Saturday, May 12, 2007

Finding the next Abba

It's EUROVISION weekend. WHOOHOO!!!!

Eurovision
is the best thing ever. It's a song competition wherein every nation that is part of the European Broadcasting Union can submit an entry. Since France, Germany, Spain and the UK pay most of the cost of the thing, they get a guaranteed place in the final each year. The next ten spots are given to the top ten from the year before. The remaining countries compete for the final ten spots in the final. There is much scandal this year, as the winners of the competitive set are all Eastern European and the Westerners are miffed. (I mean, they were here first.) Countries in Northern Africa and the Middle East compete, too, though some Arab countries get a bit pissy because they have to recognize Israel if they want to play the game.

Watching Eurovision is one of the favourite annual pastimes of music lovers across Europe. Much drinking is involved. BBC host Terry Wogan is giving a comic play-by-play between songs. The rules say that you can't vote for your own country, so you have to pick your favourite song from the competition and then there is dramatic reading of the results with much cheering. I've decided to join this international festival, and am sipping a martini whilst watching. Canadians, you have access to this, even if you can't compete. Surely you're watching! I bet you can find it online, too, Americans. It's a gem, I tell you.

There have been many pretty, dark women in short skirts singing off key with melodramatic hand gestures. If we were lucky, they had dancers who made equally dramatic gestures behind them, and then they would get in a line and do Brady Kids hand moves creating figures behind the lead. My favorite acts were:

Hungary: Good song, good singer...very bluesy, a gravelly voice and a song that you could imagine listening to.

Macedonia: Very skinny singer in a very short dress, but she had a lovely voice and her dramatic hand gestures were some of the best. Her gams make Haley Scarnato's look dumpy. But in the foreign language power-ballads this one is the best.

Slovenia: An operatic Elvira with a glowing hand. Positively terrifying, and so bad she was good.

Romania: They boldly dressed each of their performers in a stereotype costume of one of the other countries, and then sang in as many languages as possible. It takes balls to have a guy in a bowler hat and a plaid vest singing the English portion of the song without any irony. Yet, somehow they ended with a cossack dance.

Sweden: The lead singer had on a bolero jacket with a feather collar and palazzo pants. He was completely over the top. (Much better than the French, who sucked even if John Paul Gaultier designed their costumes.)

Latvia: Looked like they didn't have an entry, so they went to a pub and grabbed the first six drunks they could find, gave them top hats, black jackets and flowers and shipped them to Finland. Sounded like that, too.

But the best without question was the Ukraine: A total freakshow. Everyone was dressed in mirrored lame costumes, and the lead singer looked like Dame Edna and had a giant star on her head. It was a driving funky dance tune, and made me laugh out loud. They made excellent use of the accordion, as well.


4 comments:

Dale said...

Sounds like a great show. I'll vote for the Ukes too, the video's crazy.

Melinda June said...

They are seriously cool, Dale. I want to download this song.

Bramley Apple Pies! said...

MJ,

Thanks for reminding me of this show. I saw it in Malmö last year and was amazed at how popular it was. It made me a fan of Texas Lightning, which was way better than that Finish metal band who won.

Through the wonders of technology I now have the 2 CD set of all the songs and will be watching last week's episode later today.

What is its status? Are all the artists still in contention, or are there just a few left?

I'm seriously approaching sub zero geek status as when my new co-workers ask me my favorite shows I'm going to have to list a bunch of euro-only ones. This doesn't sit well with my redneck, red state persona!

Melinda June said...

It's a week long thing...Thursday is the semi-final, and then Saturday is the final and the announcement.

Serbia won with an interesting politic of Baltic voting. Their song was fine, but Ukraine (who came in second) deserved the win.

Just remember to order Freedom Fries at lunch and talk about how much you hate the Dixie Chicks...that should throw them off the scent. (Even if you are actually a cheese-eating Europhile.)