Saturday, February 12, 2011

We've moved on

A new Eurovision season is coming up, and we're blogging about 2011. It's time to move on. That's why we have launched our new blog now - . Please update your bookmark and come visit us for more of our blog and passion for Eurovision.

National Final, Nordic Super Saturday: Norway

All-righty then, who's gonna win in Spektrum tonight? The speculations are of course running wild on the Internet, and even though it looks like we most likely would have to practice our Haba Haba dance routine for Düsseldorf, and thank God for that, we are not yet completely sure whether Stella has it in the bag.

Let's have final glance at tonight's line-up!

Helene Bøksle: Vardlokk

If someone told us a month ago that Helene is not going to be the big favorite to win, we would have laughed. But that was before Stella came along and before Åste&Rikke surprisingly blew us all away at Ørlandet, and now we're not so sure anymore. If Helene wants to stand a chance tonight she has to get rid of the nerves which almost ruined her performance in the semi-final. So no pressure there whatsoever...

Sie Gubba: Alt du vil ha
This song lacks about everything in order to be a contender in Eurovision and has about everything needed in order for the folks around Norway to actually go head and vote for it. Which is a rather scary combination in our opinion. Mind you, this has been topping the sales charts in Norway the last few weeks so don't count it out even if it had to become a Lucky Loser to make it to the big final. We pray that our worst nightmare will not come true and just for the record there's no way we will cheer for this number in Düsseldorf.

Babel Fish: Depend on Me
Another bunch of middle aged men we don't want to hang out with in Düsseldorf. Some things are just better left behind. Babel Fish is one of them, they kind of lost us in 97. And one should think that a band of experienced blokes like them should be able to do better than the shaky performance in Skien.

The Lucky Bullets: Fire Down Below
This number has really grown on us, we like it! Suppose it proves that some songs need a dip by the Second Chance final for the voters to realize its potential. Like Bjørn Johan Muri last year. It's not exactly suitable for Eurovision and we don't think The Lucky Bullets will win, but we love them for giving us a hell of a show and for looking swell and dandy. And for the chick with the saxophone, groovy!

The BlackSheeps
We didn't believe much in this number until we actually saw them on stage in the semi-final. Lead singer Agnethe has a stage presence and charisma which far more experienced artists only can dream of. Lots of teenagers will vote for them and we would be happy for them to get a decent placing.

Stella Mwangi: Haba Haba
We have already declared our love for Stella. Being a favorite is a dangerous position to be in, but we think Stella will win Norway's hearts over tonight. Go girl!

Åste&Rikke: Not That Easy (Ah-Åh Ah-Åh)
Poor Åste has been all over the news lately as she has spent time hanging around the toilet bowl puking instead of rehearsing in Spektrum with her partner Rikke. Will she be able to get back in shape on time? At least the duo has gotten a lot of press and they might even get some sympathy votes tonight, however strange that might sound. But there's in fact something about these girls that really gets to you. They seem so downright nice, sincere and bubbly and it makes you really wish for them to do well even if you don't care much for their song.

Hanne Sørvaag: You're like a Melody
This one is tricky for us, since we are fans of Hanne and like her style and attitude. But what about the song Hanne, the song? It's just not good enough in our opinion and to be quite frank we don't think she sings well enough to be taken as a serious contender for the victory. Looking smashing on stage in a pink Leila Hafzi frock and a glittery guitar scores a lot of extra points though.

We look forward to enjoying the show tonight and will of course give you some updates along the way. Happy voting fellow Norwegians, let the best Haba Haba girl in town win!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

National Final, Nordic Super Saturday: Finland

We're moving on to one of the other Nordic countries that will choose their song for Düsseldorf on February 12, namely Finland, to see if they have managed to pull something decent out of their semi-final hat this season. We loved the quirky, folksy celebration of a song from last year, and we're telling you, this was one of the few acts from the first semi-final which got a heartfelt and enthusiastic cheer from the crowd at Telenor Arena. We suppose you had to be there to feel it, since it obviously did not transcend onto the televoters around Europe. But this is just bygones by now, let's concentrate on Euroviisut 2011!

However before we give you our verdict on this year's selection, we need to take a moment and clear some stuff up. Regarding the Finns. There's a vail of enigma surrounding the Finns, we think. Even though they're our neighbors we sometimes feel we don't understand the first thing about them. Perhaps it's the language issue, or rather the fact that they hardly ever say a word, even when they're drunk. Hours of suffering through Finnish TV-dramas when we were kids has taken its toll. The Finns don't exactly seem to be the most cheerful people on earth, often displayed in Eurovision through sinister, dark songs in minor. But it doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing, sometimes it can be so beautiful it hurts, it hits a cord deep down there somewhere. And we love the Finns for being strange and different, and for their passion for tango and for sticking to traditions at the same time as being state of the art modern and stylish.

Pew, good to get that off our chests! So without further ado we have now listened through all the Euroviisut songs on offer and watched the preliminary rounds' YouTube clips and given it all long and serious consideration. We're sure you all are about to burst with anticipation to hear what we think!

Eveliina Määttä - Dancing in the dark
We struggle to find out whether Eveliina has stolen Natalia Barbu's outfit from when she represented Moldova in 2007 or if it's just some rags she picked up from a garbage can. Since the ESC was in Helsinki that year it might be a combination of the two, in the case Natalia threw away her stage outfit to avoid overweight on the flight back. Perhaps YLE should consider emptying the trash cans more often then. Anyways, we're thinking Eveliina might have picked up the song from the trash also cause this is rather dreary stuff. No energy, no nerve, just flat and boring.

Sami Hintsanen - Täältä maailmaan
Could it be that Sami here were abducted by aliens at some point and when he finally was allowed to return to earth he was misplaced into the wrong decade? Cause we could have sworn that this was a song in the 1985 Finnish national final line up, if we hadn't known better. Big fat no from the GEE jury.

Milana Misic - Sydämeni kaksi maata
Ok, now were talking. This is good stuff. You can never go wrong with an amount of turquoise eye shadow the size of fairly large Finnish lake. And why hasn't anyone thought of mixing the Loveboat theme with gipsy rhythms and an oriental flare before? We suppose when you're the daughter of a Finnish Eurovision legend and a Croatian musician you do think of that sort of stuff.

Paradise Oskar - Da da dam
Ooh, this one is tricky! After someone unexpectedly does well in ESC there's bound to be a few aspiring hopefuls next year, aiming to do the same, by copying the success recipe. How can you watch Paradise Oskar without having the image of Tom Dice, or Jostein Hasselgård for that matter, racing through your head? This is so far from original as it gets, and we wonder if he can get away with it. And maybe he can, cause he's so darn cute. And it is all so neat and simple. But if you ever make it to Düsseldorf Paradise Oskar, please pick up some fashion tips. Hel Looks is a nice place to start, it will give you some pointers.

Cardiant - Rapture in time
After Lordi's victory it seems like the Finns believe they know how to make rock work in Eurovision. Fail.

Johanna Iivanainen - Luojani mun
This is perhaps the most Nordic sounding act in the line-up. We have know idea what Johanna is singing about, but she does it well, and it reminds us of some sort of children's lullaby. Perhaps a bit too boring for Eurovision, but still it's quite pretty.

Father McKenzie - Good enough
Sometimes you just love a song because it reminds you about something and makes you associate far beyond the scope it was probably originally intended to do. The theme in this song makes us think about a movie from the 80s, shot in New York during the fall, with skyscrapers and Central Park as a backdrop for yellow cabs and studio apartments, we have no idea why. Genre wise it seems to fall into the same category as the Romanian entry this year. Is this the next big thing in ESC?

Marko Maunuksela - Synkän maan tango
This year's mandatory tango fling. Doesn't do much for us we're afraid.

Saara Aalto - Blessed with love
God, what's with the bridezilla orgy on stage? No, no and no, this is just awful. 

Stala & So - Pamela
So is this suppose to be this year's favorite to win, since YLE put it last in the running order? The Finns can be very unpredictable voters, but we hope they don't go ahead and choose this glam rock number. Cause this is nothing of what it is cut out to be. It's not a good song, it's not charming, it's not funny, it's not crazy enough. And who's this Pamela anyways? Pamela Anderson? Pamela Ewing? Palmolive Shampoo? It ends up looking very unattractive and sounding equally bad. Nice haircut on the lead singer though. If he was a soccermom in her 40s, that is.

We're suspecting the Finns to go for one of the rock numbers in this bunch, but we hope they decide not to. By the end of Saturday evening we will all be a little wiser, after both Finland, Iceland and Norway have chosen their star for Düsseldorf. We suppose we just have to continue sharpening our pens until then!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hujaza kibaba for Stella!

Ok, after trashing all those Norwegians in the semi finals, we really have to give in a little. Because we are truly, madly, deeply in love with this woman:

Dear Stella Mwangi. We are can't even begin to describe how happy we are you showed up.You are one funky chicken, and if we didn't enjoy Senegalese music enough already, we now officialy love it. And won't you take a look at the outfit from the semi final, people? That catsuit slash shorts slash skirt thingy is probably the coolest thing that has ever been to Skien. We mean, who says your legs actually have to go through the skirt? Not Stella, that's for sure. She just leaves it behind. Also, it is very good for showing off Stella's admirable killer bod, to be admired by GEE forever as we hit our spinning classes.

We are now actually looking forward to the final this Saturday. And can you please promise us the Norwegian Kenyan will win over WannabefairyHelene? Because we are not sure yet, and it would really break our heart to see Stella go. Can you please remember that when you hit your cell?

Haba Haba Hujaza Kibaba!

(You can practice the dance, btw. Click here for intructions).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

National Final, Nordic Super Saturday: Iceland

Along with Norway and Finland, our Nordic neighbors out west will also choose their representative for Düsseldorf on February 12. We haven't paid much attention to their semi-final season, but the lucky seven selected for the big final will of course undergo serious scrutiny:

    •    Haraldur Reynisson - Ef ég hefði vængi
    •    Erna Hrönn Ólafsdóttir - Ástin mín eina
    •    Yohanna - Nótt
    •    Matthías Matthíasson & Erla Björg Káradóttir - Eldgos
    •    Jógvan Hansen - Ég lofa
    •    Magni Ásgeirsson - Ég trúi á betra líf
    •    Sigurjón's friends - Aftur heim

We have a special weak spot for those Icelanders, after all they're just a bunch of vikings who got bored of staying in Norway some thousand years ago and who could really blame them for that? It may be a leap of faith to compare the vikings with those who tries to conquer Europe on the Eurovision stage nowadays, but we expect nothing less than top notch entries erupting from the Saga Island (our sincere apologies for this season's poorest pun so far).

In that regard we are somewhat disappointed that this year's national final appears to be a yawnathon of gigantic dimensions, with only a couple of noteworthy exceptions. If our Icelandic friends want to see the GEE squad enthusiastically waving the Icelandic flag in Espirit Arena they have to give us something we at least could work with and warm up to. And as for now we are desperately seeking some straws to grab on to.

Cause there is this thing about ballads in ESC, usually they need to really stand out in order to grab our attention. There has to be full-blown goose bumps, shivers down our spines and on the verge of tearing up, having an emotional meltdown towards the build-up of the last chorus when the grand key change kicks in. And just by flipping through the songs on YouTube we are certainly not getting anywhere close feeling exactly that.  

Erna Hrönn, Yohanna and Magni tries their best, but it just all feels a wee bit too neat, inoffensive and indifferent. Which is sad cause we have shamelessly stared at Erna Hrönn when she has been competing for Iceland in ESC before as a backing singer for various other artists. She has a baffling stage presence and her beautiful smile formerly bursts out of the TV screen even when she's barely visible in the background. We would love for her to finally get her chance to shine in the spotlight, but unfortunately we think her song is just too dull and forgettable. And Yohanna, wow, talk about x-factor, we absolutely adore her. This year's ballad is not by far as strong as her ESC runner-up from two years ago, but if there is someone who has the ability to lift an average, going nowhere and certainly not likely to qualify from the semi-final tune, it must be her.

Haraldur Reynisson and Sigurjón's friends compete in the harmless, non-edgy, trying to be charming sing-along ditties. We can't really see any of them going somewhere and at least not to Düsseldorf, even though we do expect Sigurjón's friends to get buckets of sympathy votes since this is the song that Sjonni Brink has written and was to perform himself. His tragic and unexpected death put a stop to that.

The mid tempo, anthemic, shout your feelings out in the air song from Jógvan Hansen might be a grower. First it did nothing for us, but after hearing it a couple of times more, we realize its potential. It has quite a contemporary sound, and thrown in a dance routine by the backing singers and fireworks on stage it might work out.

And last but not least there's Matthías Matthíasson & Erla Björg Káradóttir with Eldgos. Oh! My! God! Someone please pick our gobs up from the floor! This is so insane and over the top that we don't know where to begin. Mix one "omg, the world is so cruel, I just wanna kill myself" emo kid (or kid, isn't this bloke too old for this stuff anyways?) with a valkyrie belting out whatever as if the world's gonna end today, and this is what you get, apparently. The Icelanders will have some nerves choosing this entry for Düsseldorf we'd say. But we're pretty sure some Eastern European country will love it, so why not..

We have no idea which direction the wind will blow, but we're all gonna find out on Scandinavian Super Saturday! (To be correct it should be Nordic but then our cheeky alliteration goes down the drain.)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Retro Sunday: Norway 1984

After quite a tiresome period of semi finals in Norway, we really have to bring you this:

We mean, we were getting completely delusional over here, thinking Norway can't do anything right. We just seem to be splurging on cheer leaders, opera wannabes, grown boybands, old farmers and acnecious teenage boys in desperate need of haircuts thinking they're Justin Bieber these days. Sorry to be blunt, but man, that hurts.

But dear friends. Just in case you watched some of the semi finals: We promise, promise, promise there have been times when we weren't this boring. There was a 1984 of the glorious Dollie De Luxe. A 1984 of dressing up in hillarious clothing, tied up hair in weird places and killer sandals while being watched by four dark somethings up on a podium. That year when everyone started walking back and forth with large steps swinging their arms resolutely from side to side without looking at all like soldiers, just like happy, crazy chicks. We Norwegians actually did that too, and we're oh, so proud of it. Aren't you?

Guess Orwell was all wrong about 1984, because those were the days, we tell you. We wanted our lives and hopes to last forever, and we were just happy joy joy people. Ok, so we didn't win that year. But we did good. Much better than now. We believed in ourselves. And everyone's still in love with Benedicte Adrian. 1984 FTW!

PS We are seriously suggesting NRK introduces affirmative action into the semi finals next yer. Because way too many boring men make it to the final it seems. And it's the women who do the trick, there as other places in society. At least we're really happy Stella Mwangi is in the final. She's our hope when it comes to evoking the glory of the 80s. Haba haba!

What's cooking in the state of Denmark?

Last Thursday, the GEE-girl whom is currently stationed in Copenhagen attended broadcaster DR's press conference where the ten acts to compete in the Danish national final DMGP were revealed and presented. We still struggle coming to terms with the rubbish song they scored a 4th place with last year, however being in a reasonably forgiving mood we must admit that we're très excited about what's on the Danish smorgasbord this year. After all we will be on front row seats in Ballerup Super Arena in a few weeks time, we need to find a favorite to cheer for!

We know you're already up to speed by now on who's on and who's not and who's lurking behind the scenes as song writers and such, so we won't bore you with all the details. This is more of an account of our first impressions and what we think about the 2011 edition of DMGP so far, which we of course believe people will find most interesting!

During the press meeting as the different artists and song writers were presented from the podium, a slight murmur broke out among the journalists, bloggers and fans present. Concerned looks were exchanged, telling us something along the lines of "WhoTF is that?", "What's he/she/they doing here?" "Where are all the Danes, where is Birthe Kjær, for crying out loud!". Because this year's line-up truly is international, both off and on stage.

These are the selected artists (running order is not decided yet):

A Friend in London
 - New Tomorrow
Anne Noa - Sleepless
Christopher Brandt
 - Emma
 - Drømmen
Jenny Berggren - Let Your Heart Be Mine
Kat and Justin Hopkins - Black and Blue
Lee Hutton - Hollywood Girl
Le Freak - 25 Hours a Day
Sine Vig
 - You'll Get Me Through
Stine Kinck - Hvad hjertet lever af

The always annoying Swede and Schlager Guru Thomas G:son has his sticky fingers attached to two of the numbers, performed by Le Freak and the former superstar Jenny Berggren from the 90s supergroup Ace of Base. A bunch of other Swedish middle aged men were presented as composers and lyricists behind quite a few of the other numbers as well, but we can't remember their names. And then there's this British bloke, Lee Hutton who's popular in Ireland apparently. A couple of sturdy Danish household names are perhaps missing, but we guess there's nothing wrong with a fresh and new approach, and while some of the artists looked extremely boring, like Sine Vig, others clearly have potential, like A Friend in London and first and foremost Stine Kinck, sporting fabulous big hair and the most wicked outfit of the day.

We are of course curious about what Jenny Berggren will dish up, but at the moment we are not overly optimistic. At the press meeting, she didn't quite seem to grasp the fact that her former stardom has a great emphasis on former and she was waltzing around looking more like a grumpy late-30-something, whom we easily could have mistaken for one of those awful housewives spending way too much time and effort blogging about their perfect homes and kids and husbands and diets and exercise regimes and God knows what. Perhaps she's the most likable and heart-warm person ever coming out of Sweden, but for now she's hiding it all too well. It wouldn't hurt to cheer up a tiny tad and enjoy the moment, we got more than our share of cold and stuck up farts representing Denmark last year.

Let's wait to pass our judgement any further until we get to listen to the songs first. Not even snippets were played during the presentation and it was a bit like having cake, without being allowed to eat it. Luckily there were free food and champagne, so digging into the buffet afterwards served as a fair enough consolation.

For the time being we are most exited about Stine Kinck. She's to perform Hvad hjertet lever af and could assure us that she has an inner Dragqueen waiting to be unleashed and that she will put on quite a show in Ballerup Super Arena. Hurrah, we can hardly wait!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

MGP, lucky losers semi final: Live blog

19.45: Update before the final starts. The audience is, surprise surprise, ready. Anne's dress does not seem to fit.
19.46: A little chance to win a million before the MGP starts on NRK. In case you're wondering, this final is for the lucky losers from the other semi finals. We're not that optimistic about the quality, but yay to seeing Gata's parlament again.
19.55: And we're in. Not overly excited about this.
19:56: Look, there's the trailer. It's not stolen after all!
19:57: Dear Anne with an e, what happened? Your hair disappeared and your bod is popping out of your dress any minute now. Oh, we wish you at least knew how to be funny and charming.
19:59: Oh so THAT's how Sarpsborg looks like. And here we were really hoping that song was one of the entries.
20:03: Do we really need to hear Pernille & Marius again? FML.
20:04: Here's a couple of teenagers showing up wanting us to use them. Nothing new there. But guess they're charming enough. Unlike most other participants this year. Can someone tell them about MGP Junior, maybe?
20:07: Who told these guys eyes are not allowed on MGP, but should be covered under a lot of hair? Not a good hint.
20:08: Lads and gents, you can pee now. It's time for Pernille & Marius.
20:09: Really liking Marius' shirt. Oh yes. Trying to focus on that.
20:11: Enter cheerleading, exit GEE sympathy.
20:13: And we're officially totally embarassed by NRK's way of trying to get poor teenagers to vote as much as possible. They should never ever pay their TV license money when they grow up.
20:15: Oh, look, there's a band your grandpa might have gathered from the recycling container. It's Sie Gubba.
20:20: Remind us again, who is that blonde chick blabbering away between songs and how did she get that job?
20:21: Dear Mimi Blix: We're sure your hands are so much prettier than those latex gloves. You can't even use your iPhone with those, let alone perform a decent MGP song. And you know, many people are actually allergic to latex, including GEE.
20:23: Why DID all MGP artists decide on bringing back 2Unlimited? They are best left alone, we can ensure you.
20:24: Sie Gubba ensures us they never would have done the same as Mimi Blix when they were 19. Thank you, we are really relieved. Although this might have been more in fashion then.
20:26: Now we have teenagers and a recycled band in the semi-final of the semi-final. Ok, then.
20:28: Finally some decent guys. Here's Gatas Parlament. Good stuff, and we're not sure whether we'd like to ride that elephant or them.
20:29: Please, people, if you are to spend your cell phone bill on this competition, now's the time.
20:32: Enter brylcreme. We do like brylcreme, we have to say. But we're afraid these lucky bullets seem a little bit misplaced after all. But man, that sailor woman sure knows how to play a saxophone.
20:38: The Lucky Bullets won the duel. Oh, well. As long as the sailor woman's in.
20:40: Getting ready to be cougars again. Here's Endre.
20:44: Guess a little metal is needed in every MGP-final. And for that Susperia is not a bad option. This is at least decent music.
20:49: Susperia is the last participant for the semi-final of the semi-final. Jeez, we have to listen to four of the artists one more time. We're on a brake until 21:30. See you then, peepz.
21:30: We're back for the semi-final of the semi-final of the lucky losers of the other semi-finals. There's Use Me, Sie Gubba, Lucky Bullets and Susperia to be played again. Jeez, what's up with male supremacy? Do we need to introduce affirmative action?
21:31: Since Anne's dress didn't pop yet, we might as well admit we did like that shoulder thing.
21:35: Teenagers vs recycling guys. Definetly going for younger rather than older. The former at least know their rhymes.
21:37: Is that guy in the leather jacket actually handsome? Or are we just starting to starv?
21:39: "Soon we will hear a new song", Anne says. Wow, impressive sharing of information.
21:40: We're really, really sorry to inform you that we think Sie Gubba will show up in Spektrum.
21:43: Hint to hair dresser of Sie Gubba's lead singer: A little bit shorter in the neck next time.
21:46: Still wondering where the saxophonist of The Lucky Bullets got her shorts. And if we can borrow them for Düsseldorf. Since she won't be going.
21:50: This "spontaneous" singing of Voi Voi is truly embarassing. Please stop.
21:57: Wow, naked male butts on TV. Not that interesting really. More like a way too obvious proposal to the gay crowd.
22:02: Wow, when did Maria Haukaas-Mittet turn into a crazy bride from the 80s? That dress is not flattering.
22:05: Although they are good singers, this intermission entry feels a bit like when Whitch Whitch flopped on West End.
22:10: Oh no, we have to hear Sie Gubba ONE MORE time. FML FML FML.
22:12: Wow, we actually have The Lucky Bullets in the final. That's cool, peepz. See you in Spektrum. And at the after party, for sure.

Lucky Losers' Night

The lucky losers from the previous three semi-finals in Norway will battle it out in Sarpsborg tonight over the last two tickets for the big final in Oslo Spektrum next Saturday. Tonight's show is being neatly organized with duels and a tournament kick out system, but we are not exactly bouncing off the walls and have a hard time seeing how this can become more exciting than watching paint dry. The novelty of the numbers sort of wears off and even though it's likely that one of the lucky losers might score a decent placing in the final, it's very unlikely we have a winner in this bunch.

It's funny how all the Norwegian tabloids keep obsessing about Mimi Blix, when it's pretty obvious that she has one of the weakest entries to have made it this far, and chances are that the group Sie Gubba, which after all has been topping the sales charts in Norway after their performance at Ørlandet, will be one of the acts to qualify. Dagbladet's breaking news could inform us that the above mentioned Mimi woke up with a headache yesterday. Most interesting. Suppose that only proves to show that a picture of a pretty young face generates far more clicks than a few middle aged lads.

We will be rooting for the bad boys tonight, however the duel set up is working against us, so we will be happy if either Gatas Parlament or Susperia scores one of the remaining tickets. The duels on the opposite side of the chart we frankly couldn't care less about.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

San Marino is back in the game

It would be a shame to claim that this tiny republic enclaved in Italy has been dearly missed i Eurovision. In fact, if you blinked a couple of times during the broadcast of the 2008 edition of ESC you might actually have missed them entirely. Still, we care about their return and welcome them back into the fold with open arms and great enthusiasm. Because their participation does matter, it adds even more flavor and diversity to the competition, it's one more act to review and discuss, hate or love. And there's also a good chance for even one more song to be sung in Italian which can only be a good thing.

The Sammarinese broadcaster SMRTV will announce the artist and the song to be performed during a press conference tomorrow, February 3. There is of course frantic speculations on the various fan forums on who that might be, and a vast majority calls out for Paola & Chiara. Which would not be a bad choice. We can't say that we are as familiar with the Sammarinese music scene to be able to contribute with any qualified guesses in these speculations, but it suddenly hit us that it might be Glenys Vargas. After all she is located in Rome, she's on the search for a country to represent, and we figure she is bound to be well connected in that corner of Europe. So that must be our best bet, but let's wait and see tomorrow!