Baku Blog Day 9

Hi all – having technical problems creating a new Day 10 blog: Tuesday May 22, so I’m just attaching this before the Day 9 stuff.

Not much happening today – the Semi-Final One live show starts here in Baku at midnight. Will try to report back later with prediction results – and any shocks. If those grannies don’t get through…

 

Vision magazine editor Hass Yusuf reporting from Baku, Azerbaijan, home to Eurovision 2012

Disclaimer: As most of this blog is being written as the action happens, spelling mistakes, bad grammar, missing words may creep through, so just go with the flow.

Day 9 already! Today will be a bit more relaxing as there are no rehearsals – except for the two dress rehearsals for semi-final one – and they start at 6.00pm and midnight local time.

Anyway, back to last night. After the UK press conference when Engelbert Humperdinck amused us all, I went along to the Italian press conference. If Engelbert doesn’t win it for us, I quite fancy going to Spain or Italy next year – and I’m pretty sure the wonderful Nina Zilli singing L’Amore E Femmina (Out Of Love) will do for the Italians.

She was sent to the States as a young girl to learn English by her parents – and her biggest musical influences were stars like Nina Simone (who she was named after), The Temptations and Chuck Berry to name a few. When she was 18 she wanted to practice her singing at bars and such, but wasn’t allowed to until she was 21.

Despite the title of her song, she doesn’t really see it as a feminist song. So why did she change her song for Eurovision? Many think her original entry Per Sempre was superior (it was slightly), but she felt that L’Amore E Femmina (Out Of Love) had more appeal – especially sung in English. Personally I think both songs are class acts.

She thinks the stage is cool – as I think she is! Just think if she wins – we’ll be going to an EU country – no visas, no hotels being block booked. Lovely.

There are rumours that the Italian broadcaster, RAI, don’t really want to win and host the contest next year. That’s all nonsense says the Head of Delegation. When you enter Eurovision, you must have a plan to host it the following year, and the Italians will honour that agreement.

After that press conference we had to make a quick exit to attend the special Ralph Siegel 40th anniversary meal. This was special four-course meal to celebrate Siegel’s 20th Eurovision entry and his 40 years of composing songs for the contest.

It was lovely evening which featured a group of Azeri children singing, a traditional band, Valentina Monetta – and a video montage of all his hits. I had forgotten how many great tunes he has written. Some great classics. Ralph also gave out various awards to all his helpers over the years. He also revealed the winners of an internet contest where fans were encouraged to produce their own video for The Social Network Song.

He came across as very humble and amicable. May his long career continue – and I would love San Marino to qualify – Valentina is lovely, but I fear it may lose out – but you never know with Eurovision! Fingers crossed.

And that might be the blog for today. The rest of it will be spent trying to sort out the tickets for OGAE UK members! Might get to see a bit Baku one day. Though the taxi journey to Ralph Siegel’s hotel last night showed how many of the poor live – narrow streets, slum-like buildings. Not everything is new or ‘amazing’ – just real life.

Probably back tomorrow or later – with predictions as to the lucky ten acts that will go through to the final from semi-final one.

Well it’s being hours since I wrote the above. Been waiting with OGAE UK ticket co-ordinator David Ransted for hours, wasting the whole day at the press centre waiting for our tickets to arrive. The whole ticket process this year has been shambolic to say the least – and Ticketmaster have been rubbish. Still, no one is really surprised. Baku and Azerbaijan seems to be an interesting place – but the organisation has on the whole been dreadful. Probably the worst Eurovision regarding tickets in my experience. But on the plus side, the shows will be great, so I guess that makes up for all the background mess. And Baku has been a great place to visit. The good thing about Eurovision is that you do get to see places that wouldn’t usually be on the radar.

The press centre is slowly filling up as everyone gets ready for the first full dress rehearsal for semi-final one. May have to watch it on the big screen in the press hall rather than the arena, so we can sort out the tickets when they arrive. What a burden, huh? We may moan, but it is a privilege to be here in the Eurovision bubble to experience the whole extravaganza!

Hurrah! The tickets are here!

Rather than go into the arena to watch the show, I’m going to blog away and give a hand sorting out the tickets.

It’s late. It’s Azerbaijan.

And were off – here are our hosts. It’s him, Eldar,  who won for them last year accompanied by two female presenters, Leilar and one whose name I never caught.

For a dress rehearsal, they seem to be dressed very casual. Tesco rejects.

Here’s Montenegro. That mad monk Rambo Amadeus. Acrobatics. Signs, Trojan donkeys. Bad bankers. Confusion. Help.

Iceland: Greta and Jonsi. Normal order of the universe restored. Mountains. Good chemistry. Violins, Moody looks. Thumbs up.

Greece: The lovely Eleftheria. Unusual outfit. Legs. Lots of dancing – some traditional Greek. Wind machine. Thumbs up.

Latvia: Anmary: Boring outfits – going to wedding to someone they don’t like. Good interaction with backing singers. Amusing and decent song. More wind machines. OK.

Albania: Rona Nishliu. Alone on stage. Now – that’s an outfit! A gust of wind and she’ll be off! Lots of angst.  Tears. Great performance. What a voice. Thumbs up.

Interval/commercial break. Will show scenes from Opening Party.

Romania: Mandinga. Great energy. She’s sex on legs.  And more legs. Bag pipes. Legs.  Accordion. Legs. Trumpets. Legs. Drums. Legs. Fab tune. Thumbs up.

Switzerland: Sinplus. It’s gone all blue. Now red. Green. Female guitarist. Britrock at its best. Thumbs up.

Belgium: Iris. Sweet girl. Sweet song. But too forgettable.  ‘Nuff said.

Finland: Pernilla. Moody. Cello. Red hair. Matching Lipstick. Green outfit. Haunting song. Ethnic. Wind machine. Fab. Thumbs up.

Israel: Izabo. We’re back in the groovy sixties. Cheesy dancing. Lots of fun. Best Israeli song ever. Thumbs up.

San Marino. Valentina Monetta. Facebook friend. We like her. We like Ralph Siegel.What would we do without the internet. Go, girl, go! Very jazzy. Pure cheese. What’s that airplane pilot doing there?Thumbs up.

Cyprus: Ivi Adamou. All in silver. Dancing on table. Amazon female dancers. Bouncy. “Feel the energy”. I am. More sex on legs. Thumbs up.

Denmark: Soluna Samay. Nice girl. Boring song though. But a contender apparently.

Russia. Grannies. Dancing. Baking. Slippers. Thumbs up.

Interval/Green Room

Hungary: Compact Disco. Great band. Memories of the 1980s. Not Thatcher. Class act. Thumbs up.

Austria: Trackshittaz: Pole dancing. Bright bums. Speechless.

Moldova: Pasha Parfeny. Great energy. Great showtime-style sound. Busy and bright. Fab. Great outfits for female dancers and singers. Thumbs up.

Ireland: Jedward. John jumped over chairs for me. Boys in Cybermen outfits. Fountains. Hair different(!). Dancing. Shower. Thumbs up.

Three presenters back. Vote, vote, vote.

Predictions later!

And here they are. From our small team here. These are the countries that we think will get through – not our favourites. We’re voting with our minds, not hearts.

Hass Yusuf:
Iceland
Greece
Albania
Romania
Switzerland
Cyprus
Denmark
Russia
Moldova
Ireland

David Ransted
Iceland
Greece
Albania
Romania
Cyprus
Denmark
Russia
Austria
Moldova
Ireland

Robin Scott
Iceland
Greece
Albania
Romania
Switzerland
Cyprus
Russia
Austria
Moldova
Ireland

David Elder
Iceland
Greece
Albania
Romania
Cyprus
Denmark
Russia
Austria
Moldova
Ireland

Very similar views here! We only disagree on Austria, Switzerland and Denmark. We would all like Hungary to go through, but don’t think it will happen.

Advertisements