Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Wooden Finger Guide to the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest - Part Two

13. Moldova - My notes became markedly more drunken by this point, so the descriptions will, in general, become briefer. All I can make out is that this was the Eurovision's 258th attempt to 'blend the traditional with the modern', that there were 'nice legs and boots', and something about 'Cassock dancing'. Can that be right? Well, it must not have made much of an impression. Rating: 2.5 euros.

14. Malta - As I think Terry Wogan said once, Malta, unlike some of the larger Eurovision countries, always try hard. The singer was not quite what I expected, with the figure of an opera diva, and the voice of an R&B diva. Either way, it was one of the better voices in the competition. Rating: 3.5 euros.

15. Estonia - The artist's name, 'Urban Symphony', gave me hope that we would hear something approximating The Verve. Riichard Ashcroft though never looked this good. The lead singer, with her beautiful, long, dark hair, was simply stunning, and the cellists behind her broke my heart. It made me want to move to Estonia as soon as possible, although perhaps it was not wise to inform my wife of that fact. Song: 3 euros. Eye candy: 5 euros.

16. Denmark - Ronan Keating had a hand in writing this song, and one of his doppelgangers was chosen to sing it. The rock band was a bit misleading, as the song was as wimpy as most of Boyzone's catalogue. The unnecessary high five between two of the band members made it that little bit more nauseating. Rating: 2 euros.

17. Germany - The Germany had the best band name to this point: 'Alex Swings, Oscar Sings', and possibly the best song name too: 'Miss Kiss Kiss Bang'. The lead singer camped it up for all it was worth, and just when you thought it couldn't any more kitsch, out pops Dita Von Teese, with her waistline that defies imaginiation. The song itself was rubbish, but the production was amazing. Rating: 4 euros.

18. Turkey - Too much flesh for flesh's sake, and compared to Estonia, quite classless. Lauren noted that the guy looked like he had been tied up in a carseat. Rating: 1.5 euros.

19. Albania - The weirdest entry by far. It included a fairy, two midgets for her to stand on, and a green man with discoball sparkles on his face. I still don't get it. Rating: 2 euros.

20. Norway - Inexplicably the favourite to win the competition, the Norwegian entry featured an elf with a fiddle, complete with his own band of Pan-like followers. Not the worst entry, but apart from the twin blondes, nothing startling. Rating: 3 euros.

21. Ukraine - I was wrong - this had an even better song title than Germany: 'Be My Valentine (Anti-Crisis Girl)'! It included mostly naked gladiators trapped like hamsters in turning wheels, and lights designed to induce an epilieptic seizure. Basically, it was the second weirdest entry. The singer gets extra points for her drum solo though. Rating: 2 euros.

22. Romania - Essentially a Dungeons 'n' Dragons wet dream, with a bunch of skinny women in reed-like dresses swaying before the dungeon master's throne. Otherwise, not particularly interesting. Rating: 2 euros.

23. United Kingdom - Boring, Lloyd-Webber rubbish. Rating: 1 euro.

24. Finland - Another top band name, 'Waldo's People', delivered an unusually upbeat song about homelessness. Really, only the burning rubbish bins give you a clue to this, otherwise it looks like a younger version of the Edge gone gangster. Rating: 1.5 euros.

25. Spain - I can't remember much about this entry. I do remember that I've forgotten my Spanish though. Rating: 2 euros.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Wooden Finger Guide to the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest - Part One

1. Lithuania - Since Eurovision voters generally have memory spans comparable to goldfish, it's always a difficult task to be the first act on stage. Lithuania didn't make it any easier on themselves by choosing a guy that appeared to be singing a love song to his hat. Furthermore, with the sparse arrangement on stage, too much was left to our piano-playing friend, who didn't have nearly enough charisma to pull it off. The most action he could muster was to light up a flame at the end... things would have been far more interesting if he had set fire to his hat instead. Rating: 1.5 euros (out of 5)

2. Israel - The Israelis made a peculiar choice by picking the Witches of Eastwick to represent them. Singing in three different languages was a nice postmodern touch, although it doesn't really help much if the tune sucks. At least the crowd went wild, waving their huge plastic hammers with the Star of David about. Rating: 2 euros

3. France - The best entry to this point, and as it turned out, the best entry of them all. Patricia Kaas, with her moonlight-coloured skin and high cheekbones in tow, delivered a typically late-night Parisian club tune. By the end of the song, she was gripping the microphone like her life depended on it, and you expected her to undergo the full transformation into a ghostly creature of the night. Stirring stuff. Rating: 4.5 euros

4. Sweden - This couldn't have been more Swedish if the performers had come out swinging Ikea stools. A blond, buxom woman dressed in white belted out a pop-operatic chorus, and by the end of it all the Kremlin was lying in a thousand pieces. Rating: 3 euros

5. Croatia - Europorn made its first appearance with the Crotian entry, featuring a lead singer who can't get over himself and an array of girls pleasuring themselves in the background. The wind machine was the real star though, certainly more than the girl in white, whose main contribution appeared to be to squeal every now and then. Rating: 2.5 euros 

6. Portugal - A lovely little entry, starring a rather earnest young lady, a backdrop covered with clouds and flowers, and the most enthusiastic drummer north of the Mediterrenean. You couldn't help but be filled with a warm, happy, cuddly feeling (this may be why my wife liked it so much). Rating: 4 euros

7. Iceland - This entry starred Yohanna, an 18 year-old who may now be the richest person in Iceland. The song ('Is It True?') is not bad in an '80s power ballad type of way, although it could have been improved if they had ditched the second-hand prom dresses. Rating: 3.5 euros

8. Greece - It was time for some nightclubbing, and who better to take us there than a hairless Greek man with his top few shirt buttons inexplicably undone? If that wasn't enough, there was also the flashing conveyor belt which he was busting his moves on. Every act should have a flashing conveyor belt. An absolute riot. Normal Eurovision service had been resumed. Rating: 3 euros Unintentional comedy value: 4.5 euros

9. Armenia - The Armenians trumped the Israelis by sending out a couple of gypsies, complete with jewelled headbands. You could almost smell the shisha on stage. It started in a promising way, with the best backbeat of the competition, but soon dissolved into cliched Euro-dance with the trademark key change at the finish. The garter belts were either a highlight or lowlight, depending on your sexual orientation. Rating: 3 euros

10. Russia - The hometown entry threw up a surprise by opting for a brunette, who was kind of pretty in an Anastasia Myskina-like way. The Russians finally justified the use of the big screens that had been floating around every performance, replaying film of the lead singer wailing along, and digitally aging her as the song progressed. Either that or her make-up wasn't built to last. Rating: 3.5 euros

11. Azerbaijan (Who?!) - Flexible dancers trying to distract you from an awfully pedestrian beat. Ho hum. Rating: 2.5 euros

12. Bosnia-Herzegovnia - With the array of military figures on stage, it was like something straight out of 'War and Peace'. Or 'Alice in Wonderland'. It was good to finally see some guitars on stage, unfortunately they didn't do much with them. Rating: 3 euros

Entries 13 to 25 to follow.