An American’s picks for the Eurovision 2014 Final

Okay, Europe, this is it! Tomorrow is the night countless Eurovision fans from all over the world have been waiting for – The Grand Final. 

 I will be tuning in with two friends in the afternoon and we will be watching in glee as the finalists take the stage and sing, dance and whistle their hearts out to win the coveted douze points

 I must say that I was shocked that Israel didn’t qualify for the final. I was then enraged to find that Belarus out of all the acts made it through. Seriously, one of the WORST SONGS (in my opinion) made it through while the amazing Mei Finegold sashayed away. Europe, what happened? I was also surprised that San Marino and Slovenia both qualified. I had written them both off completely. 

 That’s what makes Eurovision exciting, though, isn’t it? The curveballs, surprises and ‘WTF’ moments. As an American, I am largely free from the mess of political hullabaloo that comes with a Eurovision Song Contest. Sure, I know that the Balkans all vote for one another, as do the Scandinavian countries. Countries like Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyrpus always give each other 12 points and all the ex-Yugoslav nations give beaucoup points to Russia. I get all that. 

 But because I’m all the way across the pond, I don’t pay too much attention to the gossip and the bookies’ picks. I find it makes for a much more enjoyable experience 🙂 

 Anyway, here are MY Top Favorites for the Final tomorrow!


 

 (In Alphabetical order)

Armenia

Austria

Greece

Hungary

Italy

Malta

Montenegro

Poland

Switzerland

The Netherlands


Now, while I would love to be right about them all, I know that I most likely won’t be. I think that Sweden is a pretty strong contender as well as Iceland. I also have a sneaking suspicion that Slovenia will do better than anyone thinks it will. I hope I’m wrong though. 

 Ultimately, I think that either Austria or Armenia will will tomorrow night. Other possibilities are Greece, Hungary, Switzerland or The Netherlands. 

 Ahhh I just don’t know! I’ll be watching tomorrow with excitement! Thanks for putting up with my Eurovision babble! 

 

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 IV

I’ve been slacking in my Eurovision fanboy-ing! It’s almost the end of April ahhh!! Here are the last of my Eurovision Haikus. I’m hoping I didn’t forget any countries.

 

Albania

She has a nice voice

Better in Albanian?

Don’t know what to say

 

Poland

What is going on?

Definite Novelty song

Churn that butter, girls

 

Portugal

I want to like this

But she is just so awkward

Backup dancers. Please.

 

Sweden

Sweden. Always good.

Should have been Ace Wilder, though.

You know you agree.

 

******

And that’s it! What do you think? Who are your favorites this year? Least favorites? I’ll have to think on this and write up my own Top 5.

I’m hoping I didn’t forget any countries! If I did, please let me know!

Eurovision Haikus III


It’s getting closer to May! I can’t wait! Here’s another round of my Eurovision Haikus.

Austria

A bearded lady
Preaching tolerance and love?
Yasss. Werk mama.

Azerbaijan

A pretty ballad
Azerbaijan delivers
Almost every year

Belgium

Beautiful vocals
Your mom dances very well
Oh wait…who is that?

Finland

Poppy rock anthem
Cool vocals, my question is,
Can he do it live?

Germany
Weird carnival vibe
Already through to Final
Lucky Germany

Malta

I feel for Malta
Every year they send good acts
But never go far

The Netherlands

A pretty song but…
Dutch Lady Antebellum?
More like Fleetwood Mac

Norway

This sounds like something
I can’t quite place what song, though
This will bother me

Russia

Oh wow, this is bad
Flashing lights can’t cover up
Terrible vocals

Slovenia

Oh, gothic flautist
I mean…it isn’t dreadful
It’s not my fav, though.

Ukraine

Not digging this song
How many points to Russia?
Should I not ask that?

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 Reactions (4th Semifinal)

Back for my opinions on the 4th semi final of Melodifestivalen 2014!

1) Alcazar – Blame it on the Disco — Even before the song starts, it seems this is a crowd favorite. Well, this is certainly upbeat and well-budgeted. I like the tempo and style of this but from what I’ve seen, it’s not very original. It seems very very likely to go through to the final, though. Catchy lyrics, chroreographed moves, great stage effects?  It’s like the perfect Eurovision song. Although, it doesn’t seem like they’re actually singing, but just relying on the backing track/vocals a lot.

2) I.D.A. – Fight Me If You Dare – Hmm. Her voice kind of irks me for some reason. It’s not that she’s a bad singer…but she doesn’t seem very…good? The hard rock theme doesn’t really fit the song for me. I’m gonna pass. Cool pyrotechnics, though.

3) Janet Leon – Hollow — The dancers are cool. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to Janet Leon…who seems to be just standing there. I don’t know how about her voice, though. She’s a good singer but I don’t know if the way she’s screaming toward the end is supposed to emphasize the song or not. It sounds really off-key to me.

4) Ammotrack – Raise Your Hands — Hmmm I’m not digging this at all for some reason.

5) Josef Johansson – Hela Natten — Oh, this guy’s cute. I’m immediately paying attention. The 3-way view of him is kind of weird. Like…you know the audience isn’t seeing this, right? The song is catchy, though. WTF Choir out of nowhere?! The song sounds pretty – I wish I could understand it.

6) Linda Bengtzing – Ta Mig — Let me just start by saying that I am a fan of Linda Bengtzing’s. I saw her try in Melodifestivalen a few years ago with her song ‘Hur Svårt Kan Det Va’ and I loved it! And I’m digging this song. I think she’s a very talented performer and seems to be quite experienced. ANOTHER RANDOM APPEARANCE OF BACKUP SINGERS WTF. Is this a theme this year? I would totally send this through to the final. If not just for those golden pants!

7) Ellinore Holmer – En Himmelsk Sång — She sounded nervous at first, to me. Maybe not, but she’s an okay singer. I don’t see her advancing, though.

8 – Anton Ewald – Natural — Oh man, everything about this boy screams ‘boy band’. He dances well, he sings well, he’s cute. I’m gonna say that he’s advancing to the final. The song is just ‘alright’ for me. But I can see this making it through.

Alright so, the fourth semi final was not as entertaining for me as the past have been. I think that if I were to choose people to advance, it would probably be: Alcazar, Linda Bengtzing, and Anton Ewald. I can maybe see Joseff Johansson advancing too. 

***RESULTS***

WHAT?! Ammotrack?! Hahahaha. And Elinore Holmer too?! It will definitely be interesting to see how they all do against the others who have made it to the Final!

That’s it from me for now! I’ll most likely do a recap of my favorite acts who will be in Copenhagen this year sometime soon! Did you agree with the results of the 4th semi final? Let me know what you think!

Confessions of a Eurovision Fanboy: Melodifestivalen Reactions (3rd Semifinal)

 

As I explained in a previous post, I am a huge Eurovision fanboy and I’ve been watching the semi finals of Melodifestivalen when I can. Here are my thoughts on the 3rd semi final.

Please keep in mind that these are my thoughts from 1) an American perspective and 2) they are my real-time, initial reactions.

1) ECHO – Outtrigger — Wow, what the fuck. I wasn’t sure these guys were serious at first, but damn. It’s not really my preferred style of music, but his screaming is pretty on point. I don’t know if this will make it. But I guess, Lordi won in 2006 (2007?) so I might be wrong. The crowd seems to love it. The performance was certainly encaging (hohohooo). This one might advance.

 2) EKO – Red — (hmm this name seems similar to the one above…). Digging the synths. Not so much the song itself. She’s a good singer, though. It’s a bit too slow for my liking – but I tend to like upbeat songs.

3) Yes We Can – Oscar Zia — omg TV heads. Love it already. Oh…it’s all of the same dude? Narcissist. I’m getting a very Backstreet Boys vibe with this song. Nope, not really digging it. This guy doesn’t really seem to have much of a stage personality. I’m finding myself watching the dancers more than him =\

 4) Burning Alive – Shirley Clamp — Liiiiiiiiiiiiight! She had a very pretty voice. Oh dang, she has a REALLY good voice. Oh snap and then the song picks up. Now it’s become a gay club anthem. Yes. Yeah, I really liked that. It wasn’t super gripping at first but I enjoyed this song! I’d send this through to the final!

5) All We Are – State of Mind — uh oh. A catchy-sounding riff (“all we are! all we are!”) I bet this is going to do well. Oh my god, adorable lead singer. I’m enjoying this. Shout out to the dude with the awesome curly/frizzy hair! Final, definitely.

6) En Enkel Sång – Cajsastina Åkerström — I’m really happy to see a song in Swedish! Although I don’t understand 99% of it, I still think it’s cool. This woman reminds me a bit of Stevie Nicks. Perhaps if I understood more, I’d like it better. But to me, this sounds like something that would be sung at a karaoke machine during a wedding.

7) Busy Doing Nothing – Ace Wilder — Get it, gurl. With your red pants and finger wagging. Oh shit, it just popped off. I just started liking this more. Not the strongest vocals, but I’m kinda diggin’ this. It’s fun and nothing too serious. Also, props to the contortionist dancer! I also like the stepping routine that goes with the chorus! I would vote this through to the final haha

8) Around the World – Dr. Alban & Jessica Folcker — This beat is cool but it sounds familiar….like from a 90s song. Oh man, he’s off key. This performance is kind of a mess. Oh my god, he’s kind of terrible. I’d rather just listen to this woman. She’s pretending he’s not singing awfully. Bless. ACE OF BASE! That’s what it reminds me of – ‘I saw the Sign’. Ironic because they’re Swedish as well :O

So if IIII were voting, I would send these songs to the final: Shirley Clamp, State of Mind and Ace Wilder.

And how did my predictions fare?

******

Really?! Oscar Zia made it through FIRST? He was rather boring! I’m glad that State of Mind got another chance but I’m sad that Shirley Clamp came in 6th. I really enjoyed her.

That’s all from me for this time! I don’t know how many more semi finals there are until the final.

Do you agree with my thoughts? Who was your favorite? Leave me a comment and let me know!