Showing posts from May, 2011

It's all come round so quick!

Goodness!  I can't believe how fast the last 4 days have flown in!!!  I really haven't had time to update the blog, cos we've not really been in the press centre for longer than 5 mins.  But anyway the second semi came and went without much incident, other than the failure of Dana International to reach tonight's final.  That said, I did manage to bump into a couple of her counterparts in the audience...

We had a fab UK/Irish party during the week - Jedward didn't show and Blue came along to say hello!  I think it was a rather fab evening, but then I had rather a lot of Guinness!!!

And so to this evening's final...

I hate to say it, but it's NOT looking good for our boys in Blue!  They've had some pretty ropey rehearsals, coupled with the fact that Lee lost the lyrics last night in the all-important Jury Final (juries vote on the Friday night performance rather than the Sat evening performance, which everyone else televotes on).

I would absolutely LOVE …

Qualification shocker!

OK, so who saw Georgia, and more bizarrely, LITHUANIA going through?

Thankfully I got the other 8 qualifiers right with my predictions, and I'm delighted that Hungary and especially Iceland are through to Saturday's final.  I won 65 quid on that getting through!

I am, however, completely gutted about Norway, and the exit of Stella's superb Haba Haba.  That really is sad.
So Turkey and Armenia failed to qualify for the first time - that's interesting (although it may hand the victory to Azerbaijan if all the Turkish diaspora around Europe vote from them now that their homeland is out).
Goodness knows what the second semi will throw up on Thursday.  I'll come back after the rehearsal for that one tomorrow and give you my comments.
By the way, it looks like my Scotsman article is going out on Thursday (I spent 4 hours writing it this morning, starting at 6.30am!)
Goodnight from Dusseldorf for the time being.

Lipstick on your collar

Those Jedward boys are building a great momentum around the Irish entry this year!  As you can see from the pic below, they are certainly colourful - and couple that with the way the effortlessly leap around the stage like things possessed, and I can really see them doing very well on Saturday night (we're taking it as read that they will qualify from their Semi on Thursday).

I remember Louis Walsh saying on X Factor that they would be perfect from Eurovision - the man was right!

Kudos also to the superb Danish band, A Friend In London, with their anthemic "New Tomorrow".  Sexy lead singer, Tim, is wearing a backless (!) shirt for their performance.  I'd prefer it to be a frontless shirt - but then you can't have everything...

Thankfully Blue's second rehearsal yesterday looked and sounded much stronger.  Interestingly, the momentum around our song seems to be fading a bit around the arena at the moment, but that's OK - it means we can come back stronger …

Trailer Trash!!!

Oh my!  I seem to have appeared in the BBC trailer for Eurovision...  Click on the link below and then scroll in to around 1  minute and 3 seconds - there I am in a red linen shirt, with a yellow and blue Sweden fluffy wig on, waving a pirate flag!!! (taken from the contest in Belgrade in 2008).


The "You're NOT Welcome" Party!

For the first time in 22 years of attending Eurovision the official welcome party was not open to all delegates - although some members of the press were "cordially" invited to stand at the edge of the red carpet and take photos of the "official" delegates as they entered....  Charming!

Whilst some "journalists" did manage to get in, making a conscious choice to abandon their friends in the process, most of us elected to stick two fingers up at the whole sorry affair and have our own "You're NOT Welcome" party at Euroclub instead!

Thanks for nothing, Dusseldorf...

The secret is...

Friday's rehearsals provided the first "OMG - where did that come from" moment so far...

Austria's Nadine Bieler absolutely blew everyone in the press centre away with a stunning performance of her song, "The Secret Is Love".  It was one of those magic moments where everything suddenly just came together; staging, lighting, sound, performance...  We had goosebumps watching her, and within a few minutes the place was buzzing with speculation that Austria, who have only just returned to the fray this year after a 4 year sabbatical, may very well win the whole thing!

She's currently 50/1 on most betting sites - get a couple of quid each way on this one now!

Five Alive!

Saturday saw the "Big 5" rehearse for the first time.  These are the largest financial contributors to the Eurovision kitty, and and consequentially allowed an automatic place in the final.

First up was Mr France - all big hair and big voice as the garlic flavoured Paul Pottts gave faultless performances of his Corsican themed opera aria.  It's still the bookies' fave with odds of 5/2, but I think they are going to end up as the bridesmaid this year...

Italy have returned to the fray after a 14 year gap, and this time they're bringing a chunky Jamie Cullum soundalike to add a little jazz to the proceedings.  Not to everyone's taste, but it's fabulously performed, and I expect him to finish Top 10.

The two undisputed party songs of the contest this year are Norway's Haba Haba (fab Afro-schlager, you will remember) and the Spanish song, which has a long and complicated title that is far too complex to remember on a Sunday morning... it's all about &qu…

Georgian Cheese on Toast!

Yum!  Those Georgians know how to throw a party...  cold bits of cheese on toast and a few Jim Beams and soda, followed by some Georgian wine...

Anyway, we didn't stay late after the Georgian act, Eldrine, decided to share 11 tracks off their new album and then the largish lady who heads their delegation serenaded us with her rendition of Diana Ross's Endless Love!
We were starving, so went next door for a Currywurst instead...


So, today Iceland were once again fabulous, and looking like strong contenders (still around 200/1 on some sites - get an e/w bet on it NOW!).  Nice chaps, and thier drummer (second from the right) is a fair treat on the eye!

Kati Wolf from Hungary was slightly better today - but still not brilliant, which is a shame really.  The routine looks messy on screen. She can't have been to concerned, cos she was presented with some award by a rather rotund German fan...

Complete stars of the day, as far as press conferences are concerned anyway, were th…

Turkish Hamster Ball Lady

The Turkish song is being sung by a rock band. On stage with them is a lady contortionist who spends the entire three minutes trying to escape from a giant hamster ball.  She manages to stick her foot over her head and through the metal slats at one point, to wave cheerily at the singer...


Hair today... Gone tomorrow!

Oh My!  Someone found a discarded hairpiece in the press centre (we think it's from the Turkish hamster ball lady - more on her later...)

Much hilarity!

Turkish Delight - not!

Turkey decided to make their party last night invitation only...  So only those, and such as those, got in.  Boo Hiss!  Never mind, those of us who didn't make it in had fun at Euroclub instead, where we chatted with the widow of the Icelandic songwriter - a fab and inspiring lady, who is full of joy and energy despite the fact that she only lost her hubby a few months back.

Nadine from Austria was in to sing the gay hands-in-air dance version of her big gospel-style ballad.

...and Elaine was just enjoying her self, as per... (Paul Jordan thought she looked like Fred Flintstone - cheeky chap!)

Today we've had fab performances from Norway and Serbia so far, and Mr Russian Sparrow is currently giving a more than impressive performance of his song.

Finally, a quick word about Dana International, who rehearsed for the first time yesterday.  Not only did she sing dreadfully, and look uninterested in the whole thing, but she then cancelled her press conference...  Judging by the phot…

Jedward in full swing

This is the full press conference from yesterday - one of the funniest things I've ever seen in 22 years of coming to the Contest as a journalist!  Enjoy.

Be VERY afraid...

They're here!!!!

Feathers On The Track!

As you may know, the press centre is located in an indoor athletics arena.

Today, the spectators saw something the likes of which they've never seen before... or will ever see again...

I expect this video to go viral before nightfall...

Important Newsflash!

For anyone remotely interested...  my episode of The Weakest Link is going to be shown this coming Monday (9th May) at 5.15pm on BBC1...

Sorry I won't see it live - but I know what happens...!

A Blue Do!

Image I said to Duncan, "No, love, you'll need to keep your jeans on for this shoot!"

What's missing from our performance? A fairy on a unicycle, of course...

Oh yes!  We're well and truly into the spirit of things now as we witnessed the spectacle of the Moldovan "Ethno-punk" band being serenaded by a pointy-hatted fairy on a unicycle playing a horn!

This was closely followed by a Cypriot lady swinging a large sperm around her head whilst her boys did some very effective swaying...

I still don't rate their song, but there was some serious enthusing going on amongst the gathered throng.

Of course, for me, the highlight of Tuesday was the first appearance on stage of the fab Eric Saade (pronounced Sa - aah - de) from Sweden.  "Popular" is still my fave song in this contest - although Blue is a very, very close second.  Apparently Eric's glass case didn't shatter, and he did something to hurt his shoulder..., but I thought it was fab - so there!

And then there was Mystic Meg playing in a sandpit whilst the Ukrainian girly sang her dirge...   

And people ask why I love Eurovision...

Who did you get in the Sweepstake?

For those at work who took part in the ESC sweepstake at work, here's your opportunity to see and hear who you got!  Short clips of all 43 songs.


Tales from Euroclub!

OK, so we decided to go out to Euroclub for a quick drink last night...

Four hours, and many, MANY beers later I got back to my bed - exhausted after dancing to "Haba Haba" at least 4 times, amongst other faves.

When we arrived we bumped into Alex Sparrow from Russia.  Very handsome and hugely talented, but I can't help being reminded of Gaston (for those familiar with Disney's Beauty & the Beast!).  Nevertheless he was incredibly charming and very interested in everyone who spoke with him.

The diminutive Emmy (real name, Emma - quelle shock!) from Armenia was out for a bit of a bop...

But the absolute highlight of the evening was meeting the Maltese singer, Glen.  A man who makes John Inman and Larry Grayson look like Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone!!!  Camp is NOT the word...  I've never met such a hilariously OTT Euro performer.  He was dancing to all the ESC tunes and knew the words to all of them (and not just this year's songs either).

Finally, c…