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Grattis Sverige! Congratulations Sweden!

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So there we have it.  The fabulous Loreen romps to a runaway victory for Sweden and I couldn't be happier for my fave ESC country!

I'm disappointed that Engelbert didn't do better in the voting, and the same for Tooji of Norway.  Spain came Top 10, which is a big improvement for them - and I still think she gave the performance of the night.

The grannies were second, and Serbia took the bronze medal.

I hope you've enjoyed my coverage of Eurovision 2012 in Baku, Azerjibin - and I look forward to sharing all the nonsense again with you all in 2013 in Sweden.  The provisional date has already been set as May 18th, and it looks like we'd be heading to the new "Friends" Arena in the Solna district of Stockholm.

So finally, I think it's right and fitting to sign off in the very same way that I began my 2012 coverage... with a few words from (possible 2013 presenter!) Lynda Woodruffe (aka Sarah Dawn Finer).

Amaaaaaay-zing!


Five tips for the top

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Well...it's finally the big day, and the tension is mounting here in lovely, gorgeous Baku Beyond!

What song will emerge victorious tonight? (or in the case of us here on the other side of the world - tomorrow morning!).

I have five "tips for the top" for you.  These are based on my opinion, reaction during rehearsals here in the hall, and comments from other fans and journalists who are also in Baku.

Let's begin with the big bookies' favourite, Sweden.


The song, the singer and the whole "new age" artsy performance are all fab - but Loreen choked on a bit of her snow during her performance last night, so goodness knows what might happen tonight!  I'd love this to win, but something tells me she'll just miss out...
Russia is the other big fave with the bookies, and with many folk here in Baku.

There is no denying that the simple, catchy tune, coupled with the loveable ladies (and especially the wee one), is going to score HUGE with the tele voter…

..about last night

Nothing much to say, really.

The Balkan Mafia ensured that we got a screaming old witch and someone with the stage presence of a plank in the place of a couple of decent songs.

Today I couldn't really be bothered - so I stayed in bed...

Does this little old lady belong to anyone?

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One little old lady found doddering around the press centre...  Does she belong to anyone?


Interview with Italian Nina!

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What a complete star!  We LOVE Nina...  The full interview will be in the next issue of Vision (the UK fan club magazine).


The second semi final - predictions!

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Holá

Well, it's finally D-Day for our very own Indiana Joan!!!  The general feeling amongst everyone here in Baku is that she will make it through this evening, and secure a place for The Netherlands in the final for the first time since 2004.  The charm of her performance and simple catchy melody should help it.


I'll be sitting in the hall with my Dutch flag, and wearing my Native American Headdress, biting my nails to the quick until their name is read out!

There are some obvious qualifiers tonight in the shape of Ukraine, Serbia and Sweden.


I also think Tooji's place in the final for Norway is assured, after some superb rehearsals.  His song stands out as a masterpiece of modern, fresh pop in a ballad-heavy semi.

I was indifferent to Turkey's song before I came out here, but Can's performance (you pronounce it "Djan", by the way) is quirky and fun, and I've changed my mind about it.  This should qualify, and pretty much needs to, to ensure we don&…

Semi 1 - Great result!!!

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It wasn't just Jedward who were ecstatic with last night's Semi 1 results!  9 of the 10 I predicted got through, and the one I got wrong was Austria, with the fabulous Hungarian song going through instead (and that was one of my faves anyway).


Apparently Romania had huge problems hearing their track in their in-ear monitors, so they were relieved to get through.  They drew to sing in 14th position.

We got some interesting insider info via some delegations at the after party (which finished at 6am this morning!!!).  Apparently the Icelandic 12 didn't go to Denmark as expected, but to Cyprus!  Fab performance from Ivi, and I see this going Top 5 on Saturday.

We also heard that the Cypriot 12 did not go to Cypriot singer Eleftheria, who is singing for Greece, but to Albania, and the amazing Rona, who delivered a fantastic performance which had the audience on it's feet.


But it was Gorgeous Pasha from Moldova who had the best luck of the night when he drew to sing 26th, a…

My article for The Scotsman

It's a shorter piece than usual, and it's more about me and my passion this time (which is what they wanted, given the limited space they had available).  This has gone up on their Arts Blog today, and will be included in the printed Arts supplement on Thursday.

See what you think...

http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/music/news-and-features/why-i-can-t-stay-away-from-eurovision-1-2310044

Semi 1 predictions

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OK folks, the time has come to make some predictions for Semi Final 1, which takes place this evening (8pm BBC3 - for those who want to join in with all the fun!).

We sat through last night's rehearsal and it was VERY obvious that Russia is going to walk this Semi.  I really can't see anything else coming close to the Grannies as they march into Saturday's final, so I'm predicting a big win for them this evening (although, we'll not know how they finished until after Saturday).


I think this is a MUCH weaker semi than the second, and there is a run of three terrible songs (Belgium, Finland and Israel) right in the middle which almost sent me to sleep last night.  Montenegro is beyond awful, and given that all of the other ex-Yugoslav countries will sing and vote in the second semi, I seriously think he will finish this evening with the dreaded "null points".


Romania and Moldova are certainties tonight... (any excuse for another Pasha photo on here!)


I thin…

Oh dear...

No-one has posted any comments since last week... Is anyone actually reading my blog now?

Granny Karaoke!

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Here's you opportunity to sing along with the Buranovski Babushki (Russian Grannies).  Now you'll need to be careful with the subtle nuances of the complex language used here - it's quite demanding...


OOOOOH! A picture with this year's winner elect!

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The fabulous Pastora Soler from Spain thought the MiniPop Icon of her was "bery fanny..."!


A quick overview of yesterday's Big 6

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OK, they all rehearsed for the first time yesterday and France and the UK were disappointing.  France was too frenetic with acrobats flying around her, and poor Englebert just wasn't managing the notes.

Germany was very strong, as was Italy, and I could easily see both of these in the Top 5 on the night.

Azerbaijan was ok - nothing special.

However, I think we now have our winner...

Spain's Pastora Soler was nothing less than SENSATIONAL!!!  I had goosebumps when she sang!  I really see this as a huge contender now.  The vocals were perfect and the staging and camera work were superb!  This was by far the best rehearsal we've seen all week and the whole hall was buzzing after she sang.

Barcelona 2013 anyone?


The Opening Party!

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Well!  That was an interesting Opening Party!  Not quite the glitz n glam that we were expecting, and very little in the way of food, but it was fun none the less.  We had fun chatting to many of the stars.  Highlights included meeting Hot Ott from Estonia...


and our fave Jelly Baby Queen, Gaitana, from Ukraine...

The Georgians remembered us from the Cha Cha party the other night, and the Head of Press came over and asked me if I wanted some more!!!  Oh Dear, a reputation!

I resisted, but Elaine and I did grab Uncle Anri (the bonkers Jocker!) for a quick snap...


On the subject of Ms Dove, we had another classic quote as she was having her picture taken with her Belarussian fancy man.

Giacomo: Elaine, come in closer I want to see your... I want to see your...
Elaine: Breasts?
Giacomo: No.  Your dress.

Ha ha ha ha ha!


A short commercial break from Eurovision

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This had us HOWLING with laughter in the press centre this afternoon between rehearsals!  Fabulous!!!

Euphoriaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!

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Well!  What a STUNNING performance from Sweden this morning.  It's never been my favourite entry this year, but it has remained the bookies fave since the book opened and the odds get lower every day.  It's really not hard to see why!

How fab is this picture of Loreen from eurovision.tv?


Our have bonkers Georgian, Anri, has just finished his OTT, flamboyant rehearsal.  Again, I still think this is going to qualify.


Turkey was very good on stage, and let's face it, they MUST qualify to prevent the hideous monstrosity from our host country winning!
We're getting ready for the lovely Roman Lob from Germany, who has swapped with Englebert, to start the Big 6 rehearsals.  

We then have France, Italy, Azerjibon, Spain and then the Yoooonited Kingdom!  Not sure if we'll see Enge tonight, as we need to go back and get ourselves ready for the Opening Party, which starts around 8.

More thoughts...

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Mrs Macedonia is lovely!!!  Huge emotions poured out of every orifice when she did her press conference.  A real Sweetie!  Not sure she'll go through though...


Joan was just fab (natch!) and her new dress is gorgeous!  It looks so much better than what she wore in the Dutch final.  PLEEEEEEASE let this qualify!!!

Malta looked slick and polished, and I see them qualifying for a change.  Good for Kurt!
Belarus were also very good again, and I love the dancer feel of this one since it was remixed, but I'm not sure they'll make the final cut.
Portugal were also excellent, and again I love it, but think it's gonna fall at the last hurdle and miss out on a place in Saturday night's show.  Here she is getting her "do" done!

Ukraine and Bulgaria have yet to sing, but we're running late and I'm knackered, so I may head home for an early night...  It's the Swiss/San Marinese party tonight, but I just can't...(the Cha Cha effects are still there!)

Thoughts on today's second run throughs

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This morning began with the grannies - and for those who may have been suffering from a massive hangover due to excessive cha cha the night before then this was a complete tonic!  I can't really see this finishing outside the Top 5 now.  It's such a cutesy little performance.


Hungary was superb on stage and the 80's electro vibe really worked for them.  And the lead singer is hot!

Austria were good, but it's a bit in your face and overt!  Despite this I think they'll get through to the final, were we can all Woki our Popos!
Moldova - FAB-U-LOUS!!!  OK, so I'm completely besotted with sexy little Pasha, but the performance is great fun, and should see them easily securing a place in the final.

Jedward, or to give then their correct title from Düsseldorf, Die Jedward, were great fun on stage, but the vocals were decidedly ropey today (had they been at the cha cha?).   Their press conference was fab, though, with them in outrageous outfits which seemed to feature …