All Aboard For Eurovision

Like many people in the UK, I eagerly await that one Saturday in May where you can enjoy the cheesy cringe of 26 European singers (and Australia) giving it their all.  I also look forward to the comedic one-liners of Graham Norton commentating on the performances of everyone involved, including the hosts!  This year Eurovision took us to the beautiful city of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.  Overall, I thought that the staging was great, a bit confused as to the purpose of the bridge other than a hazard to those using it, but nice nonetheless.   I was unsure of why they needed four hosts, one of which (the blonde one) seemed awkward and uncomfortable most of the time. And I’m pretty sure one of them was American, which was out of place. 

The blonde one is SO awkward

I know a couple of years ago they tried to break into America and had Justin Timberlake perform, but there is a 5 to 8 hour time difference from the UK to the states, so realistically not many people are going to watch Eurovision on a Saturday afternoon, but hey, that’s just me.

My handwriting isn’t normally this bad

This year, I took Eurovision very seriously.  I had my notebook and was taking notes and scoring them as I saw fit. Some of the acts just have a ‘WTF?!?!’ next to them, as I’m sure anyone who watched it would agree. For example, that guy that rushed the stage during SuRie’s performance, I mean, what is up with that guy? 

Dr Douchebag, I mean Dr ACactivism

Apparently, he is a known douchebag and stage invader, who calls himself Dr ACactivism.  When he got the mic he shouted, ‘Nazis of the UK media, we demand freedom.'(The Guardian)  Anyone watching the show had to commend SuRie for the way she handled the situation.  She did amazingly well to keep her composure and when she did get the mic back she absolutely killed the remainder of her performance.

See, creepy, right?!

Another WTF moment for me was the creepy guy from the Ukraine.  I really couldn’t get over the one coloured contact lens he had.  It was just weird and kinda pointless, and his song was only mediocre so he didn’t do himself any favours.

 

Serbia, I mean what to say about Serbia?  Well, when they were in the green room with one of the hosts they definitely invaded her personal space, kissed her and then told her they loved her.  They even had Billy Connolly there playing the recorder.   When they were on stage, their song was only average, but leave it to Graham Norton to lighten the mood when he commented on the group saying the lead singer looked ‘like a cult leader with his three sister wives’.  I was seriously in tears from laughing, because once he said that, you couldn’t unsee it.

Ok, then there is Denmark.  My husband akined the lead singer to a ginger Jesus, I thought they all looked like Hell’s Angels.  I mean what was with the Viking thing?  I could see if they were going with a more metal song, but it sounded too much like a Disney song to need all those Vikings.  It reminded me of the beginning of Frozen when all those guys collecting the ice were singing.  Overall, I enjoyed the majority of the sets that the countries displayed but Denmark’s looked like they hired Alan Partridge to make a Viking music video.

A big WTF moment, WHY IS AUSTRALIA SINGING IN EUROVISION?!?! I could see the appeal of doing it as a one-off for the 60th anniversary, but to still let them in now? I mean, my geography is not the best, but I’m pretty sure that Australia is not part of Europe.   Not only that, but I’m almost certain anyone sitting in the front row had a good view of what was under all that glitter, just sayin’.  Oh and waaaaay too many strobe effects.  Maybe I’m getting old but I honestly thought I was going to go blind or start to seizure.  I feel bad for anyone who is epileptic or sensitive to strobe lights because that was awful and did not add anything to the performance.

Hungary was the only really heavy rock of the contest.  Now, I’m not a massive fan of rock, so I can’t say whether the song was good, but am I the only one who noticed the lead singer had no shoes?  Why just why.  Why wouldn’t he have any shoes on, just weird.  I was also receiving texts from my Aunt who lives in Switzerland but was vacationing in France about her thoughts on the show.  As soon as the guy started screaming, she text me saying ‘my ears are bleeding’ I have to agree with her on that.  I could never get into screamo music, I don’t see the point in being that angry and if I was I would want to listen to something that calms me down, not makes me terrified of my shadow, but I digress.


Bulgaria was just weird, too many different voices that did not compliment each other at all.  One guy looked like he was trying to be Will.I.Am, and the chick looked like the strung-out child of Sia and Gwen Stefani.  Personally, I thought there was just too much going on and the song wasn’t very good to make up for it.

 

Italy was the last country to go and I can’t get over how many points they got.  I liked the lyrics on the screen and when they did them in different languages, but the song and stage presence was so blah.  Now, maybe I would feel differently if I could actually understand the song, so if anyone reading this knows Italian please share your opinions down in the comments!

Before I move onto my thoughts of some of the contestants’ outfit choices, I do have to touch on my last WTF moment which is Israel.  Don’t get me wrong, I love her message about ‘choosing different’ and ‘choosing unique’ but I found the whole spectacle weird.  One, they aren’t supposed to use brands in their songs and she used Barbie and Pikachu just to name a couple.  I also did not understand the clucking like a chicken thing, I get that her song was trying to be fun, but it just threw me off.  As an American Expat, I’m all about embracing different cultures and I for one greatly appreciate Japanese and Chinese culture.  I have two sisters-in-law who are Japanese and Chinese, so have the luxury of experiencing their culture on many levels.  With that being said I found it out-of-place for her to wear a kimono and liken herself to a Japanese person.  If it were any other singing competition I would not be saying this, but as it’s Eurovision and you are representing YOUR country, I felt that if she was going to embrace any culture it should be her own, to show her pride of her country and her people.  I am happy for her that she won, but personally thought Germany or Austria deserved it, but I’ll talk about that later.

My inner people watching sensors were going off when some of the participants got on stage.  All in all, I enjoyed Spain’s song, I thought it was sweet and simple staging which I enjoyed. However, I wasn’t so sure about the guys Ron Burgandy suit with sparkles.  It seemed like a very small part of him wanted to be a matador or on Ru Paul’s drag race, but what do I know, I was just a spectator enjoying my couch and gin.

I adored Austria’s performance and was sad to see him lose out on the win, but his outfit baffled me.  I have seen trousers like his before, but I just don’t get it.  Is it for people who want to connect with their inner penguin?  How do they walk with the crotch that low and then really tight around the knees and calves?  Not only that but it blended in with his top, almost looked like a horrible body suit.  But this is a singing contest, not Top Model.

Ok, Estonia! Her voice was literally insane, what a beautiful woman and song.  That dress was out of this world, but then again for €65,000 you’d hope so.  I thought the lighting effects on it were just astounding, but how did she get into that dress? How does she walk in it?  What is going to happen to the dress now and who the hell paid for it?  So many questions that I’m sure google can answer, but hey, I don’t care enough to find out, unless one of you would like to tell me ;).

What was with Albania’s jacket?! It kind of looked like a leather stray jacket that he cut himself out of.  I didn’t even pay any attention to the song because I was so bewildered by the outfit choice.  I thought Finland had some very weird and awkward backup dancers and that they all looked like they were going to go to an S&M get together after the show.

I loved The Netherlands song and performance but his jacket was a big, NO.  I enjoy a leopard print scarf or shoes, but a whole jacket, no thank you.  But about a third way into the show, I started to pay more attention to the shirtless men crunking on stage, because, you know, abs. Second to last was Cyprus and I was a little thrown off by her outfit.  It looked like something an Olympic skater would wear, or someone participating in Carnival in Brazil.  The outfit aside, I thought the song was entertaining and something that I could hear on the radio or in the club.

Well, that’s my two cents on the fashion of Eurovision, so now it’s time for my top 5!  For anyone who voted, did you have trouble voting?  I kept trying to vote via the app, but it wouldn’t let me and in the end had to call my votes in.  Anyways, here is who I voted for when the lines opened:

  1. Germany Graham Norton compared him to Ed Sheeran and I can see why, but I genuinely loved this song.  You could see the emotion in his eyes and how much it meant to him to sing this song about his father to all of Europe.  I really hope that he goes on to find success, I will definitely be getting that song from the Eurovision album.
  2. Austria I thought that he sounded a bit like Aloe Blacc.  I found his voice very soothing and the song was very catchy.  It’s something I could listen to on the radio.  I thought it was weird that the hosts kept visiting him in the green room and not Germany.  I also found it odd that they kept mentioning his twitter password.  Hopefully, he hasn’t had any of his personal information hacked because of that.
  3. Czech Republic I liked the singer’s style, had an Olly Murs feel to him.  The song was poppy and I enjoyed the mix of rap with singing.  I thought the dance moves were cheeky and fun and was all around a joy to listen to and watch.  I thought he would have done better in the votes.
  4. The Netherlands As I mentioned before I really liked this song.  I thought it was different for him to do a country/rock song and can understand why he might not have done so well with the European votes.  But I thought the song was great, had a Rascal Flatts vibe, and I will be adding this song to my playlist.
  5. Ireland Last, but not least, Ireland.  I thought this was a lovely song and loved the male dancers and the clear connotation that love is love.  I was proud of the EBU to ban their partnership with Chinese broadcaster Mango TV after they blurred out rainbow flags and said that they would not show Ireland’s performance.  The EBU said ‘It is with regret that we will therefore immediately be terminating our partnership with the broadcaster and they will not be permitted to broadcast the second Semi-Final or the Grand Final’. (BBC)

Although it aggravates me how political the voting is by the juries, I relish that these people are using this public forum to show their support for those unjustly treated.  France, for example, sung a song about the refugee crisis. I think it’s great that the EBU celebrates and supports diversity and inclusion during this event, however, the voting is an annoyance.  Now, I know that the majority of the British public do not take this contest as seriously as other countries, but the juries should vote on the song and performance, not for the country.  I mean, come on, the UK did way better than Norway, Albania, Serbia and the Disney Vikings of Denmark! (Eurovision) I know it seems ironic for an American to comment on a corrupt voting system, but I call it like I see it. (Trust me, I know how messed up the voting in the states is, but that’s a story for another time.)

Sarah and her friends visiting Lisbon for Eurovision 2018

Speaking to an ex-colleague, Sarah, who attended Eurovision she said she would give the experience a 10 out of 10.  Although Israel wasn’t her favourite she said ‘it was a fun song and made people laugh and dance.’ When asked if she would go again she responded ‘I would absolutely go again without hesitation. It’s a most wonderful event. I love languages, fun, different cultures, and being happy – Eurovision ticks all these boxes.’ Overall, Sarah said that ‘Eurovision exceeded expectations. Absolutely amazing and I’m so glad I experienced it. The atmosphere was full of fun, smiles, singing and dancing and I chatted to people from so many countries who were all so friendly.’ She would highly recommend anyone who has the opportunity to go!  Wow, that really does sound like an amazing experience, so any takers for Israel 2019?!

So begins the year-long wait for the next Eurovision contest in Israel.  I’m looking forward to the sets, songs, costumes and the joy of bloc voting! Because at the end of the day, it’s a great Saturday night in with drinks and the hubby.  How do you watch Eurovision, a party, with your family? Do you have any fun games or traditions you have whilst watching it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the performances, your WTF moments, outfit disasters and who you thought should have won! Let me know in the comments!

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