Baku Blog Day 11

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

Technical difficulties solved. Naff PC – but plenty of working ones in the press centre.

So anyway,  nine out of ten correct predictions wasn’t bad. Delighted that Hungary through, even though I would have preferred Switzerland to Denmark. Other than that, no big surprises.

The ten countries that made it through to the final were:

Romania (to sing in position 14)
Moldova (26)
Iceland (7)
Hungary (2 — eeekkk! Bad luck guys)
Denmark (15)
Albania (3)
Cyprus (8)
Greece (16)
Russia (6  – one for each granny)
Ireland (23)

Tonight at 6.00pm Baku time will be the first dress rehearsal for Semi-Final Two. I will be reporting from the press centre watching all the events from the big screen.

But before that we’ve just had the EBU press conference.

Pointers: There was significant difference for two songs from the juries and televoters. But both set of voters more or less agreed on the other eight songs.

Albania could not show the programme live as there was a bad accident in the country that the national broadcaster had to concentrate on.

During the Romanian performance, the lead singer lost her playback so was singing without the aid of the music going through her ears. But as they got through, no harm done. But technical difficulties like these do happen during live shows.

There was a 80% live stream increase from last year.

The programme booklet was able to be downloaded as a eBook for the first time.

An archive project is set to be ready by 2015 to celebrate 60 years of Eurovision.

Dates for next year’s show are May 14, 16 and 18. But these will have to be confirmed by the host broadcaster. (If not the BBC, them RAI please.)

As for the future of Eurovision – there may be a time when it may need to be scaled down – especially if a small country has to host. We have been spoilt in recent years that rich countries have been able to host.

And we’re off – with just a short introduction from the hosts.

Serbia: Zeljko Joksimovic.  Starts off in blue – all moody. Zelj is in black. White t-shirt – obviously not dressed for the occasion. Arms spread white showing off his M&S t-shirt. Musicians getting into the act. Excellent. Will walk it to the final and challenge a top spot. Thumbs up.

Macedonia: Kaliopi. More blue. She looks intense. All in black. Great voice. I like her. The song gets more uptempo. Total professional. Thumbs up.

Netherlands: Joan Franka. It’s Indiana Joan. She looks fab with feathered headgear, playing guitar. Jolly song. We all love her. Good backing musicians – always good to see the accordion in use. And a fiddler.  Thumbs up.

Malta: Kurt Calleja. Here’s Mr Smoothy. Guitarist trying to upstage him. In fact the whole band are. Groovy leg movement. Acrobatics. Female drummer. Good female backing singer. Not for me. Heard it a million times before from Malta.

Belarus: Litesound. Blue background again. Saving money on colour. Great band – whoops – music has stopped. Technical difficulties. Starting again. Stopped again. Third time lucky? Still blue background. Dig those microphone stands. The lads are the nicest in the contest I’m told. Down to earth and will talk to the fans. How can they get their bodies at 90 degree angles? Won’t spoil the surprise. Good song. Thumbs up.

Interval/Green Room/commercial time

Portugal: Filipa Sousa. Blue again! She looks sexy – thigh length split sparkly gold dress. She singing her fado song with great passion. The backing singers all look and sound great. If only the rest of Europe appreciated this style of song. Doubtful it’ll go through though *sniff*. Thumbs up.

Ukraine: Gaitana (Giganta).  Blue yet again. Time for footie. Four mini screens behind her adding to the action. She’s in silver. Strange outfit. Tassels galore. Shake it girl, shake it!  But slow down – I can’t keep up! Love it! Thumbs – and more – up.

Bulgaria: Sofi Marinova. White light start this time. She’s wearing white to match – short dress with golden girdle.  And white thigh-length boots. We like. Shame about the song.

Slovenia: Eva Boto. Back to blue. Oh yes, it the House of Hammer Vampire Brides. But they are all lovely. Plenty of tight bodices. And the song isn’t bad – a moody ballad. Wind machine at work. Thumbs up.

Croatia: Nina Badric. Bit of a slow start. Black outfit – short at the front, long at the back. Oh it’s those male dancers with the skirts again. And black boots.  Here comes the bed sheet. Hope no one is falling asleep. Nice – but making up numbers.

Sweden: Loreen. Here she is – a predicted winner. Flashing spotlights galore. Wind machine in full force. She’s still in her Hecate outfit. She can’t sit or stand still! It’s snowing. Here comes a dancer to give her a leg-up. He’s joining in the action. How very fab. Thumbs up.

Georgia: Anri Jokhadze. The mad monk returns. Help us all. This will probably go through because of friendly voting, but the song isn’t my cup of tea. Great performance though. Those space age outfits the females singers are in more than make up for the song – just. He’s playing the piano now. Is it over? Yes. Whew.

Turkey: Can Bonomo. Bit of a delay. Hello sailor. cheeky chappy. Dancers with capes build a ship. Very clever. Someone’s a Batman fan. Great ethnic sound. Lots of energy. Thumbs up.

Estonia: Ott Lepland. It’s gone dark for Ott – for his very moody song. Simple but effective performance. Really hope this goes through. Thumbs up.

Interval/Green Room/commercial break.

Slovakia: Max Jason Mai. Flashing lights! Oh dear. Jealous of hair though. Showing off his chest again. Again jealous. As far as hard rock goes – this is great though. Something for everyone in Eurovision. But not for me – even though I have grown to respect it.

Norway: Tooji. Here comes the hoodie. Lots of dancing. Pure pop. Heard this song so many times in the past – but the occasional Middle East sound makes it a bit unique. Great energy though. The sudden stop near the end will confuse the clappers.

Bosnia: Maya Sar. A spotlight on Maya who’s just sitting at the piano. Decent love song – that builds up to a nice chorus. Might struggle to get through to the final though. Though the Balkan vote will help her. She’s up on her feet now to make the most of the wind machine. Slow finish.

Lithuanian: Donny Montell. Back in blue. Donny’s wearing his bling blindfold. Great voice. He looks like 12. Here comes the key change. Off comes the blindfold. Back-flip. Imaginary guitar playing – either that or he’s being rude. Great backdrop. And by strange coincidence, the blind journalist opposite me is leaving.

Back to the three presenters.

Oh no – the interval act – Dima Bilan is back. Time for a cup of tea. But hold on – we seem to be treated to a mini-concert of previous winners. Here’s Marija Serifovic from Serbia now. Alexander Rybak from Norway. Lena from Germany. Now they’re all singing Waterloo by ABBA along with Ell & Nikki, last year’s winners from Azerbaijan. I would’ve preferred something more ethnic as semi-final one – but this is a nice effort.

Back later with predictions.

And due to the wonders of time-lapse typography, here we are!

These are the ten songs from tonight dinner table team of songs that we think will go through – not our favourites.

Hass Yusuf
Serbia
Netherlands
Ukraine
Slovenia
Sweden
Georgia
Turkey
Estonia
Norway
Bosnia

David Elder
Serbia
Netherlands
Malta
Ukraine
Slovenia
Sweden
Georgia
Turkey
Estonia
Norway

Liam Whelan
Serbia
Netherlands
Belarus
Ukraine
Sweden
Georgia
Turkey
Estonia
Norway
Lithuania

David Ransted
Serbia
Netherlands
Ukraine
Slovenia
Sweden
Georgia
Turkey
Estonia
Norway
Bosnia

Robin Scott
Serbia
Macedonia
Netherlands
Ukraine
Slovenia
Sweden
Georgia
Turkey
Estonia
Norway

We all agreed on eight songs, with conflicting views over Macedonia, Malta, Belarus, Slovenia,Bosnia and Lithuania. No votes for Portugal,Bulgaria, Croatia, or Slovakia.

Personally I would love to be wrong – would much rather Macedonia goes through rather Georgia.

Let’s see what’s happens Thursday evening!

Advertisements