I don't know how many of you lovely people managed to catch the Eurovision Song Contest this year. Actually, I'm not sure how many of you outside of Europe even know about the show! So before we get to the entrants, here's a little background for uninitiated.
The Eurovision Song contest is an annual music competition where members of the European Broadcasting Union submit one act each year to represent their country. Who decides the overall winner, you ask? Well, after each country has finished performing at the event, it's then left to a panel of judges (from each country) to mark the songs. Those scores are then revealed LIVE via satellite link, which has ushered into existence one of Eurovision's most defining features: watching the host hurry along any waffling representative while trying to keep the show on track. (I'm sure I'm making this sound way more complex than it is). The winner is of course the song which gets the most points after all the scores are in.
Unfortunately this way of scoring has led to quite a bit of political and block voting occurring, where neighbours would score each other highly while freezing out countries they aren't liking at that moment. To try and counter this, the judges' scores are now balanced with 50% of public votes from their country. (To be fair, this hasn't changed much).
Now from what I remember of the show from my youth, because I stopped paying attention to it quite a few years back, was that it was consistently full of crazy people, camp performances and bad songs. In fact, sometimes it seemed like countries were trying their best not to win the competition just so they didn't have the hassle of organising the show in their country the following year. (A perk of winning, supposedly!)
However this year I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed near enough every song entered-hence this post!! I'll tell you who else would have enjoyed this show: Mariah Carey! There were bloody butterflies EVERYWHERE!
Before we get to the the Divas, there was one act that stood out amongst all the others, and reminded me of the way (I remember) Eurovision to have been. Check out Romania's entry, Cezar and his song It's My Life. This is total camp madness!
Females:Amandine Bourgeois -L'enfer et moi (France). This French Diva opened the show, and boy did she take the hard road with minimal props and no gimmicks to win over the crowd. However, her voice and the rockier influences in the song managed to hold my interest and set the more grown-up/contemporary tone of the event perfectly. (4/5)
Aliona Moon- O mie (Moldova): I knew there was a reason she was wearing that dress and not moving- just wait till the second half of the performance. The song was a little dry for me, but I didn't dislike it and certainly enjoyed her voice and the big and dramatic bridge. (3/5)
Krista Siegfrids -Marry Me (Finland): This Katy Perry knock-off was my least favourite song of the whole competition. Musically annoying and terribly gimmicky with its publicity stunt lesbian kiss. Maybe she's a gay rights advocate and I'm just being a cynic.(1/5)
Anouk - Birds (The Netherlands): This song felt like it was written for a musical and reminded me so much of Suspended by Kelis (not quite sure why). It's obvious that Anouk has quite a set of pipes on her, with a gorgeous mid-belt. The song was also a surprisingly left-field choice by the Netherlands. Still, I really enjoyed it!
Dina Garipova- What If? (Russia): This is what I (in an ideal world) want from Eurovision: songs about humanity and loving one another! Even though the lyrics were cheesy, it had a real message and wasn't just a generic pop song. Dina had great control over her instrument; seemingly strong in her head, belt and lower register. Lighters up, everyone!
Bonnie Tyler- Believe In Me (United Kingdom): Oh Bonnie. The song was just too tame for the Eurovision! It was nice enough but just wasn't memorable. Also, we wanted to hear that rasp-filled belt! There's no point having Bonnie Tyler if the expectations of hearing her massive, wrought belt aren't fulfilled! You did us proud, though!
Cascada - Glorious (Germany): I always thought Cascada was British...guess I was wrong! EDM enters the stadium. Usually I dislike the group's songs, but the euphoria of the synths and soaring vocals got to me- the Jack Daniels might have helped too. It sounded a little bit too much like Swedish House Mafia's Don't You Worry Child for me to really rate it.
Emmelie de Forest - Only Teardrops (Denmark): Spoiler....this won! Lol. It's a nice enough song and the singer had a great husk to her voice, but it was a little twee for my liking with the tin whistle. The staging was good, and everyone performing seemed to be genuinely enjoying the experience which was nice to see.
ESDM - Contigo Hasta El Final (With You Until The End) (Spain): Who knew bagpipes were traditionally Spanish...I sure didn't. Really liked the introduction to the song- it was serving up some Lisa Gerrard realness. After that it went downhill for me, descending into a generic pop-rock track. The singer also had a tone too sweet for me, not to mention she was the only singer who suffered from pitch problems.
Alyona Lanskaya - Solayoh (Belarus): This started off well for me and had a production that kept switching it up to maintain our interest. The lyrics weren't to my liking but it was fun, flirty and camp. The percussive breakdown in the middle was EVERYTHING! I Only wish that part had been longer!
Zlata Ognevich - Gravity (Ukraine): This was the most typically Diva vocal of the contest. Great voice and a stunning vibrato but the track sounded too much like a Disney song for me to really enjoy. Give me an animated princess to go with it and then we'll really talk about it.
Birgit - Et Uus Saaks Alguse(Estonia): 5 months pregnant and still managing to sound and look like an Estonian Goddess! Shame the song was boring.
Margaret Berger- I Feed You My Love(Norway): Loved the dirty electro sound and the general vibe of the song. Was possibly the weakest vocal of the night (and that's no real insult considering how high the standard was), but I enjoyed the darker edge that it brought to the contest.
And now the Males:
(RE: that linked Gif. I'm only kidding, there were some great entries. Just don't expect any real commentary or scores!)
Ryan Dolan- Only Love Survives (Ireland):I really liked this; Staging and song! Shame it came last.
Nodi Tatishvili and Sophie Gelovani- Waterfall (Georgia):My second least liked song of the evening.Way too old school for my tastes.
Marco Mengoni- L'Essenziale (Italy): A nice little ballad.
Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis - Alcohol Is Free (Greece): This song was hilarious, with the energy and passion shown being the strongest of the night.
Farid Mammadov - Hold Me (Azerbaijan) : Not for me, thanks!
Eythor Ingi - Ég Á Líf (Iceland): Was one of my favourites from the men UNTIL that key change. Blergh.
Robin Stjernberg - You (Sweden): Like Ireland's entry, this was another song that I could totally see on the charts of today. Really enjoyed this one. Guy had a cracking voice, too!
Dorians - Lonely Planet (Armenia): This was a strong, and surprising entry from Armenia. It was written by a member of Black Sabbath, which enhanced the authentic, rock sound of the song.
Roberto Bellarosa - Love Kills (Belgium): I really liked this entry, but boy was the singer creepy. It had a great build-up and was the only song sporting an electro breakdown in its bridge.
Andrius Pojavis- Something (Lithuania): Second song of the night, and had a Bravery/ Kings Of Leon sound about it. Needed more of a punch, but it was enjoyable!
ByeAlex - Kedvesem (Hungary): Cute song.
Gianluca- Tomorrow (Malta): Another cutesy and inoffensive song, which was way too breezy and bright for me.
I can't imagine any of you watched EVERY performance, but I'll ask anyway: Who did you like best, and who do you think should have taken the trophy home? Vote below.
And here's the score table from the night, pinched straight from Wikipidia but changed by me to read from winner to loser:
And to close, last year's winner, Loreen, who put on one helluva show while the scores were being tallied. ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS! Definitely going to be looking for more from her!