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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.

Eurovision Song Contest 2016 Preview

Published March 24, 2016 by Naomi Rettig

I’ve listened to and watched (via the official Eurovision videos) all forty-three entries for Eurovision this year. I know, sad, mad or dedicated, take your pick. Here’s my summary and my scores. The scores are out of thirty. I’ve scored them on their videos but during the contest that will change to scoring on their stage performance. So my winner is not set in stone yet! It’s also worth pointing out that my winner last year was Austria, who actually came last. I’ve also listed them in the order that they will perform in the two semi-finals, with the automatic finalists listed last. Wave your flags and get your dance pants on, here we go:

Semi-final 1:

Armenia – (LoveWave by Iveta Mukuchyan) 49 seconds in and I feel like I’m on a jet plane with g-force tugging at my sequins. Lots of oohs to sing along with. Wind machine usage in the video that I’m sure will be transferred to the stage. Beautiful singer. Arty video. Lovely man with long hair too in the video, he doesn’t sing but looks pretty and moody at the same time, I hope he’s on stage. Scores: Song 8, Artist 9, Video 8. Total: 25

Croatia – (Lighthouse by Nina Kraljic) The time lapse video of the coast by the lighthouse looks like the idents they play between songs on the night itself. Typical ballad, nothing new or exciting. Don’t know what Nina looks like as she wasn’t in the video, a surprise for the night. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 2. Total: 12

Finland – (Sing it Away by Sandhja) Leisure wear with fringes, a smoke machine in kids’ park, horses on a beach and in the woods. Interesting video. A small selection of sad kids in said video not so depressed after ‘singing it away’. Upbeat song. Scores: Song 9, Artist 9, Video 8. Total: 26

Greece – (Utopian land by Argo) Haunting stringed instruments, a Greek rapper that wouldn’t be out of place in Goldie Lookin’ Chain, as I swear I heard a Newport accent. Sung in Greek. Black and white video of a topless man running which got tedious after a while, this is Eurovision, not Baywatch. Scores: Song 6, Artist 4, Video 5. Total: 15

Hungary – (Pioneer by Freddie) Air traffic control glow sticks and a drumming monk, a gravelly voice on a handsome man. Nice song, too average though. Scores: Song 6, Artist 8, Video 6. Total: 20

Moldova – (Falling Stars by Lidia Isac) Wind machine usage high. Pretty Lidia reminds me of Paris Hilton. Typical sounding Eurovision uplifting song. Nice drum at the end. Scores: Song 7, Artist 7, Video 4. Total: 18

Netherlands – (Slow down by Douwe Bob) Good looking chap playing guitar with a country music twang. Video is of him and friends hanging about in a bar. I’d have a drink with him. Scores: Song 8, Artist 9, Video 7. Total: 24

Russia – (You are the only one by Sergey Lazarev) Love this one but is it too much like last years’ winner? Fantastic video, digital trickery, very creative. Interesting to see if they stage it like last years on the night. Hot bloke. Dancy tune. Scores: Song 9, Artist 9, Video 10. Total: 28

San Marino – (I didn’t know by Serhat) This has a seventies vibe for me. Serhat has such a deep voice he makes Barry White sound falsetto. I actually found his voice quite menacing though rather than seducing. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 4. Total: 14

Austria – (Loin D’ici by Zoe) A pretty redhead singing a pretty song, and a pretty video of her walking through the seasons. With a wind machine. Scores: Song 6, Artist 7, Video 6. Total: 19

Azerbaijan – (Miracle by Samra) An upbeat dancy song. Catchy. Scores: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 6. Total: 21

Bosnia & Herzegovina – (Ljubav Je by Dalal and Deen feat Ana Rucner and Jala) Very rustic and charming, good electric cello usage. Ambushed in middle though by a performance by a rapper which didn’t fit for me. I would have called security. Scores: Song 4, Artist 4, Video 4. Total: 12

Cyprus – (Alter Ego by Minus One) Ooh rock and euro vibes combo. A gravelly voiced rock band but good to dance to. Fun desert video. Scores: Song 8, Artist 9, Video 8. Total: 25

Czech Republic – (I Stand by Gabriela Guncikova) Beautiful lady with an amazing voice. Good solid ballad. Fun video, I loved the flowers at the end. Scores: Song 6, Artist 8, Video 7. Total: 21

Estonia – (Play by Juri Pootsmann) Very smart young man. Catchy tune. Another deep voice but not a scary one. Scores: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 5. Totals: 20

Iceland – (Hear Them Calling by Greta Salome) Extreme fringing and a wind machine! Celtic feel. Slow bits and dancy bits. Great energy. Scores: song 8, Artist 8, video 6. Totals: 22

Malta – (Walk on Water by Ira Losco) Good dance track. Middle of the road for me. Scores: Song 6, Artist 7, Video 6. Total: 19

Montenegro – (The Real Thing by Highway) Grungy, more hardcore. Lady dancing in a leotard was distracting as it was mismatched with the song. Different but not my cup of tea, too much of a downer for Eurovision. Scores: Song 4, Artist 5, Video 5. Total: 14

Semi-final 2:

Australia – (Sound of Silence by Dami Im) Ballad, beautiful lady, smoke machine, topless man dancing. Average. Scores: Song 6, Artist 8, Video 6. Total: 20

Belarus – (Help You Fly by Ivan) Didn’t grab me. Nice enough song but it doesn’t stick in my mind. Scores: Song 6, Artist 6, Video 5. Total: 17

Ireland – (Sunlight by Nicky Byrne) They kindly put the lyrics on the video so that you can sing along. Nice tune and Nicky, formally of Westlife, has a great voice but not shouting winner at me. Scores: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 7. Total: 22

Israel – (Made of Stars by Hovi Star) Nice but nothing special. Scores: Song 6, Artist 6, Video 6. Total 18

Latvia – (Heartbeat by Justs) Felt that this was missing something. Had potential but didn’t deliver for me. It could be a grower. Scores: Song 6, Artist 6, Video 6. Total: 18

Lithuania – (I’ve Been Waiting for this Night by Donny Montell) Uplifting song, fun video, fit bloke. Scores: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 7. Total: 22

Macedonia – (Dona by Kaliopi) I didn’t enjoy this one, too screechy for me. Scores: Song 4, Artist 5, Video 5. Total: 14

Poland – (Colour of Your Life by Michal Szpak) Ballad. Michal is a man with long hair and a wind machine. He gave lots of Zoolander looks. Found this song a bit cheesy. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 5. Total: 15

Serbia – (Goodbye by ZAA Sanja Vucic) The singer looks like she’s possessed, or had too much caffeine, lots of jerky movements. Quite dramatic. Nice orchestra. Scores: Song 6, Artist 6, Video 5. Total: 17

Switzerland – (The Last of Our Kind by Rykka) Dull ballad. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 5. Total: 15

Albania – (Fairytale by Eneda Tarifa) Average. Didn’t grab me. Although I liked her hood at the end of the video, she looked like a Venus flytrap closing. Scores: Song 4, Artist 5, Video 6. Total: 15

Belgium – (What’s The Pressure by Laura Tesoro) I thought it was ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ when it started. The video looks like an ad for GAP clothing range. It reminds me of another song too that I can’t put my finger on. Lively, upbeat, funky with high energy. Scores: Song 8, Artist 8, Video 7. Total: 23

Bulgaria – (If Love Was a Crime by Poli Genova) I liked the bits that sound like helium was used and some bits reminded me of the Clangers. Catchy. Dancy. Scores: Song 8, Artist 8, Video 7. Total 23

Denmark – (Soldiers of Love by Lighthouse X) They can be my soldiers of love, handsome men with good voices. Catchy tune. Uplifting. Has a bit where you want to jump up and punch the air. Scores: Song 8, Artist 9, Video 7. Total: 24

Georgia – (Midnight Gold by Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz) Nighties Manchester just arrived in Georgia with a synth-pop back up. Scores: Song 6, Artist 7, Video 8. Total: 21

Norway – (Icebreaker by Agnete) Sparkly blonde with a smoke machine and laser beams, but it didn’t do anything for me. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 5. Total 15

Romania – (Moment of Silence by Ovidiu Anton) Melodramatic West End Musical meets rock opera. Not for me. Scores: Song 4, Artist 4, Video 4. Total: 12

Slovenia – (Blue and Red by ManuElla) Vibes of country music and The Corrs. Spoiler: I knew she had another outfit on underneath her first outfit as she was an odd shape. It was no Bucks fizz moment. Scores: Song 6, Artist 6, Video 5. Total: 17

Ukraine – (1944 by Jamala) Crikey! The song starts with the line ‘when strangers come to you house and kill you all’. Cheery little number it is not. Wailing and miserable. Jamala sings ‘our souls’ but it sounds like arseholes to me. Scores: Song 2, Artist 2, Video 3. Total: 7

Finalists:

Sweden – (If I Were Sorry by Frans) Starts with talking which I dislike. Sweet but underwhelming. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 5. Total 15

France – (J’ai Cherche by Amir) Catchy. Bi-lingual. The singer reminds me of James Purefoy. Uplifting. Scores: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 8. Total: 23

Germany – (Ghost by Jamie-Lee) I was far too distracted by the weird outfit Jamie-Lee was wearing, this was just as well as I found the song quite dull. Scores: Song 4, Artist 4, Video 5. Total: 13

Italy – (No Degree of Separation by Fancesca Michielin) Not my cup of tea. Average song. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 0. Total: 10

Spain – (Say Yay by Barei) Good dance tune, cracking voice. Score: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 7.  Total: 22

UK – (You’re Not Alone by Joe and Jake) I like this one, I picked it in the UK vote when it was chosen for the contest. Catchy tune, nice lads, but we won’t score high. Scores: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 7.  Total: 22

So there you go, my opinions on the Eurovision entries for 2016. My results are: 1st Russia, 2nd Finland, 3rd Armenia & Cyprus, and 5th Netherlands & Denmark. Roll on May 10th, 12th and 14th! Get your Eurovision party started!