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The Final Six Entries from the Second Eurovision Semi-Final

Turkey: “Love Me Back” by Can Bonomo

Traditional and groovey. This one is growing on me. The video helps a lot.

Estonia: “Kuula” by Ott Lepland

Slovakia: “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Max Jason Mai

The token rocker this year hoping for a rerun of 2006 Lordi win. I like the song, very Linkin Park and Papa Roach, but the chorus is a bit too Europe for me.

Norway: “Stay” by Toolji

This is another early favorite for me. It’s got everything a Eurovision song should have. This is a surefire entry for the Finals, and maybe the win.

Bosnia & Herzegovina: “Korake Ti Znam” by Maya Sar

Lithuania: “Love Is Blind” by Donny Montell

The blindfold is a bit much, and the disco transformation scared me more than a Rick-roll.

The Second Semi-Final takes place on May 24th in Baku.

French Fry Diary 165: The Crystal Palace, Magic Kingdom

Turkish Double Bill

I recently picked up this recent double feature from Netflix claiming to spotlight the best in Turkish pop cinema…

Tarkan Vs. the Vikings ~ Also known as Tarkan Viking Kani, this 1971 entry is based on the Turkish Tarkan comics. This is supposedly a classic example of Turkish pop cinema, a low budget Conan done in bright colors and vibrant orchestral music. It’s a visual feast if not an intellectual one, especially when some scenes have the same texture of a Monty Python sketch or a Carol Burnett spoof. The violence (cartoonish by today’s standards) and degradation toward women gets to be a bit much after a while, but if you drink every time a German shepherd is on screen the movie will get better or perhaps you just won’t remember it.

The Deathless Devil ~ Also known as Yilmayan Seyton is a loose remake of the movie serial The Mysterious Dr. Satan, which was in fact a rewritten Superman serial with the man of steel replaced by a new hero called Copperhead. The same is true here albeit updated, or at least updated to 1971. It has the feel of a Mexican wrestling flick mixed with just a touch of Superargo and Danger: Diabolik thrown in just for kicks. This second Turkish feature is also a potpourri of genres including comedy, violence and sex. Oh those wacky Turks.

I had expected to like the latter over the former, me being the superhero geek and all, but all in all, the first held my interest more. That said, this wasn’t a wild night of entertainment either. Given the choice between say, an enema and more Turkish genre flicks… I might have to take a moment to consider my choices…

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Eurovision 2009: Semi-Final 1 – Results

The voting is over and the results are in. While waiting we got to see a mad Russian stage extravaganza featuring a military band and a bad lipsync performance from T.A.T.U. – well, I suppose it could have been worse.

Here are the results:

Turkey, Sweden, Israel, Portugal, Malta, Finland, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Romania, Armenia and Iceland.

I got a few right…

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Eurovision 2009: Semi-Final 1

The first of two Semi-Finals for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest took place tonight at Olimpiysky Arena in Moscow. Hosted by Natalya Vodyanova and Andrey Malakhov (very loud and annoying, and surprisingly sexistbut sooo Eurovision), this Semi-Final of eighteen competitors will decide what ten countries move forward to the Final on May 16th.

The program opened with planets, dragons and other magical and celestial objects hovering over the audience and the telling of an odd fairy tale. Kinda like Cirque de Soleil on acid, but pretty, exciting and sooo Eurovision.

01 Montenegro – Andrea Demirovic’s “Just Get Out of My Life”
Her male dancing companion tried very hard to conjure John Travolta’s ghost from “Saturday Night Fever,” perhaps too much. For me, he distracted from Andrea’s performance.

02 Czech Republic – Gipsy.cz’s “Aven Romale”
This was one of my faves. Very colorful and energetic, but a disco superhero costume? And a bad one at that, should have had more sparkles. This was a bit scary, even for me.

03 Belgium – Copycat’s “Copycat”
Peter Ouchene and company do a more than adequate Stray Cats imitation, giving this entry more of a boost than I thought it initially had. The bright lights of varying color were an interesting effect.

04 Belarus – Petr Elfimov’s “Eyes That Never Lie”
Pseudo 1980s metal accompanied by a woman in shimmering spandex and draped in a long and gigantic see-through scarf. Other than that, it’s just typical metal posturing and effects. Petr’s pretty boy blonde looks might push this over though.

05 Sweden – Malena Ernman’s “La Voix”
Her black clad backup singers and dancers strike an interesting contrast to Malena’s white gown. Little else than that and her heavenly voice separate this from any random Ultravox song from the 1980s.

Not sure what to think of host nation Russia’s introduction and interlude segments so far. Other than a few vocabulary lessons and some pretty girls, there are really not much to them. They look like cheap reality show opening sequences.

06 Armenia – Inga & Anush’s “Jan Jan”
Much more impressive visually on stage than just listening to the tune. Memorable with excellent choreography.

07 Andorra – Susanne Georgi’s “La Teva Decisió (Get A Life)”
Weird retro Bangles/ABBA vibe from Susanne and company with this performance, and I like it. The all-white outfits and limited choreography really seems to work for this song. Certainly more charisma here than previous acts.

08 Switzerland – The Lovebugs’ “The Highest Heights”
I got a new wave vibe, sorta Psychedelic Furs feel from these guys when I first heard them, but seeing them here onstage, they are solidly in the 21st century, but possibly too mainstream for Eurovision. I’m still rooting for them.

09 Turkey – Hadise’s “Düm Tek Tek”
The first I heard this year and still a favorite. Love the dancing and the red outfits, although the guy in brown throws it off. Energetic, sexy and talented. They are Final-bound.

10 Israel – Noa & Mira Awad’s “There Must Be Another Way”
Beautiful striking women, but the song is a snoozer.

11 Bulgaria – Krassimir Avramov’s “Illusion”
Very colorful, but the costumes look like throwaways from a 1970s Sinbad movie. The folks on stilts are a bit creepy, but keeping with the bizarreness of Eurovision. Fire is never a good effect when viewers’ first reaction is that the stage is on fire. And what was up with that one woman’s caveman hair?

12 Iceland – Yohanna’s “Is It True?”
Again, Yohanna is a very pretty woman, but zzzzzzzzzz…

13 F.Y.R. Macedonia – Next Time’s “Neshto Shto Ke Ostane”
Rockers Next Time tried very hard to be Bon Jovi, but that’s not really Eurovision’s style. Lest we forget Lordi’s win a few years back, that doesn’t count them out. I think they have a shot, although lying on the stage was probably a bad move. But then again, it worked last year.

I’m noticing that shots of the audience look rather sedate. Are people afraid to get really excited? This is Russia, after all… The backstage audience of dozens has more energy than the stadium audience of thousands.

14 Romania – Elena’s “The Balkan Girls”
I thought this tune was a frontrunner but the version of the song used is almost as tame as the Moscow audience. All beautiful women, a few of the dancers appeared to be out of step, and probably might have been more at home with the more aggressive version of the tune. Elena doesn’t seem phased by any of it however.

15 Finland – Waldo’s People’s “Lose Control”
These guys are fun, lots of energy (maybe they stole Romania’s energy?) and lots of fire. The fire juggling makes up for the bad Fred Durst impression. Final-bound.

16 Portugal – Flor-de-lis’ “Todas As Ruas Do Amor”
Quiet and colorful, and far more charismatic live than just hearing the song. This could have a serious chance after this performance.

17 Malta – Chiara’s “What If We”
Eurovision veteran Chiara always owns the stage when she’s on it, and this was no exception. Although I’m not sure this was her best performance. At least there was no dry ice screw-up like in the rehersals.

18 Bosnia & Herzegovina – Regina’s “Bistra Voda”
At first glance, this seems like a scrubbed clean version of a My Chemical Romance music video – sounding nothing like it however. What it does sound like is a few other songs, but apparently that’s been cleared up. No chance for this one in my opinion.

My ten choices to move on? Armenia, Belarus, Andorra, Switzerland, Finland, Turkey, Portugal, Malta, Romania and Bulgaria. The next Semi-Final will have a decidedly more difficult time with voting I think. We’ll see.

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Eurovision 2009 – Turkey

Turkey’s entry, “Dum Tek Tek (Crazy for You)” by Hadise, is a front runner for my favorite so far. Keep watching, I’ll be featuring each entry in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest as it gets closer.