Posts Tagged ‘eurovision’

Eurovision 2017

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 | Music

Venla’s first Eurovision. She was not excited about it.

Nor were the contestants. This year’s contest didn’t produce much in the way of songs I have found burrowed inside my head. I still have a fair few knocking around on my playlist from last year, so it was disappointing to see a less-exciting array this year.

At least Romania gave us some rap yodelling.

Decent year for Britain. We were on the left-hand side of the scoreboard for quite a long time.

But maybe that is a sign that we have let out expectations drop too long. We have won it five times. Great commentary by Graham Norton, as ever.

Eurovision 2017: What you don’t need to know

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017 | Music

We’re only five days away from Eurovision 2017. A timeless competition designed to unite the people of Europe together (after what Germany did). Here is what you don’t need to know about this year’s competition.

Lucie Jones is singing for Great Britain

It sounds like she is about to kick into the main upbeat exciting song at any point. But she never does.

Norma John is singing for Finland

And it’s worse than Britain’s entry.

Italy are strong favourites

They’re at less than evens on Betfair. Francesco Gabbani is singing Occidentali’s Karma for them. It’s in Italian and it is a pretty fun song. Of course, Russia were at evens for Eurovision 2016 and failed to secure the victory. But far fewer people hate Italy.

Also, Italy has a dancing gorilla. And no, I don’t think it’s a Chabris & Simons experiment.

That golden Eurovision moment

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 | Distractions

eurovision-2016-scoreboard

Remember that for a short few minutes during Eurovision 2016, the UK was on the left-hand side of the scoreboard.

Can Britain win Eurovision?

Saturday, May 28th, 2016 | Distractions, Thoughts

eurovision-2016-winnerJamala wins Eurovision 2016. Photo credit: Thomas Hanses (EBU).

This will be the last post about Eurovision for a while. I promise. Probably. I want to address this issue though because a lot of people think Eurovision is a joke and there is no point us trying because we can never win. This isn’t the case.

We’re really good at Eurovision

Britain’s recent performances in Eurovision are not indicative of our past performance. A look at the all-time winners list puts it in perspective.

Country Wins
Ireland 7
Sweden 6
United Kingdom 5

We are the third most successful country in Eurovision ever. It’s only Sweden’s two recent victories of Loreen in 2012 and Måns Zelmerlöw last year that have pushed them ahead of us. The UK and Ireland between them have cleaned up. We’ve also hosted it a record number of times as we have helped out poorer countries by hosting it for them on several occasions.

Good music wins Eurovision

Here are some of our recent scores:

Year Artist Place
2011 Blue 11
2012 Engelbert Humperdinck 25
2013 Bonnie Tyler 19

Note that when we are not dragging singers back from the grave, and put a popular band in, we do much better. Blue were already arguably has-beens by the time they entered, and the song was okay and look how much better thet did. Our performance in the votes is correlated to the quality of music we put in.

Sweden, who have been smashing it recently, start picking their song in November. They have a whole music festival to decide on it. They take it seriously: and they win.

Bloc voting isn’t that important

Bloc voting isn’t as important as you might think. The Radio Times have a good write-up of the situation. UCL even published a study showing that while bloc voting has an affect, it is not big enough to prevent a a song winning the contest. Lena’s “Satellite” winning for Germany in 2010 is a good example of this. Germany don’t have many friends, but they still triumphed.

Even if it is, we’re in a bloc

Some would argue that the bloc voting is actual just cultural voting. People like the music of their culture and as their neighbours probably have a similar culture, they are likely to get votes because they share the same music tastes. Whatever the reason, the UK benefits from this.

What country do we give the most points to? Ireland! And who gives us the most points? Yep, it’s Ireland. Our neighbours across the water, France and Belgium, are also some of our most generous donors and god bless Malta who gave this year’s song, that came third from bottom, a full 12 points.

Eurovision 2016 wrap-up

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 | Distractions

eurovision-2016

So, Eurovision 2016 is over and Ukraine have won the day. Now that Russia haven’t won, I can start enjoying Sergey Lazarev’s “You Are The Only One” for the quite good song that it really is. There were no obviously rubbish songs this year. I think that is the problem with the semi-final system: it filters out all of the really crazy stuff.

Sweden rocked our world

I thought Sweden did a brilliant job of hosting. It was a little different, and definitely for the better. I am pleased Justin Timberlake performed. Not because I am a big Timberlake fan, but I hope that it will lend a note of legitimacy to the contest that will encourage bigger names to take part, which can only benefit the UK (with our massive stock of big artists).

They also stole the show with the best song of the night…

The UK did not do very well

Alas. It was looking quite good for Joe & Jake when the judges’ votes came in, but the public did not feel the same way. It’s a shame because I think it is one of the better songs we have put up recently.

The new voting system is odd

I think I prefer the old system. The new system does keep the surprise until right at the very end, but then it also makes the rest feel a bit pointless. They have to rush round the other countries, with only one score announcement each and the tedious reminder to get on wit hit. Do they not brief the people giving the scores beforehand so they know to just get on with it?

I was hoping we could make some FiveThirtyEight-style paths to victory which showed how a country was doing compared to how it should have been doing. For example, if Belarus gives us two points and Russia eight points, on the face of it, that would seem to put Russia ahead. But it doesn’t of course, because they would normally give Russia 12 points and us nothing. It would be interesting to model, but the new system makes it impossible (it would have been difficult before anyway).

The public have very different opinions

Poland, who you will remember entered a rubbish song, were rightly at the bottom when the judges’ scores had been set up. Yet when the public vote came in, they were third from top. This happened to them a few years ago when their churning milkmaids were shunned by the British jury but very popular with the British public. This time, on a European-wide scale.

I’ve come round to songs

I initially shunned Laura Tesoro’s “What’s The Pressure” when listening beforehand. However, seeing it in the contest brought it to life.

It’s a fun, upbeat song and I like the retro disco theme. Even more impressive, that girl has moves! Have you tried doing a dance that choreographed while belting out a song like that? It is damn hard to sing and play an instrument at the same time, and I imagine singing and dancing is harder.

Also, Jamie-Lee’s “Ghost” was so bizarre that I can’t get it out of my head.

As Graham Norton pointed out, they clearly had a lot of costume ideas: and liked them all.

Eurovision 2016: 24 hours to go

Friday, May 13th, 2016 | Distractions

eurovision-2016

Last weekend I published a preview of some of the songs to watch. Well, that’s all changed. I’ve been listening to the songs on Spotify all week and have some new favourites.

Russia

Not a song I want to win. In fact, I’m starting the hashtag #AnyoneButRussia. They are now heavy favourites though. Paddy Power are offering 1.57 on them. 2.0 would be evens (50% shot at winning), so they’re running away with it. The nearest rival is Australia at 11/2.

Australia

They have moved up to second favourite. It’s a good song.

Ukraine

Third favourites. They must be counting on a lot of political sympathies though. The song just isn’t that good. Bold topic, but not great music.

Poland

Poland are having a nightmare! The song I have been singing along to most this week has been Margaret’s Cool Me Down. It’s super-addictive. Great song. The bookies were loving it too.

Then I find out that they picked another song to compete in Eurovision. And it’s shit.

Norway

I’m disappointed Norway did not make it through. Agnete’s Icebreaker is a nice tune.

Malta

Another slower but nice song is Malta. It’s got that nice kick-up.

Conclusion

Obviously, I hope Joe and Jake nail it for the UK. However, as I can’t vote for them, my favourite so far is Amir, representing France. It’s the only song I have been singing as much as Margaret.

Eurovision 2016 preview

Saturday, May 7th, 2016 | Distractions, Video

eurovision-2016

It’s only one week away! Here is a quick round-up of the entries I will be watching out for.

United Kingdom

We have definitely put up a lot worse in our time. I think it would have worked better if it had kicked up into a dance routine with some fancy light show, but we’ll see. We scored 5 points last year, so basically anything would be good.

Sweden

I think this is a poor effort from Sweden. The bookies put them fairly high up, but I feel it lacks the magic of their recent winners.

Russia

Russia are strong favourites to win, at 2/1. It is a pretty good song. Still, I live in hope that the bad guys won’t win. Eurovision was designed as a contest to bring war-torn Europe together. It would be sorely ironic if it were in Russia next year, while Ukraine remains occupied by Russian forces.

Did you know, last year they used anti-booing technology for the first time ever to try and hide the anti-Russian boos. Imagine how loud they would have been without it!

France

France are the only other country with a chance of winning if Paddy Power is to believed. Almost as hot as Russia, leaving everyone else far in the distance. It’s a really upbeat song. It’s probably got my vote.

Finland

Last year, Finland entered a band of punk rockers with learning difficulties. They didn’t make it through the semi-finals. Now, I’m not saying that makes the whole of Europe simple-minded bigots. Clearly Finland have learned their lesson trying to be inclusive though, and dropped it in favour of a pretty typical Eurovision song. I like it, but the bookies don’t. It’s no Hard Rock Hallelujah, but it is a catchy tune.

Eurovision 2014

Thursday, May 29th, 2014 | Distractions, Video

eurovision-2014

I found this year’s Eurovision very odd. There was not a huge mix of ridiculous, funny novelty acts. There were just a lot of genuinely enjoyable songs. I am not sure I approve of that.

The winner was of course Conchita Wurst. Her victory was heralded as a great victory for the acceptance of trans in our society. I am a little less convinced. The fact that Wurst could win Eurovision does not tell us that much. Yes, it means she got lots of votes from countries you might not think were that gay-friendly. But it was Eurovision. The campest thing on television. It’s the only thing that did not get more camp by adding Graham Norton. I’m very happy she won, but this is not the end of apartheid.

We finally got the message this year and realised we were going to do a lot better if we had a Swedish person write our song instead. It still did not work that well.

Finland did okay this year. They face the same problem every year though – how do you follow the legend that is Lordi?

I really enjoyed Iceland’s song. Good song; good message.

Being a twenty-first century man I would never be petty enough to revel in French defeats. For a start, who has that much time to commit? But if you are going to take your one black performer and daub him in war paint while your lead singer is wearing a shirt and tie, you probably deserve to come dead last.

No surprise that Ukraine actually gave Russia plenty of points. Even if half the country is rather annoyed at Russia at the moment, they do have a large ethnic Russian population.

I have no idea how The Netherlands got so many votes. It was a good song, but it wasn’t a Eurovision song (we don’t want your deep and meaningful music about here!).

Well done to Hungary too. Not everyone could score so many points by singing about child abuse.

I was quite proud of us when we didn’t give Poland all our points. It was a shit song. We hadn’t voted for Poland just because they got their tits out. But then it turned out the public had.

Of course now is the most depressing time of year, because it is the furthest away you can be from the next Eurovision song contest. But we will struggle on, somehow…

Eurovision 2014 semi final 1

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 | Distractions

eurovision-2014

I did not watch the first semi final as I do not want to spoil all the songs for Saturday (I am sure many of you feel the same way…). The results are in though. The qualifiers are…

  • Armenia
  • Sweden
  • Iceland
  • Russia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Ukraine
  • San Marino
  • The Netherlands
  • Montenegro
  • Hungary

While those eliminated are…

  • Latvia
  • Estonia
  • Albania
  • Belgium
  • Moldova
  • Portugal

The Russian entry was booed when they made it through. That is a little unpleasant for the contestants themselves, and I feel sorry for them. However, in the grand scheme of things, Eurovision is a good place for the general public to make their voices heard (ironically probably more so than parliament). And they did. Which is no surprise as if you are going to attack the LGBT community, you shouldn’t then enter the campest song contest in the world.

It’a a shame Estonia and Moldova did not make it through. Both have songs still in my rotation. Moldova’s 2011 entry “So Lucky” was a fairy on a unicycle…

While Estonia had a plastic doll. It was very effective, you couldn’t even see the strings…

*Sigh* 2011 was a good year for Eurovision. 2012 was a bit rubbish, while 2013 was a bit better. But I’m hoping for better things this year.

Great to see San Marino made it in for once. Sweden too. Speaking of which, it might be time for some Loreen…

Eurovision 2013

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 | Life

eurovision-party

It came round so fast. Falling on the same night as Wendy House resulted in us having a Eurovision party slash Wendy House night, which meant that we did at least have the same generic music from two different events.

The best entry of the night was clearly that of Finland’s Krista Siegfrids, though it did surprisingly badly in the voting. The important thing is though that it annoyed the whole of Turkey for daring to suggest that gay people should have equal rights – what more could you possibly want from a song?