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Instead of doing something more useful, I’m poking around the internet looking for insightful commentary about the Eurovision performances. I haven’t found any, but this one was kind of funny, especially this part:

“Russia – Terrible. Half the song is performed on knees. Are they disabled? Is that a theme this year after the blind one? Oh god. Here’s a bloke pissing about on ice-skates.”

The “bloke pissing about on ice-skates” was Evgeni Plushenko. You know, the gold medalist in figure skating at the last Olympics? His presence was supposed to have helped Russia secure the Eurovision victory, as was the presence of violinist Edvin Marton (and his very expensive violin which wasn’t even actually audible during the performance), who is Hungarian, not Russian, but whatever, right?

I think that Russia should have pulled out all the stops and filled the stage with famous people – they could have had Maria Sharapova hitting tennis balls into the audience, and the whole of Zenit (St. Petersburg’s football/soccer team and the UEFA Cup winners) running around the stage, and you know, Grigori Perelman scribbling equations on a blackboard (actually, they could have had Sebastien Tellier stand in for him, they kind of look alike), and a famous chess player (but not Garry Kasparov because he’s become an opposition politician and we can’t have any of that during such a patriotic event) playing giant chess. Maybe then the performance would have been interesting enough to vote for.

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Right, so our internet was down yesterday and I couldn’t inform everyone of my Very Important Opinions on the Eurovision results. For those who don’t know, Russia won. I really don’t like anything about Dima Bilan, but I am glad that Greece didn’t win. Greece won four years ago with an incredibly stupid pop song and they didn’t deserve to do so twice.

I had been planning to vote for France. Sebastien Tellier’s performance was delightfully irreverent, but his backup singers were terrible, and unsurprisingly this whole situation did not impress the audience. I wanted to vote for something good that had a chance of winning, so I voted three times for Turkey, and twice for France on principle, and then I ran out of money on my phone. Good thing I only had 35 crowns (about $6) on there or things could have got out of hand. Yes, you are allowed to cast as many votes as you can afford to in the 15 minutes allotted for voting.

So next year’s contest will be in Russia. Usually the contest takes place in the host country’s capital, but Kostia told me this morning that there’s a rumor that it could be held in St. Petersburg, which would make it much more likely that we would attend some part of the festivities.

If you’re not in Europe, or you don’t have a TV (like me), you can watch the Eurovision semifinals and final on the Eurovision website. The final is on Saturday at 9pm Central European time (which is 3pm EDT, but you don’t have to watch it live).

Edit: If you watch it on the web you won’t be able to vote, though. Each country has its own phone numbers for voting and so they’re put on the screen by the national TV channels. (So we’re actually going to Dima’s to watch the final.)

Well, as usual most of humanity disappoints me. I liked 7 of the 38 songs which competed in the semifinals, and only three of those made it to the final.

The ones that didn’t make it:

Belgium. Good music, made-up language.

Estonia. Weird and funny, kind of catchy.

Ireland. A singing puppet. Hilarious. “Oh I come from a nation wot knows how to write a song…”

Switzerland. Pleasant song, sung by a hottie. Actually, I’m really surprised this didn’t make it to the final, because it seems like the sort of formula that pleases the Eurovision audience. I think, sadly, that if the female backup dancers had had normal hair and short skirts it would have made it, because hot girls seem to have a much better chance of making it to the final no matter how they perform (though, thankfully, the terrible Czech song didn’t make it despite showing lots of leg).

The three likeable songs out of 20 that made it through the semifinal:

Turkey. It’s like, a real rock song, unlike the manufactured crap that dominates this contest. Sung in Turkish.

Bosnia-Herzegovina. Funny theatrics, nice song that could be from an 80’s movie (in Bosnian)

Croatia. Slavic, and they’ve got an old guy performing, which is sweet.

One song I like is among those which get to go to the final automatically:

France. Because of this Eurovision entry and the airplay it’s been getting in Sweden, I have discovered Sebastien Tellier, who is a genius.

I haven’t decided who I’ll vote for yet.

Oh, and honorable mention goes to Denmark. It’s cheesy, in English and the lyrics of the verses are cringeworthy, but the feel-good chorus is catchy (though they ought to pay some royalties to Kool & the Gang).

And one more thing. If this horrible Greek-American Britney Spears knockoff wins, I’ll… do something drastic.

About This Blog

I'm an American who started blogging when I moved to Russia in 2004. Eventually I moved to Sweden, where life is pleasant but uneventful, and stopped blogging for lack of interesting things to say. And then I joined Facebook, which further destroyed any motivation for blogging. Maybe someday I'll start blogging again, but for now, this blog is dormant, an archive of The Russia Years: 2004-2008.

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