Good evening, Europe ... and Australia!
March 21, 2015 9:57 AM   Subscribe

With all of the national selections now made, let's take a look at how the Eurovision Song Contest's 60th anniversary is shaping up. Terribad songs ahead; enter at your own risk.

For the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest (May 19-23 in Vienna, Austria), Europe is pulling out all the stops. As previously noted, the EBU has invited Australia to participate not just as an interval act, but as a fully-fledged competitor.

In addition, the Eurovision.tv team has put together a virtual ode to Eurovision combining information about each contest (performance photos and videos, set design drawings, fun facts, etc) with geopolitical context from each decade. Not sure where to start? Use the Matchmaker to determine which ESC decade you belong to.

And lest we forget, later this month the BBC is producing a "Greatest Hits" concert, to be held in London and broadcast throughout Europe. Co-hosted by Graham Norton and Petra Mede, a number of big Eurovision names -- including Conchita Wurst, Emmelie de Forest, Loreen, Dana International, and Johnny Logan -- have already been confirmed in the lineup.

The 2015 Contest
As for the contest itself, the bookmakers have Sweden as the favorites, with Italy and Estonia following close behind. It's worth noting that the bookmakers were very wrong last year at this point; Conchita Wurst started last year's contest in 25th place before skyrocketing to the top of the odds.

Some of the more interesting stories / tidbits so far include:

-- Finland's selection, PKN, a quartet formed at a cultural workshop for people with learning disabilities (and the subject of a 2012 documentary). True to their punk rock style, PKN's entry is only 90 seconds long, well below the 3-minute time limit. There are also two other entrants this year with known disabilities; John Egan has written a great piece about performer disabilities at Eurovision, including some historical context.

-- Armenia, whose delegation decided (were forced?) to change the name of their song from "Don't Deny" to "Face the Shadows." According to the EBU, the Armenian broadcaster made this change "in order to take away any suggestion of political intent behind the song." (In 1915, the Ottoman Empire massacred 1.5 million Armenians; the Turkish government denies this massacre constituted genocide. Twenty-three countries and the UN (among other organizations) have formally recognized it as such.)

-- Tommy Krangh, the awesome sign-language interpreter during Melodifestivalen, Sweden's national selection process. (Also previously.)

-- The somewhat inevitable Potato Waffles mashup version of "Still in Love with You" by Electro Velvet from the UK.

Entry Videos
While the exact order of songs is still being drawn up, we already know who will be performing in which half of each semifinal. Countries can and do tweak their entries right up until the Grand Final, so keep an eye on the official Eurovision Song Contest YouTube channel and Eurovision.tv for updates.

Semifinal 1 (19th of May) (Also voting: Australia, Austria, France, and Spain)

Full SF1 Playlist

First Half:
Armenia
Belgium
Estonia
Finland
FYR Macedonia
Greece
Moldova
Netherlands

Second Half:
Albania
Belarus
Denmark
Georgia
Hungary
Romania
Russia
Serbia

Semifinal 2 (21st of May) (Also voting: Australia, Germany, Italy, and the UK)

Full SF2 Playlist

First Half:
Czech Republic
Ireland
Lithuania
Malta
Montenegro
Norway
Portugal
San Marino

Second Half:
Azerbaijan
Cyprus
Iceland
Israel
Latvia
Poland
Slovenia
Sweden
Switzerland

Grand Final Auto-Qualifiers (23rd of May) (Big Five, plus host country and Australia)

Full Grand Final Playlist

First Half:
Austria
France
Spain

Second Half:
Germany
Italy
United Kingdom

Third Half?:
Australia
posted by zebra (23 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
posted by asperity at 10:02 AM on March 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


Wait, I thought this was Ireland's entry
posted by damayanti at 10:11 AM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


The british entry has the advantage this year of having a "gets stuck in your head" melody and being on at the end when voting opens so will be stuck in peoples head at the right time. For the endlessly discussed political reasons it obviously has no hope of getting close to winning but it should do much better than the instantly forgettable power ballads and novelty acts of the last few year.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 10:14 AM on March 21, 2015


I don't really keep up with US popular music culture. Once a year, MeFi reminds me there a whole world of music culture I'm not in touch with.

But EV gave the gold medal to Lordi in 2006, so there's something going on there worth digging through. ;-)

\m/
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:18 AM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Basically at this point it seems like the only reason the U.S. isn't invited is that everyone knows they'd just send Taylor Swift or whoever and win in the biggest landslide since Lordi.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:39 AM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I watched all the Melodifestivalen broadcasts, which are the internal Swedish contests to pick the representative at Eurovision. The finalist was definitely deserving, and should do well (if the final international jury votes are anything to go by). I'm embarassed to say, though, that the one song that has really stuck in my head was a song about taking group shots instead of selfies...

We collect everyone that will fit into the picture
And take a Groupie
Hey hey hey hey

Squish ourselves together, yes we exclude no one
And take a Groupie
Hey hey hey hey


God help me.
posted by gemmy at 10:42 AM on March 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


the only reason the U.S. isn't invited is that everyone knows they'd just send Taylor Swift or whoever and win in the biggest landslide since Lordi.

Yeah, we know you guys would completely miss the entire point of this silly spectacle :-)

(and you seriously think you would win if everyone used their best pop talent? really?)
posted by effbot at 10:47 AM on March 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


Armenia, whose delegation decided (were forced?) to change the name of their song from "Don't Deny" to "Face the Shadows." According to the EBU, the Armenian broadcaster made this change "in order to take away any suggestion of political intent behind the song." (In 1915, the Ottoman Empire massacred 1.5 million Armenians; the Turkish government denies this massacre constituted genocide. Twenty-three countries and the UN (among other organizations) have formally recognized it as such.)

Good to see that Serdar Argic is still keeping up the fight.
posted by delfin at 10:54 AM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought that this entry from last year was... not terrible? Kinda nice?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:20 AM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


the only reason the U.S. isn't invited is that everyone knows they'd just send Taylor Swift or whoever and win in the biggest landslide since Lordi.

Yeah, we know you guys would completely miss the entire point of this silly spectacle :-)


Never underestimate the United States's ability to produce absurd spectacle. Like, did you see Katy Perry's super bowl bit? If that wasn't a Eurovision routine (all the way down to the totally pointless screwups), I don't know what is.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:43 AM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]




OOH, great slabs of fine pop Velveeta! Thanx, zebra!
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 12:08 PM on March 21, 2015


I'm glad Metafilter has identified the most critical part of Eurovision: America.

(Aweosme post, Zebra)
posted by Rinku at 12:48 PM on March 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


Basically at this point it seems like the only reason the U.S. isn't invited is that everyone knows they'd just send Taylor Swift or whoever and win in the biggest landslide since Lordi.

This comment reminds me of the time an American won the Cheese Rolling competition. I mean, the guy trained for it.

Lovely post by the way. Thank you. THANK YOU.

I made a little DVD of songs for a child once, there were a couple of Eurovisioners on it - he found them delightful. The songs were both French, one did kind of ok and the other came just about last I think (what else can you expect for song number 13 though.) That was the year Molitva won - after an evening of plastic women singing out of tune it made the hair on the back of my head stand up. The singer has one hell of a voice. Terry Wogan was absolutely disgusted, it was the last Eurovision he did. Yes there was block tactical voting from the Balkans, but it resulted in a singer with heart coming through.
posted by glasseyes at 1:48 PM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


glasseyes: that 2007 entry remains one of my all-time favorites ... it hits just the right level of sincere-yet-completely-ridiculous performance (which, apparently, is exactly their genre). That one guy with the shoulder-cat just performs his ass off and it makes me smile every time. (Did you know, btw, that those costumes were designed by Jean Paul Gaultier?) I'd forgotten all about the 2010 entry, which ... is a hot mess. I love it.

Thanks, all, for the kind words! I'm a long-time lurker; this is my first FPP and I wanted to make sure it was epic, as is my love for Eurovision.
posted by zebra at 2:08 PM on March 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


You know, when it rolls around again, we should hop on MetaChat and watch it together live. It's a pity there's no easy way for Americans to watch it live (my in-laws in the UK have a slingbox so that's how we do it).
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 2:39 PM on March 21, 2015


I was going to ask where we were going to chat about it when the final is, because that's always a lovely way to spend it. The discussion used to be in-thread on here, but I think it's been in MetaChat for the last few years (which I haven't been able to do, unfortunately). And glasseyes, I still have quite a few of the 2007 entries on my iPhone - Molitva is a great driving-late-night kind of crazy ballad, and L'amour à la française is awesome even though I don't' know the words!
posted by gemmy at 2:49 PM on March 21, 2015


And I usually watch it live online, potsmokinghippieoverlord. It requires some sort of weird plugin (octo-something), but the eurovision wesite stream is usually good quality and is timely enough so you can follow along on Twitter.
posted by gemmy at 2:52 PM on March 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Checks Australia's entry.....

Phew, could have been worse, we could have sent over Nickki Webster to reprise her one hit single. That would have been better (and funnier really)

Non Antipodeans: Nikki Webster was that little blonde girl running around the 2000 Sydney Olympics opening ceremony, if you are unlucky enough to remember that. She could even take the kangaroos on bicycles with her.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 2:07 AM on March 22, 2015


since you mentioned absurd Super Bowl spectacles....

As absurd spectacles go, Sweden's interval act from the national "melodifestivalen" finals in 2009 is a good one. The Eurovision finals was held in Moscow that year, so as a shoutout to the hosts, they made a eurodisco style "russian bass lovers mix" of a parody song that had appeared in various versions in the earlier broadcasts.

Not surprisingly, the song was better than anything competing in the finals and immediately made it to the top of the Swedish charts, which was entertaining enough, but the real fun was the minor diplomatic crisis that followed, with russian embassy representatives stating that "russians do have humour, much more than swedes, but this wasn't funny in any way" and less diplomatic russian politicians ranting about how the comedians behind it ought to be locked up somewhere.

So for the brave, here's Tingaliin! (Russian Bass-Lovers Remix) by P-Bros ft. DJ Trexx & Olga Pratilova.
posted by effbot at 8:35 PM on March 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


damayanti: "Wait, I thought this was Ireland's entry"

Every Eurovision I prepare by watching this clip and then singing it to people at the viewing party. Most aren't familiar with Ireland's past entrants, shame shame.

And then I get sad about Dermot Morgan and how there will never be more Father Ted. :~(
posted by barnacles at 10:06 PM on March 22, 2015


FYI, the running order for both semifinals has now been announced.
posted by zebra at 6:07 AM on March 23, 2015


I am mad excited for this! Serbia is my favorite, but there are a ton of great songs.

Italy has a kind of generic operatic love song, but the music video is wonderful surprisingly funny!

Of course I love the UK's entry, and of course it will do terribly. Israel is surprisingly great this year, too--I associate them with super-serious ballads.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 2:04 PM on March 23, 2015


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