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Eurovision 2012: My top 10

eurovision 2012 baku banner

God, it feels like a long time ago now doesn’t it? I had a whim to write about Eurovision on this blog, and 6 months ago today (total accident), I gave my thoughts on Melodifestivalen’s first heat in Växjö in February. It feels strange to think how events unfolded since then. At the time, my blog had just over 500 views, and Loreen took to the stage to perform “Euphoria” on stage for the first time. I think Eurovision 2012 was the story of my blog, and of Loreen.

I was pleased by the reaction to my Melodifestivalen post, and those that followed. So I posted an entry about all 42 Eurovision entrants, and the three shows in Baku. I was astonished and grateful for the massive reaction I got from these posts that now see me over 20,000 views, peaking just after the show with over 2,000 views in one day. It’s now settled nicely to about 50-100 views per day, and I am trying to do my best for this blog after this amazing jump-start. Thankyou everyone!

Loreen didn’t do badly for herself either, after a huge victory in Växjö, she fought closely with an unlucky Danny Saucedo in March to take a decisive victory at Stockholm’s Globen to represent Sweden in Azerbaijan’s first Eurovision Song Contest. In a hotly contested final, it was looking iffy, but Loreen pulled well clear of Russian grannies to get a landslide victory, bringing the contest back to Sweden for the first time since 1999 and breaking a chain of 16 unique countries to have won the contest most recently. Next year should be amazing, and I hope to do all this again – and more. But before that, I need to finally draw a line under this year’s contest with my top 10 entries.

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Ott Lepland Kuula Estonia Eurovision 2012

Estonia Estonia

Ott Lepland – Kuula

#6 in the Grand Final

Oh I’m not made of stone, I can occasionally be influenced by a sensitive-looking Baltic guy pouring his heart out. It’s difficult at the moment to think of a better example of this as dear Ott Lepland. “Kuula” means “Listen”, and the pleading tone to his voice really made this stand out as one of the more powerful ballads of the contest. He really raised it to another level on stage, with some amazing vocals that totally captivated the audience and secured humble Estonia one of their best results in a long time. I love this guy! *sigh*. Got through that without talking about his erection at least (whoops).

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Donny Montell Love is Blind Lithuania Eurovision 2012

Lithuania Lithuania

Donny Montell – Love Is Blind

#14 in the Grand Final

Lithuania!! I’m as surprised as you. A very hit-and-miss country in terms of entries, I feel a little bad that most of its neighbourhood have won the contest in recent years: Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Ukraine, Sweden… and occasionally its entries are a little hard done-by. Poor Laura and her lovers, for example. But conversely I had no idea little Donny would do as well as he did. I chalked up his shock qualification to performing last in his semi, but he showed the song could feel pretty contemporary. He sang it brilliantly, even though the blindfold gimmick was a bit naff, but not as much as his shocking dance moves. That backflip was impressive though. Sounds great turned up loud in my car.

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Maya Sar Korake Ti Znam Bosnia Herzegovina Eurovision 2012

Bosnia Bosnia and Herzegovina

MayaSar – Korake ti znam

#18 in the Grand Final

Wow, didn’t see this coming really either. While I was reviewing each entry in the contest run-up, this was pleasant but nothing special. A gorgeously classy video, but generally a nice but boring Balkan ballad. Even the stage performance was a bit staid, Gaga shoulder-pads aside. But something just triggered off for me and I really have fallen in love with it. It’s just so gentle and beautiful: the strings, her voice, it all blends so well. The quiet storms of the bridges into the choruses are sudden and powerful, and the climactic final minute is just a fairytale with a princess’s voice.

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Netherlands Joan Franka you and me Eurovision 2012

Netherlands Netherlands

Joan Franka – You and Me

#15 in Semi-final 2

Never mind, maybe next year. Netherlands are certainly one of the more aggrieved of Eurovision nations, never yet qualifying from a semi-final since they came in nearly 10 years ago. The song was an early favourite, also endearingly described by Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw as the “Smelly Cat of this year’s contest”. It totally fits – weird affected accent, kooky mannerisms and adorably quaint bluegrassy banjo music. It’s a little barn-dance in my heart, with a song about lost childhood love that poor Joan will never let go of. It’s a gorgeous singalong song, but she totally trashed it live, it was so off-key it broke my heart. Maybe with a less bizarre setup (or dare I say it, performer), it might have had a shot… there’s always another year.

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Sabina Babayeva When the music dies azerbaijan eurovision 2012

Azerbaijan Azerbaijan

Sabina Babayeva – When the Music Dies

#4 in the Grand Final

I called Azerbaijan as a potential candidate to defend the host nation’s title this year, and it certainly pulled out all the stops to do itself proud. Sabina was a little … cold (cold cold) but she performed the shit out of that song. A powerful ballad, in the usual Azeri standard of blending traditional instruments with a decidedly western sound, is that even Motown I hear? She had the poise and attitude to totally smash that song, especially that killer final note that still gives me chills. Then there was THAT incredible dress, such a simple idea but executed so brilliantly. They were the first (I think) with 2010’s light-up dress, and we’ve seen plenty of that from other countries since, and they even trumped that! Astonishing performance.

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Roman Lob Germany Standing Still Eurovision 2012

Germany Germany

Roman Lob – Standing Still

#8 in the Grand Final

The rehabilitation of Germany’s Eurovision fortunes almost seems unnecessary now. After years in the doldrums with the other Big Four, they made the effort and have been rewarded with three top 10 finishes in as many years, with three very different songs. Lena made way for Roman this year, another sensitive soul, doe-eyed and tattooed singing a song written partly by English musician Jamie Cullum in a year when a massive share of the songs (including the British one) were written by Swedes. It’s a simple song, very MOR but really memorable with some really great lines in it. He sang with real feeling, even if he insisted on that grotty hat. Long may Germany be an example to the other Big Five on how to earn their place in this contest.

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Spain Pastora Soler Quedate Conmigo Eurovision 2012

Spain Spain

Pastora Soler – Quédate conmigo

#10 in the Grand Final

Say what you like about the Big Five, most of them really smashed it out of the park this year, and reversed a losing streak for those countries by having three of them finish in the top 10 this year, not sure the last time that happened! Spain were mooted for a time as one to watch, and while it didn’t quite reach the heights some fans felt it deserved, it still did well for a Spanish entry.

This is such a beautiful ballad, with some killer money notes that Pastora to her credit totally owned every time I saw her perform it. It’s so bloody uplifting, especially when you hit that second half. The keychange, THAT big note, that OTHER big note, it’s a totally overblown ballad of Celine proportions, and yet it doesn’t feel hammy, it’s dignified and graceful. Those Russian grannies beating Pastora (and the rest) feels like such an injustice, but she should certainly be damn proud of herself.

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Ivi Adamou Cyprus La La Love Eurovision 2012

Cyprus Cyprus

Ivi Adamou – La La Love

#16 in the Grand Final

Oh after all that heartwarming stuff, let’s have some FUN! Cyprus haven’t had a great Eurovision performance for a long while, let alone beating Greece (however marginally). Enter Ivi: statuesque, buxsome and grinning from ear to ear. This performance was terrific fun, with a full-on dance routine not draining her power at all. The song is a total Eurodance marvel, perhaps one Lambada sample away from a lawsuit, but a brilliant summer song, and I think certainly my favourite of the underdogs this year. At the very least, Cyprus should be very happy with their result.

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Anggun Echo You and I France Eurovision 2012

France France

Anggun – Echo (You and I)

#22 in the Grand Final

Ooh la la, the final of the Big Five might have been one of the more shocking flops on the night, but I am totally bewitched by hitherto-unknown (to me) Indonesian artist Anggun. I’m told she’s the biggest French-language artist outside France, or something. Anyway, she’s got a gorgeous tone to her voice, and sang a wonderfully uplifting French pop song, that felt totally modern, fun and perfect for the Spring and Summer. France might not always get the results they want, but they certainly keep trying to send a good variety of tracks, can you define the standard French entry? In only the last few years we’ve had African-inspired arena anthems, rousing Corsican opera, and painfully artistic chanson theatre.

Anggun was stunningly beautiful, as were her gang of half-naked athletes. And God knows, there are few things in this life better than half-naked French athletes. That early gear-shift in tempo twinned with that string of backflips really blew me away as one of many ‘moments’ of that song. Maybe their gymnastics distracted a little (though those millisecond-perfect somersaults after the last note still get me), Anggun herself and that astonishing floating dress really raised the performance to something phenomenal.

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Loreen Euphoria Sweden Eurovision 2012

Sweden Sweden

Loreen – Euphoria

#1 in the Grand Final

Well, part of me almost wanted to put someone else as my pick of Baku, but who was I kidding? This was a rare moment of victory for those long-suffering Swedophiles, longing for this to deliver on the amazing promise Loreen had when she stormed Melodifestivalen in March. It’s a unique marriage of interpretive dance and up-to-the-minute modern dance music, with a twist of that hearty crowdpleasing feel that the big 90s dance anthems have. The staging had a lot to do with this, almost to the point that I can’t even imagine how else this could have been performed!

As the title suggested, it’s euphoric, it’s a ride, and it’s only going up-up-up-up-uuuup. Pitched so perfectly, and staged in a way that no other nation could have competed with. It revived Sweden back to full power after hitting rock bottom in 2010 (which for Sweden was 11th place in a semi-final – something Netherlands would struggle to hit at their peak). Sweden always have the potential to totally blow this contest away, and I’m overjoyed that they’ve done it again. I don’t think any other nation tries quite as hard to succeed in Eurovision, and I’m expecting something incredible in Malmö next year. I just hope I can get tickets!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my Eurovision 2012 coverage as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. There will be plenty more to come, both with upcoming contests and pre-selections next year, and previous contests that I’m only just discovering now!

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Filed under Baku 2012, Eurovision, Melodifestivalen 2012, Music, Reviews

Eurovision 2012: Best of Norsk Melodi Grand Prix

I know it’s a bit late in the day to talk about 2012’s Eurovision pre-selections, but we must remember that some great songs are put forward for Eurovision every year, and only a handful make it to the show. Even the briefest glance at what the Swedes dispose of during the course of Melodifestivalen confirms that.

So, better late than never, I turned my attention to their neighbour Norway’s pre-selection, or Melodi Grand Prix as it’s called. Norway are sleeping tigers in Eurovision. Sure they have the dubious honour of having the most “nul points” entries, but they’ve won three times – most recently when Alexander Rybak’s “Fairytale” swept the board in Moscow’s 2009 contest.

Tooji had a struggle in Baku, qualifying by the narrowest of margins, winning a tie-break with Bulgaria for 10th place. His fortunes didn’t improve in the Final, and he ended up bottom of the table. Is that the best they could have done? Who knows, but here are my top 10 favourites from MGP 2012.

1. Reidun Sæther – High on love

Well my pick of the Norwegian pops is this high-Schlager from wonderful Reidun. That Thomas G:son gets around, penning several amazing Eurovision and pre-selection hits for several countries, including two in this year’s Eurovision final: Spain’s Quedate Conmigo and Sweden’s winning Euphoria. Adding to this vast catalogue of hot pop pieces is this astonishingly catchy track.

It made it to the final, and she really brought the house down with some hot vocals. It’s a little old-fashioned, it probably wouldn’t have sounded particularly out of place in a Nordic pre-selection 10 years ago, but it’s a magic formula that works. Amazing.

2. Minnie-Oh – You and I (video)

You might spot a lot of female-vocalled electronic picks in this top 10, but I guess that just fits my tastes. This is a wonderfully fresh-sounding electropop track that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Robyn’s amazing Body Talk album. The production really does make this one, but her vocals are more than a match (even if it’s not the toughest song to sing in the first place).

3. Tooji – Stay (video)

Not much more I can say about Tooji’s entry that I haven’t said before. It seemed like it couldn’t fail, but I don’t think his vocals quite hit the spot on the night sadly. He’s a good performer though, but he didn’t get the Saade magic that this song choice seemed to be geared towards capturing. But let’s put this in perspective, last place in the final is still something beyond 16 other entries that didn’t make it out of the semi-finals.

It’s another hot electro-pop track with some crowd-pleasing ethnic flourishes, and a great dance breakdown. All good clean fun, and certainly a great part of Baku’s final picks.

4. Rikke Normann – Shapeshifter (video)

Hold onto your hats, it’s another electropop female track. Of course I liked it, what’s not to like? This does what I wish all pre-selection sngs would do, i.e. be a song that people might like in the “real world” if Eurovision didn’t exist. I think that must be the key to winning, surely? Just ask Loreen. Rikke sings a femme-fatale track with some light cannibalism, but it’s uplifting and fresh so we can overlook those crimes of nature.

5. The Canoes – Seemed like a good idea (video)

Never a truer word spoken. I preferred this when I only heard the song, it doesn’t seem to make sense to see a rather dapper quartet of guys in suits singing this. It’s a cringingly endearing drinking song, it almost has an oompah band in the background. It’s got that infectious swaying melody to it, along with some dopey lyrics about getting pissed, naked and eventually regretful about it. Still makes me smile.

6. Silya Nymoen – Euphoria (video)

No, not THAT Euphoria. Just as well this didn’t qualify in the end I guess. Love the crazy beat to this, a really great rhythm, and a wonderful manic energy to it. Silya was dressed like some sort of glamorous M Bison with spiky shoulder pads, and brought the fun to the semi-final she was eventually ditched in.

7. Lise Karlsnes – Sailors (video)

Finally another finalist. I’m not very good at picking these winners am I? Tempo slows a bit, but it’s another electro-lite pop song with a wonderful airy backing track that I only seem to hear in nordic pop songs. Loved her vocals on the live performance I watched. Not a ground-breaking effort, but I just love the whole feel to this.

8. Irresistible ft Carl Pritt – Elevator (video)

Girlband time, with a Norwegian answer to The Saturdays singing a dance-thumper. It’s got an infectious electronic riff to it, sort of reminds me of Britney’s Femme Fatale album, which is certainly not a bad thing. Could do with the featured rap artist but it does break up the song a bit. Not that it helped them out of the semi-finals, but it was worth a shot.

9. Nora Foss al-Jabri – Somewhere beautiful (video)

A Eurovision staple is the so-called “Disney ballad” that you would instantly identify with if you heard one. This is probably one of the most obvious examples of this sub-genre I’ve heard in a while, and it played well in Norway, eventually coming 2nd in the final behind Tooji. Nora’s got a rather vacant expression, though her voice is sweet as sugar, I can almost imagine some Disney princess singing it.

10. Rikke Lie – Another heartache (video)

Rounding off my top 10 is another ballad, not quite as Disneyfied as Nora’s song, but it’s not a million miles away. Perhaps more like something Delta Goodrem might have done, piano and all. Doesn’t quite have the hook of Nora’s song either, that chorus doesn’t quite hit the heights, but it’s an adorable little song all the same.

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Eurovision 2012: Jury + Televote split revealed & examined!

Well there’s not much more left to say about Eurovision 2012, apart from my countdown of my favourite tracks (coming soon!). There’s still one story left though, one that broke today – namely the announcement of the results split by jury and public televote. OK sure, it’s a statistical geekfest for fans, but one that still could provide a few shocks about last month’s results.

If you didn’t know already, all scores are split in half. Each country has a public televote after all the songs are performed. A shadowy national jury of musical experts also rank the songs based on the performances in the so-called “Jury dress rehearsal” on the day before the final. The points generated by these two rankings are combined to reach a final ranking for each country (I believe the televote takes precedence in any tie-break), and the subsequent 12, 10, 8 etc. points are the ones you hear.

Juries were re-introduced formally a few years ago, perhaps as a measure to preserve the artistic integrity of the contest. In other words, to prevent any shameless trashy crowd-pleaser from running away with victory and dragging the contest into total chaos. That’s the idea though, and there is always plenty of speculation now about which songs would have benefitted from the jury votes, and which were popular with the public. And now we know! Deep breath, there’s a lot to get through!!

SEMI FINAL ONE

Place Televote Pts Jury vote
Pts Combined Pts
1 Russia 189 Albania 131 Russia 152
2 Romania 132 Moldova 107 Albania 146
3 Albania 131 Greece 103 Romania 120
4 Ireland 116 Cyprus 90 Greece 116
5 Greece 110 Romania 87 Moldova 100
6 Cyprus 99 Denmark 81 Ireland 92
7 Moldova 85 Hungary 76 Cyprus 91
8 Iceland 79 Russia 75 Iceland 75
9 Denmark 53 Israel 72 Denmark 63
10 Switzerland 49 Ireland 72 Hungary 52
11 Hungary 39 Iceland 70 Switzerland 45
12 Finland 36 Finland 57 Finland 41
13 San Marino 25 Switzerland 45 Israel 33
14 Montenegro 24 San Marino 42 San Marino 31
15 Latvia 18 Belgium 38 Montenegro 20
16 Israel 16 Montenegro 28 Latvia 17
17 Austria 15 Austria 27 Belgium 16
18 Belgium 2 Latvia 17 Austria 8

In terms of the qualifiers, the public and juries were impressively in sync, agreeing on 9 of the 10 qualifiers. The public would have preferred Switzerland to scrape through for a second year running, while the juries wanted Israel to make up for Dana International’s shock defeat in last year’s semi-finals. In the latter case, Israel came a distant 16th in the televote with the biggest benefactor of jury points against the televote.

Iceland and Hungary shouldn’t feel too guilty though, neither were disliked by either group. Indeed Hungary were ranked 11th by the televote, and Iceland – perhaps surprisingly – were saved by the public after very narrowly missing the jury selection.

Perhaps the bigger stories from this semi were the big televote hits whose successes weren’t reflected in the jury votes. Russia is the biggie, totally sweeping this semi’s televote. Even the jury trying their best to sink the song in 8th wasn’t enough to stop the grannies winning the semi overall. In general, a spread-out jury vote meant that big public hits had more clout. Migrant worker favourite Romania and Ireland’s Jedward appealed to the public, with lukewarm reactions from the juries (they placed Jedward in 10th).

SEMI FINAL TWO

Place Televote Pts Jury vote
Pts Combined Pts
1 Sweden 180 Sweden 145 Sweden 181
2 Serbia 148 Serbia 141 Serbia 159
3 Lithuania 128 Ukraine 109 Lithuania 104
4 Turkey 114 Estonia 102 Estonia 100
5 Estonia 88 Malta 97 Turkey 80
6 Norway 72 Bosnia & Herzegovina 77 Bosnia & Herzegovina 77
7 Bosnia & Herzegovina 70 Croatia 66 Malta 70
8 Macedonia 63 Georgia 62 Ukraine 64
9 Bulgaria 59 Macedonia 58 Macedonia 53
10 Netherlands 51 Lithuania 55 Norway 45
11 Malta 39 Belarus 52 Bulgaria 45
12 Belarus 37 Portugal 49 Croatia 42
13 Portugal 37 Turkey 42 Portugal 39
14 Croatia 34 Slovenia 40 Georgia 36
15 Slovakia 32 Slovakia 40 Netherlands 35
16 Slovenia 27 Netherlands 31 Belarus 35
17 Ukraine 24 Bulgaria 27 Slovenia 31
18 Georgia 15 Norway 25 Slovakia 22

Altogether much more divisive semi now, despite the public & juries agreeing on 8 qualifiers. The public lost their 9th & 10th picks (Bulgaria & Netherlands), while the juries lost their 7th & 8th picks (Croatia & Georgia). The interesting point here is the lengths the other group went to dredge up these contentious qualifiers into the combined top 10.

The public ranked Malta 11th, with an impressive 5th place with the juries dragging it into the final. The incredible division between juries and the public on Ukraine. I had this down as a public favourite, but they ranked it second-last (17th), with the juries ranking it an astonishing 3rd. When the dust settled, Gaitana made a comfortable 8th place. What the hell?!

More insane disagreements on the other side of the coin too. The public clashed with the juries, on eventual qualifiers Turkey and Norway. Another diaspora benefactor Turkey ended up 13th in the jury vote, but 4th in the public vote. Perhaps the Turks and their fans were keen not to miss another final after last year. I imagined Norway was more-or-less agreed upon as a decent but toothless entry, but I couldn’t be more wrong. The juries placed it dead last, but the public’s 6th place put it in a head-to-head with Bulgaria, one it won by getting votes (televote no doubt) from more countries.

Bulgaria suffered a similar fate by the juries, but Sofi’s weaker televote spread meant she just missed the final. Oddly Georgia came 8th in the jury rank, while the public hated it and placed them last. Finally, poor hapless Netherlands managed to get the nod from the televote, coming 10th, but the juries sunk Joan’s entry in 16th place.

GRAND FINAL

Place Televote Pts Jury vote
Pts Combined Pts
1 Sweden 343 Sweden 296 Sweden 372
2 Russia 332 Serbia 173 Russia 259
3 Serbia 211 Albania 157 Serbia 214
4 Turkey 176 Italy 157 Azerbaijan 150
5 Azerbaijan 151 Spain 154 Albania 146
6 Germany 125 Estonia 152 Estonia 120
7 Romania 117 Ukraine 125 Turkey 112
8 Albania 106 Azerbaijan 118 Germany 110
9 Greece 89 Moldova 104 Italy 101
10 Ireland 89 Germany 98 Spain 97
11 Macedonia 79 Russia 94 Moldova 81
12 Estonia 78 Cyprus 85 Romania 71
13 Moldova 75 France 85 Macedonia 71
14 Lithuania 68 Lithuania 82 Lithuania 70
15 Cyprus 63 Bosnia & Herzegovina 71 Ukraine 65
16 Bosnia & Herzegovina 57 Malta 70 Cyprus 65
17 Italy 56 Macedonia 69 Greece 64
18 Spain 45 Greece 60 Bosnia & Herzegovina 55
19 Iceland 39 Iceland 53 Ireland 46
20 Ukraine 37 Romania 53 Iceland 46
21 United Kingdom 36 Denmark 51 Malta 41
22 Hungary 20 Turkey 50 France 21
23 Denmark 18 Hungary 30 Denmark 21
24 Norway 16 Norway 24 Hungary 19
25 Malta 10 Ireland 14 United Kingdom 12
26 France 0 United Kingdom 11 Norway 7

Wow, this post is LONG. Nonetheless, the end is in sight! The good news is that both the public and the juries agreed on Sweden’s victory. Only just though, with Loreen only winning the televote by a slim 11 votes over Russia. In fact the televote was quite polarised, with Russia & Sweden a massive distance ahead of the pack. Unfortunately this left few votes for the bottom of the table, and poor Anggun got the dreaded “nul points”.

So who benefitted from the televote? The juries again tried their best to scuttle the Russian grannies, placing them in a lowly 11th, but the public goodwill was just too much, and they joined Sweden in receiving points from all but one of the eligible countries. The effect of migrant diaspora boosted Turkey & Romania’s fortunes as they did in the semi-finals, with Turkey’s 8th place finish a product of 4th place in the televote and 22nd in the jury vote. Romania had a lesser but still eye-catching disparity (7th vs 20th). Ireland also went down well with the public, finishing 10th in the televote, but torpedoed by the juries who ranked it 25th, ouch!

The juries did their best to rescue other entries though, notably coming to the aid to the Big Five’s females. Italy and Spain both ranked in the jury top 5, but the televote stranded them in 17th & 18th place, resulting in a precarious finish in the top 10. They took pity on poor Anggun too, who scored nothing from the public. Even a 13th place from the juries wasn’t enough to help much, and France didn’t even get close to the top 20. That fixation on Ukraine persisted, with the public ranking it 20th against 7th on the jury rank.

OK that’s enough, there are plenty of eyebrow-raising points in there, too numerous to mention! A real bag of surprises though, wasn’t it? Now I’ve thoroughly bored you beyond the point of caring, I will unleash my ESC2012 countdown in a few weeks time. Later! x

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Eurovision 2012: Semi final scores revealed

Oh what’s left to discuss about this year’s contest? I’m feeling a little empty now it’s all over. But I still have you guys (for now!). As soon as the final finished, the detailed results of the semi-finals were released.

You can imagine why we couldn’t know these before the final, it would make the final results a little too predictable. Or even worse, open to manipulation by dark forces. Can you imagine? Anyway, here they are.

Place  Points Country Artist Song
1 152  Russia Buranovskiye Babushki Party for Everybody
2 146  Albania Rona Nishliu Suus
3 120  Romania Mandinga Zaleilah
4 116  Greece Eleftheria Eleftheriou Aphrodisiac
5 100  Moldova Pasha Parfeny Lăutar
6 92  Ireland Jedward Waterline
7 91  Cyprus Ivi Adamou La La Love
8 75  Iceland Gréta Salóme & Jónsi Never Forget
9 63  Denmark Soluna Samay Should’ve Known Better
10 52  Hungary Compact Disco Sound of Our Hearts
11 45  Switzerland Sinplus Unbreakable
12 41  Finland Pernilla Karlsson När jag blundar
13 33  Israel Izabo Time
14 31  San Marino Valentina Monetta The Social Network Song
15 20  Montenegro Rambo Amadeus Euro Neuro
16 17  Latvia Anmary Beautiful Song
17 16  Belgium Iris Would You?
18 8  Austria Trackshittaz Woki mit deim Popo

 

Not really many surprises there, given the final results. The non-qualifiers were surprising though, Belgium I thought did really well and stood a good chance of qualifying, but it totally flopped, below train-wrecks from Montenegro and San Marino. Montenegro beating anybody felt like a bit of a stretch really. Surprise qualifiers Hungary unsurprisingly squeaked through on tenth place.

Very interesting here though is that Russia nearly lost this semi-final to Albania. I had NO idea that Albania could do so well. It was memorable for sure, but I never thought Europe would go for it. Also interesting to see Greece comfortably beating Cyprus, something they failed to repeat in the semi-final, as well as Romania looking in good stead for a top 10 finish that never came in the final.

What about semi-final 2, containing the eventual winner?

Place  Points Country Artist Song
1 181  Sweden Loreen Euphoria
2 159  Serbia Željko Joksimović Nije ljubav stvar
3 104  Lithuania Donny Montell Love Is Blind
4 100  Estonia Ott Lepland Kuula
5 80  Turkey Can Bonomo Love Me Back
6 77  Bosnia & Herzegovina MayaSar Korake ti znam
7 70  Malta Kurt Calleja This Is the Night
8 64  Ukraine Gaitana Be My Guest
9 53  FYR Macedonia Kaliopi Crno i belo
10 45  Norway Tooji Stay
11 45  Bulgaria Sofi Marinova Love Unlimited
12 42  Croatia Nina Badrić Nebo
13 39  Portugal Filipa Sousa Vida minha
14 36  Georgia Anri Jokhadze I’m a Joker
15 35  Netherlands Joan Franka You and Me
16 35  Belarus Litesound We Are the Heroes
17 31  Slovenia Eva Boto Verjamem
18 22  Slovakia Max Jason Mai Don’t Close Your Eyes

 

Some unexpected finishes there too, with Serbia pulling a lot closer to Sweden than expected. But both Serbia and Russia’s power bases were in the East, so maybe they ended up cannibalising each other’s votes. Lithuania managed a shocking 3rd place finish, I assumed he had only scraped though, but good for him, even if his final performance didn’t quite make this grade.

Speaking of close calls, Norway faced Bulgaria in a tie-break, broken when Tooji received marks from more countries than Sofi. A shame Bulgaria couldn’t qualify, they do so rarely, but it would have been pretty rough on Norway too.

I can only assume the juries helped out Joan Franka on the previous night, because her off-key performance of “You and Me” can’t have won many fans. Surprised and sad to see Slovenia and Belarus so low down too, I thought both deserved better, at least better than Georgia and Portugal.

FYR Macedonia’s Kaliopi really got some momemtum after qualifying, managing 13th place after barely qualifying is impressive! I guess that result for Malta was always on the cards, never mind. He seemed genuinely overjoyed to qualify, and it was a pretty definitive result on that front.

I’m hoping the public/jury split will be released soon. In the EBU press conferences after each semi-final, they did say that the public & juries agreed on 15 of the 20 qualifiers (8 from Semi 1, 7 from Semi 2), so I’m very curious to see what those are, and perhaps a clue as to why some of the more surprising results came to pass. But then again I do like the stats!

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Eurovision 2012: Final Result & Euphoric Reaction

So that’s it for another year, with Loreen living up to the hype and amassing a huge total to win Eurovision 2012. It was an amazing show, and a great line-up. I think there are many interesting stories spinning off from last night’s final for all the participants, I’ll cover the biggies now. I will also be counting down my favourites of the year pretty soon, so please follow or bookmark this blog for plenty more ESC2012 stuff, as well as some retrospectives of older contests.

So let’s start with Sweden. After hitting rock bottom (at least in context of Sweden) two years ago by not qualifying, Eric Saade energised them with last year’s 3rd place. After an incredible Melodifestivalen they sent a song that I think will be of a massive benefit to the concert. It’s not a cheesy pop song or an ethnic ballad as Eurovision so often gets associated with, it’s a totally contemporary dance pop song, no gimmicks or props (or indeed shoes), just the song, Loreen and her performance. I had worried that she’d mumble her way through the song as she had been in rehearsals but last night she totally nailed it and I am so happy. I will do my very best to get to what will be an incredible contest in Sweden next year, I can’t wait!

As for the competition, it was looking hairy for a while as those Russian grannies and then Serbia were close behind Loreen, but you can’t hide a landslide with dramatic direction of the voting. As expected (I’m pleased with myself for predicting that top 3 at work!), Russia and Serbia were the main competition, and they both performed well. Serbia had about the best slot they could have got, and worked it well.

I knew Azerbaijan were going to put in a great performance with a strong Swedish-penned ballad, but even last night they blew me away. Note-perfect and that dress was truly amazing. Azerbaijan are firmly established as big contenders now I think, and I expect Crystal Hall will be used again before too long.

Albania secured their best ever result with a 5th place finish for the Borg Queen with the snake hair. Amazing vocals, but I’m surprised it did so well just on that front, especially with that unfortunate 3rd place slot in the show, she took that envelope like it was poison when she drew her running order in the press conference! But I’m always happy to see countries scoring their best results.

After an iffy start in the votes, Estonia secured a great result. Love that guy, so handsome too… I see a lot of people getting to my blog searching for “ott lepland penis” so I guess he has a lot of other fans too!

The Big 5 had a mixed result, though three made it to the top 10, something that would have been near-enough unthinkable a few years ago. I had hoped Spain might do better, hers were the vocals of the night for me, and I am so pleased, though I can’t help but feel a little disappointed for her. Still, they hadn’t made the top 10 for 8 years, so that’s a good result. Germany managed their third top 10 in a row with a strong (and cute) performance from Roman. Speaking of Romans, Italy got another top 10 placing too, I think they did well to make that, even though I liked the song a lot.

However France and UK didn’t fare so well. Anggun was stunningly beautiful last night, and that floating dress was incredible. That’s before we talk about the hot French athletes too… her vocals seemed to be not 100%, but she hit the big finish. It just didn’t translate to votes, and 22nd place made her one of the more painful casualties of the night.

Old Engelbert though… I struggled to share the optimism of others that he would do well, particularly with the opening slot, and while he did well, the song just didn’t stand up against the other ballads. That European support for “the Hump” never materialised, and so the UK regresses back to its “oh it’s all politics” mindset which is incredibly frustrating. My only hope is that the massive crossover hit from Loreen (it’s just hit #2 on UK iTunes, and is doing similar business in dozens of countries in Europe – and Australia!) might tempt a current artist out of the woodwork for next year’s entry.

Elsewhere down the results list there were few big shocks. Cyprus finally outperformed Greece, though I felt both songs would have done better. Greece finally lost their big record of top 10 finishes, but I thought Cyprus would really do well. But still a solid result for both countries that neither should be ashamed of.

Jedward’s attempt to cross into more mainstream pop (albeit with an amazing water feature) felt flat, and I’m sure Ireland will be frustrated that they have been foiled again in their attempt to re-live their Eurovision glory days.

Sweden’s massive win seemed to drain the energy from the rest of the Nordic bloc, as Iceland, Norway and Denmark all fell by the wayside. At one point, all three were at the bottom. Iceland deserved better but their poor running-order draw and quite stiff performance (especially after the riotous grannies) explained their disappointing result. Denmark I just never saw the appeal in, so I at least feel vindicated there.

Poor Tooji must be having a shitty birthday today, ending up last. The song was strong but his vocals weren’t really on point, not surprisingly since he had such an ambitious dance routine. Eric Saade last year just had the magic that “Stay” didn’t have. Watching his performance last night, it smacked of a nul-points in waiting, and I am sad to see it nearly come true. But you only need one great song to win, and I’m sure just as this year, Norway will be looking very closely to see which lessons could be learned from Sweden.

Poor Malta too, but they are just happy to qualify, I love those guys. Lithuania really outperformed expectations, I thought they had just squeezed through the semi-finals but they finished third in theirs, and a very respectable finish for him (he needs a choreographer too, or were they blind?)

So those are my thoughts of last night. The show itself looked slick, but the presenters were stiff as boards. Particularly the lawyer lady, walking through the green room like an android, trading disinterested small talk with Loreen and Sabina. Crystal Hall looked incredible though, and they got through the night without any major incidents. I almost wish I had gone now! I expect a much more energetic show in Stockholm though, the Swedes have been after this for years!

Thanks for all the hits, I will put up a proper thankyou post soon! Otherwise please stick around, I will try my best to keep you all entertained, this year has been a real ride! Later this week I will have a look at the detailed semi-final results, as well as counting down my favourite entries this year. Take care! x

FINAL RESULTS

Place Country Artist Song Points
1  Sweden Loreen Euphoria 372
2  Russia Buranovskiye Babushki Party for Everybody 259
3  Serbia Željko Joksimović Nije ljubav stvar 214
4  Azerbaijan Sabina Babayeva When the Music Dies 150
5  Albania Rona Nishliu Suus3 146
6  Estonia Ott Lepland Kuula 120
7  Turkey Can Bonomo Love Me Back 112
8  Germany Roman Lob Standing Still 110
9  Italy Nina Zilli L’amore è femmina (Out of Love) 101
10  Spain Pastora Soler Quédate conmigo 97
11  Moldova Pasha Parfeny Lăutar 81
12  Romania Mandinga Zaleilah 71
13  Macedonia Kaliopi Crno i belo (Црно и бело) 71
14  Lithuania Donny Montell Love Is Blind 70
15  Ukraine Gaitana Be My Guest 65
16  Cyprus Ivi Adamou La La Love 65
17  Greece Eleftheria Eleftheriou Aphrodisiac 64
18  Bosnia & Herzegovina MayaSar Korake ti znam 55
19  Ireland Jedward Waterline 46
20  Iceland Gréta Salóme & Jónsi Never Forget 46
21  Malta Kurt Calleja This Is the Night 41
22  France Anggun Echo (You and I) 21
23  Denmark Soluna Samay Should’ve Known Better 21
24  Hungary Compact Disco Sound of Our Hearts 19
25  United Kingdom Engelbert Humperdinck Love Will Set You Free 12
26  Norway Tooji Stay 7

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Filed under Baku 2012, Eurovision, Melodifestivalen 2012, Music, Reviews