When one thinks of Germany, one would think of a few things right off the bat: chocolate, efficiency, punctuality, beer, and the autobahns. Much of Germany’s successes are related to their infrastructure, modernisation, collective traffic, as well as general tidiness. But when I refer to German construction, I’m not talking about its roads and buildings and history of Protestantism, I’m referring to German construction workers. Let me explain.

Construction worker

I’m a teacher, and as a result on a daily basis I rarely come into contact with the trades or jobs that would be considered blue collar. Perhaps parents of kids I teacher, or the odd handyman here or there I see, but I rarely interact with people in this world in a social way. Most of the people I know are teachers, academics, doctors, or lawyers or somehow connected to those professions.

Odd as it may be that I have a semblance of a social life, I was invited to attend a cultural night in nearby city of a friend of mine. A bunch of people would be gathering at his house in the afternoon, and they were bringing their spouses and such, and then we would continue on to the downtown core. Knowing that I would have to work the following day, I figured and assumed that I would be heading home early and this was a great way of getting the chaos of work out of my head.

I arrived, and immediately was enthusiastically encouraged to contribute to the artistic collaboration of all the guests on the table. Cut out some pictures and glue them, draw what you like, or be controversial; no rules. I elected to draw a small portion to represent the harmony of nature; the joining of the four main elements: earth, air, fire, and water. A simple yet beautiful oil pastel spot on the canvas was juxtaposed by the contrasting political messages and generally offensive diagrams of sexual freedom, random penises, and general anarchy. This describes aptly the crowd I was in, and how much my rainbows and unicorns didn’t fit in.

People get to talking and getting to know each other as I have only two common connections, and a friend of a friend of a friend was attending from Germany. Drink in hand I was approached, of course while I was fixing some delicious cheesy garlic bread. Chitchat ensued and it was rather nice to talk to someone that was outside of the pedagogy world: a construction worker.

Everyone gathers on the balcony patio to play a game of Waterfall. A drinking game, so lightweight as I am, I only pepper my afternoon with a single cider, drunk indiscriminately slow. The people getting drunk around me were unable to discern my ninja ways to protect my feeble body from drunkenness.

Rule masters create rules: firstly, when you have to drink you must gently rub the leg of the person to your right. Okay, no big deal right? We are all strangers and what’s wrong with a simple rub on the leg to warm up each other? I guess that’s until the construction worker, who ironically was sitting to my left, started having to drink (in the drinking game), and I found my leg being rubbed quite a bit. The rubs seemed to linger, but I thought nothing of it. Oblivious.

Secondly, the next rule requires all people to compliment the person their right after they drink, thus compounding the rub with a compliment. No harm, no foul. Pleasantries were exchanged, and the game developer to my right was peppered with some nice compliments of their nice haircut, stylish shirt, and well proportioned ears, of course complimented with a gentle touch on their leg. I elected to touch rather than rub, as to not appear creepy.

Finally, the third rule happened but truth be told I don’t remember it. It was hard enough to keep track of all the other rules and events that were going on. Chip chop, game ends and we start migrating towards the door to head into the city centre for the festival.

I’m casually putting my shoes on when I find myself cracking a joke about something and suddenly a construction worker laughs, and then gently grazes my beard with a hand. It was so quick and subtle, I barely noticed it nor did anyone else. And yet I was confused enough to pause and think about it, laugh, and chalk it up to friendly banter and descend the stairs.

Standing outside, putting on my coat, I get a wink out of the blue. It was at this moment that I realised that maybe I was being completely oblivious to the attention I was receiving. Being approached by a stranger, the lingering leg pats, the compliments (which were attributed to the game rather than interest), the face touching, and the wink. So rare as it is, and, truth be told, coming from a drunk German didn’t make me think it was anything serious of if there was some hidden intention. However, I was confused. Was the construction worker flirting with me?

I guess I’ll never know for sure. As it turned out the group fell apart and we never found each other by the time I called it a night. Was it a fleeting connection? Was there something there I didn’t notice? I suspect it’s too late, and the dear construction worker is on the way back to Eastern Germany, bound to needs of German infrastructure and greater improvements.

A missed connection, if I’d ever seen one.

And so after a weak first semi-final, and a strong second semi-final we come to the final entrants and the automatically qualified countries…

Finland – Paradise Oskar
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.01.Finland - Paradise Oskar

What’s not to like about a cute boy with a guitar singing a song with a fantastic meaning and a simple, yet super effective performance? I am absolutely devastated that it came 21st place, as it’s by far one of the best songs in the competition. I will say the following: I used to love Måns Zelmerlöw, but now there is someone else in the running to become my future husband and the father of my children. I’m not even joking!

Bosnia & Herzegovina – Dino Merlin
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.02.Bosnia & Herzegovina - Dino Merlin

Sito, oh… Sito, oh… Sito, oh… This song rocks my socks in every single way. It’s catchy. It’s thought provoking. It’s charming. It’s Eastern. It’s a whole bunch of awesome and amazing packed into a little package sung by a multi-timed Eurovision star, Dino Merlin. He keeps coming back and he keeps doing well. His efforts have given him a top 10 placing, which is well deserved. I even think it should have been a top 5 choice. Bosnia & Herzegovina seem to be really consistent with their songs, and lets hope that it will continue on like that.

Denmark – A Friend in London
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.03.Denmark - A Friend in London

I’m not going to bitch about it being a rip-off of the song by another artist, but I will say the following: the song is good, but the artist offends me after this evening. During the entire song, he looks constipated and angry like he wants to shoot someone. Then the entire time he’s in the green room he’s clearly drunk (or at least seemingly so) and keeps pointing to the camera telling Europe that he wants to fuck us. Does that mean that he wants to participate in one huge orgy, and he’s actually bisexual? Food for thought…

Lithuania – Evelina Sašenko
FN.04.Lithuania - Evelina Sashenko

I’m so glad that this song qualified and flopped in the final. Enlish is atrocious and I haven’t the slightest idea what’s being said in the script (and I even speak French!). She has a good voice, I’ll give her that, but the whole thing just seems a lot awkward to me. She’s difficult to take a screen cap too, cause he face is always smushing together.

Hungary – Kati Wolf
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.05.Hungary - Kati Wolf

This song is a great dance song and a great thing to listen to, albeit simple. It was tipped as one of the ones to watch and to win, and then in the final it flops with 22nd place, which is dismal to say the least. The song is good, and it’s much better than the semi-final performance which had some vocal problems. I think that it just got lost in the shuffle, or perhaps her ring was so large it blocked others from tele voting… Just saying’

Ireland – Jedward
FN.06.Ireland - Jedward

I still haven’t figured out what bothers me about these twin brothers. I can’t assess whether it’s because it’s an overly gay song, or because they have outrageous hair, or because they are jumping around like chipmunks, or that they are clearly trying to annoy us, or that they are Irish, or that they probably gay symbols while being homophobic.. the list could go on and on. The song is offensive to, albeit catchy, but it doesn’t sit well with me. Ireland should go back to their classic ballads…

Sweden – Eric Saade
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.07.Sweden - Eric Saade

Did I mention that I love Sweden? Everyone loves Sweden because they think that Swedish people will have sex with you. The reality is that Swedish people will cockblock you and be totally rude because they hate foreigners. 😉 Regardless you catapult the Swedes to top 1 and top 2 places in this competition (does that say much about how Sweden dominates?) Eric Saade continues to be everyone’s wet dream, and with a good song and performance he should be very proud (and honoured to have such genes)…

Estonia – Getter Jaani
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.08.Estonia - Getter Jaaani

As I rock around the clock to this song, and find my way to Rockefeller Street, I wonder how she manages to turn a scarf into a stick. She’s got wonders for me, and it helps that she’s cute. I’m smitten. But then I’m even more smitten by the three bois that dance with her and offer her flowers at the end. Catchy… Incomprehensible lyrics… Adorable… It’s Eurovision in a nutshell! Totally tragic second last placing in the competition… I mean really… Lithuania is clearly worse!

Greece – Loukas Giorkas feat Stereo Mike
FN.09.Greece - Loukas Giorkas feat. Stereo Mike

I’m kind of confused a lot by this song. It’s a mixture of rap and ethnic singing with a pop feel. It’s got an extremely attractive person on screen with his mouth wide open waiting for the world to comment about his hotness and the fact that he’s clearly Greek, but at the same time it’s a bit too ominous for me to like. It’s not positive and happy enough, or even has sufficient numbers of key changes to make it to my awesome list! When he rips open his jacket however, I’m sure he got a ‘rise’ from some…

Russia – Alexey Vorobyov
FN.10.Russia - Alexey Vorobyov

Atrocious English skills, not really good looks, a song that doesn’t really make much sense to me (though catchy), and that pretty much sums up what’s going on with this song. If the guy didn’t change his name twice during the CD release and to the competition, I would be less annoyed and maybe a little more impressed. It just sounds like he doesn’t even know how to say hello in English properly…

France – Amaury Vassili
FN.11.France - Amaury Vassili

France, as usual, sends something completely different. Who would have thunk it; a Coriscan song? Well to be fair Corsica is apart of the French Republic and Amaury decided to portray it’s importance by singing in it’s language. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a singer so awkward on stage, but boy does he have a voice. Clearly classically trained, anyone with a good ear would know that this is a fantastic performance (though not perfect), but it just didn’t quite float the boat. At least it beat Russia!

Italy – Rafael Gualazzi
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.12.Italy - Rafael Gualazzi

Welcome back to the competition Italy! Way to bring a winner back as well. This year’s runner up was about as classic as you could get, and I’m glad that they stuck to their guns and kept it simple. An Italian man at a piano with a band, singing a jazzy tune, mesmerizes the judges and the people alike. I gander a guess even that this should have been a winner, based on pure musical godliness. Hope that it continues this way for Italy!

Switzerland – Anna Rossinelli
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.13.Switzerland - Anna Rossinelli

Well Switzerland finally qualified for the final, in Lord knows how long, and then they flop in the final. Is this really a surprise? No. Should this has been expected? Probably. Why does Europe hate the Swiss so much? Because they are neutral. But that’s why I like them. This is a very cute song that does get under your skin a bit, but at least Switzerland can’t bitch about always being thrown under the bus by the rest of the Eurovision crowd! If the Swiss continue like this, they might actually get lucky and qualify again…

United Kingdom – Blue
FN.14.United Kingdom - Blue

There was a lot of hype about this song, and I can’t really understand why. It’s a boy band with a song that’s far too loud and intense. They aren’t even a boyband. It’s more like a man-band as they are all too old to be in synch a group. At any rate, I think the song is really tacky and uninspired. Clearly four straight men trying to make it at Eurovision isn’t working, and although they may have made the Brits proud, it was nothing to write home about. This deserved a 19th place finish, but alas barely out the top-10. What did everyone see that I didn’t? They weren’t even that good looking.

Moldova – Zdob şi Zdub
FN.15.Moldova - Zdob si Zdub

A crowd pleaser clearly, but I don’t understand what would be the draw for it. The song itself is okay but it doesn’t have anything to write home about. Despite having an old lady bounce around in a drum the last time they were in Eurovision, and now they have a unicycle with a pretty girl go around, and cone-head hats… What’s the draw? Maybe the fact that it’s not mainstream, and has a lot of background international support? I bet if they ran in Moldovan elections (that weren’t rigged or such) they would probably win…

Germany – Lena Meyer-Landrut
FN.16.Germany - Lena Meyer-Landrut

Germany took a huge risk this time putting the winner from last year into the competition. The result wasn’t that surprising, but still was a pretty solid top 10 finish. The song demonstrates what a fantastic artist Lena is. It’s completely different in just about every way compared to last year, and demonstrates a different ambiance and feeling that I’ve never seen from Germany. It’s creepy, and it’s dark. It’s magical, and it’s simple. It’s spandex and stilettos, and it’s hidden and secretive. Go Germany Go! You’ve got balls!

Romania – Hotel FM
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.17.Romania - Hotel FM

I can’t change the world alone, come on everybody lets change the world! This guy is cute and I want to take him home with me in my pocket. Adorable and cute song that is the feel good favourite of the year! Go Romania Go! They are my favourite overall country since the last 10 years and they constantly remind me why!

Austria – Nadine Beiler
FN.18.Austria - Nadine Beiler

I won’t lie.. I’m prejudiced against Austria. I generally find Austrian people to be rude and elitist, and when it comes to Eurovision they do nothing but bitch about it because they never qualify (because they send shit songs). Well this time they sent a good song, and it still screams Austria to me. Everything about it makes me think of Austria, and for the reason I don’t like it. It was, still in the end, a good song.

Azerbaijan – Ell & Nikki
=> Winner
FN.19.Azerbaijan - Ell & Nikki

How can I describe this song? Swedish. It’s written by the Swedes. It’s backed by the Swedes. It’s choreographed by the Swedes. It’s produced by the Swedes. The only thing that doesn’t make it Swedish, are the Azerbaijani singers. They are adorable and I want the guy to be my boyfriend because he’s so adorable. Since I know that won’t ever happen, and while the rest of Europe tries to discover where the hell Azerbaijan is (so they can go next year to Baku), I will just have daydreams about the song.

Slovenia – Maja Keuc
FN.20.Slovenia - Maja Keuc

This is going to be harsh, but it’s really gotten to me. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings, but the fat lady sang and the show went on. Thank God. I don’t get why people like this song as it’s just an over-Diva’ed song that makes me want to hurl. I love Slovenia, but what the hell?

Iceland – Sjonni’s Friends
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.21.Iceland - Sjonni's Friends

Why doesn’t Europe like this song? It’s upbeat and awesome. Perhaps most of the voters were put off by the fact that a man kissed another man on the cheek and they smiled bout it. Don’t you people know a bromance when you see it? This song hit a dismal 20th position and I’m at a loss for words at this ranking, as clearly it kicked Slovenia in the ass… Please don’t get disheartened Iceland! I love you!

Spain – Lucia Pérez
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.22.Spain - Lucia Pérez

A lot of people have mean things to say about this song, but really I think it’s fun and totally cool! Coming in 23rd position shows Europe doesn’t like it, but it’s something that makes me want to await Spring and Summer even more! I have no idea what the song is about, but it gets me dancing and wanting to become a flamenco dancer. Having said that, it does have a bit of a “Hits for Kids” feeling, but I forgive Lucia!

Ukraine – Mika Newton
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.23.Ukraine - Mika Newton

God this girl can sing… It’s like listening to a recording but instead of having to actually watch her sing, we get to watch pretty sand drawings appear on the big screen. I think it was a brilliant combination of art and music, and I’m really happy for Ukraine and how they end up doing well all the time. Totally deserving of a top 5 ranking, hurrah!

Serbia – Nina
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.24.Serbia - Nina
Despite not being born in the hippy or psychedelic eras or timeframes, this song is like turning back the clock and having some fun! It’s (pun intended) magical! Nina is a fantastic singer and the song is effectively portrayed on stage with a simple, yet effective presentation. I never though this kind of music could come out of Serbia, but I’m so happy that it does!

Georgia – Eldrine
FN.25.Georgia - Eldrine

All I have to say about this song is that I hate it, Eldrine has a big fat mouth, and it is my own “go home” songs of the year. I was that dissatisfied.

So that wraps up the competition for the year. My comments are much delayed but I’m glad that I finally was able to get screen caps done and my comments together in a somewhat logical way. I’m happy with the competition results, but would have liked to see a Finnish, Icelandic, or Bosnian victory. All three of those songs were top contenders, also Italy, but alas the Sweidsh-Azerbaijani entry wins. Germany hosted an amazing show and probably spent far too much money on it, but who cares?! I loved it.

Now… Europe, find out where Azerbaijani is, save up shiploads of money as the flight will probably cost an arm and a leg, and get ready for Baku 2012!

With another batch of songs to come, we delve right into the show (which seems to last forever…)

Bosnia & Herzegovina – Dino Merlin
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourte
SF2.01.Bosnia & Herzegovina - Dino Merlin

This song is absolutely fantastic beyond words. It’s so simple and so awesome. Long time Eurovision singer, been in the contest several times before with good songs brings an ethnic pop song that’s quite mainstream to the competition. It makes me just wiggle around in my chair, and when I’m walking around town with my iPod I belt out this song!

Austria – Nadine Beiler
=> Qualifier
SF2.02.Austria - Nadine Beiler

So Austria decides to grace us with their presence this time, but obviously doesn’t bring rubbish to the competition. This is a good song overall but it’s not my taste at all. It’s a little too skinny and the singing is a little too diva in a happy way for me. The Austrians bitch and complain about never qualifying, so now this will shut them up for awhile. I suspect this was a favourite with the juries, and not so much with the tele voting.

Netherlands – 3JS
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.03.The Netherlands - 3JS

For the first time in a really long time the Dutch bring something decent to the table. This song is mainstream soft-rock with a chorus that sticks in your head. It’s a feel good song, and very simply presented on stage. What always baffles me is how young the Dutch always look, but what’s even more baffling is when they have a mixture of young and old looking, but in reality they are all more or less the same age. Tragic that it didn’t go through, but it’s in my top songs this year for sure. I hope next year the Dutch bring Bear4ceOne !

Belgium – Witloof Bay
SF2.04.Belgium - Witloof Bay

They are always so weird, those crazy Belgians. I will commend the performers on their beat-box style and total a cappella song, but really did they think that they would be going anywhere with this song? It narrowly missed qualifications, but I ask “why” ? Skill is an A+ but really it’s just kind of awkward the whole way through…

Slovakia – TWiiNS
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.05.Slovakia - TWiiNS

It’s cliché I know, but a bunch of Slovakian girls sing on stage and entrance me hitherto. They are adorable, and can actually sing, with a semi-upbeat pop song that is likely to make some radio success. The only problem is that it’s a little too similar to Azerbaijan’s song, which is tipped as one of the winners this year. Two thumbs up for me, but Europe doesn’t agree.

Ukraine – Mika Newton
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.06.Ukraine - Mika Newton

Fantastic song, fantastic voice, fantastic presentation on screen. A lot of people this year have been very critical of the sand drawings on screen but I think it complemented the song in a lovely way. It’s certainly better than a bunch of dancers on the stage waving around and trying to do an interpretive dance to this song. Thumbs up on creativity, musicality, and aesthetics Ukraine! They are one of more consistent competitors in the competition; they come to play and win!

Moldova – Zdob şi Zdub
=> Qualifier
SF2.07.Moldova - Zdob si Zdub

Risen from the ashes of yesteryear, this Moldovan group comes up with their strange and awkward rock song to float into the finals yet again. I can see the appeal as it’s very “Not Eurovision” but in a lot of ways it really is; I mean they are dressed like they are in the circus, and Eurovision is nearly always a circus, so in the end I think they fit in just fine.

Sweden – Eric Saade
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.08.Sweden - Eric Saade

What can I say about Eric Saade? Well he’s got just about everything going for him and a decent song to come to bat. In all fairness, I kind of can’t help but wonder if another artist came with this song and wasn’t so damn adorable; would the result have been the same? Is the fact that he’s every girls, every gays, and every straight man’s wet dream carry the success of the song?

Cyprus – Christos Mylordos
SF2.09.Cyprus - Christos Mylordos

I was intrigued by this song because it was a little different, but also because it’s really simple. A bunch of guys on stage singing about angels, and moving in strange ways with magnetic shoes on. Better musical presentation that most others in the first semi-final, but in this semi-final it just got drowned out. Sadly Cyprus has more enemies than friends.

Bulgaria – Poli Genova
SF2.10.Bulgaria - Poli Genova

I’m not really sure what I should say about this song. It has horrible (and when I say horrible, I mean really really horrible) bridges and verses, but the chorus is really catchy and makes me want to just jump around and rock. Those who know me, would know that “rocking out” isn’t something that I do, cause it just looks awkward. Regardless, the overall was okay, but wasn’t able to pull enough attention in the end. No loss in my books.

F.Y.R. Macedonia – Vlatko Ilievski
SF2.11.F.Y.R. Macedonia - Vlatko Ilievski

I’m so happy that this song didn’t go anywhere and I was a little bit worried. In the early 21st century Macedonia was successful and went to the final quite often. I think we just got sick of their monster name, and horrible songs to support their little bubble. This song irritates me and it can go back to Southern Europe!

Israel – Dana International
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.12.Israel - Dana International

Fantastic that Dana International came back to the competition since her triumphant (and somewhat surprising victory). Tragic that this song was so good and didn’t qualify. In all fairness, it’s totally gay like beyond words, but I will criticise it a bit. It’s awkward with the arm waving and I think that Dana didn’t really know what to do with her arms as she just walked around. She did, however, utilize the whole stage, which is something that hardly any of the artists actually did. Top points for it’s awesomeness, but the Israli pre-selection was much better… The gay inside me just died a little.

Slovenia – Maja Keuc
=> Qualifier
SF2.13.Slovenia - Maja Keuc

I don’t understand this song and I don’t understand it’s appeal. There isn’t anything in it that really draws my attention or interest. I kind of just keep thinking of why this girl is on stage and how big her mouth looks when she’s singing. No appeal for me, but I guess someone liked it cause it was one of the top qualifiers…

Romania – Hotel FM
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.14.Romania - Hotel FM

Feel good fucking song of the year (excuse my awesomeness and tongue). I love this song and I think that it’s totally the most adorable thing since Winnie the Pooh! Romania has somehow been able to keep a consistent mirage of good competitors in the last ten or so years. It remains one of my favourite countries of all time. It’s tragic that the main singer is just a little man, but he packs a great time and makes me pleased as punch and tickled pink!

Estonia – Getter Jaani
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.15.Estonia - Getter Jaani

I can’t quite put my finger on why this song is so fabulous. Truth be told, I spend a lot of time at the gym and this song is on the playlist. I tend to pick up my speed of whatever I’m doing, and give it my all because of it. Perhaps it’s just the strong base or the magical feeling that it gives me, but it really does make me happy. The lyrics don’t make any sense to me, or to anyone, but it doesn’t matter cause it’s catchy enough to qualify!

Belarus – Anastasiya Vinnikova
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.16.Belarus - Anastasia Vinnikova

Yes you can scowl at me, I liked this song. I don’t, however, like political nature of it, nor it’s promotion of Belarus (like common, do I actually have to explain why)? The chorus is painfully catchy and kind of makes me want to throw my fist in the air. So I guess in a way, the fact that it’s propaganda (of sorts) means that it’s successful. I fell for it, and surely other people did too. Thankfully Europe doesn’t feel the love, and shuts it down.

Latvia – Musiqq
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.17.Latvia - Misiqq

Seeing two straight guys in Eurovision sing about angels and how they are in disguse and rapping a little bit, yet still being a mainstream pop song sells it for me. I’m glad that it’s not some homo trying to sing at the top of their vocal registers (i.e. Malta), and for that reason I find it very appealing. Though I do think that the main singer looks like his clothes are too tight and are suffocating him. Eurovision made him gayer, and his stylists made him gayer, but they didn’t fool me!

Denmark – A Friend in London
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.18.Denmark - A Friend in London

I totter on favouring this song only because it’s clearly a rip off of Andreas Johnson’s song (any Swedes will know what I’m talking about). Denmark is always so strange to me; the guy looks like he could kill someone or seems to be constipated and extremely straight but then wears something so completely gay (open back shirt). It’s confusing and it’s odd, but the song has a good message and is well executed.

Ireland – Jedward
=> Qualifier
SF2.19.Ireland - Jedward

A lot of people love this song, and I just find it a bit irritating. It’s strange to watch and in my opinion is so not Irish. I kind of watch it, and would think that the Irish Republic and it’s citizens would cringe at this duo and their outlandish nature. I don’t know much about them and their history, but I know that they annoy me and seem controversial.

As you can see there were many favourites and the musical quality was much higher in this semi-final. With a bunch of new songs to enter into the competition during the Final, we might have a bit of a mismatch in styles, but all in all, most of the songs this year demonstrate a good mix of genres and eclectic style of Europe’s “mainstream” music.

Welcome to Germany, more specifically Düsseldorf for the first time in a really long time, a welcome one, and hopefully a well produced show. There are lots of songs to focus on, and of course we will have to get to it, but first noting that this year we have three hosts, all of whom are quite comedic in their own special German way. Danke für alles, or however you say it in Sprachen Deutsch!

Poland – Magdalena Tul
SF1.01.Poland - Magdalena Tul

Well what a way to start the first semi-final of this years competition. Having originally based my opinion on this songs completely musical competencies I had given it two out of a possible five stars. I regret this and I have to take a moment to talk about Poland and the recent years. Sure they send attractive individual that can, on occasion, sing reasonably well. But honestly I feel like each time Poland brings an entry, it will have women looking like prostitutes dancing around with a mediocre singer trying to focus our attention. I guess I juts have flash-backs from stripper looking women dancing in a cage from years ago. Not a good performance, not a good song, not much good about this one…

Norway – Stella Mwangi
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.02.Norway - Stella Mwangi

This song is catchy, entertaining, and something completely different from what I’m used to. It’s creative to try to be inclusive to Africa, because after all it’s been quite some time since Morocco participate, but I guess that didn’t really win anyone over. I find the song catchy, yet a bit too repetitive, but what really sticks out when remembering this song, was the fact that for the first minute or so, Stella really struggled to sing in tune. It’s really quite unfortunate, but it’s kind of strange to think that I thought it’d be popular.

Albania – Aurela Gaçe
SF1.03.Albania - Aurela Gaçe

I ranked this low, forgot why, and then realized it once it came onto stage. A really good singer, but a really horrible song. I see great graphics in the background, but the song come across very angry. And as such, it’s the first time in recent memory that Albania hasn’t qualified for the final. I don’t disagree with Europe in the least.

Armenia – Emmy
SF1.04.Armenia - Emmy

One of the two predicted songs that didn’t qualify. Quite sad because I really did like this song and find it very catchy, until it got performed. She’s a decent singer and was doing well in comparison to the first few entries, but I was struggling to see what the red thing she appeared in was. At first I thought, maybe it was an apricot, which I would have thought been cheesy, but I realised that she was trying to make a pun on “boom boom” like boxing. It didn’t fly; cause the only thing that did was but busy choreography by the cute dancers.

Turkey – Yüksek Sadakat
SF1.05.Turkey - Yüksek Sadakat

I’m really quite surprised that I was dead on this year about Turkey. I usually rank it low because I don’t get a lot of their songs. This one included but for some reason the Turkish disapora didn’t materialize and life this through to the final like usual. Was it not cultural enough? Was the fact that the lead singer was wearing jeans such a faux-pas (yes!)? Was the fact there was a woman in a cage another? I think they were all contributing factors, and I’m not impressed at all.

Serbia – Nina
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.06.Serbia - Nina

A fun loving, feel good favourite, funky gunky song which I’m so happy qualified. It was kind of received with mixed reviews with the Swedish pre-analysis but it was a good choice for me right from the beginning. A polished performance with a very powerful and fitting voice, funky colours that are so retro, and a simple performance makes this a great choice this year. It stands out in many ways. At least now I know what the 70s look like in Serbia-vision!

Russia – Alexej Vorobjov
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.07.Russia - Alexy Vorobyov

The opening to this song blows major chunky chunks but as the song progresses it gets better. It has a very strong chorus but the poor guy had the worst stylist ever, especially hair-wise. It was a disaster on legs. Boy-band songs by wannabe teeny-bopper boys who look older than the genre suggests makes this a little awkward to me on stage, especially with the clear struggles in English and obvious accent through the song. All in all he’s a decent singer, with a decent song, that just needs a better intro. It was good enough to win me over, but only half stars worth.

Switzerland – Anna Rossinelli
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.08.Switzerland - Anna Rossinelli

I really like how Swizerland has put some effort in this time. It’s tough to go year-in-year-out with good songs but taking the topped best singer in the competition and giving her a simple yet effective song really is a good recipe for success. The Swedish pre-analysis wasn’t favourable to this, but I saw potential and the song makes me feel good. I like how it’s simple 1 + 1 + 1 = 3 which is why I gave it three stars! Fantastic to see success for the Swiss, one of the founding members.

Georgia – Eldrine
=> Qualified
SF1.09.Georgia - Eldrine

Wow am I shocked. Shocked that Europe would find something appealing about this entry which I just found offensive. Nothing about this performance did it for me, and I even initially ranked it low thinking that maybe the performance would bring something but all I end up saying is “No No No!” It makes it even worse that I have to listen to it again in the final. This is just whack given what Georgia has brought in the past!

Finland – Paradise Oskar
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.10.Finland - Paradise Oskar

Most of Europe and well informed Eurovision fans from abroad have tipped Paradise Oskar, also known as Axel as sex on legs. He’s hot, and he’s pretty much a simple wet dream. Some high profile Finnish delegates have said that this is the best they can do, well I disagree, but it’s still pretty good. Simple, effective, and polished. It should be a top choice for Europe, but I’m not sure that will materialize in the final. Totally rocking’ this one!

Malta – Glen Vella
SF1.11.Malta - Glen Vella

I like it but I don’t. I want to like it more, but I don’t. In my initial rankings I had it on par with the other three star choices, but in the “non-qualifier” category and I was bang on. There was something that just didn’t add up for me. It might have been a little too over the top in general, but it seemed like it was a wannabe anthem but didn’t quite cut it. It feels old and reused and not fresh at all, and despite the fact that I’m a huge fan of music that comes from Malta, this one didn’t float my boat.

San Marino – Senit
SF1.12.San Marino - Senit

Have you ever been in a room where you thought that you were a huge elephant and nobody will mention it? Well that’s what I feel about this entry. It’s a decent throw in the mix, but it really lacks conviction and something special. I’m just not convinced by the performance and so it doesn’t convey to me a need or want to vote for them. Visually it was simple and clear as to what they wanted to express, vocally it was decent but lacked gusto, but it still didn’t have the tangible aspects that I associate with a Eurovision winner. By no means horrible, though!

Croatia – Daria Kinzer
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.13.Croatia - Daria

Another one of the songs that I liked but didn’t qualify, which this semi-final was quite rare, but never-the-less the performance was a bit different from what I was expecting from the studio version. The performance nearly clean, with clear issues with backing and the bridge that was borderline disastrous with nobody being able to sing in key; but the chorus is what keeps this one afloat for me. I like the disco-anthem feel and it makes me want to dance. Who doesn’t like a costume change, but honestly I thought there would be a third at some point and we’d be displayed with a skankalisicous outfit, but it didn’t happen. How anti-climactic! And what was the deal with the fugly DJ/dancer?!

Iceland – Sjonni’s Friends
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.14.Iceland - Sjonni's Friends

Iceland is so charming and I never really know how to effectively convey my affection, but this is a great song. It makes me want to just tap my toes and bop along with it. As much as I’m trying to restrain myself, I have to say it: I hate fatties. It just really is unattractive for me, and doesn’t add at all to the entertainment factor. With that out of the way, I thought it would be tragic for this number to not make it, but thankfully Europe saw the light and brought this attractive man-group into the final. What can set them apart from the rest though? Maybe that tuba decline before the chorus?!

Hungary – Kati Wolf
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.15.Hungary - Kati Wolf

There was a lot of talk and speculation about this number and for good reason. It’s daring, it’s bold, and it’s a potential winner. There was a lot of talk during the tweeting masses saying that she can’t sing, but really you people are crazy. She’s not perfect, but the first 30 seconds were bang on, but once she got doing the more difficult articulations and explorations, it got a little sketchy. What I have to say is those backup singers really know how to give gusto with their snaps. This song thankfully got through because Hungary really sent a contender this year, but I see it crashing in the final sadly.

Portugal – Homens da Luta
SF1.16.Portugal - Homens da Luta

We have reached the “go home” song of the year. What are you doing Portugal: are you on crack? Judging by your entry you clearly are. Political slander or insinuations aren’t welcome in Eurovision for the most part unless it’s talking about freedom or overcoming obstacles. This is wrong through and through, but still manages to share some cultural flavour in the music. Having said that, I’d hope that the delegation is on it’s way back to the boot of Iberia.

Lithuania – Evelina Sašenko
=> Qualifier
SF1.17.Lithuania - Evelina Sasenko

I didn’t call this one and I can’t remember why but it’s just not my cup of tea. I like a good ballad but this isn’t one. It’s cheesy through and through and is far too much like last year’s entry that it doesn’t do it for me. Sure Evelina can sing well but it doesn’t sell anything to more than 50 cents. Surprise with Lithuania’s qualification.. something odd is afoot!

Azerbaijan – Eldar & Nigar
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.18.Azerbaijan - Ell and Nikki

A lot of talk about Azerbaijan is afoot! Dark horse for sure for this competition. This screams Sweden with a slight Azerbaijani flavour. Written by Swedes, choreographed by Swedes, Swedish backing singers, Swedish backing dancers. The only thing Azerbaijani about this, is the two singers. They are adorable, frankly put (and I tip it to be the most attractive man of the competition), and despite there being fears of the chemistry being awkward between them due to age, I think 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4 stars might get a bonus point and move up to a perfect 5 for 5. If the recipe works out, this could be our winner.

Greece – Loukas Giorkas feat. Stereo Mike
=> Qualifier
SF1.19.Greece - Loukas Giorkas feat. Stereo Mike

This was so lowly ranked on my initial list that I didn’t even remember how it went, and then once the rapping started I was reminded. Rap has no place in Eurovision, period. Having said that, the other singer was fantastic and conveyed his hotness effectively which clearly won the hearts and hard ons of many, adding an ethnic flavour, but still didn’t convince me. I wasn’t a fan of the whole package, and yet I’ll have to listen to this song again. Drats.

The evening was long but by-and-far there were only a few shockers. Norway for one, and my personal choice of Croatia. Georgia for some reason must have gotten pity votes from Lord knows who, but also

So what am I doing up at 05.00 in the morning? Just coming home from a disco in Kehl. We decided last minute to go there to check it out. It actually turned out to be a really classy place despite being a million miles away. Bloody cab fare was horrible though on the way here from Strasbourg. At about 20€ there, and at 04.00 it was 30€ total for 12 people. That’s right, we broke about a million laws and fit 12 people into a little minivan. My hips hurt from being squished. 

Anyways, discos in Kehl are, interesting. Classy and yet dirty at the same time. There was nobody there, which was weird, so we took it all up but I can imagine how some nights it’s jumping. Linguistically it’s a bitch, but right now I’m in no conditon to be making in depth analysis of Germany. Anyways, untill tomorrow!

Wie Ghets Deutschland!  

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