Eurovision 2014

“Let the Eurovision song contest 2014, begin!”

Personally, I have fallen victim to watching the show for years, and it’s just not going away. Cheesy pop songs, acrobatics, strobe lighting, and Europe united. What’s not to love? Well, it might not be for everyone, but it’s always been a love of mine.

Ukraine open the show with a stereotypical upbeat pop song, featuring a hamster wheel (despite the song seeming to be about a clock) and a beat that kicks the night of in usual Eurovision fashion. Belarus’s “Cheesecake” came up second, and despite the quintet’s quirky song title and simplistic performance, it felt much too understated for to be a real winner. It’s probably rather sad that I already knew that there’s never been a winner in second place, and this year doesn’t look set to break that tradition.

Azerbaijan are one of the more recent entrants to the contest, and typically produce songs I felt would deservedly gain a high place. This year, however, focus seems to have been taken away from the crowd-pleasing song, and placed on the acrobatics. I can’t deny that the singer has a fantastic voice, but somehow it felt… to simple. Iceland produce the exact opposite, and although I don’t think the majority of the voters would be drunk enough to vote for the bright colours and tragic dance routines, it has potential for a high place.

I don’t think I found a single person posting on social networking anything positive about Norway’s entry, despite a fantastic voice, it’s rather out-of-place in Eurovision. Romania’s entry, however, had the perfect formula for a winner – a male and female duet, catchy sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs lyrics, strobe lighting and a circular piano. Destined for a win, I believe. Armenia’s performance began feeling as though it would turn into an Alexander Rybak style record… and instead, it just turned rather nasal and rocky. Personally, this felt like an excellent song – sadly, that doesn’t make it a winner.

Montenegro were the first country of the night to not sing in English, but that did not deduct from the powerful voice and brilliant aesthetics. Poland also seemed to please the general public aesthetically… personally, I felt that were a bit, well, awful. Sorry, Poland. I’ll be rather disappointed if they won.

Greece’s rapper took my favourite with their upbeat, energetic performance and true Eurovision spirit. Despite probably being helped by editing for home viewers, the show felt tight and the Dizzee Rascal style track plus incredible acrobatics probably pleased the majority. Austria gave the most powerful solo act I’ve ever seen, and with a stage presence as phenomenal as she had, it’s understandable why the audience loved her. I have to say I was rather disappointed in Germany’s entry, and have to agree with Graham Norton. What happened to Lena? Ironically, Sweden performed next and sounded rather like the previous German triumph – an excellent voice and a radio ready track… well, as “radio ready” as Eurovision can get.

I know the main theme if Eurovision is “what the fuck?” but France truly excelled this year. I can’t have been the only one who thought that the synth was taken from somewhere… tragically wonderful and disappointing. Russia typically produced an obscure track, and if the performance was supposed to be symmetrical, they failed. Strange. I don’t fully (or even partially) understand Italy’s performance, but I can’t help but admit that I loved it. They did a fantastic job of turning the room into a concert – possibly a winner?

Slovenia, despite their terribly clich├ęd lyrics, put in a rather good effort, and they’re use of layered vocals produced a song that felt well put together, if not a little “normal” for Eurovision. The only boy band of the night came next, and the typical boy band style track was bound to be a hit – Finland seemed to have created a band with the actual musical talent of a real band and the charisma of McFly. Possibly a new favourite. Spain didn’t really keep the mood up, sadly, and I could’ve sworn I heard a missed note. I also got the distinct feeling that she could neither speak nor pronounce English properly… though I dont think that matter in Eurovision.

Switzerland gave the real Alexander Ryback show of the night. Guitars, ukuleles, looks, catchy lyrics and a token tambourine. Perhaps too close to a previous winning formula, though… Hungary gave a promising start, and although a song with a genuine story in it is a bit deep for Eurovision, it wasn’t out of place. Although lyrically it felt like a follow on to Naughty Boy’s La La La, the musical side and choreography made it as refreshingly original as the show can get. Norton’s comparison between Malta’s entry and Mumford and Sons was surprisingly accurate, and I was left shouting at my screen “get off Eurovision, you should be on TV!”

Denmark seemed to be more of a real “boy band”, and despite the song feeling like a terrible caricature of a typical pop song. And, as with all good Eurovision songs, you knew all the words by the time it finished. From the opening line, The Netherlands seemed to have produced a song that was the total antonym of a Eurovision winner, and of Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car. For once, the typical technique of a duet didn’t seem to work… again, a brilliant song, but not for Eurovision.

San Marino brought the penultimate song, created a track that neither succeeded on its own, or as an entry. Apologies, guys. My biggest apology goes to my own country, though. The United Kingdom’s entry was typically terrible. I genuinely fail to understand how we have such spectacularly crap and appropriately disappointing artists in the UK, yet we produce a singer who has slightly less than zero chance of winning. It’s embarrassing.

Now, let’s see who wins…

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