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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Eurovision Semi-final: Drag Barbies, golden GoGo Boys and a singing turkey

posted by on April 27 at 9:00 AM

Abby pointed out that the promo video for Azerbaijan is -if possible- even more fabulous than the live recording, and I have to agree it might just be that. Check it out here. Am I the only one who’s expecting both singers to start kissing?

But we mustn’t dwell on Azerbaijan, amazing though it is, there are more countries in this year’s contest.
One of them is Poland, they’re sending Isis Gee with the song For Life and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Was everything else even worse? How is that possible? “For Life” is one of those sleep-inducing ballads where you’re waiting for something to happen… “surely at one point the song is going to explode, she’ll start shouting, the tone of the song will change and…” no. Nothing. Just Drag Barbie (I know the youtube clip is quite grainy, but check out this photo, she looks like a blonde Dana International… only far less pretty) doing the Whitney Houston-patented “Dramatically Moving The Microphone Away From My Mouth When I Reach A High Note” amidst the clouds, with her boring fake-violinists and fake-pianist. The promo video is even more annoying. Moving on.

And on we go to Ireland, incidentally the country that’s won the contest the most (and only sends crap entries since the last time they won in order not to have to host it again). Ireland is taking a risk this year by sending Dustin the Turkey with the glorious “Irelande, douze points” (Ireland, twelve points). Risky? Because they should easily make the top ten with this, and who knows, they might even win the damn thing again. Ireland also wins the prize for the most annoying vocal so far. I know allowances must be made for the fact that Dustin is a turkey, but that excuse only goes so far. The eurobeat makes up for everything though, as do the lyrics: “Drag acts, and bad acts and Terry Wogan’s wig, mad acts and sad acts, it was Johnny Logan`s gig” (I’ve never heard a better description of Eurovision). Also, note the ending where Dustin namedrops all the Eastern European countries in the hopes of getting their votes, and let’s not forget the golden GoGo boys in the background. Classy!

After all this madness, unfortunately it’s time for Andorra. Oh, I don’t hate Andorra, I’m sure it’s perfectly nice and last year they sent cute high school boys with guitars who sang something about the environment (and of course didn’t make it to the final).
No, the sad thing is the piece of crap they’re sending to Eurovision this year. “Casanova” is a hysterical piece of “dance” music you’d expect at Junior Eurovision instead of at the Real Contest (yes, the contest gets Capital Letters). I couldn’t find a live recording of the song so who knows if Gisela will hit those high notes. The promo video features a lot of doors, a ballgown and snow. I’m expecting arty choreography and for this to disappear without any votes at all.

Next up: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Armenia and The Netherlands.

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My gripe with the Azerbaijan entry is, well, the song. Or lack of it. Yes, the performance and promo vid are fine; but wheras I can enjoy both Molitva and Lasha Tumbai on headphones while on the bus, with this entry, I need the visuals to distract me from the aural component.

The Isis Gee song isn't all that bad; yes, it's bland, but you need some good filler songs so you can run off to the bathroom or mix up some more cocktails. It's almost the sort of thing that France would enter with; would expect something more interesting from Eastern Europe. According to wikipedia (so it must be true), Ms. Isis Gee is originally from Seattle.

At least the Irish entry this year is "interesting", though it seems like a bad mash-up of of Lasha Tumbai (which had better go-go boy dancers, clad in baco-foil instead of feathers) and Flying The Flag (albeit with slightly lower production values and less vocal proficiency).

I actually prefer Andorra's eurobeat to Ireland's (which is just too forced to work). Again, it's decent filler. The sort of song you'd expect to find on Aqua's second album. And it's got key changes a-plenty, so I'm happy.

Speaking of Ireland and Johnny Logan - I won't say any more to spoil it, but check out these commercials (watch the middle one first) from irish TV a couple of years back. (Translation - "free gaff" is slang for "free house, no parents around".)

Posted by Brendan | April 27, 2008 6:52 PM

I wasn't much into Molitva, personally, so I'm happy to see a bit more spectacle with Azerbaijan. I like a video I can show to my friends over and over again (Switzerland's entry last year was a good one for that, as was Lordi). So they're perfect.

At least Poland is one terrible song this year, unlike last year where it was 3 terrible songs somehow put together.

My only problem with Ireland- because it is normally the kind of thing I like- is the puppet itself. I know it's a TV personality over there or something, but those kind of puppets (the pinch-faced grotesque ones) creep me out to the point where I can barely watch it. Which is too bad because it does have a good bit of self-knowing charm, without being too...spiteful, I guess. I guess I have a high tolerance for the joke entries.

Andorra were adorable last year. This one is a bit meh.

Brendan, have you seen France this year? Different direction from them...

Posted by Abby | April 28, 2008 10:44 AM

yeah the puppet on ireland freaks me the hell out too! i kinda wish is was bigger an a bit more "animatronic" or something a la henson.

that being said, i can't understand a word that turkey is saying, i just like the big diva wailing in the background.

and OMG! there really is a seattle connection to Eurovision!!! Isis Gee (who kinda looks like a post-op tranny)!

i love how her bio on the eurovision site name drops people who the people she works with have worked with. so fucking circular and hilarious!

that last one seems like run-o-the-mill eurobeat to me. i'd give it 6.

Posted by terry miller | April 28, 2008 1:36 PM

Abby, I do love the French one this year, got a great almost glam-era retro vibe to it. Very ipod-friendly; even though it doesn't have a catchy verse/chorus, it's still managed to get stuck in my head (partly dislodging O Julissi, at least for now). But I don't know if it's got enough "instant appeal" to work in the ESC...

Posted by Brendan | April 29, 2008 1:40 AM

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