Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Eurovision Champions League

So it's now been 11 days since the final and I'm still showing signs of PED.

I've decided to make my own EUROVISION CHAMPIONS LEAGUE!

Basically, I've chosen my top four songs from the last 12 years - this goes back to 2005. From this, I've devised two semi finals of 24 songs each. Only 10 songs will qualify to make a grand final of 20 songs.

Usual rules apply, you can vote for 10 songs, awarding 12 points through to 1 point. Just click on the links below each semi, or send me a message with your faves. Come find me on Twitter too @eurovchris

Semi Final One -


  • Birds
  • A Million Voices
  • No Degree of Separation
  • Sound of Silence
  • Always
  • Quedate Conmigo
  • Believe
  • So Lucky
  • Rhythm Inside
  • My Number One
  • Calm After The Storm
  • Molitva
  • My Heart Is Yours
  • Nor Par
  • Everything
  • Apricot Stone
  • Hold Me
  • Madness of Love
  • Dancing Lasha Tumbai
  • Coming Home
  • Nije Ljubav Stvar
  • Oro
  • Tornero
  • Boonika Bata Doba


Semi-Final Two - 


  • Unsubstantial Blues
  • Children of the Universe
  • New Tomorrow
  • Angel
  • Water
  • Popular
  • Golden Boy
  • Satellite
  • Secret Combination
  • Qele Qele
  • Lautar
  • Only Teardrops
  • Fairytale
  • Rise Like A Phoenix
  • The War Is Not Over
  • Eg A Lif
  • Lejla
  • Euphoria
  • Love Injected
  • Allez Ola Ole
  • Jai Cherche
  • If Love Was A Crime
  • Hard Rock Hallelujah
  • Randajad


You have a couple of days to vote in each semi-final!


Europe, start voting now!


With Love.




Saturday, 14 May 2016

The Other Winners?

I'm not watching the Eurovision final this year because I'm on best friend birthday duties. She realises how much this means to me, it's okay. I'll be watching the contest about 3am this morning and will try my hardest not to find out the winner before then.

Russia?

But is the winner not going to be Russia? Sure Russia are one of my faves this year, and I'm not saying it because I want Russia to win. I want France to win. I still think France can win the televote and jury vote. But then, Russia are easily winning the odds. And the odds are always spot on with a few hours to go until the final. So instead, let's discuss the other winners!


Marcel Bezencon and Barbara Dex

We have the three Marcel Bezencon awards for Press, Composer and Artistic. And then the famous and much loved Barbara Dex award.

So here's my reckoning for the winners (do we already know whose won the press award!?):

PRESS - Ukraine


COMPOSER - France (or Italy)


ARTISTIC - France


BARBARA DEX - Croatia


Who are the other winners this year?

Belgium are surely a winner for making the final again; the big five are surely winners for all bringing something credible for the first time in forever; Israel are winners for qualifying twice in a row; Georgia for providing the big shock qualifier; Bulgaria for finally making the final after all those years away; THE CZECH REPUBLIC FOR FINALLY QUALIFYING YIPPEE; Croatia and Ukraine are winners for returning to the contest with highly popular songs; Australia for showing the Europeans how it's done; and well read between the lines everyone...

This might be the cheesiest thing since "thunder and lightning, it's getting exciting", but WE ARE ALL WINNERS. 

We are winners for finding and celebrating Eurovision, because we have #ComeTogether and defied geographical boundaries to share our love.


We are the winners of Eurovision (LT United anyone?). With Love.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Tick Tock, it's Unfair O'Clock

Why It's Finally Time To Say Good Bye to the Big Five...


Before the start of the 2016 ESC season, you wouldn't have found a greater advocate for keeping the big 5 than me. I was a massive Eurofan with a massively controversial Eurovision opinion. And while I find it funny to ridicule the ridiculous-ness of the atrocity from Armenia, or enrage at the love thrown towards Jamala, her inability to move and her Suus-esque wailing in the last 30 seconds of 1944, it's not cool or funny to be controversial about the big 5. That's why I stated my reasons and spoke little of it, on this blog and Twitter.

However, I have done a 180. No longer shall I dwindle in the shadows. It's time to face the reality:

The Big Five is the Big Eurovision Problem. 


From this moment on I shall talk about the UK from a UK perspective. Perhaps someone from France, Germany, Italy and Spain can assist, but our overall success has been overall non-existent. That is if you exclude Italy, whose remarkable return to Eurovision has seen four top 10 placings, and surely a deserved top 10 from the new sweetheart of Eurovision, Francesca Michielin.

But it can surely be argued that Italy take it the most seriously of the top 5! They choose artists who have competed at the SanRemo Music Festival, which if you know your Eurovision, was actually the inspiration for the ESC. And since Italy returned, the only year they decided not to go through Sanremo was 2014, when poor Emma scored their lowest position in the history of the contest (ignoring of course the legendary Domenico Modugno's infamous nil pointe of 1966 - and that still is arguably the best nil pointe in the history of the contest, see: "The Best Nul Pointe").

So why don't the UK, France, Germany and Spain take it more seriously? Although I will now rephrase that to just the UK, there are similarities across these countries. One obvious reason is because we don't have to! We automatically qualify for the final so there is no need to take it as seriously as Russia or Sweden. But I'm not advocating begging at Adele's footsteps until she agrees, I'm just advocating a stronger national pride for the contest.

Ultimately, the BBC doesn't need to put on a lavish national final with us choosing between Chris Martin and Jessie J. The reason is because even if we sent someone the producers found busking on the street, the country will inevitably and despite how awkwardly, get behind them and wish them well. We will still throw Eurovision parties and the BBC will still dominate Saturday night TV ratings. Put quite simply, taking part in Eurovision is the easiest decision the BBC has to make - not only is it fifty times cheaper than an episode of Doctor Who, it will easily outstrip main rivals ITV. 

A Semi Loss of Final Ratings

One of the biggest fears with Eurovision is that the big five contributors to the EBU will want to stop competing. And whether you want to hear it or not, that would damage the credibility and popularity of the contest - so you do want the UK, FR, DE, IT and ES in the competition. 

The problem is, and I can only speak from a UK viewpoint, if we didn't make the final because we failed to qualify, there is a very, very strong possibility that the BBC would lose Saturday night ratings. That is the terrifying tragedy. If people in the UK stop watching Eurovision because we are not in it, the BBC then has to do one of two things.

1) Drop the show. It isn't valuable enough.
2) Try much, much harder to qualify the following year. 

The outcome? They would have to try option 2. If the BBC even dared stop competing, you can bet that ITV would pick up the contest faster than you can say Boom-Bang-A-Bang. And there is no way in hell that the BBC would want ITV to beat them on Saturday night ratings with the Eurovision Song Contest. ITV would be clever enough to throw the kitchen sink at it, send some super group formed by a Simon Cowell talent show series, dominate ratings and try to win Eurovision. And then ITV wouldn't drop it, and the BBC would have lost.

Eurovision is Money

I'll leave here with some final thoughts. Unfortunately the Eurovision Song Contest is first and foremost about making money. If the EBU didn't think it made enough money it wouldn't run the competition. But the best thing about Eurovision is that it can grow with this crazy world of social media, and will become the most tweeted, most mentioned, most discussed thing, all over the world on Saturday evening. That's how it is growing exponentially at the moment, and advancing to make more and more money.

In order to make money, it doesn't have to be taken seriously by countries like the UK, because even if we send terrible and do terrible, people from the UK will still watch it. But the EBU is missing an absolutely golden reward - make the UK take it more seriously, and reap the rewards of potentially a big household name taking to the stage and pulling in viewers. It's a risk, but a hell of a risk to worth trying: with Australia now competing, and China and the US broadcasting, and JT interval-ling, it's a risk that's never been better to take. And if France win, could 2017 finally be the year to end the big 5 automatic qualification?

When the big four was introduced, it was because Germany, a country who'd been in it every year since dot were excluded. And that was wholly unfair at the time. But that was in 1998. We are now in 2016. Times have changed, the contest has evolved twice since the late 90s. Let's start making changes for the better because the contest is only growing and growing. The EBU just need to be brave enough.

With Love.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

A new country?

So let's have some midweek Eurovision fun!

WHICH COUNTRY WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SEE ENTER EUROVISION?

In light of the disapproval of the US and China potentially being involved, who would you most like to see enter? And forget geographical boundaries for a second, forget everything and just think about a country's music scene.

I'd love me some K-POP, so how about South Korea?

Germany this year does not count...


But I want SOUTH AFRICA!


I think the South African music scene is great, and there are so many good house DJs building up a nice little fanbase. Sure, house music isn't really apparent in Eurovision, but it sets a lovely precedent.


However, if it came down to just a European country?

LIECHTENSTEIN

For the shits and gigs...

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Transparent Voting & The New Scandal

If you call for 100% televoting, be prepared to defend it when controversies leak and political arrests happen like they did for some hundred Azeri back in 2009. Don’t be so immature and naïve to think that televoting is the definite answer. You are just being blind to its problems because it is far easier to expose juries.


I am keeping this short because it’s very important that people acknowledge that however the voting is done, it is going to be controversial and unfortunately, corrupt.


Televoting and Juries Work as a Balance

Jury voting used to do Eurovision so well, and whilst we saw Greece and Cyprus exchange 12 points every year, there can be no denying that after the introduction of televoting in 1997, diaspora and shared cultures started to generate increasingly similar voting patterns. So jury voting was re-introduced to help balance that out. This is the first thing you have to remember: (1) TELEVOTING AND JURIES BALANCE EACH OTHER.


Independent Reviews for Adverse Events

In light of the recent escapades of a member of the Russian jury, people are complaining that the juries do not take it seriously enough, that there should be stricter rules enforced on them, or they should be taken away completely. However, this incident should not be reflective of all juries, this is simply foolish behaviour in broadcasting one individual’s couple of scores. And I agree, they shouldn't have publicly shared who they were scoring their points too.

I'm not going to attempt to come up with a solution to that problem, but taking away their phones and locking them in a room with exam conditions isn't the answer. A member of the jury should take it upon themselves to score privately, and I think what most fans are currently forgetting is that the majority of jury members do. In this instance someone hasn't, and (2) THIS IS WHY AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW WILL BE CARRIED OUT.

If jurors do act up, they are punished. For example, the removal of the jury vote for Georgia in 2014. Each member of the jury gave exactly the same score for 12 points down to 3 points. This is a statistical anomaly, the scores were removed and only full televoting was used. It’s as simple as that.


The Televote is neither Transparent nor Robust

I think this is the point which I want to stress the most. I can recall each controversy with the televote, even if other people can’t. Videos circulated after the 2013 contest, showing Lithuanian students being bribed by Azeri officials to vote for Azerbaijan. And Lithuania wasn't the only country where Azeri voting controversies emerged. All throughout the 00s we saw a wave of speculation regarding televoters being bribed, and I don’t mean to make this the Azeri problem, but there's also the case with Malta, and later San Marino.

Between 2010 and 2013, Malta gave Azerbaijan their 12 points. I am not stipulating further than despite being great songs which scored well, you can’t say that a country that small with no ties to the “Land of Fire” isn't a little bit suspicious. I'm not saying there is wrongdoing there, just that scoring in these ways was suspicious.

And then in 2014, Malta stopped giving Azerbaijan points, and perhaps out of the blue, San Marino gave Azerbaijan their 12. Again, I'm not calling out wrongdoing, just a raised eyebrow. Importantly however, this identifies how the televote is not transparent. We do not know the full breakdown of the televote – everything is hidden and we are to believe that no foul play has been going on. There has been an incident of transparent televoting though, and once again, enter Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan have also been held to account (hmm…) over their illegal action into arrests made for those that voted for Armenia back in 2009. Firstly, this was illicit behaviour as Azeri officials are not supposed to be allowed to find out who voted for Armenia, but they got the precise number and tracked those people down. It may have been seven years ago, but I would want to ensure the system is safe for voters rather than just falsely believing it is. It can be argued that the current televote is just not robust enough.


The Most Crucial Part…

JURY VOTING IS TRANSPARENT; THE TELEVOTE IS NOT. 

Transparency is key my friend. When you throw around opinions on scrapping the juries because they are scandalous, remember that the televote is not controversy-free. To emphasise this point you need to realise that it is far, far, far easier to scrutinise and find problems with the juries because we know everything about them. We know their exact scores now, we know who they are, and their scores cannot hide. But the scores for televoting are hidden! I do condemn the behaviour of one particular Russian jury member. I do agree that they should perhaps be taking things more seriously, but there is no way the televote is, could or should be, pure and reflective.

A New Voting System?

The fan community, or more exact, the young Twitter fan community, seem unable to process change in Eurovision. I say grow up. If we never had change then like the first contest it would be entirely jury voting behind closed doors with only the winner announced. Change helps the contest grow and evolve! People have such distaste at how the new system is a just making the contest a bigger Melodifestivalen, and hilariously, I have seen so many calls for countries like the UK to hold a Melodifestivalen-esque national final themselves.

Melodifestivalen is the biggest national final for the Eurovision Song Contest. Why on earth should we not look at making things similar? If the new system is a disaster and things don’t work out, then please by all means scrap it and try again. But don’t resist change because it might not work. Where would that attitude leave us with say, rights for citizens?

The new voting system is great in the aspect of television though! We will not know the winner until the final few votes are included. How can you say that is making the voting bad? It makes it more fun! Much more fun!

There are negatives to the new voting system, but live in the fucking moment people. We can deal with problems after they occur.

If you call for 100% televoting, be prepared to defend it when controversies leak and political arrests happen like they did for some hundred Azeri back in 2009. Don’t be so immature and naïve to think that televoting is the definite answer. You are just being blind to its problems because it is far easier to expose juries.


With Love.

Monday, 9 May 2016

My Annual Mega Scoring Predictor


WHO WILL WIN THE 61ST EUROVISION SONG CONTEST?


What is this mega scoring predictor?
Woo! Today I am releasing my annual mega scoring predictor. This is taking into account a whole host of polls, juries, predictions, staging, odds and a cheeky bonus given or removed here and there. If you can think of an online poll, it's been included in this score sheet. 

All scores are weighted, for example, the odds are given more points than say the ESC Nation Tummiweb poll site. All scores are also averaged using my advanced statistical skills - see My Degree (British humour, very sorry). The highest score a country could receive is 85 (the lowest was of course 0).

This by no means reflects my opinion, but merely the opinion of the wider Eurovision fan community. I love you all.


Previous success or a complete waste of my time?
In 2012, I successfully predicted a win for Sweden; 2013 saw these methods prove successful for predicting Denmark to win; but unfortunately they saw the UK as the winner for 2014 with Austria only 6th (clearly I overrated the UK staging and didn't add enough bonus marks for the "Conchita effect"). I did not use these methods last year because I was cramming for finals. In fact, I was pretty much not around at all last year.

Top 10 & Qualifiers:

2012 - 
I predicted the correct winner with 6/10 correct for the top 10 (having Russia 13th, Turkey 15th, Estonia 20th, and Albania 30th - but who had Suus higher than 30, come on!). 
I got 7/10 right for the first semi-final, and 8/10 correct for semi-final 2.

2013 - As well as predicting Denmark for the win, I had 7/10 correct for the top 10 (missing out Greece 11th, Hungary 18th, and Malta 27th).
In predicting the semi-finals, I got 8/10 in the first, and 7/10 in the second.

2014 - 
Unfortunately the UK didn't win and I had Austria 6th, but I did successfully predict 7/10 correct for the top 10 (leaving Spain 11th, Netherlands 15th, and Russia 25th).
For qualifiers, I successfully got 8/10 right for both semi-finals.


What to expect this year?
This year I have used more online polls and predictions than I previously have done, perhaps this will be problematic? Each year my poll has evolved though, and I hope to have the same success. 

Anyway when I finally reviewed the results I was surprised! Semi final 1 only proved to be slightly better than Semi Final 2, and based on previous results, we will see one or two of my predicted qualifiers fall short and 2 to be a surprise. This is especially more interesting considering how tight semi-final 1 is.

I think I will predict the winner successfully this year (big claim!) but will do worse than previous years in predicting a top 10.


The Unofficial Eurovision Song Contest 2016 Predictor Scoreboard


Qualifiers
Semi-Final 1: Armenia, Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Malta, Netherlands, Russia
Semi-Final 2: Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Ukraine

Final
1st (1) - Russia (81.17)
2nd (2) - Ukraine (71.39)
3rd (3) - France (68.56)
4th (4) - Australia (68.34)
5th (5) - Bulgaria (62.83)
6th (6) - Italy (60.57)
7th (7) - Sweden (57.67)
8th (8) - Armenia (55.94)
9th (9) - Malta (53.69)
10th (10) - Iceland (53.31)
11th (11) - Latvia (51.40)
12th (12) - Spain (50.01)
13th (13) - Croatia (49.69)
14th (14) - Serbia (49.34)
15th (15) - Czech Republic (47.16)
16th (16) - Hungary (44.00)
17th (17) - Austria (41.69)
18th (18) - Israel (41.37)
19th (19) - Netherlands (40.31)
20th (20) - Cyprus (40.17)
x (21) - Azerbaijan (39.56)
21st (22) - Belgium (37.40)
22nd (23) - Norway (35.40)
23rd (24) - United Kingdom (35.24)
24th (25) - Germany (34.77)
x (26) - Estonia (33.63)
25th (27) - Poland (33.03)
26th (28) - Lithuania (30.37)
x (29) - Bosnia & Herzegovina (29.16)
x (30) - Belarus (27.63)
x (31) - Macedonia (25.53)
x (32) - Greece (23.27)
x (33) - Ireland (23.20)
x (34) - Georgia (22.11)
x (35) - Denmark (21.60)
x (36) - Finland (15.14)
x (37) - Montenegro (15.14)
x (38) - San Marino (13.69)
x (39) - Switzerland (12.29)
x (40) - Moldova (11.69)
x (41) - Albania (11.66)
x (42) - Slovenia (10.37)


Analysis
So Russia will win, by a bit of a landslide if my points are to be correct!? Rivals France would score 3rd, leaving Ukraine 2nd, which coincidentally mirrors the current top 3 in the odds. And realistically, I think we could all see that happening. 

Surprises? Well I think it's semi-final one where I will make the biggest mistakes. I think it's brave to predict that Greece, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Azerbaijan will all lose their 100% qualification record, even if the semi is tight. In all honesty, I think I'd be surprised if Austria do qualify (I have them 8th), even though I love the song.

In all honesty, how do you think I have done? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter. And no hating, this is a prediction of the final result, valued as fairly as possible.

Top 5 for 2016 - Day 34

IT'S FREAKING TOMORROW PEOPLE, HOLD YOUR HORSES AND GET EXCITED NOW.

#5 Bulgaria - If Love Was A Crime
Well Bulgaria, you are well and truly back in business. After a two-year absence they are back and looking for only their second qualification since their debut in 2005. Of course we all know their only entry to qualify (see: All-Time Top 5) and If Love Was A Crime has the ability to repeat that success. We are due a fan flop and I pray it's not this for Bulgaria's sake alone, but Poli Genova deserves to do well with a wonderfully lyrical and inspiring song.




#4 Malta - Walk on Water
Yes, I am one of those people who rank this highly. Despite the apparent fan-spiration with the bookies, I haven't met many people who put this in their top 5, or even top 10, and do you know anyone Team Walk on Water (who isn't from Malta?). Ira Losco gave Malta their highest ever finish when she managed 2nd way back in 2002 (since shared after their 2005 result) and could Walk on Water be about to join the Maltese success stories? Quite possibly. I have seen a lot call this the biggest "fanwank" of the year, and while I detest this new catchphrase everyone seems to be throwing around, I can see why people say it is. But I love it and can't wait for it to qualify (even if it will finish bottom 5 aha!)




#3 Russia - You Are The Only One
Russia and France are the two runaways and there is no denying why. Most people have Russia and France in their top 5, if not their top 10, and those that don't are by far the most vocal. They seem to have identified themselves Team Russia and Team France and have fallen for a Team Edward/Jacob style attack on the other team for absolutely no reason. While you will hear the two groups slagging each other off, remember that they are the loudest, and by no mean reflect the rest of the fan community. Enjoy Russia's entry for what it is...Sergey is hot, the song is super fun and super catchy, the production is flawless, the choreography is on point and the performance will be insane. Stop hating, start appreciating y'all. And stop talking about the consequences of if they win. Let them win first, then raise points about their ability to host. Because if we keep talking about "what happens if Russia win", we'll do exactly what we seek the contest not to be, and that's political. Don't politicise the song, because it allows non-fans to do the same.




#2 France - J'ai Cherche
Maybe it's because its France... no wait... definitely because this is France, I think I want this song to win even though it's my number 2, simply because we haven't seen a French entry this strong since maybe 2002, definitely not since 1991, and they haven't won since 1977. And they used to be such a powerhouse. It seems a completely hypocritical thing to say after what I just said about not politicizing the Russian song because it's from Russia, but actually, it's the opposite of what I'm trying to say as this song being French just happens to be a pleasant surprise, that is all. That is not political. People still doubt whether this could win, and we now know that France will be in the first half and this throws even more shade, but either France or Russia will win ('Do The Polls Lie?') and France, in my opinion, will do it. They will be victorious with both the televote and the jurors (proof). If I'm wrong then so be it, but hindsight has always told me to go with my instinct and not to fall prey to emerging entries. And this got my instinct buzzing from first listen. I am yet to play this to someone who doesn't like it as well, which knowing my friends actually means something.




#1 Italy - No Degree of Separation
This has crept up on my soooo hard! I am way #TeamFrancesca and even though I'd be delighted with any of my top 5 winning (actually any song apart from Germany), I think Italy doing it would just be fantastic. It's strange this is my favourite as well, as for so long I was so torn between France and Russia. It was actually my best friend who made me realise my love for it because she told me to stop singing it. I didn't even realise I had been. It's been uber-played on my iTunes, it's been my most sing-along, and my most pleasant surprise, and ultimately has made me fall in love with Francesca. Her song 'Sola' I would highly recommend. She is a special talent and would be a deserved victor in my opinion. Thank you Italy, once again!





All-time Top 5

Day 33 is now really enticing, my top 5 entries of all time. All have featured in rankings and lists at some point along my epic journey to count down the days till semi-final number one. And with 34 days to go, it seemed like an eternity away. Now it's just a single day and we'll know the first ten acts to join the big 5 and hosts in the final.

#5 United Kingdom 1997 - 'Love Shine A Light' by Katrina & the Waves (1st/227 points)
This is such a jam. Don't be hating on such a classy written song. I have thousands of childhood memories singing this song at school - our headteacher thought it was fantastic - and then many years later I actually found out that it won Eurovision! You can imagine my delight. But this didn't just win Eurovision, it stormed the scoreboards (for the 90s), is the United Kingdom's highest scoring entry, undoubtedly holds a case for the UK's best ever entry, and is lyrically genius. Katrina herself is a star and I am so proud of this record.




#4 United Kingdom 1996 - "Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit" by Gina G (8th/77 points)
But Love Shine A Light isn't my favourite of all time. Oh no no no. That place belongs to Gina G's Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit. I have distant memories of this, hazy yet existent, of singing this, dancing to this and loving this. I was 3 when the UK entered with Gina G to give that some perspective. It's my family who have such wonderful memories of me camping it up to such an iconic camp number. And the crowd were deranged when this didn't win (and let's be honest, while I may be a big fan of 'The Voice', this should have won hands down). And for these reasons alone, it has to be in my all-time top 5.




#3 Sweden 2012 - Euphoria by Loreen (1st/372 points)
Does this need any explanation or introduction? Euphoria may be the Ooh Aah of this century, but it goes past an exaggerated glitz by one of the best performances seen on the Eurovision stage. The choreography is mastermind in portraying a simplicity, and powerfully reflecting an intensity. And the song? Well it's pure class. Pure phenomena. Pure Euphoria.

(I may have ranked Carola higher when ranking the Swedish winners, but I see that as a different category ;)





#2 Bulgaria 2007 - Water by Elitsa & Stoyan (5th/157 points)
I mentioned this the other day (here: Top 10 from the 00s) but it's highly worthy of an all-time top 5 placing. As I mentioned, it's the pinnacle of alternative, has a cunningly structured and yet frivolous delivery of folk-inspired ethno-funk, while brilliantly holding a unambiguous authenticity which enraptures or derides. I will never not praise this entry enough.




#1 Serbia 2007 - Molitva by Marija Serifovic (1st/268 points)
Where superlatives fail, just play Molitva. I honestly struggle to see what other's don't get nowadays about the song because I have simply fallen way beyond smitten with it. I could say that I speak Serbian, but I mean, I speak Molitvilian. This song and staging coupled with a unconquerable vocal are everything. Some say there is no absolute, I say there is Molitva. 



Something on Wogan...
When the 2007 contest came around, I was a wide-eyed and easily swayed 14 year old. When me and my parents watched the contest, we watched with Terry Wogan's commentary and it wasn't a lack of appreciation he had for Molitva, it was actually a devaluation and utter bewilderment to it's fans. And I was heavily influenced by such a strong opinion. Especially because Dancing Lasha Tumbai performed after, and I was a fan from the moment the strobes were going, and then Flying The Flag, which is still to this day one of my all-time favourites as well (I will shamelessly admit!). "How could this unattractive chick trying to look like Harry Potter win with a dreary, non-English ballad?" - and that my friends is why Wogan had to go. Whilst I enjoy(ed) 90% of his Eurovision commentary, his inability to see what others could always made him that kind of person to actually attempt disrespect, which especially with hindsight, is just bittersweet. However, in a post which is to come later, fans outside the UK need to understand the UK doesn't care about it's position within the contest, not truly, and the BBC really don't give a damn about winning because they don't need to try to in order to still destroy ITV in ratings. As soon as the BBC give the ESC up, ITV will swoop it up faster than you can say Boom-Bang-A-Bang. Wogan's early retirement from Eurovision came from an inadequate understanding of the modernisation of the contest, disengaging with the mega fan and deliberating the decrease in popularity among viewers. If the contest was to lose a watcher, lose a house party, or lose the international viewer seeking highly-respected commentary, then the BBC was losing the battle and it's cheapest (by far) Saturday night television programming would lose out. Ultimately the show is about making money, and the BBC needed to hold on to that. More to come.

Favourite music video from 2016 - Day 32

I must confess... I am not very good at watching the music videos because I just don't care for them that much.

Unfortunately that means it is difficult to choose my favourite as none stand-out. I much prefer to watch performances than videos, and despite Laura Tesoro's funky choreography, my favourite is of course the video I was most anticipating, the song we were all on tenterhooks for, whether you like the guy or not...


Friday, 6 May 2016

Top 10 from the 00s - 4 days to go!

Okay where the fuck has the time gone and how the hell are we only 4 days away now!? So exciting!

So much is happening in Stockholm. In summary: Wiwi don't like the staging for France and Spain, enter angry reactions from fans.

I say let's wait until the second rehearsals and not go over the top with our responses! Things look very different on a TV screen.


As part of My 34 Days of Eurovision, day 31 plays homage to the 00s and the transformation of the contest once again. However this decade saw rules come and go over voting, and we truly saw the effects of abolishing the language rule. Some of these tracks are in my all time top 10, and I hope you like my rankings :)

(please bare in mind how hard this list is to make!)

#10 Norway 2009: "Fairytale" - Alexander Rybak (1st/387 points - duh!)
Well I need not say anything about this record breaker. You may doubt me for putting it in my top 10 of the 00s, but the performance of this song is truly magical and 2009 was the year that changed me into this full, heavy Eurovision fan. Would I have done if not for Fairytale? (Yes, definitely, but it's no doubt that Fairytale helped aha!)




#9 Hungary 2007: "Unsubstantial Blues" - Magdi Ruzsa (9th/128 points)
You might be thinking "huh?" but I'm aware this'll probably be divisive. I can see why people wouldn't like this, but personally I fucking love this track. I think this is lyrically divine and her vocals (IMO) are enticing and soulful. 




#8 Serbia 2008: "Oro" - Jelena Tomasevic (6th/160 points)
Oooft that Zelijko knows how to write a ballad! I'm a balkan ballad lover, and so it's quite surprising that only one Zelijko makes this list. Lane Moje and Lejla I can reassure you made the top 20, just not quite the top 10. Oro for me was his best of the decade and I'm glad that he and Jelena got their justice from the 2005 fantastrophe that was the Serbia & Montenegro national selection ha ha ha...





#7 Armenia 2009: "Nor Par (Jan Jan)" - Inga and Anush (10th/92 points)
I had this on repeat so much after the 2009 contest and for good reason...it's sick! This is such a fun song and was given such great choreography. The girls were dressed so elaborately and it gets everyone NOR PAR-ing together. What's not to appreciate? For me the appreciation goes next level and is my 7th favourite entry of the 00s.




#6 Moldova 2005: "Boonika Bata Doba" - Zdob si Zdub (6th/148 points)
This just misses out on the top 5, which goes to show you how difficult I think this is...BECAUSE I FREAKING LOVE ZDOB SI ZDUB. This song is so much fun, the group know how to really put on a performance and I'm so glad they came back with So Fucky in 2011. This song is one of my highest played ever and I can remember wanting 'Granny' to win when watching this live! Go Moldova!




#5 Estonia 2009: "Randajad" - Urban Symphony (6th/129 points)
I always *got* this. As in, I have always appreciated it. Even at the time I thought this deserved to do well. I have always found it a good song, but over the last year, hell even the last month, I'm really, really starting to *get* this. And uh it's so good! It's the most timeless entry of 2009, no doubt.




#4 Ukraine 2007: "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" - Verka Serduchka (2nd/235 points)


It almost surprises me that this isn't my favourite Eurovision entry of all time. It's quite arguably the most iconic entry in the last 10 years at least, and well, don't deny, it's an absolute smasher. I'm all over it and you can't stop the fun.




#3 Ukraine 2004: "Wild Dances" - Ruslana (1st/280 points)
You all know this winner and it's a hugely iconic performance. You wouldn't have seen the costume, song, choreography, dance routine, "whole package" at an earlier contest. Wild Dances really stands out. It makes my top 3 because it always manages to get me onto my feet and like a few others in the list, is one of my highest played songs ever. 




#2 Bulgaria 2007: "Water" - Elitsa & Stoyan (5th/157 points)
THIS. IS. INCREDIBLE. I can totally get people not liking it, but surely, SURELY you can see why others do? This breaks mould, stretches the spectrum, and delivers the pinnacle of alternative. For me that means its a true master piece. The staging and performance is electric. I find little to fault with Water, a criminal 5th. However it did deserve to get beat. Because you all know what made my #1...




#1 Serbia 2007: "Molitva" - Marija Serifovic (1st/268 points)
Ah lordy, this is absolute perfection. Perfection people!



Thursday, 5 May 2016

5 days to go - First Rehearsals & Ranking Luxembourg's 5 Winners

Oh my good god we are 5 days to go till Eurovision 2016 Semi Final Number 1 and I am very excited.

The first rehearsals are now over for all those seeking qualification and it was exciting to get a taste of what is to come! For the last few years I've been bogged down with essays and revision and its finally so exciting to throw myself head first into the rehearsals and enjoy Eurovision prep week for all it's worth.


Winners and losers of rehearsals

Well getting a great big fat A* from me is Jamala and Ukraine with '1944'. Anyone who has followed me knows I absolutely hate the song, BUT she has so brought it to Eurovision. Everything is there and I'm sure once we are a couple of hours away from the final I might have to accept the fact that she could win, even if I don't personally like the vocals.

It appears that Azerbaijan could be an almighty flop, and well Donny Montell's efforts for Lithuania appear to be slightly embarrassing so far...but come on people, nothing happened for Eneda and Albania! I have never disliked the song, I don't think there is overly anything wrong with it. But please! At least try to make the most forgettable song of the contest interesting! Literally nothing happened, and at this moment, I'd be surprised if she scores any points...


Ranking Luxembourg's 5 Winners



As you can see, my plan with 5 days to go is to rank Luxemourg's 5 winners. Over my last few posts I've focussed primarily on the last few years of the contest as they naturally just stick in your mind more. That's why I planned to be counting down Luxembourg's 5 winners, because we haven't seen them compete since 1993! It is truly phenomenal that a country that small has the 3rd highest amount of wins (along with France and the UK, behind Sweden with 6, and Ireland with 7), and so without any further ado...


#5 1983 Corinne Hermes 'Si La Vie Est Cadeau'
She might have an amazing vocal, but I just don't appreciate this song at all. Soz...



#4 1961 Jean-Claude Pascal 'Nous Les Amoureux'
Not the worst of the early winners, but certainly forgettable, even if Jean-Claude Pascal isn't...



#3 1972 Vicky Leandros 'Apres Toi'
I adore this record. I get lost in the juxtaposition of an uplifting beat, lyrically rich in tragedy.




#2 1965 France Gall 'Poupee De Cire Poupee De Son'
It's a real tough tussle for 1st and 2nd with me, but my number one edges it for the vocals. Nothing should detract away from how fantastic this winner was from 1965. Poupee De Cire Poupee De Son may now be a touchy subject for France herself, but it was the first non-ballad to win and ultimately change the shape of the contest.




#1 1973 Anne-Marie David 'Tu Te Reconnaitras'
One of the best winners ever? It's certainly up there for me. I never use to appreciate this, but after one proper listen I implore you to not have this stuck in your head.

This win also gave Luxembourg the first 'double' if you don't count Spain in 68 and 69 and for obvious reasons, noone ever does...








Hottest Eurovision Dudes

HARDEST EUROVISION RANKING EVER...

So instead I'm checking off the hottest guys from each year since 2011!


I AM SO SHAMELESS.



2011 - Eric Saade (Sweden) 'Popular' (3rd/185 points)







2012 - Pasha Parfeny (Moldova) 'Lautar' (11th/81 points)







2013 - Farid Mammadov (Azerbaijan) 'Hold Me' (2nd/234 points)







2014 - Freaky Fortune & RiskyKidd (Greece) 'Rise Up' (20th/35 points)








2015 - Gianluca Ginoble/Il Volo (Italy) 'Grande Amore' (3rd/292 points)









And just preparing the 2016 winner (hands down)...







Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Fiercest Eurovision Ladies... 7 days to go!

WELL now the rehearsals are in full swing and we are just a week to go till semi-final number one. With 7 days to go I'm counting my 3 hottest Eurovision girls and as a gay man this is of course entirely hypothetical so please don't be hating on my choices. Enjoy...


#3 Eleftheria Eleftheriou

(Greece 'Aphrodisiac' 2012 - 17th/64 points)






#2 Zlata Ognevich

(Ukraine 'Gravity' 2013 - 3rd/214 points)








#1 Tamar Kaprelian

(Armenia 'Face The Shadow' Genealogy 2015 - 16th/34 points)




Favourite 5 from Malta

I should have posted this yesterday...but with 8 days to go, my favourite 5 from Malta!

Malta are one of my favourite nations in Eurovision. It's quite hard to choose a top 5 with so many fun songs missing out. Big shout out to Fabrizio Faniello, one of my faves... and Ira Losco whose teeny pop tune from 2002 doesn't quite make the list. I think in a year's time Walk On Water has a chance of making this top 5 though.

So without further ado, my number 5...

#5 1998 - Chiara 'The One That I Love' (3rd/165 points)




#4 2012 - Kurt Calleja 'This Is The Night' (21st/41 points)




#3 1994 - Chris and Moira 'More Than Love' (5th/97 points)




#2 2014 - Firelight 'Coming Home' (23rd/32 points)




#1 2005 - Chirara 'Angel' (2nd/192 points)




Sunday, 1 May 2016

Favourite 5 from the 1990s - 9 days to go!

9 days to go now till Semi Final 1 and I'm excited.

The 90s were the best decade for Eurovision. Just so you know.


(This is more fun for me if I exclude the UK, because it's really not fair to include Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit and Love Shine A Light. They'd be in the top 5 any day of the week)


#5 Switzerland 1993 - "Moi, Tout Simplement" Annie Cotton (3rd/148 points)




#4 Hungary 1994 - "Kinek Mondjam El Vetkeimet?" Frederika Bayer (4th/122 points)




#3 Estonia 1997 - "Keelatud maa" Maarja-Liis Ilus (8th/82 points)




#2 Finland 1991 - "Hullu Yo" Kaija Karkinen (20th/6 points)




#1 Sweden 1991 - "Fangad Av En Stormvind" Carola (1st/146 points)


Favourite 4 from the 1980s

10 days to go!


#4 United Kingdom 1981 - "Making Your Mind Up" Bucks Fizz (1st/136 points)




#3 Sweden 1983 - "Framling" Carola (3rd/126 points)




#2 Switzerland 1988 - "Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi" Celine Dion (1st/137 points)




#1 Ireland 1987 - "Hold Me Now" Johnny Logan (1st/172 points)


My 3 Best Staging/Performances

11 days to go!


#3 Azerbaijan 2013 - "Hold Me" Farid Mammadov




#2 Sweden 2012 - "Euphoria" Loreen




#1 Netherlands 2014 - "Calm After The Storm" The Common Linnets