Words by Hass Yusuf, photos by David Ransted.
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Disclaimer: This blog is being written as things happen so please ignore any mistakes and go with the flow.
So, another great show last night. Got eight out of ten correct guesses.
Here are pics from the Dress Rehearsals by David.
LITHUANIA. Happy days for Monika and Vaidas.
MONTENEGRO. Everything is perfect for Knez.
NORWAY. Morland and Scarlett come out of the dark.
ISRAEL. It’s that golden boy, Nadav.
LATVIA. Aminata injects some more love.
AZERBAIJAN. Elnur howls with success.
SWEDEN. Mans reaches out for victory.
CYPRUS. Well done to John.
SLOVENIA. On their way to the final.
POLAND. Monika sings for victory.
And let’s not forget the seven who didn’t make it.
CZECH REPUBLIC. Bad luck to Marta and Vaclav.
ICELAND. No singing in the final for Maria.
MALTA. Warrior woman Amber loses out.
PORTUGAL. Leonor misses out.
SAN MARINO. Michele and Anita go home early.
SWITZERLAND. Melanie did her best.
IRELAND. A real shame for Molly.
Here’s the running order for the grand final:
2. France (never mind)
5. United Kingdom (hmmmmm…)
Last night we had the OGAE UK gathering at the Eurofan Cafe. ITV were there, along with my new pal, Susan, the British Ambassador to Austria. Photos to follow in due, probably in Vision. I’m having a technical disaster – my mouse isn’t working, so having to use the scroll-pad on the laptop. Too awkward!
Anyway, this morning I appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC News. Haven’t done that much media whoring this year, so that was nice.
David is now in the arena waiting to photo all the acts for Vision, while I’m going to blog live in the press centre as the first Dress Rehearsal for the grand final gets going.
But in the meantime, due to popular demand, here I am with posters of the other UK winners. You saw me with Sandie Shaw some time ago.
That’s Lulu I’m pointing to. She tied with three other countries. I know, what cheek!
Yes, it’s the Brotherhood of Man!
It’s thumbs up for Bucks Fizz!
Ahh… the lovely Katrina. Can you believe we haven’t won the contest since 1997? What a strange and cruel universe this is.
There’s a lot of talk in the press centre about he running order. Do the EBU hate France – why would they give then dreaded Number Two position again after they did the same a few years ago? The UK might be in trouble at number five. But you know, we really shouldn’t listen to these ‘experts’. The producers had to put the songs in order after each act picked out either to perform in the first half or second second half. It’s a shame the UK aren’t in the second half – everyone thinks the winner ail always come in the second half. But Sweden are going to win at tenth position, so none of this is relevant really. I think only Russia, Australia, or Italy, and maybe Azerbaijan, can beat Sweden. But what do I know? Personally I wouldn’t mind a shock result! But if the UK can’t win it then I want Italy to win.
And here we go! The first Dress Rehearsal for the grand final.
We start off with a classical orchestra. How very civilised. Next we have scenes of all that is Austria. What an impressive country this is. Such a rich history.
A classical violinist. Conchita rises from a platform. Here are the three presenters apparently singing. Up goes Conchita into the air. Hang on girl! Here come a choir of kids. A bit hip-hopping. The three presenters are back. Never mind.
Everything has stopped. Luckily this is a rehearsal. The parade of stars is about to restart. Everyone was out of cue. Anyway, here come all the 27 acts walking from the Green Room – at the back of the arena – on to the stage. You can’t beat a parade of flags can you? As long as the Union flag is in the mix!
Okay – they need to tighten the opening up for tomorrow night. But this is the first dress rehearsal. Two more goes before the live show.
Nice video about Building Bridges – the theme for this year.
Slovenia have the honour of starting off Eurovision 2015! This is one of my favourites.
Maraaya are perhaps a strange choice to start things off – but it’s a great sound. They really set the benchmark. Earphones. Air violin. Wind machine. Piano. Who needs more?
France are next. A fab sound and a fab singer. Go Lisa! A simple but powerful ballad. Very anthemic. The drummers look sensational. The best French performance since 1997.
Time for Israel with their chunky golden boy, Nadav. Love the energy of this act – and the Middle East dance sound. But, naughty boy – he’s rehearsing in his casuals. Nadav is only 16 – but with tattoos. Hope his mother gave him a slap. But claps from us for his performance.
Confusion time now. Estonia should be next, but there’s a delay. There’s a technical problem, so the presenters are ad-libbing, badly, while the technicals sort out the wonky camera.
But here we go with my second favourites song of the contest. C’mon Estonia! Stig and Elina tell their story perfectly. It’s all evil glares and rejection. But they nailed it.
The UK are next. Fingers crossed for Electro Velvet. What a fun performance that was. A real contrast to the previous act. Everyone performed brilliantly. Great dancing and energy.
Now it’s Armenia’s turn. A powerful performance from Genealogy, but a bit of a downer. But the song is impressive – as are their outfits. They have a great graphic backdrop.
Time for a fun act again – Lithuania. Monika and Vaidas look so happy together. A bright and bouncy performance. But not a very serious song – but it works well.
And here’s Serbia, with this year’s club/gay anthem. Bojana certainly gives it her all. I like the act with the flags and outfits. Off come the robes and mayhem ensures. OTT, but what the hell – this is Eurovision.
Now for something completely different, Noway, Morland and Debra tell a story of past mistakes. But it’s no mistake that this well regarded. A simple stage act, but very powerful. Their voices are well suited, and they have good chemistry between them.
It’s break time with the presenters.
Sweden are next. It’s there’s to lose. Mans is certainly an engaging performer – and what a great act. The animated projections are cleverly done. How can this not win? Anything that captures the imagination of the viewing public will win the contest – just look a recent previous winners. And good teeth help.
So far, so good. What a great show this is turning out to be.
Time for Cyprus. And it’s my pal, John. It all starts off in black and white and a simple spotlight. Lovingly under-stated. And slowly colour emerges. John’s got a great soulful tone in his voice that suits this gentle ballad perfectly. It’s about time Cyprus won the contest.
Wanna-be Europeans, Australia are next. Guy Sebastian knows his stuff. It’s a soulful and funky act. Very up-lifting. Good enough to win? Could do it. It’s got a great catchy tune that will get everyone tapping their toes.
It’s young Loic from Belgium next. A interesting modern sound here. It adds nice diversity to the show. And good use of white light. And a great act as well, making good use of the tune. Excellent.
A big cheer next for the host nation, Austria. The Makemakes perform well with their take on the 1960s sound. It’s Top Of The Pops circa 1968. Oopps, the piano is on fire. It must be hot on stage! Where are the sprinklers? I gues that’s a god gimmick…
Time for a break with Conchita and a presenter.
Greece are next with maria Elena. This song was probably the least likely to succeed from their national final, but it’s a great performance. Certainly a powerful ballad. And I like good use of the wind machine. This is definitely the year of the cleavage. Not that I’m complaining.
Another favourite for me now – Montenegro. Knez performs this Balkan sound with much gusto. And his harem of dancers all add to the atmosphere. We’ve heard this tune before, but I don’t care. It still sounds powerful – and nice to have a song not in English.
Germany next. Ann Sophie does her best to look sully – and succeeds. And the song is quite funky. Not my favourite by any means, but a good performance nevertheless. And good for this final.
Time for Poland – many were surprised that this got through to the final. I wasn’t. It’s a different sort of ballad tht’s adds diversity to the show. Monika has a very soulful quality. And the bright and breezy act works well in the context of things. She probably offers a lot of hope to people who have been disabled.
Latvia are next with their unique sound from Aminata. She’s very striking dressed in red and a fabulous backdrop. Apparently rumours say that she scored very highly with the juries. And why not? It’s a nice change for them. I find it a bit shout, but what do I know. For a small figure she has powerful lungs.
Another one of my favourites now, Romania. Voltaj sing a very emotive song about leaving youngster behind when their parents go abroad to find work. It’s a simple act with the stage full of suitcases. This is the song that pulls at the heart-strings more than any other song in the contest. Superb.
Spain are next with the sexy Edurne. A nice act here with a costume change and hunky bare-chestered dancer for those that like that sort of thing. But Edurne offers a lot of thigh (and cleavage) so all things are equal. It’s a bit shouty, but I love it. it sounds very Spanish, which is always good I think. Fab.
Time for a gentle sound from Hungary. Boggie delivers this tune beautifully. A simple song and act – it doesn’t need anything else. Just sit and listen. It also offers a good message. A lovely ballad. Well done again to Hungary.
Now for a complete contrast from Georgia. Nina is a warrior woman. It’s all leather thigh-length boots and shorts. Who could ask for more? Fashion statements are important for Eurovision y’know. If I were up against her, i would willingly submit. I find this quite shouty, but the visuals are great. I would like the country to win the contest soon – Eurovision needs to go East again.
My favourite song is on next – Azerbaijan. Elnir has the best male voice in the contest. This song has a great haunting element to it. The dancers may distract, but it’s got a great backdrop. The Azeris always put on a great show. We deserve to go back to Baku on the strength of this performance. Excellent.
Now for the best female vocalist in the contest – Polina from Russia. It;s got a great draw and will be up there at the top. It’s a great anthemic sound. It’s a simple act including a band – it all adds up to the perfect Eurovision act. And the sing has a great message as well. Maybe a bit insincere when you consider what’s going on in the country and Ukraine, but putting politics aside, the Russians always deliver. Sochi, anyone?
Time for Albania. This was a surprise entrant from the semis, but I knew it would get through. Elhaida is a great singer and gives it her all. She really commands the stage. And her outfit. A soulful and powerful performance here. It would be good to see this small Balkan state do well with the scoring.
And now the grand finale with Il Volo from Italy. Three great singers that sing in unison with each others. It’s two tenors and a baritone. A simple act with a great stage act. And a superb pop opera sound. This and Russia could challenge Sweden for the top slot. It’s no secret that I want this to win (besides the UK of course). Go Italy!!
And there you have it. I think it’s a great show. it probably suffers from not containing the acts from Denmark and Moldova (though they were never going to win). I really hope it’s not a walk-over by Sweden though. It would be nice to have a tight finish. And let’s hope that the UK do well as well. Alex and Bianca really deserve our support. And I genuinely like their song. It’s well within my top ten of the contest.
Anyway, time for the interval act now. Lots of drums and trumpets to start things off. But you can see it for yourselves on Saturday night.
And that’s it today!