Monday, May 16, 2011

Eurovision forever

After this post I will lose all my followers because it's based on pictures I took of my television.  I'll miss you, thanks for the fun, and I'm sorry it has to end like this.

I had an exciting Saturday night.  Instead of going out to enjoy a beautiful Saturday evening in Paris, or take advantage of La Nuit des Musees as I did last year, I stayed in, sat on my couch with a bottle of rosé, and made Alex watch the Eurovision Song Contest.

If you've never heard of the Eurovision Song Contest, you're really missing something special.  It's a Europe-wide singing contest (with an absolutely outrageous production value) that's been going on for 56 years.  It's a big deal.  Little European kids with songs in their hearts aspire to one day represent their country at Eurovision.  I won't go into details of how it works -- all you need to know to enjoy Eurovision is each country comes with a song, a singer, and a dream.

I've been hearing the hype for weeks now.  Everyone agreed this was France's year.  France hasn't won in 34 years, but this time they had an adorable classically trained tenor named Amaury Vasili who sings like an angel.  This year, the competition was France's to lose.  (spoiler alert -- they lost.)

I knew we were in for something special during the pre-show show, which featured the hosts talking to this lady in a French flag dress --

  I must have it 

They were pretty much saying over and over that France was definitely going to win. (spoiler -- nope) and if they didn't win, the U.K. was going to win (spoiler -- nope again).

The first contender was this adorable young warbly man from Finland, who sang a song about saving the planet.  He was so cute and environmentally conscious, he made me want to have another baby, but only if it was him:


Bosnia and Herzegovina then stole my heart from Finland, primarily because one of their members spent the first half of the song skipping around the stage.  I love skipping; it's so carefree, just like Bosnia.

Then we had these psychotic characters:

Something's gone horribly wrong in Ireland

Guess where this guy was from?


Be careful or he'll smolder you to death with his Greekness:



It's France's turn!  France!  France!  France!


Forget the Finnish kid.  I want to birth an Amaury and raise him as my very own --


But something went wrong for Amaury.  The beginning was a little shaky.   Err... maybe next year, France?

 At least he stuck the landing

It was about this time Alex went to bed, declaring me "nuts" for wanting to stay up and watch the whole thing when we've both been so sleep deprived of late.  For the record, Alex is correct.

The U.K. brought a solid boy band.  I don't like boy bands, but this band was all man.


 Then I got distracted playing Angry Birds and missed a few countries.


When I looked up again, there was a boring though pretty tune being sung by two hot people from Azerbaejan?  Azerbagean?  Azerbaigean?  How the hell do you spell that?


Pity. They're beautiful (and they made it rain fire on stage) but they don't stand a chance because nobody knows how to spell their country.

And then the question of the evening -- what the hell is going on in Moldova? When Moldova hit the stage, it was like a goddamn European free-for-all.


My God, they have a woman on a unicycle.  Someone call my travel agent.

 
Looks like they got the good stuff in Moldova

Then, finally, with the call-in and judge points tallied, the moment of truth --



Really?  Damn, guess I better figure out how to spell their country. 

So Azerbaythingamajig won, but the best part of the results portion was when the cutie frontman of  the group from Denmark told the representative from The Netherlands he wanted to f*ck her.  In English.  On live TV.

Thankfully, some astute observer already posted a video of it on YouTube --




This is the best show ever.

(Our beloved France placed a very painful 15th.  Ouch.) 

I've decided we're going to throw an annual Eurovision party when we move back home*.  We will assign everyone a European country.  They must show up in that country's native dress, and bearing the country's native alcoholic beverage.  We will then force them to watch the Eurovision Song Contest until they have seizures and/or their ears bleed.  This is just one of the many significant ways our lives will be changed for the better from having lived in Europe. 

*Alex is less enthusiastic about the idea than I am.  He wants that on the record.

If you want to participate in the joy and cheesetasticness that is Eurovision 2011, I've embedded way too many videos below of some of the contenders.  Most of them sing in English.  You should watch them, if just to see what a real talent show should look like.  Eurovision makes American Idol look like it's filmed in Simon Cowell's basement.  (Really?  He's not on the show anymore?  Then what's the point?)

Who would you have voted for?  I think we can all agree Moldova got robbed.  God Bless Europe and goodnight.
-MJ

My cutie pie but off-key Finnish boy who's out to save the world --



Bosnia and Herzegovina with Mr. Skippy --



Denmark. He wants to f*ck you. And he can sing while running. That's hard.



Ireland. This one is just psychotic. Do not watch if you have epilepsy.



Greece. My God it's bad. It's very bad.



Russia. It was like Ah-Ha came back from the 80s to woo me all over again. (I realize Ah-Ha was from Norway, so that's weird...) "DO YOU FEEL MY HEARTBEAT, EUROPE???"



France! France! France! France!



The United Kingdom. I especially like the naked mug shots in the beginning. I'm embarrassed to admit how much I liked this performance -- I am, after all, an obsessive Arcade Fire fan for years now, years and years before they won Best Album at the Grammys and everyone was like, "Who the hell is Arcade Fire?" I swear I'm cool, but I liked this man band. I'm feeling defensive now so just watch the video and feel my shame.



Sweden. He wants to be popular. This is horrible. And unfortunately very catchy.



Ukraine. Best part is the Ukrainian sand artist doing her thing behind her.



Molodova. I love you. You guys are probably a lot of fun at parties.



There are more, but I just realized I'm neglecting my life to embed a million videos no one is going to watch. Bye.

34 comments:

Marie said...

Dear MJ
In one post you have epitomized everything most American's hate about Europeaon techno music, from the overproduction, to the costumes, to the bad hair, to the lack of English grammar. I applaud you. Nay, I think I love you.

Marie
PS: I can only stand Enya....

debbie in toronto said...

okay girlie..first you post on a Saturday prompting me to misspell love and put live the weekend post...THEN you post again on Monday and embed like a hundred things I can't watch at work and may not work on my ipad...hmmm

as queen of the posse I have to say I'm thinking you are losing it just a touch..eurovision? really...thankfully north american's can't get that here...we must settle for Jlo's magic lipstick and Steven Tyler's magic lips...

I"m also thinking maybe you should get out more..wearing perhaps one of those pointed hats...

just saying...:)

zenbob said...

Oh, MJ:

The French pretty boy is off-key. Seriously, he's not good. All he's got is hair and vibrato, and we all remember how the last one like that came to an end. Nice touch pulling his monitor earplug out of his ear immediately after the last note, though.

I appreciate the due diligence, but I only watched about 82 of the videos you embedded. I'm sorry.

MJ said...

Not much techno to be found, really. A lotta pop. Italy did jazz. France, of course, did some sort of opera-like thing. But as for your other points -- yep, all there!

Perhaps I'm becoming more European, less American, because I loved it in its overdone-ness. I wanted more, bigger, MORE LASERS. What's happening to me?

And I love that you said "nay."

MJ said...

Debbie!

What, me? Losing it? Nonsense! I've never felt more ALIVE!!!

But point taken on the getting out more...and the wearing of the hat...

Zenbob -- Get back in there and watch the other 52, man! STAT.

Poor, poor Amaury. France's great hope.

Steve said...

Wow, how come I forgot to watch Eurovision Song Contest this year?
Ahem, maybe because (you forgot to mention) it lasts 3 hours or so?
Darn, Amaury looked like he was wearing a wig or something.
I can't wait next year, with a show that will be hosted by Azerbaijani (thanks Wikipedia for the spelling) television!!
Artists can be cheesy, but when props and production are provided by a country like Azerbaijan, one may expect a very special show!!

Eurovision Song Contest if definitely a must-see. I am happy you shared this with your US of A readers. Guys, you don't know what you're missing. A great piece of european culture at its best (??).

Rachel said...

I live on the other side of the country, but I'm totally in for your Eurovision party. That is wicked awesome!

Marie said...

"Eurovision Song Contest if definitely a must-see. I am happy you shared this with your US of A readers. Guys, you don't know what you're missing. A great piece of european culture at its best (??)."

I was half expecting the German team to boot the Polish singers off, build a wall across the stage and declare one side the Motherland. Then Moldovia, Croatia and Serbia teams decide to get the old Yugoslavian band back together and start singing We Are the World.

I wonder if Special Forces Team 6 is free? There are a few groups in those videos in need of a good old American surgical strike...

Ah, Europeans. They're so cuuuute!

MJ said...

Steve! Umm, yes...the contest is a little long. But I swear, with all those flashing lights you get disoriented and it feels like five minutes.

I love it. It's unlike anything I've seen, be that good or bad?

Poo, poor Amaury. He's probably had a crap couple of days.

Rachel, you will probably hear the party on the other side of the country. It's going to be that good.

Marie -- WHY the Europe-centered VENOM all of a sudden? Dang girl! Relax! It's a singing contest!

Steve said...

"It's unlike anything I've seen"

You said it all!!

Steve said...

Marie said: "I wonder if Special Forces Team 6 is free? There are a few groups in those videos in need of a good old American surgical strike..."

Talking abt the Seals, I heard they found Eurovision tapes at Osama's. Maybe that's why.

MJ said...

Marie and Steve...Ima keep you two in separate rooms for awhile..

This blog is a place of peace and love, except for when I'm really pissed off about something and then all bets are off.

Jess Barga & Chris Baier said...

I loved Amauri Vassili! He was my pick (well, after Moldova, at least), maybe in part because we had the privilege of watching Eurovision with a (normally unpatriotic, but shockingly grateful to every country that threw a few votes France's way) Parisian friend. Our Austrian colleague was also pretty excited . . . I was sad that neither of their countries made much of a splash this year.

I don't know why Americans don't get into Eurovision. I mean, it has all the excitement of watching the presidential votes roll in, without the anxiety or (in Bush years, anyway) horror. And it's not like the American public at large has anything against overhyped, overproduced ludicrous spectacles (Superbowl halftime, what? I still have awesome memories of the time that Alex was the only one to recognize Janet Jackson Nipplegate for the scandal that it was before anyone replayed it). Plus, if it weren't for Eurovision, I would have absolutely no clue what countries Yugoslavia has become.

Anyway, I'm glad you're raising awareness, and if you get bored, you should check out Spain's entry from 2008 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1dHRy1BGpw). El Chiki Chiki got all kinds of shit because it, um, violated the integrity and lofty artistic standards of the contest. That fact alone made it an instant hit for me. The backlash seems to be causing Spain to stick to such lame songs that no one even remembers them these days . . .

Thanks for entertaining me!

Miss you,
Jess

Jess Barga & Chris Baier said...

p.s. Anyone placing bets on how much Azerbaijan has to borrow from the World Bank to finance next year's show?!

Marie said...

Touche.

I return you to your peaceful blog.

I did go to the post office just now at lunch and thought of you. The not nice postman was yelling at the non English speakers at his counter that this WAS NOT UPS and they HAD THE BROWN TRUCKS and the post office was THE WHITE TRUCKS....I'm sure that clarified the situation.

Anonymous said...

That was awesome. Thanks for spending your Sat posting that!

Eli said...

the major financiers of the contest are the UK, France and Germany paying 95% of the cost - hence we have automatic entry to the final.

Azerbajan is one of the last oil rich countries in Europe.

Amaury is so much better than that performance - he was katherine Jenkins guest on her 2010 tour.

First time I have watched in years (well I watched until France and then switched over to the tennis yo see Andy Murray being beaten by Djokovic

Eli said...

I give up - comments keep disappearing

Duchesse said...

Makes me want to jump on a train to Paris next weekend and take you out for a drink all over again! Woman, there has got to be better things for you to do on a Saturday night!;)

MJ said...

Jess! I should have known you'd be into the Eurovision! Man, we miss you guys. I'm in agreement with your assessment -- seriously, it's not like Americans don't overdo things. How many dramatic pauses and music crescendos can one stand before Ryan Seacrest delivers a verdict on Idol, anyway? (Oh, that was the best part of Eurovision -- no commercials! When do Europeans pee?)

Ahh....Nipplegate. Good times, good times...

I, too, was wondering how Ajairbaijan (not even close, I know) was going to finance such a spectacle. We'll see next year because I'll be watching and we'll be throwing a party -- you should come back for it.

Love and miss you guys!

Marie -- Awesome! So U.S. postal employees are asshats, too! See, we Americans and the Europeans are one and the same. Peace and love, peace and love.

Anonymous -- I actually spent Monday posting it, and Saturday watching it. That's two days down over Eurovision. Totally worth it.

Eli -- your comments made it! It takes awhile for them to show up because I moderate for spam and evildoing.

Where are you from? And you're saying Azerbaijan (dammit...just can't do it) is a wealthy country? Should be a helluva show next year then? It most definitely was not Amaury's night. I, too, think he's better than that. Poor little cutie choked.

Thanks for commenting. I'm so happy there are some Europeans on here now!

Duchesse -- I don't think you understand what a big deal Eurovision is. Alex mentioned it to his co-workers and they all -- ALL -- watched it. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

(And when you've got two small kids, Saturday nights often feel just like Monday nights. Tired, man, tired...and still have to get up at the crack of dawn with 'em.)

Bye, all. Have good days.

MJ said...

Wait! Did I see an entry for The Netherlands, Duchesse? I don't think they made the final cut this year? Are the Dutch crying in the streets? No?

Anonymous said...

You forgot Georgia - the only group that was even vaguely rock.

My husband liked Moldava too

CBR

MJ said...

I didn't see Georgia? I must have been either entranced by Angry Birds or in the kitchen eating handfuls of chips out of the cupboard. I'll have to go check them out on YouTube.

Duchesse said...

None of my colleagues mentioned it yesterday and I don't remember it being a big deal when I lived in Finland either... Mind you, I could never watch Canadian Idol, so I guess it doesn't bode well for Eurovision;) You know that back in the day when she was only known in Quebec our own Céline Dion competed in Eurovision under the Swiss banner?:) (Why, I have no idea!;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pEYw8PcBas&feature=player_embedded#at=36
and of course ABBA in 1974:) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVFzNJ3yCVU

For the record, I spend most Saturday nights with DVD's and books and I don't even have kids;) So I totally understand, don't worry;) Plus, you had a bottle of rosé!;) Which is a lot more festive than my herbal tea!;)

MJ said...

They mentioned the Celine thing during the contest -- but ABBA? You just blew my mind right there. Thanks to Eurovision we have ABBA? This is the most important contest ever!!!!

It's Just Me! said...

Invite me to that darn party. I promise I won't let the blood seeping from my ears stain anything.

Did you witness the Sonny and Cher number Pete and I pulled together for Mullen's 40th? I'm telling you - we're on!

I love your husband.

MJ said...

C. Oh hell yeah, you'll be there. It ain't a party until C + P walk in dressed as Sonny and Cher, I always say.

It will be an epic party and the only one who will be having fun is ME. I can't wait.

(I think it's obvious Mullen will be assigned Muldova...)

MJ said...

*Ahem* Excuse me.. I mean Moldova. I can't spell any of these damn countries over here.

Eli said...

I live in London but have an ongoing love affair with French musicals (and London musicals, and Dutch musicals and Broadway!)

And I used to be addicted to Eurovision back in the day! I remember Abba and Celine, but not France winning in London the year after Brotherhood of Man or Nuno representing Belgium.

My apologies for the multiple comments last night -a combination of a wicked virus, Beechams and chronic insomnia.

I think your son has an affinity with my aussie friends grandson - Kobe - his mum was explaining nana's trip to the Uk (and Paris and NY) next week so I am now known as 'Quasimodo Eli' He has a fascination with bodily products, cropped his sister's hair and is constantly in trouble at kindergarten for being noisy.

His sister (who is 2 - Chloe known as Coco!) destroyed nana's keyboard '(because I wanted to') wanders around muttering 'drama drama drama' when her brother kicks off.

and yes Azerbajan is one of the few former USSR countries whose economy has continued to grow (and did you know that the female singer from the group lives in North London?)

Take care

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

"...the best part of the results portion was when the cutie frontman of the group from Denmark told the representative from The Netherlands he wanted to f*ck her. In English. On live TV."

NO F*CKIN' WAY. LMAO!!! That's too funny.

This is flat out EUROTASTIC!!! What a fun post! Nope, you did not lose me as a reader, you just made me laugh my rear off as I kept scrolling down to see even embedded videos.

That. Is. Grand. :D *snort*

Paul is not a fan, and I can kinda see why (knowing him well), but you know what? I think I need to find some people here who like it and with whom I can watch next year's show! This is totally a riot! I had heard about Eurovision from various European friends in the past (okay, mostly my bestie, Janet, who's lived here 15 years), and kinda thought it was mostly a young people/gay guy thing, but based on this recap, it looks like totally cheese-tastic (I like adding "-tastic" to words, huh) FUN.

I'm in. So is it kind of like Idol where there is a competition on weekly shows and then this finale? Or is it just this huge finale? I knew it had been going on a looooong time but had NO IDEA it has been 56-freakin'-years! WOWZERS.

Next year we can watch together (how will you find this? On cable in the US do you think?) and Tweet about it as it happens, mmmkay? ;-) Or if by some miracle you stay in Paris longer and re-locate to your spiritual neighborhood, Belleville, we'll watch together in person. :)

Anonymous said...

Moldova for the win this year, but I think my all-time favourite is Ukraine from 2007:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hco0bR_mfzo&feature=related

FD

Steve said...

To answer Karin, I think each country is organizing its own national selection. In France, it is an internal process within the national Eurovision committee. But I think that in some countries, it is broadcasted, with live votes and stuff.
Then there are semi-finals, and here again, they are not systematically broadcasted. France, for instance, broadcasted the semi final France was in only.
And finally the grand finale with 25 contestants.

catbird said...

MJ! i love eurovision, in a sick way. (i grew up with it, somehwat embarassingly.) BUT this is the best use of about 20 minutes or so of your time. Anthony Lane dissects Eurovision. It is 100% beyond brilliant.
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/28/100628fa_fact_lane

Louise said...

What an astonishing post! I've always quite enjoyed Eurovision (even from all the way down here in Australia). Last year we watched a little bit of it while our 9 year old son was still up- and we accidentally created a Eurovision monster! My son is perhaps Australia's biggest Eurovision fan. So this year we got to watch all 3 nights. Sadly I think it was one of the poorer years in recent history. Although that Croatian girl and her costume changes were sensational. But at least now I know the rules of Eurovision drinking games, and that has to help things immeasurably.

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