Ready, Set, EUROVISION!

Pop the champagne and fire up the popcorn maker…. it’s Eurovision!

A high-camp feast of musical mayhem and predictable political prejudices and persuasions. A boon for the bookmakers. An excuse for the European pop music community to drink copious amounts of alcohol and rub uglies. An opportunity for European dancers to grin maniacally and display their interpretive dancing skills. A chance for European set designers to let their penchant for garish colours and flashing lights run free. A night for female performers to wear costumes so brief and wispy so as to get a chill in their kidneys.

Not familiar with the Eurovision Song Contest? Abba had their big break when they won it back in the 70’s with their ostentasiously costumed rendition of ‘Waterloo’.

It is the highlight of my television viewing year. Better even, than the AFL Grand Final. 3 1/2 hours of laugh-til-your-cheeks-hurt, cringe-worthy bliss. This show is FUNNY. F.U.N.N.Y. Thanks, in large part to the wonderful commentary of British tv/radio icon Terry Wogan. Sardonic, dry, and very, very witty with his lovely lilting Irish accent. He ought to be good. He’s been commentating Eurovision for nearly 40 years…

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Every year, Eurovision unintentionally takes on a different theme. Most years at least 90% of the songs feature something in common. Last year just about every person on stage was wearing white. This year, was the year of gothic overtones and pyrotechnics, thanks to the stylings of last year’s winners, Lordi from Finland.

This is the video of Lordi’s winning performace from last year. So much fun. Watch. You won’t regret it. Hard Rock Hallelujah! [how they don’t all go up in flames towards the end, is still quite beyond me…]

Eurovision is watched by over 600 million people worldwide and has a cult following in Australia. We don’t take part in it, for obvious reasons, so we have no vested interest, but the people of Europe take it all terribly seriously, which is funny in itself. We just sit and laugh our boxes off at the supreme kitschness of it all and Sir Wogan’s witticisms.

There are heats and semi-finals in every country that takes part; it goes on and on for months, but the Grand Prix de Europe (er, Grand Final), is open to only 24 countries. The format of the show runs in two parts. First, all 24 countries perform their respective and universally puke-worthy songs. Second half of the programme is the vote. We’ll get to that part.

First, I’ll share some stills of a few choice acts chosen to represent their respective countries:

BULGARIA

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It’s the Bulgarian Sheila E and the Mulletman. Ok, his name isn’t really Mulletman, but he does have rather spectacular hair. It’s all about percussion…

UNITED KINGDOM

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Honestly. CAN they be serious? Just look at them. This lot make Bucks Fizz look like The Beatles. The UK are given a free pass to the Eurovision final every year, along with Germany, France and Spain. Their entries are almost universally TERRIBLE. The thing that concerns me most, is that the songs selected to represent each country are chosen by the general public… I thought Morrissey was supposed to get a gander this year? What happened?!

GERMANY

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Last year, Germany did a Country & Western song, complete with cowboy outfits. This year the flavour was Big Band Swing. In German. How very…. Brecht. Not.

BELARUS

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A chintzy pseudo rock song of the highest order, sung by a young man bearing an uncanny resemblance to Princess Diana. Complete with chorus:

Work your magic

You set my beating heart in motion

Will you cast your loving potion

Over me

I rest my case.

GEORGIA

eurovision_00006.jpg

Georgia’s first ever Eurovision Grand Final appearance. It wasn’t half bad, either, if not a bit strange to look at. A couple of energetic, spinning Cossacks waving swords about and a pretty woman in a red dress, singing a kind of electro-goth anthem. I guess you had to be there….

MOLDOVA

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This is probably best illustrated by Terry Wogan’s introduction:

“There’s a lot of impetuous head-shaking and scarf-waving, and it’s the outfit of the evening, lads, from Natalia. Altogether now, when she’s finished playing the fiddle, I want you to shout….”PULL UP YOUR TROUSERS!!””

Then, when the song was over:

“We can only hope her mother wasn’t watching that.. [chuckles]. That was quite frightening…”

FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA

eurovision_00008.jpg

Aren’t you glad you don’t live there? It would take you ten years just to say where you lived. I include this young lady, because she had the longest legs and shortest skirt of the evening, by a long shot. There was even a fairly decent shot of her arse at one point, which thrilled my husband no end. Gotta love those Eurobabes.

HUNGARY

eurovision_00009.jpg

Hungary sings the blues. Maybe they are hung(a)ry? Ok, that was possibly the lamest joke ever uttered, even in the name of Eurovision., but that’s what it does to you. I swear.

Did I mention how wonderful this all looked on the 42″ inch Plasma? Fan-bloody-tastic.

The second half of the show is made up of the voting process, where they cross to 42 separate countries by satellite link to have a short chat and get the results of the telephone votes from the public, via some local tv celebrity. You’d think it would be quite torturous, but it’s actually very amusing. Partly because so many of the votes are so utterly predictable with neighbouring countries and political allies voting for each other, often with complete disregard to the quality of the act they’re voting for. Croatia gives top votes to Bosnia & Herzogovina and vice versa, Iceland votes for Finland, Moldova votes for Romania, Belarus for Russia, Cyprus for Greece… you get the picture. There was an even more apparent voting block going on this year between the Eastern European countries, not helped that there were two new additions to the fray.

Despite the bias and the accompanying tutting and pffting, it all seems to work out in the end.

What really tickles me is that the poor old UK, France and Germany really don’t have any friends to give them the big points, so they just pick up the odd stray vote along the way. Everybody say “awwwwwww”, heh.

SERBIA

This year, Serbia came out on top, by a fairly decent margin with a heart wrenching power ballad to rival all power ballads, sung by a bunch of women in drag, looking like refugees from the island of Lesbos who all seem to have had a nasty accident with the same curling iron:

UKRAINE

… but this is who should have won! If you only watch one of these videos, make it Verka! Hilarious! I’m in love. I want to have his babies. It’s taken me so long to put this blog up because I’ve spent most of the week so far watching Verka videos on YouTube. Best Eurovision song, EVER. It even gives Lordi a run for their money…. WATCH IT. I dare you! [titter]

Only in Europe, could millions of people vote a bunch of women in drag, and a cross dressing man into first and second place in such a political minefield of a song contest. I love it.

So, that pretty much wraps up Eurovision for another year. There were more videos I wanted to include, and if you want to see more, there are loads of great, chuckle-worthy performances on YouTube.

Serbia – 268

Ireland – 5

Oh, stuff it. Here’s one more. This is Switzerland’s entry which didn’t make it past the Semi Final, even though it was tipped as a hot favourite. It cracks me up. The artist is DJ Bobo (which is funny in itself), and the song is…. well, quite surreal. ‘Vampires Are Alive”. Just see it for yourself. Personally I’m quite fond of the shop mannequins in the background.

If you still can’t get enough, check out this blog here. It’s a cracker and it was written by an American who has never felt the sheer elation that a Eurovision final can bring, yet still manages to intrinsically appreciate the supreme cheesiness of it all.  😉

Song Of The Day – Verka Serduchka – Dancing Lasha Tumbai

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32 Comments

  1. TheFirm said,

    May 16, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    OK… as an American, allow me to state now, categorically, that we, as a nation, ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS! Nobody can blame America for this. We didn’t start it, and hopefully, we’ll not import it (as we did “Who’s Line is it Anyway,” “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” and others).

    This is a travesty. Hilarious, but a travesty. It should be taken in moderation, and not internally. Apply to the forehead, and immediately rub it off!

  2. Vanessa said,

    May 16, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    Oh, come on. Don’t you even wish you could watch it on cable? It’s a terribly important event, you know… 😉

    You’re not responsible for American Idol, either……… Or Dancing With The Stars…

    Long live Eurotrash! Haha!

    I refuse to rub it off. Not for at least another week. I only get my fix once a year.. [sob]

  3. BriGuy said,

    May 16, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Once again I’m insanely jealous! Why won’t they allow us to watch it here in the states?
    I’m thinking that evil bastard show American Idol, and the lushy Ms. Paula Abdul may have something to do with it.
    At least we have you to keep us updated!

  4. Vanessa said,

    May 16, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    I just don’t get it. With all those cable channels…. You’d think even one of the foreign language stations might pick it up. It’s shown on an ethnic station here…

    Can you believe it’s been a year already? Lordi…

    Ah, you’ll always have me, Bri 😉

    Paula Abdul is an evil mastermind. You do know this, right?

  5. TheFirm said,

    May 16, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Evil Mastermind? Are we talking about the same Paula Abdul?

  6. Vanessa said,

    May 17, 2007 at 1:42 am

    I was kidding….

    Although for all we know, she MIGHT be. Think about that, huh…

  7. stripper said,

    May 17, 2007 at 4:29 am

    I think I will have to make my new home in Serbia.

  8. Vanessa said,

    May 17, 2007 at 4:36 am

    I’ll be just over the way in Ukraine. We can meet for lunch in Romania. Bring the curling iron ladies and we’ll make a day of it.

  9. rannaland said,

    May 17, 2007 at 5:30 am

    Damn it I want Eurovision but NO, I live in AMERICA. The only land on earth where you can have 500 channels of NOTHING! Except stupid crap. Like all those damn reality shows, and all that crap. Oh and of course the news. Cuz you know I would hate for us to not hear what celeberity was sleeping with who, and How that damn loon Paris Hilton is fighting going to jail. UGH we have so much at our finger tips and yet we just don’t get it. Us crazy Americans. LOL!!

  10. Anonymous said,

    May 17, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Hah!

    You are sooo missing out. You have no idea. Well, maybe just a bit, but still nothing compares to the actual spectacle…

    Well, America is fairly well known for not much considering the world outisde its borders, unless there’s something in it for them…. and as a result, you end up with no Eurovision. It’s a crying shame, I tell you…

  11. Vanessa said,

    May 17, 2007 at 6:23 am

    Oops, that was me, heh. I’m on another computer and I forgot I wasn’t signed in… D’oh.

  12. Vanessa said,

    May 17, 2007 at 6:23 am

    Oops, that was me, heh. I’m on another computer and I forgot I wasn’t signed in… D’oh.

  13. modobs said,

    May 17, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Geez, I missed the Eurovision song contest this year ! I’m so pissed off. Apparently, there were a lot of eastern european countries represented this year, and now they want to split the competition between the East and the West to have a fairer representation of the West. The French group was excellent this year, for a change ! But nobody beated Lordi …

  14. Vanessa said,

    May 17, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Oh, nooo! I was waiting to see what you thought of the competition…!

    They want to have two contests? Is that what you mean? I don’t think I like that idea. I mean, Finland won last year, so it’s not like western Europeans can’t win, right?

    The French group were odd….. I wasn’t convinced… Everyone was better than the UK though. Good grief. What a travsesty.

    I love Verka Serdushka from the Ukraine as much as Lordi. Different, but it makes me giggle. Shame he/she only came second. I thought the Serbian entry was a bit of a yawn…

  15. modobs said,

    May 17, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Finland, apparently, is bounded with the other eastern european countries. They got their support last year. But the hole debate about this problem is starting to smell because I heard some participants criticizing the important Turkish community spread in all the european countries who always favor Turkey instead of their home country.
    This is silly. Belgium came at number 2 two years ago, I think. Western european countries haven’t understand how the contest has evolved over the last 5 years.
    I don’t know how they will organize this contest next year.
    For sure, those Ukrainians were completely bonkers. I also thought they would win. But apparently, this year, the important community of the Isle of Lesbos, spread around Europe, supported their fellows (if I follow the stupid logic of certain presenters) 🙂

  16. Vanessa said,

    May 17, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Well, from what I know, there were a record 42 countries voting this year, and last year it was only 37. That could make a big difference, especially if they’re eastern european. Georgia was new, Serbia and Montenegro were split up and Czech Republic and Hungary took part, whereas they didn’t last year. Austria, too. Come to think of it, that all makes a big difference….

    Ah! Now I see where the popular vote for Serbia came from! Haha! Although Serbia have never been the most popular country, no? They’ve been pretty much demonised by the media for the last decade or more.

    It will be interesting to see how the next couple of years play out…

  17. rannaland said,

    May 17, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Ahh but your absolutely right, we are the land of nothing unless theres something in it for our oil sucking government. (Ranna is quite upset with our government) THEY SUCK ASSS!

  18. Vanessa said,

    May 17, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    Yes they do! I have to agree with you 100% on that one, my dear. Your government does indeed, suck ass.

    Ew. I just had a rather graphic visual image…..

  19. rannaland said,

    May 18, 2007 at 12:29 am

    I agree with me too!!! The moron that we have in office right now couldnt find his own ass in the dark with a flashlight, and the runner up is a damn maniac! This damn administration telling any other country how to run things is almost like Charles Manson telling Jefferey Dahlmer not to play with knives. I mean HOLY HELL where else in the world can you just out of the blue one day decide that someone has weapons of mass destruction and go in to find them and stay for 4 freakin years, spend all of your countries money, keep your armed force personnel away from their families and not get your sorry ass impeached or at least BEAT UP? YES MA’AM OUR GOVERNMENT SUCKS SOME MEGA ASS! Wow didn’t mean to get all political on you love. Guess Ranna is still emotional this week. LOL! It’s the visitor from hell causing it, but hell I’ll blame that on the government too. (Snickers Loudly at self) HA

  20. May 18, 2007 at 12:52 am

    […] with a late entry in the Eurovision series, with appropriate props to the marvellous Terry […]

  21. Vanessa said,

    May 18, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Oh, it’s completely appropriate to get political. It doesn’t get much more political than Eurovision! hah. I wouldn’t care if it wasn’t appropriate… You are always welcome to speak your mind your mind here, my dear!

    I totally get where you’re coming fom… 😉

  22. rannaland said,

    May 18, 2007 at 4:01 am

    Ahh thank you love! So nice to know you’ll let me vent! YOU ROCK GIRL!!!

  23. phone cards said,

    May 21, 2007 at 5:50 am

    Verka Serduchka was very nice personage when it apear, but now it’s a marasmus.

  24. Vanessa said,

    May 21, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    Ah, maybe to you, but I enjoy her/him very much. 🙂

  25. Jules said,

    May 23, 2007 at 11:59 am

    I was so cheesed off at missing most of Eurovision because of the dodgy reception that I went out and bought a set top box. SBS is now crystal clear. A bit late though…

    Ohhhh, why didn’t Verka win! I’m still upset about that. He was far more deserving than Serbia…. I have no words for the UK entry. It’s just diabolical. It reminded me of Bucks Fizz too, but the more I think about it the more I think of The Wiggles.

  26. Vanessa said,

    May 23, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Ohhh! I’m so sad you missed it. Verka looked beautiful in digital. 😉 Well, at least you get a good picture now. Oh, and ABC 2 is handy….

    The Wiggles meets Are You Being Served? It was all outrageously suggestive in that unique British way. Nudge nudge, wink wink…

    It’s taken me a week and a half to get ‘Dancing Lasha Tumbai’ out of my head. It’s been preventing me from going to sleep at night because every time I’m ready to drop off, I come to the key change part of the song on the loop in my head, and I wake up with a jolt. I’ve also been dreaming about it……………….

  27. agrinev said,

    May 25, 2007 at 7:09 am

    I love Valentine Lost…
    See my wife’s comment at http://anastasiyag.blogspot.com/2007/05/eurovision-2007.html

    …and mine at http://agrinev.blogspot.com/2007/05/2007.html

    see you

  28. Ilias said,

    July 30, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Nice!

  29. August 14, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    […] came second (representing Ukraine) in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. He/she was the hot favourite to win, but was tragically pipped at the post by that mob from […]

  30. Stylianos said,

    August 29, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    interesting

  31. Gregorios said,

    January 21, 2008 at 10:09 am

    interesting

  32. Betty said,

    June 14, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Nice blog! 2007 was my favourite year (I’ve been watching since 1997). Everyone got so adventurous post-Lordi. I wasn’t as crazy about Dancing Lasha Tumbai as you, but I adored Bulgaria and Moldova. And, having decided to support Georgia’s first entry, I baked an adapted version of Sopho’s favourite dish, Acharuli Khachapuri (a sort of cheese and egg pie) for my Eurovision guests. It was yummy.
    To quote her myspace page: “She cooks well and can prepare practically everything in the kitchen, but it is Acharuli Khachapuri, which is always especially tasty, and represents her pride and joy.”


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