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Eurovision Semi Final 1

Kyiv! Hello! Sorry about the last few years, you were trying to warn us the whole time and we didn;t pay enough attention.

Very pressed for time, so this year, it's Eurovision short snark!

We open with people singing more or less and there's some dance, and look I am sure it was fine, but I confess I spent it trying to get the Bluetooth working on my iPad keyboard.

THREE hosts this year! They're all very nice young men and I feel certain I will have forgotten them to the point they surprise me when they reappear. The Australian hosts, Myf and Joel, are a welcome relief for me, as they're funnier than last year's, and their sound equipment is very very patchy, which is amusing in and of itself.

For starters, Sweden, Robin Bengtsson with I Can't Go On. And yet he does. At great, great length. Dull song, good hair. He's made a fundamental error here as he meant to be on Europe's Next Top Male Model.

Georgia, Tamara Gachechiladze, Keep the Faith. OK, I was wrong, Robin's hair was good, hers is great. Costume by Kate Bush, circa 1977, starts with a cape, which is dropped by the first chorus. Don't think that really counts as a costume reveal. Song is very James Bond theme song, which is apparently intentional. Sadly, we're talking Roger Moore James Bond here. Good strong voice, nothing wrong with her, just more dullness, which sounds mad as there are now simultaneously light and wind effects plus pyro. I've grown too jaded for this shit.

Australia! What the hell are we doing there? Anyway, Isaiah, or as Mr B calls him The Eyebrows, Don't Come Easy. He's got a good voice, and superior eyebrows, but now there's a big shot of his face swaying on the screen in the background and I cannot decide if that is peak Millennial or if he's trying to hypnotise me with his eyebrows. Also, he has not been burned in love too many times! He is a foetus! His girl or boyfriend is devoted to him and they hope to get to second base this year! Voice is a little patchy in parts, but then comes goo--- oh, no, big break and awful falsetto there towards the end. Sore throat? Thirty hours on Qantas will do that to you. Ends nicely, though. Bless.

Albania gives us Lindita singing World. She is altogether too perky in her preview clip, and yet we open with minor chords and a touch of the Amanda Palmers. Confused by the mix of bridal veil and bedazzled unitard, but I kind of like it. 'Wondering if I will make it through this day?' You and me both, love. Let's not talk about Trump. This song is quite bonkers, and she's doing a good job with the tuneful wailing and emoting. There are boats sailing through the red sky on the screen behind her evoking an apocalyptic exodus and I suspect there is a deep message about the refugee crisis in there, but I am distracted by her eyeliner, which is epic.

Belgium! Blanche, City Lights. Because the young folk don't have surnames anymore. She's a little bit Lorde, a little bit Lana del Ray but with cred, and she is wearing a frock I owned in 1991, but about a foot longer. She looks as though she is being held hostage at gunpoint to sing this song, but now people are cheering, there is a little smile, which is nice. Enjoy it Blanche! It's Eurovision! She's singing about danger, too, BTW. The kids are worried and I cannot blame them.

Montenegro! A man with an enormously long plait. Slavko Kalezic singing Space. I've had knee-length hair in the past and what they don't show you here is that people sit on it on the bus. And also, when you lose 100 3 1/2 foot hairs a day, that's 350 feet of hair you need to hoover or it gets caught in your toes. Just saying! OK, this is more like it! He's wearing a blue ball skirt and mesh top and now the skirt is revealed for silver encrusted trousers and this is like a very good night at the Imperial. Video of him is providing his own muscle dancers in the background and now he is helicoptering his plait. The song is absolute bilge, but who cares? 'No need to worry, in space we can be as one!' he tells us, which may be the only plausible option if things keep going the way they are on Earth. 'Thank you Europe, thank you Australia!' he concludes and I am left believing someone has given him a heads-up as to our tastes!

Intermission! Random young man in the green room talking to people. I really don't care, I'm afraid. OOH! But I learn that if Australia win (not likely), we nominate a random European country to hold the competition next year. Who do we not like?

Twelve acts still to go, they warn us. Gah!

Finland (yay!) A duo of hipsters called Norma John with Blackbird. She's a bit Adele in all the good ways and she really doesn't want that blackbird singing below her window because it reminds her of her lover who has gone. He's playing the piano and looking soulful, she's looking as though she's about to buy a birdgun. It's simple, but I like it! And she has a voice I would choose to listen to even if I wasn't forced by tradition to recap this madness every year. Big drums! Dramatic reprise! Red lights to show her grief! I actually liked all of that. There is no way they can win now, as I am a curse.

Azerbaijan, Dihaj, Skeletons. Most interesting set so far, with blackboards of emo terms and a ladder with a besuited man wearing a horse mask on top of it. I think they've seen some Sia videos and thought she doesn't go far enough. Like her blood red lipstick, though! The set opens up, but the man is still on his ladder, though his horse mask is off. Trenchcoated backing singers are there now and she is chalking them and now everyone's coat is off and horse man is down glowering with the rest of them. I've got nothing.

Portugal, Salvador Sobral singing Amar Pelos Dois. He looks sweet and I hope he's brought all his pals from the intro clip as they look brilliant. Opens with strings and a nice field of iphone lights that looks like grass and fireflies thanks to the green lighting. Sweet soft voice, but the hands and face are distractingly Gollum. I strongly suspect he may be just a little too hipster fey for someone as grumpily middle aged as me, but bless. On balance, I think I like it.

I'm just going to ignore the hosts. It's for the best. You chaps are no Sweden!

Greece, Demy, This is Love. That is a fine matte lipstick and she needs to be kept safe from Donald Trump at all times. The dancers are pleasingly Matthew Bourne-ish and in fact the choreography isn't bad, but the song is meh meh meh. Though with a nice gay theme to the dancing and I like to think that's a fuck you to Putin.

Poland! Kasia Mos singing Flashlight. Lovely looking lass, rocking the Hollywood tape and her voice is nicely strong. That skirt screams for a wind machine before the end of this. I have no idea what this song is meant to be about, and I think she probably deserves better. Poor young violinist in the background is getting nowhere in terms of camera coverage, it's all lovely blonde girl. And we're done.

Moldova, Sunstroke Project, Hey Mumma. Tuxedos, saxaphone, funky beat. It's a winner! I like the backing singers a lot! Great hats! Dance moves are simple and snappy. OOH! Costume UNreveal! The skirts drop down to become wedding frocks! Cool! I like the microphones hidden in the bouquets, too. Song stupid, but fun. They can stay. (They will now lose, because Europe hates me.)

Iceland, Svala, singing Paper. Mr B describes her look as Nicole Kidman meets Joanna Lumley, and he's not wrong. I cannot work out what's skin and what's mesh in the boobage on her outfit, but she is wearing a big white cape and it is basically Barbarella, so that's fine. Song is meh again, though she performs it well. Epic platform boots must be worth a few points. I have become very judgemental about this contest, but it is meant to be a SONG contest. 'You make me feel like paper, I'm cut right through, I stick to you' isn't enough for me.

Hosts. I hope they are drunk, it would excuse a lot. SBS has put an ad in to shut them up for a bit and I am grateful!

Czech Republic, Martina Barta, My Turn. CLEARLY a Hillary homage in the pantsuit, though a little sparklier than HRC. Another one who can actually sing, though her jazz stylings are fighting a little with this nice but uncomplicated pop song. Nakedish dancers in the video behind her, which is a cunning way to up the buffness quotient without breaking the performer limit.

Cyprus, Hovig, Gravity. Or, as Mr B says, Angel from Buffy! It's 'contemporary', for which read 2004-ish. But nicely coordinated dancing. Robbie Williams is going to steal this song and do a much better job of it at some point. It's not bad. It's not great, but it's not bad. There's some good use of the screens in the backdrop and floor, and they've certainly made better use of the space than any other act tonight. There's that.

Armenia, Artsvik, Fly With Me. Second longest plait of the night, but best eyeliner. RANDOM WAILING! Oh at last! We've nearly made it to the end of the night without any! She's singing in English, but this is pleasantly Armenian in as much as I could recognise Armenian in a lineup. The drumming and the chordal complexity is arresting, too. Despite not being sure what the hell is happening with the backing dancers, I quite like this one!

Slovenia, Omar Naber, On My Way. Looks like the guy everyone describes as being 'Such a lovely boy until they discovered the dungeons…' Sparkly suit, dull opening but then a good key change and nice opening up of the song and performance. Key changes abungo! I'll say this for him, he mostly keeps on top of the tune and has very good breath control. Alas, in terms of innovation or interest, this song is more tedious than waiting for Trump to be impeached. Deserves to go forward, though, and could have won in the 1970s.

Final one for the night, Latvia, Triana Park, Line. I like the opening, and her really silly hair and kinky boots. It's hypno hypno bloody techno, darling, but well done and musically very tight. They're high energy, they're fun and her outfit is ridiculous, while all the lads have relatively sensible ensembles. My friend was married to a Latvian musician for a while. They're very serious about their music.

And that's it for the competitors. The hosts are talking but I am not listening because I fear it will destroy my faith in humanity. They start voting, I make a cuppa because I recorded this. Lovely singing and dancing happens and it's better than almost anything in competition, comes from last year's winner, who has had a good year with lots of gigs and getting married. Joel the Aussie commentator snarks that that's not 'Celebrating Diversity', but she could have married a girl, Joel!

More voting, voting, voting.

Jamala is back to sing again. Probably. There's so much dry ice you pretty much can't see her. In the background are dolls representing women's power and fertility and I am glad I am not Ukranian as I would have had nightmares surrounded by them as a child! Her outfit is basically a fringey poncho with trousers attached and I rather like that.

Previews of three of the automatic qualifiers. Spain has gone beachbum. the UK have sent someone who can sing, not sure how that happened. Italy have a dancing gorilla because of course they do.

And now, the qualifiers! Only ten can go through! It's not like the Oscars, Jon Ola Sand assures us all is well and I believe him.

My girlfriend who's visiting thinks the two main hosts are exes, and weren't when they got the gig. That would explain a lot.

And the qualifiers are: Moldova! HURRAH! Azerbaijan, because no one understood it and we need to see it again. Greece, sure, great lippie. Sweden because they want to sleep with him. Portugal, which is probably deserved. Poland, on the voice alone. Armenia! HURRAH! YES! Australia, which is lucky, because he wasn't ace, but he is a sweetie. Cyprus, meh. BELGIUM? HOW? Finland, you were absolutely robbed and I am onto Spotify to stalk you.

All right, that's three hours of my life I'll never see again, and there's still another semi to go before the final. Help me.

Date: 2017-05-12 10:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kareina.livejournal.com
I love the fact that, while I live in Europe, the first way I find out that it is Eurovision time each year is your posting about it.

Date: 2017-05-12 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blamebrampton.livejournal.com
Sweden is clearly not gunning to win this year, but still wants to look good. Mission accomplished!

Date: 2017-05-13 11:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] athgarvan.livejournal.com
Was Ireland participating?

Date: 2017-05-13 12:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blamebrampton.livejournal.com
Semi final 2. Bless his wee heart, who let him out late into a room filled with drunk musicians?

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