

Stand outs for me are Cyprus, as it’s come up so much – Ivi looks great and this is fun; Sweden, which has the real feeling of a winner as Loreen slumps down to get snowed on; and Spain which was electrifying as Pastora hit that long note – it’s a real wow moment, and a Spanish win is really – finally – a possibility I think. Serbia sounds great especially with its draw and Ukraine’s placing could see her slip into the lead too. Those of the bigger songs that didn’t really work included Turkey which sounds flat after Sweden, and Germany, which sounds flat after Spain, and whilst I think the home song is great and wonderfully well sung the projections they do onto her frock are a strange distraction and the addition of a wailing man is just incongruous. And of course, even with an early draw we still can’t really discount the grannies, though I don’t think this will actually be enough to win, but they will melt many a heart as the performance is extremely well staged.

So, what will it be? We’ll know in the early hours of Sunday local time. I might be asleep by then, I’m exhausted! There’s a party in our hotel this evening, the OGAE party moved from EuroClub due to ongoing discussions about the music policy. It appears the EuroClub organisers aren’t keen on a blanket, or even majority Eurovision playlist, which is a particularly odd thing for a fan club party and a blow to those who have travelled the distance without access to EuroClub via accreditation. The move to our gaff, and in the open air, somewhat precludes me having an early night, however...

Oh, and there is a small problem with my ticket for the live show: they are issued with names and passport numbers for security, presumably because all the president’s men will be in the good seats, an mine has the wrong name on. I’m hoping to have it in my possession tomorrow, and would like to publicly thank the OGAE UK team who have been so patient in dealing with ticketing issues. You’ve done a great job guys!

Monty x

Italy, Azerbaijan and Spain press conference

I am falling in love with Nina!  She's just striking the right balance between sassy, witty and charming. The Italian delegation hinted they would continue in eurovision and still link it with San Remo though, as this year, not send the winner of San Remo automatically to the contest.  In choosing Nina, they feel they are showing the modern face of Italian music albeit with a retro styled song.

Sabina next for the host nation. She presented flags of the sixteen nations who didn't make it through the semis. When I say presented, she flounced past the flags already assembled on the desk and then moved them a couple of inches along the desk helped by the moderator!  Still a nice touch.

She was asked 'that' question about certain nations not being here and gave 'that' answer that eurovision is all about music, not politics.

The gorgeous Pastora next. She's still nervous in English but fair dues for learning it for the contest. She was asked about the rumour TVE don't want to host the contest which she flatly denied. She said she had been mis-quoted and the many Spanish press in the room were clearly agitated at this rumour. She sang her song and then a traditional andalucian song Copla which brought the house down!  I love her too...

We are heading into the arena to see the dress rehearsal of the final!  Eek..


It's eurovision eve.....

Eek, it's eurovision eve!

Couldn't agree more with our myserious Estonian on our impressions of the city of Baku and its people. I love the way people just smile at you on the street and want to shake your hand ask where you are from. I can't believe how much eurovision branding there is in the city, banners, flags, posters.... every bus seems to be eurovision branded and of course the London cabs are too.

I have developed my usual case of eurovision throat. I think it was a very overblown version of Quedate Conmigo in the club the other night that did it. I am just not hitting the high notes anymore so am having to seriously scale back my performances! I couldn't cheer as much as I wanted to last night for my favourites.

Very happy for Malta and Estonia. I had Croatia and Slovenia as qualifying and was a little surprised with Lithuania. 8/10 which seems to be what most people predicted.

It's the big six press conferences this afternoon. Englebert has just been draped in a union jack at his and seems in very good spirits. He revealed that , had he been asked earlier  in his career, he would have said yes in a heartbeat. He also revealed a gift pendant that he was given by Elvis Presley back in the day and he's carrying it here in Baku for good luck. The BBC team feel there is a good vibe around eurovision in the UK press this year and reminded us that 13 million viewers tuned in last year. He was whisked out to do a live link into the Ken Bruce show so there's no rest for him... just like us!!

Lovely Mr Lube for Germany has just conferenced. He revealed there are no plans to record Standing Still in German as he feels in English it will be better received and his favourite songs this year are Sweden and Norway and that he is sad Austria didn't male it.


UK Press Conference


Engelbert has just done his second press conference and seems relaxed and happy, grateful for all the work that the production team are putting into getting every detail right, and gracious about fellow competitors. He’s hopeful the song will go on to be a standard of the type he is known for in his long career, and presented a lucky charm that was given to him Elvis Presley. We also chatted again to Arlene who has just flown back into Baku having returned to the UK to attend the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.






Monty x

Video!!! Our pundits strike again

Just before things got too messy last night (and they did by all accounts), our hosts with the most gave us some more views on what they thought of the second semi-final.

 http://youtu.be/r3AqeiTN9Sk

Enjoy!!

Riigi x

Almost there


What a great second semi final! We now have all our finalists and a great line up for tomorrow night. We’re in the press centre for the last big 5 press conferences and the first rehearsal run through. A few words about last night: I predicted 8. Lithuania being first out of the envelopes took many by surprise, and I was also somewhat surprised to see Bosnia & Herzegovina qualify with what I thought was poor staging, but no surprises with the others. There’s a huge amount of disappointment for Joan not going through though there are many saying it was poor on TV. Biggest thrills for me, aside from the big-hitters we knew would get through, are Malta and Macedonia, both very lovely and engaging people. Biggest surprise for me was Slovenia, who I had as a top 10 for the final. Maybe that appliqué was just a bit too much after all?

It was a quiet EuroClub for us only arriving at 3am, though outstaying our welcome until 6am and into the bright sunlight for the journey home. Filipa form Portugal was in fine spirits, telling us her flight is so early on Sunday it’s possibly better they now won’t have to rush from the arena! I also had a lovely moment when the Romanian squeezebox player, who regular readers will know I have taken a bit of a shine to, stopped ME to chat! I have to admit to coming over a bit unnecessary!

So to tomorrow: looking good for Serbia and Ukraine with killer draws, and whilst we have a bit of a slow start it really picks up as the show goes on. I still think it’s between Sweden, Italy, Russia and Serbia with Italy’s draw not looking quite so favourable. It’s a great placing for Ireland too, and Ukraine could scoop up a lot of points and be in the final mix.

Energy levels are flagging today all over the press centre; the late nights are really catching up with everybody, but I expect the buzz to be back tomorrow. There’s another video blog from the EuroClub to come from last night but Rigi is still being so mysterious (and Estonian) we don’t know what he’s done with it.

Monty x

Tips and wrinkles on Baku

In what seems like three months at ‘the easternmost point of Europe’ I’ve made a few observations that I’d like to share with you.

The locals are very friendly.  From the moment I stepped off the plane, they’ve been there to guide, assist, and generally make life easy for the Eurovision traveller.  And this is a genuine friendliness, dear reader, not one that’s been put on for show.

The driving here is like a white knuckle ride.  There is always traffic around.  In the rush hour; during the heat of the day; even at 3am when some of us leave the Euroclub slight the worse for wear.  There is no yielding when driving, you take a chance getting out into a road or changing lane.  But I have yet to see a car with a single dent.  So either they drive really well or the panel beaters here are really efficient.

The language is a little incomprehensible.  If you can speak Turkish, you’re apparently at home as that and Azeri are mutually intelligible.  But otherwise there seem to be 20 different ways of saying ‘Thank you’, there is the character ‘Ə’ (a schwa if this character doesn’t come out in the blog) that appears in every word and is pronounced as the ‘er’ in ‘water’, and you can pronounce a word perfectly and they sometimes still look at you blank.  But that happens to me in my home country too.

The taxi drivers do not do any form of ‘The Knowledge’ in Baku.  The general rigmarole is this: you tell the driver where you want to go, usually a landmark.  He consults the map you show him with said landmark on it.  He then asks a couple of mates where it is.  He then asks you again and repeat this a second time.  After this, we agree a fare or the meter starts.  Because of the one-way system in the city, a 1km journey takes 2km.  thankfully, if you get one of the many London-style cabs, the fare isn’t excessive.

The city is very safe.  We’ve walked around it at all hours (bearing in mind the midnight starts to the shows) and no-one seems interested in mugging or harassing you.  The locals like to promenade along the promenade (surprisingly) until really late – families with children, groups of teenagers, pensioners – all intent on taking the air rather than menacing each other.  A few of my associates stand out a little and get more attention, but that’s through curiosity more than seeing ‘rich’ Western Europeans as easy pickings.

Finally, you never go into a cellar bar.  I’ve heard it’s been done and the individuals involved soon realised the mistake.  Once you see the ladies of dubious virtue sipping drinks, wearing skimpy outfits and watching for unwary travellers to fall upon their lair, you’re stuck.  If you’re in a mixed group you do stand a chance of getting back passed the pimps with the same amount of money (less the price of a beer, obviously) you arrived in there with.  But if you’re alone, then I pray for you, my friend.

I must add that despite all of the above, this has been one of my most favourite Eurovision experiences.  I’m glad I came here as it’s like nowhere I’ve been to before.  It’s not efficient-yet-dull like some Nordic cities.  It’s not provincial like Düsseldorf.  It has no uneasy air like some other capital cities I’ve been to.  It’s not stupidly big like İstanbul.  It’s a vibrant city on the up, with all the trappings of a capital.  No doubt Baku does have problems, but all big cities do.

President Əliyev, if you’re reading this, I’d like to thank you and your countrymen for making this a fortnight I’ll never forget.

Riigi x

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Squeaking with excitement

So you have our latest video blog below with our last minute thoughts. We're just in the press centre waiting to go in and it's BUZZING with excitement! I can't imagine what it's going to be like for the final. We''ve just been interviewed for a Dutch gay TV channel because I am sporting matching Joan Franka t-shirts with Elaine from All Kinds Of Everything and David from The Eurovisionary blog. Who, dear? Gay, dear? Me, dear? How very dare you!

We've also just met Lys Assia who is here in what she probably thinks is Baghdad so should the excitement prove too much for her she will at least pass away happy in the knowledge that she's met us. Valentina Monetta was behind us in the queue for a photo and was completely star struck, name dropping Ralph Siegel to limited interest from Lys.

So on with the show, folks. Enjoy the ride and see you on the other side.

Monty x

Video!!!!!! More expert opinion

Filmed in the Press Centre where we've spent most of the last two weeks, Monty and Rosé give their honest and expert views on the 18 songs in the second semi-final.  See if you agree with them...

http://youtu.be/-4D9yomQ-5s

There maybe more to come later.   ;-)

Second semi-final predictions

OK, here we go.  Very tricky to call this one.  After getting nine last time, I don't think I'll be as lucky this time.

But here they are (in draw order):

Serbia
Netherlands, The
Malta
Ukraine
Slovenia
Sweden
Georgia
Turkey
Estonia    ;-)
Lithuania

There's one country I'd love to put in there, but I don't think Europe will get it.  I might tell you later on what it is.

Riigi  x

Neck on blog time..

So I've got to put my neck on the blog now for semi 2 and try to figure out who the hell is going through. Yep, this one is pretty tough to call. I'd dearly love Malta, Netherlands and Portugal to go through tonight but my head is telling they will miss out.

Let's rule out the no hopers which have to be Slovakia and Bulgaria. Apparently Sofi has pressed the pyrotechnics panic button but she's flogging a dead horse here and although there is an appetite for rock somewhere in Europe, Slovakia is just bad rock.

So there's four dead certs
Serbia
Ukraine
Sweden
Turkey

Serbia has the song, the name and the neighbours
Ukraine has a performance and neighbours
Sweden has to be a dead cert, I'd be shocked if it didn't go through
Turkey has the diaspora voting in this semi and a good performance of a bad song

Now it gets hard... 6 places from 12.   oh gosh....

I wonder will all the Balkan ones make it?  I predict a lot of moaning from the other countries if that happens and I doubt it will with juries now voting in the semis.

I like all of them though I'm very disappointed with Bosnia's staging. I just see Macedonia missing out due to the draw and it not being instant enough though I love Kallopi I'm calling her out. So I'm adding Slovenia and Croatia to the 'ins' and holding onto Bosnia for the minute!

So four more from Malta, Lithuania, Netherlands, Georgia, Norway, Belarus, Portugal, Bosnia and Estonia..

It's not getting easier...

Malta has vastly improved from the national finals and he's added the shimmy..
Lithuania is belting out a great sounding version of a naff song but the gimmick blindfold is offputting
Georgia is just awful
Netherlands is charming but I think people will be focusing on her outfit and not listening to the song
Norway is slick and pretty and nothing else like it
Belarus is not slick but very pretty to look at
Portugal I love but it's just so Portuguese
Estonia to me is sublime

I'd say Norway and Estonia go through first.
I'm eliminating Lithuania, Georgia, Netherlands and Belarus for the above reasons.
Bosnia was my favourite before coming here but it's going down all the time for me now but I think she'll just make it...

So that must leave Portugal and Malta fighting for my last spot and I'm going to plump for Malta as I think a strong UK vote for this will nudge him over the line that Glen didn't get last year.. Unless Scott Mills slags off  Kurt

So I have..

Serbia
Sweden
Turkey
Ukraine
Croatia
Slovenia
Estonia
Norway
Bosnia
Malta

There you go....
I'd love to be wrong on a few of these...

Enjoy the show

Rosé

We found one!

Good afternoon OnEuroPaneers!!

It's midway through our Baku adventure and last night was the night to try to find one of those, you know, homolulu bars... And by golly did we?

The club I'll not name is a stones throw from the old walled city in a basement location and to say it's not particularly luxurious would be an understatement. Decorated minimally with an Azeri, Turkish and upside down Cypriot flag (go figure), a gaudy painting of a naked woman (to perhaps detract from the men whom frequent it) and an old fishtank (I didn't notice if there were actually any fish in it) this place is a dirty sweatbox but FUN FUN FUN!

We didn't know exactly what we were letting ourselves in for as we wend our way in at just after 11. A couple of camp locals mincing their way through a rendition of La La Love told us we were in the right place. The DJ (playing from a cupboard) at first wanted 2 manats per eurovision song but as word got around the fanorak community and the bar swelled in numbers he gave up that as the bar was suddenly doing great business. Small Efes beers were 4 manat, large Sirvilan beers were 3 yet shots of vodka were only 1 so against all better judgement we opted for the most economical of the three.  Consequently I am suffering my first proper hangover of the week having rolled in at 7am...

It's going to be an interesting day.....