Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
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Thursday 19 May 2005

Eurovision 2005 - Semi-finals from Kiev (Ukraine)

Tonight saw the first instalment of the 'campery' that is the annual Eurovison Song Contest (2005 - Official Eurovision Website and BBC Eurovision Website). The semi-final was held this evening in Kiev, Ukraine (carried live in the UK on BBC3). Ukraine won the jamboree last year and my reports of the 2004 event are here [final] and here [semi-final].

This year there were 25 semi-finalists, with ten countries eligible for selection as finalists.

Semi-Finalists (Those in red are through to the final)
01 - Austria
02 - Lithuania
03 - Portugal
04 - Moldova
05 - Latvia
06 - Monaco
07 - Israel
08 - Belarus
09 - Netherlands
10 - Iceland
11 - Belgium
12 - Estonia
13 - Norway
14 - Romania
15 - Hungary
16 - Finland
17 - FYR Macedonaia
18 - Andorra
19 - Switzerland
20 - Croatia
21 - Bulgaria
22 - Ireland
23 - Slovenia
24 - Denmark
25 - Poland
- based on telephone and SMS (text) voting, co-ordinated in Cologne; individual points not known. The 10 successful countries above now go forward to join the 14 countries who are already, under Eurovision rules, selected for the final.

The running order for the final will now therefore be
1. Hungary
2. UK
3. Malta
4. Romania
5. Norway
6. Turkey
7. Moldova
8. Albania
9. Cyprus
10. Spain
11. Israel
12. Serbia & Montenegro
13. Denmark
14. Sweden
15. FYR Macedonia
16. Ukraine
17. Germany
18. Croatia
19. Greece
20. Russia
21. Bosnia & Herzegovina
22. Switzerland
23. Latvia
24. France
- Eurovision listing of the finalists

My vote went for first-time entrant (and very new country) Moldova, whose entry was a quite extraordinarily enjoyable boppy romp. I'm pleased, and not surprised, that they have managed to reach the final.

My next to choice would have been Estonia, but it did not reach the final. Other countries I rated highly were Iceland, Belgium, Romania, the FYR Macedonia and Denmark and of these, Romania, FYR Macedonia and Denmark reached the final.

Others that reached the final, that I did not rate quite so high, included Latvia, Israel, Norway, Hungary and Croatia. The first three were pretty good, but quite why the last two got through is a mystery to me - decent enough tunes, but I didn't think the voices of the performers merited inclusion.

As usual in recent years the vast majority of the songs were sung either solely or almost totally in English; this is a pity, but I'm glad to say there were two songs sung in French (Monaco and Belgium) - both were either decent or excelllent songs, performed by people with top quality voices, but neither reached the final. Other liguistic 'curioisites' were Israel (parially in Hebrew), Hungary (Hungarian), Andorra (didn't sound like Spanish to me, perhaps they have their own language?), Croatia (Serbo-Croat?), Slovenia (did not sound the same as Croatia, perhaps they have their own language?) and Poland (Polish).

The first year I wrote about Eurovision in this blog was in 2003, when it was won by Turkey - my post about that year's event is here.

As usual this coming Saturday (21st May 2005), for the final, I'll be spending the evening watching it in the company of a bottle of champagne and a decent-size box of handmade Belgian chocolates - salut!

UPDATE: (Friday 20MAY05 17.10 BST) I couldn't find the link to a page giving access to video clips of all the songs last night when I was writing this post, but I've now located it - click here (what's with all the pink hearts though?).

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