Saturday, May 12, 2007

“This is a night we cannot deny”: Notes on the Eurovision 2007 Semi-Final

I have just watched it on SBS. I took frantic notes throughout. I relay those notes to you here.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that I have not as yet consulted with Professor Fop, who most likely has already supplied a superior version of this event. I hereby admit to doing none of the requisite research. I am simply an amateur and these assessments were made on the run, taking the performances at face value. If there be any divergences of opinion between myself and Fop (PhD, Eurovision), please trust his verdicts over mine.


Helsinki is where it’s at. And one of the Finnish hosts has the best surname ever. It is Leppilampi. It is very good.

There is percussion. There is chain mail. There are noticeably off-key notes.
VERDICT: I would not mind if this went through. I would not be stricken, however, if it did not.

The song is Push The Button by Teapacks. In it, Israelis sing in various languages on the general theme of “I do not want to die, in particular, I do not wish to be blown up.” Here are some lyrics by example:

I want to see the flowers bloom, I don’t want to go kaput kaboom.

VERDICT: THIS IS GENIUS. There is added frisson because they are Israeli. Also, they are critical of a foolish leader, who, despite their fervent wish to not be blown up, they suspect may nonetheless “Push The Button”. I want this one to go through. VERY BADLY.


The song is called Comme ci comme ca. She is wearing either a) really high boots, or b) leather leggings. There are also leather chest/arm straps leading into a silver sparkly mini dress. I want to say it’s silver mesh. Or a variation on silver mesh. At one point in the song there is a break in tempo that introduces some rather classic clubbing in Ibiza/Night At The Roxbury-style synth beats.

VERDICT: I bear no hatred towards this entry, nor do I care very much about its prospects.


Dude, you’re wearing a black satin shirt. It’s largely unbuttoned. Why have you done this? Anyway, the song is about magic, perhaps it is called Work Your Magic or some such. I enjoy the lyrics, fragments of which I hear as:

Wipe some of your loving potion over me

Work your magic shoe

Yes I’m willing

The English people assigned to talk over proceedings puncture my conjecture by telling me the actual lyric is “When you put your loving potion over me” which spoils the fun with accuracy. Somewhat.

VERDICT: I support how very easily this otherwise mindless pop lends itself to filthiness, as in ‘Come on my face. Yes, I’m willing.’

05 ICELANDLand of Björk

Bowie? Meatloaf? Hetfield? Is that you? Let’s consider some of the (possibly misheard) lyrics to divine the answer to these questions.

Rock n roll can heal your soul

Broken hearts lose all control

Fashion killed by acid rain

A rollercoaster in my brain

Hmmm. Definitely Hetfield, then.

VERDICT: NO. NO. NO. You bring shame to the Land of Björk.


The song is Visionary Dream. Is that you Dannii? No, on closer inspection, it is not. It is someone called Sopho, anyway. She sings:

This precious moment in my life

Holds me excited

I enjoy that ‘holds me excited’ line. It strikes me that it was possibly not conceived of in English. Sopho wears a red dress. She is encircled by four whirling Dervish types (or the Georgian equivalent) in grey tunics. But look! They also have mini swordsheath backpacks?! Out of which they flourish two short blades each?! Which they proceed to wave about in a very un-sinister way! For these are friendly dancing knifemen! What larks! Also, Sopho sounds a bit like Björk in the chorus.

VERDICT: Getting through, not getting through. It would be no travesty either way.


The song is called something like Adje Kroje. I have not spelled this correctly, let me assure you. But it matters not to me how it is spelled. No, what makes an impression is how it SOUNDS. Which is precisely like this:

Crotchy. Crotchy crotchy.

Ah ha ha. Are they singing about CROTCH. Let’s giggle at the possibility. Now let’s move on to giggle at the bass and guitar players who have moved into the synchronised ‘penis guns’ stance. Oh look, they think that move went over so successfully that they have decided to repeat it.

VERDICT: Not really, no.


The song is Vampires Are Alive. The feel is rather more Farscape. One of the singers realises which city he is in and so is heard to exhort, “Vampires in Helsinki… Come alive!” Oh yes, he is down with the local flavour.

VERDICT: This is all rather foolish. You are all middle-aged.


The song is Fight. It begins with fucking electrified violin. And nobody likes that. The singer is ‘demure’ in a gauzy beaded veil to begin with. It should be noted, however, that she is also wearing chaps. Oh, there goes the veil. It’s gone. Because of the rocking out (subset: emotional).

Never let nobody in

And step right on your dream

If you

Really want this dream

VERDICT: I have not enjoyed this at all. I will be annoyed if it makes it through.


The song is called On Top Of The World. Its initial moments caused me to grab the phone and then become confused, because it dawned on me that I have absolutely no idea which is the relevant authority to call when seeking to report the theft of Unbreak My Heart. I was saved from any further thoughts of civic action when a tempo change altered the song into a more Steps-like proposition, and my laziness took over as I realised there would be far too many people to call.

VERDICT: Boring. Should not get through.


The song is called Hear My Plea. There is a middle-aged man with a goatee, and a woman who seems dressed by that same guy who the popular consciousness powerfully associates with Cher. You know the one. Bob Mackie. I cannot decide whether the song is a refugee lament, or a divorce/separation song. Some lyrical fragments include:

I turn and walk away

I leave it all

A million miles later

Take me home again

VERDICT: Boring. Should not get through.


The song is called Drama Queen and it is by DQ (and I think we can guess what that stands for). She stands before a giant crown with a disco ball suspended from it. The look is quite Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. There is big pink feather fan action from the cohorts dressed in unremarkable black. Ooh, costume change! DQ’s big skirt has become a sleeker skirt.

I’m your drama queen tonight

Everything’s gonna be alright

In between reality and fantasy

I like ‘in between reality and fantasy’ as a trans statement.

VERDICT: Drag queens should be supported, especially when a giant crown has been constructed especially, and then customised with a disco ball.

AT THIS POINT, I find myself thinking something that I tend to find myself thinking quite often these days: “Simon Amstell should really be hosting this.” (And by ‘hosting’, I mean ‘talking over proceedings’.)


The song is called I Believe In Love and it is performed by Dragonfly feat. Dado Topic. There is a lady singing. She has very big hair. She is wearing leather pants and a thin silver mesh-ish sparkly top. Again with this clothing combination. There is also a man singing. If he were German, I would assume he had hung out with Nick Cave during the Berlin years. He is Dado Topic. He has the look of elder rock royalty/former junkie. He has probably just lost all credibility in Croatia. Because the lyrics are woeful.

You’ll never know how much I love you

You’ll never know how much I need you

VERDICT: Bad. Additionally, the backstory I concocted while enduring this entry left me feeling sad about what had become of the hero of the backstory I concocted while enduring this entry.


The song is called Time To Party and it is performed by The Jet Set. There is a birdcage in which girls writhe. One of them is the female singer. The girls exit the birdcage and proceed to reveal their debt to Pussycat Dolls choreographer, Mikey. Huh. His power really does exist. It’s not just some hollow thing that is constantly affirmed by Robin Antin and then reaffirmed by aspiring PCDs. His influence is real, and it extends to Poland. Wow. Anyway, there is a male singer also. He mostly restricts himself to saying “Let’s party/You got the right to party”. He also interjects in the following fashion:

Girl singer: Hey guys, you know I’m really hot

Boy singer: Yes, you are

At the end, the girls return to the birdcage. I doubt that any of this symbolises anything.

VERDICT: Stoopid.


The song is Molitva. Excellent, the lesbians are here. This fact is given away by the singer’s haircut, and that she wears a suit and sneakers. She is backed up by girls more femme. They also wear suits but there are subtle differences between them and the look of the singer. For example, they each sport a red sash. Reformed beauty queens, perhaps? They also wear heels rather than sensible shoes. But still, they are very supportive of the butch. At the end, everybody clasps hands with one another. This has a purpose. Because each hand bears a red mark on the side. And so when two hands are pushed together (for example, in a hand-clasping motion) the red marks form a heart. The song is probably about love, then.

VERDICT: Yes. Make the final please.


Buuuuuu. Another ‘metal’ band. If by 'metal' you mean 'long hair and middle age'. Which it's feasible you might. The singer wears fingerless black leather gloves with the word FREE in white across the knuckles.

VERDICT: No. And it’s not even an angry ‘no’. It’s just so bored now.


There are more giant fans. These ones are not feathered, just opaque paper I would guess. Black on one side, red on the other. They are flourished by people dressed in white. The song is so boring that they have done some value-adding by having a pair of ballroom dancers on the side. This is how boring the song is:

I want to take you to the moon

I want to make your dreams come true

There is a shiny bodysuit.

VERDICT: Absolutely not.


You are probably becoming tired of me calling the songs boring. I am heartily sick of having to remark upon the trend myself. What’s the point of a boring song? And especially when it’s not even laughable for good measure. This one, called Mojot svet is not good. They’ve tried to dress it up with a bit of casual ballet (as evidenced by the untucked shirts and jeans worn by the ballet dancers).

Music is the only world for me

In my world we’ll live in harmony

Music knows no creed or colour

Day by day we live our dream

VERDICT: How many songs does the world need about the status of one’s dream? Even a world that knows no creed or colour must surely draw the line at allowing any more songs about having a dream, realising a dream, living a dream, losing a dream… REPETITIVE THEME.


The singer is wearing a shorter version of Jennifer Hawkins’ Miss Universe dress? Oh dear, there are more male ballroom dancers with more deep v-necks. Oh, and more big feather fans ushering in the costume change. The new dress is orangey/red, in line with the flamenco-ish theme? Oh my, A THIRD COSTUME CHANGE! She ends in a shiny silver mesh-ish mini slip.

VERDICT: Not a contender.


The song is Vertigo. A bare-chested burly man is playing a white violin. A second bare-chested burly-man then bangs a large oriental-ish gong. Both burly-men have identical outfits for their lower-halves: white loose pants with white scarves stuffed into them. The scarves are later pulled out and twirled around a bit. Oh look, once again there are fans as props. Seriously, I’m sensing that a Sparky Polastri-style ‘spirit fingers’ routine-shopping fiasco/explosive revelation is afoot. It’s as if everyone got the same advice: “I’m thinking leather, I’m thinking silver mesh. No? You don’t like that? What about giant fans? Yeah, giant fans are cool. And what’s your position on synchronised guitar penis guns?” Anyway, back to Malta’s entry. The wind machine is ON.

VERDICT: I’m saying no.


This is schoolboy pop punk. Check the lyrics:




A fascination with numbers is borne out on the digital big screen backdrops. There are also synchronised guitar penis guns. As the song finishes, the singer says, “Thank you everybody. We can still save the world.” And nobody likes that.



The song is called Unsubstantial Blues. I was thinking that maybe ‘unsubstantial’ wasn’t really a word, and why couldn’t the song have been called ‘Insubstantial Blues’? But I checked in the dictionary, and ‘unsubstantial’ really is a word. It means pretty much what you’d expect it to mean – you know, ‘not substantial’. Anyway, she’s got no shoes on. She’s carrying a suitcase. She’s wearing a white singlet, a big belt buckle, and blue jeans. She’s singing commercial country music. She’s waiting at the bus stop. We know this because of a large lollipop sign that reads ‘BUS STOP’. The lyrical gist is:

Why did you leave me?

And she reaches an emotional heartbreak climax point while singing this lyric, her big vocal moment stretching up the register with some force and carrying a little grit for good measure and it’s actually quite affecting.

VERDICT: You have permission to continue.


The song is called Partners In Crime. I did not enjoy it, but a part of the lyric tickled me in a wider sense, and so formed the heading of this post.

This is a night we cannot deny

We’ll always be partners in crime

I think it’s about having a one-nighter with a work colleague or something. She is carried to centre stage by male dancers who are all in some form of office wear. One is wearing suspenders. She is in a suit-style thing too. But what is that on her left knee now? Is that an intentional or unintentional glitter patch? I wasn’t paying enough attention to her knee at the beginning to notice if the glitter was there from the start, or if some of the energetic dancing wiped some of the glitter from her décolletage onto her knee. Somehow.

VERDICT: I don’t like you.


It is called LovePower. It is a disco song, sung by a man wearing champagne satin. There is a keyboard guitar entertaining some penis gun action.

Can you feel the love power?

Can you feel the love power coming your way?

Can you feel the love power - all day?

Falsetto pleases me generally, and I make no exception here.

VERDICT: I gave you a tick.


She is wearing a leather bustier and a big long taffeta skirt. It’s the sort of skirt that you just know is going to get ripped off at some point to reveal a sleeker skirt. What she’s singing sounds a bit like opera. It also has elements of the nationalistic communist choir call to arms kind of thing. The big skirt is still intact. I AM WAITING. The wind machine is parting the big skirt. The song ends. BUT WHAT? YOU ARE WEARING EXACTLY THE SAME OUTFIT AS WHEN YOU STARTED.

VERDICT: I paid too much attention to the skirt, and not enough to the song.


The song is called Shake It Up Skekerim. Is that you, Enrique? Whoever you are, you are wearing a red coat. You have women dancing around you. You just slapped an ass that was not your own. You begin, somewhat jarringly, by singing about ‘Sweet n Low’. That is a brand of sweetener. You also sing:

Lovey dovey lovey dovey all the time

I’ve got lots of candy to make you mine

Ah, I see. You’re mining the whole ‘sugar is sweet’ area of pop. And you’re pushing it into new areas. Yes, sugar is sweet. And yes, candy is sweet. But we must applaud your inclusion of ‘Sweet n Low’, your extension of the boundaries to include the sugar conscious who nonetheless want something sweet.

VERDICT: Fair enough.


The song is called Get A Life – Get Alive. The singer is wearing a silver sparkly mesh-ish hoodie. He is on top of a red feathered mountain inhabited by full body red spandex rooster people. The singer gets down from the big red feathered mountain, and the spandex people also vacate to dance around him. Actually, is that big red feathered mountain actually a big red feathered AIDS ribbon? It kinda looks like it is. What’s the title of this song again? Is this in fact some kind of positive HIV-positive song? I did not see that coming.

VERDICT: But still, what’s with the full-body spandex?


The song is Quest Notte by There is a man in a top hat, tuxedo jacket and jeans. He is wearing a medal of honour or something. Another one has come. And another. And another. All have top hats, some have bow ties, one has a black silk cravat, there are more medals in evidence. It strikes me, when the one in the long jacket comes out, that perhaps Fagin’s street urchins grew up to do Il Divo and were recognised by either royalty or the military for their service to the community. There are six of them now.

VERDICT: I don’t care if album sales say otherwise, nobody likes Il Divo.

So, there are my initial impressions of the Eurovision 2007 semi-finalists.

We were then treated to a quick snapshot of the 14 automatic qualifiers to the final, and these are 4 things I gleaned from the short clips provided.

1. Spain has a boy band called D’Nash. Good to see apostrophes can still find their way into words like that.

2. Sweden. YES. This is what we call SOMETHING.

3. France. I like the song. I just wish that one of you wasn’t bald.

4. Ukraine. YES. YES. YES. Elderly glittering aliens. FINALLY, I HAVE FOUND A FAVOURITE. I want you to win, Ukraine. DO YOU HEAR ME.

And now to tonight’s results.

Of the 28 countries, only 10 could get voted into the final. These are those ten.

Belarus – the magic potion song. YAY.

F.Y.R Macedonia - NO!

Slovenia – HMMM


Georgia – I’M OKAY WITH THIS. Also, one of the Brits employed to talk over proceedings remarked that the one I mistook for Dannii actually looks a bit like Katie Melua. This made me think of Simon Amstell. He hates Katie Melua.

Latvia – NO!

Serbia – YAY.



Moldova – NO!