Eurovision 2017: harmony, unity, diversity, international conflict
March 22, 2017 10:50 AM   Subscribe

With less than two months until 2017s most important cultural and voting event, another major problem has occurred. Against staff resignations, a possible ineligible entry and a hostile backdrop, the Russian selection, Julia Samoylova, has been barred from traveling to the event host due to entering the Crimea from Russia, a decision which may not be surprising. The Russian Foreign Minister is apparently outraged, and the EBU is trying to broker a settlement. Across the bookmakers, Italy is currently the clear favorite to win, with Bulgaria, Sweden and Belgium also receiving much betting, with strong showings from ex-Yugoslav countries and some commentators thinking this could be Australia's year in Europe.
posted by Wordshore (22 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Dammit, forgot the previously. The previous Eurovision 2017 thread, from January.
posted by Wordshore at 10:56 AM on March 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

PORTUGAL. I seriously get shivers down my spine just thinking about that song.
posted by kariebookish at 10:59 AM on March 22, 2017 [10 favorites]

Addendum to Portugal's entry: the guy had suffered a hernia which he disguised with outsized clothes. I believe he'll look a bit more dapper in Kiev. Or wherever we might end up.
posted by kariebookish at 11:03 AM on March 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm really excited for this year. There are almost no dirge-like ballads, at least a couple entries that will likely have bonkers stage shows (don't disappoint me, Yodel It! or stageful of shirtless Montenegrins), and SunStroke Project is back and has swiped the Erotic Cooking theme from Poland's entry a couple years ago. Just in general, I would say the average song quality is as good as it's been in the 10-ish years I've paid attention to Eurovision, which is mostly good but might make compiling my personal rankings difficult.
posted by Copronymus at 11:11 AM on March 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

If Eurovision does get moved at short notice, I hope it's held in the Armadillo (the SEC) in Glasgow. Outside of Scandinavia (where it's been held a lot in recent years because of wins), that seems like pretty much the perfect host city and arena.
posted by Wordshore at 11:11 AM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Apparently Robbie Williams has volunteered to represent Russia in the event of their chosen contestant being barred. Whether they take him up on that is another question, though.
posted by acb at 11:21 AM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

(Thanks, Wordshore. I had been pondering starting a FanFare Talk thread to cover new developments since the January thread closed.)

The Russia thing - wow. Eager to see how that plays out. My feeling is Russia seems super desperate for a win after they got stung so bad by Conchita Wurst's win (when the area loudly booed any mention of Russia during the vote tallying). They went from sending dancing bread-baking grannies to bland blondes singing about peace and freedom. When that didn't work, last year they straight-up carbon copied Sweden's win from the year before (male singer, upbeat tune, techy staging with interactive animated effects..) That nearly worked, so you know the Ukraine win pissed them off bad. So now they offer up - a pretty blond girl in a wheelchair singing a blandly inspirational tune. (Bland as in BLAND. "After the night, there's a light." Really? Really is there? I never knew that!) I can just hear some Russian oligarchs saying "Look how sweet and inspiring she is! We dare you to vote against her, you heartless Western European scum!"

Rant over.

I dig the Italy song. I dig Sweden's mashup of Justin Timberlake and OK Go, though the lead singer needs some "oomph." Really hope Romania's yodeling song (seriously, yodeling is a Romanian thing?) makes the finals just for the LOLs.
posted by dnash at 11:24 AM on March 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

Wordshore, I believe Berlin is willing & able to step in at short notice. Even if it'd be nice to bike down to the SEC.
posted by kariebookish at 12:10 PM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm happy to stick it to Russia (really, that just seemed antagonistic) and all, but mostly I'm just glad I don't have to sit through another year of Douwe Bob.

(But don't let my Adequately Slowed Down Ages Ago, TYVM Radio 2 grump fool you. I'm as tickled as tickled can be that it's my favorite time of the year again, and toooooootally am already planning the party.)
posted by sldownard at 1:07 PM on March 22, 2017

PORTUGAL. I seriously get shivers down my spine just thinking about that song.

Just happened to me. Well done!
posted by sutt at 1:23 PM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

PORTUGAL. I seriously get shivers down my spine just thinking about that song.

That is something different - I've given up on Eurovision ages ago, so I am grateful you drew my attention to this artist, kariebookish
posted by mumimor at 1:35 PM on March 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

At this late stage, it seems pretty certain that it *will* be Kyiv, but with a certain level of supervision. We've already got Sweden's Christer Bjorkman in a show production role after the last bout of Ukrainian resignation/sackings so I wouldn't be surprised if more help gets given to stop this circus turning into a full shambles.

It's a shame about all the Eurodrama, because the songs this year are interesting, fun & varied. Go Eesti! Go Belarus! Go Latvia! Go bloody San Marino!
posted by norabelle at 2:03 PM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

He accused the Ukrainian authorities of supporting "right-wing fascist bandits" and proposed renaming Eurovision in Kiev "Reich-vision" ... supporting Eurovision there would be "the same as supporting the fascist Olympic Games of 1936 in Berlin".

Wow. That's some outsized rhetoric from Russia...

I can't wait for this! I haven't been able to watch live the last few years, but it's on my calendar this year!
posted by gemmy at 2:05 PM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

"Ukraine is hosting the competition after its singer, Jamala, caused an upset by winning in Sweden last year. Her song, 1944, was about Joseph Stalin's mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars during World War Two."

Wowwwww I want to hear this...
posted by naju at 3:47 PM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

naju, here you go. Jamala with 1944. It's one of the smartest songs to win the contest for a while. I know that norabelle saw Jamala perform it live at the semi-finals last year and was blown away by her performance & presence.
posted by kariebookish at 4:16 PM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Maybe her performance and presence were better live, because as much as I want to like the song due to its subject matter I just found it kind of an all-around bland, paint-by-numbers Sad Ballad; I only think it won because people cast votes for it specifically as a vote against Russia.

Australia was robbed, though really we all know who 2016's real winner was.
posted by Itaxpica at 10:03 PM on March 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

Russia and the UK will only vote for each other and will get zero points from everyone else in a massive turn about from the voting during my childhood. New world order, right there.
posted by fshgrl at 10:11 PM on March 22, 2017

I knew there would be immense amounts of popcorn as soon as Ukraine won last year, but the Eurodrama has been delicious.

Cynical and inhumane, the Russian Foreign Ministry says about the decision to ban their contestant. Cynical and inhumane.

posted by E. Whitehall at 1:56 AM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

There are almost no dirge-like ballads

I swear to fucking God if you are referring negatively to Armenia's 2014 dubstep ballad Not Alone I will fight you.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:13 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I swear to fucking God if you are referring negatively to Armenia's 2014 dubstep ballad Not Alone I will fight you.

Absolutely not, I would never say a bad thing about Aram MP3, not least because that song fucking rules and is about as far from a dirge as anything that could ever be called a ballad. Also here is a quote from him about it: "It's a kind of song that perhaps I would recommend to close the eyes during listening. Not prepared for dancing, but to open the soul, because it penetrates into the depths of the human soul."

All of which is true, except for the dancing part.
posted by Copronymus at 11:36 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Russia offered deal to perform via satellite.

The EBU had “taken the unprecedented move to offer Channel One Russia the opportunity for Julia to still participate in this year’s contest by performing live in the second semi-final via satellite”, it said.

“Should the Russian entry qualify for the grand final the same solution would apply … This is something that has never been done before in the contest’s 60-year history.”

I love this bit, though:
Samoilova said she could not understand why Ukrainian authorities saw “some kind of threat in a little girl like me”.

Playing the innocent angel, pretending she doesn't understand that it's not that she's viewed as a threat, but that she's complicit in Russia's invasion of Crimea by performing there last year.
posted by dnash at 12:00 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Russia declines to perform via satellite, calling it a "strange offer."
posted by zebra at 6:28 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

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