Copenhagen Blog: Day 14

Words by Hass Yusuf, photos by David Ransted

So we have a winner! Well done Conchita and Austria. I really thought that many narrow-minded countries in Europe would put a stop to her winning, but I guess most gay, lesbian, transexual, transgender and liberal minded person voted her her. And I would like to think that they also voted for the song!

I’m delighted with the result – because Rise Like A Phoenix was my third favourite of the contest. My first, Israel, never made it to the final, and my second favourite, Hungary, came a respectable 5th.

The winner!

The winner!

Unfortunately we came just 17th. But Molly did us proud. And from the Big 5 we came second again.

Let’s all wish Molly a successful career.

Okay – after two weeks here in Copenhagen, time to go home. But well done Denmark on a fantastic show.

David and myself will hopefully see you next year in Vienna! But you can read all about this year’s contest in the next issue of Vision magazine, out in July.

Wave good-bye Molly. Power to the people! Thank you.

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Copenhagen Blog: Day 13

Hass Yusuf, editor of Vision magazine reporting from Copenhagen. Photographs by David Ransted.

Disclaimer: Apologies for any typos, bad grammar,  missing words, etc. Most of these blogs are being written live as the action happens.

So, we’re finally here – Grand Final night!

Tp get you in the mood here are some of David’s pics from the first Dress Rehearsal yesterday afternoon.

Russia

Russia

Belarus

Belarus

Germany

Germany

Germany

Germany

Romania

Romania

Romania

Romania

Iceland yellow

Iceland yellow

Iceland red

Iceland red

Iceland blue

Iceland blue

Iceland pink

Iceland pink

Montenegro

Montenegro

Malta

Malta

Slovenia

Slovenia

Norway

Norway

San Marino

San Marino

Italy

Italy

Ukraine

Ukraine

Hungary

Hungary

Denmark

Denmark

France

France

France

France

Finland

Finland

Greece

Greece

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan

Netherlands

Netherlands

Netherlands

Netherlands

Sweden

Sweden

Poland

Poland

Austria

Austria

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Predictions!

A bunch of us went over to the Tivoli Gardens this afternoon. Over lunch we gave our predictions for the top three positions.

Obviously we all hope Molly is going to win for the UK, but if we vote with our heads rather than our hearts these are our results:

David Elder: Austria, Sweden, Hungary

Simon Robinson: Austria, Spain, Greece

Charlie Ong: Spain, Austria, Sweden

Robin Scott: Austria, Spain, UK

Anita Newport: Spain, Denmark, Norway

Howard Newport: Netherlands, Austria, UK

David Ransted: Greece, Sweden, Austria

Hass Yusuf: Hungary, Sweden, Greece

We shall know later this evening. I was completely wrong about Israel or Belgium being potential winners – they didn’t even make it through to the final – but one country not on any of our lists could do it – Ukraine – for various reasons of course.

Enjoy the show – and may the best song win!

 

Copenhagen Blog: Day 12

Hass Yusuf, editor of Vision magazine reporting from Copenhagen. Photographs by David Ransted. Disclaimer: Apologies for any typos, bad grammar,  missing words, etc. These blogs are being written live as the action happens.

Semi-Final 2 results: Going through: Malta, Norway, Poland, Austria, Finland, Belarus, Switzerland, Greece,  Slovenia, Romania

It looks like David Ransted, David Elder and Robin Scott all did well with their predictions getting eight out of ten – though I did better with nine out of ten. I was expecting Israel to go through instead of Slovenia.

But let’s just say: OMG! How could Israel not get through? In my opinion it was the best Israeli song ever – and my favourite this year. So the curse of my favourite song not going continues! But I am so happy to see Switzerland in the final. Still my second favourite song of the contest got through in Semi-Final 1 – Hungary – and I predicted it would win the contest some time ago. Naturally I want the UK to win – but id we don’t I would rather Hungary have that honour. My other favourites still remain Italy and Austria. I guess all he talk is about Conchita from Austria. Apparently Russia broadcasted the show – but showed a weather report while Austria was on. I don’t think the EBU can punish them for that because they weren’t obliged to broadcast – only the first one as they were in that. There also seemed some problem with the voting. I guess we’ll get  more info soon. Here’s the running order for the grand final:

  1. Ukraine
  2. Belarus
  3. Azerbaijan
  4. Iceland
  5. Norway
  6. Romania
  7. Armenia
  8. Montenegro
  9. Poland
  10. Greece
  11. Austria
  12. Germany
  13. Sweden
  14. France
  15. Russia
  16. Italy
  17. Slovenia
  18. Finland
  19. Spain
  20. Switzerland
  21. Hungary
  22. Malta
  23. Denmark
  24. The Netherlands
  25. San Marino
  26. United Kingdom

As you can see we’re on last! Probably not the best position to be – 24th would’ve been better – but we can’t grumble. They’re obviously saving the best to last.

I’m currently in the press room watching the first dress rehearsal for the final. Missed the first half as I was at the OGAE Presidents meeting. With Paul Marks-Jones not here n Copenhagen I was representing the UK club.

Got lots of business done – and two new Countries will be joining the organisation by next year – Latvia and Slovakia. We also had an EBU representative attend as well. The EBU are working OGAE International closer than ever before.

We discussed thins like the fan ticket package. Some OGAE clubs are annoyed that we can’t buy individual tickets for shows and have to purchase the whole six ticket package. That situation won’t probably change – but the club does get them much cheaper prices. And quite honestly the EBU are doing us a favour – they don’t have to offer any tickets – they could easily sell them to the public for much more.

With so much happening, I forgot to mention The OGAE UK Party last night at the EuroCafe. While Molly couldn’t make it – she have to save her voice we were treated to a mini-contest by Pollaponk form Iceland (at least we have the same colours on our  flags). Loads of members there. Many thanks to OGAE UK’s Simon Bennett for organising the evening.

Anyway, this year’s Eurovision will soon be over. It’s going to be another great year. At least some of my favourites are through (Italy, Spain and the UK automatically qualify of course)  – Hungary, Austria, Montenegro, Sweden, Poland, Greece, Malta – and especially Switzerland and San Marino. Even though I would like the best song to win – Hungary – it would be very fitting for Switzerland to host the 60th contest  as they started it off in 1956. The Swiss delegation are actually staying ay my hotel. Must go and wish Seabalter good luck!

The dream win of course will be the UK! And it could happen! There have been some strange results this year. And Molly with her song, Children Of The Universe, is something we can all be proud of. If the UK can win while I’m in the arena watching it live, I can die happy. Sad, I know – but hey – this is important stuff y’know!

Some of these rehearsals today are a bit ropey. There were some strange nots from the Greeks and Italian – but I expect them to be perfect on the night. Actually they have to perfect for their second dress rehearsal tonight – the one where the juries will be voting.

On now as I’m writing is an act that I got to like more and more while here – Netherlands. It’s pure class.

And now singing at position 25 is the fabulous Valentina for San Marino. Eurovision needs an old fashioned song now and then.

And now – the last song of he contest – here’s Molly for the UK! And yes – she was fab. What a great way to end the contest – with the words: Power to the people!

So – who is going to win? Well I always thought Hungary had winner written all over it from the first hearing – do I should stick to my guns. But Sweden could easily do it. But I do hope it’s tight and exciting show – no one wants a runaway winner.

David predicts Greece to win. I’ll be happy with that. It’ll probably be in Thessaloniki this time. Nice weather. Nice food. Cheap hotels. Hurrah! As much as I love the Swedish son, it would be nice to move away from west Europe next year. And if Greece can’t afford to hold it, I have it good authority that Switzerland are desperate to do it. If so, it’ll probably be in Zurich.

Back again tomorrow.

 

Copenhagen Blog: Day 11

Hass Yusuf, editor of Vision magazine reporting from Copenhagen. Photographs by David Ransted.

Disclaimer: Apologies for any typos, bad grammar,  missing words, etc. These blogs are being written live as the action happens.

Just a short update today. Nothing is really happening. In the arena the final rehearsal for Semi-Final 2 is in progress – all read for the live show this evening!

Only 15 songs tonight – and then will go through to the grand final on Saturday.

So, just a few words about Copenhagen – well like the song says, it’s wonderful. So civilised. You have a nice combination of old-style buildings with at ease with modern linear constructions.

It is a green city – lots of greenery – and lots of cyclists. Cycle lanes galore. You do have to watch out for them. The automated Metro system is really well run – and offers a 24-hour service! No need for any late shift for drivers! While unmanned machinery may go against my socialist principles, I have to admit the service is great. And if the stations are closed, there’s an immediate bus replacement service.

And the Danes – a good-looking race I must admit ­­ – are really chilled out and take things very easy. And most of them speak English. How very civilized.

The only bad thing I have to say about the city is the dreadful area around the Eurovision arena. Transport getting to the arena is generally awful – but they did put on extra buses during the  public show nights. On Tuesday night after giving out tickets to OGAE UK members a bunch of us took a boat-bus to the island for the Semi-Final 1 live show. There we were flying the Union Jack.  The Danish navy may have thought it was a mini-British invasion! Of course they knew better than to confront us. I’m sure we’ve got an aircraft carrier in the North Sea somewhere.

Mind you, were both NATO and EU members, so I guess we’re not really interested in invading each other. We’re all one big Eurovision family!

Anyway, enjoy the show – and let’s see how our favourite countries get on.  Most of my favourites will probably go through – but fingers crossed for Switzerland. Just a hint – as the UK will be voting tonight on the BBC3 show.

Back tomorrow with comments about the show and winners.

 

Copenhagen Blog: Day 10

Hass Yusuf, editor of Vision magazine reporting from Copenhagen. Photographs by David Ransted.

Disclaimer: Apologies for any typos, bad grammar,  missing words, etc. These blogs are being written live as the action happens.

So — did you enjoy last night’s show? I thought it was excellent. I’m pleased to say that never got all my predictions correct! I so wanted San Marino and Netherlands to get through, but thought they wouldn’t have a chance. So, well done Europe.

The biggest shock for me was Belgium not getting through. I had it down as a cert – and even possible winner. Don’t these cold-hearted Europeans have mothers?! I was sorry for Latvia not getting through – I thought it might be the lucky quirky song that always get through. I prefered them to Iceland.

Still, I got eight out of ten. And I do prefer San Marino and Netherlands to Belgium and Latvia, so I’m happy.

The best thing about last night is that one of the nicest people ever at Eurovision, finally got to the final – Valentina from San Marino. And another favourite of mine – Montenegro also made it to the final for the first time. Netherlands have got through now two years on a roll – a record for them!

It looks like Sanna from Sweden is the one to beat.

Today all that is happening is two Dress Rehearsals for Semi-Final 2. I shall go in soon and watch the first rehearsal. Hopefully this semi is as good as the first one!

And you know what? It was. Only 15 songs in this one. The arena was packed with 6,000 school kids. Lucky little sods. Never happened to me. It was interesting to hear their reactions to the songs. Norway got a muted response from them – but they loved Teo from Belarus and the ample bosoms of the Poles. Those little male hormones were working overtime.

The Australians produced an amusing interval act -and they did have  a singer on stage with a song that was god enough for the contest. But ale, they live too far away…

I think Israel and Romania will do very well from this semi. There are some wonderful backdrops for some songs. The Austrian one couldn’t be better for Conchita’s song.

I think this might be my favourite stage ever. The stage in Riga was probably my favourite until this year. Moscow, of course was magnificent, but there’s something very special with this production.

Anyway – let’s look at some of David’s pics from the first Dress Rehearsal.

Austria: Dashing in gold!

Austria: Dashing in gold!

Belarus: Thinking about cheesecake.

Belarus: Thinking about cheesecake.

Finland:  Wanting Something Better

Finland: Wanting Something Better

Georgia: Green is definitely her colour!

Georgia: Green is definitely her colour!

Greece: It's that RiskyKidd!

Greece: It’s that RiskyKidd!

Ireland: A Celtic beauty.

Ireland: A Celtic beauty.

Israel: Looking powerful!

Israel: Looking powerful!

Lithuania: Pay attention please!

Lithuania: Pay attention please!

Macedonia: Giving it her all!

Macedonia: Giving it her all!

Norway: Nice tatts!

Norway: Nice tatts!

Poland: I like her.

Poland: I like her.

Romania; Ovi looking for Paula.

Romania; Ovi looking for Paula.

Slovenia: Watch out for that flute!

Slovenia: Watch out for that flute!

Switzerland: Still hunting for those stars.

Switzerland: Still hunting for those stars.

 

Malta: Playing with his thingy.

Malta: Playing with his thingy.

Opening act: Blue skin looks good.

Opening act: Blue skin looks good.

Opening act: Watch those hands mate!

Opening act: Watch those hands mate!

And now it’s time for PREDICTIONS!

Who will be the ten acts that will get through to the final. Here are results from our small entourage.

David Elder: Malta, Israel, Norway, Poland, Austria, Lithuania, Finland, Belarus, Greece, Romania

David Ransted: Malta, Israel, Norway, Poland, Austria, Finland, Ireland, Belarus, Greece, Romania

Robin Scott: Malta, Israel, Norway, Poland, Austria, Finland, Ireland, Belarus, Greece, Romania

Hass Yusuf: Malta, Israel, Norway, Poland, Austria, Finland, Belarus, Switzerland, Greece,  Romania

Personally I think I’m taking a risk of not putting Lithuania through and Switzerland in it’s place. I would love to see Ireland get through – so I hope all my predictions don’t come through. But all four of us agree on nine acts.

Back tomorrow. Off to the EuroCafe tonight for the OGAE International night. Sanna from Sweden will be singing.

 

 

Copenhagen Blog: Day 9

Hass Yusuf, editor of Vision magazine reporting from Copenhagen. Photographs by David Ransted.

Disclaimer: Apologies for any typos, bad grammar,  missing words, etc. These blogs are being written live as the action happens.

Hi all. Before we begin the day properly, here’s this year’s video diary filmed by Robin Scott. It’s just a look at the press centre and all that is happening here in Copenhagen.

I was going to go through all the countries one by one from the Semi-Final 1 Dress Rehearsal, but a general run-overview is probably better.

I’ve got to say, what an impressive show the first semi is. I know I’ve probably heard the songs too often to make a proper judgement, but every song and performance really upped the ante. There’s a really impressive beginning. The three presenters react much better to a packed audience. And they’ve changed the script – no making fun of Sweden. Apparently the Swedes were upset that one of the lights wasn’t working properly during their act so what the juries to judge Sanna Nielsen on her afternoon rehearsal. Don’t know why they’re upset – the performance seemed perfect for me and got a huge response!

I have to be honest – i really can’t see the big fuss about Armenia. I think it’s a great song and performance – but good enough to win? I don’t see it happening. However, I can see us back in Sweden again next year.

The sad thing about these semi-finals is that some really good original songs, just won’t get through to one reason or another. I fear for some of my favourites such as Montenegro, Netherlands and San Marino. And while I might not rave about Estonia, Latvia or Moldova – they all have great acts. Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was the fantastic reception that Portugal got. It’s not my favourite song by a mile, but I always want to see the country in the final.

I think it’s going to be difficult to choose the ten that will get through to the final. But expect a great show. And the view from the seats we got last night were superb – the stage looks amazing.

Anyway – the big news of the day for the UK is that at the UK Press Conference, a draw was made by Molly to determine whether the UK perform in the first or second half of the Grand Final. We’re in the second half. Hurrah! Hopefully we’ll be placed in the 24th slot – two before the end. That’s always a good spot.

Molly’s second rehearsals went well, but she is trying to save her voice so that she sounds perfect for the Jury Dress Rehearsal on Friday night and of course the Grand Final on Saturday Night.

At her press conference she came across quite humble, but confident. She never imagined Eurovision was so vast and professional. She’s also amazed how much of a family Eurovision feels – she got Birthday greetings from all over Europe from Eurovision fans.

There’s a nice vibe about the UK song. Fingers crossed for a great result.

Just watch Italy’s Emma on the screens here at the press centre – she looks great in her glittery while and silver outfit. It’s was a bound for the contest when the country returned to Eurovision a few years ago.

I’ve just got an email from Universal Music Catalogue UK. They’re currently working on a Eurovision Song Contest 2014 album campaign. Here’s a YouTube album sampler featuring clips of all 37 songs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehDWlwWOrmc

We’ll try and review the product properly in the next issue of Vision.

Here’s something hopeful: A Spanish journalist has just come up to me and said he thinks the UK are going to win! Always like the Spanish. Such lovely people.

Here are a few more of David’s pics from today’s rehearsals.

Ruth from Spain is singing in the rain

Ruth from Spain is singing in the rain

Doesn't Molly from the UK look fab?

Doesn’t Molly from the UK look fab?

Emma from Italy: loving the cape

Emma from Italy: loving the cape

Can Basim do a double for Denmark?

Can Basim do a double for Denmark?

Germany: always good to see an accordion at Eurovision

Germany: always good to see an accordion at Eurovision

France: Stylish leggings

France: Stylish leggings

PREDICTIONS!

Okay, here are our predictions from our little entourage: Remember – these are not our favourites, but rather the ten acts that we think will qualify for the final.

David Elder: Armenia, Latvia, Sweden, Iceland, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belgium, Montenegro, Hungary.

David Ransted: Armenia, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belgium, Portugal, Hungary.

Robin Scott: Armenia, Latvia, Sweden, Iceland, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belgium, Netherlands, Hungary.

Hass Yusuf: Armenia, Latvia, Sweden, Iceland, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belgium, Montenegro, Hungary.

The four of us seem to agree on eight of the songs. And David Elder any myself agree on the same acts. Personally I would love to see Netherlands and San Marino qualify than some of my choices – so I hope I don’t get ten out of then. It’s always good to see a surprise entry – maybe Portugal? We’ll know in a few hours time!

And that’s it for today. Have to go and give out more tickets to OGAE UK members. Enjoy the show tonight on BBC 3 – which we can’t vote on by the way.

Copenhagen Blog: Day 8

Hass Yusuf, editor of vision magazine reporting from Copenhagen. Photographs by David Ransted.

Disclaimer: Apologies for any typos, bad grammar,  missing words, etc. These blogs are being written live as the action happens.

Hi all. I think today’s Monday. Seems like we’ve been here for a month already! Anyway the internet connection went down late afternoon so couldn’t finish off writing about the few Meet & Greets or upload David’s photos from the previous day, so you can can see them below. Last night was the Red Carpet Opening Party at the City Hall. journalists weren’t allowed in, but could wave, scream, shout and take photos as the performers entered the venue. Or you could’ve watched it at the EuroClub. Unfortunately David and myself couldn’t make either as we busy sorting out the tickets for the hundreds of OGAE UK members arriving in Copenhagen from today. All part of the service. Too old to party anyway.

Right a few quick words from last night: Just caught the tail end of the Italian meet & Greet, Emma said that life is now for her. She’s obviously enjoying it. Well who wouldn’t be –  representing their country in this fab contest? Apparently there were rumours that she turned down Eurovision a few years ago when she won the San Remo Festival. She says the rumours wee false and that she would’ve said yes to Eurovision had she been asked then. However, she feels she has improved as a performer from a few years ago, so this is the perfect time for her.

At the Spanish Meet & Greet, Ruth Lorenzo said she thought the whole production so far was extremely professional. Being on X Factor she’s now used to performing on a large stage – but feels the pressure a bit when you consider the vast viewing figures for the pan-European Eurovision as compared for the UK’s X Factor (still quite high of course). She wrote her entry, Dancing In The Rain, when she was at a crossroads of her career and personal life – and wasn’t sure what direction to take. She thought the song sounded more sexy in Spanish.

She just wants a few tweaks for the second set of rehearsals. Those rehearsals for the Big Five and Denmark will be tomorrow morning. Today we’ll have two Dress Rehearsals for Semi-Final One. I’ll attempt to give a few short snappy comments as the acts happen – probably add all that up tonight. But for now let’s have a look at some of David’s pics.

Here's Conchita of Austria giving it her all and rising like a Phoenix

Here’s Conchita of Austria giving it her all and rising like a Phoenix

Here's Teo of Belarus insisting not to be called 'cheesecake'.

Here’s Teo of Belarus insisting not to be called ‘cheesecake’.

Here's one the Finns - the tall blond one...

Here’s one the Finns – the tall blond one…

Green is the colour for Georgia.

Green is the colour for Georgia.

Let's all rise up for Greece. Or give him a leg-up.

Let’s all rise up for Greece. Or give him a leg-up.

The wind machine is on full force for Ireland.

The wind machine is on full force for Ireland.

Here's Vilija from Lithuania trying to grab the attention of her dancer.

Here’s Vilija from Lithuania trying to grab the attention of her dancer.

If shouting at him won't work, just grab!

If shouting at him won’t work, just grab!

Some hoodie is stalking the Macedonian singer...

Some hoodie is stalking the Macedonian singer…

Malta's thinking about going home - not yet though!

Malta’s thinking about going home – not yet though!

Here are Paula & Ovi from Romania having a little embrace...

Here are Paula & Ovi from Romania having a little embrace…

'Ere - where has he gone?!

‘Ere – where has he gone?!

Cleo from Poland looking all Slavic.

Cleo from Poland looking all Slavic.

....!

I say! (Which way to the Benny Hill Show?)

 

Tinkara from Slovenia is never without her flute.

Tinkara from Slovenia is never without her flute.

Seabalter from Switzerland beating his drum.

Seabalter from Switzerland beating his drum.

Back tomorrow with views on Semi-Final 1 dress rehearsal and predictions! It’s ticker distribution time!

Copenhagen Blog: Day 7

Hass Yusuf, editor of vision magazine reporting from Copenhagen. Photographs by David Ransted.

Disclaimer: Apologies for any typos, bad grammar,  missing words, etc. These blogs are being written live as the action happens.

Before we begin, here’s a reminder of the project that Jude Habib is doing with the Guardian newspaper – tell us about your Eurovision stories and share your party photos (those that don’t need censoring of course – we know what some of you are like). Just go to this link and reveal all!

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/may/01/eurovision-song-contest-2014-share-your-stories-and-party-photos

Bit of a late start today – %@/*&%! shuttle bus decided not to stop at our hotel today – and they only run once an hour in the mornings. If anything has let the organisation down so far is the dreadful shuttle bus service for the press. It’s difficult trying to reach this island by public transport until the live shows so we really have to rely on these buses to get us to the venue.

Anyway, today we have the Big Five and host doing their first rehearsals. Missed the German one – but here’s Molly for the UK singing Children Of The Universe. She didn’t have a good first run-through – she couldn’t hear the music from here ear-pieces – kept asking for for musiv throughout the song. but the second run-through was much better. She did start off looking nervous, but soon got into it. They’ve given the song a very nice backdrop – nothing to what I was expecting – it’s a lovely paisley-style design (a sort of cross between tulips and blue-bells), with Chinese lanterns rising up towards the end.  It’s a very static act – Molly just stands and signs her heart act, with the backing vocalists and band behind her.

One good sign – she got a lot of applause from many journalists here at the press centre. And they only clap when they really like something. Maybe they know something? Hope so. I think I’m too close to the song to make a decent judgment – but fingers crossed – we might actually get a good result.

The French have just done their first run-through. Twin Twin sing Moustache. A fun song – but a very messy performance so far – the lead singer didn’t look that impressed. Still – that’s why every country has time to perfect or change things. I’m sure it’ll be right on the night. The French do habit of either sending a serious ballad or a fun upbeat offering.

That’s better – their second run-through was much better. I like it, but I’m sure it won’t get anywhere. The trio are joined by two dancers – and a vocalist stuck all alone in the corner. I worry about these poor singers that are never shown on camera. Seems a bit mean to me. They must think “Wow! I’m going to be on Eurovision!” Then they’re actually told: nope – you’re just going to be in shadow singing alone like Billy Nomates. It upsets my British sense of fairness. I quite outraged actually. (But I won’t say anything.)

And here we have the host nation – Denmark. Basim sings Cliche Love Song. It’s a lively performance with Basim being joined on stage by five singers/dancers. It’s not really my cup tea – but it is highly regarded, so what do I know? But I always like the host nation to do well. I worry for them if they don’t. I remember back to my first Eurovision abroad – Riga in 2003 – when Latvia hardly scored any points despite having a great song in my opinion. That was the year where  we got nul points, so let’s not mention it again.

Anyway, Basim looks dashing in his black bow tie. It’s a bouncy number. I’m trying to be more positive, but I can’t be bothered. Because inbetween this paragraph I went  to the UK Meet & Greet. And it couldn’t have gone better. I told Molly that she got the biggest cheer from the press since rehearsals began. I asked about the graphic backdrop with the paisley-like effect. Apparently it based on her henna tattoos on her hands. I knew there was a subtle connection somewhere.

Her song does have a special meaning. We are all important – and play a small role in this vast universe.

At the German Meet & Greet, the performers, Elaiza, said their song Is It Right? was about taking tough decisions. What direction should we take? Make a choice and go with it. Their ‘new folk’ has gone down a storm in Germany. They entered the national finals as a wildcard entry and won the whole thing! Well done them!

Just watching Italy on screen now – just one word for Emma singing La Mia Citta – wow! This is my third favourite song of the contest – and you just can’t go wrong with Italian rock songs. Emma is joined on stage by a white-clad band – and some fabulous backdrop images of electric guitars and such. White seems to be the colour of this act, but Emma is dressed all casual. Hope she remembers her Italian roots and goes stylish on the night.

The French had a really fun Meet & Greet. The three members of Twin Twin are a real hoot. You can really feel their sense of humour. he decided to sing their song in French because  Moustache  is a cool sounding word in any language. Maybe it reminds it you of your grandfather. Maybe a girl should have a moustache – why not, they argue. Enjoy your life – don’t worry about possessions – enjoy your life! Have fun! And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do here in Copenhagen!

At the Danish Meet & Greet Basim came across as a confident young man. He’s aged 21 now and so is trying to enjoy his life. He’s been in the spotlight since he appeared on Denmark’s X Factor when was 15 years-old. The inspiration for the song is just to have fun. He helped write the song – he was after a hook that every one could attached themselves to.

He wants to be a good host and to make sure his Eurovision colleagues have a good time in Denmark. Now, if he could sort out the shuttle bus problems that everyone here experiences everyday, that would be fab. I tell you – the organisers have spent all their money on the arena and got a tin-pot coach company to courier everyone either the long way or the most awkward way. Absolutely dreadful. Hah! And we all complained about Baku – they were far more organised there than here. Who would’e thought it, eh?

Anyway – back to the show. Spain are last to perform today. Ruth Lorenzo sings Dancing In The Rain.  I like the song and the rain effects on stage look great. She’s dressed in a white dress with a black waist and when she stands in front of the microphone stand, it creates a cross effect. She also disappears a few times in blinding white light. Just like an angel. I hope Spain get a good result from this act. Ruth really belts it out!

Copenhagen Blog: Day 6

Hass Yusuf, editor of vision magazine reporting from Copenhagen. Photographs by David Ransted. Disclaimer: Apologies for any typos, bad grammar,  missing words, etc. These blogs are being written live as the action happens. Back again. Didn’t find time to write up about the last few press conferences last night, so before we begin today’s rehearsals here’s a quick catch-up. At the Montenegro press conference Serjey revealed that he thought his entry would sound better in his native language rather than in English – but he did sing the song in the Queen’s English for us. He felt proud that he was the only Balkan country in in Semi-Final 1. That may actually be an disadvantage – it’s one of my favourite songs in the contest, but not too sure if he’ll qualify for the final – will the rest of Europe appreciate this lovely Balkan music? Hope so. But they’re in it to win it! The backing vocals are from Serbia and Croatia. The song tells the story of a young man trying to catch his first kiss. Brings a tear to the eye doesn’t it? The innocence of youth and all that. Hungary had the final press conference of the night. Kallay and friends sang an acoustic version of his song. The boy can sing – so this bodes well for him winning the contest. In case anyone is in doubt, even though I slightly prefer the Israeli song – and if the UK can’t win, then I want Hungary to win. Coming from America he had to explain to his friends over there that the Eurovision Song Contest was like an Olympics for music. Singing the song in concerts many people came up to him in tears and thanked him for his song – they all related to theme of child abuse and domestic violence. After some technical difficulties, David managed to take some lovely shots.

Here's Andras Kallay-Saunders of Hungary

Here’s Andras Kallay-Saunders of Hungary

I missed this performance from Moldova. Cristina Scarlat looks powerful!

I missed this performance from Moldova. Cristina Scarlat looks powerful!

Sergey from Montenegro

Sergey from Montenegro

Waylon from the Netherlands

Waylon from the Netherlands

 

Iise DeLange from the Netherlands

Iise DeLange from the Netherlands

Suzy from Portugal and someone showing off

Suzy from Portugal and someone showing off

 

Those Russian twins are quite close to each other.

Those Russian twins are quite close to each other.

A real pearl from San Marino in the form of Valentina Monetta

A real pearl from San Marino in the form of Valentina Monetta

 

Axel from Belgium looking powerful

Axel from Belgium looking powerful

 

Mariya from Ukraine practicing her kung fu moves...

Mariya from Ukraine practicing her kung fu moves…

And here we are for the second rehearsals for Semi-Final 2 First off this morning is a press conference from an Australian broadcaster. Eurovision is very big down under – and the Australians have organised the interval act for Semi-Final 2. I asked the team on stage that they should try and persuade the EBU to let Australia in the contest – so least the UK might get some votes! But I was assured that the UK will definitely get votes this year! Hope so – saw a YouTube of Molly performing on the Graham Norton Show and she looked fab. First on stage this morning are Malta.  The floor manager has just said  that was a good way to start the day. And I wouldn’t disagree with him. The more I hear this song, the more I like it. Just pure class and with a message to all those migrants that travel abroad to make a better life for themselves. Something many of us can relate to (myself included – coming over to the UK aged 3). At their press conference the lead singer, Richard, said he spent some time in London. But he did miss his home and family which really inspired the song. Most of the group are related to each other so there is a family feel within Fireflight. They’re trying to forget that this is a competition – they just want to have fun and enjoy themselves – and do their best. The group even sang a bit of Chira’s Angel – one of their favourite Maltese entries. I went along to the arena to see Israel rehearse. They made a few changes to their routine. No more lying flat on the floor – just a bit of kneeling revealing a bit of thigh. Nothing to argue about there. At their press conference, Mei says that they just need to make a few minor changes to the lighting. They’ve hired a private rehearsing room to perfect their act. Well it seemed perfect to me. This really is my favourite song of the contest.If this or Hungary win I’ll be delighted – and it’ll be the only winner that I truly liked since 1995. Those of you coming over to Copenhagen and have bought tickets from the club will be pleased to know that we now have them in our hands. Please check your emails for distribution details. Anyway – where are we now. Due to timelapse typography I think I’ve missed a few rehearsals and press conferences. But her mind you have to eat and chat to old friends. That;s one of the best things about going to Eurovision for all the behind scenes – you see old friends that you only meet up with once a year. Just watched Finland on the screens.Nothing more to add really. Just a solid performance. But the boys are so miserable at their press conference. They’re obviously not used to this sort of limelight. Apparently the lead singer never looks directly at the camera or the audience. And, get this – they don’t even know who’s in their Semi-Final! Give them a slap. The head of Delegation told us that the song wasn’t written especially for Eurovision – it had to be song that would be popular to the Finnish public. Sounds like a very sensible approach. The result is a great song and performance – even if they aren’t looking at anything. You’ll be pleased to know that the Irish second rehearsal went off so much better than the first. Kasey knew where to stand and walk and looked very comfortable. Really fab looking Celtic backdrop and the song just grows on me with each hearing. Let’s hope our nearest neighbours the best of luck. The entire say they love the stage and setting – and they all feed the energy off each other. The song tells a story of dark and light. Kasey represents the centre. Which way will she turn? Jedi or the dark force? She comes into the light of course. Some readers might be disappointed that the dancers in kilts do not go au naturale. Just appreciate their knobby knees instead. Watched the three acts at the arena. Greece were a lot of fun as usual – more trampolining and all that. Tinkara of Slovenia looked very dashing in dark blue. But there’s a poor male backing singer right in the corner of the stage not being in the act at all. EBU rules states that all performers must be on stage singing live – but do not need to be shown. The same thing is happening with the Romanian act – we only see Paula & Ovi. I don’t know where I got the idea that the first shot of Paula was an hologram as I previously reported. It looked like she was miles away from Ovi when we first see her – but she’s only yards away. Camera trickery! But they did say at their press conference that the hologram will be ready for the live shows.

I think that might be for tonight – back tomorrow with David’s pics. He’s been standing all day photographing all the acts in the arena.

But before we sign off, one of our lovely members, Jude Habib, is working with the Guardian newspaper to promote Eurovision. Just go along to this link where you can share your stories and party photos:

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/may/01/eurovision-song-contest-2014-share-your-stories-and-party-photos

Come back tomorrow for reviews of the Big Five and host nation – which of course will feature Molly representing the UK. Excited? You should be!

Copenhagen Blog: Day 5

Hass Yusuf, editor of vision magazine reporting from Copenhagen. Photographs by David Ransted.

Disclaimer: Apologies for any typos, bad grammar,  missing words, etc. These blogs are being written live as the action happens.

Well after a day’s break of rehearsals we’ve got 16 today! All the Semi-Final 1 acts are doing their second sets of rehearsals.

First on bill today is the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) Press Conference. We were shown some of the ‘postcards’ that will appear between the acts. The UK is very clever indeed. Each country’s performer has to create their national flag in a clever way.

We were also treated to the opening scene for Semi-Final 1 – featuring a ‘choir’ from all participating countries.

Last year there were reports of vote rigging. The EBU Executive Supervisor, Jon Ola Sand said he was “pissed off” and also angry about these reports. So for complete transparency this  year, every broadcaster has to publish the votes from each of the five professionals that make up their jury. Personally I would rather they get rid of juries and just the viewers decide! I never trust the juries. Half of them are probably tone-deaf and hate each other. I have no proof for this by the way, but I’m sure I’m right. Anyway, it’s looks like the juries are here to stay, so I’ll stop moaning. But apparently the EBU did ask five delegations to make changes to their juries as some of them weren’t thought to be that ‘expert’ or had conflicting obligations.

The logo for the this – a rough diamond is meant to signify something hard and powerful and glamorous at the same time – that’s Eurovision for you! They should’ve saved the diamond motif for next year – Eurovision’s diamond 60th year.

This year’s contest is being beamed all over the world this year – even to New Zealand and Canada.

The winning country must be able to financially host the show with excellent security. The EBU were monitoring events in Ukraine and Russia in tis context.

Just experienced the ‘wow’ factor of Eurovision – the first sight of the stage! And very impressive it is. It’s a lovely tube/cube design.

Anyway, today is going to be quite hectic. There’s never going to be enough time to watch rehearsals and view all of the acts, but let’s see how we get on.

Armenia were first on stage – Aram MP3 was on top form. But he seemed so small on that fab stage.

At Aram MP3 press conference he had to deny that he has anything to do with the anti-Conchita campaign (the bearded drag-act from Austria) that some of his countrymen has started.  He’s had some bad press when he made a joke about Conchita. He claims he was mis-quoted – which is very possible. Let’s be honest, this contest can get a bit bitchy at times. Live and let live, I say. Though everyone should remember that the poor lad is an comedian. He wouldn’t be the first person to get into trouble for making a so-called ‘tasteless’ joke.

He is happy though that he leads the bookies for winning the contest. He’s proud to be in that position. Maybe it’s me – but while I do like the song and the stage act looks amazing, I’m not convinced that it’s a winning song. Of course if it does win, I was mis-quoted, okay?

Back on stage: Latvia just had a mis-start “Dropped the cake” as the floor manager said. But don’t fret readers, it’ll be okay on the night. And dropping the cake was just a metaphor. No cakes on stage. I could really do with a nice Victoria Sponge at the moment. Y’know something simple – sponge with a bit of cream and jam. And between you and me, the food here is awful. I’m not that fussy an eater – but food parcels would be most welcome. Anyway, Latvia sound and look fine now.

At their press conference, the lead singer – Joran who’s from Germany – was forced to sing a little ditty in German. One journalist made some sort of joke about putting poppy seeds in cake to give them some unusual flavour. Wonder what he meant? Some people are strange. Anyway, the singers are partial to Latvian Sand Cake. But apparently it doesn’t contain any sand. It’s good to know that things aren’t that desperate in the Baltics. Anyway Joran can speak in many languages – he learns them via YouTube by singing along to foreign songs.

Missed Estonia on stage, but at the press conference, Tanja said she loved a challenge – so having a difficult stage performance  was something she enjoyed. Just as well as she’s flung all over the place on stage! She actually has three backing vocalists – but they’re nowhere to be seen. It used to be in the rules that they have to appear on stage, but not necessity on camera. She said the singers didn’t mind not been sen by the viewers as they’ve already appeared on Eurovision. To get the effect of the song the act has to only feature herself and her dancer. The performance is all about her having the free will be get away. Some of her dance movements can be quite dangerous apparently. She’s managed to kick him in the face in the past. That’s one way of getting rid of him.

She describes herself as a bubbly personality but often plays much darker roles in theatre such as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. She also played the carmen character in FAME.

Sweden next. Only saw part of Sanna Nielsen’s performance – but she looked and sounded great. While I have no desire to return to Sweden so soon – if it’s the best song, then it deserves to win. At her press conference she said she was very pleased with her second rehearsals. She just changed a fews with the lighting effects. But she loves the stage – it looks like a diamond and is surrounded by water – hence the whole thing about having Eurovision on an island. What some organisers will do to keep those pesky fans rushing onto the stage. Anyone wanting to perform a pitch invasion should bring their wellies along. Not that we want to encourage such things, but who doesn’t love a bit of a splash?

Anyway, Sanna also performed part of her song that she entered for Melodifestival in 2008. She entered that contest about seven times in the past – so it’s great to finally see her here. She was also joined on stage by a guitarist and they gave us an uptempo rendering of her entry. Very nice indeed.

Despite her young years she been performing since aged 11. But her parents made sure she had an down-to-earth upbringing.

They’ve just handed out ‘Sanna Chocolate’ to everyone. Very tasty. Best thing I’ve tasted here in Copenhagen.

Saw a bit of the Russian act on screen. The girls looked very post-modern Princess Leia – all in white and long sleeves. They look too young for the outfits.And for twins, one does seem taller than the other.

You may remember that the girls perform on a see-saw – well it serves another purpose as well. It’s props and gimmick mad this year. I have to admit, while I think the song is decent enough – it’s the one that’s always going through my head. Maybe I’m missing Jedward.

The Icelandic press conference was good fun. Pollaponk were asked what they thought their chances of winning were. They replied that while they were in the contest to win it – it was more important for their message to come across – a world without prejudice. I asked them about their colourful outfits – each member of the band always get dressed in the same bright colours. How did they decide what colour would go with whom. Apparently there was a debate and straws were drawn. But the guy in pink is pleased with his colour choice. Any why wouldn’t he?

Just watched a bit of Ukraine on screen. I do love the hamster routine. What a great way to exercise.  The song is meant to signify that we all prisoners in life and we have to try and break free to find true love. It’s the wheel of time so to speak.

She was asked about the political situation in Ukraine. She said the Ukrainian people are strong and will survive the troubles.

We found out in the Azerbaijan press conference that Dilara is very much into animal rights. She pioneered a animal shelter in Azerbaijan. She even visited a Danish animal shelter with the Hungarian performer, Kallay. She’s using proceeds from her merchandising for animal rights – something that was produced here in Denmark – a 3D printer version of herself! The small doll-sized statue looked very impressive will be auctioned off.

Her song has a lot of deep meaning – and isn’t all about love. The lyrics try to convey kindness and humanity. The trapeze artist is there because the song has a ‘airy’ feel about it. That’s not a bad spin on it.

Just watched the Portuguese act on the screen – and I just want to cry. Not because it’s sad or anything – but because it’l be another year that the country won’t win or even get into the final, alas. And I so want them to win! *Sigh* It’s not a bad performance by the lovely Suzy – and it is a fun and bouncy effort – but it’s going nowhere. I’m really glad they came back this year – and hope they try again next year. Can someone please point them in the right direction? They need to emulate the success of their national football team!

Net up on stage was an entirely different affair – Netherlands. I went along to see them perform this live at the arena. What a classy act. That, unfortunately will probably be the kiss of death! I do hope can appreciate a bit of country & western music. One of the best things watching these acts at the arena is that you get to see all the camermen/women at work. The singers have to follow their script on stage – but so do the cameramen, whizzing around the performers round and round on stage, getting their close-ups – then quickly running off the stage not to get in shot when the overhead cameras take over. Marvellous. It’s what makes seeing a show live more interesting. I really hope this gets through.

Next on stage is another favourite of mine, Montenegro. I’m beginning to warm to the ice-skating ballerina. She certainly is working hard. I love this Balkan sound, but fear it won’t go through to the final. Not sure if western Europe appreciates this sort of sound.

Okay  – it’s now 9.30pm here at the press centre and we have to leave soon. I’ll be back to finish off today’s rehearsals stuff along with David’s pics tomorrow.