As with previous years, the songs I liked didn’t get many votes (although Azerbaijan’s wasn’t bad), but the winner, Denmark, wasn’t as sucky as last year’s winner (a horrible Bjork wannabe from Sweden). The host, Petra Mede, was fantastic, and I thought the butterfly motif (with butterflies decorated as each country’s flag in the artist bumper) was neat. Two of the best things were definitely Petra’s witty “Swedish Smörgåsbord” song presenting the host country, and comedian/singer Sarah Dawn Finer’s inspired “The Winner Takes it All”, neither of which were in the actual competition:
Overall, Sweden’s presentation of the contest was mostly top notch and inspired (except I’m in agreement with Graham Norton, Green Room host Eric Saade was unfunny and painful to watch). Perhaps because a lot of the Eastern Bloc countries did not make the finals, the voting was a bit more balanced, although the Scandinavian bloc was very visible. But as we all know, Eurovision voting is pretty meaningless. Here were my favorites:
Krista Siegfrids – Marry Me (Finland)- My absolute favorite of the show, and the best song in my opinion, with the bonus marriage equality message at the end (which made Turkey boycott the broadcast). It did not do well in the voting (equality in general was never going to get a lot of points from, say, Azerbaijan), but was catchy enough I caught myself humming it in the shower.
Cascada – Glorious (Germany)- Everyone was complaining this sounded just like last year’s winner, but I hated last year’s winner and I loved this song. Maybe it was because this singer could actually sing. Great performance as well by Cascada. But Germany was never going to get any votes in the political voting.
Roberto Bellarosa – Love Kills (Belgium)- I didn’t particularly want to like this song. The beginning is not great, the singer is only 18, and my god, the backup dancers were horrible, but its chorus was very catchy. I’m not sure what the song’s actually about, but it was fun.
Alyona Lanskaya – Solayoh (Belarus)- This song reminded me of my favorite from last year, Eleftheria Eleftheriou’s “Aphrodisiac”. Catchy Euro dance pop, although Eleftheria had better male dancers. Another song I’m not sure what it’s about, but I enjoyed it.
Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis – Alcohol Is Free (Greece) – This is the one everyone was talking about (like the Russian grannies last year). I thought it was both a clever mash-up of traditional Greek folk songs and ska. And the band’s choreography was great.
Eythor Ingi – Ég Á Líf (Iceland)- An odd choice, but kudos for singing in Icelandic. Eythor has a great voice (and memorable hair).
Dina Garipova – What If (Russia)- Another one that was never going to win (there were actual boos in the Green Room when Russia got some high votes), but was the best of the slow songs submitted. And it didn’t rely on cheap tactics like hiring a giant (looking at you Ukraine).
Farid Mammadov – Hold Me (Azerbaijan)- Of the top performers, this one was ok, although all the above I thought were better songs. The staging with the box was odd, and actually to me looked like it was enacting a bi-sexual love triangle, but since it was close-minded Azerbaijan, I’m sure that was not the intent. The dancer in the box did well, although Farid seemed rather arrogant to me.
I was not a fan of the winner, Denmark (super annoying flute), or the other high placer, Ukraine (if you’re going to hire a giant, maybe use him for more than three seconds. And don’t sing like a Disney princess). Italy’s entry sucked as well, although it’s gone multi-platinum in Europe for some reason. And although I didn’t like it, Romania’s Cezar was sufficiently odd, that it deserves a mention. At least it did not come last! (poor Ireland). There was a lot of good will for Bonnie Tyler’s (ho-hum) song in the contest, but it couldn’t overcome the political voting against the UK.