THE YEAR OF THE SLEEVELESS LOOK (FOR MEN)
THE YEAR OF SLINKY SHORT SHIMMERY SILVER DRESSES (FOR WOMEN)
THE YEAR OF BORING BLUE BACKDROPS
The slogan this year is “Confluence of Sound”. Yes, well.
In order of appearance in the Grand Final:
1. ROMANIA. NICO & VLAD. PE-O MARGINE DE LUME
Duet + piano + 3 groovin’ chicks in black. Nico, why the silver dress? You looked much more fabulous in the semi-final.
But a beautiful song even though there’s not much chemistry between you.
Start shiny silver dress count now: 1
2. UNITED KINGDOM. ANDY ABRAHAM. EVEN IF.
1970’s throwback with colorful disco lighting. Not my thing.
3. ALBANIA. OLTA BOKA. Zemrën e lamë peng
Band with impressive & young – 16 year old – female lead singer
Cool costume shying away from the slinky silver dress to something more dramatic
4. GERMANY. NO ANGELS. DISAPPEAR.
4 females draped in voluminous blue and purple fabric
Pre-requisite prototypes: 1 curly redhead, 1 curly brown, 1 long blonde and 1 long dark hair.
An attempt at ensemble work. It would help if they could sing. Reminiscent of Russia’s classic Northern Girl but not as brilliantly comic. Lyrics go: “Why don’t you disappear?” Good idea.
AWARD FOR FINE USE OF WIND MACHINE
NO VERKA for you, Germany.
5. ARMENIA. SIRUSHO. QELE QELE.
Great intro that turns to er, pop. A bit piercing. 3 men enthusiastically dancing around female singer. Nothing outstanding.
Shimmery short silver dress count now…2.
6. BOSNIA & HERZOGOVINA. LACO. Pokušaj.
Is that Helena Bonham Carter in loopy fruit skirt? 4 brides with knitting baskets & white bouquets and Laco in green velvet and bad makeup and a washing line! Exuberant! Catchy! Fun! Brilliant! I love it! Great audience response too.
7. ISRAEL. BOAZ MA’UDA. THE FIRE IN YOUR EYES.
Powerful opening. Nice blend of traditional/contemporary sounds. First of the shiny silvery grey vests for this year. Note to self: sleeveless costumes show biceps to full advantage. 5 backup male vocalists with this year’s default colour scheme of black and grey but only 1 in a vest. Disappointing. The lack of vests, I mean.
Shiny grey/silver vest count: 2
8. FINLAND. Teräsbetoni. Missä miehet ratsastaa.
Lordi Mark II. Really good heavy metal band but, let’s face reality, you’ll never win. Despite 2 bare chests and 2 bonus drummers who wield dangerous looking Viking-type weapons around. Great performance. Love that long hair blowin’ in the wind. Now the lead singer is wearing what I wouldn’t call a vest but it’s sleeveless so it counts in my stats (1). And the two drummers are wearing furry black ‘vests’ (2) and I think the smoke the drummer has a black sleeveless number on (1). Thanks boys.
(Cumulative) Shiny vest-like garments: 6
9. CROATIA. KRALJEVI ULICE & 75 CENTS. ROMANCA.
Old man in white. Middle aged man in black. Youthful female in scarlet dress on a stand – Why? I think she’s a music box doll – who comes down and dances about. Throw in a double bass, guitar, female singer, gramophone, doves in background and hanging bottles xylophone. Why? Not sure but fun. Lots of panama hats but only one vest.
(Cumulative) Shiny vest-like garments: 7
10. POLAND. ISIS GEE. FOR LIFE
The singer is alarming. Sky blue evening gown with 4 female musos in white and 1 male pianist and much billowy smoke.
NO VERKAS for you, Isis.
11. ICELAND. EUROBAND. THIS IS MY LIFE.
Male singer solo joined on stage by female singer for second verse. Black with touch of pink in outfits. Shiny silvery vest count goes up by 1. Song doesn’t grab me but nice build up at end. Iceland can do better.
Shiny sleeveless vest count: 8
12. TURKEY. MOR VE ÖTESI. DELI.
Mr Bean, lead singer! Or is it the (non-Dwight-Shrute) alien from Galaxy Quest? Tight 4 piece band. Loads of energy! Silvery glitter guitar! Goblin people in backdrop! Exuberant leaping! Catchy song. It might help to know that they’re not singing about cabanosi…’deli’ is Turkish for insane.
AWARD FOR ENTHUSIASTIC JUMPING
13. PORTUGAL. Vânia Fernandes. Senhora do mar.
Traditional anthemic ballad
1 female singer in black with ensemble of 5 dramatic dancers in white. A military beat. A wind machine. Reminds me of some of the beautiful ballads from Montenegro and Macedonia but doesn’t quite come together.
Just something I’ve noticed…if an artist says ‘thank you’ as soon as they’ve finished the song, they’re not an artist. A good singer needs at least a few seconds.
14. LATVIA. Pirates of the Sea. Wolves of the Sea.
Some booing greets them. 3 male pirates and 3 pirate wenches in suitable attire. A bit of hearty pirate shenanigans. Hilarious.
BEST PIRATE COSTUMES OF THE YEAR AWARD (not much competition this year)
15. SWEDEN. Charlotte Pirrelli. Hero
Nice visual opening where she comes out of black & white into colour but , I’m sorry, she is an alarming looking person (see also 10, Poland above).
NO VERKA for Charlotte this year.
16. DENMARK. Simon Mathew. All Night Long.
A nothing song. Dude in braces and cap with boppy band and 4 backup singers…wait…they’re all in GREY VESTS!
Sleeveless grey/silver vest count: 12
NO VERKA for you, Simon
17. GEORGIA. Diana Gurtskaya. Peace will come.
1 sight-challenged female singer in black with 5 back up singers in black including 2 bleached blond men. Special effects! Flames! Bleached blonds defy gravity! And the big one – SPOILER ALERT – a white sheet drifts over them all and when it is removed they’re all in WHITE OUTFITS! Whoa! Studio version was better but I love this song.
18. UKRAINE. Ani Lorak. Shady Lady.
I keep confusing Ani Lorak with An Thrax. Must stop doing that. Must give her credit – I think this is the first use of 4 men in a box. Even pre-dating Azerbajain’s 2013 man-in-a-box number. And she sits on top of a box – pre-dating Dami Im (2017). This little affectation – ding, ding and head back – is annoying. Clever choreography and she has stamina but… Still, that final note is a powerful on so I’ll give her a Verka.
19. FRANCE. Sébastien Tellier. Divine.
Indie synth pop
Male hippie holding inflatable globe shows up in a jeep. Five back up singers all with sunglasses and fake beard. Not sure about this one.
20. AZERBAIJAN. Elnur & Samir. Day after Day
Divine. White feathers, crazy contact lenses, black devil’s throne. And a goblet of red wine poured over a young nubile thing. Wait! The evil dude in black is now a white angel…how did that happen? This is not just a song, this is a piece of theatre. Exceptional. Extraordinary. Love it.
Eurovision, you didn’t know what hit you, did you? I think this didn’t win because it was Azerbaijan’s debut and you don’t let a debut country run away with the prize. I have a theory why Ell & Nikki won two years later and it’s not because they were any good. Brilliant.
Would give it 10, no 11 Verkas if I could.
21. GREECE. Kalomira. My Secret Combination.
Just like My Number One. She has stamina. And SPOILER ALERT cool costume change from little pink dress (not silver) to nice bejewelled flowery number. A few boos at end.
NO VERKAS for Greece this year.
22. SPAIN. Rodolfo Chikilicuatre. Baila el Chiki-chiki
Greeted with some boos. Comic song only if you understand Spanish. Unfortunately I don’t. 1 M with ridiculous black wig and 5 dancing girls – 3 in purple – why? Great ankle boots, girls. And one of them can do the splits.
ZERO VERKAS. This is a very low scoring year because many of the songs are TERRIBLE.
23. SERBIA. Jelena Tomašević. Oro.
Trad Balkan ballad
Very pretty song. Female singer in elegant silver gown. 2 females in midnight blue who dance, sing, and play violin. 3 men in white shirts, 1 with…silver vest.
Shiny silver vest count: 13
24. RUSSIA. DILAM BILAN. BELIEVE
Well, dude in white with barefeet on his knees, 1 violinist and 1 skater … are they non-identical twins? Really don’t like the line ‘I believe in me’. Rips open shirt towards end but not sexy. Very calculated song and I get the sense that Dilam doesn’t believe a word he’s singing. I’ll give it a Verka for the fake ice and genuine ice skater.
25. NORWAY. Maria. Hold on.
Girl power in shiny navy blue. Norway has carefully given representation to different female body types and different expression of female clothing. That’s a nice way of saying there’s a fat lead singer in a dress and three skinny back up singers in pants. Enjoyable.
THE RESULTS YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR:
- RUSSIA – Dilam Bilan. Believe
- UKRAINE – Ani Lorak. Shady Lady
- GREECE – Kalomira. My Secret Combination
My Top Three:
- AZERBAIJAN – Elmur & Samir. Day After Day
- BOSNIA & HERZGOVINA – Laka. Pokusaj
- ROMANIA – Nico & Vlad – Pe-o Margine de lume