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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Eurovision final recap

posted by on May 25 at 6:58 AM

For me the excitement is less than it was during the semis because we’ve already seen 19 of the 25 songs performed. Still, we’re all pretty happy, dressed as we are as either “random Eurovision fans”, Denmark, Azerbaijan (pretty impressive display there), Belgium/Iceland (a combination) and “er… I’ve got a green T-shirt… I’ll be Greece”. Some people really don’t make enough of an effort. (Photos of random Eurovision parties)

Bart and André are still the Belgian commentators

Marija Serifovic comes on in suit and tie to sing Molitva. She’s pretty excited and her singing isn’t spot on, but it’s still pretty impressive. Behind her dozens of lesbian weddings take place, including her own (1.40 minutes into the clip). According to Andre this is a big “fuck you” to the homophobic climate in Serbia (66% of Serbs thinks gays are ill) and we can only applaud that. Gay marriage, a hot topic even in Eurovision! Bart tells us that “if you imagine the dancers aren’t wearing those strips of plastic pretending to be dresses, they’d be naked”. Erm. Yes. If I wasn’t wearing my clothes, I’d be naked too. Way to go, Bart.

The hosts come on, Jovana wrapped in a curtain, exchange fake-kisses and start boozing. So do we.

Romania follows the Eurovision fashion trend: Nico is now also dressed in a little silver dress. She’s also gone for the Botox, but sadly not enough. Half-botox is as ridiculous as Full-botox but then WITH wrinkles. Vlad seems to like the new outfit though. He still hates her, but he’s also got a little perverse smile from time to time. Steady on, Vlad. Romania came 20th

The UK comes on and look! It’s Belgium’s entry from last year. Andy is dressed in a one of the jackets from Scooch. He’s enthusiastic though. Pretty lights! Pretty fireworks! And that’s about it. No, UK, I don’t hate you, I don’t hate your involvement in wars (well, I do, but that’s not the point). The reason you’re not getting any points from me and the rest of Europe is because, while this is an okay song, it’s *still* just an okay song. And that’s the worst thing you can be in Eurovision. Even a horrible song is sure to get some votes (look at Germany). I’m sure Terry Wogan loved it though. Uk came last

The girl from Albania is probably nervous, because her singing tonight is way off key. Everyone’s stressed tonight it seems. That or Charlotte from Sweden sabotaged everyone’s earphones. I don’t know why, but she seems like the kind of person who’d do that. Nothing would surprise me from her. Olta Boka is probably the only 16-year-old in the world without a bellybutton piercing. Congratulations for that, sweetie. 17th

The horrid singers from Germany are dressed in pastel plastic tubes. Why? 1 poof on the sofa says “that’s the type of woman he’d fall for”. We all stare at him in horror. Thank god he’s gay. The girls sing “it won’t get better” and at least they’re being honest. Not even the German on the sofa can defend this any longer and his little German flag droops lower and lower. The blonde gets the prize for worst vocal of the evening. Congratulations, Germany. For some reason Bulgaria gave this their 12 (Bribery? An infection of tonedeafness?). They still came only 23rd

Armenia sang better than in the semi, but it still fails to impress us. The Girlfriend shrieks in horror at the clowns on the postcards. Clowns are scary! 4th place thanks to diaspora votes

Bosnia & Herzegovina is still fabulous. We now see that the female singer has birds in her hair. “Isn’t that off-key?” someone carefully remarks. “It’s all part of the act” we’re quick to reply. I just realised… Since this country is called “Bosnia AND Herzegovina” does that mean they might also split into a “Bosnia” and a “Herzegovina”, and if they do, what will be the implications for Eurovision? Good god, it doesn’t bear thinking about. 10th

A little interval to promote Belgrade; A lot of people are watching the contest outside the arena. The message is “the arena wasn’t big enough to hold all the people who wanted to watch this wonderful event”. You could have tried selling them tickets to the Semis then, you eejits.

Israel sparks the old “boring” or “beautiful” discussion on the sofa. In the end we’re all agreed it’s great, but I suspect the singer’s hotness has a lot to do with that. His backings still to their “we’re crushing grapes to make wine”-dance in the middle of the song. It works. I wish the guys were all holding hands Molitva-style. Perhaps a tip for next year. 9th

The rockers from Finland are fake. We base this on the fact that the lead singer’s hair is combed and washed. The Girlfriend says he looks like a member of the Kelly Family. And there’s the botox of course. Were there always two shirtless members of the band or did they add one? “Get the gay vote, you”. 22nd

The sofa wonders if the grandad from Croatia still has teeth. He does, but we’re not sure they’re his own. He’s still angry though, isn’t he. I’m the only one of the Sofa that likes this. I conclude that everyone else is wrong and I’m right. As usual. a disappointing 21st place

We’re fascinated by Poland’s breasts. They’re quite surreal. So is the rest of her really. The song is absolute horrible drivel. “It sounds like another song”, yeah, like any other song. The sofa has a collective smoking break. 24th!

Iceland is still every rainbow colour of fabulousness! Bart says the pink details on their clothes, and the title of the song are a shout-out to the gay community. What? Gay? You’re kidding?! We’re in shock… Gays at Eurovision… 14th (go on, have yet another look)

Turkey’s singer now reminds us of both Sylar (Heroes) and mister Spock. Our very own Star Trek-geek is chuffed to tell us that the actor playing the young Spock in the new Star Trek film is the guy playing Sylar in Heroes. But first he’s trying to win Eurovision obviously. 7th

Bart tells us that the chorus of Portugal is very reminiscent of a slow version of Army of Lovers’ Crucified. I love Army of Lovers. And I love Portugal. The sofa is still divided. Some people are saying Vania’s husband probably killed herself, others are just scared of her. Go, Portugal! Portugal finished only 13th

Bart and André call Latvia’s presence in the final the biggest slap in the face for Belgium. After this final we’re going to find out that Belgium came second-to-last in our semi. Second to last! Not much reason to be smug now is there. The funniest thing about this is the few gay fans with pirate flags in the audience. Gay pirates! 12th. Shame on you, Europe

“Revenge of the cat people” Spikey calls Sweden. Charlotte’s head is wider than her hips, how is that even physically possible. Sweden has a great song, but for some reason it doesn’t come across as well as it should. Something’s missing. Passion perhaps? Or food? Or hot male backing singers? We think one of the backings stole Terry Wogan’s wig. a very disappointing –for a previous winner- 18th place. Yep, that’s lower than the pirates

Denmark prompts the Girlfriend to change channels. Everyone likes this piece of crappy uplifting music. The girlfriend and I don’t. 15th

Georgia prompts the few first-time 2008-Eurovisioners to say “Oh, she’s blind, so that’s why she’s not looking into the camera?”. Apparently it ‘s also why she didn’t smile when she’d finished singing, or say “thank you, Europe” in a Georgian accent. “Wouldn’t it be funny if they’d just turned her around so she’s no longer facing the audience” someone says. Shht! No blind jokes! First the blind, before you know it even gays will start taking part in this contest! Where will it all end? 11th for Piss will come

Ooh! Gays in a box! Ukraine still has the best act by miles. Go, Ani Lorak! 2nd

France comes on in a golf buggy, that’s two points extra. He’ll need all the points he can get, despite his song being pretty fantastic… His backing singers –including the women- are wearing fake beards, like the man himself. He’s wearing sunglasses “Is he blind as well?” the sofa asks. Well, if he is at least *he* can walk on stage and even drive a golf buggy, take that Georgia! 19th

Our friend who came dressed as the angel from Azerbaijan finds her wings attacked by the cats. What can I say, they like feathers. The devil’s hair has grown inexplicably since the first semi -It’s obvious satanic forces are at work here- he now looks like a blond Jean-Pierre Barda from Army of Lovers. 8th

Greece is still Britney Spears, slutty dancing, nasal, whatever you want to call it. For some reason this actually came… 3rd. What is wrong with you people?

Spain’s backing dancers have impressive boobs and Rodolfo himself is quite the Spanish macho. “Show us your string” becomes a theme in this Eurovision and Spain gets 20 points extra for laughing with Jesus (at some point Rodolfo pretends to be crucified). After the show they cut to a guy waving a Spanish flag in the audience. Unfortunately a Eurovision Queen is frantically giving the “thumbs down” next to him. Oops. 16th

Serbia has the typical Zeljko entrance and the obligatory Vangelis moment. The dead dancers around her feet come to life and half the Sofa is swept away, while the other half has fallen asleep. 6th – Serbia’s worst result so far

Russia believes in Bad English, Bart quips. And boy does he ever, his eyebrows lead a life of their own and “he looked better in his tank top”. He turns his ice-skating buddy around and “My god! It’s Plushenko!”, we hadn’t expected him there. Plushenko skates “El Maikelyason” while the violinist hammers away. We see a trend where every country will bring their top sportsmen to Eurovision next year. We’ll force Henin and Clijsters out of retirement and they can play tennis in the background of the Belgian entry. It should give us the win. Winner. Urgh.

Norway has gone for the “now 70% more seductive” performance of their ballad. Lots of “ooh”-ing and “aah”-ing and sexy hand gestures. I like. I’m still not thrilled with the song, but it’s ok. 5th

So it’s Moscow 2009 for Eurovision. I can’t say I loved the song, but it’s classic Eurovision kitsch. The televoting makes the top scores of every country very predictable (e.g. Belgium gives 10 to Turkey and 12 to Armenia every single year, regardless of the song) and it would be nice if they could find something to lessen the effects of this. But to win you need votes from more than just your neighbours and emigrants, and Bilan got points from 36 out of 42 countries. Not much you can say against that, now is there.
I just heard that Russia will be naming a street after Dima Bilan. A street! You win Eurovison and you get a street named after you… that’s how serious they take Eurovision overthere.
Here’s the winning performance for those who need an overdose of saccharine sweetness and a barechested Russian with a street to be named after him:

If only the countries in the final had had the right to vote the result would have still been pretty much the same, though Iceland would have made the top ten.

The top ten of the sofa is pretty different though:
1st place: Iceland (woohoo!)
2nd: Bosnia & Herzegovina
3rd: Ukraine
4th: Israel
5th: Portugal
6th: Serbia
7th: Azerbaijan
8th: Denmark
joint 9th: Croatia / Spain

RSS icon Comments

1

I don't mind Russia's win. I think it's the tiny ice rink that did it. And, as you said, it's classic Eurovision kitsch and I can't watch it while keeping a straight face, so that's something.

I still maintain that pirates = awesome.

I would have definitely come as the Azerbaijani angel, and I wasn't disappointed by them. They rule. Go Azerbaijan.

Both Greece and Poland are American-born. (Poland's even from Seattle.) We need to stay out of Eurovision.

While Armenia could send anything and do well, I still kind of enjoy it shamefully. At least it's silly.

I still wanted a higher placement for Bosnia.

Spain hadn't won me over until the actual performance- but now it has. At least they were having a good time, or something.

All in all, I enjoyed myself.

Posted by Abby | May 25, 2008 12:48 PM
2

So did I, shame it's all over... Until next year!

Posted by Griet | May 25, 2008 1:08 PM
3

I watched the whole thing by myself on my computer, which is better than nothing, I guess. My husband said that next year he'd get me a little Swedish flag to wave. Anyway, thanks, Griet, for your fantastic coverage, and I hope you do it again next year. I think the U.S. needs a contest like this -- each state sends an entry...

Posted by Sue T. | May 25, 2008 1:41 PM
4

I have to add- France is exactly how I would probably end up performing. I know I don't have the body/dancing skills/ability to keep a straight face during it that would make me able to do something like Ukraine (who seriously know how to rock Eurovision, that's two second-place finishes in a row, isn't it?), I could totally show up on a golf cart, suck down some helium, and generally be awesome.

Sue- that's been rumored. Apparently NBC's bought the rights to it, so watch this space.

Posted by Abby | May 25, 2008 2:28 PM
5

@Sue: A Swedish flag? Really? Charlotte will be thrilled to hear that!

@Abby: I heard NBC bought the rights, yes. There's also a Eurovision film "in the making", but that could take some years to finish I think.

In my wildest fantasies I'd be Ukraine. In reality... I'd probably be Spain. :-)

Posted by Griet | May 25, 2008 2:51 PM
6

Not a bad night (er, afternoon) at all - sorta disappointed that Russia won, instead of say Greece, or Ukraine, or Armenia... I thought the Russian song was mediocre and boring - likely won because the guy is already hugely popular and famous in much of Eastern Europe, so he had quite the fanbase voting for him.

I watched it live on the eurovision website - streaming quality was really good. All that was missing was the Wogan commentary: I tried turning down the audio, and then tuning into BBC radio2 online, but they had some other guy doing the ocmmentary there - WTF? (Well, the separate audio and video didn't quite sync up anyhow.)

Now just have to wait for the CD to make its way from amazon - and for the BBC video (It's from the BBC / With Wogan commentary / Hey Terry, Go Terry...) to makes its way from Dublin (thanks sis!)...

I'm not sure I like the idea of a US-version of the show - I don't know that there's enough cultural differences between the states to make it that interesting. (What does Connecticut pop music sound like anyhow?) Eurovision works partly because it is a huge clash (confluence!) of cultures and identities, and you get a peek into the pop lives of countries you'd never considred before, each of which has its own distinct pop music scene: most of the entrants - especially from the eastern countries - are already quite successful and popular in their own region, but are unknown elsewhere due to language and culture barriers. I don't think there's a good analog to this in the US. Unfortunately some of the western countries (Hello Ireland, Britain, Spain, and others) are treating it more as a Idol-esque obscurity-to-fame show - with appropriate resules. (It did work for Niamh Kavanagh, though...) I'd really like to see the UK enter some curent group like say Girls Aloud, but alas, that won't happen... I fear that a US version of the show would be nothing more than American Idol, but perhaps with more interesting voting.

Did anyone else notice that the Irish announcer (Niamh Kavanagh!) said "Here are the results of the Irish jury"? Televote, surely - or old habits die hard?

Griet, much thanks for this fun and entertaining Eurovision review - douze points!

Posted by Brendan | May 25, 2008 8:33 PM
7

Thank you. Finally, douze points for Belgium!!

Posted by Griet | May 25, 2008 10:32 PM
8

Russia did have an ice skater on the world's tiniest rink, though. I think that clinched it for me as being entertaining enough to win (as much as I may have wanted Azerbaijan). Ukraine would have been okay too, but I don't feel as if they were robbed or anything.

Griet, what did you think of the Molitva remix version that opened the show? I liked it! And the crazy dance number.

Posted by Abby | May 25, 2008 11:09 PM
9

I loved the remix, it's been on my ipod for ages. Ideal for running, very very 90s :-)

The skating rink did do the trick. That or ripping open his shirt in that spontaneous and unexpected way of his. I did feel Ukraine's act was more complete, I could only stare at it and go "wow".
With Russia I just laughed from start, when he started wiping the floor with his white outfit, to finish when he ripped open his shirt because he believes in himself so much.

I really, really did not see the appeal of Greece. For a minute there it looked like they'd be winning and I was shocked. And I'm quite disappointed Portugal ended up so low, but what can you do.

Posted by Griet | May 26, 2008 2:51 AM

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