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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Eurovision Semi-final: Terrace concrete, Nico & Vlad, Dima’s mullet and Kalomira

posted by on May 1 at 9:00 AM

Finland sends the rock group Teräsbetoni with Missä Miehet Ratsastaa.
Ever since Finland’s first ever win two years ago with a bunch of latex-masked monsters singing hardrock-pop (Lordi ESC 2006), they’ve been sending rock songs. Why cange a winning team, eh. Well, the fact that last year’s entry was one big flop might give them some food for thought, but apparently not. Now I don’t dislike rock. I think this song is decent enough, and I loved Norway’s Kiss –wannabes a few years back (Wig Wam ESC 2005) but come on, sweeties, where’s the glamour, where’s the humour. Mr Lordi wore a cute hat with the Finnish flag on his monsterhead, he had wings and fireworks! Wig Wam had spandex and a feather boa! These guys… well… some of them are shirtless, which is something, at least. But apart from that it appears to be a very “serious” rock song.
Oh go on, watch the clip. If only for the Finnish introduction.

Romania brings us Nico & Vlad (how’s that for a Romanian name!) with Pe-o Margine De Lume. I generally have a soft spot for Romanian entries since they often consist of the crazy Eurodisco you only hear in… well, Romania probably. Say for instance Nicola in 2003 whose accent was so heavy that I honestly thought she sang “did you ever know what’s the prince ass for”. Ok, so it didn’t make sense, but Eurovision has had weirder lyrics than that (According to teh internetss she actually sang “what good friends are for”. And just check out that choreography). Last year Romania sent a group called Todomondo who sang in six languages (Eurovision recipe for success) and whose members looked like stereotypes of the countries they represented (English guy in a bowler hat, Italian guy looking like a mafia leader…). Eurovision is always classy and subtle, isn’t it. This year they’re sending a ballad, a very classical duet between a broody looking man (think Angel with a tan), a lady in a ballgown, a white piano and the sluttiest backing singers yet. What the hell are those girls up to back there? The video is funny for the total lack of chemistry between the two lead singers. Vlad looks like he hasn’t got a clue what to do with all these women and would have preferred being on stage alone. I can’t say I blame him.

For Russia it’s the reappearance of Dima Bilan, Russian heart-throb and runner-up in 2006. Oh, 2006… what a glorious performance that was. Dima sang “Never ever let you go” with a heavy Russian accent, in jeans, trainers and white tank top. (Can you use the word “tank top” for men? I’m Belgian, I don’t know these things… whatever you want to call it, it was hot. Shame about the mullet, but you can’t have everything, can you). At one point a dead ballerina crawled out of the piano –a piano that no-one was playing- and started throwing rose petals about. Weird, but for some reason it worked. Check out the youtube clip. Unfortunately, this year Dima is singing Believe, a rather boring ballad –in my opinion at least- but his performance makes up for a lot. Sadly he’s wearing a suit this time (honey, show off those arms), he’s grown hair on his face (tsk) but at least the mullet is gone. His accent still is the cutest, especially when he sings words like “impossible”. He’s a superstar in the ex-USSR so he should definitely make it to the final.

And the last country in the first semi-final is Greece. Oh lookie here, they’ve sent Helena Paparizou again! And they’ve even given her dancers a chance to take part again as well! Or not? The differences are minimal. Greece has a recent reputation for catering to the gay audience and this year is no exception. Helena Paparizou was a good example, and so was Sakis Rouvas in 2004 with the intelligently titled song “Shake it”. Check out the clip if only for the incredible design of that shirt he’s wearing: just tight and short enough to show off both pecs and abs, and a fabulous example of a classic Eurovision clothes change. (And while we’re at it, have a look at the Dutch votes in 2006 when Sakis was presenting the contest and Paul De Leeuw decided to flirt with him).
This year Kalomira sings Secret Combination, a typical pop song with some Greek elements (think a slow Sirtaki). She’s wearing an impossibly short skirt (granted, she’s got the legs for it) and her dancers have stolen Dima Bilan’s 2006 outfit. The lyrics of this song are about as dirty/innocent as the ones of “Genie in a bottle” (“My secret comination is a mystery for you, use your imagination, I’m not easy but I’m true”) but all is forgiven because the dancers take off their shirts at the end of the song and spell out the word “LOVE” on their chests.

And that’s it for our first Semi-Final, airing on May 20th. Don’t worry though (or no time to rejoice yet, depending on your point of view), we’ve still got a second Semi-final and five finalists to go.
Next up: the übergaying of Eurovision in the beginning of the second Semi-Final.

RSS icon Comments


Finland isn't as super-serious as it seems; again, I advise you to check out the promo video, which is absolutely intentionally ridiculous. I have a feeling that when it comes to the performance in Belgrade, it'll be much more fun.

There's a Ukrainian girl in my office and we've discussed Eurovision. Apparently Dima is one of her favorite pop stars and seriously massive back there. She was really excited to see that he'd be going. So he's going to do well. Not that Russia doesn't these days, but it's doubly assured. (Also, she thought Verka was weird.)

Romania's best song last year got disqualified for reasons I'm still not entirely sure of, but it was a classic involving Dracula being compared to Biggie and Tupac.

Last year's Greece was also really, really gay. My British friends attempted to co-opt him, apparently he spent some time in London and his backup dancers were British? I guess that's what they have, considering what the UK sends...this year's Greek entry sounds like a Greek entry. All slightly awful, all with some vague Greek elements, always very sparkly. It's nice to see some traditions, I suppose.

Posted by Abby | May 1, 2008 9:36 AM

now i'm gonna have "Shake It" in my head all day but i've change the words to "forever....GAY-eeay-eeay-eeay...."

wish those girls had stripped him like he stripped them!

thanks griet for all the posts. this has been such a hilarious treat! can't wait to see what comes next!

so far i got greece with 8
armenia with 10 and a toss up between azebijian and ireland for 12.

greece, you'll have to work a little harder than those kevin federline dance moves for my gay vote!

Posted by terry miller | May 1, 2008 10:17 AM

@Abby: "everybody in the country, come along and move your body. To the rythm of Romania, my homey Dracula, from Transylvania". I loved that song! Shame it was disqualified...
And Greece last year: Sarbel. His promo video was flaunting his supposed heterosexuality so badly, it was hilarious.

You're right though, the Finnish promo video is quite funny.

@Terry: Oh come on! they take off their shirts! You're hard to please... ;-)

Posted by Griet | May 1, 2008 10:39 AM

It would have been awesome, I still go back and watch it regularly. Notorious like Biggie, dangerous like Tupac...utterly classic. Where else but Eurovision do you find something like that?

The performance of Sarbel or whatever his name was from last year was awesome. I think he was shaking his chest as much as the girls were. If not more.

Perhaps the Finnish lyrics are funny? Or at least about hobbits or something. I don't know any Finnish, I can't say.

Posted by Abby | May 1, 2008 12:03 PM

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