And yes some of the team are in place! Yikes! In fact rehearsals have a started, lots of rough looking singers singing in their best pair of jeans and semi trendy tops trying to look like they didn't try too hard on their wardrobe choices! This is the best bit and I can't wait to get out there now! Who's floundering on the stage and who's going to surprise us?
Gosh in two weeks it will be all over and we will know our 2014 destination! Rosé's warming up everybody.... Strap yourselves in!
All that stands between Malmurghh and me now is a Stockholm and back today (I'll wave) and 24 hours in Lisbon! I'll tell them we're missing them... They'll just shrug!
So onwards with the firmer semi...
More swarthiness (my iPad self corrected that to swarthy mess, inspired) now from those lovely Koza Mostra boys whose lead singer really is a dish and whose performance is energetic, fun and frolicky. Now these kind of songs often get the fanoraks wetting their knickers and then fall pretty flat on the night. Surely they're qualifying but will they wind up middling on the big night or knocking the door of the top four? I'm torn, I can completely see this as the dark horse some see it as in this year of ballads yet I can equally see people being put off by a bit of average silliness and a repetitive chorus. It will qualify with ease then wind up around 8th, there head on block time. And not even a mention of free booze! Well done me!
Shabbat Shalom from Israel where I'm actually writing this! Popping along to Evitta bar later for a look at the locals, sadly missing the amazing Eurovision night they hold every Sunday with an assortment of hot Israeli dancers and great tunes from DJ Pini Ziliber, blatant plug... check! I didn't go to Jerusalem but would love to be back here with the contest one day. Mmm, maybe not 2014 with our Moron Mazar, sorry Moran Mazor, that's right the second one isn't it? I love a dramatic ballad as much as the next but I'm struggling with this, and I am very forgiving in the 'getting to grips with a song sung in Hebrew' stakes. I think in a strongish semi she's going to struggle to make her mark and that's even with employing the Katie Wolff tactic of appearing onstage looking anywhere between 25 and 50 (she's 21).
Sadly not qualifying which is a shame as Isrsel is my new Portugal'!
Only following Eurovision would you stumble upon a band called Dorians. I mean what the hell is with that name? This is propping up my whole 39 songs this year, the bottom of my bottom (and my bottom isn't as crowded as usual this year so it must be shite). I really am struggling for anything to say. It's like a poor album track that always gets skipped through, nothing memorable except for a nicely shot video which will do it no favours on semi final night. Has all the potential to be awfully staged and instantly forgettable and, barring a shock 12 points from 'neighbours' Azerbaijan (joke), the Armenian delegation will be direkt fran Malmo till Yereven kom fredag. . Zero, zip, noll from me!
Another artiste name only ever possibly seen at the contest, ByeAlex. I'm not sure it will be bye on after the semifinal as it's really not too bad at all. It's quirky and charming and just rather nice. Whether this will mean it get votes on the night I just don't know. He has a favourable draw, coming after two weaker songs and there will be a fair few jury points just for the fact this is something different. I find myself humming the one line I know and smiling... Weirdo I know. I'm going to fence sit and park this in the borderline zone.
It's no coincidence that if you say Norway fast enough it can transform into NOWAITABLOODYMINUTETHISISAWESOME in the blink of an eye. And this is totally awesome, totally too good for the contest I fear though hope I'm wrong. The totally cool ice queen just screams well... cool... and this would be a great winner for the reputation of the contest. This jumped out at me straight away when I first heard the songs and have played it to a few non fanoraks to mainly positive reactions (except my mum who thought it a bit slow to get going and wrong for Eurovision). She may have a point, it needs just that extra ten seconds of attention before it breaks into that sublime chorus and we know the Eurovision audience is incredibly fickle. On our Monty's countdown she was summed up as a boobulous, threatening, bondage-frocked, Nordic ice queen singling a pulsating beat. What's not to frigging adore? If there's a god she's a wonning but I fear something more annoyingly catchy (Denmark) or cheesy (Georgia) is stealing the ice queen's crown.
This is alright you know. When the Festival di Kenges produced a rock song I thought 'oh no this has to be awful', but it isn't. There's something really easy about this to my ear even though I've in idea what they're on about (apart from looking for some kind of identity?). Not the best genre to stage at the contest but previous rockier efforts have fared ok and, in many ways, what else can a rock band do but just bash it out, so to speak? This, for me, is border lining between borderline and qualifying at this moment in time.
As the Albanian boys look for identity, the Georgians throw any of their musical identity away as they plump for the Swedish musical juggernaught that is the G:son and in doing so inflict on us or treat us to (depending on your persuasion) the cheesiest of all cheese fests known to man, woman, beast or euro fanorak! It's totally eurovision by numbers, formulaic within an inch of its life and absolutely satisfying. Within ten seconds your enveloped in its cheesy gooey layers and not let out until the multiple orgasm inducing finale subsides in what will, no doubt, coincide with the biggest wall of pyros ever seen on a Eurovision stage. Who cares they have no charisma or chemistry? It'll be awesome, won't it? And the song's opening line gives the funniest false lyric of the year so far to this immature thirty something, 'there's no wee without poo'...
You bet they qualifying!
Now this is a funny beast isn't it? What in Helsarmee's name are they doing in this contest and with a very catchy little melody too? Only at Eurovision a Sally Army branded band changes their name to the band formally known as Sally Army... you couldn't make it up. The ninety year old guy has no clue what's going on, is obviously there as a gimmick and yet the younger guys are cute (surely my affection won't be reciprocated in Sweden). It's not the best song ever written but with the infectious melody I think they might just do alright you know. I'm inclined to say just missing out as Switzerland always struggle but the audience in Amsterdam were singing the chorus long after the band had finished. Scary..
The funniest three minutes you're likely to get this year and just at the dangerous point in the evening come Thursday week when pissed Europe votes! As Cezar enthusiastically launches into his first chorus, a million European tv viewers are going to spit out their tea, beer, wine, vodka, sangria, grappa (we may be here some time) lemoncello, ouzo, national drink of Albania (ok stop now) as they turn to each other and ask WTF! As my friend Fiona noted, just because he can doesn't mean that he should! Quite! And surely there's a Eurovision law banning poppers? Poppers? Damn you iPad... POPERA!! , I wanted popera!! ;-)
So that's your second half of semi two and looking back I seem to have eight definitely who are (in decreasing order of certainty)
I'm writing off Latvia, Bulgaria, Iceland, Israel, Armenia and Romania
So two places from the three borderlines, mmmm it's tough!
I see Albania with the bigger potential here so they're in followed by either Switzerland or Hungary. I'm saying Switzerland as I think Hungary is too hard to get on first listen for the casual viewer, blimey there we go...
How much of this will change as rehearsals begin? Start the nail biting whenever folks...
Happy bank holiday all!