The Eurovision Song Contest 2005
The contest followed the BBC THREE news programme, hosted by the lovely Sevi and a temporary person.
Two presenters, nicknamed "Masha" and "Pasha" apparently. A cute girl in a shiny green dress, properly known as Mariya Efrosinina; and somebody Paddy thinks is like a young Julian Clary - though I don't see what he is on about to be honest! His real name is Pavlo Shylko. I'm not quite certain where "Masha" and "Pasha" came from...
The commentator, Paddy O'Connell. You might recognise him from the irreverent BBC Three news at 7 o'clock, though to be honest I'd rather spend half an hour looking at his co-host, Sevi Lawson... :-)
The contest is being held in Kiev ("KYIV"), in The Ukraine. Formerly part of the Soviet Republic, the country became independent in 1991. And, barely six months ago, they decided to change their leadership in the distinct non-voting way. And now? Hosting Eurovision. A wild ride.
After a few snippets of Masha and Pasha trying to figure out how best to start the performance (I guess they're saving Ruslana for Saturday), we go into the first song...
1 Austria "Y Asi"
Performed by Global.Kryner ('kree-ner', not 'cry-ner')
A cute yodeller and a real tiny brass band all dressed up in what appears to be the national costume. You can rather imagine this lot yodelling on a mountain someplace as Julie Andrews leaps into the frame...
2 Lithuania "Little By Little"
Performed by Laura & The Lovers
The song is by "Laura and the lovers", and if that is Laura - what on earth is she wearing?!? An upbeat song, this one.
3 Portugal "Amar" (To Love)
Performed by 2B
One of the backing dancers backflips to the group to reveal a male singer that looks as if he's into techno-rock, and a fluffy female lead that is like a cross between Cyndi Lauper and Bonnie Lang... The girl can sing, the song would be greatly improved if it was just her vocals.
4 Moldova "Boonika Bate Doba" (Granny beats her drum, I think)
Performed by Zoob Si Zoub
I think Paddy said the title of this song means "the grandmother with the drum and the rocking chair". So an aging-rocker type leaps onto stage and they perform an energetic load of nonsense which is climaxed by...
...a granny banging a drum.
5 Latvia "The War Is Not Over"
Performed by Walters & Kazha
Two guys sitting and strumming guitars to a slow ballad, this is almost a cliché in itself, though to make this into something a little a bit special they sign the end of the song; which may help to bring a little bit of Eurovision to those who are denied the opportunity to hear the good songs (and, perhaps, thankfully unable to hear the bad ones!).
The BBC also provides some subtitles on Saturday's Grand Final, via interactive means. Non-English songs are subtitled in an English translation.
I wonder if there is a subtext to this song.
6 Monaco "Tout de Moi" ("All of Me")
Performed by Lise Darly
I had no idea that LeAnne Rimes could speak French so well! This is quite a nice gentle song set to some slightly over-enthusiastic music. I quite like this. Okay, she doesn't really look that much LeAnne...
7 Israel "Hasheket Shenish'Ar" ("The Silence That Remains")
Performed by Shiri Maimon
While we're on the 'country' theme, the Israeli singer reminds me a little bit (and only a really little bit) of LeAnn Womack, only younger (in the face-on shot). The song is not bad, and is in Israeli and English. I'm sure this will get through.
8 Belarus "Love Me Tonight"
Performed by Angelica Agurbash
The girl has a really massive gold dress and a tiara. Her backing dancers looked like they got their dress sense from a clash of grunge and Oliver Cromwell. As is now all too common in Eurovision, the girl's dress downsizes mid-song.
A bouncy kind of song, but not one that is especially memorable.
9 Netherlands "My Impossible Dream"
Performed by Glennis Grace
My initial thought was "Scary Spice on a bad hair day", but she can sing. I just feel... I don't know. There was something missing - stage presence perhaps? The song was okay, and powerful. It is really hard to say what is wrong here. Something is, but her being in the grand final will indeed be an impossible dream...
In between the songs, as always, are the collection of snippets showing life in the Ukraine and all the things you might have wanted to know ... had you known that the Ukraine existed before Ruslana...
10 Iceland "If I Had Your Love"
Performed by Selma
A cute lead girl, I'm not so certain about the gold backing dancers. An energetic number from Iceland...
Just in passing I notice there seems to be quite a number of female lead singers with blonde hair.
11 Belgium "Le Grand Soir" (A great evening)
Performed by Nuno Resende
I am unable to comment on this song.
I thought I'd pop out to feed the cats so only caught the beginning (and didn't figure it was a 'winner'), a power ballad by a man with a stylised beard.
Upon replay, it seems that for SOME reason the VCR screwed up and everything was recorded at the wrong speed. The recording was made in LP mode, and it appears to be playing it as an SP tape!
12 Estonia "Let's Get Loud"
Performed by Suntribe
A fairly perky girl band making a lot of noise! Not a bad effort, but I think they were a little on the "We're not brats, really!" side. I can imagine if the VCR played this back as SP, they'd be like The Cheeky Girls crossed with The Hamster Song.
13 Norway "In My Dreams"
Performed by Wig Wam
Apparently popular - chart-topping - in Norway. This is, I guess, the Scandanavian answer to "The Darkness", only more so. Perhaps the song will grow on me, but I thought it was a case of "so bad it was almost good". I feel this will get through, so as to inflict the rock and roll madness (pretty much every cliché stolen right out of "This Is Spinal Tap"!) on Europe twice in a week.
14 Romania "Let Me Try"
Performed by Luminita Anghel & Sistem
Disc-cutters and angle-grinders on metal drums, the visuals of this song had a whole kind of "Beyond Thunderdome" vibe. The song? The BBC announcer said the singer reminded him of Ruby Wax, and like Ruby, this girl's voice was as abrasive as the grinders...
15 Hungary "Forogj Világ" ("Spin The World")
Performed by Nox
A woman not unlike a sexed up VicBec and five men who did a lot of tap dancing while holding their arms in the air, everybody dressed in black... Not much I can say about this, really!
16 Finland "Why"
Performed by Geir Rönning
While the lead singer looked like an ITV daytime TV presenter, did you notice the black bloke with the hat and this whole Usher thing going? Credit to the guy, his song wasn't bad. I reckon this'll get through. Paddy said he's been asked to ask the UK to vote for Finland... Is this sort of thing allowed?
Masha and Pasha briefly came on to ask us to vote for their favourite song and... PLEASE - we're all digital and stuff now so can we have the Eurovision put through on a feed so we can go interactive or switch to the narrative audio or something and thus NOT have to put up with the smarmy comments and incessive whining of the announcer. While Paddy had his moments, I could have done without many of his negative comments and whinges. Come back Terry!
[INSERTED LATER: oddly, Paddy seems to be much better on BBC THREE's news programme, perhaps he didn't take to Ukrainian food, or maybe it was a rough flight over...?]
17 FYR Macedonia "Ti Si Son" ("Make My Day")
Performed by Martin
Imagine that guy from "Roswell" crossed with "Jamie Oliver" and dress him in a dusty pink shirt. That is the lead singer of this song. As for the others, the girls wore extremely short dresses and several camera angles were low - intentional? I don't think we'll make his day as the song wasn't really that special. Paddy was more definite in thinking this wouldn't get through...
18 Andorra "La Mirada Interior" ("Look Inside Yourself")
Performed by Marian Van Der Wal
Interesting costumes and performance, kinda Middle Ages meets the "Cirque de Soleil". While not knowing what they were singing (it sounds like a mélânge of French and Spanish?), the song has a whole rhythm so might get through.
19 Switzerland "Cool Vibes"
Performed by Vanilla Ninja
Good grief! It is Vanilla Ninja! That said, perhaps the loud girl group were not so well known in England - I saw them quite a lot on Germany's MTV (you'll see this on the 19.2E channels guide on my Digibox pages). The girls are apparently Estonian. That I didn't know.
The song, well, I think it is typical of a pop number but possibly the girls will have to get by on good looks and a powerful performance (or simply fifteen worse entries - that might not be so hard?) because the song doesn't have a lot of substance to it, there's a lot of chorus repetition. Having said that, Ruslana's "Wild Dances" got through the semi and won the final and that song was basically gibberish!
20 Croatia "Vukovi Umiru Sami" ("Wolves Die Alone")
Performed by Boric Novković feat. Lado Members
We're used to arty things from Croatia, but this was just like one of those songs you see on B4 and you think "no thanks"...
21 Bulgaria "Lorraine"
Performed by Kaffe
[ no picture - can YOU help? ]
There is something 'Eurovision' about this song. A man wearing peach and holding a brass instrument (and not playing it), a bopping guitarist, a pianist with a Korg, a dressed-in-white lead singer with gelled hair, and a forgettable song.
Amazingly the "band of the year" in Bulgaria.
My Digibox didn't like it either, it decided to say "No satellite signal is being received" for half of this song. For the missing bit, I bet that guy still didn't play his brass instrument!
22 Ireland "Love?"
Performed by Donna and Joe
A 17 year old man called Joseph who looked a bit of a nerd, and his blonde sister Donna who dresses like Pink. An interesting mix. Joseph might have been better without his glasses, he'd have looked less Doogie Howser.
The song. Well, there was the Irish whistle, riverdancing... A rather noisy affair from Ireland. This ought to get through.
23 Slovenia "Stop"
Performed by Omar Naber
Um... He looks like an early '80s working class teen rebel (what followed on from punk), and he is singing a song that is a cross between loud and quiet. Paddy reckons this song will be through, I reckon the female co-singer looks a bit, I don't know, robotic.
24 Denmark "I'm Talking To You"
Performed by Jacob Sveistrup
Imagine a young John Lithgow wearing a pink patterned shirt. And singing the typical sort of piano ballad with a slightly more upbeat chorus with five men-in-black that look as if they're two decades too late to join "Wham!". He might get through, but it isn't such an outstanding song.
25 Poland "Czarna Dziewczyna" ("Black Girl")
Performed by Ivan & Delfin
A southern-Spanish looking man and, yes, some not-white girls, though they looked more "arabic" than "black". Frilly dress reminiscent of the flamenco. An up-tempo song with frenetic accordianisms. Not what you'd expect from Poland. Then, he ripped his shirt. An anti-climax, if you ask me.
The voting process
Masha - now changed into a black and mostly-white number, and possibly different hair, looking now like Aleks Krotoski, introduced the voting process.
My favourite ten? Oh, hard to say. In no order:
If you think some of my choices are eccentric, I picked five or so I liked, and then I picked out of the remaining those that I disliked the least.
Here's my vote for top three worst songs - in no specific order:
As these are my pick of the three worst songs, I predict they'll all feature in the final ten songs.
- FYR Macedonia
According to Paddy, here are some predictions from a website, collated from the thoughts of a group of experts:
- The Netherlands
Moray has allowed me to share with you his predictions, for comparison:
You can't do the 1-to-8,10,12 votes for the semi-final, but either way it arrives at ten entries. I'm pleased to see that we agree on six of them! :-)
- 1 point...Ireland (The milkybar kid and his mum)
- 2 points...Moldova
- 3 points...Slovenia
- 4 points...Poland ("Lai" is the new "la", apparently)
- 5 points...Netherlands (would have been higher if it wasn't for the performance)
- 6 points...Hungary (A.K.A. Born-and-bred-in-captivity Dances)
- 7 points...Estonia (A.K.A. Indian Spice, Miss Piggy Spice, Giraffe Spice,etc.)
- 8 points...Israel
- 10 points...Switzerland
- 12 points...Iceland (I was shocked and gutted when the presenters went "Latvia!" I thought this would have won the qualifier :( This deserved better.)
The interval act was a well-choreographed ballet of some twenty girls dressed in red, and man wearing - what, furs? It was presented in four parts.
Okay, here come the ten winners...
Oh dear! "No" to so many of my choices. I feel sorry for Austria, Ireland - and several others. But I've seen enough of Eurovision to know that the voting doesn't always make sense, nor choose the best song...
- Romania - I rather expected this
- Norway - Obvious really
- Moldova - the granny can bang her drum for Europe on Saturday
- Denmark - the teacher is through
- FYR Macedonia - oh my God!
- Croatia - yuck!
- Latvia - with the sign language
Latvia, so elated at getting through (they were the last card opened) they were unable to stand up any more!
My prediction? 30% correct. Well, that sounds better than three out of ten!
I scored considerably better with my "most hated" entries, all three got through, 100%, exactly as I expected!
The experts on the website (said to get 70% correct) achieved 60% this year. They miss-called Iceland, The Netherlands, Bellarus, and Slovenia.
At the end of the night, there did not appear to be a listing of the order that the losers ranked in, possibly to hide the shame of countries that flunked the semi!
Read about the Grand Final (songs)
Back to the Eurovision 2005 index
Back to the Eurovision main index
Copyright © 2005 Rick Murray
Images copyright © 2005 EBU-UER
Broadcast in beautiful widescreen by the BBC (on BBC THREE)