Live Blogging Eurovision 2010

29 May 2010
20:20 CET

As regular readers of this blog know, I have fallen under the influence of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Lena Meyer-Landrut has been in the news a lot since she was selected to represent Germany in Eurovision 2010.  She's rocketed to the top of the German pop charts, with three singles in the top five (nos. 1, 2, and 4).  She has already become fodder for the German tabloid press, notably after people realized she had shown some skin acting in a television docu-drama, and because she hasn't seen her father in 16 years.  Meanwhile, even coffee-purveyor Tchibo is selling Lena t-shirts in its stores. The headline in Spiegel Online is "The Cult of Lena-ism: Eurovision's Next Winner?"

Lena-mania aside, I haven't watched Eurovision since 1988.  The funny thing is that what I remember about that show was that it introduced me to a great Irish rock band, The Hothouse Flowers.  I later bought their single "Don't Go" on cassette.  (On cassette! Can you believe that?)  What a wee bit of googling just revealed to me is that 1988 is the year Celine Dion won the contest.  Chances are that you haven't heard The Hothouse Flowers (and perhaps you should), whereas I bet that you have heard entirely enough of Celine Dion. Perhaps in 10 or 20 years tonight's contest will be comparably memorable and unmemorable.

20:55  CET

Whoa.  I should have turned on the television sooner. There's a huge pre-Eurovision show on, and there are gigantic street parties across Germany.  Everybody is screaming and waving little German flags.

20:58  CET

I wouldn't quite call it a prayer, but a preacher in civvies just gave a sort of inspirational op-ed about talent.  Then the crowd screams 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5... and the show begins.

21:20 CET

Daniel Diges (Spain) looks like a young Art Garfunkel.  Not going to win.  The story here is that somebody got up from the audience and started dancing during his act.  Bouncers had to intervene.

21:22  CET

E. says Norway's Didrik Solli is "dreamy."  Song is manipulative and uplifting.  Song ends and E. says, "Did you see the ejaculation of fireworks?"  Uh...

21:25 CET

Moldova's act is decent, but we're laughing out-loud at their costumes.  The sax player is absolutely hilarious. ("He's humping his sax.")  And what's the story on the guy with the electric, neon-rimmed violin?  The German announcer narrating calls the lead singer the Moldovan Lady Gaga.  That's saying something, but I'm not sure what.

From the semi-final:

21:37 CET

Belgium's Tom Dice is cute and charming.  Looks like babyface Tobey McGuire, and sounds a bit like Paul Simon.  Super talented.

Video of Tom in the semi-final:

21:39  CET

Regarding Serbia, um, is that a man or a woman who just walked out?  Is this song polka or techno?

21:43 CET

Update.  Because someone got on the stage while Spain was performing, they will get a second chance. Yeah, good luck with that.  May actually be worse without a wiseacre messing things up. 

21:45 CET

Dear Belarus, it would help if you could sing.  And if you want to sing in English, perhaps you should also be able to pronounce English.

I think the German announcer says "kitsch als kitsch kann" at the end of the performance.  Sounds like "catch as catch can," but I think he means "as kitschy as it gets."

21:57 CET

UK's mono-syllabic entrant, "Josh," is abominable.  Worse than mushy peas.  Makes my ears bleed.  Rick Astley-esque, but wildly off-key.

22:00 CET

They just took a quick breather, but now it's on with the show.  It's really nice to watch a show with no commercial breaks, and pretty much back-to-back performances.  No unnecessary blah-blah.

22:07  CET

Turkey's entry is a really cool rock band called maNga.  But what's with the grinder girl / robocop backup singer?

22:08 CET

Violins are big at this year's Eurovision.  Is this the Alexander Rybak effect?

22:10 CET

Update.  Announcer just said 7 of the acts this year have violins.  Told ya so.

22:15  CET

Food for thought. The Superbowl attracts about 100 million viewers around the world.  Because all those people are watching, there is huge commercial potential, and there are lots and lots of commercials.  The Eurovision song contrast attracts about 125 million viewers.  Maybe there is some other big televised event I've never heard of, but I'm guessing that makes Eurovision the biggest TV show on the planet.  But there are no commercials.

Moral of the story: Europeans think differently.

22:20 CET

Regarding Alyosha from Ukraine:

I say: "She sounds like a Bond song."
E says: "She looks like a Bond girl."

22:23  CET

France has a chance.  "Allez, allez, allez" is pretty catchy, I have to admit.  Put your hands up.  Clap your hands.

22:30 CET

Russia.  E. says: "With all of these men singing, it's kind of like Fleet Foxes, but bad."  I've said this before, but I'll have to say it again: don't sing English if no one will be able to tell you're singing English. And please, no high notes.

22:42 CET

Portugal's Filipa Azevedo can really sing.

22:35 CET

LENA!  Germany's little black dress is back. Crowd eats it up. 

22:34 CET

Armenia: The act is a little weird, kind of like a mini-musical theatre performance.  But the song is actually pretty good.  Helps that the singer looks like Angelina Jolie.

22:49 CET

Whoa, Israel, good looks don't make up for bad singing.  

22:51 CET

Hey, Denmark, the 80s called.  Said they want their sound back.  

23:04 CET

Well, the singing is over, and the voting is taking place. So during this breather, I'd just like to tip my hat to one of the hosts who, at the end of the performances, stripped off his tux to reveal a wide-lapeled green disco shirt--thereby indicating that the work was over and the party was starting.  I can't do his transformation justice, but it was unexpected, effective, and well-executed. 

E and I have voted for Belgium and France. Yeah, we're hoping for Lena to pull it off, but we can't vote for the German candidate from Germany. So think of this as strategic voting, because the Eastern Europeans will vote as a block, so we need to counterbalance them by voting for Western European countries.  Also, perhaps incidentally, we enjoyed the Belgian and French performers.

23:15 CET

Okay, I'm impressed.  I am watching, live, thousands of people all across Europe dancing  a Eurovision dance.  Think: flash mob taking place simultaneously in Ljubljana, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, London, etc.

23:36 CET

E. just pointed out that all the countries of the former Yugoslavia voted for each other.  They just fought each other in a war, but they'd rather vote for each other than let someone else get points.

Country by country, the points are being announced and tallied.  Germany has a strong lead.....

23:30 CET

Portugal votes for Spain.  Azerbaijan votes for Turkey.  Greece votes for Albania and Cyprus.  Iceland votes for Denmark.  You see where I'm going with this?  Now, the question is why.  Are tastes regional?  Do people just like their neighbors more than the people at the end of the street?  Or do voting patterns merely reflect where immigrant communities live?  (For example: In Germany you can't vote for Germany.  But there are many Turkish immigrants living in Germany, and Turkey got a strong vote from Germany.)

30 May 2010
00:07 CET

No way Lena could possibly lose.  She's currently leading with 234 points.  Closest contender has 165. Meanwhile Belarus has 6 points.  Told you that act was bad.

00:12 CET

LENA WINS WITH 246 POINTS.  She's walking across the stage to heroic music.

The Winner: Lena from Germany

Host: "Any words to describe this moment?"
Lena, out of it: "Hi."

The Winner: Lena from Germany


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