Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Eurovision 2013 - Malmö (Sweden) - the final

(This blog is now being UPDATED as the various countries sing - the introductory 'spiel' from the Swedish TV presenter - and comedienne - is really quite good this year. There will be a final UPDATE near the end once the competition is over, but I will summarise the results immediately below)

The results of Eurovision Song Contest for 2013

Denmark is FIRST with 281 points
Azerbaijan is SECOND with 234 points
Ukraine is THIRD with 214 points
- a very convincing victory for Denmark; although I did not cast my vote for them (I gave them 7 ¼ to 7 ½, my 7th equal vote more or less) it is still a pretty good song and Denmark will make for a nice location for Eurovision next year.

You can see the full voting details in the Eurovision website here.

Congratulations to Denmark on their win and see you next year in Copenhagen, or whichever Danish city is chosen to host it. Here's the winning song:


Below are my comments during the evening:

So, tonight is the night - the final of the Eurovision Song Contest for 2013! There are 26 contestants tonight, 20 qualifiers from the first and second semi-finals, plus the 'big 5' who pre-qualify for the final by virtue of their major financial support for the EBU and finally the winner of last year's contest and this year's host nation which also pre-qualifies for the final - the 6 nations in all that this applies to are high-lighted below.

The final will begin at 9pm (Spanish time - or 8pm in the UK) and runs for 3+ hours. The full order in which the entries will be performed is in the Eurovision website here and the page has links to view video-clips of all the competing entries.

I'll be updating the list below (in performance order) as the show progresses with my comments on each performance (updated comments for the 20 qualifiers from the semi-finals). Apart from having watched a video-clip of the United Kingdom entry once only, I had not seen any of the entries until the two semi-finals and still have not seen recordings of the entries for Sweden, France, Germany, Italy and Spain and do not plan to watch them before the performances on Saturday evening so that the whole evening will be as 'fresh' as possible for me.


1 – France: Amandine Bourgeois - L'enfer Et Moi Pre-qualified for final.
It seems superfluous to remark that htis is being sung in French - she's performing well a sort of rock ballad. She is quite a pretty blond, with a 'rounded' figure, good to see. The song is quite good, but probably not a a winner, sadly.

2 - Lithuania: Andrius Pojavis - Something
[My reaction during 1st semi-final - Good-looking man singing in English. Good if not perfect voice and is a pleasant boppy pop effort. Probably not a winner I suspect - a few "off" notes in his voice.]
Catchy tune, but his voice is still a little 'off' occasionally. Easy on the eye though.

3 - Moldova: Aliona Moon - O Mie
[My reaction during 1st semi-final - Pretty red-haired lady with long ball-gown dress. Good voice, singing not in English (good). Nice ballad, but hardly a winner, in my opinion. Quite dramatic & pleasant to listen to though.]
Another very creditable performance - she's doing her best (which is a good best) with the material she has to perform, but unfortunately the song ain't that great, not that it's that bad either.

4 – Finland: Krista Siegfrids - Marry Me
[My reaction during 2nd semi-final - Blond lady (this is Finland after all) singing in English a very cheery boppy song - typical Europop - might easily do well & she is certainly performing it with great gusto, supported by male dancers wearing masks & backing female singers. Not bad at all, I'd say it should get to final.]
Another good performance, perhaps not quite the winner though, but certainly deserves to get quite a high point score.

5 – Spain: ESDM - Contigo Hasta El Final (With You Until The End) Pre-qualified for final.
Spanish bag-pipe introduction. She's a rather attractive Iberian beauty, but unfortunately so far her voice is rather weak - hope she recovers later in performance. As I'm in Spain now I can't vote for this, even if I wished to, which sadly would be unlikely in any case. The song ain't bad though, but her voice is not really up to it in my opinion. He voice didn't recover, by the way.

6 - Belgium: Roberto Bellarosa - Love Kills
[My reaction during 1st semi-final - Young pleasant-looking man with longish straight brown hair, quite young. Good voice, singing in English a pretty nice ballad. Might do quite well in a fair world (i.e. probably not Eurovision). I like it.]
This is a really nice song and again he's doing it proud - should get a decent level of votes if there's any justice.

7 - Estonia: Birgit - Et Uus Saaks Alguse
[My reaction during 1st semi-final - Very attractive dark-daired lady, singing presumably in Estonian. Nice ballad and she has a good voice. It's good, but whether it will appeal to wider audience I doubt, probably too high quality for Eurovision.]
Excellent ballad and she has a very good voice. Will it get many votes, though? If I had to eat my words I wouldn't mind.

8 - Belarus: Alyona Lanskaya - Solayoh
[My reaction during 1st semi-final - Beautiful blond lady singing in English. Voice is good, a lively bit of Europop, backing dancers & singers. Not bad at all & quite well performed. A winner though?]
Another good performance of this lively song, perhaps not a winner, but it certainly deserves a few votes.

9 – Malta: Gianluca - Tomorrow
[My reaction during 2nd semi-final - Nice-looking young man singing in English - a good voice, with male/female backing music & singers. The words are amusing and tell a stroy and it is being performed pretty well, but I wonder if non-English speakers will wonder what it's all about. But it is so nice, surely no-one could not like this? I do like it a great deal.]
Another very attractive performance and he has a very 'smiley' face which is engaging. I like this a great deal - might switch my allegiance to it I suspect from what I did in 2nd semi.

10 - Russia: Dina Garipova - What If
[My reaction during 1st semi-final - Pretty female, long straight black hair, excellent powerful and true voice and it's a nice ballad. Sung in English. It's actually quite catchy and the words are good. Might do well I suspect.]
Her voice is excellent, no doubt about that & the song is very nice and optimistic.

11 – Germany: Cascada - Glorious Pre-qualified for final.
Blond pretty but slightly 'round' lady singing in English - her voice is OK, but not perfect, and the song ain't that great in my opinion - it's a lively boppy number, but I can't say I like it much.

12 – Armenia: Dorians - Lonely Planet
[My reaction during 2nd semi-final - Young nice-looking man (long hair, goatee & moustache) - good voice, but with some off-notes I'm afraid. Singing ballad with rock overtones in English with backing group - like this at first, but off-notes are putting me off. No - I don't think so, sorry.]
I think his performance is a little better tonight than in the 2nd semi- but there are still a few off-notes I think. Not a bad song, but I'd be really surprised if this ended up winning.

13 - The Netherlands: Anouk - Birds
[My reaction during 1st semi-final - Pretty lady, long auburn hair, has an excellent voice and it's a good if slightly unusual song, but I like it quite a lot and it's sung in English. A quality song, but perhaps not quite right for Eurovision, but the kind of song that could last.]
A classy song and she has an excellent voice. It's a proper, intelligent song and deserves to do well, even if I suspect (sadly) it is too good for a competition like this.

14 – Romania: Cezar - It's My Life
[My reaction during 2nd semi-final - Started with a deep voice, but now is singing falsetto, amazing voice. His voice is powerful and excellent - he is singing in English & song is pretty amazing. Should definitely get to final, if only for novelty, but it will certainly merit it.]
I can only repeat that this is pretty amazing. Could we be in Bucharest next year? Perhaps not, but it is undoubtedly a contender.

15 – United Kingdom: Bonnie Tyler - Believe In Me Pre-qualified for final.
Her voice is good, but I wonder if she's not having an off-night - ah, now she is recovering, thank goodness. It's a good song, but trying to be objective it ain't a patch on Malta or Romania. As I'm in Spain I could vote for this, but I don't think I necessarily will - sorry.

16 – Sweden: Robin Stjernberg - You Pre-qualified for final.
A nice-looking blond man, with a good voice and it's being performed quite well, in a way similar to some of the Netherlands song, but not as good I think.

17 – Hungary: ByeAlex - Kedvesem (Zoohacker Remix)
[My reaction during 2nd semi-final - Male singing in Hungarian with male guitarist and female singing backing. Tuneful and not unpleasant too listen to, it has an attractive beat - he has a good voice & it is different. Might at least get to final, I suspect.]
Another good performance of a catchy and quite attractive song. Probably not the winner, but certainly not a 'dud'.

18 - Denmark: Emmelie de Forest - Only Teardrops
[My reaction during 1st semi-final - A classy song - lead female singer - long blond hair & male group and musicians. Sung in English - nice song & should do pretty well in a fair world.]
Yes, its a nice song and they're performing it well again.

19 – Iceland: Eythor Ingi - Ég Á Líf
[My reaction during 2nd semi-final - A long-haired blond young man singing in Icelandic. He has a superb voice and it seems to be a nice ballad - I rather like it, his voice is so good, the fact I don't understand the words really doesn't matter to me. This is quality, even if unlikely to win.]
Yes, he has a lovely voice and this is a quality song, even if highly-unlikely to win.

20 – Azerbaijan: Farid Mammadov - Hold Me
[My reaction during 2nd semi-final - Good-looking young man simply and nicely dressed, singing in English (he has a good voice). Song is mainly a ballad & I like the choreography with a similar 'mirror image' in a glass box. Yes, I like this - it should get to final I think.]
Another classy performance of this fine song, deserves to get a fair number of votes.

21 – Greece: Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis - Alcohol Is Free
[My reaction during 2nd semi-final - Mixed-age male group singing a very Greek-sounding ditty. Very cheerful and lively. Younger ones all very good-looking of course. Fun to listen to, but surely this can't get through to the final even with its 'subversive' title.]
What can I say? Why this got to the final is a mystery to l'il ol' me, perhaps it's a sympathy vote for the mess the country is in?

22 - Ukraine: Zlata Ognevich - Gravity
[My reaction during 1st semi-final - Beautiful lady in tight white long dress, singing pretty well, although the song is not perhaps my cup of tea, although it is quite catchy, sung in English. Her voice is well capable of handling this pretty difficult song, though - really not bad at all.]
Another good performance. It's a good song, but I doubt it's the winner (but I've been wrong before).

23 – Italy: Marco Mengoni - L'Essenziale Pre-qualified for final.
Italian is a very 'sexy' language and he's a sexy-looking guy in a nicely-fitted suit. A romantic ballad sung pretty well in Italian - very romantic, but I'll be rather surprised if it gets a high number votes, far less is the winner.

24 – Norway: Margaret Berger - I Feed You My Love
[My reaction during 2nd semi-final - Blond female beauty in tight white long dress, singing in English. It's a lively, sexy rocky ballad and the male drummer backing is banging away. Think this could easily make the final (& at least Norway has plenty of money to stage next year's show if they win). Yes, I quite like this & should at the very least get to the final if there is any justice.]
One of the three or four songs (the others are Malta and Romania, possibly even Belgium or Azerbaijan) that could win tonight, I think. This should certainly do very well, whatever happens.

25 – Georgia: Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani - Waterfall
[My reaction during 2nd semi-final - Both the female and male singers are beauties, with good voices singing in English. It's a nice ballad and should certainly make the final. Perhaps not a winner, but it deserves a place on Saturday I think.]
I think this will be in the top tier, it's a very pleasant tuneful ballad, although I tend to doubt it is the winner.

26 - Ireland: Ryan Dolan - Only Love Survives
[My reaction during 1st semi-final - Good-looking and clad in tight leather suit - very easy on the eye. Good voice, and nice song. Voice good, but not perfect, but he is VERY good-looking so might do well. Topless male backing, leather trousers - wow!]
Yes, he is certainly very easy on the eye, this young man! Another very decent performance of this lively #Europop - should get a fair few votes.

UPDATE (23.02 CET) Well, the singing is now over, I've narrowed it down to 2 to vote for - Malta or Romania, I think Norway is just eclipsed by these 2. I think I have now made my choice and am going to vote for Malta as it is the best of the 2 or 3 really nice songs.

(23.40 et seq)
I'm going to list the top vote (12 points) from each country (out of the 39 who vote) and for whom that vote was given:
1 - San Marino goes to Greece
2 - Sweden goes to Norway
3 - Albania goes to Italy
4 - The Netherlands goes to Belgium
5 - Austria goes to Azerbaijan
6 - United Kingdom goes to Denmark
7 - Israel goes to Azerbaijan
8 - Serbia goes to Denmark
9 - Ukraine goes to Belarus
10 - Hungary goes to Azerbaijan
11 - Romania goes to Moldova
12 - Moldova goes to Ukraine
13 - Azerbaijan goes to Ukraine
14 - Norway goes to Sweden
15 - Armenia goes to Ukraine
16 - Italy goes to Denmark
17 - Finland goes to Norway
18 - Spain goes to Italy
19 - Belarus goes to Ukraine
20 - Latvia goes to Russia
21 - Bulgaria goes to Azerbaijan
22 - Belgium goes to The Netherlands
23 - Russia goes to Azerbaijan
24 - Malta goes to Azerbaijan
25 - Estonia goes to Russia
26 - Germany goes to Hungary
27 - Iceland goes to Denmark
28 - France goes to Denmark
29 - Greece goes to Azerbaijan
30 - Ireland goes to Denmark
31 - Denmark goes to Norway
32 - Montenegro goes to Azerbaijan
33 - Slovenia goes to Denmark
34 - Georgia goes to Azerbaijan
35 - FYR Macedonia goes to Denmark
36 - Cyprus goes to Greece
37 - Croatia goes to Ukraine
38 - Switzerland goes to Italy
39 - Lithuania goes to Azerbaijan

Final UPDATE
- the winner is Denmark with 281 points
- second is Azerbaijan with 234 points
- third is Ukraine with 214 points

You can read my articles about the semi-finals here:
Eurovision 2013 - 1st semi-final - 14th May
Eurovision 2013 - 2nd semi-final - 16th May

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Eurovision 2013 - Malmö (Sweden) - second semi-final

(Please see UPDATE at end)

Tonight the second semi-final is being held and will comprise the next 17 competitors, singing in the following order (I'll UPDATE this post as each song is performed) and of these a further 10 will go Through to the final on Saturday, with the remaining 7 being Eliminated from the contest:

1 – Latvia: PeR – Here We Go Eliminated
(21.13) Boy-band wearing, tight, glittery, grey or black suits, singing in English quite a pleasant ditty, if this wins I will be amazed. Not a bad song at all mind you for a party

2 - San Marino: Valentine Monetta – Crisalide (Vola) Eliminated
(21.16) A pretty blond singing in Italian what sounds like a romantic ballad. She has a good voice & it is very pleasant to listen too, but may be too 'niche' for Eurovision, but I wouldn't mind having this on my music player

3 - F.Y.R. Macedonia: Esma & Lozano - Pred Da Se Razdeni Eliminated
(21.19) Good-looking man in dark suit with white t-shirt, singing a nice ballad in a language other than English, unfortunately mixed with some fat, red-dressed lady singing much more discordant sections. Maybe this is 'sophisticated' FYROM music, but the effect is not good for me - I'd prefer him on his own in all sorts of ways; apart from anything else he has a very good voice. "Nul points" overall.

4 – Azerbaijan: Farid Mammadov - Hold Me Through
(21.22) Good-looking young man simply and nicely dressed, singing in English (he has a good voice). Song is mainly a ballad & I like the choreography with a similar 'mirror image' in a glass box. Yes, I like this - it should get to final I think.

5 – Finland: Krista Siegfrids - Marry Me Through
(21.26) Blond lady (this is Finland after all) singing in English a very cheery boppy song - typical Europop - might easily do well & she is certainly performing it with great gusto, supported by male dancers wearing masks & backing female singers. Not bad at all, I'd say it should get to final.

6 – Malta: Gianluca - Tomorrow Through
(21.34) Nice-looking young man singing in English - a good voice, with male/female backing music & singers. The words are amusing and tell a stroy and it is being performed pretty well, but I wonder if non-English speakers will wonder what it's all about. But it is so nice, surely no-one could not like this? I do like it a great deal.

7 – Bulgaria: Elitsa Todorova, Stoyan Yankulov - Samo Shampioni (Only Champions) Eliminated
(21.37) Dramatic-looking and quite beautiful young lady singing in Bulgarian, with musical backing & a sort of pirate character playing pipe type instrument. It's quite lively and not unpleasant to listen to - has middle-eastern overtones. Not really my thing though, but she has a good voice.

8 – Iceland: Eythor Ingi - Ég Á Líf Through
(21.41) A long-haired blond young man singing in Icelandic. He has a superb voice and it seems to be a nice ballad - I rather like it, his voice is so good, the fact I don't understand the words really doesn't matter to me. This is quality, even if unlikely to win.

9 – Greece: Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis - Alcohol Is Free Through
(21.45) Mixed-age male group singing a very Greek-sounding ditty. Very cheerful and lively. Younger ones all very good-looking of course. Fun to listen to, but surely this can't get through to the final even with its 'subversive' title.

10 – Israel: Moran Mazor - Rak Bishvilo Eliminated
(21.49) Nice, interesting looking young lady singing a ballad in Hebrew with male singing ballad, she has a good voice and I quite like the song, but unlikely to get to final perhaps, a bit too 'niche' perhaps.

11 – Armenia: Dorians - Lonely Planet Through
(21.54) Young nice-looking man (long hair, goatee & moustache) - good voice, but with some off-notes I'm afraid. Singing ballad with rock overtones in English with backing group - like this at first, but off-notes are putting me off. No - I don't think so, sorry.

12 – Hungary: ByeAlex - Kedvesem (Zoohacker Remix) Through
(21.57) Male singing in Hungarian with male guitarist and female singing backing. Tuneful and not unpleasant too listen to, it has an attractive beat - he has a good voice & it is different. Might at least get to final, I suspect.

13 – Norway: Margaret Berger - I Feed You My Love Through
(22.02) Blond female beauty in tight white long dress, singing in English. It's a lively, sexy rocky ballad and the male drummer backing is banging away. Think this could easily make the final (& at least Norway has plenty of money to stage next year's show if they win). Yes, I quite like this & should at the very least get to the final if there is any justice.

14 – Albania: Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko - Identitet Eliminated
(22.09) Male long-haired singers with drummer & guitar backing singing a noisy rocky ditty with Balkan overtones in Albanian. Not bad I suppose - at least it's more or less in tune despite the noise.

15 – Georgia: Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani - Waterfall Through
(21.12) Both the female and male singers are beauties, with good voices singing in English. It's a nice ballad and should certainly make the final. Perhaps not a winner, but it deserves a place on Saturday I think.

16 – Switzerland: Takasa - You And Me Eliminated
(22.17) Trendy young and old singing and instrumental group singing in English, singing a very lively ditty, classic Europop with a nice beat, should get to final.

17 – Romania: Cezar - It's My Life Through
(22.21) Started with a deep voice, but now is singing falsetto, amazing voice. His voice is powerful and excellent - he is singing in English & song is pretty amazing. Should definitely get to final, if only for novelty, but it will certainly merit it.

UPDATE
(22.25) For me it is a choice between Malta, Norway and Romania (all with 7 3/4), then next tier down Azerbaijan, Iceland and Georgia. I voted for Norway.
(23.01) All results in and updated above against each country. The 10 countries going through tonight are (re-arranged in alphabetical order):
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Finland
Georgia
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Malta
Norway
Romania

To re-cap from my article about the first semi-final held on Tuesday 14th May, the following 10 countries were voted through to the final this coming Saturday (re-arranged in alphabetical order) :
Belarus
Belgium
Denmark
Estonia
Ireland
Lithuania
Moldova
The Netherlands
Russia
Ukraine
- they will be joined in the final by the 5 countries which have pre-qualified automatically, the so-called "big 5" who pay most of the running costs (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom) and by last year's winner and this year's host nation (Sweden) who together with those selected to go through this evening will comprise the 26 finalists.

UPDATE
My article covering the Final on Saturday 18th May 2013 is here. Denamrk won with a score of 281 points, next came Azerbaijan with 234 points and in third position was Ukraine with 214 points. Denmark were worthy winners; next year the contest will be held there, presumably in Copenhagen - 'see' you then.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Eurovision 2013 - Malmö (Sweden) - first semi-final

(See UPDATES at end)

Tonight the first semi-final of Eurovision 2013 is being held in Malmö and I will be commenting in this article (and via Twitter) as the evening progresses.

Tonight the viewers in the 16 competing countries, plus those in Sweden, Italy and the United Kingdom will be able to vote. As viewers in Spain are not able to vote tonight, the programme is not actually being shown on Spanish television, although the programme can be followed on-line here (I'll be watching it on BBC3 from the UK). Spanish viewers will however be able to vote in the 2nd semi-final on Thursday (along with viewers in France and Germany) and this programme will be televised here (on TVE - La 2). The Final is on Saturday 18th May. All 3 programmes begin at 9pm in Spain (8pm in UK) and last for about 3 hours.

1 - Austria: Natália Kelly - Shine Eliminated
(21.13)Quite a pretty lady, long dark curly hair - good strong and true voice - singing in English - nice tuneful song and she's performing it very well; 4-person backing group (2f, 2m). Pretty good & impressive I'd say.

2 - Estonia: Birgit - Et Uus Saaks Alguse Through
(21.17) - Very attractive dark-daired lady, singing presumably in Estonian. Nice ballad and she has a good voice. It's good, but whether it will appeal to wider audience I doubt, probably too high quality for Eurovision.

3 - Slovenia: Hannah - Straight Into Love Eliminated
(21.21) An American apparently, singing in English - she has a nice voice, but not entirely true I'd say, it's a lively song, but I doubt very it's a winner. Her voice is good, but not strong or true enough. Not a great song, in my view.

4 - Croatia: Klapa s mora - Mižerja Eliminated
(21.25) All male group singing in a language that is not English (good for them) & it's a tuneful song, a ballad with boppy chorus. Voices are good and powerful. Not a winner, unless Balkan voters all go for it.

5 - Denmark: Emmelie de Forest - Only Teardrops Through
(21.29) A classy song - lead female singer - long blond hair & male group and musicians. Sung in English - nice song & should do pretty well in a fair world.

6 - Russia: Dina Garipova - What If Through
(21.36) Pretty female, long straight black hair, excellent powerful and true voice and it's a nice ballad. Sung in English. It's actually quite catchy and the words are good. Might do well I suspect.

7 - Ukraine: Zlata Ognevich - Gravity Through
(21.40) Beautiful lady in tight white long dress, singing pretty well, although the song is not perhaps my cup of tea, although it is quite catchy, sung in English. Her voice is well capable of handling this pretty difficult song, though - really not bad at all.

8 - The Netherlands: Anouk - Birds Through
(21.44) Pretty lady, long auburn hair, has an excellent voice and it's a good if slightly unusual song, but I like it quite a lot and it's sung in English. A quality song, but perhaps not quite right for Eurovision, but the kind of song that could last.

9 - Montenegro: Who See - Igranka Eliminated
(21.47) Golly - 2 men dressed in space-suits! It's a saort of rap sung in 'not English. Lead female singer is good, no idea what it's about. Not a bad song and at least it's different. A winner though?

10 - Lithuania: Andrius Pojavis - Something Through
(21.51) Good-looking man singing in English. Good if not perfect voice and is a pleasant boppy pop effort. Probably not a winner I suspect - a few "off" notes in his voice.

11 - Belarus: Alyona Lanskaya - Solayoh Through
(21.55) Beautiful blond lady singing in English. Voice is good, a lively bit of Europop, backing dancers & singers. Not bad at all & quite well performed. A winner though?

12 - Moldova: Aliona Moon - O Mie Through
(21.59) Pretty red-haired lady with long ball-gown dress. Good voice, singing not in English (good). Nice ballad, but hardly a winner, in my opinion. Quite dramatic & pleasant to listen to though.

13 - Ireland: Ryan Dolan - Only Love Survives Through
(22.03) Good-looking and clad in tight leather suit - very easy on the eye. Good voice, and nice song. Voice good, but not perfect, but he is VERY good-looking so might do well. Topless male backing, leather trousers - wow!

14 - Cyprus: Despina Olympiou - An Me Thimasai Eliminated
(22.10) Rather beautiful lady with long auburn hair, singing in Greek. She has a good voice & song is rather nice. Hardly a winner though, but at least she'll get 12 points from Greece I imagine.

15 - Belgium: Roberto Bellarosa - Love Kills Through
(22.14)Young pleasant-looking man with longish straight brown hair, quite young. Good voice, singing in English a pretty nice ballad. Might do quite well in a fair world (i.e. probably not Eurovision). I like it.

16 - Serbia: Moje 3 - Ljubav Je Svuda Eliminated
(22.19) Pretty female singers dressed very strangely, like dolls really with very short dresses. Singing in another language, a boppy song, but I'm afraid I don't like it and although voices fairly good, not perfect & the whole thing is very strange. Surely this won't get to final?

I've deliberately not watched video-clips of any of the competing entries this year so it will all be fresh for me when I see them, although I think I may have seen the UK entry when it was selected, but as regular readers of this blog will know from previous years I do not apply 'favouritism' to the UK entry, however good/bad it is, even though I could actually vote for it in the final on Saturday as I am currently in Spain (so I obviously won't be able to vote for the Spanish entry), but as usual I shall vote for what I consider to be the best song and performance on the evening, irrespective of where it comes from.

My top scores tonight (7 1/2) were for Russia and Belgium. Next best score (7 1/4) went to Denmark, Netherlands, and Ireland. Apart from Serbia, which I did not like at all, there were no bad songs.

UPDATE: Once the results come through, I will mark them either Through (10) or Eliminated (6). It has been a pretty good evening overall. All former "Soviet bloc" countries got through, although no former Yugoslavian country did (they were all pretty poor songs, though). The only one I'm surprised and a bit disappointed didn't make it is Austria.

2nd UPDATE:
Here are my articles covering the:
- 2nd Semi-Final (16th May 2013)
- The Final (18th May 2013)

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Eurovision 2013 - Malmö (Sweden) - this coming week

(Please see UPDATE at end)

As in recent previous years Eurovision is a 3-part affair with two semi-finals on Tuesday 14th and Thursday 16th, with the final being held on Saturday 18th May. I hope to be able to watch both semi-finals (or at least a part of them) plus of course the final next Saturday. This will be 58th Eurovision Song Contest.

Sweden won last year's contest in Baku (Azerbaijan) very convincingly - I wrote about it here.

You can find out more about this year's contest by visiting the Eurovision website here. There are 16 countries competing in the first semi-final and 17 in the second semi-final, with 10 countries from each semi-final qualifying for the final. The final will include the 5 "big countries" (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom), plus Sweden as the winning country in last year's contest, giving 26 countries in all competing in the final on Saturday 18th May 2013.

The running order for the two semi-finals will be as follows:

First semi-final - Tuesday 14th May 2013>
1 - Austria
2 - Estonia
3 - Slovenia
4 - Croatia
5 - Denmark
6 - Russia
7 - Ukraine
8 - The Netherlands
9 - Montenegro
10 - Lithuania
11 - Belarus
12 - Moldova
13 - Ireland
14 - Cyprus
15 - Belgium
16 - Serbia

Second semi-final - Thursday 16th May 2013>
1 - Latvia
2 - San Marino
3 - F.Y.R. Macedonia
4 - Azerbaijan
5 - Finland
6 - Malta
7 - Bulgaria
8 - Iceland
9 - Greece
10 - Israel
11 - Armenia
12 - Hungary
13 - Norway
14 - Albania
15 - Georgia
16 - Switzerland
17 - Romania

It is probably no secret to most people that Eurovision, apart from being a popular annual form of light-entertainment is also rather kitsch and has a particular following amongst gay viewers, this year recognised by host city Malmö and the city is making a particular effort to make LGBT visitors welcome.

It should be a good week, I think ..

UPDATES (Sunday 19th May 2013) 12.05 CET) My articles on the first and second semi-finals and the final are below:
- First Semi-Final, Tuesday 14th May 2013;
- Second Semi-Final, Thursday 16th May 2013;
- The Final, Saturday 18th May 2013.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

500 days to go until "THE" referendum

As I was reminded today by the "media" and a number of blog articles written to mark the occasion (not that it has any importance in reality other than numeric coincidence), in 500 days (on 18th September 2014) the residents of Scotland who are entitled to vote will be invited to answer the referendum question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" with a YES/NO response; the date and wording of the referendum was announced only quite recently.

Of course, people like me who wish Scotland to remain a partner within the "United Kingdom" (one of the most successful and long-standing political partnerships in history) believe that Scotland is already "independent", or at least as independent as any country can be in our modern inter-dependent world. It is difficult to advance, plausibly, the theory that we Scots are somehow disadvantaged or "put down" within the UK - one only has to look at the people who have 'managed the country' over the decades to know that it makes not the blindest bit of difference from which part of the UK our political leaders (or their pretty recent forbears) hailed - whether it be the current Prime Minister (who may be English, but is not exactly not Scottish either) or the last two from the other main political party. Of course I don't have the "chip on the shoulder" mindset of most of the SNP-supporters I have ever met or heard speaking, including naturally enough our 'illustrious' First Minister Alex Salmond. I have never doubted, just to be clear, that Scotland could go its own way and run its own affairs, just as England (and Wales and Northern Ireland) could, but I simply do not wish this to happen - I am British and want to remain so. It is nice to see the "Welcome to Scotland" sign when driving across the 'border' into Scotland from England, but beyond a momentary glow it really doesn't mean too much - when I lived in London I felt just as much "at home" as I do in Scotland and the same applies when visiting other parts of the UK outside London.

I'll be returning to the issue of the September 2014 referendum from time to time until it takes place, focussing on different aspects of the non-issue of Scottish "independence", but of course I shall be voting "NO" on 18th September next year, 500 days from today.

Now, as they say, 'Have a nice day'.