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Think Super Bowl halftime show on LSD, with added sequins. Eurovision!
May 12, 2013 4:18 AM   Subscribe

It's that time of the year again, when the (television network) continent of Europe comes together to sing, wear interesting clothing, and gyrate before an enthusiastic/baffled world.

The 2013 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Malmö, Sweden (the 2012 winner). The city expects 100,000 fans to also attend. Several countries declined to enter this year, most for financial reasons.

The two semi-finals, on Tuesday 14th and Thursday 16th May, will each deliver ten countries into the final. These will be joined by the hosts Sweden and the big five contributers to the contest to make a 26 country final on Saturday 18th May.

Traditionally, the previous winners open the final (memorably, Lordi opening in Finland 2007). The evening alternates between performances and video clips extolling the virtues of the host country. Voting, sometimes controversial, takes place country by country. The winner performs, while their country contemplates the cost of hosting the event next year.

A week out (and before the qualifying semi-finals), the bookmakers quote Denmark as a clear favorite, with significant money also riding on Ukraine, Norway, Russia and Azerbaijan.

Dark horses include the Greece "Alcohol is free" entry (previously), Iceland, singing in their national language for the first time in 15 years, and Switzerland, whose band includes a 21 and a 95 year old. The UK entry, a successful rock ballad singer, is playing down her chances.

As last year, the UK TV commentary is expected to sit somewhere between irreverent and sarcastic.
posted by Wordshore (128 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have come to a state of acceptance over my shameless enjoyment of Eurovision.

Well, mostly shameless. There are moments of shame, I suppose, but I am so dazed afterwards that I cannot remember them.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:26 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just yesterday I was mentally lamenting the then-lack of Eurovision post. Thank you for this. I must now go prepare.
posted by knile at 4:32 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love Eurovision. I feel bad that Bosnia Hercegovina felt the need to withdraw, but they always get totally robbed. And the country is kind of broke to be in on this. It is expensive.
I watched and even voted during my time in Sarajevo.
All the little kids would spontaneously do Laka's song, 'Pokušaj' pretty much anywhere.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:47 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aahh, Eurovision, that moment in the year's calendar when Dutch wounded national pride comes to the fore.

"How dare they not like our songs, it's all rigged, all the not quite real countries in the East are voting for each other!"

Forgetting that 'we' thought this would be a good song for a royal inaugeration.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:02 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


MartinWisse: Forgetting that 'we' thought this would be a good song for a royal inaugeration.
Don't.. mention.. the song....
posted by knile at 5:03 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Actually I rather liked the Dutch entry last year. I think the presentation hurt what was otherwise a sweet song.
posted by JanetLand at 5:14 AM on May 12, 2013


It shows up the problems though. It's boring, it's a crappy song sung by a worse singer, no energy, nothing nice to look at, just a chick with a guitar in an indian chief outfit, for reasons best known to herself.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:20 AM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I get the feeling that our Dutch friends perhaps take the Eurovision a tad more seriously than us "Avoid nul points and it's a good night" British. The problem this year is that the Dutch entry may be too good to win.
posted by Wordshore at 5:24 AM on May 12, 2013


I think it's great that two of the members of ABBA have composed the anthem for this. I don't care if it's Benny and Björn. They don't have to bring their AA game.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:26 AM on May 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


I ask this as a person from Oregon that only knows of Eurovision from Metafilter.

Is the goal to be bad?
posted by johnpowell at 5:41 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Anouk? Really? Wow. I will be in the US this week and will be doing my best to avoid being spoiled by the result until I can get onto iPlayer on Monday.

I went to Dusseldorf to watch the final at the stadium 2 years ago and it was a great experience. However, without Norton's commentary and easy access to drinks (long distance between seats and bar), the results of the televote stretched on and on and on.
posted by wingless_angel at 5:45 AM on May 12, 2013


Hurrah! The spousal unit and I have been watching for 4 years now and we basically sit on the edge of our seats waiting for what we call "those Moldova moments."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:53 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Lordi already won Eurovision.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 5:54 AM on May 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Three years ago I introduced Specklet to the joys of Eurovision when she (and TheDonF) were staying with me for the weekend. We rather liked Apricot Stone.
posted by essexjan at 6:17 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anouk? Really? Wow. I will be in the US this week and will be doing my best to avoid being spoiled by the result until I can get onto iPlayer on Monday.

If you're free the afternoon of the final and will have internet access, in past years the ARD stream has worked in the US. (The DR stream may or may not work. It has failed on me, but it's not clear if it was geoblocked or if it was just crappy, as DR streams are often kind of crappy.)
posted by hoyland at 6:17 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


""Avoid nul points and it's a good night" British."

Well, my country has won Eurovision a massive FIVE times (take that Estonia, Finland, Holland and (especially) Portugal) - we are joint 2nd for number of times won!! null point? Only from the bloody French. And we hate the thing. It is tack-tastic.

Also, if we are paying for this, you would think it might count for something, but seeing as this is Europe, it is take take take where England is concerned. You wanna join in Estonia? Cough up. We can't afford to pay for our own state services, why should we fund a massive music jolly for you? And all you other countries.

Eurovision, the worlds worst musical extravaganza.
posted by marienbad at 6:17 AM on May 12, 2013


Oh, and we all went "WHOA!" at the same point in the Belarus entry. (at 2.25 here.)
posted by essexjan at 6:19 AM on May 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


And we hate the thing. It is tack-tastic.

Speak for yourself, killjoy.
posted by ominous_paws at 6:19 AM on May 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Also, if we are paying for this, you would think it might count for something, but seeing as this is Europe, it is take take take where England is concerned. You wanna join in Estonia? Cough up. We can't afford to pay for our own state services, why should we fund a massive music jolly for you? And all you other countries. Eurovision, the worlds worst musical extravaganza.

Has Nigel Farage gotten himself a sockpuppet on here? :)
posted by Wordshore at 6:25 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The UK entry, a successful rock ballad singer, is playing down her chances.

Shall we have a pile on playing down of her chances? Perhaps she is holding out for a hero who will wipe out all the other acts, though that would still not be a guarantee. She is going to be totally eclipsed.
posted by biffa at 6:27 AM on May 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


essexjan: "Oh, and we all went "WHOA!" at the same point in the Belarus entry. (at 2.25 here ."

That's cool, but my god that song is a bland piece of shit, even by Eurovision standards.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:34 AM on May 12, 2013


I miss Terry.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 6:44 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is the goal to be bad?

No. The goal is to be Eurovision.

A good song is not enough. Often, a good song is a hindrance. What you need for success is reach. Something that's not too ethnic, for example. Singing in your native tongue will get you to the semis but no further. Don't play to your home audience. That shit will get you to the semis but no further. You need pan European, and for that English seems to be the way to go, or at least another language that's spoken widely enough to appeal to a broad audience. Love songs do well in Eurovision because that's basically a good universal concept that plays well everywhere. Nothing to specific. I recall an Armenian entry a few years back that featured an attractive young lass singing about an apricot pit, sharing the stage with a giant fiberglass rendering of the same and a gleefully prancing young man in some sort of Armenian local garb gesturing wildy about, with her enormous pit blossoming into a flowering tree crescendo, complete with pyrotechnics and inexplicably hidden backup singers. This is apparently a thing in Armenia, to liken your love to an apricot stone (I don't recall what the metaphor is exactly, as my Eurovision parties tend to be the thing keeping many a small vineyard alive year to year, but it had something to do with endurance). It was very sweet, but fucking confusing to anyone outside Armenia.

So bland is good. But it has to be ultra bland. So bland it achieves some sort of a singularity of bland that pushes it out past some beige event horizon into the territory of pure genius. This is way, way harder than it looks, and it doesn't happen every year - sometimes the winner is just the one that comes closest. Sometimes though the boffins of innocuous pop really pull it out of the bag, though, and you wind up with something like this. A decade of vaugely dancy shit that you wouldn't get out of Phil Collins after a bucket of Quaaludes. I mean, I accidentally had 2004 and 2005 playing at the same time and didn't actually notice for a few minutes. I mean you gotta remember this is where Abba and Celine Dion both got their big breaks.

Being able to sing is a good touch too. Sorry JanetLane, that Netherlands entry couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, and singing a country and western song in a faux southern accent smothered by your natural Dutch accent just won't cut it. I won't even comment on the head-dress.

You need to be memorable. Not a motherfucker in the audience was going to forget Lordi. Get a gimmick, but not something that will overshadow your song. Lordi at least was consistent, the monster schtick working nicely with their song. Likewise Russia's fondness for ice skaters and ballerinas and that sort of thing tends to tie into their song, obliquely at least.

And you need at least a little glamour. Azerbaijan do well because they get it. I mean Jesus, look at this. Maiden entry. Placed 8th. Fucking amazing. This is what serious study of Eurovision yeilds. Memorable. Glammy. Tacky as a tar roof on a hot day. The song is almost irrelevant. And they refined their approach for the following year and won. It was like there was some oil-funded Eurovision think tank furiously distilling all the mediocrity and madness of the contest into some sort of near perfect formula. The Russians have it too - they consistently place well and they deserve it. Again, they get the blend.

Anyway. It's a bit of a culty thing down here in Oz. I'm pretty keen on avoiding "spoilers", as it were, and I rather like the *shock you get viewing some of these for the first time, so I don't watch the semis and I avoid the bookies and frankly there are plenty of entries that are agony to watch more than once. But it's a good night's viewing and silly as hell if you take two steps back and don't take it too seriously. Getting a good commentator is good. I miss Terry Wogan and his ever emptying bottle of bitter gin so much, though the kids from SBS do a good enough job down here these days and are a bit less cruel in the end.

And that's what it's about really - just throwing a big stupid party with ridiculous costumes and lots of music that most people can appreciate, some sill stuff to have a giggle at, and then every gets shitfaced and eats as much ethnic food as they can cram in their gobs.

* Verka remains one of my all time favourite entries and I seriously think she was robbed. Serbian girleens in Hedwig wigs, pah.
posted by Jilder at 6:45 AM on May 12, 2013 [55 favorites]


Alas, my work filters prevent me from being able to enjoy the semis.

I mean, I have actually researched this.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:53 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


No. The goal is to be Eurovision.

I'm convinced Denmark's decision to enter a drag act was the most brilliant idea in the history of Eurovision. He didn't make the final, but so what? It's still a great commentary on Eurovision.
posted by hoyland at 6:59 AM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


And we hate the thing. It is tack-tastic.

One Pound Fish wasn't Henry Purcell either.
posted by ersatz at 7:02 AM on May 12, 2013


Eurovision is like Christmas for fans of cheesy music.

A few years ago, I started making a mix CD of "songs so bad they became good" - but stopped when I realized most were from Eurovision.
posted by jb at 7:03 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Something to watch for: Finnish Entry Krista Siegfrieds kissing a lady on stage while performing her love-song where she wants to marry her baby, skirting the ban on political statements to support gay marriage.
posted by Authorized User at 7:16 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Obligatory Father Ted clip.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:29 AM on May 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Something to watch for: Finnish Entry Krista Siegfrieds kissing a lady on stage while performing her love-song where she wants to marry her baby, skirting the ban on political statements to support gay marriage.

The official video for Marry Me, which is delightfully ambiguous and immediately love. Damn; torn between Greece and Finland now for this years.

Also - speaking of Greece - this is the first year that there is a MetaFilter Mod Eurovision Face-off, with Taz (Greece) vs Good News For The Insane (Netherlands). May the best mod win / avoid nul points.
posted by Wordshore at 7:34 AM on May 12, 2013


This makes me sad. For Eurovision last year, I was playing Glitch and having a whale of a time in Mazza'la Gala with a few friends. Time goes by so fast.
posted by Solomon at 7:47 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anybody got tips on where I can watch it in Canada? Haven't seen it for years.
posted by arcticseal at 7:57 AM on May 12, 2013


Have to plug Romania's song this year, if you're looking to spoil yourself. You have to make it through the chorus and then you'll be hooked.
posted by dismas at 7:59 AM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I enjoy Eurovision because there will be at least one and probably several amazing gifs to come out of it. Who could forget Epic Sax Guy?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:07 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's a list of the music videos for all entries for this year:

Albania Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko - Identitet
Armenia Dorians - Lonely Planet
Austria Natália Kelly - Shine
Azerbaijan Farid Mammadov - Hold Me
Belarus Alyona Lanskaya - Solayoh
Belgium Roberto Bellarosa - Love Kills
Bulgaria Elitsa & Stoyan - Samo Shampioni
Croatia Klapa s Mora - Mižerja
Cyprus Despina Olympiou - An Me Thimáse
Denmark Emmelie De Forest - Only Teardrops
Estonia Birgit Õigemeel - Et Uus Saaks Alguse
F.Y.R. Macedonia Esma & Lozano - Pred Da Se Razdeni
Finland Krista Siegfrids - Marry Me
France Amandine Bourgeois - L'Enfer Et Moi
Georgia Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani - Waterfall
Germany Cascada - Glorious
Greece Koza Mostra & Agathon Iakovidis - Alcohol Is Free
Hungary ByeAlex - Kedvesem
Iceland Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson - Ég á Líf
Ireland Ryan Dolan - Only Love Survives
Israel Moran Mazor - Rak bishvilo
Italy Marco Mengoni - L'Essenziale
Latvia PeR - Here We Go
Lithuania Andrius Pojavis - Something
Malta Gianluca Bezzina - Tomorrow
Moldova Aliona Moon - O Mie
Montenegro Who See - Igranka
The Netherlands Anouk - Birds
Norway Margaret Berger - I Feed You My Love
Romania Cesar - It's My Life
Russia Dina Garipova - What If
San Marino Valentina Monetta - Crisalide
Serbia Moje 3 - Ljubav je svuda
Slovenia Hannah - Straight Into Love
Spain ESDM - Contigo Hasta El Final (With You Until The End)
Sweden Robin Stjernberg - You
Switzerland Takasa - You And Me
Ukraine Zlata Ognevich - Gravity
United Kingdom Bonnie Tyler - Believe In Me
posted by bjrn at 8:14 AM on May 12, 2013 [32 favorites]


The greatest thing about Eurovision is the complete collision between Western European countries that DO NOT WANT TO WIN (you started this, Ireland), but still have a contingent that get pissy when they don't, vs. the Eastern European countries that desperately want to win but DO NOT KNOW HOW.

Having discovered it when I moved to Europe, I will admit to loving it, mainly because of the WTF moments that come out of it.

The utter awkwardness of the video vote tallies at the end alone are priceless.
posted by grajohnt at 8:27 AM on May 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


i love eurovision. it's one of the amazing things about the internet - that a gal from oklahoma can join in the festivities. i must find someway to stream it again this year.

i don't even care who knows it - this song and this song are in a few of my playlists.
posted by nadawi at 8:46 AM on May 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


I know nothing about Eurovision beyond what led to Epic Sax Game being created.
posted by avocet at 8:56 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


This time last year, my daughter was singing Sweden's entry "Euphoria" all day long. When I played this year's entry for her not only didn't she recognise it, but she said it was "inte bra" - not good.

Based on that one vote, I'm guessing Sweden doesn't have a chance this year.
posted by three blind mice at 8:56 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Over forty years now and I'm still waiting for someone to top this ...
posted by philip-random at 9:33 AM on May 12, 2013


Just sad that MeFi-favorite Winny Puhh did not make it this far.
posted by CutaneousRabbit at 9:43 AM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


My assignment this week is to come up with a Eurovision youtube playlist for the pre-show entertainment. If anyone wants to recommend songs before 2007 (when I started watching), I wouldn't complain.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:06 AM on May 12, 2013


I like to recommend this song from 1975, the last time the dutch won.
posted by Pendragon at 10:42 AM on May 12, 2013


I adore Eurovision, and have hosted a party every year since I found out about it. It is the best thing.

Also, Katjusa Roquette is totally right. Pokušaj was a great song.
posted by asperity at 10:49 AM on May 12, 2013


mandymanwasregistered, since it's just music you won't get as much enjoyment out of outrageous performances like Dancing Lasha Tumbai (or the other "shocking" ones mentioned in Jilder's comment above).

You could skip through a video of all winners (YT search results) and see which you enjoy. I think if you go through the winners and remove all slow songs and ballads then you should be left with something suitable.

For specifics I have to second Pendragon in the comment above, and further:
France Gall - Poupée de cire, poupée de son
ABBA - Waterloo
Cliff Richard - Congratulations
Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta - A-Ba-Ni-Bi
Herreys - Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley
Bobbysocks! - La det swinge
posted by bjrn at 10:52 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man. I am SO excited for this. There's nothing I love more than good old-fashioned ridiculous spectacle. The more sincere the better. And there are very few places where you'll see greater commitment to performance than in the Eurovision song contest. Last year's entry from Turkey sort of distils everything I love about it into 3 1/2 minutes: classically poppy lyrics, vaguely traditional/local/ethnic music, the simple yet somehow massive stage production, the burly beefcake men, excellent choreography, and impeccably deployed capes. It's just perfection. I'll miss Turkey in this year's contest.

I still can't fully articulate what this whole thing is celebrating, but it's a celebration none the less. Bring. It. On.

(and people talk about how rubbish the songs are, but this from Estonia ('11) still runs through my head from time to time.
posted by Eumachia L F at 11:02 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Feeling a bit sad that Americans are left out and don't have their equivalent of the Eurovision Song Contest e.g. each state nominating a song for some grand final. Or, do they and it's not high profile?

However, there's a USA blog with details of Eurovision participants who come from North America; for the years 1956-99 and 2000-10. Some of the criteria is a bit stretched at times, but there seems to be a surprising amount of US and Canadian involvement in this event.
posted by Wordshore at 11:08 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


MartinWisse: Forgetting that 'we' thought this would be a good song for a royal inaugeration.

I still think that song would have been so cute for kindergarteners to pantomime. Fingers in the dike, lions and a W.
posted by surplus at 11:13 AM on May 12, 2013


The goal is to be Eurovision.

Which means to be camp, but not in a knowing way. You cannot try to be consciously bad or ironic (as every second English entry does), you have to take the contest seriously but go for spectacle at the same time. It's a hard thing to achieve and if you've paid attention you see that the winners and high ranking entries in the last decade or so have often been outsider acts like Lordi, not quite sanctioned by the national Eurovision organisation.

And then there's the other side of Eurovision, where various countries consistently vote for each other, with the Scandinavian countries being the historical example, while the various ex-Yugoslav, ex-Warsawpact and ex-USSR countries currently suspected to always vote for each other. There's of course a larger political dimension to this as well, if Serbia votes overwhelmingly for a Croatian act or Ukraine for a Russian one..

Which is why the Dutch do so badly: too bureaucratic to get a really surprising, interesting act, not enough neighbouring countries willing to vote for us. Also too cheap, unlike e.g. England, to buy our way to the finals so we have to struggle with all the other hopefuls in the semis.

Anouk won't get to the final either because she's too boring and just a godawful singer alround.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:16 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


there seems to be a surprising amount of US and Canadian involvement in this event.

Eurovision gave y'all Celine Dion. You're welcome.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:17 AM on May 12, 2013


Hey, remember in the 80s, when we saw visions of what TV and popular entertainment would be in the future, and it was all wall-to-wall dystopian porn and violence? And instead, it's song and dance contests.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:23 AM on May 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am sorry that Moldova seems to have said "no" to embracing insanity this year.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:39 AM on May 12, 2013


Bobbysocks!

WHAT
posted by axiom at 11:47 AM on May 12, 2013


Wow, Bonnie Tyler hardly looks older than she did in the 80s. Which reminds me that I have to watch the video for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" again because it's the greatest video ever.
posted by Slothrup at 12:26 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is your horse lovely?
posted by alasdair at 12:37 PM on May 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


My favorite Eurovision song of all-time is the gorgeous I treni di Tozeur, Italy's entry for the 1984 contest. The Italians were still thinking of this as a song contest and sent a beautiful song that received 12 points from several countries and turned out to be a commercial success. However in the contest it only turned out 5th well behind the winning horrible ditty Diggi-loo Diggi-ley. The rather awkward stage performance is largely to blame but it also provided a sort of final water-shed moment between song contest and spectacle.

Most importantly it is an utterly beautiful song.
posted by Authorized User at 12:56 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


(and people talk about how rubbish the songs are, but this from Estonia ('11) still runs through my head from time to time.

My husband loves loves loves that one. I prefer Siren from 2010.

Jilder: I also got into Eurovision through the wonder of SBS's coverage (when I was working there at the time - our job was to get the songs to the radio teams for their news bulletins the next day). Does SBS still play Get Ready to be Boyzvoiced before the final? An essential part of any Eurovision party.
posted by wingless_angel at 12:58 PM on May 12, 2013


Oh and other possible surprise to watch out for: Massively popular boy-band One Direction making a cameo as the background singers for Bonnie Tyler. Probably not, but there has been some speculation.
posted by Authorized User at 1:02 PM on May 12, 2013


* Verka remains one of my all time favourite entries and I seriously think she was robbed. Serbian girleens in Hedwig wigs, pah.

COMPLETELY AGREE. Whenever in doubt, do the failing arms and hands dance.
posted by litleozy at 1:06 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, Eurovision is pretty much as depicted in the opening scene of The Apple then?
posted by ShutterBun at 2:03 PM on May 12, 2013


I actually watched the Super Bowl halftime show on LSD, and it was nothing like this.

(the year the rolling stones played)
posted by victory_laser at 2:58 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


This year I'm rooting for... (rolls 30 sided die)... Ukraine!

(watches Ukraine's entry)

Hmm. Well. Hmm. Well then.

Well... the die has spoken. I suppose.
posted by Flunkie at 3:25 PM on May 12, 2013


Wait! I got an incomplete list! There are actually 39! I call a mulligan! Whew.

OK... rolls a 39 sided die... Armenia!

(watches Armenia's entry)

... hoo boy.
posted by Flunkie at 3:41 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, sweet Romania. I'm so sad that my Romanian grandfather didn't live long enough to experience this. With brandy. I'm going to go inflict this upon my son, as it is Mother's Day and all. I highly recommend watching the video, though I don't think the song will be making it to the finals.
posted by houseofdanie at 3:50 PM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hey, is Macedonia's song (this is a different version, with some verses in English) pretty great or has a full day of watching Eurovision videos from many countries and decades lowered my standards? My partner insists it's the latter.

Wow, I just read on Wikipedia that the featured female singer, Esma Redzepova, fostered FORTY SEVEN children.
posted by houseofdanie at 4:17 PM on May 12, 2013


Montenegro's is maybe kinda awesome.
posted by neroli at 4:36 PM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I LOVE Eurovision. It's so glorious that nothing can compare. I await eager for the people in costumes, the swords, the ethnic dancing, the guy shaking a stick in the background (I'm looking at you Moldova), the instruments I've never heard of....It's the most wonderful time of the year. This year I'm trying to watch blind and not watch any of the entries beforehand so it can be like a magic castle of surprises.

(And all those countries* that say they don't care? They totally do, otherwise they wouldn't grumble each year about being robbed by some Eastern European conspiracy to not reward Englebert Humperdink for still being alive.)

*It seems to be mainly one: England. Though I am sure there are others.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 5:31 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dangit, guys, I had a HUGE Eurovision post ready and was saving it for Tuesday. Dangit.
posted by LSK at 8:58 PM on May 12, 2013


And then there's the other side of Eurovision, where various countries consistently vote for each other, with the Scandinavian countries being the historical example, while the various ex-Yugoslav, ex-Warsawpact and ex-USSR countries currently suspected to always vote for each other. There's of course a larger political dimension to this as well, if Serbia votes overwhelmingly for a Croatian act or Ukraine for a Russian one.

There is an element of this, but I've noticed in recent years that the bloc votes usually take up the low points, and the ten and twelvers can go to whoever. I mean, there's a lot more variety to the winning countries than you'd have if it was nothing but bloc voting all the way down. If it was consistent, you'd see the same countries winning every year, but that's not the case.

Bloc voting is the whinge of the Big Five whip out every year to have a cry about not winning. Which is bullshit given the UK and France have both won five rounds of the competition, which is a pretty solid performance. Only Ireland has more wins under its belt. But I do see your point about the UK just not getting the formula. Dustin the fucking Turkey not withstanding, they should pay more attention to the Irish entries for what a western European Anglophone country can really do in this contest.

Which is why the Dutch do so badly: too bureaucratic to get a really surprising, interesting act, not enough neighbouring countries willing to vote for us. Also too cheap, unlike e.g. England, to buy our way to the finals so we have to struggle with all the other hopefuls in the semis.

Pah, the UK gets automatic entry every year, along with France, Germany, Spain and Italy. They've been funding the event from the start, so while it's strictly true that it's a "buy in", it's not quite as sordid as it sounds. It's not like there's a contingent of West End drag queens slinking into the Eurovision offices and offering to double their rhinestone quota if only they let whatever blandination the UK's come up with that year take to the stage.

And I'd like to remind you the Netherlands has won on four occasions. It's just been a while.

Feeling a bit sad that Americans are left out and don't have their equivalent of the Eurovision Song Contest e.g. each state nominating a song for some grand final.

This idea both intrigues me and horrifies me, like American Iron Chef. You'd have to get the pageant set in on it to truly get the mix right, I think.
posted by Jilder at 9:48 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Question: is there a theme for each contest? This year, a lot of the songs have a real togetherness kind of vibe to them (eg Russia, Armenia, and Switzerland's songs).
posted by too bad you're not me at 10:06 PM on May 12, 2013


Question: is there a theme for each contest? This year, a lot of the songs have a real togetherness kind of vibe to them (eg Russia, Armenia, and Switzerland's songs).

No, and god help us if there were.

What DOES happen is that everyone tries to copy what the winner did last year - just like generals fighting the last war. This is one of the more cringeworthy things about Eurovision. How many acts had violins in 2010 after Alexander Rybak won in 2009? Answer: A lot.
posted by grajohnt at 11:53 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Feeling a bit sad that Americans are left out and don't have their equivalent of the Eurovision Song Contest e.g. each state nominating a song for some grand final.

This could be amazing in theory, but the reality would probably look something like top 40 radio sounds, but with most of the red states opting for maudlin pop-country.
posted by snottydick at 7:43 AM on May 13, 2013


US pop culture is almost definitionally in the mainstream, so it would be harder to get the unforced weirdness of Eurovision. Maybe if you restricted entry to bands that had never toured beyond a certain radius from their home? Also, if you made it clear that your entry had to illuminate a distinction between your state and everyone else's.

Also, Lithuania's entry this year features a lot of smiling-while-singing.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:04 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have already been to Ikea to stock up on my food for our Eurovision Party.

We do regular Eurovision and Eurovision Jr. It's...hard to describe the love we have for it, and the absolute eyepopping weirdness of it all in one fell swoop.

We even watched the Swedish Melodifesitvalen for all 5 weeks it was on. This was Sweden's preliminary to select the song they are sending to the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo.

I have to say that the songs were all very good. A much better grouping of songs than I think we're going to get in the whole Eurovision contest.

Don't be surprised if most of the good pop music we're going to hear comes from Sweden.

That is some catchy shit.

This is my favorite Eurovision Song, Caroban by Nina, 2011.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:08 AM on May 13, 2013


ESMA!! YES!! She's like, Aretha Franklin-level revered and famous in Macedonia, for both her music and her particular take on the diva lifestyle, which as mentioned involves a lot of foster children (and sequinned turbans). And she's apparently ageless -- she has, as far as I can tell, looked about the same for the last 20-30 years and never seems to become less energetic. She sparkles, and it's not just the clothes.
posted by EvaDestruction at 3:54 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


This will be Montenegro's year to shine.

I can feel it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:27 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to echo the enthusiasm for Romania’s Eurovision entry, Cezar. The only way to improve that act would be to add some close-up magic tricks or maybe a few baskets of cobras.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:12 PM on May 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


For anyone who is like me in previous years and can't figure out how to watch Eurovision because your favorite channels to watch it on (BBC, with the funny commentary) are blocked, use a VPN to get it. I use Unblock Us, but there are a million of them so use whatever one you want.

Maybe this is obvious to everyone but me but I'd have saved myself the last two years of heartache from not being able to watch this on the BBC had I known about VPNs earlier
posted by triggerfinger at 7:17 PM on May 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm quite fond of Eastern European Funk (Lithuania, 2010), and I'm not even being ironic.

My adoration of Valentine Lost (Iceland, 2007) on the other hand...
posted by jb at 8:37 PM on May 13, 2013


Overthinking It has a series on Eurovision for some reason, including an interview with one of the people on my podcast. I'll probably half-watch it like last year, when I liked the band that sounded the most folky.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 12:41 AM on May 14, 2013


The UK entry, a successful rock ballad singer, is playing down her chances.

It's Bonnie Freakin' Tyler. Yes, that Bonnie Tyler. I think her chances are, you know, pretty good...
posted by DarlingBri at 1:09 AM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The first semi-final is tonight (Tuesday), broadcast from 9pm to 11pm CET = 3pm to 5pm EST.

16 countries will be whittled down to 10.
posted by Wordshore at 3:21 AM on May 14, 2013


Oh man, the video for Montenegro's is making me laugh and laugh and laugh.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:40 AM on May 14, 2013


Oh. I that this weekend?
I'm going to need more goon.
posted by Mezentian at 7:27 AM on May 14, 2013


BEGIN BACKDOOR FPP

The Eurovision Song Contest 2013's first semi-final begins today at 3 PM EST (Noon PST). Watch it online, and listen to the songs:

First semi-final:

Austria: Natália Kelly - Shine
Estonia: Birgit - Et uus saaks alguse
Slovenia: Hannah - Straight Into Love
Croatia: Klapa s Mora - Mižerja
Denmark: Emmelie de Forest - Only Teardrops
Russia: Dina Garipova - What If
Ukraine: Zlata Ognevich - Gravity
Netherlands: Anouk - Birds
Montenegro: Who See - Igranka
Lithuania: Andrius Pojavis - Something
Belarus: Alyona Lanskaya - Solayoh
Moldova: Aliona Moon - O Mie
Ireland: Ryan Dolan - Only Love Survives
Cyprus: Despina Olympious - An me thimasai
Belgium: Roberto Bellarosa - Love Kills
Serbia: Moje 3 - Ljubav je svuda

Second semi-final:

Latvia: PeR - Here We Go
San Marino: Valentina Monetta - Crisalide (Vola)
Macedonia: Esma and Lozano - Pred da se razdeni
Azerbaijan: Farid Mammadov - Hold Me
Finland: Krista Siegfrids - Marry Me
Malta: Gianluca - Tomorrow
Bulgaria: Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov - Samo Shampioni
Iceland: Eythor Ingi - Ég á líf
Greece: Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis - Alcohol Is Free
Israel: Moran Mazor - Rak Bishvilo
Armenia: Dorians - Lonely Planet
Hungary: ByeAlex - Kedvesem (Zoohacker Remix)
Norway: Margaret Berger - I Feed You My Love
Albania: Adrian Lulgjuraj and Bledar Sejko - Identitet
Georgia: Nodi Tatishvili and Sophie Gelovani - Waterfall
Switzerland: Takasa - You and Me (the group had a mandatory name change from "Heilsarmee" - Salvation Army - since the EBU does not endorse religious institutions)
Romania: Cezar - It's My Life

Automatic berth to final:

France: Amandine Bourgeois - L'enfer et moi
Germany: Cascada - Glorious
Italy: Marco Mengoni - L'essenziale
Spain: ESDM - Contigo hasta el final
Sweden: Robin Stjernberg - You
UK: Bonnie Tyler - Believe in Me

Here are some notable songs that either didn't qualify for the contest in their national selections or were replaced after being selected:

Albania: Kejsi Tola - S'jemi me atje (4th place, national final)
Austria: The Bandaloop - Back to Fantasy (4th place, national final)
Bulgaria: Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov - Kismet (replaced after winning the national final, much to everyone's relief)
Belarus: Alyona Lanskaya - Rhythm of Love (replaced after winning the national final)
Estonia: Winny Puhh - Meiecundimees üks Korsakov läks eile Lätti (3rd place, national final)
(previously, previously, etc)
Finland: Mikael Saari - We Should Be Through (2nd place, national final)
Germany: LaBrassBanda - Nackert (2nd place, national final)
Lithuania: Gerai Gerai and Miss Sheep - War in the Wardrobe (3rd place, national final)
Macedonia: Esma and Lozano - Imperija (replaced because Greece took offense at the lyrics)
Norway: Sirkus Eliassen - I Love You Te Quiero (3rd place, national final)
Romania: Electric Fence - Emilia (5th place, national final)
Sweden: Yohio - Heartbreak Hotel (2nd place, national final)

My friends and I had a mock Eurovision which came out with Greece winning, so take that as you will. Around here, I guess alcohol does flow pretty freely.
posted by LSK at 7:32 AM on May 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


I know that many definitions of "Europe" include Cyprus and the Caucuses, but what definition includes Israel? Is it that non-European countries are also welcome to participate and that only Israel takes them up on it?

Bulgaria: Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov - Kismet yt (replaced after winning the national final, much to everyone's relief)

Oh, no. Not everyone's. I like this one much better than its replacement. Really, I like most of the songs on this runner-up & replaced list better than the ones that actually made the cut.
posted by snottydick at 7:41 AM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


but what definition includes Israel?

If i remember, in the early days of Eurovision this decision was made, for reasons. IIRC you can read it at the wiki page.
posted by Mezentian at 7:44 AM on May 14, 2013


I know that many definitions of "Europe" include Cyprus and the Caucuses, but what definition includes Israel? Is it that non-European countries are also welcome to participate and that only Israel takes them up on it?

For purposes of Eurovision, 'Europe' is defined by membership in the European Broadcasting Union, which, for whatever reason, includes Israel and Morocco, but Morocco hasn't come to Eurovision in a while.
posted by hoyland at 7:44 AM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, and Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia. And WFMT in Chicago.
posted by hoyland at 7:48 AM on May 14, 2013


I think her chances are, you know, pretty good...

I love Bonnie Tyler but I really don't love her Eurovision song. Lullaby is not a good Eurovision strategy.
posted by asperity at 7:49 AM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


And WFMT in Chicago.

I would kill for a Chicagoan entry to Eurovision, but, sadly, WFMT is precluded from entering Eurovision because it's only an associate member*

*and you can't become a full member unless you're located in the European broadcasting area**
**which is strictly defined based on latitude and longitude with grandfathered-in exceptions for Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Ukraine, Syria, and Saudi Arabia

posted by LSK at 8:26 AM on May 14, 2013


For those into the art/science of posting on MetaFilter, this post is the subject of a MetaTalk thread.
posted by Wordshore at 8:33 AM on May 14, 2013


The first semi-final starts in 30 MINUTES. The BBC has provided a scorecard for your entertainment and personal judging pleasure.
posted by Wordshore at 11:28 AM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel... EUPHORIA.
posted by houseofdanie at 12:10 PM on May 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Remember, MetaFilter Chat is a thing that exists!
posted by asperity at 12:29 PM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Someone please explain how Lithuania got into the finals? The song is beyond bland, the performance and presentation are like "we're not even trying." C'mon! Croatia had those gorgeous vocal harmonies, and Montenegro had the "why the hell are there rapping spacemen" factor. I would've accepted ANYONE other than Lithuania. I don't get it....
posted by dnash at 7:30 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Montenegro was basically a second-rate copy of the black eyes peas, and sure they had
rapping spacemen but their song was not memorable at all. Lithuania had both delightfully mispronounced English and truly memorable lyrics about love ending because the singer's shoes are called Love and Pain.
posted by Authorized User at 8:37 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someone please explain how XXXX got into the finals?

I ask this question every year.
posted by Mezentian at 2:24 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


New Yorker, 2010: Only Mr. God Knows Why: The Meaning Of The Eurovision Song Contest
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:22 AM on May 15, 2013


If MeFites in Los Angeles are hankering for a viewing party in a Chinatown basement on Saturday...
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 5:13 PM on May 15, 2013


Wait, Bulgaria replaced its awesome song with the drums and bagpipe-looking instrument? So disappointed!
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 5:17 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


BBC Scorecard for second Semi-Final.
posted by asperity at 11:46 AM on May 16, 2013


Second Semi-Final streaming!
posted by asperity at 11:57 AM on May 16, 2013


Well then... who's gonna win? I saw a small part of the second semi-final and I'm confidently predicting that Romanian volcano goth castratitechno will be what all the steampunk kids will be listening to over the summer.
posted by Kattullus at 6:26 PM on May 16, 2013


He's not a castrati, he's a counter-tenor (with an impressive range), like Jimmy Somerville or Chris Colfer, or hundreds of even more talented singers working in classical music who I can't name because I'm a philistine.

I like counter-tenors. But the song is still shite - I'm struggling to enjoy it even with my usual love of cheese and camp.
posted by jb at 6:57 PM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love the Romania song even more with the staging tonight. OMG. BRING ON THE CAMP!
posted by dnash at 7:51 PM on May 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hungary's entry looked so reluctant to be there that I heard a theory proposed that the whole contest is an elaborate practical joke at his expense -- so Hungary I guess.

(also thank you Sweden for booing the terrible Armenian 'rock' song -- I always had faith in your country's taste!)
posted by rollick at 1:15 AM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Although maybe work on the timing of your Mel Gibson jokes Sweden, gosh.
posted by rollick at 1:17 AM on May 17, 2013


(In the Guardian) Eurovision: why Americans can't afford to miss out on this cultural spectacular

Contains: "5. Don’t be ashamed to be American"
posted by Wordshore at 8:43 AM on May 17, 2013


The running order for the final, which takes place on Saturday evening (Europe) / afternoon (North America).
posted by Wordshore at 8:58 AM on May 17, 2013


Does Britain’s attitude to the Eurovision song contest reflect its ambivalence towards the European Union?
posted by rollick at 3:05 AM on May 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Today's the day! I AM SO EXCITED I CANNOT WAIT SOMEONE HOLD ME
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:37 AM on May 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


ALCOHOL! ALCOHOL! ALCOHOL IS FREE! ALCOHOL IS FREE! ALCOHOL IS FREE!
posted by Wordshore at 7:06 AM on May 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks to everyone up above who helped me hastily compile a eurovision yt playlist for today!

Now to get dressed, buy some european cheese and get this party started.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 9:59 AM on May 18, 2013


if any americans have found a stream and want to memail it to me, i'd be super grateful.
posted by nadawi at 10:50 AM on May 18, 2013


I think the Irish broadcast (with english commentary) can be viewed live internationally from here. (Some broadcasts can, and some can't, depending on the rights).

Otherwise the official stream (which is not super great quality wise, and has no commentary) can be found at http://www.eurovision.tv/page/webtv. You have to install some weird plugin, but it's pretty straightforward.
posted by rollick at 11:22 AM on May 18, 2013


The Swedish broadcast seems to work from the Netherlands as well, so if you're looking for a livestream try it out here (requires Flash).
posted by bjrn at 11:49 AM on May 18, 2013


Wow, after reading the running order I rate the UK's chances even lower than ever. While I do love Bonnie Tyler for largely nostalgic reasons, her song is not a good entry for this contest. Placing it directly after the Romanian entry is probably the best way I can think of to make it sound even more limp and monotonous.

I'm not overly impressed with the finals, but I'm pulling for Greece. No Montenegro, Bulgaria, Slovenia, or Albania makes for a poorer show in my opinion. I'd even love to see the kids from Latvia again.

That said, this is my favourite time of the year and I'm loving this as much as ever. Here we go!
posted by Eumachia L F at 11:59 AM on May 18, 2013


OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:01 PM on May 18, 2013


Lead the way, heroic caterpillar!
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:03 PM on May 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Join us in the chat!
https://chat.metafilter.com/
posted by bjrn at 12:06 PM on May 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Watching here: http://www.eurovision.tv/page/webtv?program=83843
posted by Ranucci at 12:20 PM on May 18, 2013


Why did Cascada just sing last year's song?
posted by Karmeliet at 12:58 PM on May 18, 2013


My guess is "we" (i.e. Germany) really don't want to win this year because this has never worked in the history of Eurovision and not for lack of trying (it's so obvious that it almost got them disqualified in February IIRC).
posted by ZeroAmbition at 1:00 PM on May 18, 2013


Songwise this was a pretty inoffensive year, except for that Belarusian song which is what it sounds like having a boot stamp on your face — forever.
posted by Kattullus at 3:05 PM on May 18, 2013


Congrats to Denmark for the win. I had hoped for a Norway or Greece win, but oh well. Romania and Finland win the "most spectacular and fabulous" awards for the year, and Ireland was much better than the points showed.

Thanks to all who hung out in chat to snark about it - made it much more fun!
posted by gemmy at 3:42 PM on May 18, 2013


Yeah, the chat was good fun. Thanks everyone!
posted by bjrn at 2:36 AM on May 19, 2013


There's trouble, reaching the highest level of governments, in eastern Europe over the voting.
posted by Wordshore at 1:20 AM on May 22, 2013


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