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Eurovision 2nd Semi-final Rehearsal

Published May 10, 2017 by Naomi Rettig

As with my review of the first semi-final, if you want to play a drinking game then it’s a shot for a white outfit, a wind machine or a cape. Although, spoiler – there are no capes in this second semi-final. I will be having non-alcoholic pear cider myself, but some people need real alcohol to get through Eurovision.

1. Serbia – This song has grown on me and now I love it. There’s a white see-through dress, and it looks like she has a swimsuit on underneath, shame there’s not a water tank on stage she could make use of, but sadly she stays in the one spot. Watch out for the male dancer when he does an impressive fast backwards circular run. I can’t even run like that going forwards. Oh, and there’s a wind machine. Two shots

2. Austria – Nathan wears a white suit with ankle avoiding trousers. Not much of a stage performance from a young lad, he just sings from a crescent moon, jumps down, and jumps back up. I could do that. One shot.

3. FYR Macedonia – Yay! One of my favourite songs and she has fringing on her outfit – another favourite feature of mine. Wearing black not white. Upbeat fun performance. No shots though.

4. Malta – Nothing about this song or performance leaves me breathless. A white wedding dress combined with a wind machine, boring staging. Two shots.

5. Romania – This is like Marmite, you’re either going to love it or hate it! I love it. Yodeling, bright fun graphics, a bouncy duo, and two huge cannons on stage. The cannons didn’t do anything in the rehearsal show, I’m hoping for glitter or confetti being fired out into the audience on the live show. No shots. Unless the cannons fire, then I’m having two bonus shots.

6. Netherlands – This trio of women sound like Wilson Phillips to me, they wear black sparkly outfits but just sing on stage in a line, not dynamic enough for me. No shots.

7. Hungary – Too traditional and folksy for me. Nice dancing though from the singer and dancer, wearing a white dress so have a shot for that.

8. Denmark – Red dress, no wind machine in rehearsal but I wouldn’t be surprised if one is whipped out for the live show to give this performance some life. Dull. No shots.

9. Ireland – Brendan looks about twelve and sings from a pretend hot air balloon. I was hoping it would fly off with him in it but alas it stays put. Dreary song that wouldn’t even make it onto a Westlife tribute band CD. No shots.

10. San Marino – An upbeat fun song, duo singers competing with black leather trousers and sparkly black jackets. Bright disco lights, but slightly disappointed with the effort of dancing, looks like my style at a school disco in 1988. No shots.

11. Croatia – Croatia’s Pavarotti, but a little trendier as he has sparkly shoes and wears a leather jacket over his suit tails. The song doesn’t do it for me, but a good performance. No shots.

12. Norway – Something a little different, a funky singer and three masked men with hoods, one playing drums, one playing the keyboards, and one just banging a table. No shots.

13. Switzerland – A very eye-catching bright yellow dress, a homage to big bird or beauty and the beast? Hurrah, a wind machine. One shot.

14. Belarus – This couple remind me of Jack Black and his sister. Folksy and upbeat but not my cup of tea. She’s wearing a white dress though so one shot.

15. Bulgaria – A favourite with the bookmakers but not with me. Like Ireland’s entry he looks about twelve (am I just getting old? – rhetorical question). Wearing a black suit, but the crotch of his trousers is heading towards his knees, I was distracted from the performance as I just wanted to yank his trousers up. No shots.

16. Lithuania – Another favourite of mine. Dynamic, funky, and lively. Singer wears a red dress and puts on a great performance. My only puzzlement is the artist is Fusedmarc – but who’s Marc and what is he fused to? No shots.

17. Estonia – This song could easily be a Steps song. Koit is in a black suit, Laura in a white dress, and they have simple but effective black and white screen staging. If Steps don’t want them as reserves, Koit could be in a Bros tribute band. Lost in Verona – no need to be with Google maps. One shot.

18. Israel – Great song to end the show. High energy, high testosterone, not so sure about the mesh vest though Imri. No shots.

Nine shots in total, eleven if the cannons go off in Romania’s performance. My fingers are crossed.

Eurovision 1st Semi Final Rehearsal Review

Published May 6, 2017 by Naomi Rettig

I’ve watched the rehearsal footage of the first semi-final acts, and a top tip is if you want to play a drinking game and get drunk, have a shot every time a white outfit, wind machine and cape turn up in a performance. If all three occur at the same time, have double shots. Here are my opinions on the performances.

1. Sweden – I love this song, I’ve championed it from the start and it’s still in my top 5. I’m disappointed though that two of the original backing dancers/singers have been switched with replacements, I’m not sure why as I can only find references to it being due to a rule of the contest – presumably not allowing too many handsome men on stage at one time I guess. The routine hasn’t changed for the show, stylish men in suits and trainers dancing on treadmills who wouldn’t look out of place on a Milan cat walk. Is it wrong that I want to join a gym now just to dance on a treadmill? Starting off sober, zero shots.

2. Georgia – I was hoping for a Bon Jovi number when hearing the song was called Keep the Faith, but no, a belter of a song that wouldn’t be out of place in a James Bond film, complete with a Bond Girl singer in a red sparkly figure hugging outfit. She has a red cape and a wind machine. Two shots.

3. Australia – All about the singer here, his image is on the screens behind and it’s just him singing on a giant turntable. He’s wearing a grey coat, which is almost a cape, and his trousers don’t meet ankles. It might be fashionable, he might like to flash his ankles, but it does nothing for me. And even though I applaud him for singing while spinning around on the turntable, part of me, the wicked part, wants the turntable operator to speed it up faster as the song goes on just so he flies off at the end. No shots, but a sip for the cape-like coat.

4. Albania – Love the steampunk graphics on screen for this song. There is a wind machine and the singer is wearing white with silver sparkles, and starts with a veil that flings back into a skirt cape. Allowing three shots here, and that doubles to six!

5. Belgium – Blanche wears a full white ballgown for this, it looks like she’s concealing something. If doves don’t fly out from under there at the end I’ll be disappointed. I’m already disappointed with the vocals, the recorded track sounds much better than the live performance. Plus, she stands still in one spot, I know it’s not a lively song but a bit of oomph or facial expression would be good. One shot for the dress. Bonus gulp from the bottle if doves do indeed fly out from under the dress.

6. Montenegro – Distraught by this performance as it was my favourite to win, based on the recorded track. Shockingly bad vocals live, and his dancing should be phenomenal but my bowels have move movement than this. He seems to be going for if in doubt twirl your fake plait around, I was hoping it would get caught in the lighting rig to liven this performance up. No shots. Although I might have a consolation shot for wasting money betting on this one.

7. Finland – Bucking the trend here as they have gone for black ballgown, and instead of a wind machine have chosen smoke machine. The background graphics put me into a boredom trance. Another performer who doesn’t move from the spot. No shots.

8. Azerbaijan – The strangest staging so far. Singer wears a silky Columbo mac while scrawling on blackboard walls, while a man wearing a horse’s head stands on a step ladder. He takes the horse head off to reveal an Azerbaijan Rylan Clark. Good vocals, good song, but not so good that even though the song is called Skeletons there are no actual skeletons on stage. No shots.

9. Portugal – The singer’s sister has been standing in for him during rehearsals as he has a mystery illness that prevents him being away from healthcare for too long. His sister looks like him though so it’s easy to imagine him on stage (I think Salvador has just dressed as a female and is pretending to be his sister for japes). There is minimal staging, just the singer and the song, again not moving from the spot. No shots.

10. Greece – The singer is wearing a flesh colour dress, there are two topless Greek men dancing around her but not much movement from her and considering it’s an up-tempo track is disappointing. There is a wind machine though. One shot.

11. Poland – Not a memorable song or performance. Singer wears a white dress/weird toga and there is a wind machine. Two shots.

12. Moldova – I love this one, so much fun. The toe tapping ‘get this chewing gum off my shoe’ dance is in there, the running man dance while playing the saxophone is cool, the screen graphics are funky, the backing dancers/singers have dresses that switch from black and white into wedding dresses, and I do love a costume within a costume. One shot.

13. Iceland – Wow. If Iceland’s entry was a superhero she’d be PVA Glue Woman. She’s wearing a white PVC jumpsuit, white latex platforms, white plastic cape, and has her blonde hair scraped back into a no-nonsense ponytail. In the jumpsuit, there is a cut out to showcase her boobs, like a pornographic power ranger. There is a wind machine, but no way is that knocking her off those platforms. Three shots doubled! Six shots.

14. Czech Republic – Well we’ve just had PVA Glue Woman so now bring on Ferrero Roche Woman. This is the worst outfit so far. A metallic bronze foil boiler-suit is not flattering to even beautiful people. Background screen graphics show people dancing slowly in nude underwear, like a beginners swingers party. The most un-erotic thing I’ve seen. No shots.

15. Cyprus – Hovig reminds me of Chico. I like the song, it reminds me of last years’ Russian entry. He wears a black suit, but another ankle avoiding trouser. There are lots of balancing yoga moves in the dance routine which will give me a good workout as I dance along. At one point in rehearsals he lies down to sing, I’m guessing this will correspond with floor graphics. Or he might have just been tired. No shots.

16. Armenia – The screen graphics remind me of a lava lamp, that’s all I have to say about this performance. Oh, and she wears a black trouser suit. No shots

17. Slovenia – Dull staging to match a dull song. He wears a black suit, and the background graphics at one point look like a spaceship is going to beam him up, unfortunately it didn’t. No shots.

18. Latvia – Great staging with a punky neon set. Wind machine and weird fashion. Singer has metallic thigh high boots, which look like the Wonder Woman boots I made when I was seven out of my mum’s kitchen foil. Good song to end the night on. One shot.

Twenty shots, and a sip, in total*.
*This could change on the actual night if wind machines are added to other performances.

My Eurovision 2017 Top Five (Six really)

Published March 17, 2017 by Naomi Rettig

My winner is Montenegro. Unfortunately, this is the kiss of death for the Montenegro contestant Slavko Katezic as my favourite songs always come last. I love this song though, it’s called ‘Space’, and I dance like I’m on another planet when I hear it. In the official video, he dances topless and has a plait Rapunzel would be jealous of. I find the plait distracting though as he swings it around with gay abandonment, health and safety officials will be having kittens on the night watching it doesn’t get caught up in any stage paraphernalia. I’m presuming there won’t be a wind machine in the mix for the live performance, far too many ‘Final Destination’ possibilities. The song is disco deluge of high energy, jiggly rhythms, and sweat. And the more I listen to the lyrics the more double entendre they seem. 10/10 from me.

Sweden is my very close second place. The song is catchy and bouncy. Robin Bengtsson ticks all my boxes but I’m not sure if a song called ‘I can’t go on (coz you’re so fricking beautiful)’ will go down well. Will the people of Europe be offended by the word fricking? I’m looking forward to the stage performance as in the video Robin and his merry men (four male backing dancers, all looking dashing in suits and sneakers) dance on treadmills. I’m presuming the stops and starts of the treadmill in line with the dance routine are automatically programmed in, otherwise it’s a lot of pressure on the treadmill operator. This song is fricking awesome and I give it 9.5/10.

Moldova get my third place. The Sunstroke Project (no it’s not an ad campaign from Boots the chemist) have been Moldova’s entry before, but this is their best. ‘Hey Mamma’ is again a catchy upbeat song with funky saxophone and violin bits. The dance moves are easy enough for me to follow along with; the main move being tapping your right leg up and down as if trying to free your shoe from unseen chewing gum or dabbing down a bit of lifting loose linoleum. And anyone that can dance ‘the running man’ while playing the saxophone gets my vote. 9/10 from me.

Francesco Gabbani for Italy gets fourth place from me for his song ‘Occidentali’s Karma’. This song has been a grower for me. He sings it in Italian so I find it difficult to sing along to (it doesn’t stop me), but it’s got a groovy melody I can dance to. Francesco does his best with dad dancing but his infectious smile makes up for his lack of smooth moves. His voice is heavenly, like granulated sugar swirled with honey and rubbed all over your body with soft warm hands. Oh, did I mention there was a dancing gorilla? Not a real one, a person dressed in a monkey suit dancing alongside Francesco. Maybe they’ll have a real gorilla for the live contest. I look forward to seeing what suit he wears on stage as I’ve seen him singing this song in a couple of different swish suits. 8.5/10 from me.

Fifth place is a tie. Both these songs scored 8/10 from me. F.Y.R Macedonia has a club-feel dance track by Jana Burceska called ‘Dance Alone’. And it does indeed make you want to dance alone. Or in company. The video is a clever concept, an older lady puts on a 3-D headset and is transformed into the younger version of herself as she dances. That’s how I feel when I dance, twenty years younger. A feel-good song, it will be interesting to see what the stage arrangement will be.

Joint fifth for me is Romania. Ilinca ft. Alex Florea sing ‘Yodel It!’ That kind of gives a clue. It’s a rap/yodel fusion. Yes, from Romania. (Apparently, the song was written for the Swiss but they didn’t want it, but Romania did and have certainly embraced it). On first hearing this song I was confused to whether I liked it or not, having listened to it many times now I can confirm it’s a yay from me. A yodelyay. And yes, I have tried yodeling but I sound like a llama on helium and crack cocaine.

Only fifty two days until the first semi-final! Do you have a favourite yet?

Eurovision Top 10 -2016

Published March 31, 2016 by Naomi Rettig

After listening to all entries again and again, I have narrowed down my top ten Eurovision songs for this year’s contest. (To save anyone feeling compelled to read through my reviews on all 43).

  1. Finland – I just love this song so much! I think I’m in the minority though as it’s 100/1 with William Hill (other betting sites are available) right now. I love the energy, the sentiment, the tune you can dance to, Sandhja the artist – I love her, her hair and the fringing on her leisurewear in the video. I’ve even ordered an electric blue swimsuit with heavy fringing on it to wear on Eurovision night in tribute. Yes, after repeat playing repeatedly, this is my favourite song this year.
  2. Russia – This is tipped by the bookies at 6/4 favourite and I can see why. Catchy tune, dance factor high, Sergey is gorgeous, eye-catching video. I just wonder if it’s too much like Mans Zelmerlow’s winning song last year. Gorgeous bloke, upbeat dance track, clever digital stage animation. I’m not complaining with that, but maybe something different for this year? (Like a girl, with shaved hair, and fringed clothing).
  3. Armenia – This is now on my mp3 player too. This is very Eurovision to me, beautiful lady, eastern European sounding stringed instruments, dramatic, and when the beat drops at 49 seconds in – I get a tingly spine. Tingly spines are good. 25/1 with the bookies. I’m predicting a wind machine on stage.
  4. France – Now I don’t normally like the French entry, I just don’t seem to be on a musical level with France, but I really like this one. It has a catchy chorus in English I can sing along to, verses in French I can pretend to sing along to, and some ooh’s. Good oohing in a song works for me. No fringing, but I’m happy with the ooh’s. 12/1 with the bookies.
  5. Belgium – An upbeat cheery song, good to dance to and sing along with. Cute singer Laura, but not overly cute. I think she will bring great energy to the stage in Sweden. No fringing but a sparkly silver jacket I am a little envious of. 100/1 odds at the bookies so not many people sharing my choice here.
  6. Iceland – Extreme fringing alert, combined with a wind machine. Excellent. Has a lovely Celtic feel to it, Greta has a lovely voice, slow bits and dancy bits, something for everyone. I think this will be staged very well. Wind machine or smoke machine? That will be my question on the night. If it’s both I don’t think my excitement levels will cope. 50/1 odds, the same as us in the UK so not much chance of winning.
  7. San Marino – When I first heard this song I think I scored it one of my least favorites’ but this is a grower for me. Serhat has a voice like gravel coated in treacle, rolled in oats and shoved deep in a volcano. At first listen I found this menacing and creepy and it came across, not as a love song, but as someone I would get a restraining order for. It has now grown on me, helped by the disco backing. In fact, it’s the disco backing that saved it for me. 100/1 odds but I don’t think this will make it past the semi-final stage unfortunately.
  8. Netherlands – Now I didn’t think I’d like this one, it has a country music twang to it, which is not normally my cup of tea. However, this is catchy and the chap singing and playing guitar is easy on the eye. Although I do get distracted by his name, Douwe Bob. I just think of the coffee Douwe Egberts. Other coffees are available, although Nescafe Jim didn’t make this year’s contest. 66/1 at the bookies, not looking good considering the UK is 50/1 and we all know there’s zero chance of us winning.
  9. Denmark – Three lovely men with three good voices. No fringing, wind machine or smoke machine but a good chorus with a bit that makes you want to punch the air. You’ll know when. 100/1 odds at present, I don’t think Denmark will be hosting next year.
  10. Cyprus – Something a bit different, gravelly rock with euro-pop vibes. Could Eurovision viewers want something alternative this year? I certainly enjoyed it and with odds of 25/1 it seems to stand a fair chance.

 

So there’s my top 10 of Eurovision 2016. I want Finland to win so much I am tempting fate by saying that if they make it through the semi-final I will record my dance routine to ‘Sing it Away’ while wearing my fringed swimsuit. If they then go on and win I shall post it online! But before a petition starts up to stop this happening (I’m well aware it won’t be a pretty sight) let me remind you it’s 100/1 odds. The UK is 50/1. We’ve got more chance of winning twice in one night than I have appearing on Youtube in an electric blue fringed swimsuit.

 

Now, what shoes would match my swimwear….just in case 😉