Eurovision Leadup 2016 – Continuing with another Oh Crap This is SO Last Minute Semi-Final 2 Super Post

Yeah, yeah. I’m bad at this. Let’s get straight into it…

19. Latvia: Justs – ‘Heartbeat’

This contemporary pop song starts abysmally but thanks to Justs finally cutting loose in the final third of this music video and displaying his actual (and surprisingly considerable) talent, it actually works.

Maybe Doom will succeed this year? We’ll see. Justs will have to nail the live show twice.

20. Poland: Michal Szpak – ‘Colour of Your life’

I’ll admit, Michal Szpak hhas the kind of hair that is just begging for the wind machine to get cranked up.

Unfortunately, the song itself is a bit too soft on the soft rock side for me. I doubt this will progress.

21. Switzerland: Rykka – ‘The Last of Our Kind’

Ah. The Nordic Ice Queen entrant for this year’s contest. Made even more surprising because Rykka hails from Canadian.

This is a surprisingly sweet song that may make it to the final depending on the quality of the surrounding entrants.

22. Israel: Hovi Star – ‘Made of Stars’

A rare ballad for this year’s contest. “Made of Stars” is actually a good song made all the better by Israeli singer Hovi Star’s excellent voice.

This is good enough to be a lock for the final, and I’d suggest a Top 10 position in that. However, given a homophobic incident against him in Moscow during a promotional tour for Eurovision, I suspect some Bloc Voting will help as well.

23. Belarus: Ivan – ‘Help You Fly’

Another werewolf entrant. Huh. Guess that’s becoming a thing at Eurovision. Well, someone has to challenge the vampires…

Belarusian Ivan apparently plans to perform this song naked with two wolves on stage, which is a violation of at least two Song Contest rules. Or it could be a publicity stunt. Either way, it’s grabbed attention.

I suspect it’s a ruse, but the song is good enough not to need it. Ivan is a contender for the final with this.

24. Serbia: Snja Vučić ZAA – ‘Goodbye (Shelter)’

So this is interesting. Ms Vučić’s clear talent is overshadowing the fact that the song is a kinda samey power ballad. But her stage presence is kinda distracting in this music video as well.

If she nails the stage performance, she’s a lock for the Final, but she’s got a few detriments against her.

25. Ireland: Nicky Byrne – ‘Sunlight’

Former Westlife boy band member Nicky Byrne can clearly sing, but he’s another male soloist in a contest glutted with them this year.

Unless others fumble spectacularly, I don’t see him making the Final.

26. Macedonia: Kaliopi – ‘Dona’ (Дона)

Kaliopi was a finalist in the 2012 contest in Baku and she kicked ass with her Chrissy Amphlett stylings. I expect her to achieve a final slot again this contest.

27. Lithuania: Donny Montell – ‘I’ve Been Waiting for This Night’

Another 2012 contest alumni. Huh. I remember calling this kid Tuxedo Mask back then…

He’s good. The song isn’t. Maybe he’ll carry it, but it’ll be a near thing. Next.

28. Australia: Dami Im – ‘Sound of Silence’

My response when my friends excitedly told me that Dami Im was Australia’s Eurovision Entrant for 2016 was a baffled “Who?”

I don’t watch The X Factor, okay?

Despite being on the back foot here, she can clearly belt out a song, and “Sound of Silence” is actually pretty good too. I reckon that combination is good enough to get her to the final. How she’ll fair there, I don’t know. But I wish her the best of luck.

29. Slovenia: ManuElla – “Blue and Red’

Another kinda pop-country song hybrid. I’m liking that more that I would’ve thought,

ManuElla seems like the beautiful love child of Taylor Swift and LeAnne Rimes. I reckon she’ll make the final.

30. Bulgaria: Poli Genova – ‘If Love Was a Crime’

Ms Genova has competed previously in 2011 (though I can’t recall her performance) and was the host of last year’s Junior Eurovision, so she’s got some serious pedigree for this year’s comp.

“If Love Was a Crime” is catchy, so I reckon this will do well in the final, easily.

31. Denmark: Lighthouse X – ‘Soldiers of Love’

Denmark seems to have gone with the thinking that why send one hunk when they could overwhelm the contest with three.

Pretty? Yes. But ultimately bland, I don’t think this will make it past this semi.

32. Ukraine: Jamala – ‘1944’

Well this is surprising. Given the strict rules against political messages in Eurovision entries, I’m amazed this got it. It skirts the line hard. The fact it’s the first entry in the Crimean Tartar language is also kinda telling.

Jamala can sing. I reckon this plus sympathy for Ukraine after last year’s absence will carry it to the final.

33. Norway: Agnete – ‘Icebreaker’

Nordic Ice Queen by way of fem punk rocker? I am so down with this.

“Icebreaker” is a weird song; feels like they almost mashed two together between the mainline and the chorus. But it works surprisingly well, and with the proper stage presence, could easily do well in the final.

34. Georgia: Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz – ‘Midnight Gold’

A Georgian indie rock outfit that reminds me how much of Eurovision is stuck in the ‘80s, to my eternal enjoyment.

This smacks of early ‘80s Split Endz/Mental As Anything, so I’m inclined to love it. I doubt the audience will though, sadly.

35. Albania: Eneda Tarifa – ‘Fairytale’

I suspect Ms Tarifa will know how to make an entrance on the night, given her presence in the music video. Beyond that, I don’t think this song is enough to get to the final, but I’ve been wrong plenty of times before.

36. Belgium: Laura Tesoro – ‘What’s the Pressure’

Hey, a pseudo funk entry! We don’t see enough funk at Eurovision…at least from a genre perspective.

This is fun and I hope the audience feels the same way. I reckon this could surprise a lot of folks and do some serious damage to the voting expectations in the final.

Okay. I suspect another last minute post before the final, but maybe I’ll get enough sleep and finish it earlier than that.

Yeah, I don’t think so either.

Be seeing you.

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Eurovision Leadup 2016 – Oh Crap This is SO Last Minute Semi-Final 1 Super Post

So, where were we this time last year?

Ah yes. The Happiest Wizard.

It’s that time again, my freaky darlings, where my poor neglected blog gets some life breathed back into it by the kitsch grandeur that is The Eurovision Song Contest. Yes, that epic battle of epic epicness where monsters, heroes, villains, madmen, time travellers, corporate interests and state sponsored “talent” duke it out for Eternal Glory in front of an audience of millions.

Or something like that.

Previewing each country’s entry is a thing I do annually at this point, but Dear God I am really leaving this to the last minute. There are literally only hours until Semi-Final 1 airs. But, it’s done at least with one mega post, and I’ll wrap the rest up before time as well.

And once again, my home country of Australia has an entry in the contest.

Look, despite actually being excited about it this time around, even I think that’s weird. What the Hell are we doing there? Being awesome, hopefully. But this time we’re not a guaranteed lock for the final. This time we’ve got to earn it.

Also, we are in the Nordic Voting Bloc. Repeat, the Nordic Voting Bloc.

Welcome to Eurovision politics, folks. I’ll let you know how we got there when I work it out.

Also, I hear they’re actually broadcasting this live for the first time in the USA. Man, you guys are in for a massive amount of culture shock…

Now without further gilding the lily, and no more ado, unlike my usual we’ll start with Semi-Final 1, then Semi-Final 2 and the Big 5 Plus Sweden in the coming days…

1. Finland: Sandhja – ‘Sing It Away’

The opening act deposits us solidly into ‘90s Urban Pop with Finnish Sandhja’s “Sing It Away”.

It’s going for uplifting, but I’m finding it just bland. I think the rest of the field would have to be particularly mediocre for this to make it to the final.

2. Greece: Argo – ‘Utopian Land’

For as long as I’ve been doing this, Greece has been one of those countries in Eurovision that really gets their cultural identity across through their entry. This entry by Argo (formerly Europond) seems…muddled. Maybe it’s because it’s in three languages? (English, Greek and northern dialect Pontic Greek, for those playing the home game) Or maybe it’s just weirdly experimental for Greece? I don’t mind it, but let’s see what else is on offer.

3. Moldova: Lidia Isac – ‘Falling Stars’

The first standard Eurovision studio dance song from Moldova’s Lidia Isac is fairly samey and forgettable sadly. Ms Isac has tried to enter Eurovision the last three years, so at least good on her for finally getting to the big show.

4. Hungary: Freddie – ‘Pioneer’


The first of this year’s Eurovision entrants trying to emulate Sweden’s winning formula from last year with a male solo artist. Hungarian Freddie has got a weirdly compelling husky voice and is banging it out to the cheap seats with the song “Pioneer”. I reckon he’ll make it to the final, as he’s got some presence.

5. Croatia: Nina Kralijć – ‘Lighthouse’

Ms Kralijć’s gives me a vaguely Laura Brannigan vibe with her performance of “Lighthouse”, which makes me inclined to like her. This is the best performance of the early contenders, and I would be shocked if this doesn’t do well in the final.

6. Netherlands: Douwe Bob – ‘Slow Down’

What is with the Netherlands entering vaguely pseudo-country entrants over the last few years?

Again, this one works, though it feels more like a better fit for Eurovision than The Common Linnet’s 2014 entry, which was almost too good for Eurovision.

Douwe Bob’s got a sweet voice, so I reckon he’ll make the final.

7. Armenia: Iveta Mukuchyan – ‘LoveWave’


The spoken word intro is equal parts compelling and off-putting, but once the song proper starts and we’re introduced to Iveta Mukuchyan’s powerful singing voice, “LoveWave” really picks up.

This song works, but I reckon this will be all about the stage performance. If Ms Mukuchyan nails that, she’s a lock for the final.

8. San Marino: Serhat – ‘I Didn’t Know’

Disco Leonard Cohen??

Sure. Why not?

The song itself is pretty bad, and not in a laughable sense like previous San Marino entries (yes, I’m never going to let “The Social Media Song” go, okay!?), but Serhat’s velvety voice is oddly compelling, so there’s some kitsch value at least.

9. Russia: Sergey Lazarev – ‘You Are The Only One’

Oh hey. TRON Lines. I’ve missed those.

Man; this is the major rip-off of Sweden’s 2015 entrant if this music video is anything to go by.

But you know what? It works.

Sergey Lazarev is apparently one of the most talented entertainers working in Russia, being the triple threat of singer, dancer and actor. He’ll make the final, politics be damned.

10. Czech Republic: Gabriela Gunčíková – ‘I Stand’

When’s the Czech Republic’s name change coming through? Anybody? I need to ask my grandfather what his thoughts on that are…ANYWAY.

The Czech Republic has never made the final of Eurovision, but Gabriela Gunčíková’s “I Stand” is their best chance in some considerable time. The song is compelling and she has a set of pipes on her. Unless the rest of the field is amazing, I reckon she might just pull it off.

11. Cyprus: Minus One – ‘Alter Ego’

The first vaguely rock entrant for this year’s Eurovision courtesy of Cyprus is easily likeable.

Minus One was originally a cover band apparently, but they’ve clearly got enough talent to have moved beyond that. This is good. Good enough? No idea, but I doubt it’ll take the prize.

12. Austria: Zoë – ‘Loin d’ici’ (Far from here)

An Austrian entry in French? What the Hell?

This is cute and inoffensive, but bordering on trite. The stage performance may save it, but I kinda thing this would be an outlier even if it did.

13. Estonia: Jüri Pootsmann – ‘Play’

If Eurovision starts having a sub-genre of songs titled “Pseudo Bond Film Theme Songs”, I’d be all for it. And “Play” would fit in there easily.

Jüri Pootsmann is a crooner with undeniable stage presence. He’s a lock for the final.

14. Azerbaijan: Samra – ‘Miracle’

Maybe I’ve been doing this for too long, but isn’t there always a song called “Miracle” in Eurovision? I need to check…

Anyway, this “Miracle” starts strong and Samra has a great voice. However, the chorus is generic is as Hell and might just derail the whole thing.

15. Montenegro: Highway – ‘The Real Thing’

Despite my like for rock at Eurovision, this is middle of the road and infinitely forgettable. Probably a good excuse to put on a fresh pot of coffee.

16. Iceland: Greta Salóme – ‘Hear Them Calling’

Possibly the Vampire Entrant for this year’s Eurovision?

I can’t actually see Ms Salóme in the music video, but if this is any indication, the stage performance is going to be kind of amazing.

Also, the song’s pretty good too. But the Vampire Songs always are…

17. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner and Jala – ‘Ljubav je’ (Love is)

So apparently Bosnia & Herzegovina had issues similar to what disqualified Romania from participating. However, they resolved them, and here they are.

As much as I love a woman playing the cello, this song is a mish mash, and returning artist Deen’s intensity is slightly off-putting. I don’t think this will make the final, but I’ve been wrong plenty of times before.

18. Malta: Ira Losco – ‘Walk on Water’

Malta’s Ira Losco is another returning entrant, and she may just have a winner with “Walk on Water”. The song is entertaining, good lord she can sing, and she’s got presence. A finals lock at the very least.

…Holy crap, I actually got through that and with time to spare. I’ll get to Semi-Final 2 with at least half a day to spare hopefully, and the Big Five Plus Sweden soon after that.

But now, some scant hours sleep before Semi-Final 1.

Be seeing you.

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Lucy (2014)

So I watched the Luc Besson/Scarlett Johansson film Lucy


…It’s barely a film.

It’s an action story with no conflict by way of a dreadful Von Danniken-esque pseudoscience documentary with awful “historical re-enactments” whilst simultaneously adapting a post-therapy Hideaki Anno anime that doesn’t exist all while the titular character mainlines Spice Melange as she’s chugging the Water of Life at the same time yet only becomes the Kwisatz Haderach in her mind whilst imagining a visit to the Planet of the Apes before bits of her (pun intended) turn into a chroma key flashdrive.

…It’s not good at all. But I enjoyed it immensely.

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Eurovision Leadup 2015 – Semi-Final 2 AKA Bringin’ It Home…

We’re in the home stretch now with bare hours to go before the first semifinal is shown live here in Australia for the first time.

You cannot conceive how much coffee I’m going to mainline once I’m done here. Anyway:

23. Lithuania

The opening act for the second semi is cute and preppy, and while Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila clearly work well together, “This Time” has an awkwardness about it that detracts from the overall experience. I don’t see this going beyond the night.

24. Ireland

Ireland has stripped it right back to basics with their entry “Playing With Numbers”, which can be a surprisingly effective choice. And while its within the style of what she’s attempting to do, Molly Sterling (great name) seems to be all over the place with her vocals. But, if she sticks it on the night, she could be in with a chance.

25. San Marino

San Marino has been steadily improving with their entries over the last few years, getting into the final in 2014, This year, they’ve sent the youngest duo in the contest’s history; 16 year olds Anita Simoncini and Michele Perniola.

“Chain of Lights” is not a bad song by any stretch; not a lot of baroque pop these days after all. But I think it will be lost in the songs around it.

26. Montenegro

Given they got to the final with a similar strategy last year, Knez’s “Adio” (“Goodbye”) is very much a case of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I get the feeling that Knez will be able to own the stage on the night, and should be a lock for the final.

27. Malta

Wait, wasn’t there already a song called “Warrior” on the docket??

Well. This could get awkward. Has this ever happened before?

Well Amber puts in an excellent effort, I don’t see this beating out the other song with the same title. Then again, it could be fun if both got in…

28. Norway


A surprisingly dark ballad from Norway with “A Monster Like Me”. Eurovision needs more Villain Songs, and this one is a great contender.

Of all the duets this contest (and good lord, there are a lot of them this year) Mørland & Debrah Scarlett are the pair that have impressed me the most so far. I’m looking forward to this.

29. Portugal

Leonor Andrade looks angry in this film clip, and “Há um mar que nos separa” (“There’s a sea that separates us”. Great title.) feels like it should be a much angrier rock song. The problem here isn’t Andrade’s singing; the musical arrangement is failing her, making this feel bland overall. It’s a pity, but this won’t go further.

30. Czech Republic

It’s been six years since the Czech Republic fielded an entrant to Eurovision; I don’t think I was examining the songs back then. The country’s track record has also been pretty dismal. However, Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta put in a solid effort with “Hope Never Dies” and hopefully will retain some lost honour.

31. Israel

Well, “Golden Boy” is surprisingly catchy. French-Israeli singer Nadav Guedj is the youngest entrant this year, with a surprisingly mature voice. But while he can sing, I found his charisma and stage presence lacking in this clip. We’ll see how well he manages to work the stage on the night, as that will make a huge difference. The end is cute though.

32. Latvia

From the land of Doctor Doom, possibly their most striking entrant in some time. Aminata is belting it out during the chorus of “Love Injected”, making a fascinating contrast to the minimalism of the song proper. This will be one to watch out for.

33. Azerbaijan

“Hour of the wolf”, huh? Well I love the title at least.

And it’s not just a good name either; singer Elnur Huseynov brings it with this ballad. Azerbaijan is no stranger to the final at Eurovision, and I reckon this song is a lock.

34. Iceland

Icelandic singer Maria Olafs has an impressive voice, and the song “Unbroken” benefits from her powerful performance. I expect this will probably make it to the final at least.

35. Sweden

It initially doesn’t sound like this song should work; there’s a strange undercurrent to the sound initially, but Måns Zelmerlöw blows all doubt away in the chorus of “Heroes” with powerful vocals and great presence. This will do very well on both nights.

36. Switzerland

This oddly feels like a bit of a mess. Mélanie René has got a good voice, and  “Time to Shine” suits her well. But it seems to lose itself as it goes along. This will probably make the middle of the hunt.

37. Cyprus

I have a soft spot for guitar ballads at Eurovision, and “One Thing I Should Have Done” is a good entry for that. John Karayiannis displays some incredible levels of talent here, and for that alone I hope he advances.

38. Slovenia

Oh, what does this remind me of? Regardless, it’s good. Duo Maraaya have fronted up an excellent song with “Here For You”, and I expect this to do very well.

39. Poland

Oh thank Buddha, this is a huge improvement over Poland’s entry from last year.

Monika Kuszyńska sings an impressive ballad with “In The Name Of Love”, and it’s a great way to finish the second semi. 

And done, with mere hours to spare. I’ll be live tweeting all the Eurovision broadcasts this year, follow my inane sleep deprived commentary via @Darcrider. And as always, thanks for indulging me.

Be seeing you…

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Eurovision Leadup 2015 – Semi-Final 1 AKA I am *so* running behind…

Well, those couple of weeks snuck up on me. Yeesh.

Still, we have time to look at the two semi-finals before they air, so let’s get cracking with the line up for Semi-Final 1.

7. Moldova

A potentially controversial choice for the first entry; Moldova is fielding Eduard Romanyuta, a Ukrainian national, as their representative this year. Ukraine could not field an entrant due to “financial and political reasons”. No one is shocked, really. I am however amazed given the uproar over Austria’s win last year that Russia and Belarus have fielded entrants this year. But I digress.

Sadly the song “I want your love” is…kinda bland. The stage performance will have to be exceptional to get votes outside of the sympathetic bloc.

8. Armenia

Genealogy are the first “super group” of this contest, with a member of Armenian descent from nearly every continent (yes, i had to look it up); minus the obvious and combining the Americas. That sort of bridging between nations can lap up a lot of votes, and it may work here. The song “Face the Shadow” almost works. There’s some bit where it feels like the singers are syncing up and it teeters as if ready to collapse, but maybe they’ll pull it together on the night.

9. Belgium

The traditional Vampire Entrant comes from Belgium of all places this year, in the form of Loïc Nottet with the song “Rhythm Inside”. It’s not subtle either…

This song feels surprisingly experimental in its simplicity. I’m not a fan, though I’m putting that down more to the mild strobe effect in the music video itself than the song. I’ll try to appreciate this with fresher eyes on the night.

10. Netherlands

This feels like a disappointing step down from last year’s entry from the Netherlands. They nearly conquered Eurovision with an Honest-To-God Country & Western song.

Trijntje Oosterhuis is clearly amazingly talented (she’s a vocal coach on “The Voice of Holland”), but the song “Walk Along” is not doing her any favours. Especially the chorus. I expect this to tank, sadly.

11. Finland

Okay, this one is weird even by Eurovision standards. “Aina mun pitää” (“I always have to”) is the shortest entry in Eurovision history; the previous record was held by the UK in ’57. It’s a punk rock entry, and the band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (“Pertti Kurikka’s Name Day”, I think) is made up of members with developmental disabilities.

That is kind of great, but I think of all things it’s the shortness of the entry that will hurt it most. The punk is a little light for my taste, but I actually think it’s got some merit. Hopefully these guys will be shown some love in the voting.

12. Greece

Greece usually sends something so culturally identifiable as Greek that this is almost a disappointment. However, Maria-Elena Kyriakou’s performance of the power ballad “One Last Breath” is actually pretty amazing. She has some pretty high vocal power and hair that is begging for the wind machine to be cranked up to Goddess Level. I reckon this will do well.

13. Estonia

Elina Born and Stig Rästa (great name) bring a mish-mash of styles together all skirting on the lighter side of rock and pop to try and make “Goodbye To Yesterday” impossibly cool.

The annoying thing is they actually pull it off.

This is bold and surprisingly catchy, and Rästa reminds me of a baby faced Tom Waits for some reason. I expect this will do really well.

14. F.Y.R Macedonia

A surprisingly powerful entry from Macedonia this year, Daniel Kajamkoski manages to belt out something raw and heartfelt in “Autumn Leaves”. While this works very well in English, I’d be curious to hear it in the original Macedonian. Depending on the other entries on the night, I expect this to make the middle of the hunt and at the least scrape into the final.

15. Serbia

Another oddity. “Beauty Never Lies” starts out as a power ballad cut from the same empowered cloth as the entry that won it for Austria last year, but then becomes a light dance number by the end. I’m not quite sure that it works, but Bojana Stamenov has an undeniably powerful voice, even if it feels somewhat leashed in this. Hopefully she lets it off the chain on the night.

16. Hungary

I’ve not been enamoured with Hungary’s entries over the last couple of years as I recall, but Boggie (unfortunately name) has brought something special with “Wars For Nothing”. A sweet and deceptively simple protest song, I fear this will be overlooked due to the noise surrounding it. But it shouldn’t be. I also really wonder how it will be performed on the night.

17. Belarus

The first of the “Shouldn’t You Be Boycotting It This Year?” entrants, I’m actually annoyed at how good this is. Singer Uzari is complimented perfectly by violinist Maimuna in “Time”. With the right stage direction, this could set it ablaze; artistically speaking of course.

18. Russia

The second of the “Shouldn’t You Be Boycotting It This Year?” entrants, and again, I’m actually annoyed at how good this is. Further, “A Million Voices” is designed to manipulate the audience and be the kind of song Eurovision unabashedly laps up. Polina Gagarina has a great voice, so I think despite the politics, she will win the crowd over.

19. Denmark

A Danish boy band with a catchy retro throwback entry. Sure, why not…

Sarcasm aside, Anti Social media’s “The Way You Are” is catchy and the crowd will probably love it. But it feels too slight to get to the final. Still, it may surprise us.

20. Albania

“I’m Alive” feels like a ballad infused with some more traditional Albanian sound, and Elhaida Dani performs it powerfully. I suspect this will do very well.

21. Romania

It falls to Romania to bring the “social awareness” song to Eurovision this year, and “De la capăt (All Over Again)” (“From The Beginning”) is a solid entry. Romanian rock outfit Voltaj perform it admirably, but I fear the mish-mash of Romanian and English isn’t going to go over as well with audiences as intended.

22. Georgia

Nina Sublatti is giving me flashbacks to Ruslana with this entry. “Warrior” is a strong synth pop entry, and I suspect will be a great song to end the semi-final on. The performance on the night will be really what gets it over the line of not though, as I think staging here will be everything.

Tomorrow (more likely in a few hours after some sleep) I’ll throw up Semi-Final 2’s entries and my thought. And then, it’s onto the first Semi-Final we I can watch live for once…over a somewhat earlier than is comfortable breakfast. I usually Tweet whilst watching via @Darcrider, so follow if you dare.

Be seeing you.

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Eurovision Leadup 2015 – In Which Bloody Colonials Return

So, where were we this time last year?

Ah yes. Fabulousness.

It’s that time again, my freaky darlings, for the kitsch grandeur that is The Eurovision Song Contest. Yes, that epic battle of epic epicness where monsters, heroes, villains, madmen, time travellers, corporate interests and state sponsored “talent” duke it out for Eternal Glory in front of an audience of millions. Or something like that.

Previewing each country’s entry is a thing I do annually at this point, and this year you’d think I’d have more of a personal stake in it as my home country of Australia has an entry in the Grand Final.

Look, even I think that’s weird. What the Hell are we doing there? And it messes up our viewing schedule too with some early mornings incoming. That being said, Australia can also vote for the first time this time. I have no idea how that will play out, being divorced from political bloc voting. Maybe it will have an impact, maybe it won’t. It’s exciting though.

But, let’s just roll with it. So without further gilding the lily, and no more ado, we’ll start with the guaranteed finalists; the host nation, the Big Five and that wild colonial upstart before looking at the entries for the two semi-finals in listed performance order in the coming weeks prior to the first Semi Final on May 19.

1. Australia

Well, let’s get it out of the way first then:

Guy Sebastian was one of our Australian Idol winners, and whatever anyone else may say about him, he is a legitimate talent. People here at home were disappointed that he was chosen to be Australia’s representative as he was considered too mainstream, but he is a good choice. He’s got that something the judges are looking for at Eurovision.

“Tonight Again” is a fun song keeping with Sebastian’s style, yet conforming to what’s expected of the song contest.

Look, I don’t for a second think we’re going to win this. But I’ll be shocked if this gets “Nul Points” as well.

2. Austria

Well that was disappointing. Austria, what are you doing? You were fucking amazing last year!

Look, the Makemakes’ “I Am Yours” is a competent song, it’s just disappointing that this is what Austria chose to follow up last year’s winning entry. That being said, the Makemakes have a good rock pedigree, and I’m sure they’ll do well. But I don’t believe for a minute they could set that piano on fire if Paula and Ovi couldn’t do it back in 2010!

3. France

Something a bit more conventional from France is never a bad thing, and Lisa Angell’s ballad “N’oubliez Pas” (“Don’t Forget”) has got some power behind it, but it feels like there could be more to it. I’m not sure if Ms Angell is holding back or the song itself is restricting her. Either way, I sadly don’t expect this to do as well as it could.

4. Germany

I can’t be the only one thinking that Germany are trying to evoke a remembrance of Lena with Ann Sophie’s “Black Smoke”?

It was going badly during that furst verse with Ms Sophie sounding flat. I thought Germany had made a massive miscalculation, then she hit the chorus…

…I can see why Ms Sophie is on that stage. I suspect she’s going to do very well in the final.

5. Italy

Serves me right for looking at these at nearly 4 am after a long day, little sleep and having already finished two other articles; it took me forever to get what the music video was actually trying to do; reenacting “great loves’ from cinema.

Why North American cinema though? Surely there are just as good (and famous) Italian films that could dot he same job?

This only brings the Final’s stage performance into question really for Il Volo with “Grande Amore”. While they clearly have some talent and work well together, I fear the gimmick threatens to undermine what could otherwise be a decent performance. That and “Popera” really hasn’t done well at the last few contests. Still, this could be a game changer.

6. Spain

Spain has once again done what they do best, send a powerful singer in a red dress to belt out a ballad to try and win us all over.

Edurne has a very powerful voice; clearly the strongest of what I’ve heard so far. “Amanecer” (“Dawn”) is a evocative song, so i suspect this will do very well in the Final.

7. United Kingdom

Ah, Cradle of Wogan, what horrors do you have for me this year?

Well…that was pretty strange.

To be fair, I’m not overly familiar with Electro-Swing.  It sounds like it should be a discordant mish-mash of styles that won’t work. Yet oddly, Electro Velvet’s “Still In Love With You” is surprisingly endearing. Alex Larke’s voice seems kind of flat, but Bianca Nicholas seems to carry him with her sweeter voice. This works, and if they get the stage performance right, could be the UK’s best entrant in years from a points perspective.

I’ll be back later this week with the first half of the Semi-Final 1 contestants, swinging through central Europe to the North then back East again. I think. geography was never my strong suite.

Be seeing you.

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All of this has happened before, all of this will happen again

We got news of two potential remakes/reboots/re-imaginings/I-don’t-know-what over the last couple of weeks. I wouldn’t normally comment, but these are two franchises that I love, and enough people have asked my opinion, so let’s do this quickly.

First is Ghostbusters. But let’s start with this:


I really don’t get the attitude that the “Ghostbusters” franchise is going to be ruined by this. The “My Little Pony” comment is on the money; but I’ve never understood the fandom for that either.

I don’t know Paul Feig’s work as a director, though none of his films have appealed to me enough to want to watch them. I only know Melissa McCarthy from ‘Gilmore Girls’ which ended eight years ago. I only know Kristen Wiig from How To Train Your Dragon. And I’ve never heard of Leslie Jones or Kate McKinnon prior to now.

Courtesy of Vogue Magazine.

I’m pretty sure Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy don’t have man-hands like that…

If you don’t find this director or any of these women funny, that’s certainly a valid reason not to go see the film. You can’t tell a person what they find funny, after all.

I’ve heard a couple of critics say that McCarthy shouldn’t be cast in this because she plays the same character over and over again.

Yeah. Cos Bill Murray never did that…

Courtesy of Consequence of Sound

I love you Bill Murray, but you played Peter Venkman before and after ‘Ghostbusters’.

I am sure there will be plenty of valid reasons to not see this film, but having four women cast in the lead roles is not one of them. I like the idea of four women in STEM fields characters fronting a “Ghostbusters” film. But I don’t like the idea of this being a remake or a reboot, which is what this apparently is. Have this as a continuation of the original film, with four new Ghostbusters buying a franchise in another city to start up their own ghostbusting business, and getting in over their heads with some new dark supernatural power rising. The reason for risk to the city or the world shouldn’t be that these four Ghostbusters are women; it should be that it’s their first month on the job and something old and powerful has started tearing up downtown, and these four are an unknown quantity.

I’ll be following this one with interest, if only to see what the new tech looks like…

Ghostbusters have been using the same proton packs for 31 years! It's time for an update, if only from a nuclear safety standpoint...

Ghostbusters have been using the same proton pack design for 31 years! It’s time for an update, if only from a nuclear safety standpoint…

The second remake/reboot/re-imagining/I-don’t-know-what is for another ’80s icon; Indiana Jones.

The last Indy film, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was seven years ago, and not well received. I’m one of the few Indy fans who likes it, but it’s a deeply flawed film. The original hope there seems to have been at least one more Indiana Jones film with Harrison Ford, then continuing the stories with Shia Labeouf as “Mutt” Williams. Again, I’m in the minority in saying I’d watch those films though I had one caveat: make a grown up Short Round the Competitor, à la Belloq from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I'm still annoyed Jonathan Ke Quan wasn't asked back for a cameo for Crystal Skull...

I’m still annoyed Jonathan Ke Quan wasn’t asked back for a cameo in Crystal Skull

But that’s not going to happen. Crystal Skull wasn’t enough of a hit to warrant a continuation, and even so, due to the downtime Harrison Ford is just too old to put the hat on for even one last time. Then, in late 2012 Disney acquired Lucasfilm and it’s film properties, including “Indiana Jones”, though distribution rights were still tied up with Paramount. That has finally been negotiated as well, so it makes sense that Disney would want to do something with the property.

Then, a few months back, this image hit the Internet, from an original source I couldn’t track down:


It’s not the best bit of photo manipulation, but it certainly got the people thinking about the idea of Chris Pratt as Indiana Jones.

And then the news hit in the last two weeks that Disney were considering making a new Indiana Jones film, with Chris Pratt taking over the role.

Now, how this all originally started and played out to this point I don’t know, but I think Pratt is a fine choice for the role. He’s on a well deserved career upswing right now and seems like the right kind of star to take on the character. However, I don’t think the hard think is casting a new Indiana Jones.

The first three Indiana Jones films are the perfect fusion of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas & Harrison Ford making a project work. I think that getting the right Writer and Director team to make this project is what will make or break it.

But this is exciting news to me. Due to Indy’s pulp sensibilities, you don’t have to touch the first four films via either remake or reboot, just make something that slots in with the timeline around the other films. Indy had a long career and a lot of adventures, and this is one of those times a studio should really fight the urge to compress the universe or show us the origin of a character, which we’ve already seen anyway.

A new Indy film would also allow some of the cultural insensitivity of previous Indy films to be rectified, and that’s not a bad thing.

Again, this is another project I’ll definitely be watching with interest. It’ll be fascinating to see Indy become like his progenitor James Bond and become viable with a different actor in the role. Though I must admit, I am weirded out by the idea that we’ll be getting a new actor playing Han Solo as well coupled with a new, separate Indy actor in the coming years.

Be seeing you…

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