Eurovision Song Contest 2017

All right, it’s this time of the year again: it’s Eurovision! The biggest and longest running

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ESC 2017 logo

song competition in the world, that claims to be unpolitical, but everyone and their grandma knows it’s not.

Granted, a few stars rose from the ESC and managed to build a career, but for the most part it’s cheesy and sparkly and gay and fun and pop songs and Eurodance and ballads all in 3 big shows. I’m not a huge Eurovision-geek, but being into it once a year is perfectly fine.

I would like to talk about 2 things about this year’s ESC: Russia and Italy.

As we all know, Russia is boycotting the ESC this year, after Ukraine forbid russian entry Julia Samoylova to enter the country. Now, this may sound mean, even more so because she’s disabled and sitting in a wheelchair, but she broke ukrainian law by performing on crimera without going through Ukraine – in other words: she flew directly from Russia to crimera to perform and that resulted in a 3 year ban to enter Ukraine. There’s another 140 artists that share the same fate.

Is Ukraine being too hard? This is very hard to answer. Russia obviously is trying to be the victim here, I mean: there’s no way Russian authorities didn’t know about Samoylovas ban to enter Ukraine before choosing her and they chose a disabled artiest on top of that – someone you’re going to feel bad for easily. This was a calculated conflict from Russia, they knew this would happen and they knew Ukraine would not make an expection, because these two countries are in war and Ukraine is still damn pissed about crimera.

However, neither country was interested in resolving this conflict, the EBU said Samoyolova could perfom in Russia and her performance could be streamed live during the show, but both countries declined and neighter offered another solution. Every single person with a brain their head should’ve known either Russia or Ukraine was going to pull one out after Jamala won last year and quite honestly, nobody really seems surprised either. It’s a little sad, because Eurovision is supposed to bring countries together and it has been used to deepen an ungoing conflict this year. Personally I think both countries should’ve acted more peaceful.

Leaving Russia and Ukraine behind, I would like to talk a bit about Italy this year. Yes, Italy, the huge favorite. Some people think the song is overrated, I personally really like it. I think it’s a catchy popsong, that’s fun to listen to and you don’t feel bad listen to it more than once. I’m also a huge fan of Francescos rough voice and hope he can deliver a great perfomance in the finale.

However, I think having a great song is not the only reason so many people support Italy this year. I often read comments about Italy being robbed 2015 and they finally deserve

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Italy: Francesco Gabbani

the win they should’ve taken two years ago. Rewind backwards to 2015 when Italy was the huge fan favorite and took an undisputed clear first place in the audience voting. That night european people decided “Grande Amore” was their winner, but a hand full of profressionals decided to make a much more radio-friendly song the winner: Sweden. Since Italy was so widley supported by fans, many felt Italy was robbed by the juries and now that Italy has another outstanding top song, the support is there once again.

Additionally, I would like to add Jamala was second place last year: she was second place in jury voting and second place in audience voting. She won, because Australia did very well with the juries, but not that good with the audience and Russia did very well with the audience, but not that good with the juries. Once again, just like the year before, we have a huge difference between the fan favorite and the jury favorite and fans felt their winner was robbed once again. Add to the fact many people believe the votes for Ukraine were out of political interest and you kind of understand why the fans finally want to see “their winner” actually win.

Italy would be a very “safe” winner this year. After all the controversy around the ukraininan win last year and their trouble with Russia this year, Italy is very safe. They already deserved it two years ago, they don’t have any major problems with other countries, or at least not of the scale that Ukraine does, and they have a good song you can play on the radio in most parts of the world. It’s a “feel good” song at a time when many people don’t feel that good and problems are rising all around us and maybe we need a song to win, that makes us feel good for 3 minutes.

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Protugal: Salvador Sobral

The other favorites to win are currently Portugal and Sweden – also two very safe options – and Bulgaria, another controversial entry, because ever since Russias announced they won’t participate this year, Bulgaria is basically Russias secret entry, because their artist has russian roots, is very well known in Russia and is expected to get many russian votes. Quite honestly, I really REALLY don’t want Bulgaria to win and it has nothing to do with their song, unfortunately, it’s 100% politics: I don’t want this mess a second time in a row. It’s been a long time since ESC was as political as it is this year and I want to have a break from that next year. Every once in a while: okay, but not every year.

I’ll be rooting for Italy, I really like France and Belgium as well and hope they’ll be doing great this year. My own country? Germany? Set to lose again, no point talking about it.

Eurovision Song Contest 2016

Slowly but surely, we getting closer to the ESC 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden. Most of the participating songs have been selected and you will find them on youtube. Time to take a look and be happy about Australia returning.

I said it last year and I will say it again: I’m all in for having Australia as a regular participant. The kangaroos are super awesome people and very hyped. And they send actually good acts. The second year in a row. I’m impressed.

And you know what I’m even more imnpressed by? There’s actuially a good amount of songs I really like. There’s real solid pop, songs you can listen to without feeling ashamed. Wow, what happend? Is it Australia’s influence? I don’t really care, but I think it’s actual competion this year with a good amount of legimately strong songs and that makes it worth it for the music every once in a while. Cool.

My personal favorits are Armenia, Ireland, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Russia and Australia. But worry not, we do have our annual weird acts as well and funny enough, Germany is one of them. I try to see the bright side: it can’t get worse than last year. XD

 

Eurovision Song Contest 2012 (Baku – Azerbaijan) – 2. Semi-Final

I’m a day late! Again! Yay for me. Well, that’s because I had to work and was only able to watch it today. Was it worth it? Yes and No. The overall quality of the singers and songs seemed to be better and we had less silly acts, but this resulted in more boredom, you know. For the most part it was pretty appropriate for the masses, many ballads, many danceable stuff and generic pop-songs. I guess the second semi-final was better quality wise, but the first one was just overall more entertaining. At least they had Loreen, oh and Alexander Rybak…. oh my god they had Alexander Rybak, I think I might take minute off to fangirl over Fairytale (although the poor guy is probably sick and tired of singing this song). Best 80 seconds of the show.

1. Serbia  Zeljko Joksimovic – “Nije Ljubav Stvar”

Unlike the first semi-final, the first act in the second semi-final was actually pretty good and when I say pretty good, I mean, he was pretty amazing. I was very impressed, he’s a good singer with a good song that I ended up liking a lot, it was a very nice start into the show. The background people trying to look like they’re playing instruments, still look stupid and just walking around the stage is not very creative, but who cares? The song was good.

Result: in the Finals

2. F.Y.R. Macedonia  Kaliopi – “Crno I Belo”

Macedonia was ok, they just had the problem that their song was kind of similar to Serbia, but not as good. The singer did her best, but her voice was not as impressive as it could have been. Still a good singer though. At one point she destroyed my glass when she hit a very high note for a short time, but I’ll forgive her. I didn’t expect her to advance to the finals, because her song was too similar to Serbia who did a better job.

Result: in the Finals

3. Netherlands Joan Franka – “You and Me”

And yet another one of our dear neighbors. Our commentator said the Netherlands really wanted to advance to the finals after several useless tries, but as soon as I heared this song, I was actually doubting that a lot. First of all, what’s with this weird headdress? Just because she’s singing about Indians doesn’t mean she has to look like one and then she’s singing a song in the style of Texas Lightning. Ok, congratulations for trying something different and thanks for being one of the weird entries in this semi-final.

Result: kicked out

4. Malta Kurt Calleja – “This Is the Night”

Aww, look at him, such a cute and charming boy. No, really, I ended up linking the singer a lot, he does look very charming and his song was ok. It was another danceable track with more useless eh eh eh eh-stuff in the middle of it and nothing too outstanding. It’s not completely aweful and if you’re into this kind of stuff, it’s nice. I have to admit that I ended up paying more attention to the singer than the song.

Result: in the finals

5. Belarus  Litesound – “We Are the Heroes”

Ok, now, what was that? I expected rock, I got (once again) pop, the song was… well it was there, nothing special and actually one of the worse song of the evening, but the real question was about something entirely different. What’s wrong with those microphone… things? They probably wanted to get the audiences attention off the music and on the equipent and while they kind of succeeded, it didn’t make the song better.

Result: kicked out

6. Portugal  Filipa Sousa – “Vida minha”

I think they tried folklore dirge… or something and it was nice listening to something different between all the standart-pop-stuff, but unlike Albania (who also did a dirge), they just weren’t impressive enough to catch the audience enough. I somewhat liked it, but it wasn’t as dramatic and emotional as Albania was in the first semi-final. Even Angelina Jolie’s leg didn’t help, but Angelina is an acress, so they should’ve seen that comming.

Result: kicked out.

7. Ukraine  Gaitana – “Be My Guest”

The Ukraine seemed to test their possible hymn for the upcomming UEFA European Football Championship here, at least that’s what it sounded like and even the text would fit. It’s one of those feel-good-party-songs that gets into your ear and sounds a lot better the more alcohol you’ve drank. Also I think the singer would probably make an amazing soul-singer, she does sounds a bit similar to Anastacia and has a good voice. I thought it was a shame she was performing Euro-Trash instead of an emotional soul-track.

Result: in the finals

8. Bulgaria Sofi Marinowa – “Love Unlimited”

Bulgaria is yet again another example of the right artist and the wrong song. Our german commentator said she was actually a really good folklore-singer and at some points of her song, this did come through and made me wonder, why in the world she had to sing a trashy Disco-song. It fit her as good as her clothes did: not at all. I guess they tried to play safe and messed it up.

Result: kicked out

9. Slovenia  Eva Boto – “Verjamem”

I think she was the youngest participant in this years contest and her age was… 16? She did a pretty nice job, especially for her age. Even if you’re a naturally good singer, if you don’t practicve, you’ll never become truly great, so I do have quite some respect for her. Aside the fact that I thought one of her background singers overshadowed her. The one who did the “ahhh”-sounds at the beginning, I thought she was great.

Result: kicked out

10. Croatia  Nina Badric – “Nebo”

I’m sorry, I completely forgot her song. All I remember was her having some weird dress. It was connected to her finger, well, we’ve all seen this before, but the weird part was it’s shape. I was probably so distracted by this, that I forgot to listen to the song. And here’s the problem with the second semi-final: most songs aren’t really bad, but it’s all the same and at some point you forget to pay attention.

Result: kicked out

11. Sweden  Loreen – “Euphoria”

And finally: Loreen. I haven’t listend to even one of the songs beforehand, so everything was new to me in both semi-finals. All I knew about Loreen was that she’s one of the favorites to win and while I had mixed feelings about that, she taught me better. Yeah, her dancing was all like “Look at me being awesome”, but her song was so great, I really really liked it. Hell, I even got goose bumps, only Albania managed that before, who’s still my favorite, but Loreen really impressed me.

Result: in the finals (of course)

12. Georgia  Anri Dschochadse – “I’m a Joker”

Thank you Georgia for being one of the wtf-acts and spice up the somewhat boring second semi-final. Too bad your song was aweful. Weird songs can be good and they can be bad and this one was bad. Really bad. It pretty much changed every 30 seconds and was all over the place, first he played drums, then piano (for show) and it just left me utterly confused. after Loreens great performance, I was just left in one big feeling of wtf.

Result: kicked out

13. Turkey  Can Bonomo – “Love Me Back”

Can was the darling of the audience that night, no doubt, they loved him. His background dancers were a bit weird and one of them tripped over his clothes when he tried to breakdance and wasn’t the boat they created just too cute? The song itself wasn’t my cup of tea, I didn’t liked and I can’t understand why it’s so popular. If I remember correctly, there was some controversy about him in Turkey, because he’s jewish and he said he wanted to represent everyone in Turkey, so I do feel sympathy for him, but it wasn’t my song.

Result: in the finals

14. Estonia  Ott Lepland – “Kuula”

I remember Estonia’s song from last year, “Rockefeller Street”, and it was one of my favorites, it was stuck in my head for weeks. It was weird, but at the same time pretty amazing, I loved it, don’t judge me. This year, they send something entirely different, but a very good ballad sung by a pretty amazing artist. I have to admit that I’m truly impressed. It sounded really good, not much to say about it other than that.

Result: in the finals

15. Slovakia Jason Mai – “Don’t Close Your Eyes”

For once, a rock band that plays a rock-song. Haleluja, thank you, thank you so much, I’ve been waiting for a rock-track the entire time. The lead singer looked a bit off with his hairdo, like some kind of angel on crack or something, but I ended up liking the song and would’ve liked to see it in the finals. True, there were better acts, but also worse who managed to get past the semi-finals and I just love rock overall, so…

Result: kicked out

16. Norway  Tooji – “Stay”

What’s Anakin Skywalker doing on the stage? He seriously should go back to being a Jedi… or a Sith-Lord, actually, a Sith. I liked him better when he was Darth Vader. Nevertheless, the song could have been good. I really liked the oriental touch it had, the only part I didn’t like was the singing, because Tooji probably didn’t even hit one note. As you might have noticed, I’m not exactly a pro when it comes to music, I just like what I like, but even I noticed his singing was completely off.

Result: in the finals (Jedi mind-manipulation?)

17. Bosnia & Herzegovina Maya Sar – “Korake ti znam”

Stop playing the piano when you’re not playing the piano. I think she actually can do it, but the music is not live, only the singing, so it’s just for show anyway and makes no difference if she sits in front of the piano or not. Other than that, I thought her dress was a bit weird, but her song was good, I liked it. If I remember correclty, she’s a professional musican who specialized on movie-soundtracks, but I have to admit she also did a pretty nice job here.

Result: in the finals

18. Lithuania  Donny Montell – “Love Is Blind”

The song is called “Love Is Blind”… oh, oh, oh! I have a great idea, let him sing blind! At least for the first part, the slower part of the song, he was wearing a blindfold. Why? Dunno, it was stupid. The song was as clichéd as you can get, but I was impressed by the fact that he was able to do a side handspring with only one hand and a pretty good one as well, considering he was holding a microphone in his other hand. Maybe that’s why he was so popular?

Result: in the finals

Now, let’s talk a bit about the show for the break while they were counting the votes. In the first semi-finals they had some traditional music and while it dragged on for too long, it was kind of nice. This time, they had the winners of the last 5 years performing their winning songs, well 4 of them did, with traditional instruments from Azerbaijan.

Did it work? Surprisingly, yes, the mixture of modern and traditional music was nice to hear and we had the pleasure to listen to some of the best artists this evening. First was Dima Bilan from Russia, second was an amazing Marija Šerifović from Serbia, third was Alexander Rybak and fourth was Lena. I do pity those people though, I mean, they will be forced to sing their winning songs forever and they’re probably sick of them for a long time now. All of them did a good job, Alexander and Lena probably better than they did when they won with their songs, but I have to say that Lena seriously should eat some more, she was so thin.

As for the song from Azerbaijan… I’m convinced they’re both pretty good singers, or at least I want to think they are, but when you hear someone fucking up “Waterloo” by ABBA so bad, it actually hurts a bit. I’m sorry, but this song is so well-known and Nikki still managed to confuse the lyrics halfway through and both didn’t really hit the right notes on top of that. That’s pretty bad, I’m just saying… but the other 4 were good, I loved them.

Now, all what’s left is the last big show and I’m really looking foward to the Big Five, because I think this year all five of them have pretty amazing entries and really good songs as well as capable singers. They would’ve probably advanced to the finals even if they had to go through the semi-finals, I like all of their songs. My favorite is, like I said, still Albania, but I wouldn’t complain if Sweden wins, or the United Kingdom, or Italy… yeah, of course and I’d be happy very happen if Germany won, although I kinda doubt it and being the host again wouldn’t be good, I think.

But the Eurovision Song Contest is a loose cannon and everything can happen.

20th Anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s Death

Obviously, this post has nothing to do with Manga/Anime, but 20 years ago on this day, one of the greatest musicans of all time had died, so I thought I should write a post about it.

23rd November 1991: the world got to know that Freddie has AIDS

24th November 1991: the world got to know that Freddie has died

I’m not a Queen-Fan, but I like a lot of their songs and especially their live-gigs were absolutely amazing. Freddie was able to control the audience like only very few others were and he had a truly extraordinary voice. He was very special, but he was living a dangerous life that resulted in his infection with the HI virus and thus, he died 20 years ago and left a huge shadow behind. Although Queen still exists and they had amazing singers, no one was able to fill the place Freddie left behind. No one has ever managed to sing his songs as great as he was able to, but some really shouldn’t even try…

Katy Parry for example made a cover of “Don’t stop me now”, but the only thing she achieved with this, is making a fool out of herself. She can’t sing this song and don’t even let me begin ranting about her qualities when it comes to live performances. Want to know what her version of “Don’t stop me know” sounds live? Well… you’ve been warned:

Why was she allowed to do this? WHY? I mean, this sounds seriously bad. Her own songs are quite ok as long as she doesn’t sing live, because she can’t sing, but why was anyone stupid enough to let her sing a Queen-song live?

For the record, this is what “Don’t stop me know” sounds like sung by Freddie:

What a difference and you know what’s the greatest part? Freddie was an amazing singer, everything sounded better live. I absolutely love this live-version of Who wants to live forever. This is awesome and it’s so sad Freddie had to leave us this early, but he will live forever, because he will be remembered through his music and generations to come will be amazed by his epic self. As for myself I was only 3 years old when Freddie died, but I’m nothing but impressed whenever I watch a live-performance of Queen with Freddie.

Freddie, the world misses you, the music misses you and people still love and respect your great music and your amazing voice. You were one of the best, rest in peace. You will never be forgotten.