EUROVISION 2019 – Confessions of an out of touch Baby Boomer

It’s on again, the queen of talent quests, in every sense of the phrase and as has become our custom, Ann and I took our wine and champers and propped in front of the TV to watch the spectacle.

SBS are using the same two commentators from last year, Joel Creasy and Myf Warhurst, I know it’s completely non PC to say this, but Creasy’s theatrical, self-admiring camp leaves me cold, Warhurst is a far better commentator, but she struggles to get traction with Look at me! Look at Me! Creasy. I’m sure he’s a riot at a gay nightclub revue, but I wish they’d fuck him off. On to the acts, although even there, Creasy turns the performers appearances into cameos, while he plays “I’m the star here!”

First up was Neta, the Mickey Mouse girl from Israel, last year’s winner. Dressed in something that looked like a vivid Picasso dropped from a great height, as a fat bloke, I had to admire somebody that size and that confident in terms of sartorial display. God knows what her song was about, it certainly wasn’t about melody.

Cyrpus – Tamta. The tune was catchy, visually it seemed to about PVC bondage. Next.

Montenegro – D Mol. WTF? Describes my reactions best, being charitable, I think it was a local high school rehearsal.

Finland – Darude Feat. Darude’s Disco, but great visually and excellent drama. I quite liked it.

Poland – Tulia. Different. If you can imagine an Asian girl singing in tune at karaoke that’s sort of what it sounded like, I found it interesting.

Slovenia – Zala and Gasper. I really liked this, the intensity between the young couple was obviously genuine, though most of the time I couldn’t work out why the guy was there – perhaps the lyrics were imprinted on his eyes, she kept gazing there.

Czech Republic – Lake Malawi. Totally manufactured bubble gum, been done to death decades ago, Goodbye.

Hungary – Joci Papai. Bloke about his dad. Intense, great drama and love, bloody fantastic, absolutely loved it.

Belaruse – Zena. Boring, boring! Same old, same old crap. Hot tart in hot pants.

Serbia – Nevena Bozovic. Great voice, great music, at last, a female singer who wasn’t singing budgie in a disco cage. I really liked this.

Belgium – Eliot. Good visually, not a strong voice, but listenable.

Georgia – Oto Nemsadzi. Big emotional ballad, great voice, great drama, I really liked this.

Australia – Kate Miller-Heidke. Probably got a good voice, gimmicky – gave a new meaning to pole dancing – Kate Bush goes disco.

Iceland – Hatari. Music for a B grade Vampire movie, next.

Estonia – Victor Crone. Apparently he’s an Aussie, or a Canadian? But he’s learning the language, it just so happens the language is cross-over C&W.

Portugal – Conan Osiris. Interesting, Fado link?

Greece – Katerina Duska. Powerful voice, crap song, backdrop looked like the top of pink condom, very 90s, thanks but no thanks. Would like to hear her with decent music, maybe playing under the tree at Dousko’s on Hydra.

San Marino – Serhat. Ageing gay bloke with no voice – sort of reminded me of those nightclub owners of old who insisted on taking to the stage at some stage in the evening, convinced the audience was there for them.

Whilst the people voted, a lady in red, Sharon Cohen aka Dana International, (the Israeli singer who won in 1998), pouted and slinked over herself in a mirror, before singing something which had all the gay couples kissing, but the hetro couples more hesitant

In conclusion, I don’t think any of the acts I liked got through, too bad, I rank my top four, as follows:

  1. Hungary – Joci Papai
  2.  Serbia – Nevena Bozovic.
  3. Equal third: Georgia – Oto Nemsadzi,  Slovenia – Zala and Gasper

Roll on Round 2.

EUROVISION 2019 – Round 2

Somebody at SBS must have had a quiet word to Creasey, he was far less intrusive. Righto, straight into it.

Armenia – Srbuk           Loved it instantly, powerful voice, reminiscent of Adele’s Skyfall, great song, great singer, great stuff.

Ireland – Sarah McTernan    Sandy Shaw imitation without the catchy songs, bland, boring

Moldova – Anna Odobescu      Bloody brilliant! Great voice, intense, dramatic, loved the sand mandala.

Switzerland –  Luca Hanii         Boring, boring, been done a thousand times, goodbye

Latvia –  Carousel         My sort of music, beautiful, not show stopping, but lovely.

Romania – Ester Peony            I like this, even a Dracula reference (with the bats), a mad scene sprung to mind of a beautifully dangerous Russian agent who was going to kill you as she made to love to you, again touches of Adele, which is no bad thing.

Denmark –  Leonora      I liked this, great voice, quirky, catchy and no bloody disco, good stuff.

Sweden – John Lundvik     Great voice, but the song slipped into 90s shit, been done a thousand equally boring times, shame, I think he’s a better singer than this.

Austria – Paenda           Breathless budgie, more disco, boring! Try yodelling, Goodbye.

Croatia – Roko  I like this, visually interesting, great voice – Vangelis like, with a touch of Netflix Lucifer, without the wings.

Malta –  Michela            Walk Like an Egyptian … in an aquarium, more disco bullshit, goodbye.

Lithuania – Jurij Veklenko        Boy band castrati disco, yuck.

Russia – Sergey Lazaref           I like this, great tenor voice

Albania – Jonida Maliqi            I like this too, great voice and passion

Norway – KEiino           Disco, BUT, I liked it – sort of late 70s, bloody good.

Netherlands – Duncan Laurence           No, sorry, more boy band crap, goodbye

North Macedonia – Tamara Todevska   I really like this, great voice.

Azerbaijan – Chingiz     Clever, sort of disco with robots, but ultimately formulaic boy band stuff.

As we waited for the voting and counting, an interesting Israeli group called Shalva Band played, they were excellent, with a lovely story – Shalva is a non for profit Israeli organisation that works with people with disabilities, it was lovely to watch and in a way, these young people were the real winners of the night.

I also realised my taste is leaning very much to the darker, stronger Nordic and eastern Europe songs and singers, but then apart from Ireland, which was disappointingly bland, we haven’t yet seen the UK, France and Germany. The show is also reminding me that there is a whole world of manufactured bland, disco boy band, singing budgie entertainment out there, that millions enjoy.

My top Three:

  1. Armenia – Srbuk
  2. Moldova – Anna Odobescu
  3. Equal Third   Romania – Ester Peony  and  Denmark –  Leonora

I can’t not also mention  Croatia – Roko

As for the actual votes, only one of my picks (Denmark – Leonara) made it, while Switzerland, Sweden and Netherlands all went through, which does show how out of touch I am.

And I’ve just learnt that Anna Odobescu actually did exactly the same song in a previous Eurovison … for another country? WTF? How can officials allow that to happen?

Roll on the finals!

EUROVISION – THE GRAND FINAL!

Great introduction, full kudos to Israel for fantastic production throughout the event, but this final was brilliant, fabulous spectacle.

What interested me, was seeing if I judged the singers and their songs differently on this second viewing, indeed, I found that some of the songs appeared quite different and I’d be half way through a song before I realised I’d heard it before, others, for example, the Aussie entry, were exactly the same. As I write this, I haven’t reviewed my previous notes.

In order of appearance:

Malta –  Michela   Disco dance track, pleasant but been done to death a thousand times in the last 40 years, good voice, great legs.

Albania – Jonida Maliqi   Fabulous voice, really good, dramatic and wonderful rhythm

Czech Republic – Lake Malawi   1980s bubble gum disco crap – Wiggles for 13yr old girls.

Germany – Sisters        I really liked this, I know they’re a  manufactured duo, but it’s an excellent ballad, they’ve got great voices, good drama  and they had an obvious rapport.

Russia – Sergey Lazaref   Great tenor voice, great song, dramatic, fabulous ballad, fantastic stuff

Denmark –  Leonora  Quirky, clever, light as a breeze at first, but one of those songs that sneaks up on you, very ironic, excellent voice.

San Marino – Serhat   Rod McKeun on disco steroids, a sort of monotone Julio Iglesias.

North Macedonia – Tamara Todevska     Fabulous voice, great song, backing arrangement was weak in places, bit overall, fantastic.

Sweden – John Lundvik         If it was original, it would be good, but really, just another manufactured boy band piece, boring as bat shit.

Slovenia – Zala and Gasper   These two are totally in their own little world of each other, great tender song, genuine, there’s just something about the beauty of innocence here that makes it a lovely song and performance to watch and listen to.

Cyrpus – Tamta  oh shit, the PVC bondage blonde again. Rave muzac, boring and tired repetitive crap, same old, same old.

Netherlands – Duncan Laurence   Starts off well, presented a lot better than the previous time, I liked it this time

Greece – Katerina Duska   Oh no! Not the pink condom again!  Excellent powerful voice, reminds me of Toni Childs, but too much screaming and a crap song, but she’s good, love to hear her sing something decent.

Israel – Kobe Marimi  Pleasant, strange voice  powerful at times, but weak at others and a bit too histrionic.

Norway – Keiino   Boy band with a blond chic. Had its moments, towards the end, some fabulous singing by a bald guy, singing / chanting in Joik style, could have listed to that a lot more, but  ultimately just another dance song.

UK – Michael Wright  Pleasant, squeaky voice, sort of talent quest boy band singer, not convincing in any way.

Iceland – Hatari  I realised this time around, they’re taking the piss, in way, quite self – ironic and of course, very Viking, as well as being a vampire movie dance. A bit of fun.

Estonia – Victor Crone  I liked it this time, struck me that the arrangement had been changed, but I could be wrong, ‘though it’s still crossover C&W.

Belaruse – Zena Hot chick in hot pants screaming disco, boring.

Azerbaijan – Chingiz  Bloody formulaic, nothing to see or hear here, robot disco.

France – Bilal Hassani   Not a great voice and just one more same old, same old, ordinary and boring. I was very disappointed, as at first, I thought she was going to do a female Jacques Brel, but sadly, no.

Italy – Mahmood  Clever rap with a middle eastern flavour, it grew on me, although ultimately a dance track.

Serbia – Nevena Bozovic  Incredible voice, love it! Drama, melody, a show stopper for me.

Switzerland –  Luca Hanii  Boring, boring, boring, yet another simpering boy band, yuck!

Australia – Kate Miller-Heidke   Kate Bush on a Pole, great presentation, fabulous visuals, very Cirque du Soleil, the vocal gymnastics left me a touch cold, but it’s obvious she can sing

Spain – Miki  I liked this, exciting, not a great song, but infectious and feel good.

Voting

Interesting to see Australian voters placed Norway first, Australia second, Spain third and Azerbaijan fourth.

While we waited for the officials and voter judging to be made then collated, we were treated to past winners singing various songs, the segment was excellent, although confirming how much of a formula is applied to songs. Then the big guest announcement – Madonna!

Yes, there was Madge, thankfully not a pubic hair in sight. Visually  a very impressive gothic church intro to Like a Virgin, but dear God, this was another Meatloaf at the AFL Final moment, She was flat, out of tune, obviously uncomfortable – couldn’t really make any small talk with the presenters. In reality, she was outclassed and out performed by almost every entrant that night. One of the voting country representatives, as she awarded her country’s points, said that Madonna was flat, it  was a fair comment.

The real voting began and it was fascinating to see how the judges points went, as compared to the voting TV audience. It was laughable to see Cyprus and Greece and Russia and Azerbaijan supporting each other – pure politics, fuck all to do with judging, but what really shocked me, was the TV voting audiences refusal to give Germany any points at all. My German wife explained that nobody likes Germany and usually something like that happens. My thoughts were that there’s a lot of growing up to do with the youth of Europe, I found it disquieting.

Then there was pandemonium, as the band from Iceland held up Palestinian support banners, an interesting moment, however things settled down and the winners were announced:

First was –  Netherlands – Duncan Laurence  

Second was – Italy – Mahmood 

Third was – Russia – Sergey Lazaref  

Me? I’d have chosen the following as winners:

Equal First:  North Macedonia – Tamara Todevska and   Serbia – Nevena Bozovic 

Second:  Russia – Sergey Lazaref  

Third: Albania – Jonida Maliqi  

Oh alright, I can’t help myself, I’d have given equal fourth to:

Germany – Sisters    and  Netherlands – Duncan Laurence  

Same time, next year … Holland!

Cheers

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