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Drip. Drip. Drip.

OK, not that I give a crap [I don’t. really. No – REALLY] but I honestly could not BELIEVE what I was SEEING during the voting in the Eurovision Song Contest earlier tonight. The song I predicted would not get a single vote – nay, would get LESS than a single vote, would go home with a NEGATIVE vote, actually WON fricking Eurovision.

It was Russia. It was Russia with the most nauseatingly drippy song ever conceived. A song that, all the way through, when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any more sappy, it actually did. I first saw that song during the semi-finals last Thursday and EPI and I laughed ourselves silly; at that time I couldn’t believe that it actually made it through to the finals. So tonight, AAH and I were watching [smart EPI gave Eurovision a miss in favour of Wayne Shorter] and the song started, and AAH just kept going OH. MY. GOD. and YT just kept going: NO, WAIT FOR IT. JUST … WAIT FOR IT. And then we proceeded to roll around in absolute stitches. First at the fact that the guy was crouched down on the ground [so overcome with emotion] and singing barefoot. Second, when the violin player started madly going at it in the background, third when the main singer shimmied up to the violin player. The real clincher came, though, when the [male] figure skater appeared and started twirling pirouettes around the pair of them and when he dramatically turned his back and the singer touched him [lightly!] on the shoulder to make him start twirling again. [Seriously – you had to be there.] And finally when, during the climax [natch], the male singer tore open his shirt, exposing his bare, masculine [and immaculately waxed] chest. [Oh, right: *swoon*]. However, by the time the song finished and the three of them reached out their hands, on their knees, and crooned the word BELIEVE in absolute unison, we were no longer laughing. And that’s only because I never laugh at pornography, emotional or otherwise.

Anyway. If there ever was a case to prove that the Eurovision Song Contest has become a bastard of its former self, tonight was it. Because let’s face it: we just don’t get each other. Tonight’s emo porn was as far removed from me as Silvía Nótt’s outrageous antics were from southern and eastern Europe two years ago. It all sounds very good on paper, but Europe is no longer one big happy family fortified by the annual spectacle that is Eurovision. Which is why they should totally split the contest up into West and East Europe. Like, immediately.

That said, I must admit that I enjoyed the breadth in the different songs this time around – from heavy metal to Beyonce-Shakira clones, to performance art, to disco pop. OK, maybe splitting the contest up isn’t such a great idea. Maybe they could just outlaw anything that brings on an attack of nausea.

[Weather – see yesterday’s post from a few hours ago!]

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  • Kirsty May 25, 2008, 1:10 am

    Yes, yes, yes. Split it into East and West Europe.

    I can’t bear to watch it live, so always record it so I can skip through the excruciatingly awful bits (which ends up being most of it, to be honest). Russia lasted about 10 seconds before I pressed fast forward.

    Anyway, Russia really isn’t in Europe as far as I’m concerned. For goodness sake, it’s practically connected to Alaska in winter.

  • Keera May 25, 2008, 7:28 am

    The bookies had Russia as a favorite. I haven’t watched the contest. Haven’t in years. My interest waned when the performers stopped dressing up for it, and now that they have continuous semi-finals starting in February, I no longer even try to pay attention. I see that Norway got a very respectable 5th place, and that Iceland was one of the countries to give us a 12. Tusen takk, Island!

    Kirsty, Russia is connected to Norway all year round. I’m not sure that qualifies as European, but it does qualify as nuisance. 😉

  • Stine May 25, 2008, 8:35 am

    For a minute there, I was absolutely horrified that Greece might win. Anything else was considered a bonus, as far as I was concerned.

  • Joerg May 25, 2008, 9:35 am

    Splitting it up in East and West sounds like a great idea – but they’d never do that, I’m afraid.

  • Lucy May 25, 2008, 9:52 am

    one word … azerbaijan. how is that in europe?

    seriously, how?

  • Keera May 25, 2008, 10:23 am

    Lucy, by virtue of having belonged to the USSR at one time, I guess. Or maybe the Caspian Sea has some status as a border between the “Eur” and the “asian” of the Eurasian continent. You know what’s really weird? Israel participates, too, and it’s not in Europe at all.

  • Sigvaldi Eggertsson May 25, 2008, 2:15 pm

    Hi there and welcome back from summer retreat, Alda.
    I was trying to figure out where the place is located from the pictures but did not quite get it.
    The Eurovision song contest is held by the association of European radio stations and it seems that they allow in everyone that is willing to participate (and pay), hence the inclusion of Israel.
    The Caucasus states, Georgia, Azerbajian and Armenia, (are they who are referred to as Caucasians?) are somtimes considered European and sometimes not, it seems to depend on what reference you look at.
    If you want small-nation-complex reactions to the Eurovision results just check out what Sir Terry Wogan´s reaction was (mbl.is today)

  • andrea May 25, 2008, 5:00 pm

    That sounds more like vaudeville than Eurovision (wish I’d seen it). Music has become like TV and junk food, i.e. lowest common denominator or, put differently, all surface and no substance. You could say west vs. east/south but it’s not that simple. I heard a few days ago that Mariah Carey is so huge in the states that she’s the best-selling female artist of all time. She is the only artist to have a No. 1 hit every single year of the ’90s. I could not name a single Mariah Carey song, so where have I been? (I’m only 20 minutes drive from the border after all.) Is it just a Canada vs. USA thing or am I truly that out of touch?

    It occurred to me, after talking about the music movie ‘Once ‘on my blog and posting a video clip, that there was pretty much no chance that the average passerby would actually like its simplicity/rawness because it’s so much the opposite of, say, a movie starring Mariah Carey in the musical lead. I was listening to a Neil Young album from the ’70s (for the millionth time) yesterday and really enjoying the off notes, the shakiness, the imperfection. Neil Young would *so* not win any current Eurovision Song Contest.

  • Keera May 25, 2008, 7:10 pm

    Sigvaldi, the Eurovision Song Contest used to have “favorites”-voting, i.e. some countries could always be counted on to give the maximum points to certain other countries, but finally moved away from it (grew up). Wogan’s not the only one to notice that the addition of former East-block countries has brought it back. (For those who can’t read Icelandic, here’s what Wogan said in English.)

  • Keera May 25, 2008, 8:01 pm

    Me, again. (I’ll stay away now, but this sort of thing gets the Norwegians going, too.) It may please you, Alda, to hear cries of plagiarism. Apparently, “Believe” is very similar to Cat Steven’s “Wild World”.

  • alda May 25, 2008, 10:03 pm

    Kirsty – yes, we want a split!

    Keera – no no, by all means, continue! 🙂
    First of all, for the 12 votes: you’re welcome. One of those votes was from me, BTW – I really liked the Norwegian entry – catchy, unpretentious, upbeat and very well performed.

    Stine – oh yes, don’t get me started on the Greek entry! That was another one I thought would scrape the bottom. I couldn’t believe that it was in the lead for a while, there. I mean, cute girl and everything, but the song was totally vapid.

    Joerg – why wouldn’t they? I think it was actually considered as an option at one point.

    Lucy – what Keera and Sigvaldi said.

    Sigvaldi – hi and thank you. [It was only a mini-retreat, actually, I hope to get more holiday than that this summer!] That’s bizarre about being able to pay your way into Eurovision. So if Japan wanted to enter, they could??

    Andrea – Neil Young might not win, but he’d probably raise the standard! I’d love to send someone like him … but alas, the more ‘serious’ artists consider Eurovision beneath their dignity.

    Keera – plagiarism, hm? I can’t say a similarity between those two songs struck me at all. […] Nope.

  • alda May 25, 2008, 10:22 pm

    OK – I’ve just watched the song again and I do hear the resemblance – slightly. At the beginning.

  • VioletSky May 26, 2008, 1:19 am

    Oh my, makes me wish I lived in Europe during this insanity. Of course, I could be watching American Idol (or even Canadian Idol if it were on) but nothing beats the drip fest of Eurovision. (from what I hear). Thanks for a great description!

  • Karen* May 26, 2008, 9:39 am

    Neil and I are in Iceland now!

    I’ve perused your restaurant reviews and we’ll be checking out the Icelandic fish and chips place! Have you tried the new restaurant at the Hotel Odinsve yet? It was interesting – and the food was delicious!

    We’ve also tried the Tivoli and it was good as well. Very quiet place at 6pm – does everyone eat a lot later?

    Another traveller on yesterday’s bus tour (I don’t recommend the Saga Circle tour) recommended the Cafe Paris so we might check it out tonight.

    Any other places you might recommend?

  • alda May 26, 2008, 2:16 pm

    VioletSky – Dripfest, that’s great!

    Karen – hi, hope you’re having a great time! No, I haven’t eaten at Ó … and wish you all the best with Mr Charming at Icelandic Fish and Chips.

    Check out my Restaurant Review category [under ‘Archives’] for some more tips – there are a lot of good places. Grænn kostur and Sjávarkjallarinn spring to mind – mind you, they are at opposite ends of the price scale!

    Have fun! [and ps. Cafe Paris is where AAH works, although she’s not on tonight.]

  • Rozanne May 26, 2008, 4:08 pm

    That sounds absolutely horrifying. I would have been just as appalled as you were! And adding a male figure skater into the mix? WTF?

  • Rozanne May 26, 2008, 4:12 pm

    P.S. What’s really sad is to think of what a powerhouse Russia once was as far as music goes–Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, etc.

    Yeah, different time and place, for sure, but still.

    Sadly, I think that the influence of American culture might be almost entirely to blame for the drip factor.

  • maja May 27, 2008, 8:55 am

    I couldn’t believe that song won either. Lame.

  • Karen* May 27, 2008, 9:43 am

    Mr.Charming stayed in the back, away from the customers. ‘Though he visited the front briefly to talk to the 2 women out front, and I could tell from his attitude just who you were referrring to!

    It was a great meal, good service, and good prices.

    Tonight ‘though I think we have to try the Viking Village in Hafnarfjordur – I love schlock. 🙂

  • alda May 27, 2008, 10:57 am

    Karen – ah, maybe they’ve realized the peril of having him out front. 🙂

    PS – have you been to Vín og Skel?

  • Keera May 27, 2008, 7:40 pm

    This blog entry on the blog Strange Maps, shows a map of Europe according to points won this year in the contest, as well as some background information about the contest. Neither Iceland nor Norway are mentioned. 🙁