Eurovision babbling 1

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! EUROVISION! 

Now, as an American, I love watching Eurovision. I find myself to be mostly objective about the entries. Being so far removed from Europe, I don’t get caught up in all the political hooplah. I think it’s really more about the performances for me.

It is a bit lonely sometimes, though. Most Americans know nothing about Eurovision! But there are some who do. They are the few glittering sequins adorning this dark, clueless tapestry of the U.S.

2015 is looking to be an interesting year. (Can we talk about AUSTRALIA, THOUGH?!)

Here are some of my thoughts on the entries this year! From the first semifinal:

Moldova –  Pretty generic 90s sounding Euro pop. Weren’t there also allegations of this guy cheating the national selection process with voter fraud? It sounds like a well-known song…but I can’t place my finger on it.

Armenia – Hmmm there was a lot of hype for this entry, right? They released all the members one by one etc. I usually love Armenia’s stuff, but this is a bit underwhelming.

Belgium – This sounds like a song by Lorde. Maybe a bit too downtempo for Eurovision? Might be a surprise hit, but I’m not terribly impressed =\

 The Netherlands – “Whyyy why yai yai yaiiiii” – this song sounds familiar to me too! Why?! Where is that hook from?! This song is catchy and, judging by the surprising (to me) 2nd place last year, the Dutch entry could be a surprise!

Finland – This entry. I’m torn. On one hand, I’m impressed and inspired that Finland sent this act. It’s incredibly brave – especially considering how nasty ESC fans in other countries can be. On the other hand…I feel like it’s a bit gimmicky? We’ve seen this kind of an act out of Finland before – and it won. But I doubt it’ll be repeated again. Plus, it’s incredibly short.

Greece – Greece, what? A ballad?! I always rely on Greece to provide me with some kickass, uptempo ethnic-sounding dance party tune! I’m not digging this =\ She’s talented and everything, but meh.

Estonia – I’m honestly surprised by how much I like the Balkan entries this year! This might be the weakest one, but I still enjoy it! I think Elina’s vocals definitely outmatch her dude counterpart. This song is catchy, though, and I think it’ll do well in voting. Most definitely making it through to the final.

F.Y.R. Macedonia – I think this song is nice. It works well with the music video…but I predict it will be kind of boring when performed live. Maybe I’m wrong, though.

Serbia – Guuuuuurl. This song definitely feels like a favorite this year. Although, I think it needs to be sung in Serbian. I feel like translating it to English kind of waters it down. At least mix the two languages like Poland did last year. I think it’ll advance, though. Definitely.

Hungary – Okay. Like, I get what they’re trying to do and I respect it. But I don’t think this song is going to be received well at ESC. They already had some controversy over it; a sentence referring to how many children were killed in the Gaza conflict was removed from the background. This is one of those politically-charged songs that just kind of ekes past the guidelines about ‘no political statements’.

Belarus – After the shitshow of an entry last year, I’m glad to see Belarus sending a better act. It’s catchy and it has a cool beat. It’s not one of my favorites, but I think it will definitely advance to the final.

Russia – Eh. I’m consistently underwhelmed by Russia’s entries (ever since the adorable grannies). This kind of song, though? From Russia? lolol. I just imagine a little asterik “A Million Voices*”

*just not the gay ones. 

Denmark – Alright, Denmark. It’s like you know you can’t win again. Kudos to this guy, he’s alright but I don’t think he’s really serious haha.

Albania – I like it! It’s catchy, the vocals are good and it’s well-composed. May probably advance.

Romania – This song is surprisingly good, I think. It sounds beautiful in Romanian – even though I don’t understand a word. I’m curious to see how it does.

Georgia – YASSSS. YASSS, GEORGIA, YASSSSS. I’m loving this. What parallel universe am I living in where I’m actually super excited about an entry by Georgia?? Last year’s entry was terrible. TERRIBLE. But this? I am here for this. I assume they’ll advance and I really want them to.

What do you think, ESC fans? Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

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Why I’m excited for the upcoming film ‘Home’

Next week, DreamWorks Studio will release its new animated film Home. Based on the children’s book “The True Meaning of Smekday,” by Adam Rex, the movie Home doesn’t look like a great film, to be honest. So then…why, you may ask, am I excited for a movie that looks like a cross between E.T. and Lilo & Stitch?

The answer is quite simple: Curly-haired representation.

This is the main character, Tip. She’s voiced by Rihanna. But do you see? Her hair. Her hair! It’s gorgeous, it’s bouncy, it’s CURLY! Now, it may seem like I’m overreacting…but trust me, I’m not. Curly-haired people often get shafted in popular media representation. The last main character with curly hair that I can remember was Merida from Brave (a great movie, btw). Aside from that, I’m hard-pressed to think of other memorable characters with curly hair.

The fact that DreamWorks has chosen a Person of Color as its main character is commendable, but to add in gorgeous natural hair to the mix? I live. This kind of representation is so, so important and I’m very happy to be seeing it.

Whereas I can’t speak to any experiences of being Black, I do have incredibly curly hair and I have been *this* close to buzzing it all off more than once in my life.

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Sometimes having curly hair can be pretty lonely. When I was growing up, I always wanted to gel it up into epic spikes like my friends did. Whenever I tried to do so however, it would curl annoyingly and fall to my head like sad, udon noodles. I grew to resent my hair and the weird things it did when it got too long so I kept it short for much of my early life – trying to skirt by without drawing attention to it.

There are other times, though, when curly hair draws unwanted attention from people. As a child, I vividly remember older women who would always fawn over my hair, reaching out their gnarly, perfumed fingers to grab handfuls of it while exclaiming to my mother how beautiful it was. Now, as an adult, my hair continues to be grabbed in bars and clubs by hands that are attached to drunk, tactless people.

Even something as simple as creating a Mii on the Nintendo Wii leaves curly-haired people feeling a bit shafted. Six pages of hairstyles and not one that really reflects my hairstyle. For my Mii, I decided to just select the bulbous afro and call it a day.

Nintendo aside though, there is definitely a movement in the U.S. to accept natural hair – which I love. A great example of this is the Dove ‘Love Your Curls’ campaign. The video might be a bit hokey, but I will admit I teared up a bit when I first watched it.

As someone whose hair explodes from his head in a curly mess every day, seeing a character who has similar qualities feels good. It feels satisfying. It feels…long overdue. If I, an adult male, feel this way, then imagine how cool it must be for a little girl or boy who has curly hair to see Tip on the big screen in all her wild, frizzy glory.

At this point, I don’t particularly care whether Home is a good movie or not. I’m just excited because it not only represents curly-haired people, but also features a strong main character who isn’t White. I believe it’s a step in the right direction that I wish more companies would take. There are, of course, other characters and celebrity voices that are featured in this movie…but I honestly don’t care about them. I’m here for Tip and her gorgeous head of curly hair that will no doubt resonate with a segment of the audience that greatly deserves it.

Things I didn’t “get” in 2014 – a look back

Hey! Guess what? It’s almost 2015! Holy shit!

If 2014 were a series that you were bingewatching on Netflix, you would be on the penultimate episode! If it were a book, you would be on page 364 of 365! Isn’t that CRAZY?

When I talk about this past year, it’s with a lot of confusion. Like…a lot of shit happened. But at the same time…not much seemed to happen at all. I don’t know, maybe it’s me? 2014 wasn’t entirely unremarkable…but I think I’m just so ready for it to be over. I’ve kind of already emptied my brain. I’ve deleted the caches of memories from the year in preparation for 2015.

I decided, though, to make one final post before 2015 begins. Everyone loves lists, right? Especially END OF YEAR lists!

Here are some of the things that happened this year that I just didn’t “get”. I’m hoping these are all from 2014 but, like I said, my memory of this past year has been a bit hazy. Also, please please please don’t assume I’m some kind of cultural guru or connoisseur of all things pop culture; I’m not. I’m simply a bored twenty-something who wants to write about stuff in his blog.

  •  Flappy Bird – Like…what was this game, even? I never downloaded it. It looked like a huge ripoff of Super Mario. People were going craaaazy over it! People seemed more than eager to torture themselves with something that seemed impossible to win.

 “Yeah yeah, I’ll donate or whatever. But first….let me take a #SELFIE” 
  •  The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – I had a couple of friends tag me in this and I promptly ignored them. ALS is definitely a terrible disease, there’s no doubting that trying to raise money for its research is a great idea.

    Butttttt I think the message got a bit lost somewhere in the millions of repetitive videos. I mean, everyone from Malloree P. from Delaware to the President of Turkmenistan seemed to be dumping water on their heads for attention. It was nice to see the Ice Bucket Challenge give so much exposure to ALS and the need for research. At the same time, though, something about the whole thing was just really off-putting to me.

  •  Snapchat – I tried it. I really, really tried it. Maybe I’m just too old for this app, though? I would get group snaps and think that the sender was talking to me personally, so I would respond back and not make any sense. I just never understood the point of it. I don’t know, call me old-fashioned but I guess I just prefer to send a picture via text message to someone.

No thank you, creepy Pringles dude. Please leave me alone.

  • Mustaches – Were mustaches a thing this year or am I just imagining it? It seemed like every white trendy hipster boy was trying to rock a sad little caterpillar ‘stache twisted up on the ends like a wannabe Dali.

Yo Iggy, drop a sick freestyle!

  • Igloo Australia
  • Igthorn Amoeba 
  • Igby Aragorn 
  • Iggy Azaelia – I just…can’t stand her, really. I don’t know if it’s the way she raps – she sounds like a toddler trying to read their first book. Or maybe it’s her irritatingly catchy ‘Fancy’ song. Or maybe it’s how she capitalizes on Hip Hop/Black culture while not seeming to actually give a fuck about doing so. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I just really don’t get why everyone was so obsessed with her this year.

  • American Horror Story: Carnival – A lot of people seemed to wet themselves over the new season of AHS. Admittedly, I’ve only seen the first season. I watched the first episode of Carnival and though “Hm. Okay.” and then I couldn’t ever remember to watch it again. I don’t think I missed much, though.

  • The fascination with Nick Jonas – Okay, I get it: Nick Jonas is hot. He really is. And he’s cool with gay fans too? That’s awesome. He was spotted in a NYC gay club and flashed abs? Wow, awesome! Oh? He…flashed his abs again on the cover of a gay magazine? Oh-okay.

It seemed like so many people went apeshit over ~*~*~*~Whether or not he’s gay~*~*~*~*~ . It seemed like he was bombarded by all things queer just because he expressed that he was an ally. I saw one unfortunate interview where he was made to awkwardly “guess the bulge”. Like, c’mon now. Whether or not he is or isn’t LGBT is none of our business. Although I do have a bit of trepidation about how far he’s willing to ride this rainbow wave of publicity. *shrug*

  • Gluten-free shit – I don’t know…I just never really understood the whole craze.

 So that’s it! My list! Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know! I think that it’s a very strange, oddly specific list so I would be interested to know what others thought of 2014 haha. 

 ALSO! I just want to give a huge THANK YOU to all the people who follow my little blog and all the ramblings it contains. I seriously appreciate it and I look forward to 2015! ❤  

…But I’m a 90s Bitch

About a month ago, I was at the gym shaking my butt, shimmying and body rolling in my Zumba class (as I do). Between songs, I was having a breathless conversation with another Zumba friend who I hadn’t seen at class in a while.

“How was your birthday?” she asked as we gulped down water.

“It was great,” I said, dabbing my sweaty neck and forehead. It was an exercise in futility – I was just going to continue sweating until my shirt darkened to a different shade of blue.

“How old did you turn?”

“Twenty seven,” I responded. “I’m an old man now,” I added jokingly.

“WHAT? You’re TWENTY SEVEN??” she exclaimed. “You look really good!”

Before I had time to say anything, the next song started again and I willed my old bones to fall in to rhythm and dance.

It wasn’t until later that I thought about what she had said. I look good for twenty seven? I mean, thanks? But, but, my brain screamed at her as I replayed our interaction again in my mind, twenty seven isn’t old!

I know that she was just being nice. She’s only twenty herself, after all. The chasm of difference between how I was when I was twenty and who I am now is staggering. But this encounter brought to light a fact that a lot of people don’t like to really think about: I’m getting old(er).

It’s not that big of a deal, really. Not the kind of life-altering epiphany that will cause me to run out and buy a motorcycle or a sports car or a boat. Lately, though, I’ve been noticing things that really emphasize the fact that myself and my peers are becoming those people. 

The other day, I was in the supermarket with my mother and ‘Better Off Alone’ by Alice Deejay came on over the loudspeakers.

“Oh mannn!” I exclaimed as I began dancing behind the cart I was pushing. “This is a CHOON!”

My mom laughed and said, “Someone told me once: ‘You know you’re getting old when you think the supermarket plays good music’.”

I waved her off and continued playing the iconic synth progression on the handle of the cart – daa daa daa daa daadaa daa DAA DAA daa daa.

But it isn’t just the supermarkets that are playing good songs, it seems. As I continue to go out to bars and other places where people (roughly) my age gather, I notice this trend of playing 90s jams. Last night at bar trivia, we were serenaded by one-hit wonders and other awesome tunes from the 90s. Songs that evoke fond memories.

Speaking of music that speaks to fond memories I have, I’ve recently fallen in love with the very talented Canadian singer-songwriter Kiesza – specifically her song Giant in my Heart. The song has SO MUCH GOODNESS in it and transports me through a nostalgic tunnel of love. I think that, although her 90s-esque sound can be seen as a gimmick, it’s well-done enough to where it works: evoking a warm, tingly feeling in my heart.

What doesn’t leave a tingly feeling in my heart, though, are the tactics that advertisers seem to be using these days. They are clearly catering to my age group by using the powers of nostalgia. This can be seen in the entertainment industry, especially.

In the following years, we are going to see reboots of SO MANY 90s classics: a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, a live-action JEM and the Holograms movie, a new Jurassic Park movie and maybe even a Captain Planet movie.

They might even reboot…Reboot!

Old TV shows are also being rebooted like nobody’s business: Netflix is bringing back The Magic Schoolbus. LeVar Burton succesfully completed a record-setting kickstarter to bring Reading Rainbow back. The Powerpuff Girls will be back on Cartoon Network in 2016. And the Disney Channel recently premiered Girl Meets World – a spin-off that takes place fourteen years after Boy Meets World ended.

All of these things seem to happening around the same time and I don’t think it’s coincidental. Call me crazy…but it’s almost as if companies have figured out that nostalgia is a quick way to cash in on something without actually making an effort to produce a quality product!

I get it, my generation is growing up. We’re still at that age where we’re young enough to remember how great certain things from our childhood were and get excited about them. But it seems like the collective excitement and novelty of something from our heyday takes precedent over whether or not a shiny new reboot is actually any good.

My good friend wrote a fantastic piece on the Sailor Moon reboot and nostalgia that I highly recommend! In it, she discusses how nostalgia can cloud our vision and hinder our critical perception of something. “Because nostalgia inflates the inherent value of something within our mind, it also inflates its importance to us.” she writes. “Our loving of something like Sailor Moon, something that we discovered in the heady and idealized days of our youth, ties it intrinsically to our very selves.”

It seems that Girl Meets World isn’t living up to the expectations of fans of the original series. As Kevin Fallon writes in his post Boy Meets World Fans Will Hate Girl Meets World. “…the series Disney Channel made isn’t for [us]. Instead, and logically, it’s for the Disney Channel audience, a group as young as we were when we first watched Boy Meets World and who may not even have any idea what Boy Meets World is.”

So what are we to do? This trend of catering to a new generation of adults is most likely only going to continue. It’s just like the generation before us being marketed things that were flashbacks from the 1980s.

By not giving in to the obvious ploy of appealing to us in that way, we can better critically receive new shows, TV etc. If ad agencies and studios see that endlessly remaking things that appeal to our nostalgic sides isn’t working, maybe they’ll focus on creating quality original content.

I think we can all agree that it’s something we need more of.

What do you think? Is this something you’ve noticed as well? Do you think this kind of thing just happens naturally as different generations grow up? Is it smart marketing or just lazy? Are you excited about any of the planned reboots? Upset about any?

An American’s picks for Eurovision 2014

 

As I’ve said before, Eurovision Season is always a bit lonely for American fans. Here in the US, few people know about the contest. Even when I try to explain it, it’s hard. I’ll talk about how much I like the Maltese/Moldovan/Cypriot/Armenian entry and I find myself met with a blank stare. Not everyone knows where these countries are, much less that they even exist.

Everyone likes to poke fun at Americans for not knowing about other countries and I was no exception to this stereotype. In our defense, though, I will say that having to keep track of 50 states and a handful of territories gives us a lot of news as it is. Although some people don’t care one way or the other.

Admittedly, I was the same when I began watching Eurovision. But as I watched it, I learned so much about geography, international relations and politics and even history. Whoa, Moldova was a country? Azerbaijan too? Why can Turkey and the like participate? It was exhilirating and I felt like I was learning so much and connecting myself to Europe in some way.

Regardless of it being a bit lonely, I love following Eurovision every year. The past few years have been a bit difficult for me to watch because I lived in Japan. Last year, I commandeered my poor boyfriend’s computer and forced him to watch it with me. Needless to say that he did not enjoy it as much as I did.

I think that, being an American, I am somewhat out of the loop of the whole political side of Eurovison. Sure, I know about bloc voting and how X country always gives Y country 12 points etc. But I don’t invest myself too much in this and I think it makes for more of an objective viewing. I mostly just care about the performances and songs.

And so, here are my picks as an American looking in on this wonderful annual event!

 

MY TOP TEN ACTS FOR EUROVISION 2014

(in no particular order as of yet)

 

 Greece – Ever since that old guy danced with those gogo boys in 2010 (OPA!), I have been a fan of the Greek entries. Last year their song was catchy and fun and this year they’ve brought that same energy with the catchy EDM-infused ‘Rise Up’. I wonder if he’ll actually sing the super-fast repeating part, though? “Ri-ri-ri-ri-ri-ri-riririririririririririr”. Nevertheless, I hope Greece does well.

 Israel – Another country that always puts out great songs. Israel’s song this year is a definite contender for the trophy, I think. Mei Finegold’s voice is powerhouse in both English and Hebrew. The song definitely grabs your attention and keeps it. I don’t know what everyone else is saying, but I’m betting that Israel is ranked pretty high on winning this year.

 Malta – Year after year (at least as far as I’ve been watching the contest), Malta has sent some solid acts to the world stage. Year after year, though, they never seem to do very well. I really feel for this little island, though. They’re the underdog that I like to root for. I loved their entry last year and I hope to see them do well this year. They deserve it.

 Hungary – This song is pretty damn heavy for a Eurovision entry. Maybe that’s why I like it. It’s something different, the vocals are strong and although I didn’t like the beat at first, it’s grown on me. I don’t know how it will do, but I’d like to think that it will make it far. The topic of child abuse might not appeal to Europe and the judges, though.

 Poland – I love ridiculous entries. The Polish entry this year is just that. At first, I was a bit horrified by how bad this song sounded in English but I think it’s mostly in Polish. I think the oversexualization of it is intentionally comical. Overall it’s a fun song and I find myself liking it the more I hear it.

 Switzerland – The song is cute and the whistling gets stuck in your head for days. The band is seemingly composed of male models, which I’m completely fine with. I wonder if they’re going to be able to do the whistling gimmick as effectively when they perform it live.

 Armenia – Armenia is another country that I find consistantly sends good acts. This year’s act is pretty great as well. Although it takes a while for the song to get started, Aram Mp3’s vocals and the epic instrumentals effortlessly guide the audience to the wub wubby climax. I’m definitely not a fan of dubstep, but I’ve grown to accept a wub here or there. I dig this song for a number of reasons and I think it could do well.

 Italy(!) – My god, I really love the Italian entry this year. Emma Marrone is fantastic. I love her voice, the instrumentals and overall badass-ness of this song. After watching a live performance of this song, though, I’m a bit scared of seeing her in the final. Italy just recently re-joined Eurovision after a long period of not participating. I think a win for Italy would be great but…I don’t know if Europe feels the same way that I do.

 Montenegro – I don’t know why but I really like this song. I’m not one for ballads, but this song just really appeals to me. It’s beautifully sung with a gorgeous instrumental. I don’t understand it at all but, for me, that’s not necessary in order to enjoy a song. That’s actually part of why I was so drawn to Eurovision – songs in different languages. I have no idea how this song will do, but it’s in my Top Ten because I think it’s very pretty.

 Austria – Conchita Wurst is badass. I’ll say it right now. The fact that she is performing in drag is not anything that Eurovision hasn’t seen before (Verka Serduchka, I’m looking at you). What is unique, however, is that she’s not doing it as a caricature that mocks the LGBT community. Her striking appearance has earned her a lot of publicity, both good and bad. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus being the bastions of acceptance and tolerance, have petioned the EBU to ban her performance. Luckily, it seems to be against the rules of the ESC to censor or ban any part of it. Her fishy body with full-on beard plus the empowering song have no doubt made her one of the most talked-about acts this year. Putting herself out there and promoting tolerance is an incredibly brave thing for her to do and I hope she does well.

Honorable mentions:

Denmark – I don’t think that Denmark will win (has any country ever won Eurovision two years in a row?) but I quite like their entry. It’s catchy as hell, the dance is cute the whole thing reminds me of The Jackson Five and Bruno Mars.

Netherlands. 2013 was the first year that the Netherlands qualified for the Final in seven years. This year, their song is nothing incredibly special, but I find myself really liking it. It reminds me of Fleetwood Mac and it’s very calming and emotional.

 

 What do you think?! Agree? Disagree? Are you an American who likes Eurovision as well? Let me know I’m not alone! Thanks for reading and, as always, comments are welcomed! 

Eurovision Haikus: First Impressions

 

So now that Melodifestivalen is over (I accidentally spoiled the results for myself =\ oops)  I’ve started looking at other countries’ acts! I guess it’s still early, but I’ve been a bit underwhelmed by the entries so far.

Instead of writing a review of every countries’ song (because really, would anyone actually read it?), I’ve decided to write my thoughts on the entries so far in haiku form. If you didn’t know, haiku is a Japanese poetry style that follows a 5-7-5 syllabic pattern.

Videos are linked for your viewing pleasure. Here we go:

 

Hungary

Nice Song and Vocals

Too deep for Eurovision

Yo. Trigger Warning

 

Ireland

Some cool Celtic sounds

not enough to wake me up

from the song itself

 

Israel

Impressive vocals

Half English and Half Hebrew

Gurl, you’re fierce as hell

 

Lithuania

What is going on?

There might be a message here

I am so confused

 

Macedonia

Hot Mess. Hot Mess. Hot.

Mess Hot Mess Hot Mess Hot Mess

Hot Mess. Hot Mess. Damn.

 

Romania

Cool magic vid screen

EDM beats and screaming

Assault on eardrums

 

Switzerland

What a handsome group

I understand the whistling

But that’s about it

 

United Kingdom

Seems a bit boring

But anthemic and well-sung

Don’t know how I feel

 

 What are your thoughts on the entries so far, Eurovision fans? Leave your own haiku in the comments! 

Confessions of a Eurovision Fanboy: Melodifestivalen

 

credit to Eurovision.tv

Let me take a break from Japan for a little bit. Believe it or not, I DO have other interests. It’s almost May, and you know what that means — EUROVISION SEASON.

Eurovision is something that isn’t known to many Americans but I have been a hardcore fan of it ever since I saw Norway win in 2009. I love it all – the cheese, the ridiculous performances, the various languages and the great pop music that comes from it. As an added bonus, it has helped me immensely in familiarizing myself with European (and Middle Eastern) geography. Before Eurovision, I (admittedly) had no idea where Croatia was. Nor Azerbaijan. I didn’t even know Azerbaijan was a country to be honest.

While there is so much more to discuss about Eurovision, I’ll just give a quick explanation for those who aren’t familiar with it: Imagine if the X factor, American Idol and the Olympics were combined into one massive event. That’s Eurovision.

Each country decides the song that they are going to send to the world stage to perform at The Final in May.

One country that I love seeing every year is Sweden, a bastion of amazing pop music. Every year, they host something called Melodifestivalen where various acts compete to represent Sweden at The Final. I missed the first Semi-Final but I was able to watch the second Semi-Final on this great music blog

Below are my thoughts as I watched the Second Semi Final. Please keep in mind that 1) These opinions are coming from an American. I don’t really have in-depth knowledge of pop culture in Sweden. Nor do I speak Swedish (unfortunately) and 2) They were written straight from brain to keyboard – don’t expect anything deep and moving 😛

***** MELODIFESTIVALEN SECOND SEMI FINAL THOUGHTS *****

This intro performance reminded me of Weinerville a bit too much. I don’t have fond memories of that show. Cute song, though.

1) JEM – This guy reminds me a bit of Cee Lo Green and kind of sounds like WIll.I.Am but not TERRIBLE. And the main blonde girl looks like Ke$ha! Oh hey, I can do this. This song is pretty catchy.

2) The Refreshments – Nope. Nooope. Sorry, guys. I’m an American and I live in Texas – I hear this music on the daily. Also, ‘Trail of Tears’? I’m hoping that’s just an unfortunate coincidence rather than a jab at American history.

3) Manda – OH SHIT. Sudden toweing orchestra?! OKAY! I’m digging this entry. It’s a positive, uplifting song and I get some Katy Perry ‘Firework’ vibes from it for some reason. I would think this is going to make it through to the final.

4) Panetoz Efter Solsken – OH DAMN. THIS IS BADASS. The moves, the , the rapping, the Caribbean-esque rhythm. Everything about this is great! Even the awkward white guy! This is such a feel good song and I love it! If these guys don’t make it through, I swear…

5) Pink Pistols – Guuuuurls. I feel like I’ve seen the Pink Pistols from Melodifestivalens past. They’re pretty fabulous and I think that they should party with the Scissor Sisters. I like the song and the performance was good. Kudos for being in drag!

*Dang, there are a lot of good performances in the second semi finals!

6) Sanna Nielssen – I’m not super fond of ballads, but she definitely gripped me with her voice. Her range is pretty incredible and I like how she’s real-time autotuning. Those backing vocals are hella loud, though.  Cool song but it wouldn’t be a top pick for me. I bet this is going to make it to the final, though. It just has that kind of feel about it.

7) Little Great Things – I feel bad for doing this but my American mind seems to instantly want to link these artists with American ones that I know! I’m getting a definite Green Day/Panic! at the Disco vibe from this group. I like it, though. I probably wouldn’t vote for it, however.

8)  Martin Stenmark – The buildup for this is pretty intense. I hope it’s worth it. It was. Although I don’t understand what he is saying, this song sounds very uplifting and I can definitely feel his emotion in his voice. I’m gonna say this could make it to the final. This is a pretty epic song.

*******

As it turns out, I was kind of right about the people who made it through to the final! I’m surprised that Manda was dead last, though. Even more surprised that the godawful country crooners were voted FIFTH! I really am just happy that Panetoz made it through. They are fantastic and I hope they go on to represent Sweden in Copenhagen!

Enough from me. Expect more Eurovision fanboy updates as May gets closer!