It is that glorious time of year again, where all good taste is thrown out of the window, and retailers all over Europe sell out of hot glue guns and diamantes. EUROVISION. The notorious song contest has been running since 1956 and has never failed to deliver it's patented brand of 'so bad it's good' entertainment.
Join me under the cut for a look at some of the 'highlights' of semi final 1, coming to you from Baku, Azerbaijan.
The first song of the night was 'Euro Neuro' by Rambo Amadeus. Let that sink in for a minute. Rambo. Amadeus. You probably think he can't get better than that right? That's a kick ass stage name. Mr Amadeus turns out to be a greasy-haired middle-aged man, whose song is some sort of stream-of-consciousness rap/slam poetry piece about money and him not liking snow peas. Why the snow pea hate, Rambo? What did they ever do to you? I was all aboard the Rambo train until he was interviewed later on the Australian telecast and he seemed to actually know very little about John Rambo. Illusion shattered. They did not quiz him on Wolfgang Amadeus but I'm going to assume he knew bugger all about that topic either.
See, what I like about Iceland is they clearly looked at last year's winning song by Azerbaijan and went 'A duo! We need a DUO! And it needs to be DRAMATIC! The woman shall play the violin dramatically! The man shall dress like a mortician! This will be great! We simply can't fail!' All joking aside, I actually really enjoyed this one. It was super theatrical and had pyrotechnics and the guy had cheekbones you could cut your hangikjöt on. Twitter was claiming he looked like Bowie but I'm pretty sure Twitter needs it's collective eyes checked.
Latvia hands us 'Beautiful Song' as its 2012 entry. You know what this song isn't? Beautiful. You know what it is? Utterly terrible. And not even in the charmingly bad Eurovision kind of way. Singing about how you've always wanted to enter Eurovision, and then you do, and you win, and Mick Jagger calls you but you're really busy ironing your polyester gown or whatever and you can't talk to him. Yep. I did enjoy the cringe-tastic mis-matched 'Desperate Housewives of Latvia' thing she had going on with her backing singers though. Latvia, coming to you direct from 1998!
I wasn't actually initially planning on including Albania in this, but the re-watch convinced me otherwise. Despite the weird thing on her head, this chick is an INSANE singer. Just watch the damn thing. I'll be over here in the corner trying to increase my lung capacity so I can hold a note for two minutes too.
Switzerland have given us the pop-punk bros Sinplus with 'Unbreakable'. It's a brave choice, playing a rock song and actually playing instruments. The dude seems to be channeling the guy from The Calling with that weird deep groany voice, so you know they're firmly entrenched in the early 00s, which is probably a bit advanced for Eurovision, but y'know, they're risk-takers. As they say 'Swim against the stream, following your wildest dream'. Follow your dreams, Suisse bros. I guess if they do well we'll never know if it was because of the song or their SWEET BRO HEAD SHAVE PATTERNS. Head shave patterns totally say 'I'm tough...but interested in the visual arts'. I'm not sure what his goatee thing says, but I'm curious to find out at what point it stops being 'a goatee' and starts being 'I missed a bit shaving'. He's treading a fine line there.
ISRAEL. I think this is what happens when you give over-caffeinated former childrens show hosts instruments. The singer looks like a bit of a sex pest, to be honest. He's Creepy Uncle Jimmy who gets drunk at family gatherings and hugs you for a little bit too long. From behind. The song is actually pretty catchy, and I can just picture a whole bunch of hipsters saying 'Yeah, well, I liked Izabo BEFORE Eurovision.'
This one has been doing the rounds over the last week or so, so you may have already heard it, but no reason not to watch again. This is a song about the Internet. And Facebook. 'If you wanna be more than just a friend, if you wanna play cyber sex again, if you wanna come to my house, then click me with your mouse.' The costumes and choreography reduce this to a level that isn't just embarrassing by Eurovision standards, it's embarrassing by amateur shopping centre talent show standards. It's probably not a great spoiler to say this one didn't make it through to the final.
This is another one I wasn't going to mention because EVERYONE will be talking about it, but it would be remiss of me to exclude them. Goodness they're adorable. Can't sing for shit and the song is crap, but ADORABLE. The fact they have an oven on stage really says a lot about Russia's stance on the whole 'women/kitchen' thing.
This band is called Trackshittaz. They describe themselves as 'tractor gangster party rock'. No, I don't know either. They're singing something that sounds like 'funky little poo poo' with pole dancers behind them. I was fairly uninterested in Sers Shittaz until the lights went out and THEIR SUITS LIT UP. Well, parts of it. I was looking for something positive, that's about the best I could do. I was humming 'funky little poo poo' for ages afterwards though.
Look, I was aware of Jedward prior to this. I'd heard of their involvement in X-Factor or whatever the thing they were on was, I'd seen them on last year's Eurovision, and I had formed the fairly solid opinion that they were crap. They have stupid hair, and stupid songs, and they jumped around too much and they just needed to get off my damn lawn. So I sat through this one thinking 'Do your worst, Jedward'. First point, they didn't have (as) stupid hair. They were wearing some sort of spangly sci fi medieval outfits. I was intrigued. Then they had a water feature. A WATER FEATURE. I'd seen so many pyrotechnics, water was a new element entirely. I was turning. Then they did mid-air high fives and cutesy little heart gestures and they were dancing and then they STOOD IN THE WATER FEATURE FOR THE GRAND FINALE and then suddenly I was on my feet and clapping and I was Team Jedward. This complete and utter turnaround took three minutes. I felt slightly nauseous but what was done was done. Damn you Jedward. Damn you to hell, or whereever it is that your little pixie kind go.
Perhaps shockingly *cough*, only four of our friends above made it through into the final. Drama-couple Iceland, Uber-lungs Albania, mini-Nannas Russia, and....Jedward. They did cartwheels all the way up to the stage after they were announced as the final act to go through. Sigh. The others to go through were Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Denmark, Cyprus, and Greece. I think Iceland and Cyprus are looking like the strongest from SF1, but you just never know with Eurovision.
Join me tomorrow for all the action from semi final 2, where we discover who else will be going through to the final on Sunday! OMG you guys!