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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 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 1)

Seriously, what happened to Europe this year? Apparently, just knowing that the Eurovision host city is even farther from Europe than Moscow made half of the countries think «Well, what the hell» and show it in their acts in some way or another. Or maybe nobody wants to host because of the crisis, I don’t know.

What I know is this year started in a really disheartening way. The earliest half of the songs revealed was (with the glorious exceptions of Iceland and Cyprus) an amazing display of boringness and mediocrity. Even if later things got back in track and we ended with a not-so-bad year (although it’s not, by far, as good as the previous two), I still have the impression that this year lots of countries. Simply. Don’t. Care.

So, to start with the first round:

(This will get updated lots of times until I end the songs of the first semi. If you read this and it’s still not finished, come back in a week or so)

Montenegro: Rambo Amadeus – Euro Neuro

This is Montenegro not giving a shit. I have to admit, though, I thought this would be a lot worse than it turned out. When I knew they had selected an artist named «Rambo Amadeus», I thought the song would be an unphatomable piece of crap, and this… isn’t. It’s just the closest a song can get to white noise without being actual white noise.  I know, it’s supposed to have a deep message about materialism and stuff, but that message will never be heard when it’s so plain dead boring.

Iceland: Gréta Salóme & Jónsi – Never Forget

Yeah, they changed it to English later, but I’m posting the original, live version, because it’s gorgeous. Really, when a so minimalist staging can make something look so beautiful, it will do wonders  with lights and sequin and a little smoke. I SO want this to win right now…

Greece: Eleftheria Eleftheriou – Aphrodisiac

This is Greece not giving a shit. They’re broke, with riots, a fresh new president imposed by the same banks that led them to bankrupcy…  one would say that that, considering not even Stereo Mike could prevent them from reaching the top 10, they wouldn’t dare sending ANYTHING that had a chance of winning.

Guess what? They’re doing it anyway, because that’s how they roll. Even if they are so bankrupt they had to stage their national final in a MALL (that alone deserves its own post, by the way) . Helena… I mean, Eleftheria manages to put on an amazing act. Yes, it looks a lot like My Number One, but it’s original enough not to be a copy. And it’s just simply amazing. Are you sure about this, Greece? Because I love it, but I won’t love if the next contest is in the backyard of the OGAE Greece headquarters.

Latvia: Anmary – Beautiful Song

This is Latvia, clearly not giving a shit. There’s a reason I always follow closely the Eirodziesma: I know it’s gonna be full of amazing artists… and none of them is gonna win. Even if they don’t send the worst artist of the lot (Thank you, thank you, Latvia, for sparing us the Mad Show Boys and Disco Superfly!) , they chose a troll act without any personality about how ridiculous is Eurovision and how stupid we are for watching it. The most tragic part (besides knocking out one of the best songs I’ve ever heard without even revealing the name of the artist) is that I really like Anmary’s voice. I wish she had a real song for a change. What’s wrong with you, Latvia of the Brainstorm and Lauris Reiniks stunning quality?

I’m so mad at you right now.

Albania: Rona Nishliu – Suus

I’m not totally convinced about this, you know. Yeah, it’s a good dramatic ballad, and she manages to howl it conveying totally the feelings of loneliness and desperation any dramatic ballad needs, but… she tries too hard. Still, if she stands under a spotlight, with smoke and not a single fancy thing, it might work.

Romania: Mandinga -Zaleilah

This is Romania, kicking ass at not giving a shit! Here they are with drummers, bad English, bad Spanish, a guy with the best afro I’ve seen in my life and freaking bagpipes, all of that thinking they’re the greatest thing ever and almost making us believe they are. Oh, my, I love this!

Switzerland: Sinplus – Unbreakable

This is Switzerland and me not giving a shit. The song is not bad, just absolutely forgettable. Sorry, but bland rock has never been my cup of tea, and I really wish this was the only time in the year I have to say this.

Belgium: Iris – Would you?

Wow, we managed to get quite far before the first Disney Ballad popped up, but… yeah, we just had to have it. The delivery’s clumsy, though. She has a nice voice, but a bad singing. I’m still willing to give it a second chance in the semi, but only one.

Finland: Pernilla Karlsson – Nar jag blundar

This is Finland, so not giving a shit they’re sending a song in Swedish.. I like it, it has a nice flow, and a sweet ethnic flavour that doesn’t force itself on you, but I honestly don’t think this will pass. Also, Robyn Hood only distracts from the song. Make her go away, please.

Israel: Izabo – Time

Why does this remind me of Brainstorm? And why I ike it? The style is weird, the singer is weird,the song is weird, the singing is weird, but still I like it, even if I don’t have the slightest clue about how are they gonna put on a show with this.

San Marino: Valentina Monetta – The Social Network Song (Uh Oh Oh)

This is San Marino, not giving a shit by any conceivable definition and trolling everything that can be trolled and even some things that can’t. I’m usually not into troll acts, but this is so glorious even I have to admire it.

Here’s the full story: San Marino had originally sent this song with the title «Facebook, uh, oh, oh«. With music by Ralph Motherfucking Siegel and lyrics so bad that would put Rebecca Black to shame, and a video to match (and the comparison to Rebecca Black extends to the video). It took the EBU around five seconds to decide the song broke the rules that forbid commercial messages and give the country four days to change it or GTFO.

Then comes the best part: the lyricist did a hard brainstorming and retitled it «The social network song» and changed every instance of «Facebook» in the lyrics with things like «Hello», «Oh oh», «Network», and my personal favorite, «Beep beep». Without any other change. This is,ladies and gentlemen, the most epic trolling in the history of Eurovision. Sorry, Silvia Night, but you just were out-trolled.

Cyprus: Ivi Adamou – La la love

This might be the best song in the contest (well, second only to Iceland), and the fact that she clearly has the time of her life singing it just makes it even better, but… we still don’t know how the delivery will because the only live performance I’ve found totally sucks. Since it started as my favorite and my last two years favorites (Slovakia 2010 and Poland 2011) commited suicide in the semifinals, I don’t have very high hopes, but I’ll cross my fingers anyway.

Denmark: Soluna Samay – Should’ve known better

This is Denmark, thinking they give a shit. But I had to stop it after 1:30, so I don’t. Seriously, how can some people think this is gonna win? The only thing I like about it is the chav playing cello (That’s brilliant! How come nobody thought of that before?). But the song is… just not. The bad part is that another song in the national final had almost guaranteed a third top 5 for Denmark. The worse part is that it was the favorite of all but one of the international juries, and was kicked out by the Danish televote. Now if this sinks to the second half of the table, and I think it will, Danes will wonder why Europe doesn’t like them anymore. Well, duh!

Russia: Buranovskiye Babushki – Party for everybody

You know things are near rock bottom when Russia is not giving a shit. I think this stage is the same they used for their Junior Eurovision final, and they’re sending something fun, lovable, and that doesn’t stand a chance of winning. (But if they do don’t worry, people, it’s not like it’ll be the end of the world)

Hungary: Compact Disco – Sound of our hearts

Remember what I said about Switzerland? You can copy and paste it  here word by word.

Austria: Trackhittaz – Woki mit deim Popo

This is Austria giving a shit. And it won’t flush away. I’m not gonna say more because if I did, I would have to be mean.

Moldova: Pasha Parfeny – Lautar

Moldova NEVER gives a shit and it’s not like they were gonna start this year. They just do their thing, wether that is a sax player rubbing his crotch on his sax, a monocycling fairy, a drumming babushka or, like it’s here, literally riding Gaga girls onstage. And somehow they always manage to make it work in their own, very Moldovan way, like that hippie brother you love even when he’s making you facepalm.

Once you get through the weirdness, this song has a great tune. The lyrics… would be better in their own language.

Ireland: Jedward – Waterline

Because if this guys with some song and some show landed them their first top 10 in forever last year, the same guys with the same song (well, a little better, I admit) and the same show are gonna do the same thing this year, right?


Aaaand that does it for for the first semi.

The five countries that totally should pass to the final:

Iceland, Greece, Cyprus, Romania and, just for my evil pleasure, San Marino.

The five that better sink in oblivion:

Montenegro, Latvia, Austria, Denmark and Hungary.

Let’s see, five more to complete the finalists:

Israel, Moldova, Albania, Finland… and I’m sure Russia’s gonna pass, so…

The cutest guy this semi is the guitarrist from Sinplus, and the cutest girl is a tie between Ivi and Eleftheria.

Why we shouldn’t fear the Babushki

By now I’m sure all the Eurofans have heard about the Buranovskiye Babushki, but just in case someone has been living under a rock, here they are. Of course, they’re one  of those all-or-nothing things that sometimes pop up in Eurovision: you either love them or hate them. Like Silvia Night.

They have caused a lot of turnmoil because they appear high on the odds, sometimes even placing three (below Sweden, that seems to be the red hot favourite, and Denmark, that I honestly don’t know how can even place in the odds). People here and there say that a victory for them will prove that Eurovision is all a big joke and it has no credibility left.

But I don’t worry at all. I would be annoyed if they win (because there are at least ten songs I like better, even if this year is a lot worse than the last three), but I don’t worry about the future, credibility and all that of the contest.


Well, just let me quote some people:

«This was not a song contest, it was a show»

«The absence of talent and the mediocrity of the songs were where annoyance set in. Eurovision is a monument to drivel» (This one comes from an official broadcaster statement. They withdrew the next year)

If you don’t recognize these quotes it’s because they are from 1981. Yup, 31 years ago. The first one if by the Swedish representative, and the second one is from the French broadcaster. Both were caused by Buck’s Fizz victory. Yeah, that act that now looks cute and kinda childish. France returned in 1983 represented by another TV channel.

Eurovision has «lost» its credibility lots of times. And depending on who you ask, it lost it in different times. Of course, United Kingdom wouldn’t say their win was a blow to the credibility of the contest, but their first last placing was. And the second. And the third. And basically every time they place outside the top ten.

If you ask Sweden, on the other hand, the British victory in 1981 destroyed the credibility of Eurovision. According to them, the contest lost all credibility again in 2010, when they didn’t pass to the final, and despite having no credibility left, it somehow managed to lose some more in 2011 because they didn’t win. And don’t you doubt it will lose even more if they don’t win this time.

If we ask Malta, the contest turned into a show and stopped being about the songs because Marie N beat Ira Losco thanks to a dazzling choreography. And the same when Helena Paparizou defeated Chiara by exactly the same means. We could go on and on with this, but it pretty much can be summarized saying that the contest loses all of its credibility every year.

At least according to some people.

So… yeah. I’ll be annoyed if the Babushki win, but Eurovision has managed to survive lots of things in its 56 year history, and it can manage to survive a winner that relies exclusively on shock value. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before, you know. In fact, I think it will be dealt with automatically just by the way the contest works:

If you want to win the contest, you need to stand out, either by having a good song (like France Gall), a great voice (like Sertab Erener), shock value (like… yes, Lordi) or a great staging (like Ell & Nikki). If you don’t have any of this, you can try by sheer force of charisma, like did Lena. (You can’t have all of it together unless you’re Ruslana, by the way).

In a year full of ballads, like 2012, non-ballads will stand out and have higher chances of winning. But, what would happen in the worst-case scenario if the Babushki win? If the contest becomes a mockery, with all countries competing to see who can send the biggest troll and the most absolute parody, how long would it take for the public and juries to get fed up of that?

In a generous calculation, less than a year. In a contest full of jokes, a good and serious act would stand out more easily, and the pendulum would swing again to the other side. And that is in the worst possible scenario, most of times the contest keeps a healthy mix of seriousness and trolling (even if I’m not quite fond of trolling acts, specially when the trolling is really obvious, they’re neccessary for keep the contest fresh and not too serious).

The short version: Don’t worry. I don’t think the Babushki will win. And if they do, Eurovision won’t lose any credibility. And even if it lost credibility, it doesn’t need credibility. And even if it needed it, it would be recovered pretty quickly.

Besides, you shouln’t fear the Buranovskiye Babushki because you can easily outrun them.

Junior Eurovision 2011: Preview

Ok, this is gonna be really, REALLY rushed. I’m never before been thankful for a Contest having few entrants.

Russia sends Katya Ryabova with «Kak Romeo y Dzhulyetta».

She’s back, bitches! Sorry, but I just can’t be impartial while judging Katya, I’m too much of a fan. And while I liked Malenky Prints even better, «Romeo and Juliet» is quite a powerful song. She just needs to get rid of the skating part of the act to be perfect.

Latvia sends Amanda Basmakova with «Moondog».

Wow, she’s giving us a beautiful ballad. We have officially this year’s «Carobna noc», as long as she can pull those pitches live. After sending a great song with a staging too conservative last year… they need to go conservative this year: this is the kind of song that can stand on its own. And Latvia gains the dubious distinction of having a Junior act way better than the Main one. (Yup, still hate Musiqq and probably always will)

Moldova is sending Lerica with «No-no».

She’s got the grooooveeee! And with a song about the pleasures of abstinence! What the hell are doing Moldovan kids right now? When I was her age all I lost were stamps, and I’m not thankful to her for making me feel like part of an old generation. Still, I like the song, it’s got the grooooooveeee!

Armenia is sending Dalita with… «Welcome to Armenia».

Hum… yeah. You got it wrong, Armenia. This goes before the contest. Where’s the real act? Wait… that’s really it? They don’t want to get anything this year. Unless the contest takes place right at the airport.

Bulgaria is giving us «Supergeroy» by Ivan Ivanov.

Ok, so Bulgaria got a young Eric Sade with full leather jacket and disco beat.  Who sings about being a superhero! How cute is that? Let’s add that he’s a hottie in the making (Yup, come back in six years, kid, and we’ll talk) and we have a total winning combo.

Lithuania sends Paulina Skrabyte with «Debesys».

The second pretty cute ballad sung by a girl of the year. But this is… to lacking of personality. Not Paulina (Although she DOES try too hard to please her audience) but the song, I just finished hearing it and I can’t remember it. Not good. But at least here we know what she can do live.

Ukraine sends «Evropa» by Kristall.

There’s something wrong with Ukraine. They got powerfull acts with good rhythm and stuff, but somehow they never hit the right point with me. Pass.

Macedonia gives us «Zhimi ovoj frak» by Dorijan Dlaka.

Don’t you love them Junior Jazz Acts? Since Russia is too busy sending Katya to take care of them, Macedonia decided they would make sure that we get our jazz act of the year and man, don’t they do a great job. I love this… thing. Even if he’s really singing about a coat.

Netherlands sends Rachel with «Ik ben en Teenager».

Rebecca Black would be so proud of this love letter to autotune. How about giving us her real voice so we can judge? The tune is not that bad, though.

Belarus sends Lidia Zabolotskaya with «Angely dobra».

And… the third oh-so-lovely-girl-sung-ballad of the year! With a great voice, an acceptable song, some yelling to prove she’s doing it live and VIOLINS! See, Belarus? It’s that easy! You’re forgiven for the atrocity you sent last year.

Sweden sends «Faller», sung by Erik Rapp.

Did I say Bulgaria was sending a young Eric Saade? As all TV lawyers say: I withdraw the statement. Sweden is, and they’re not even bothering with the name. From now on, all we’ll see from Sweden on Eurovison will be innumerable iterations or Ericness!

Georgia sends «Candy» singing «Candy music».

Wow, a group. That’s weird. They’re scary and stuff, but what’s really disturbing is that, for a Georgian JESC act, they’re pretty normal and low-key.

And finally, Belgium sends Femke with «Een kusje meer».

Girl really needs a better attitude. The song is good and catchy, but she’s KILLING it by looking terrified and moving like a robot. Sister, you need to BELIEEEEVEEEE IIIIINNN YOOOOUUURRRSEEEEELLLLFFFF!

Well, it was pretty easy, I must admit, and most of the songs, with the exceptions of Armenia and  Georgia, are quite good. Georgia is just too weird to judge and Armenia is totally lost.

So, here we go. If I were a country, my points would go to:

12 – Russia

10 – Macedonia

8 – Bulgaria

7 – Belarus

6 – Latvia

5 – Lithuania

4 – Belgium

3 – Sweden

2  – Moldova

1 – Netherlands.

Let’s see tomorrow (Or later today, to be accurate) how it ends.

Eurovision country statistics, just because.

Most victories: Ireland (7 : 1970, -80, -87, -92, -93, -94, -96)

Most consecutive victories: Ireland (-92, -93, -94). The only other countries with consecutive victories are Spain (-68, -69) and Israel (-78, -79).

Most top-two placings: United Kingdom (20).

Most consecutive top-two placings: United Kingdom (4: 1967-70)

Most top-five placings: United Kingdom (29)

Most consecutive top-five placings: United Kingdom (1967-77)

Most top-ten placings: United Kingdom (42)

Most consecutive top-ten placings: United Kingdom (1957-77)

Most top-two, top-five and top-ten placings without a win: Malta (2 top-two placings, 5 top-five placings, and twelve top-ten placings, without ever winning)

mMost times entering the contest: Germany (all but one, in 1997)

Most consecutive times entering: United Kingdom (every year since 1958)

Most times entering without ever withdrawing: Spain (every year since their debut in 1960), followed by Croatia (18)

Most times entering before winning: Finland (39 entries before first victory)

Most times entering without winning: Portugal (44 entries and counting)

Least times entering before winning: 0 (Switzerland in 1956 and Serbia in 2007 won in their debuts). If considering that Serbia had entered as part of Serbia and Montenegro, and that Switzerland couldn’t enter before 1956 because the Contest didn’t exist, then the record would go to Netherlands (1957) and Ukraine (2004), both winning in their second attempt.

Most last placings: Norway (10)

Most consecutive last placings: Germany (1964-65)

Most times entering before placing last: United Kingdom (45, they came last in 2003)

Most times entering without placing last: France (53 and counting), followed by Israel (33) and Greece (31)

Most victories without ever placing last: France (5)

Most last placings without ever winning: Malta and Portugal (3)

Winning countries that don’t take part anymore: Luxembourg and Monaco.

Winning countries that don’t exist anymore: Yugoslavia (And maybe West Germany)

Placing last and winning next year: Luxembourg (1960-61), Netherlands (1958-59 and  68-69), and Belgium (1985-86)

Winning and placing last next year: Netherlands (1957-58), which gives them the unique feature of winning, then placing last, and then winning again.

The only winner that has never hosted the contest is Monaco.

The only country that has hosted the contest without having previously won is Germany, host in 1957. However, they won later.

And finally, a funny record: Since 1996, no country has ever won more than once. Here’s the full list:

1996: Ireland

1997: United Kingdom

1998: Israel

1999: Sweden

2000: Denmark

2001: Estonia

2002: Latvia

2003: Turkey

2004: Ukraine

2005: Greece

2006: Finland

2007: Serbia

2008: Russia

2009: Norway

2010: Germany

2011: Azerbaijan

And, for all countries between 2001 and 2008, this was their first victory.

Quick thoughts about the second semi.

I have been SO let down this year. Dana killed her act in a horrible way. The song was epic, but everything else was NOT.

I couldn’t see the second semi. Why? School, that’s why. I only got to see the last four acts, clinging on the university Wi-Fi who froze when Latvia started, and returned when Denmark was starting. Then, in the recaps (both of them), it froze again when Latvia was onscreen.

Apparently that Wi-Fi has good taste on music.

Anyway, I like that Austria, Slovenia, Romania and Denmark passed. I don’t root for them, but it’s good. An Ireland is gonna be SO scary.

Eurovision 2011: Overall preview.

Here’s an excerpt of all 43 songs, in alphabetical order. (There were some changes: Georgia changed the lead singer and Iceland switched to English)

First of all, what’s with redundant lyrics this year? We have «neverending forever» by Lithuania, «danger is a risky bussiness» by Germany, and the epic «don’t tell me that’s impossible, ‘cause I know it’s possible» by Sweden. Is it contagious?

Time to honor and dishonor them:

Best song overall: Jestem, by Magdalena Tul.

Worst song overall: One more day, by Eldrine.

Shittiest song overall: Boom Boom, by Emmy, with Que me quiten lo bailao by Lucía Pérez as runner-up.

Best performance overall: Jestem, by Magdalena Tul

Funniest performance overall: Rusinka, by Vlatko Ilievski

Worst performance overall: So Lucky, by Zdob si Zdub.

Best male singer overall: Loukas Giorkas, representing Greece.

Worst male singer overall: Vlatko Ilievski, representing the Republic of Macedonia (Although he could turn out to be a terrific singer if he can do that without ripping his throat)

Best female singer overall: Kati Wolf, representing Hungary.

Worst female singer overall: Emmy, representing Armenia. Good for her that her song doesn’t need more.

Best idea onstage overall: The keytar featured by Poli Genova, of Bulgaria. (Stella could to it if she finds a way to bend the rules and takes zebras onstage)

Stupidest idea onstage overall: The hats by Zdob si Zdub. (Kati Wolf might win over them if she takes her water bottle to Düsseldorf)

Best dressed nominees: Nadine Beiler from Austria, Nina from Serbia and Maja Keuc from Slovenia.

Frontrunners for the Barbara Dex Award: Getter Jaani from Estonia, Zdob si Zdub from Moldova, Evelina Sasenko from Lithuania and Dino Merlin from Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Best looks on a guy overall:  Paradise Oskar, with Eldar Gasimov on second place and Eric Saade on third.

Cutest guy: Exactly the same as above.

Hottest guy: Vlatko Ilievski, with Loukas Giorkas on second place and Eric Saade on third.

Best looks on a girl overall: Mika Newton, with Nina on second place and Lena on third.

Cutest girl overall: Stella Mwangi, with Nadine Beiler on second place and Lucía Pérez on third.

Hottest girl overall: Magdalena Tul, with Maja Keuc on a close second.

If there’s any justice in the world, the winner should be one of these:

Magdalena Tul, with Jestem, representing Poland

Dana International, with Ding Dong, representing Israel

Nina, with Caroban, representing Serbia

Kati Wolf, with What about my dreams, representing Hungary

Paradise Oskar, with Da Da Dam, representing Finland

If I were a country, my points would go to:

12: Poland

10: Serbia

8: Israel

7: Finland

6: Hungary

5: Spain

4: Croatia

3: Norway

2: Russia

1: Denmark

We have less absolutely awesome acts than last year, but the ones we have are stunning. I’d say this year isn’t as good as the past, but worth watching anyway.

That does it. The Real Thing starts in three weeks or so.