The Eurovision Song Contest 2005
The semi-final


The contest followed the BBC THREE news programme, hosted by the lovely Sevi and a temporary person.
Sevi on the irreverent BBC THREE news.

The auditorium...

Big, isn't it?

Masha and Pasha (hopefully you can tell which is which!).
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...



The Songs

1 Austria "Y Asi"

Performed by Global.Kryner ('kree-ner', not 'cry-ner')

The Austrian entry, nice dress...   Everybody likes a happy ending!
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 Lithuanian entry.
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

Now tell me this girl isn't a mélânge of Cyndi Lauper and Bonnie Lang...
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

There's the granny and there's the drum...

Nuff said!
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

If you ever wanted to know what 'over' is in sign language...

As I'm known for 'wondering' odd things, I wonder what type of sign language this is. After all, BSL is a lot more animated and fluid than ASL... or perhaps this is Latvian? Could it be understood by ASL/BSL viewers? Do sign languages share a number of things in common - like 'I' and 'over' and 'war'?
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

You probably have no idea what I am on about with my reference to LeAnne Rimes - she doesn't look like it from this angle! :-)
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

It's an amazing dress, I'll save the pictures of it until the final (yes, she gets through - and it is no surprise at all)...
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

Was it a Bad Hair Day or did she intend to look like this?
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

Something missing, but I don't know what...
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...

Random Ukrainians...



10 Iceland "If I Had Your Love"

Performed by Selma

Certainly not Bjork... it might be the girl that presented the Icelandic vote last year though...?
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

The Belgian entry.
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

There's not a lot I can add to this picture!
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

There are so many rock clichés - it must be really hard to fit every single one of them into the one song!
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

Ruby Wax and the techno-nonsense.

Oooh, pyrotechnics! Just as well nobody told the Norwegian guys that!
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

The Hungarian entry.
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

And on Thursday lunchtime he'll be back on ITV2 presenting "Celebrity Fill-A-Shopping-Trolley-With-As-Much-Crap-As-You-Can-In-Sixty-Seconds"!
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 in the 'Green Room'.
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

In retrospect, I do wonder about the dorky-looking guys at the back...
The perspective is misleading, they aren't as close as they seem.   With short dresses and low camera angles, I'm sure this made the day of some of the male demographic... :-)
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

Bizarre costumes...
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

Imagine the Spice Girls given a whole load of attitude (and I don't mean the Scary/Posh type of gripings).

My favourite is the one on the right...
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

If this guy doesn't give up, he'll die alone too...
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

Given that it's an Irish song, it is pretty much a given that there'll be a spot of 'Riverdance' in it somewhere!   It might have been better without the nerd, I mean, the hair alone gets 'nul pwah'! And glasses? How many other contestants wore glasses? (the 'rock shades' don't count)
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

He's twenty years too late to be telling Maggie where to go, and Bush is too stupid to understand a four-letter word (shame, I think we'd have many four letter words to call him!).
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

John Lithgow in a yucky pink shirt... or is it?
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

# Awlmos-'eaven...
# West Vergineeeeeyer!
# Bloorij mowntayns
# Shanado-ah reevah!

Oh, sorry, where was I? Oh yes, Poland's entry...
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

Quite amusing - the voting was started and stopped by a quick tinkle of the chimes...   You can see what I mean about the similarity between Masha and Aleks Krotoski.

If you are thinking 'Aleks who?' - she used to present a computer games show on Channel 4, and while I've not seen her around recently, she does the reviews of computer games on BBCi. Go to the entertainment menu (p500), pick Reviews, and choose a computer game...
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:
Some of my favourites...

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.


Masha and Pasha asking you to vote...   Too late to call now, but the number prefixes might be useful next year? 090 11 21 31 xx ?


According to Paddy, here are some predictions from a website, collated from the thoughts of a group of experts:


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! :-)


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.

Part of the interval presentation.



The winners

Okay, here come the ten winners...
Norway is through!
Israel is through!
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...


An elated Latvia.
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!


The list of winners...


That's all!


Read about the Grand Final (songs)

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Copyright © 2005 Rick Murray
Images copyright © 2005 EBU-UER
Broadcast in beautiful widescreen by the BBC (on BBC THREE)