Now, I know in Hebrew ‘hallelujah’ means ‘Praise God’ but I’m pretty sure on the 20th of May 2006 it was used all over Europe – and in one nation in particular – as a substitute for ‘finally’. On multiple occasions/for multiple reasons. And God’s name will not have been used in a positive way…
…and that’s all due to the quality of the show, both on an organisational and musical level. The Greeks are a lovely and warm people but it’s been a long time since we witnessed such a poorly staged edition of the Contest. The stage hardly provides any flexibility with those giant staircases in the back and the video screens don’t have any effect. The lighting is pretty standard for almost all performances and there’s this weird line of light shining from the edge of the stage giving everyone some kind of stockings (watch carefully, it’s there!). The camerawork is dodgy with some odd angle choices and the front shots are almost all of the time in a bit of a frog perspective which makes it all rather distorted. I’m not a happy camper. Luckily there’s Sakis to lift my spirits – he’s so scrumptious *insert enchanted look*
On a musical level I am completely underwhelmed as well. I originally had another title in mind for this blogpost: ‘(this seems to last) en evighet’ and believe me when I say it took a lot of my patience to sit it all out. It all started dodgy and never really recovered did it? That Swiss cheese was an Omen with a capital O and the Moldovan Choco coming right after it only confirmed. Worst start to a Contest ever! And who on earth would offer me her choco in Eurovision (on stage that is)?! Israel (outdated gospel) and Latvia (half a chorus is not enough) only made me fall more into despair and it was only when we got to song number 5 when I finally remembered there was also some good to be found in this final. Not that Malta (you DO…sound off key), Denmark (she’s highly slappable), UK (it’s a hard knock life…for me.), Ukraine (it’s too empty in production and performance), Croatia (how they butchered a great cynical entry) and Ireland (outdated and demented) lifted my spirits…
That only leaves 4 songs in the middle field before we get to the top ten, oops! Lithuania didn’t really manage to tickle my funny bone but I get what they’re trying to do, Spain is simply all over the place but (much like their with their 2005 entry) I love their entry so I can look past it, FYROM tried to get to Shakira level but failed miserably and Romania is just too busy and shouty for me. If you have the feeling i’m trying to get this over and done with you’re quite right, I HATED this year.
So over to The One That Got Away in the semi:
Estonia – Through my window
I know I know, but with all that lack of musical inspiration – as described above – I was almost begging for a decent schlager and a Schlager this is. It thunders on from start to end and miss Oxenryd does, after a bit of a dodgy start, a great job in selling this. A bit dated perhaps, yes, but it still brings a smile to my face in this dark year. Hate those white boots though. A deliberate non-mention of Cake Ryan: she messed up.
Let’s get this over and done with I’d say – here are the points of the Dimivision jury!
1 point: Greece – Everything
Hard to believe this is the angel singing a beautiful lullaby way back in 1982. Addicted to the cigarette these days by the sound of things! She’s still powerful though but it’s getting to the point where it’s just too much and even though she knows how to fill the stage on her own there’s something that puts me off. One must know how to dose that energy and Anna Vissi is simply overselling this.
2 points: Armenia – Without your love
Another country joining the ever growing participants list and another one that’s clearly determined not to go down the road of (from the top of my head) Andorra for example. This is a nice little pop song with a bit of ethnic influences (quelle surprise) and it comes across quite well even though André isn’t a great singer. His accent is a bit thick which makes his ‘since I love you’ at the end of the chorus sound like ‘simsalabim’, an expression magicians tend to use. Or am I just distracted by that somewhat bewildering act? An okay debut.
3 points: Sweden – Invincible
There she is again! Enough already!! Ego’s are so hard to satisfy I guess and so we ‘welcome’ Carola for a third time – if she’s trying to cover every decade I suppose we’ll see her again in MF quite soon, shoot me now. The vocal powerhouse didn’t loose any of her feathers and the chin is going crazy in every note but much unlike the Estonian happy schlager I think this sounds seriously out of place. It even looks dated with the veil and the wind machine and the flags – somebody bring me bucket, quick! Why three points then? Didn’t you read the paragraphs above?
4 points: France – Il était temps
One of the (in the meantime) many who deserve a slap across the face for ruining a great song. This was one of my favorites before the Contest but Virginie Pouchain ruined all of her chances by letting her nerves get the better of her. The simply can’t dose her notes and just goes full out in every single note, trampling over all emotionality in this fragile song. On top of that she can’t keep the pace so all beauty simply dies. Such a pity.
5 points: Turkey – Superstar
How long is that bridge? You’ve only got three minutes, you know? Much ado about nothing but on the other hand it is kinda discotastic and Sibel Tüzün sells it well even though she’s not always that steady vocally. This probably wouldn’t have made top ten in any other year (bar 2002) but it swings enough to convince me now.
6 points: Norway – Alvedansen
And only now do we get to the good stuff. Although this could have been much better with an adapted stage setting – there was far too much light! A darker stage would have translated the mood much better in my opinion. Now it’s sliding down to ‘pretty standard’ which is a pity as this song is realy atmospheric. I had this down as a possible winner beforehand but when I saw it I realised it wasn’t going to happen. Christine Guldbrandsen did a great job though.
7 points: Germany – No no never
A clear case of overrehearsal, this: everything that made it so heavenly tongue-in-cheeck has just fallen down to being standard routine and that’s how it translates in the atmosphere on screen. There’s no sparkle anymore and that’s its downfall. Still like the country vibe and I think Jane Comerford does a great job vocally but that outfit is simply 20 years too young on her. A missed opportunity all in all.
8 points: Bosnia-Herzegovina – Lejla
And then suddenly you get a class act like this, out of nowhere. Well, Bosnia-Herzegovina actually. Connaisseurs recognize the hand of Joksimović in the composition and that is not necessarily a bad thing in this field now and much unlike Norway they manage to evoke the right visual atmosphere – actually this is the only one where the Greeks hit the nail on the head when it comes to lighting. Lovely in all its simplicity (even though the minimalistic choreography even feels a bit forced).
10 points: Russia – Never let you go
The first showing of Diva Bilan (yes yes, pun intended) and it has to be said: the boy delivers. A slick routine (loving the shower of roses from the ghost in the piano) that uses the stage very well. Being 10th in the line-up this was the first one, for me, that came across well on screen. Vocally everything is ok, I am obvisouly hughly annoyed by his thick accent but it’s a minor annoyance as the rest of it works. It’s a great little pop song and it delivers. But really Dima: that hairdo is an absolute no go.
12 points: Finland – Hard rock hallelujah
Seeing this on screen for the first time it hit me: this would walk with it. Lordi are true to themselves, nothing’s forced and it works. They might claim to be Hard Rock (and according to my metalhead of a brother they in fact were) but this song is anything but: it’s just a clever pop song in rock disguise. Well sold obviously, I love the harmony melody the female monster is singing and you just don’t know where to look do you? The trick with the wings is Eurovision Gold and the only remark I have is that the music should have been much louder in the soundmix. So finally Finland managed to get the Contest to Helsinki, HALLELUJAH! Long overdue! And finally a rock song does well! Hallelujah bis!
And finally this Contest is over! Hallelujah times 3!
And while Russia’s on the rise in the all time top 25 it’s remarkable how well Norway’s doing in the top 10, top 5 suddenly seems possible!
1 France 204 (1960 – 1977 – 1991)
2 Netherlands 193 (1970 – 1971 – 1993)
3 Belgium 169 (1968 – 1983 – 1986 – 1990 – 2003)
4 Finland 161 (1962 – 1979 – 1985 – 1988 – 1989 – 2006)
5 Portugal 152 (1972 – 1998)
6 Italy 149 (1958 – 1964 – 1978 – 1992)
7 Sweden 145 (1974)
8 Norway 144 (1966 – 1982 – 2000)
9 Germany 141 (1959 – 1975)
10 United Kingdom 132 (1961 – 1965)
11 Spain 130 (1973)
12 Ireland 119 (1969 – 1980 – 1984 – 1996)
13 Israel 112 (1976)
14 Turkey 97
15 Greece 87 (1981)
16 Denmark 84 (1957 – 1963 – 2001)
17 Switzerland 80
18 Austria 59
19 Slovenia 58
20 Croatia 49
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina 47
22 Russia 44 (1994)
23 Iceland 41 (1987)
24 Cyprus 37
25 Estonia 30 (1999)