Saturday, 14 June 2008

Eurovision - Day Seven

It was day seven in Belgrade and the night of the Final of the 53rd Eurovision Song Contest, my sadness at the contest being over for a year was equally matched with excitement to see who would be the outright winner.

The atmosphere at the arena was amazing when I arrived - there was such a hive of activity. There were seas of flags being waved, and people from all nations talking to eachother about their favourites from the contest. I couldn't help but think how wonderful it was to be part of this unifying experience. I made sure I was armed with my Iceland and Norway flags as I headed into the arena ready to support my two favourites.

The show itself was fantastic in the arena - it was one big party. Andy Abraham for the UK did well despite being the second act but it was clear he wasn't going to do well in the votes as his performance was not memorable enough to standout. No Angels gave a better vocal performance but it still wasn't up to the standard of some of the other acts. By the time Euroband came on stage my phone went crazy with all my friends back home that were watching on T.V to say how great they were. One of my friends even said that Fridrik looked like me on stage!! (I wish!!). I didn't think it would be possible for Euroband to raise their game in their performance as they were already so good but they did - giving without doubt the strongest vocal performance in the contest. Their efforts were rewarded in the arena with one of the best reactions of the night. Charlotte Perrelli's performance underwhelmed me slightly in the final and she was totally upstaged by Ani Lorak. It was obvious that out of the two divas in silver, that Ani would come out on top as her performance was much more memorable than Charlotte's. Booing in the arena was directed at Spain with people that obviously didn't think that the "song" was good for Eurovision. Dima Bilan also received a fair amount of boos when he took to the stage. My other favourite, Maria from Norway closed the show with a beautiful performance of "Hold On, Be Strong".

With all the 25 countries performed, it was now the moment of truth - the scores. My personal top 5 were Iceland, Norway, Ukraine, Sweden and Greece, so I was hoping for any of those countries to do well. As the scores started coming in I noticed that suprisingly Sweden were not getting any points. Norway and Greece in particular, were doing well, Iceland had a few points and Ukraine wasn't doing as well as I expected. At the top of the leader board was Greece and Russia and I secretly hoped it would be Greece that would take the prize over Russia. As more countries voted, my dreams for Eurovision in Iceland started to fade and I resigned myself to the fact that I would be going to Russia next year. With only one country left to vote, Demark, the game was over and it was to be Dima Bilans night. The moment that I was most annoyed about was Iceland's Euroband not having their moment of glory on the screen from the green room when they got their 12 points from Denmark - trust Dima Bilan to steal their thunder!! With the voting over, my top 5 finished like this: Iceland (14th), Norway (5th), Ukraine (2nd), Sweden (18th) and Greece (3rd). I was most disappointed for Euroband as I so desperately wanted them to do well.

In my opinion, I think the top 5 (though not all my favourites) were deserving though I would have prefered Ani Lorak's Shady Lady as the overall winner as opposed to Dima "I think I am God" Bilan. I was particularly pleased with Maria's 5th place with "Hold On, Be Strong" for Norway. I'm not sure where it went wrong for Sweden and my favourites Iceland - I guess the whole East v's West is still very much a part of the final despite it balancing out the qualifiers from the Semi Finals. The UK found themselves at the bottom of the table again which wasn't deserved (neither was Poland to be fair). With talk of Terry Wogan resigning and countries pulling out, I wonder if rules for the final will be changed for next year??

The aftershow party was a little sad as it was time to say goodbye to all the friends I had made over the week. I was able to catch up with a few of the artists at the party but the one act that I wanted to see Euroband, wasn't there. I really wanted to tell them how well they did and that it was a great triumph that they qualified to the final. As quick as the week had begun, it had ended and until next year, Eurovision was over.

1 comment:

David said...

Yes, I'm not sure that anything except getting rid of televoting is going to sort out the East vs. West issues. Whatever about the semis having a 'fairer' selection policy, when it comes down to the popular vote, it is as likely, if not more so, that geography plays a role along with the quality of the song. Malta is leading the way in showing up the ridiculous situation for what it is with its protest twelve points this year and last.