Are you f*cking kidding me, Sweden?

No, really. When Loreen won I wasn’t happy, but I mellowed a little when Swedifans said that this would be the BEST. YEAR. EVAH for the contest and stuff. Well, I said. Let’s give’em a chance.

And there were a few good things, like the part where both juries and public rank all the songs, or the way points will be announced. I liked it. But then…

And this is what we got:

- With the excuse of giving us a simpler, crisis-fit, more austere show, they made the contest in a stage that can barely hold a Melodivestivalen semifinal. Of course, the Melodifestivalen itself keeps getting done big-scale. Because you know, we’ve gotta have priorities.

- With the excuse of giving us a more exciting and varied show, the producers would handpick the running order. This proposal got mixed reactions all over Europe: Christer Bjorkman, the Melodifestivalen overlord, is said everywhere to use this (among other just as handy tricks) to boost or drown entries in the Melodi.

And this is what I mostly want to talk about. This proposal was approved by the Eurovision Reference Group (which, by the way, includes Bjorkman) to let the show producers (who, again, includes Bjorkman) to determine the running order. Which can make an entry shine if they receive a good placing, or fade if they get eclipsed by others. It’s a powerful tool and if properly used can have a big impact on the placing of an entry. I think if this had been proposed a year ago, with Azerbaijan hosting, it wouldn’t have been so well receive.

But you know, I’m f*cking Sweden and I’ll f*cking do what I f*cking want.

Once we knew the finalists, plus which half they had been sorted into, lots of people in a forum I visit predicted that Lithuania would be  second, Denmark would follow Hungary, and Denmark would perform last. Which all happened. Our criteria? The fact that they would appoint an already lost song to perform second, an upbeat song outside the favorites to close, and about Denmark… well…

This entire contest seems to have been not-so-subtly rigged in favor of Nordic countries, and, most specifially, Denmark. Three Nordics (Denmark, Finland and Norway) sang right before pauses in the semifinals, which would allow them to make more impact. If any country other than Denmark (besides Sweden itself) was mentioned by name by Lynda Woodruff in their interval skethces, while lines were open, I didn’t hear it.

And, paying attention to the running order, Denmark is placed between Hungary and Iceland, two slow-tempo, low-profile ballads which will give it a chance to really stand out . And right after Iceland it comes Azerbaijan, another not-too different ballad, also performed by a man, that if we followed their own reasoning should have been, by any capacity, apart from Iceland.

How about the competition?  Taking a look at the other favorites, they’re all placed in positions that wouldn’t do them any good. Azerbaijan,  Greece, Ukraine, Italy, Norway and Georgia go one after the other, so they’ll pretty much cancel each other out. Ukraine, the strongest in the bets, is placed right after the spotlight-stealing squad from Greece. Russia, the stronger entry from the first half of the final, will be followed by Germany, again, a contrast that probably won’t work in its benefit. Yeah, it hasn’t been proven, but it seriously doesn’t look good. The effect of these placements, even if slight, might be enough to topple things for or against a particular country if the race is close, and I really hate the idea of feeling that someone decided which side would it topple.

I feel kinda disillusioned with this year Eurovision, and yes, I blame Sweden. This entire thing seems to be too manipulated and dishonest for me. Of course, I will keep on watching because dammit, it’s Euro-f*cking-vision, but I can’t wait for the next year.

Wait, since probably this will work and I really don’t like the idea, make it the year after that. Please let’s all fast forward to Eurovision 2015, hopefully not in a Nordic country.

I don’t think this will be good for Emmelie, by the way. I don’t like her song, but I think she would have had enough to win it without all this seedy stuff, but that’s something we will never know. And, in case she wins, her victory, at least for me, will be forever tainted by the doubt. Did she…? What if…?

Eurovision final review: OMG Azerbaijan!

I watched this year’s final with another generic Eurovision fan, plus an “alternative fan” (that means his favorite acts are Eldrine and Verka Serduchka), with a bottle of soda and a bag of chips. Cousin was nowhere to be seen and my brother is dead scared of Eurovision, so it was just the three of us.

This year’s final was a giant postcard interrupted every now and then by songs. Seriously, Azerbaijan took the “Eurovision as a platform to promote your country” very seriously.  If they spent a shitload of money on building a concert hall just for the contest, they might as well make the most from it, but if we get to know Baku ad nauseam just from the postcards, why would we need to go? That’s not smart.

The opening was pretty much Beijing Olympics indoors, with flying people, a globe, traditional dancers, drums and fire. Also, rainfire and Ell & Nikki lipsyncing to themselves. Quite spectacular, to be honest.

It had three presenters and I don’t remember any of them. Not even Eldar.

Good ‘ole Engelbert from UK was truly nice, you know. I liked the idea of things appearing and disappearing, although I would have preferred it to stay that way, this is the kind of song that doesn’t need a grandiose ending. Still, placing 25th out of 26 is really unfair

You know Hungary is artistic because they have rock and don’t care about the lights. Hum… no, thanks. Still, is a good thing that we get to see the catwalk in use this early. 24th. Whatever.

Time for Albania. What exactly where they thinking, I don’t know. Here she comes with knives on her ears, the most horrible dress she could find, a ball on her head, zero backing and a dreadlock that looks like a rope that looks like a piece of poo stuck on her chest. Seriously, this is so agressively non-Eurovision that I don’t know how they dared to bring it. And then she SINGS, and none of it matters. Even if the song is also truly non-Eurovisive, it doesn’t matter at all. She’s just that amazing. Fifth, and still too low. But wow.

When you’re as hot as Donny from Lithuania, you can get away with anything, and that includes an in-your-face blindfold, and pretending to touch himself infront of 100 million people. That takes balls… nevermind. 14th. If it was for looks alone he would have won and God knows it.

Bosnia and Herzegovina was all about pissing the hosts. Did you build the biggest LED screen in Eurovision history? How about me using them to project nothing at all? Also, I’m gonna use your fans for a total of ten seconds. Live with it. I wasn’t convinced when I watched it first, but after several months the whole staging looks a lot better than it dit back in May. Still, I don’t care about your placing. Oh, well, 18th. Meh.

A year ago, with the sand drawings from Ukraine, I wondered if next year would bring knitting, sculping, or… baking. Well, someone in Russia apparently reads my blog: Say hello to the Buranovskiye Babushki! This is one of the most random things ever to grace the contest. I know it was kinda cute and funny, but didn’t make sense. And still, it placed second. Good to know it’s one of those things that can only work once.

Iceland had an amazing act brought down by dozens of little failures. Too much light, too much smiling, bad camerawork and seriously, the backing singers should have staid out of sight.  The song is still great, but honestly, I can understand it flunked. 20th. As I said, I can understand it.

Why, Cyprus, why? Why did you have to send such a great song, with such a horrible singer? Seriously, if it wasn’t for Ivi’s voice, this would be top 5 material hands down. Why, Cyprus? 16th Just… why?.

The problem with France is their completely random-ish show. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for veils, fans and shirtless men (Duh!) but they have to make sense to work, and here they don’t. Her alone onstage would’ve worked a lot better, I think. 22nd and nil points from televote. This is the closest France has been to lose outright in forever.

Italy needs some warm lights. Full stop. Seriously, the song is great and the staging is decent, but this just looks too… cold. 9th. I’m not sure if she deserved it, but not mad she got it.

Estonia is perfection made man and song. That’s all there’s to say. 6th. Justice is nowhere to be found.

Norway is giving us a cheesy disco stomper. I didn’t even know that could exist, but… wow. This is at the same time one of the best things and one of the worst things in the contest. I like it, but really. Last. With less points than poor Josh from UK.

Azerbaijan built the biggest LED screen in Eurovision history so they could ditch it and project things in the singer’s dress instead. No kidding.
The song is the most generic thing of the night, but at least the performance is good. Have you heard the ethnic version, in azeri language and with traditional arranges? Because is a thousand times better. Maybe then it would’ve been worthy a top 10. 4th. You’ve gotta be kidding me, Europe.

Romania’s still not giving a fuck. They’re just giving us some delicious camp with the worst Spanish I’ve ever heard, and I love them so much for that. 12th. Not that I really cared, you know.

Denmark is just as interesting as waiting for a bus for three hours with nothing to do. Why this song got written, I don’t know. Why someone performs it, I don’t know. Why it won it’s national final, and why it qualified to the final are a complete mistery. I still can’t stand it. 23rd. Told you, Denmark.

Thank God for Greece. Thanks for their camp, their sirtaki, that thing that’s not even a dress, the rythm, and not even trying to hide that all the singing is actually done in the background. This is exactly what I needed to awaken right now. 17th. Damn, how the migthy have fallen, five years ago this would have placed third at the very least!

And then it comes… well, Sweden.  Yeah, a great staging and stuff, but I didn’t find it THAT amazing. I mean, it’s a decent winner and I liked it (specially the slow camera fall at the very end), and I’m not angry she won, but I still think it’s overrated, and I think there were better songs this year.  Winner by a country mile, of course. If it has to be…

You could very well get stoned before you watch Turkey, because it must make a lot more sense that way. There’s some batmanesque coreography, sailor motifs and a cape-made boat. For real. M-mn, not joking. There’s a friggin’ boat onstage and it has nothing to do with the song. Maybe I should smoke some pot and rewatch this. What worries me is that it still placed 7th. Drug consumption in Europe must be off the ceiling.

The problem with Spain is not the song, because it’s pretty good. Ain’t the singer, either, because man, she CAN sing. The problem is the dress. It’s a beautiful white dress strapled on top of a flesh colored something that we’re not supposed to see, but it’s pretty obvious. Ugh. Also, the lights from behind remind us that she’s nude under that dress. Not infront of the children, Spain!. 10th.

Germany is nice, but quite forgettable. Good show, good song, good singer. Yeah. That. Not anything that Estonia hasn’t done better this year. 8th. Without a single twelve. That’s pretty impressive, but then again, Estonia did it better.

Malta managed to bring the best out of a bland pop act and make it wonderful. The foot movements are just the top of the cake. I love all in this act. 21st. Europe must be blind.

And… here comes Kaliopi, basking on her own amazingness. She starts with a simple, easy ballad. Alternative fan doesn’t look impressed. Then she switches to ROCK! and Alternative fan does a spit take. Then she gives us her epic scream, and Alternative fan is just too shocked to comment. And I. AM. IN. LOVE. Thirteenth. Like, what the fuck, Europe.

Jedward doesn’t bother to jump to their fountain until the very end, so I’m not gonna bother with them. 19th, in case you were wondering.

I don’t get the Zeljko love that much. Yeah, not bad, but not either anything we haven’t seen before, and the show is a tad too simple for the song and it lacks punch. I would place it around tenth or so, but Europe doesn’t agree with me, it seems. Because it places third somehow.

Because you need to save on small stuff when you care bringing your own LED screens, Ukraine is wearing toilet paper strips and has the most repetitive lyrics in the night. You know this is gonna be awful when she uses her voice to acompany the trumpets. Yup, not even the shirtless musicians can save this. Sorry, Ukraine. But hey, nice way to get around the people onstage limit. 15th, and not low enough.

And we close with Moldova, with something Georgia wouldn’t dare sending to Junior Eurovision. I don’t know who in Moldova gets these ideas, I just hope they never run out of drugs. 11th, somehow.

The interval act is some more minutes of Azeri selfworship, plus the hottest guy in the night with a pointless song, and then the votes that get boring quite fast.

Loreen also wins 2 Marcels, and the third goes to Azerbaijan. The Barbara Dex somehow evades Jedward and goes to Albania instead. WHAT.

Eurovision review: Let the bad songs rob the second semi!

The first semi did things quite good. I mean, all the nonqualifiers, or nearly all, didn’t have final quality, so I was quite content with the results. Here, on the other hand…

We start with Zeljko and Kaliopi. Allthe Balkans but Greece, Montenegro and Albania play in this semi, so we shouldn’t be surprised that they pass.

Joan Franka had, hands down, one of the best songs of the semi and she didn’t pass. Even if the delivery was far from perfect and the dress was an exageration, she. SHOULD. HAVE. PASSED. Justice is crying.

Then it comes Malta which surprised me quite dearly by earning their pass, and then Belarus, with a staging far better than Switzerland and Hungary, but with the same generic bland rock song. Seriously, I can barelly tell those songs apart.

Portugal has the best backgroun since LEDS were invented and a terrific song. The camerawork could be better and she had a minor slip at the beginning, but we know the main failure of this was not being Balkan. Or Soviet, because Gaitana passes with something far, far worse.

Bulgaria spent all their money on fireworks and couldn’t rent dancers, so Sofi Marinova spends three minutes parading alone onstage, with a huge boxing belt holding her breasts in place. I’m not sure if they qualify as Balkan, but for sure they didn’t get Balkan love.

Slovenia was better than expected, but still I can’t forgive them for not sending A Si Sanjal Me, so.. sorry.

What? Croatia didn’t pass either? I mean, yes, she was wearing the most horrible dress of the year, but in a five Balkan semi (six, if we count Bulgaria) I’m amazed she didn’t qualify. Even if she deserves it for not bringing the veil.

Sweden qualifies, of course, and of course, Georgia doesnt. They actually did a good job with a deliciously camp staging and a suit I would like to wear, but nothing, NOTHING, can save a song when it is this bad.

Turkey passes (duh!) and Estonia passes (yay!), but Slovakia is.. well… Slovakia, so they stay on the semi with a song that would give Turkey a top six. Max might be rocking the stage, I don’t know. All I know is he has a great torso and a nice butt.

Then they come Norway, Bosnia and Lithuania, and all of them pass.

Azerbaijan is so much of a diva that they got the winners of five years to do an interval on a SEMIFINAL. What they didn’t know is that for an interval the winners meant “drunk karaoke”. Dima at his gayest, Lena at her creepiest, Marija at her butchiest, random Alexander and Ell and Nikki who clearly haven’t seen each other since they won and didn’t care. For Waterloo, Dima either sings so bad that they cut his micro, or he was thinking nobody would notice we wasn’t even attempting shit. Extra points to Zeljko not singing along to Molitva and smiling patronisingly, while Kalilopi goes full force on it. And Tooji happy like a puppy with Fairytale was the cutest thing ever.

Let’s go to the final!

Eurovision review,: First semi of yawn.

I know, around… four months later? Whatever, the songs aren’t going anywhere,so here it is.

This is only a first semi review, which means only non qualifiers are shown. Aaaaanddd… here we go.

Since we’re only getting started, what a worse choice could we make than Rambo Amadeus from Montenegro, dressed like a cheap Nazgul? Seriously, they came back for this? I know he thinks he’s making a point, but seriously.

Then we have Iceland, who did their best to ruin ther song, and Greece who didn’t even need to do their best.

Dear Anmary, why did you replace your cowgirls with flight attendants? Why do you shake your boobs at us? And why…? Weirdweirdweird… you improved a lot since Eirodziesma, girl, but still I’m glad you didn’t qualify. Sorry. The problem isn’t you, or your dress (dazzling, baby!), but your horrible, lame, horrible song. You’re a wasted diva.

Then we have the least and the most danceworthy songs of the pack, one after the other, and then it’s time for Switzerland. It’s all a chain of swimagansteseem and unbreakable that, honestly, is really boring. I don’t get how can somebody call it a gem.

Belgium at least tried to build an atmosphere. Not saying I love her, but it’s a nice effort for a barely out of Junior Eurovision girl. Still, it’s quite forgettable, but not bad bad, just… plain.

Finland is maybe just as plain, but quite better done. Pernilla knows how to stand under a spotlight, can deliver a subtle and underhanded folk, and I’m pretty sure whe would have qualified had she worn a full length dress. But you can’t have everything. The only nonqualifier that I think was clearly good enough to deserve a spot in the final.

I’ll have two of whatever the guys from Israel had. Bouncing clocks, weird faces, random camerawork and the guys from the catwalk really whould jump in every performance of the contest. Not sure if they should have qualified, though.

San Marino, on the other had, is the only non qualifier that I think was bad enough to deserve a spot in the final, but I would’ven’t minded a little more open trolling. Still, I’m mad at Europe for not voting this.

Time for Cyprus, whom I glad they passed, Denmark that should have staid instead of Finland, Russia just because what the fuck, Switze… sorry, Hungary, and…

The last nonqualifier is Austria, which fullfilled all my expectatives. Too bad that I only expected the worst from them. Saying more would be painful.

The last two songs are weird-but-enjoyable-as-always Moldova, and weird-and-not-at-all-enjoyable Ireland. I’m actually surprised that most of the songs I loathed managed to stay on the semifinal, and most of my favorites passed. Thanks, Europe. But I’m still mad at you for not passing San Marino.

The interval acts was a truckload of drums and Azeri tapdancing, with more drums on the second half and some shots of Jedward headbanging and Eleftheria doing the sirtaki. I swear it’s more interesting than it sounds.

Let’s see how things go on the second semi.

Anything Goes.

No hay derecho a hacerme esto. Ya había comentado lo injusto que es vestir a Mr. Red de traje, y van y lo visten de MARINERO. Esto es cruel. Es… tortura. Es… ejem, centrémonos.

Anything Goes es lo que conseguiríamos si les diéramos el libreto de Titanic a los chicos de Smosh y les pidiéramos convertirlo en musical. Es tremendamente errático, todo el tiempo te deja pensando que TODO todo mundo tras bambalinas se volvió loco, y en resumen, es genial.

Un resumen de la trama. Nuestro valiente protagonista es un corredor de bolsa:

Por supuesto, el chico que la hace de protagonista se ve mejor que Rusell Crowe.

que se mete de polizón a un barco siguiendo a su amada, que está a punto de casarse por dinero con un Lord Inglés al que no ama.

Ok, estoy siendo un poco malvado. El lord es un personaje bastante más simpático que Jabba.

Se mete sin pasaporte, sin dinero, y dejando descuidada la venta de una empresa que le había encomendado su jefe. Que también va en el barco y tontea con la mamá de la amada del protagonista.

Añadamos unos personajes secundarios fabulosos: Moonface Norecuerdoqué, enemigo público número trece, desvergonzado profesional e interpretado por un robaescenas que sabía poner exactamente estas expresiones faciales:

Reno Sweeney, la evangelista más sexy de la televisión, interpretada por Music Angel (que salvo por que se le escuchaba la voz un tanto cansada en los agudos, brilló como nunca):

Dos chinos adictos al juego y al alcohol, la amiga de Moonface que se dedica a seducir marineros, el jefe del protagonista, la mamá de la amada, el lord inglés… creo que ningún personaje sobra, todos encajan para hacer… algo. Algo genial.

Y luego, pongamos música. con al menos dos canciones que no tenía idea de que fueran de aquí, pero que ya había visto antes, como “Make them laugh” y “You´re the top”:

Ahora, licuemos todo y sirvamos bien frío.

Todavía no estoy seguro de qué es lo que vi, pero me divertí como enano.

(Tengo pendientes tres posts sobre Eurovisión y uno sobre las elecciones. Pero ahora mismo el plan es una ensalada con tajín y pensar cómo voy a interpretar los datos de la tesis. Y tratar de conseguir que el teclado de la lap escriba en español, que es horrible no poder escribir eñes ni acentos en mi propia compu)

Debate, debate.

Una semana o algo así después del debate de los candidatos a la presidencia mexicana. Y la única cosa segura es que, sea quien sea el que quede, va a ser malo para el país.

Las boletas necesitan incluir la opción “Nada de lo anterior”.

(Me extendería más, pero me deprime)

Eurovision 2012: What should have been.

As I said in the comment, nearly half of the songs this year have something wrong about them. They’re either plain, bad, mediocre, bad trolls or… something. So, if you excuse me, I’m gonna  use this post to paint my owh little happy world about what should have been sent instead.

First of all, Montenegro should have sent anything else instead of Euro Neuro for reasons of absolute boringness. I can’t say what because they didn’t hold a final, but nearly anything would’ve been worked.

Latvia, for reasons of the song being lousy, should have sent some other act instead of Anmary. The best one on the national final was Andris Abelite with “Pedejais vards” but on the previous round there were some amazing songs that didn’t qualify to the final. My favourite was “We are not in Rome” that didn’t even make it to the second round. I can’t link to any of the songs because both got deleted, but trust me, they were perfect. And they didn’t even tell us the artist of the second one. (BTW, if somebody knows who composed and/or performed that, you will get my eternal gratitude).

Switzerland, for reason of her being awesome, should have sent Lys Motherfucking Assia with “C’etait ma vie”. She’s nearly ninety and she still can outclass 90% of bitches around. Being Switzerland, her chances to win would be just as zero as with Sinplus, but sending in someone who had won this contest before all the contestants but Russia and UK were born would have been a first class “fuck you” in the face of Europe. Also, it’s been proven that this year belongs to the old generations, so she DESERVED it.

Denmark, for reasons of the song being so boring I cant’ hear more than half of it, should have known better and sent in Jesper with “Take our hearts”. Jesper was good, he probably had at least top 10 guaranteed, quite possibly top 5, specially on a year like this. Soluna… I think she’s doomed.

Austria, for reasons of their entry being awful should have sent instead the fabulous Conchita Wurst with “That’s what I am” . But I guess the host would be uncomfortable having around a proud crossdresser with a beard preventing them to pretend they don’t know she’s not a woman. And the song being a LGBT pride anthem didn’t help either. I changed my mind, Trackshittaz are perfect for Baku. Objecizing asses is a lot less likely to get lynched than a message about being true to yourself. The world somethimes scares me.

Netherlands… well, I love Joan, but to be honest, they should have sent Ivan Peroti with “Take me As I Am”, for reasons of him being really good and having better chances to at least passing to the final than Joan.

Malta, for reasons of blandness and a certain lack of appeal, should have gone instead for one of the Faniello siblings. Either Claudia channeling Chiara/Whitney Houston of Fabrizio channeling a heterosexual male with a daughter. Either would do.

Ukraine, for reasons of an infinite superiority over the badness package that won, should have sent Max Barsikh with “Dance”. But I guess they didn’t want to look like they were copying Eric/Tooji, so we have to deal instead with the worst song Ukraine’s ever sent.

Slovenia, for reasons of absolute amazing quality, should have sent Eva Boto, yeah, but with “A si sanjal me” instead of “Verjamem”. The ballad is a little boring, while this hits all the right buttons at once. What was Slovenia thinking, really?

Georgia, for more than obvious reasons, should have sent ANY other song in their national final. Seriously, they picked the worst one and it seems they picked it for being the worst. My personal choice would have been REMA with “Feel me”. It’s not like they’re impressively good, but they are worlds apart from the joker..

Some other potential choices: How about Adele for UK? And while I love Roman, Ornella di Santis would have also been a nice choice for Germany.

If I were an Eurovision country

These would be my points:

12: Iceland

10: Italy

8: Estonia

7: Greece

6: Cyprus

5: Portugal

4: Germany

3: Lithuania

2: Serbia

1: France

The winner quality club opens its doors to: Iceland, Estonia, Portugal, France and Italy.

The ones who fall a little short: Greece, because even I have to admit it’s too generic. Cyprus, because we’re still to see a good live delivery. Lithuania, because he HAS to fix his performance. Germany because his song is lacking something, I don’t know what, Serbia because he needs a stronger buildup, and Sweden because there’s no substance behind all that style.

Best song overall: Iceland, of course. I think we haven’t seen anything this good on this style since Greece 2001.

Best show overall on the preview: Quite predictably, Sweden.

Worst song overall: Georgia and Austria. I can’t pick one.

Shittiest song overall: I was about to say Austria, but no. San Marino.

Overall, the cutest guy is Ott Lepland from Estonia, and the hottest guy is Roman Lob from Germany. The cutest girl is Joan Franka from Netherlands and the hottest girl is Eleftheria from Greece, but it’s not like the female pool this year was that extraordinary.

This is The Big Six giving a shit.

Well, yeah, this year the automatic finalists (The Big Five plus Azerbaijan) got together a pretty good collective act:

United Kingdom: Engelbert Humperdinck – Love will set you free

Yeah… he’s dead and buried because he opens the final, but my, what an opening. I love his voice and the ballad is quite good. I’m about to bet UK surprised everybody by announcing this guy as their representative, and then as making him turn out pretty good.

France: Anggun – Echo (You and I)

May I say I consider plain stupid the idea of using a title for a song, and then another one in parentheses? And may I say this is the only thing I DON’T like about this song? It’s a delicious upbeat act with great beat and perfect for the singer. The only thing it needs to be absolutely amazing is a stronger closure.

Italy: Nina Zilli – L’amore è femmina (Out of love)

What did I say about titles in parentheses? And what did I say about delicious? Not that I didn’t like “Per sempre”, but I loved the change. Maybe more Italian would be good for the song, but this hits all the right buttons. Just one thing: what’s with the “boom boom”? Between this and Russia, I’m thinking Emmy was months ahead of her time.

Azerbaijan: Sabina Babayeba – When the music dies

The weakest song of the post. A good dramatic ballad (I totally can picture Rachel Berry of Glee singing this), but too slow and even. I’m afraid this can break Azerbaijan’s perfect Top 10 record.

Spain: Pastora Soler – Quédate conmigo

Girl. Change the dress. NOW. Also, work on your hand gestures, because the ones you have… they’re awful. You can keep the song if you want. The song’s good. It reminds me of I don’t know what, but something good.

Germany: Roman Lob – Standing still

A sweet ballad sung by a cute guy. How can I resist?

Well, the chorus sometimes is too monotone, but there’s nothing I wouldn’t forgive to that face. And despite the chorus, the song’s pretty good too.

This is Europe not giving a shit (Part 2)

We’re done witht he first semi, but there’s still one to go. Fortunately, most of the badness this year gathered in the first semi (That, or Iceland sucked all the quality out of their competitors, just like Die for you did with nearly all the 2001 contestants, winner included), so this semi is gonna be better. I promise.

(This post is gonna take several days, so if you’re here and I haven’t reached Lithuania, come back later)

Serbia: Zeljko Joksimovic – Nije Ljubav Stvar

Both previous Eurovision songs by Zeljko are pretty good, but this one falls a little short. I feel like the whole song works towards a climax that never arrives. I like it, but not as much as I did the first time I heard it.

Macedonia: Kaliopi – Crno i Belo

It needs a stronger end, but it’s anyway the closest we’re gonna find to a diva this year. See, Albania? This is how you screech a song.

Netherlands: Joan Franka -You and Me

This is Netherlands not giving a shit. They know it’s gonna be the same whatever they send, so why bother? Why not send Joan Baez.. sorry, Franka, with an Indian head-thingy and a nice song about puppy love? They can afford it because their chances are gone before they come. I like it, though. Once I get used to her being dressed like Sacajawea.

Malta: Kurt Calleja – This is the Night

At first listening I didn’t like it that much, but on the second, it’s not that bad. A good tame disco with bland but enjoyable beat. Still, they had better things in their national final.

Belarus: Litesound – We are the Heroes

They were actually the runner-up in their national final, but since the winner was found to rig the votes… yeah, that. I wish I had something to say about this song.

Portugal: Filipa Sousa – Vida Minha

Well, now we’re talking. I don’t know why I love this, but I do. Of course, Portugal doesn’t give a shit for the same reasons Netherlands doesn’t, but they manage to get everything right anyway. Let’s just add some lights and flowers in their staging, and they’re done.

Ukraine: Gaitana -Be my guest

Ukraine is so not giving a shit they decided they better use the contest to make some product placement for some sports competition they’re co-hosting with Poland, so they’re sending… this. Gaitana got criticized for some Ukrainian folks who said she’s “too ethnic” to represent Ukraine.

How silly of them. They should criticize her because her song is awful and she sings badly. And now, everyone who says anything against her can and will be labeled as racist. Brilliant, guys. Now political correctness will force us to swallow this. Just brilliant.

Bulgaria: Sofi Marinova – Love Unlimited

Aaaaaaannnddd… back on the track again! Bulgiaria just decided to add some Eastern taste to their song, since this year we’re all going East. I just hope they do a really heavy show for this song, like dancers with veils, water and fire rains, fireworks… and please, change the dress. It makes her boobs look like they’re in her waist.

Slovenia: Eva Boto – Verjamem

Why does the backing singer remind me of Virginia Woolf? And why, in name of everything that can be named, is she wearing that on her head?

Oh, yeah, the song… WHY IS SHE WEARING THAT ON HER HEAD? And why the song makes me think of The Little Mermaid? It’s a nice array of voices the one they have here, though. BUT WHY IS SHE WEARING THAT ON HER HEAD?

Croatia: Nina Badric – Nebo

I wish I had found the live performance in Dora, because Nina WAS actually wearing a veil-and-fan combination that would make Carola die of envy, and nailed all her notes live. All she needs to steal the show is take the same dress and the same nearly nude guys to Baku. (Yeah, I’m running out of comments, but this year really has too many ballads)

Sweden: Loreen – Euphoria

Sweden, of course, has to give a shit, they’re freaking SWEDEN! And they prove it by sending the lovechild of Carola and a Shaolin monk. I don’t get the hype about this. I mean, yeah, it’s good and nice and sticky, and possibly winner quality, but I don’t get the whole amazing-and-orgasmic-and-sure-winner thing, when it’s all in the staging. It’s not like I’ll be mad if she wins, because she’s not that bad, but there are better songs this year.

Georgia: Anri Jokhadze – I’m a Joker

Like this, for example.

Nah, just kidding. This is the worst song of the contest, and that’s quite and achievement once you listen to Montenegro, Austria or San Marino. And earlier versions of this… thing, were even worse. This song makes me want to run and hide in Emmy’s cleavage. This song makes me want Justin Bieber to represent Georgia instead. This song makes me long for Dustin the Turkey. And now, if you excuse me, I’m gonna look away and pretend this song never happened.

Turkey: Can Bonomo – Love me Back

This is Turkey, not giving a shit because they know they’re gonna have lots of neighbor love from the host. The artist ain’t giving a shit either. Well, that, or he’s just having a seizure onstage. Or fleas. Or something.

And I can’t wait to see their show.

Estonia: Ott Lepland – Kuula

Gott Lepland? He’s handsome, he has a great voice and he’s singing a perfect song in his own language, because Estonia’s not giving a shit. I think a victory for this (understated show, non-English, sweet, slow ballad) would be the best thing that could happen to the contest. Man, every time I listen to this I like it even more. Gott Lepland? If not, what are you waiting for?

Slovakia: Max Jason Mai – Don’t close your Eyes

Wow, a rock act. Nice. I’m amazed a Miro’s transformation (Yeah, his true name is Miroslav), in pictures he looks like he’s too pretty for a guy, but here he looks ax crazy. Being Slovakia, his only hope is to perform shirtless, of course. Not that I’ll complain, you know.

Norway: Tooji – Stay

Well, the comparisons are inevitable: one has to thank Eric for single-handledy revitalizing the male soloist pop entry, and doing it quite well. Tooji’s song is better thanPopular on the lyrics, and at least as good on beat, but… Tooji’s no Eric.

And he has a lousy bridge, and seriously needs to get onstage with far less clothes. Maybe then we’ll be to busy looking at his arms (or chest, or…) to compare him with Eric Saade.

It took me nearly a year to reconcile with Popular, so I guess I’ll love this by 2013.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Maya Sar – Korake ti Znam

I officially ran out of clever things to say. Another pleasant ballad with a nice flow. Also donkeys.

Lithuania: Donny Montell – Love is Blind

Young George Michael has a great voice, but needs to work on his diction and get abetter ending for his song. I would like him to get rid of the blindfold at the beginning (See? Eva Rivas had an apricot stone hidden in her hand, just like in the lyrics… no thanks). Besides that, this is perfect.

That closes it.

The five that MUST pass to the final:

Estonia, Bulgaria, Portugal, Netherlands and… yeah, Sweden. (Even if I’m tired of the hype, she deserves that spot)

The five that better sink in oblivion:

Ukraine and Georgia, for a start, and I’ll add Belarus, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina not because they’re bad, but because they didn’t impress me.

Five more to complete the finalists:

Serbia, Lithuania, Turkey, Norway, and… hum… Malta, I guess.

The cutest guy is a tie between Ott from Estonia and Donny from Lithuania (Damn! why didn’t  Latvia send in a cute guy to complete the Baltic Combo?) and the cutest girl… Joan Franka. But any of them would do, it’s not like any girl stands out.

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