Dima understood it all. He is a big star in eastern countries and is awaiting to get international with a whole album recorded with R&B superstar Timbaland in the wings. The Eurovision song contest was the perfect way to launch his new career so he chose an anthemic R&B ballad, got some romantic violin arrangement, invited a figure skating star to feature on ice and dance around him, wore an immaculate fitting trouser and jacket he opened up to reveal his nice torso for the ladies at the end of the show, and sang his heart out in a really good vocal performance. All in all, his victory is well deserved. The song is not the one I liked best but sure is mainstream pop to appeal to the masses and collect the maximum points from the maximum televoters.
02 Ani Lorak Shady Lady (Ukraine [SF2 n°1 152 Pt] 230 Pt)
I didn't really noticed this song when I listened to this year's entries. I naturally listed it as the ones I liked but it wasn't my favourites as you can all recall from previously posted here on my blog. The performance of the really beautiful sexy lady Karolina (or Ani Lorak in reverse) on the second semi-finale (she won!) won my heart and took the place of swedish nip'n'tucked Charlotte Botoxi right behind Icelanders. The song had a dance vibe with some tribal beats to appeal to south eastern too, the diva has an incredible voice, the choregraphy was inventive, the arrangement gimmick that made her and her dancers nod their heads in the verses got me crazy, the dress was moulded straight outta hell for sure for the sexiness it revealed... I wanted it to win when I saw the five/six songs that got in the highest positions ! It didn't but she deserved better than Dima I think. The difference, for me, is that he performed in order to win while she performed for the show and hoped to win...
03 Kalomoira Secret Combination (Greece [SF1 n°1 156 Pt] 218 Pt)
Now comes the time for the cute cutie greek girl named Kalomoira with her Britney Spears inspired Secret combination. Cute melody, cute face, pink dress and dancers half stripping her... What to say? She won her semi-final with more points than Russia and at some moments could have won the finale, battling with Dima bilan to score more 12 Points. I don't like. The song is deja vu or a mix of different elements that don't melt well in my ears. Sorry. Her runner-up in the greek pre-selections, Kostas Martakis, had a better song in his hands with Always and forever and I wish he had won to challenge Russia with a better combination...
04 Sirusho Qele, Qele (Armenia [SF1 n°2 139 Pt] 199 Pt)
Armenia finished second in the first semi-finale, behind Kalomoira and just before Dima Bilan. Her song Qele Qele is perfectly fitted to appeal to south eastern europeans with tribal bellydance beats and some greek/arabian folklore sounds, with modern dance arrangements. All deja vu number two if you want to know the truth. But it works! The show was entertaining, the lady is sexy, the dress was ultra short, the hair were moving. Call L'Oreal to get her some publicity contract because she's worth it... Boring!
05 Maria Haukaas Storeng Hold On Be Strong (Norway [SF1 n°4 106 Pt] 182 Pt)
Old school euro pop ballad, old school blond & blue themed nordic entry with some nice blond diva backed by three blond sirens all in blue dresses singing with passion an anthemic epic ballad... Nice performance but boring number two!
06 Jelena Tomasevic feat. Bora Dugic Oro (Serbia 160 Pt)
Intemporal ballad sung by a more beautiful woman (and sexier dressed) than their winning entry of last year, Oro wasn't there to win a second time around for sure but it did collect 12 Points four times ! Incredible to my ears... Zzzzzzzzz Zzzzzzzz Boring number three.
07 Mor Ve Otesi Deki (Turkey [SF2 n°7 85 Pt] 137 Pt)
Forget the folklore, forget the ballads, BRING ON THE GUITARS !!!!! Turkey has popped his cherry this year bringing out a rather nice bloke with a guitar backed by a whole rock band to sing an anthemic guitar song well. It started well collecting the points then faded a little but I'm still impressed it finished at number 7... Not my cup of tea but for sure a good performance & entry and not one you would think you could hear at the Eurovision Song Contest.
08 Elnur & Samir Day After Day (Azerbaijan [SF1 n°6 96 Pt] 132 Pt)
Another shouting entry but with much more Euro cheese than previous turkish. Half performers were angels with wings and eyes lenses for white singer while the other half were in black and stood for diabolic devils. Both vocals though sounded satanic and there wasn't only blood on the dancer's body. In my ears too! They did the show for sure but the song was TOO much and sung TOO loud :)
09 Bo'az Ma'uda Kei'lo kan (Israel [SF1 n°5 104 Pt] 124 Pt)
Written by Israel 1998 winner Dana International, the song meant nothing to me. The guy though has a very powerful & high pinched voice as well as more biceps than his five backing singers united. From his short hairs I bet he is just out of the Israel army :) The song appealed to a wide audience, collecting 124 points but not from me... Sorry Muscle G.I. Boy.
10 Elvir Lakovic Laka Pokusaj (Bosnia & Herzegovina [SF1 n°9 72 Pt] 110 Pt)
Now's the time for some freaks to invide the euro show. Their odd show, the freaky costumes, the strange moving of the man acting as if he had strings attached moving his arms or the red appled white dress of the lady as well as the four brides knitting while the washing hung out. Everything was from planet Mars here, even the song but it worked! Despite the chaotic rhythm, the melody stayed stuck in your head and I must admit I wouldn't have been that bothered if they would have won... for a change.
11 Pirates Of The Sea Wolves Of The Sea (Latvia [SF2 n°6 86 Pt] 83 Pt)
Aqua-sounding Pirates Of The Caraibes have invaded the euro show and it didn't sound that ridiculous. Euro beats, Disney costumes, entertaining performance. Nice entry! The lead singer/pirate was already part of last year's group, Bonaparti.tv, the Il Divo lookalikes.
12 Diana Gurtskaya Peace Will Come (Georgia [SF2 n°5 107 Pt] 83 Pt)
Blind diva singing another some old school ballad with dancers all around us with a black to white choregraphy. Uninspired entry... and rather bland!
13 Vania Fernandes Senhore Do Mar (Portugal [SF2 n°2 120 Pt] 69 Pt)
Another old school ballad sung this time by some over weighted real TV diva. Still not my cup of tea but a better song to win votes, although not mine.
14 Eurobandið This Is My Life (Iceland [SF2 n°8 68 Pt] 64 Pt)
THAT ONE GOT MY VOTES ! But I didn't make a mystery of it. Icelandic Euroband duo were my favourites and they didn't deceived, although their score did. They were too cheesy & euroflavoured for sure but I still had hopes for them. Their performance was incredibly good. Sure they both can sing and the song is so anthemic. You can't help but sing its chorus all along with them. This song is gonna compete for my song of the year... They've just released a full album titled after this song including cover versions of eurovisions songs like Celine Dion's Ne partez pas sans moi in english Don't leave without me now ; A must-have for every eurofan in the world !
15 Simon Mathew All Night Long (Denmark [SF2 n°3 112 Pt] 60 Pt)
Now come another good surprise of the show, like Ani Lorak before him. I didn't notice Denmark's entry till I saw his performance on the second semi-finale. The guy is cute, latin good-looking man backed by musicians and sure he knows how to perform on a scene and occupy the space. And he knows how to sing too. The song is good but the chorus is instant pop, sticking in your head till the end of the night, way way long after the Tv is shut down. He is gonna release a full album and I want to find some music shop online to get me this from Denmark for sure ! Too good to forget after this night... I sant to see him get international very soon. He has the potential and it's a shame he didn't score higher!
16 Olta Boka Zemrën E Lamë Peng (Albania [SF2 n°9 67 Pt] 55 Pt)
The complete opposite can be said of the following entry. The youngest contestant of this year was another cute girl singing an instantly forgettable song. I don't even understand she got that much points !
17 Rodolfo Chikilicuatre Baila El Chiki Chiki (Spain 55 Pt)
Another un-understandable points harvest for Spain and their 3rd degree entry of this year. He was chosen by internet poll if I remember well and the act as well as the song is a pastiche of summer hits with dance routine a la Macarena or Las Ketchup. The performance hit its goal : RIDICULOUS ! But it gained 55 Points (including 12 from Andorra, 10 by Portugal & 5 by France, which si to say by Spain's neighbours). Get him back in asylum please...
18 Charlotte Perrelli Hero (Sweden [SF2 n°12 JuryJoker 54 Pt] 47 Pt)
Another BIG time for ridiculous entry. Not musically this time as Hero is the perfect fitting post Abba Euro song and when I HEAR it, I LOVE it ! But when I SAW it, I thought "What the hell is THIS goin' on?" From official reports, Miss Charlotte Perrelli, (who won Sweden the Euro price in 1999 as Charlotte Nielssen with Take me to your heaven) is only 33 year old and she looks like a crossing human-like being between aliens & dummies. The 1999 woman is unrecognizable in her 2008 impersonation. So sure she had long legs (and short dress), sure she could sing her song beautifully, sure the song itself was moving, poppy, all the more appealing but for sure the televoters couldn't believe their eyes and didn't want THAT to win ! Or else how could you understand that the beautiful song underperformed that way? Her face is stretched out like it is gonna break if she smile a little too much for sure. Or is it botox surgery addiction? She must not be only 33 year old to look like that or else she's got every thing in her life wrong. More controversy... She even shouldn't have showed up on the finale this year as she finished at the twelth position of her semi-finale with 54 Points behind Macedonian Let me love you (65 points) and Bulgarian DJ take me away (56 points) but it seems that she got the internal jury's wildcard and got to the finale with that second-hand ticket. Shame on you miss Botoxi! When I only knew the song by hearing it, I was happy with the winner of this year's Melodifestivalen but now I think her runner-up Sanna Nielsen or other contestants like BWO, Velvet, Ola or Daniel Mitsogiannis would have done better...
19 Sebastien Tellier Divine (France 47 Pt)
Another controversy entry (in France) with french guy singing mostly in english this year for the first time ever... I din't like it from the start. This chabadabada 70's electro-housed number didn't fit to the euro show for me and the votes work along with me though France gained more points than the previous 4 or 5 years... The post-romantic dandy's performance with full entrance with golf-car and gospel backing lookalike singers with wigs and high-pinched voice with earth-balloon's helium granted him freaks' points... Pathetic though.
20 Nico & Vlad Pe-O Margine De Lume (Romania [SF1 n°7 94 Pt] 45 Pt)
Old school romantic duet between some divo in jeans and older woman... How can they have got twelve points from Spain & Moldova ? I can't understand...
21 Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents Romanca (Croatia [SF2 n°4 112 Pt] 44 Pt)
Bring on some old grand-pa talking in intro and some latin gypsy/bossa rhythm for -not an old school but- an old fashioned entry. BORING, AWFUL, SKIP, SILENCE MODE are words that are coming to my mind recalling yesterday's night croatian time.
22 Teräsbetoni Missä Miehet Ratsastaa (Finland [SF1 n°8 79 Pt] 35 Pt)
I didn't put the sound back on my TV when it was time for the Finland's entry to come in the speakers. I heard them all very well in the semi-finale and didn't want to get hurt again. Unhearable, unbearable hard-rock music at its worst !
23 No Angels Disappear (Germany 14 Pt)
Ex popstars and reunited-since-last-year german stars didn't have to qualify to the finale for being (like France, Spain & UK) in the big four (most paying countries for the ESC show) and seeing how they started with nul points in the first half of the televoting results, it was better for them. Their song is rather good to me though but their vocal performance started badly I think. Their vocals didn't melt nicely in harmony in first verse & chorus. And the song in itself lacked the anthemic melody or appealing rhythm that could have given them a higher placing. That will be a bad note in their whole career. Thou shall not forget they're the biggest selling girlsband in the whole world just after the Spice Girls...
24 Isis Gee For Life (Poland [SF1 n°10 42 Pt] 14 Pt)
Another underperforming diva, although her performance, vocal and all were perfect... The vocal was belting, The melody was nice, the tanning orange, the teeth bright white, the hair blond, the dress beautiful and the boobs apparent. The entry must have been too middle-of-the-road and old school ballad for the televoters... That doesn't take anything away from the lady's talents for me.
25 Andy Abraham Even If (United Kingdom 14 Pt)
Coming once more -remember Jemini?) bottom last this year is the english entry and I don't understand it at all ! Andy sure is a performer, taking the stage like the man from Denmark with his musicians behind him. The song, penned by the Spice Girls hits writing/producing team Absolute, was pop-soul at its best, melodic, poppy, and sticked in the head... Despite the fact Andy Abraham collected the same amount of points as Germany & Poland, he is the one who has scored the less highest points so his classement leads him to the end. We'll see how he is scoring in the UK Charts by the end of the week...
The macedonian entry was the one who should have qualified in the finale instead of the Swedish one, if not by the internal Jury's wildcard... I don't regret it as, despite its awful-looking performer, the swedish song was way better. Let me love you was a boring rap/R&B number with forgettable vocal performance.
27 Deep Zone & Balthazar DJ, Take Me Away (Bulgaria) [SF2 n°11 56 Pt]
Another song that finished with higher points than Sweden, Bulgaria's entry was inventive, with DJ sampling/beats alternative to a reggae influenced chorus sung beautifully by a female singer and some record tables on fire on the euro scene.
28 Paolo Meneguzzi Era Stupendo (Switzerland) [SF2 n°13 45 Pt]
Now comes the one that I thought would better fit the mainstream winning place than Dima Bilan ...and he didn't even qualify for the finale :( Paolo Meneguzzi's Era stupendo was a perfect anthemic ballad melting into a power pop song after first half of the song and the guy sure can sing too but maybe his performance was vocally not what people expected from the recording. Or maybe they woudl have loved to see him open up his shirt more and show his chest too... Maybe too stress was on his shoulders either. He didn't do better than DJ Bobo last year and stayed englued in the semi-finales losers. The songs stays though one of my cherished ones and I only hope someone will remix it a little in a dance/house kinda way !
29 Morena Vodka (Malta) [SF2 n°14 38 Pt]
Rockdance on speed by a lady that has a voice a la Cher, deep & low but I can't stand this repetitive piece of work with some russian shoutings.
30 Evdokia Kadi Femme Fatale (Cyprus) [SF2 n°15 36 Pt]
More unbearable old fashioned folklore on this one. I won't even spend much time on this!
31 Rebeka Dremelj Vrag Na Vzame (Slovenia)[SF2 n°11 36 Pt]
Starting slowly, this song builds up to a tribal dancepop song not that different to Ruslana or Ani Lorak hits If only she had sing the english version, maybe she could have made it to the final? Or is it the girlpower performance with chains & salvation's dressing strip that didn't appeal to machos... I liked it all though.
32 Geta Burlacu A Century Of Love (Moldova) [ SF1 n°12 36 Pt]
Laying on a sofa with some trumpetist near her, Moldavian jazzy diva sure had swing & soul and that was enough to make me like her performance a lot. But it wasn't aimed at eurofans if we look at the points she got. A shame 'coz she got more talent than lots of finale's participants.
33 Jeronimas Milius Nomads In The Night (Lithuania) [SF2 n°16 30 Pt]
Singing his hardrock ballad nearly out of tune halfway through, this longhaired man was really freaky to me. I'm glad people didn't choose that mess much ; only 3 countries gave him points : 12 from Latvia !, 10 by Georgia & 8 by UK !
34 Ruslan Alehno Hasta La Vista (Belarus) [SF2 n°17 27 Pt]
Good-looking dark haired singer with pleasant pop/rock song and choregraphy with balls enlightened with stars, I fell under the spell myself but must have been the one or nearly... I still think the song was good enough to get into the finale.
35 Hind Your Heart Belongs To Me (Netherlands) [SF1 n°13 27 Pt]
Dutch entry of the year tried to get points from the east with some arabian flavoured tribal dance song but they didn't succeed it all... The woman, some ex dutch Idol, can sing and looks good but maybe the performance in all was too polished and although the chorus was memorable, it wasn't of the syle of song that stay englued in your head till the time of televotes start.
36 Stefan Filipovic Zauvijek Volim Te (Montenegro) [SF1 n°14 23 Pt]
The big guy with long hairs & red hands on his dark shirt had the difficult task to start up the competition this year with the first performance of the first semi-finale. He did it well but his pop/rock anthem and his deep warm voice weren't enough.
37 Gisela Casanova (Andorra) [SF1 n°16 22 Pt]
Sweden calling? This song could have been selected to compete in the swedish Melodifestivalen. It's pure pop like only Sweden still produces with nice dance beats, good vocal, perfect chorus. The lady had stunning curly hairs and nice costume, so did her female dancers/backing singers. It was one of those I had high hopes for and she gained really poor votes... Perfect eurovision pop songs must not be what eurovision is for nowadays... :(
38 Dustin The Turkey Irelande Douze Pointe (Ireland) [ SF1 n°15 22 Pt]
Now comes a time for a joke. Instead of sending some irish redhead bloke or diva singing a bland ballad on the eurovision show, Ireland tried the pastiche route by sending a socket puppet shouting with an unbearing voice and calling every nation in the show to vote for him and give him the "douze points", backed with two wonderful background vocalists. The trick could have been a winning one if only there hadn't been the puppet's voice in itself... The song, eurodance cheese with great female voices, could have repeated last year's odd success of Ukraine's Verka but the lead singing was just too terrible (and you don't get fooled twice by the same trick) !
39 Ishtar O Julissi (Belgium) [SF1 n°17 16 Pt]
Another awful entry. Sung once more in a new language (that makes all Belgium find a path between french & dutch I guess), this song is so bright, sweet and so old fashionly memorable that, instead of loving it instantly, you HATE IT with force ! You can't help but whistle its melody after hearing 10 seconds of it and you don't like it at all so you don't vote for it as you feel you've been trapped in a dangerous sticky candy cell.
40 Tereza Kerndlova Have Some Fun (Czech Republic) [SF2 n°18 9 Pt]
Have some fun was, like Charlotte's Hero, a song I loved when I just had heard it. After seeing it performed live on the show, I thought it was real BAD ! I checked it once again with the studio version and it sounded good back and I understood well. The lead singer CAN'T SING A SINGLE NOTE LIVE ! AutoTune must have been used and re-used to death in studios to make her sound good on the record because on the show, she had a poor voice and sang out of tune all through the song... It seems she is a model (how could she be that successful in this other career when she let people do her hair so that everybody could saw her sharped ears a la Spock ? I still wonder!) so she should stick to this modelling career. Singing ain't for her...
41 Kreisiraadio Leto Svet (Estonia) [SF1 n°18 8 Pt]
Repetitive eurodance/reggae beats and three overweighted blokes in ridiculous blue, yellow & red costumes awfully singing some improbable song with one single sentence repeated chorus... If it was for that, Estonia shouldn't even have sent an entry this year. It would have been better for eurofans !
42 Csezy Candlelight (Hungary) [SF2 n°19 6 Pt]
A nice piano intro, candles all over the scene and a beautifully sung intemporal & anthemic ballad, the hungarian entry was destined to get high in the euro finale... It didn't even qualify for it and finished second last. I don't understand... It must have been too classic for everyone. Didn't anybody listen to 80's Whitney Houston's ballads anymore ?
43 Miodio Complice (San Marino) [SF1 n°19 5 Pt]
Finally, only one song saved Hungary to finish last and it's by a margin of only one point. San Marino's pop/rock mid-tempo entry didn't get much votes and I'd say the singing was way too dramatic. Maybe that was the cause. I don't even care...
Here below are both semi-finale's voting crosstables.
See you in a year time in Moscow ...or could it be in Saint Petersbourg ?
Till then I'll be singing along this year's best tunes This is my life, All night long, Shady lady, Era stupendo, Even if, Believe, Disappear, Wolves of the sea, and Casanova.