Eurovision – Funny Comic Follow-up

One of my favorite web comics, Scandinavia and the World, has finally published a Eurovision comic. There might be some hard feelings since Humon, the comic’s artist, is Danish. Denmark gave Sweden 12 points. What did Sweden give Denmark? Zilch. Nada. A goose egg. Zero points. Ouch. Better be careful, Sweden, or Denmark will add a Swedish tax to all that beer you cross the border to buy. 😉

Anyway, here is the comic. Click on it and you can go to the website and join the lively forums.

Eurovision 2012

Sweden Wins Eurovision 2012!

Loreen has won the Eurovison 2012 contest with her dance hit, “Euphoria.” Congratulations to her and to Sweden. This was a much better performance than the semi-finals. She moved and sang with confidence, and overall looked like a winner.

I was able to watch the grand finale in my hotel room, as long as I didn’t use full screen on my computer. Not too happy about that, but very happy that I was able to watch the show live. Thanks to for making that possible.

Actually, one benefit to watching on the smaller view screen was that I could simultaneously read the Twitter feed on the side. There were lots of funny comments. Some of the funniest had to do with financial crisis. One person tweeted, “The loser has to pay Greece’s way home.” Another tweeted, “Want to piss off Angela Merkel? Vote for Greece. They’ll have a huge party and Germany will have to pay the bill.” And another tweeted, “Ireland sent Jedward so they wouldn’t win and have to foot the bill for hosting next year’s Eurovision.”

It was interesting to see the voting process. Each of the 42 participating countries had a representative announce their top 10 and points would be tallied on a board. It’s a little confusing because the highest score is 12. The points go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12. For whatever reason, they give first place 12 points and second place 10 points. Still confused? It’s explained here.

Most countries favored their neighbors. For example, Greece and Cyprus gave each other 12 points. Turkey and Azerbaijan also exchanged the 12 point love. Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland all gave their 12 points to Sweden. Maybe it was so they could party in Stockholm next year.

Russia came in second place, but Loreen beat the Babushki by more than 100 points, so it was pretty much a landslide. Third place went to Serbia, fourth, to Azerbaijan and fifth, to Albania. Some of my favorites scored quite low, in particular the United Kingdom, France and Denmark. Norway had the lowest score, which surprised me. I thought Tooji’s performance deserved better than that.

Here are the scoreboards for the semi-finals and the finale, showing how each country voted.

First Semi-final Scoreboard

Second Semi-final Scoreboard

Grand Finale Scoreboard

I really enjoyed the experience watching Eurovision. I learned about other countries that had previously been obscure to me and I heard some really great music. There were also some not-so-great moments of performance, but so it goes. What appeals to one culture won’t necessarily appeal to another. Then there are those songs that can crossover and find a wide, appreciative audience. Congratulations to Loreen for singing such a song.

See you next year in Sweden!

Eurovision Second Semi-Final Results

It so happens that the Eurovison grand finale takes place during a holiday weekend in the U.S. This would be great, except I’m spending the weekend in a hotel with a mediocre Internet connection. I am uncertain of my ability to watch the finale live, which disappoints me. I was also inflight during the second semi-final and have only just caught up with watching the performances.

These are the ten countries who made it into the grand finale. They are listed in the order they were announced, but this does not reflect the number of votes, which remains unknown.

  1. Lithuania
  2. Bosnia & Herzegovina
  3. Serbia
  4. Ukraine
  5. Sweden
  6. Macedonia
  7. Norway
  8. Estonia
  9. Malta
  10. Turkey

I am very pleased that all the second semi-finalists in my top ten list made it through: Sweden, Malta and Estonia. I wasn’t so pleased about Turkey. One of my least favorite songs. I don’t know how that one squeaked by. I’m pretty much fine with the rest of the list, though I wish Donny Montell of Lithuania would lose the bling blindfold. It looks so cheesy.

For me, there were three standout performances of the show.

Kurt Calleja, representing Malta with This Is The Night

Great energy. Loved his stage presence. He sounded great and the band was tight, even with their dance movements.

Tooji, representing Norway with Stay

Another energetic performance. He and the dancers looked like they were having a great time up there. Very entertaining.

Gaitana, represending Ukraine with Be My Guest

I didn’t love the wreath of roses in her hair. Other than that, she sounded great. This song was an early favorite of mine. I particularly liked the dancers on the screens in the background. Nice choreography.

Loreen from Sweden and Ott Lepland from Estonia remain in my top three. Ott’s seemed nervous, so I’m hoping he shakes off those nerves and wows us in the finale. Loreen looked and sounded great, but nothing I haven’t seen from her before. I’m hoping she does something different for the finale.

The grand finale will air today, May 25, at 21:00 CET (Central Europe Time). If you can’t watch it on TV, you can stream it online at Eurovision TV.

12 points to Sweden! I believe “Euphoria” will win the night. However, I’ll still be pleased if Nina Zilli of Italy or Ott Lepland of Estonia win instead.

If Jedward wins… well, at least Ireland won’t be sending them back again. Or will they?

Enjoy the show!

Eurovision First Semi-Finals Results

The wait is finally over and the first Eurovision semi-final competition has taken place. 18 countries competed for the coveted 10 spots that will continue the competition in the grand finale.

The entire show ran a little over two hours. After all 18 countries performed, there was a 15-minute voting period. Only the 18 countries represented, plus three of the predetermined finalist countries, could vote. Votes are phoned or texted in, and you cannot vote for your own country. During the voting, viewers were entertained by an Azerbaijan folk dance and music troupe. At the end of 15 minutes, voting ended and the results were announced live. Why isn’t American Idol like this? It’s so much better! And, yes, I do mean the Azerbaijan folk troupe. So much better than watching Ryan Seacrest blather on and on.

Here are the results. This is the order in which they were announced, but this doesn’t reflect the number of votes, which will remain unknown until the finals. Special thanks to Markku, again, for keeping me in the know.

  1. Romania
  2. Moldova
  3. Iceland
  4. Hungary
  5. Denmark
  6. Albania
  7. Cyprus
  8. Greece
  9. Russia
  10. Ireland

All three semi-finalists who were on my top 10 list made it through: Iceland, Denmark and Cyprus. I have to say, I was really impressed by the performances of Hungary and Romania and am glad they made it into the finals. Check ’em out:

Mandinga, representing Romania with the song, Zaleilah

She was having technical difficulties, but continued like a pro. This was a catchy, infectious number that I really enjoyed.

Compact Disco, representing Hungary with the song, Sound Of Our Hearts

I liked this so much better than their original video. Great performance, with lots of passion and power given to the lyrics.

My favorite performance of the evening, though was Iceland.

Greta Salóme & Jónsi, representing Iceland with the song, Never Forget

What a great performance. So dramatic and beautiful. Greta and Jonsi have much better chemistry here than their rehearsal video. I think this is a contender. If they can keep this up in the finals, I think they have a strong chance of winning.

Two more things to add. It turns out that rotating thing in the Russian Babushki’s original video is an oven. The grannies were “baking” what looks like cookies. Dang, they are adorable! And speaking of adorable, I have to admit that the Jedward twins were mighty cute when they celebrated winning the tenth spot by turning cartwheels down the aisles.

The second semi-finals will be streamed live on on May 24, 21:00 CET (Central Europe Time). That’s 1:00 p.m. in Colorado. You can also watch a repeat performance of the first semi-finals.

Eurovision First Semi-Finals

The first Eurovision semi-final competition is streaming live now. You can watch on

Eurovision – My Top 10

Top 10 Performances

The following are my favorite performers in the Eurovision competition so far. I’ve posted their first rehearsal videos. Mind you, the acoustics are terrible. Part of the reason some of these artists made it to my top 10 is because they managed to sound good, or even great, despite being in a rehearsal situation with lots of background noise and distractions.

1. Loreen, representing Sweden with Euphoria

I love this song so much and Loreen has the voice and presence to give it power and transcendent beauty. Her dancing is growing on me, but I don’t know… I prefer she perform without all the movement. It’s not looking so good in rehearsal, but it is a rehearsal after all. I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised by the actual performance.

2. Nina Zilli, representing Italy with L’Amore È Femmina

I have such a girl crush on Nina Zilli. She’s smokin’ hot, got great style and an amazing voice. Love the song and the swagger she gives the lyrics.

3. Ott Lepland, representing Estonia with Kuula

Best voice of the competition, I think. He sounds amazing even here. He’s a handsome man and he holds the stage effortlessly with the power of his presence, with no need for hype.

4. Engelbert Humperdinck, represented the UK with Love Will Set You Free

Another great ballad and amazing voice. The Hump needs no hype to hold the stage. At 76-years-old, I thought he might be the oldest performer at Eurovision, but it turns out that one of the Russian Babushki is a little older.

5. Soluna Samay, representing Denmark with Should’ve Known Better

I love her indie pop vibe and rock and roll voice. She’s got a fresh face, but knows how to hold the stage like a seasoned performer. Really wish she’d lose the epaulets, but oh well.

6. Greta Salóme and Jónsi, representing Iceland with Never Forget

I am a sucker for this kind of Gothic pop and they do it so well. I’m also impressed by anyone who can sing and play the violin at the same time. Their voices blend nicely, but I’m not sensing a lot of onstage chemistry. Hope they bring it on in the actual performance.

7. Anggun, representing France with Echo (You And I)

This is one of the songs that really grew on me to become one of my favorites. I would love a dance remix for my iPod. She’s got a great voice and strong presence.

8. Kurt Calleja, representing Malta with This Is The Night

Another song that became a fave. Great beat, great hook, overall an infectious tune that gave me an earworm or two. Kurt Calleja has a strong voice and good stage presence.

9. Roman Lob, representing Germany with Standing Still

Another indie rocker with a great sound. The band is tight and he’s got a strong, distinct voice. Kind of hoping he doesn’t change his indie look much. Keep the beanie!

10. Ivi Adamou, representing Cyprus with La La Love

This was the hardest spot to choose. There were a lot of good performances. The song itself is what made this my final choice. It’s a great dance tune. Ivi Adamou has a good voice and is fun to watch. Plus, I’m impressed by the backup singers lifting her over their heads.

These are my personal choices. Since I haven’t watched Eurovision before, I have no idea how the voting will go. By this time next week, we’ll know how right or wrong I was.

Eurovision – Ireland and the United Kingdom

Down to the last two countries on the list of Eurovision contestants, Ireland and the UK. Am I saving the best for last? Let’s take a look.

Jedward is representing Ireland with the pop song, Waterline

Glitter boots! Okay, so here we have identical twins singing a boy band song while dressed in Michael Jackson’s discarded wardrobe from the eighties. I hadn’t heard of Jedward before this. Apparently, they are an almost overnight phenomenon in Ireland and the UK, after having placed sixth on the X Factor. They also represented Ireland in the 2011 Eurovision competition with the song, Lipstick. They came in a respectable eighth place. So why send them again? Well, they won their national competition. I actually like the 2011 song, Lipstick, better than Waterline. As performers, their voices blend well and they have high energy. I never liked boy bands, not even when I was a tween, so Jedward doesn’t do much for me. I can see they have a potentially strong voting block, so I wouldn’t count them out of the finals.

Engelbert Humperdinck is representing the United Kingdom with the ballad, Love Will Set You Free

It’s hard to think of two performances more different than those of Jedward and Engelbert Humperdinck. Most of all, I appreciate EH’s lack of hype. He doesn’t need it as he such an established performer. He can hold the stage with just mood lighting and a single guitarist. Very impressive. As I watched this, it reminded me, just a bit, of Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt. This doesn’t have the same raw power, but this song ends with real emotional impact. EH sounds great and his voice is still strong. The UK deserves its spot in the finals with this performance.

That’s it! Through the list. Whew! I’m very impressed by the variety of the performances. It’s not as easy to pick favorites as I thought it would be. I’ll be posting my Eurovision top 10 later.

Eurovision – Belgium and the Netherlands

I saw this comment on YouTube for Belgium’s entry: “Reminds me of the Austrian entry last year, pretty girl but song not a stand out.” I have noticed with a number of the entries that pretty, be it male or female, is definitely a factor. Sentiment can also be a big factor. Look at the Russians. The Babushki aren’t pretty, but they are beautiful and who doesn’t want to see grandma kick up her heels and have a good time? When the finalists are chosen, it will be interesting to see how looks, talent and sentiment stack up against each other.

Iris is representing Belgium with the pop song, Would You

As was stated above, she’s a pretty young woman, quite young, 17-years-old. She is fresh-faced, wearing a very cute outfit and looks like a role model. If this was a junior competition, I’d think, “Wow, she’s good. She has a future.” But this is a major International competition and she’s not ready. Her voice is nice, but she doesn’t sing with the depth of emotion the lyrics require. Instead she smiles as she sings of heartache. In the interest of not being ageist, I know there are 17-year-olds who can sing with the required maturity. Not this one. Not a winner for me, but if she appeals to young voters, she could make the finals.

Joan is representing the Netherlands with the folk song, You And Me

My jaw dropped as I watched this. I guess she didn’t realize that, at least in the US, this stage presentation could be considered offensive. She did address this in an interview and spoke of her inspiration, playing cowboys and Indians with the boy next door. Another video shows her reliving this childhood memory and it’s very sweet. I’m certain she meant no disrespect. However, as seen in the video, a simple feather in the hair can hearken back to the memory rather than a full-on headdress. The dancers dressed in sexy fringe made me think of this. Wince.

Apart from the controversy, I give her props for singing a simple, heartfelt folk song. I really liked her voice. It’s very distinct and has a lovely, pure quality when she hits the high notes. Not quite a winner for me, but very nice.

Eurovision – France and Switzerland

France and Switzerland, love you, hate your official Eurovision videos. I’m not sure how this works, if Eurovision picks the videos or the artist/country submits them. Regardless, since the competition is supposedly based on live performance, I don’t understand why a number of the videos have been the theatrical kind that “tell a story.” In the case of these two countries, the stories are ridiculous and annoying. The one from France is practically begging for a literal interpretation.

I searched YouTube for better performances, which are featured below. The sound quality isn’t as good as the official videos, but in the case of Switzerland, the performance is so much better.

Anggun is representing France with the dance song, Echo (You And I)

You can find the official video here. As for the above performance, hot babe, great voice, good stage presence. I liked the song. With a good remix, it’s very danceable. Summer is coming and I can see this having a lot of seasonal appeal since it’s so light and frothy. Not a winner for me, but I’m not counting it out. This could be a contender.

Sinplus is representing Switzerland with the rock song, Unbreakable

You can find the official video here. Love this live performance. The band is high energy and the singer has a distinct voice and good stage presence. The song has a rock anthem quality that makes your head bop. Overall, really good. I liked the song, but I didn’t love it. Not a winner for me, but high up there. Could be a contender, depending on how many rock fans are voting.

I liked both songs and would be happy to hear either on the radio. If I were to choose between them now, I would go with Switzerland. If France were to put out a hot remix, though, that’s the one that would be on my iPod.

Eurovision – Portugal and Spain

When I was younger, I spent a month wandering around Spain. I was in Barcelona for La Mercè, a four-day celebration in honor of the city’s patron saint, Our Lady of Mercy. For a religious festival, it was a rip-roaring good time! There were free concerts and I have fond memories of dancing in the plazas to some great music. My one regret is that I didn’t make it to Portugal during that trip. No favoritism, though. I’m eager to hear how these two neighbors, both famous for dramatic music, compare to each other.

Filipa Sousa is representing Portugal with the ballad, Vida Minha (My Life)

Definitely dramatic. She’s got a great voice and great stage presence. The song itself, while good, is old-fashioned. Everything about this, from the backup singers to the staging to the music, seemed like something from 40 years ago. Perhaps she had to appeal to a certain age group or sensibility to win the country’s competition. I don’t think this stands a chance unless she finds a modern spin for the Eurovision semi-finals.

Pastora Soler is representing Spain with the ballad, Quédate Conmigo (Stay With Me)

Interesting to note, I couldn’t embed the official Eurovision video. I got a message stating, “Embedding disabled by request.” First time that has happened. No worries though. The above video is actually better. So, onto the song. Another dramatic performance by a woman with a great voice and great stage presence. Not very different from Sousa’s performance, though Soler definitely has the modern edge. I could see Mariah Carey singing something like this, which is to say, this wasn’t very original.

Perhaps Portugal and Spain are trying to appeal to each others base in hopes of votes. They probably succeeded, but I don’t know that they have much appeal outside their region. As I said, both women are strong singers, but there’s nothing very modern or original about either. Portugal gave a more powerful performance, while Spain was more contemporary. Neither one was a winner for me.

These videos are from the list of Eurovison 2012 contestants on YouTube.