Category Archives: belgrade

Eurovision Song Contest 2008 – Winners!

Sadly, once the voting for the 53rd Annual Eurovision Song Contest ended, the folks in Belgrade, Serbia decided to punish us with “the best band for weddings and funerals.” My question: what did we do to deserve this? Oh lordy (pun unintended), these people make Dustin the Turkey and Verka Serduchka seem like John Lennon and Paul McCartney. And horrifically, they did more than one song. Or maybe it was one long song that just felt like it never ended.

I suppose that making us watch that mess made the usual tedious checking in of each nation with their votes less so. The rules stipulate that each country may not vote for itself so sometimes the votes tend to lean toward neighboring nations – unless of course they hate each other, like Turkey and Greece for instance. But, it’s pretty evident from the boos in the audience that this is a practice that is not only considered a cop out, but also seriously frowned upon.

And here are the final standings. Obviously I was waaay off in my predictions…

3. Greece – “Secret Combination” by Kalomira

2. Ukraine – “Shady Lady” by Ani Lorak

1. Russia – “Believe” by Dima Bilan

Wow, that barefoot guy won. But that was terrible… Maybe he can afford some shoes now.

For the full results, please click here, where can also view the semi-finals and the final as well.

Eurovision Song Contest 2008

Some observations on the Belgrade Finals as they happened…

Opened by last year’s winner Marija Serifvic doing her song “Molitva” in a disco mix and then a new song in English with various gender-bender shenanigans going on with her back-up singers and dancers. Marija herself began the song with a partner in wedding dress to match her own groom tux. The gown was then torn away to reveal a matching tux.

After the opening the hosts were introduced, our hostess wearing a dress that had nipples peaking out the top to say hello, quite an act in itself. I wonder if she knew?

Of the first five acts out the starting gate this year, only Andy Abraham of UK and No Angels of Germany really have given a good impression in my opinion, although apparently the latter was a bit off-key. I thought they both had strong showings.

Bosnia & Herzegovina’s homegrown superstar Laka continued the odd wedding flavor as his back-up dancers also wore bridal gowns. This of course was overshadowed by the crazy woman in the red-and-white, polka-dot, frilly skirt. She reminded me of an odd mix of Minnie Mouse, Toni Basil and Dot Warner. At least the tune was catchy.

Finland’s Terasbotoni came on with a bang and brought the noise and enthusiasm that others have lacked. My main problem is that they want so badly to be Lordi, to the point of even swinging a mace around at one point. They’re not Lordi though. Think Dio and Metallica’s love child and you’re closer to the mark.

Croatia’s Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents has been a fave since I saw their Semi-Finals performance. This was no disappointment. Love the old man. And like Croatia, Turkey’s Mor ve Otesi gave just as energetic performance here as in their semi-final. Another fave, and so far, one of the best of the finals.

At the break after Turkey’s performance, it appears that our hostess’ nipples have gone into hiding. Just for those who were wondering.

I don’t think they’ll win, and they are only slightly better than last year’s entry from the UK, Scooch, but at least Latvia’s Pirates of the Sea are not only sticking to their silly guns but also look like they’re having a ball. Good for them. It was kind of startling to hear the booing when they were done however.

This time around, blind singer Diana Gurtskya of Georgia gave me a much better impression with “Peace Will Come.” I guess that’s a good thing, this being the Finals, everyone should bring their A game, right?

Speaking of A game, Ukraine’s Ani Lorak, another of my faves, certainly brought it. More power, confidence and precision in the performance is solidly evident. It’s possible the vibe that Ukraine has a good chance at the win must be fueling this. Even the stage tricks come off better this time. And I guess it doesn’t hurt that she is a very sexy lady herself either.

Azerbaijan’s Samir and Elnur with their angels and devils in a weird morality play set to music was a bit bizarre, but sometimes bizarre wins the contest. Case in point: Lordi, but we’ll see.

Greece’s entry, “Secret Combination” by Kalomira sounds great, and is my favorite song from the contest this year, but her performance here and in the semi-finals just doesn’t come up to snuff for me. In my opinion, if the contest were all about the music on CD and the video on TV, Greece would win this year, but that’s not how it works. Europe votes on the performance seen here. Shame. Even the dress coming off won’t help this one.

Speaking again of bizarre, I just don’t get Spain’s entry, “Baila El Chiki Chiki” by Rodolfo Chikilicuatre. He strikes me as a mutant hybrid of Borat and Weird Al and Austin Powers, only without the talent. At least his back-up dancers were pretty even if they were out of step.

Someone please tell Russia’s Dima Bilan to get off the floor and put on some shoes please. Come on, dude, it’s embarrassing…

Norway’s Maria closed the contest with the infectious power ballad, “Hold On Be Strong.” Last is always a good place to be, leaving the last taste in folks’ minds before they vote.

And now the voting begins…

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My predictions:

3. Croatia
2. Ukraine
1. Georgia

Eurovision 2008 – The Second Semi-Final

Some observations on the Eurovision Second Semi-Finals.

Iceland’s Euroband seemed to be, production-wise, a sort of disco version of Travolta and Newton-John from the end of Grease. I guess that’s one way to say I didn’t like it. The song yes, the performance no.

Sweden’s “Hero” by Charlotte Perrelli is a great song, but the production on stage was too blue, so blue, way too much blue, and when the lights came up, too much silver and too much make-up.

Turkey’s Mor ve Otesi gave a very rousing, electric, charismatic performance. One of my favorites.

Ukraine’s “Shady Lady” by Ani Lorak is another one of my faves, the dress was a bit too Vegas for me though, and speaking of Vegas – they seemed to take a cue from Belarus last year with a magic vibe throughout. Some very hot choreography in this one.

Lithuania’s Jeronimas Milius sang a pretty ballad a la Michael Bolton crossed with Andrew Lloyd Weber, although the hair is definitely Bolton’s. Sadly this was zzzzzzz.

Albania’s entry had some interesting fade in and out camera tricks for the television audience, but just an average if a bit whiny in places power ballad.

Czech Republic’s Tereza Kerndlova had sort of a Madonna vibe when she was in her house phase, the performance, just full of stage fire, making me fear for the outfits of the singer and dancers, makes up for the mediocre dance song.

Belarus, much like Iceland had far too much blue, star-studded balls and some fairly hot women for this tune reminisicent of eighties pop metal (think Europe), but in sound only.

Latvia’s Pirates of the Sea doing “Wolves of the Sea” was a bizarre mix of Pirates of the Caribbean, last year’s UK entry Scooch and a whole lotta camp, this is nowhere near as much fun as it sounds. The stage performance is actually more like a Wiggles outtake than anything else.

Croatia was an interesting production for an old-fashioned song, very entertaining if not my usual flavor. Gotta love the old man, humorously named 75 Cents, especially when he’s scratching on the Victrola.

Bulgaria began with a bang, techno music and breakdancing, before hitting a slower reggae stride. Loved her outfit and the burning turntables. The more I hear this one the more I like it.

Denmark struck me as an over-produced, over-choreographed, over-rehersed “American Idol” segment, but maybe that’s just me. Either way it had me pining for David Archeletta, and that’s not a compliment.

Georgia takes a while to grow on you, inspirational tune with lots of smoke. Nowhere near the power of last year’s entry.

Malta makes me wonder if it really is a song about vodka. Catchy bouncy and the energetic Morena is flanked by equally bouncy male dancers. Again, too blue, is that the color of preference this year? Seriously this is a favorite.

Cyprus – Overdramatic and dressed in a Bjork throwaway at first, Evdokia Kadi is very charismatic. This seeming traditional song soon launches into a catchy dance tune that retains its ethnic spark. I like it more each time I hear it.

Portugal, with Vania Fernandes, felt like they were trying to recreate Serbia’s winning song last year in mood and sound, without much success in my opinion.

And unfortunately Hungary, Switzerland and the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia left me unimpressed on either the positive or negative side – which I suppose is a big negative actually.

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And the results… going through from this semi-final round to the Finals on Saturday are Ukraine, Croatia, Albania, Iceland, Georgia, Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, Turkey and Portugal.

If you would like to re-watch either of the Semi-Finals, you can catch them here. The same website goes for the Finals on Saturday, May 24th at 3:00 PM American Eastern Standard Time.

Europe Is Not Amused


Today, or tonight, depending on what part of the world you’re in, the first semi-finals of Eurovision 2008 were held in Belgrade. Ten out of nineteen finalists were chosen to compete in the Finals this Saturday.

Among those who did not get through was Dustin the Turkey of Ireland.

The Turkey’s entry “Irelande Douze Pointe” was a biting satire of the Eurovision Song Contests of recent years. As I said, the rest of Europe was not amused.

Here are the entries going through to the final round:

Armenia: “Qele Qele” by Sirusho

Azurbaijan: “Day After Day” by Elnur & Samir

Bosnia & Herzegovina: “Pokusaj” by Laka

Finland: “Missä Miehet Ratsastaa” by Teräsbetoni

Greece: “Secret Combination” by Kalomira

Israel: “The Fire in Your Eyes” by Boaz

Norway: “Hold On Be Strong” by Maria

Poland: “For Life” by Isis Gee

Romania: “Pe-o Margine De Lume” by Nico & Vlad

Russia: “Believe” by Dima Bilan

Along with the four nations that are always automatic finalists and last year’s winning nation…

United Kingdom: “Even If” by Andy Abraham

Germany: “Disappear” by No Angels

France: “Divine” by Sébastien Tellier

Spain: “Baila El Chiki Chiki” by Rodolfo Chikilicuatre

Serbia: “Oro” by Jelena Tomašević featuring Bora Dugic

I’ll be back on Thursday with the finalists from the second semi-finals.