As is traditional, here’s this year’s scores from the House of Llama for the Eurovision Semi-Finals and Final. I’m also tweeting away like fury during the contests, which means I normally end up in twitter-jail at some point for over-tweeting. Never knew this was a thing until Eurovision and twitter collided for me! Scores are out of 30, with 10 points each for Song, Performance & Staging making up the mark. Asterisks (*) indicate those semi finalists who went through to the final.
Final (Sat 23 May)
- Australia: (Sg:8 Pf:9 Sg:7) 24
Polished performance, singer who clearly relished being at the contest and an enjoyable crowd pleasing song. Nice hat too. Staging was simple and allowed the deeply funky song to actual take centre stage, which is a major bonus. Easily my favourite on the night and got a vote from me. Honestly, if Australia can embrace Eurovision like this, can we please have them back again as a regular/semi-regular contestant? Pleeeeeeeease?!
- [Actual position: 5th: 196 votes]
- Sweden: (Sg:8 Pf:8 Sg:8) 24
- Still really enjoyed the performance of this, although Mans wasn’t quite as polished as the semi-final for me, and slightly off with some of his timings ever-so-slightly. Which for me lost him my number one slot. That said I have no problem with him winning the show (I was cheering him down to the wire with his tussle with Russia!)
- [Actual position: WINNER: 365 votes]
- Estonia: (Sg:8 Pf:8 Sg:7) 23
I stand by my liking of this and shall continue by campaign to get Elina and Stig to sing a future Bond film. Would have liked it to better obviously, and voted for it. Glad to see that the OGAE gave this their 3rd place position…which I heartily concur with – we Eurovision fans must stick together!
- [Actual position: 7th: 106 votes]
- Cyprus: (Sg:8 Pf:9 Sg:6) 23
- Remained one of the best pure songs of the contest, and deserved a whole lot more votes than it got. The spectacle won over the song sadly.
- [Actual position: 22nd: 11 votes]
- Montenegro: (Sg:8 Pf:8 Sg:5) 21
- Still a haunting peace of music that really got me, despite as everyone pointed out it being sung by a George Galloway lookalike with more skin-tucks than are perhaps advisable. Tops my mid-range table for being a really good song, a really good performance, with simple staging – so score wise not quite as high as my appreciation might actually be.
- [Actual position: 13th: 44 votes]
- Israel: (Sg:6 Pf:8 Sg:7) 21
Remained a high-energy boy band number. Disposable pop maybe, but still a foot-tapper and the guys were clearly having a blast performing. Respectable marks on the night, although some terrible stuff ahead of them. Top of my this score group for being the best bit of pop. Even if he never did show me Tel Aviv.
- [Actual position: 9th: 97 votes]
- Italy: (Sg:7 Pf:8 Sg:6) 21
- A deservedly high scoring performance in the final, although I wasn’t quite as blown away by it as I’d expected to be. Great voices though, just needed a little something more for me to take it into the top 5. Also, having Brains from Thunderbirds as one of the singers was a bit of shock!
- [Actual position: 3rd: 292 votes]
- UK: (Sg:6 Pf:8 Sg:7) 21
Okay, home team bias…but let’s be honest. I’ve not been keen on this track at all ever since it was announced. But I’ll give them their due, they gave it everything on the night, but I guess the BBC were rather lying about how much electro-swing is “big” in Europe. On the night I knew we were screwed early on when Malta (who usually give the UK good points when we’ve sent something half decent) gave us one point. Loved the LED suits and the energy in the performance, did not to deserve to be this low when drek like Belgium was up so high.
- [Actual position: 24th: 5 votes]
- Poland: (Sg:6 Pf:7 Sg:8) 21
- Another one haunting and melodic number that I liked but the rest of Europe didn’t agree with me. There wasn’t a lot changed from the staging and performance from the semi-finals, and while – yes – it did still look like a washing powder or sanitary-product advert. If anything this one had grown on my a bit since the semis, but as Dr Eurovision says…you can’t enter a grower and expect to win!
- [Actual position: 23rd: 10 votes]
- Russia: (Sg:7 Pf:7 Sg:7) 21
- Again me and Europe weren’t in geopolitical and performance agreement here, as to my ears while this is actually (leaving politics aside) a good song and performance. But unlike some of the ones I’ve scored higher, it wasn’t quite as well performed in the semis. And the singer is drop-dead gorgeous too, which helps. I could probably have lived with it winning on the night…just, although mostly for Russia having to host the campest spectacular there is 🙂
- [Actual position: 2nd: 303 votes]
- Spain: (Sg:6 Pf:6 Sg:8) 20
- A fabulous cape, a fabulous set of legs and a lovely voice. Didn’t quite captivate me on the night, but it has quite simply the most brilliant video of the whole contest – Lord of the Rings/LARP-tastic! Also a TIGER! She should so have included that tiger on stage and Spain would have won hands down! And it’s one that on listening to again to write this blog, I actually like a whole lot more. Another would be grower…but as I’ve said already… In an ideal world, would have been jockeying for position with the Russian power-ballad, not scraping the bottom of the table.
- [Actual position: 21st: 15 votes]
- Serbia: (Sg:5 Pf:7 Sg:8) 19
- Enjoyed this about the same as in the semis as a performance, and the staging was great too – lots of folks projecting fun and enjoyment. But for me the song was the weakest part, I didn’t really love it. It was okay, but a bit pedestrian for my tastes.
- [Actual position: 10th: 53 votes]
- Lithuania: (Sg7: Pf:5 Sg:6) 19
Okay…my votes on this have really changed since the semis, which just goes to show if you listen to the same song twice in this contest you start liking some of them a whole lot more. I still loved Monika’s fish-scale dress, and actually the poppy vibe cheered me up no end after some of the more down beat songs. However, it did sound a bit off key in places. Also, Vaidas clearly reads my blog as he called out “People if you feel the love, raise your hands up in the air” this time. You’ll note from the score table that Russia…didn’t vote for same-sex love. Colour me shocked. But this one should have been edging into the top 10 IMHO.
- [Actual position: 18th: 30 votes]
- Slovenia: (Sg:5 Pf:5 Sg:6) 16
- You don’t open the contest and win, and this was true as ever – despite those glittery headphones. And I actually didn’t like this as much on a second listening. Europe a little tone deaf giving this 14th though.
- [Actual position: 14th: 39 votes]
- Germany: (Sg:6 Pf:4 Sg:6) 16
Well she was the 2nd place person in Song for Deutschland, and she’s not been well, and that super-villain outfit REALLY showed us her butt…but those thoughts aside, Black Smoke was not a great number. On the other hand it deserved a few votes, but certainly was a lower half of the table contender for me. Sort of a bit like Lena…without, you know, being Lena.
- [Actual position: =26th: nul points]
- Georgia: (Sg:4 Pf:5 Sg:6) 15
- My notes read “Sexy raven/Dark Phoenix” which clearly tells me everything I need to remember about this song. The gothic vibe was refreshing among all the Eurovision chintz and glitter, and I should have liked this more than I did. But it’s a little atonal for my ears. Still, Nina’s a genuinely lovely looking lady…so I may have scored this higher than it deserved. Suspect a recipient of some geo-political votes, rather than for comparative talent giving it’s actual ranking on the night.
- [Actual position: 11th: 51 votes]
- Azerbaijan: (Sg:3 Pf:4 Sg:8) 15
- The law of diminishing returns strikes. While I still loved the dancers for this number for doing something stylish, simple but clever…this time I wasn’t as distracted and could focus in on a song which left me pretty cold, and a fairly meh performance. Geo-political voting or Europe just loves interpretive dance…make up your own minds!
- [Actual position: 12th: 49 votes]
- Austria: (Sg:4 Pf:5 Sg:5) 14
He set a freaking piano on fire. On the stage. For that alone it deserved points, but Europe clearly is blase about blazes. And they also brought the Bee Gees back from the dead for the performance too…but then perhaps the rest of the song and the performance were a bit bland, so I didn’t rate it that highly. And it looks like beards are out of vote winners this year.
- [Actual position: =26th: nul points]
- Latvia: (Sg:3 Pf:5 Sg:5) 13
- My Auntie Marge had this strange wide-skirted doll that lived on top of her toilet-roll when I was a kid. And that’s what this dress reminded me of. The song…yeah remained naff, even if the staging of the whole performance was a bit more interesting. It’s final position on the night caused me to ask “Europe, are you stone, cold, tone-deaf?”. I’m really at a loss for why this did so well, unless people thought this was actually Conchita again in a different frock…
- [Actual position: 6th: 186 votes]
- Romania: (Sg:4 Pf:5 Sg:4) 13
- Sending Walter White to represent Romania was a stroke of genius. If he’d borrowed Australia’s hat, then we’d have had Heisenberg as well. A good attempt at a worthy song at an important social issue. But…was it memorable or an earworm? No, and the rather pedestrian staging (suitcases aside) didn’t really help. Not sure if liberal guilt or geo-politics came into this scoring so high on the table, as I’d have expected to have seen it in the lower third.
- [Actual position: 15th: 35 votes]
- Norway: (Sg:6 Pf:3 Sg:3) 12
- Morland’s voice is interesting, Debrah’s is awful. This song is okay, but I found myself genuinely considering going to put the kettle on during this. Europe did not agree, clearly having watched this with the sound off or something. The lyrics include the line “Just goooooo!” which by coincidence was what I was shouting at the TV 90 seconds in.
- [Actual position: 8th: 102 votes]
- Armenia: (Sg:2 Pf:5 Sg:4) 11
- The return of the Blakes 7 meets Clannad staging ethic…is a weird one that didn’t help a song that I really didn’t like. Felt like a relic from the 1970s all round, and not in a funky disco fun kinda way. Didn’t do that well, and I think should have even been a smidge or two lower on the rankings.
- [Actual position: =16th: 34 votes]
- Greece: (Sg:2 Pf:5 Sg:4) 11
- “Dull” read my entire notes on this song. Even the pretty lady with the sexy dress and the stargate didn’t sway me enough. Deserved it’s actual position, or perhaps slightly lower in the table.
- [Actual position:19th: 23 votes]
- France: (Sg:2 Pf:5 Sg:6) 11
Europe and I reached an accordance with this one – a shouty woman shouting lyrics in french at me, as her electronic soldiers stage a revolution behind her. Bring back Moustache – they may not have got many votes, but by god, at least they were fun to watch. This one had me looking for the nearest sharp-knife to self harm. A deadly serious song, about a worthy issue in a contest about fun and joy…was never going to fly.
- [Actual position: 25th: 4 votes]
- Albania: (Sg:3 Pf:2 Sg:3) 8
- I genuinely didn’t even remember this one, and had to look it up on YouTube just to remind me what it sounded like. It was late in a long, long running order and I suspect song-fatigue counted towards my lack of enjoyment. But it was nothing special, sung by a middle-of-the-road singer. Well I say singer, but she basically did that X-Factor shouting that singers do when they can’t actually hit notes. She did have two points in her favour…her decolletage revealing dress. But I’m sorry, I can’t give that points. If any performance (other than Belgium) deserved nul points, it was this one.
- [Actual position: =16th: 34 votes]
- Hungary: (Sg:2 Pf:4 Sg:2) 8
- Wars for nothing and your chicks for free? Making this joke during both the semi and the final were the major enjoyment I got from this song. Again, I liked this more in the semi…but in contrast with the rest, this really paled on a second viewing/listening. Too dull really, and not really a song that stays with you. Probably about where it should be in the table, given this might just be a personal disconnection with the song/performance.
- [Actual position: 20th: 19th]
- Belgium: (Sg:1 Pf:1 Sg:) 6
This was simply terrible, and I’ve given it (marginally) higher votes for the fabulous “face dance”. Yes, I was being sarcastic there. Backing singers from a cult, an off key lead singer, and pretty crappy staging all in all. That this came 4th…almost destroyed my belief in humanity. When Loic lay down on the stage, I was rather hoping he’d lost the will to go on. The UK gave this 3 points which means I need to track down the people who voted for it, and have some very harsh words with them about how music is supposed to sound like…
- [Actual position: 4th(!?!): 217 votes]
Semi Final Two (Thu 21 May)
- Sweden*: (So:6 Pf:7 St:10) 24
My first and so far only 10 of the contest, because the interaction with the graphics here was nothing short of stunning. The song, while only just a bit better than average though really, really benefited. I can see why this is a bookie’s favourite for the overall winner.
- Israel*: (So:7 Pf:8 St:8) 23
- Fireworks, funky high energy song and amazing shoes – there was a whole lot to love about golden boy. And did I mention I wanted those winged golden shoes? Good, just wanted to make sure I did. Felt a little like this was the Greecian entry (which Greece failed to send) – lots of young lads leaping around. Will play well in the final and should do well…assuming not too much political voting (ho ho).
- Montenegro*: (So:6 Pf:8 St:8) 22
Very arty opening to this number, quite sorrowful and reminded in a good way of the sort of stuff Bosnia can often send. Lead singer had a genuinely lovely voice too, and the violin accompaniment worked well for a really haunting track. Glad this one went through!
- Slovenia*: (So:6 Pf:7 St:7) 20
- Okay so the lead lady singer in her sparkling headphones has a very unique voice…but I think that really worked for me. I make no bone about normally preferring male lead singers, but I was won over by this rather strikingly different bit of pop. And who can faulty the lady with the invisible air-fiddle! Went I voted for this (rather than Israel, who I thought would get loads of votes) so hopefully that helped get it to the final!
- Poland*: (So:6 Pf:7 St:6) 19
Pretty lady in a wheelchair with a simply fabulous dress. Poland are a usually quite popular at Llama Towers, especially with last year’s butter-churning. This is very different, a rather gentle little song filled with a gentle cadence that makes it very easy on the ears. The staging was heavy on flowers which did make it a little overly girly for my tastes – but suited the song well. Song titled In the name of love…which had me singing the 80s hit by mistake!
- Azerbaijan*: (So:5 Pf:6 St:8) 19
- Equal in points to Poland, but in terms of song and performance I’m afraid Poland has to take a higher place. This though had some of the best dancing of the whole contest, as a male and female performer do their interpretive very best to strike forms and movement around the singer. Sadly, the song while well enough sung – and reminding me of Feels Like Heaven – was nothing more than above average middle of the road pop. Not surprised it went through though, mass appeal doubtlessly.
- Malta: (So:5 Pf:7 St:6) 18
- Okay, cards on the table this was an okay song and a good performance. But I think I gave it bonus votes for THAT dress which was split almost all the way to…well take a look for yourself. And she managed to more or less flash the whole audience during the introduction to the night too. Deliberate? I can only speculate! The song was the 2nd one in the contest called Warrior, and perhaps that didn’t help as this is the first one of my favourites not to make the cut. It’s a nice Eurovision anthem style song, but perhaps not cutting the mustard for the voters. Shame, my eyes and ears will feel deprived in the final.
- Cyprus*: (So:7 Pf:8 St:3) 18
Another island nation close on Malta’s heels, and this one did go through. The Cypriot Elvis Costello delivered one of the technically superior songs and performances for the night, although the staging was very, very minimalist. Stood out by being very different to anything else in the contest which I think counts very much in his favour. Give it a listen, I think you’ll find it’s a real grower this one.
- Switzerland: (So:5 Pf:5 St:8) 18
It’s no Vampires are Alive but there was certainly two-tone drama with the lead singer tearing off her outer black cape to reveal her white outfit below. There were also some very funky drummers on the stage. Very, very Euro-tribal-pop sound to this one, and perhaps a little more mangled English so popped it slightly down the charts for me. Didn’t go through, which seems to be the regular Swiss fate at Eurovision (much to a Swiss friend of mine’s disgust every year). Again, had this been in the first semi, it would probably have made it in over some of the weaker material there. Note my #9 for semi-1 scored 10 to this semi’s 18 – much, much stronger material and hence a harder contest!
- Czech Republic: (So:5 Pf:7 St:5) 17
- Nice male and female vocals, with the female singer possessing legs that put mine to shame! Sadly while they did counterpoint each other well, the song and staging wasn’t really enough to convince me. And clearly not the voting public and judges either!
- Portugal: (So:4 Pf:7 St:5) 16
Poor old Portugal, they do keep on trying and some years really deliver. This year sadly wasn’t one of them, and that’s despite the singer dressing as the Dark Pheonix. The song just lacks a bit of power to make it really stand out. Shame as after Georgia she’s got the most feathers on any outfit, which means she got my chicken’s votes!
- Latvia*: (So:3 Pf:7 St:6) 16
- Yes another stunning dress which the singer appears to be about to launch into orbit from…and that’s about I have to say about this very, very odd song. Reminded me somewhat of Portishead, and while I like Portishead…I’m not sure I really liked this track that much. Still, enough people liked it enough to send through to the finals, so what do I know.
- Ireland: (So:5 Pf:4 St:3) 12
Oh Ireland, we send someone called Molly in 2014, so you send another Molly in 2015 with what appears to be my old primary school piano. And like my singing at primarty school this one is probably best forgotten. Ireland can do so much better, I can only conclude they really, really don’t want to host the show ever again. I don’t dislike it, so much as I didn’t really notice it. A song to go boil the kettle by.
- Iceland: (So:4 Pf:3 St:4) 11
- It says something about the song and the performance that I spent half of this number wondering if the pretty little Icelandic pixie had stepped in a pot of golden paint and was now running about the stage in shiny-bare feet. She was (I eventually worked out), but the song didn’t really register. On re-listening it’s not that awful, but it’s sadly not that memorable or catchy…and clearly the voting Europe was with me on this one.
- Norway: (So:3 Pf:4 St:4) 11
- The singer sings that he did something terrible in his early youth. He did something terrible later on, in that he came and performed this rather dreary song about A Monster Like Me. His lady companion, with lovely red-locks but a very odd dress didn’t help me as the words to this one literally had me giggling out loud and making up my own refrains. Never a good sign. And yet it went through – Europe is truly tone deaf.
San Marino: (So:3 Pf:3 St:2) 8
- Ah the country named after a pizza, and fronted this year by a lad at whom I shouted “School tomorrow!” when he came on. Off key for both singers, and a very trite song. But then, aren’t they all. Aside from Finland. Lost points for mangling that Eurovision favourite lyric of “reality“. Gah. Deservably didn’t go through. “Let’s light up the candles, illuminate the night”…and then maybe stop singing this shite?
- Lithuania*: (So:2 Pf:2 St:3) 8
I really, really didn’t like this one – which given it’s a bit of disposable Europop seems a bit harsh. But it goes round and round and round until I fell asleep. The audience liked it and so did the voting public. Once again I have misjudged the EU. But gah, the wailing singingers! Of course the same-sex kiss makes this edgy…possibly…but suspect this’ll play less well in the more conservative regions of the EBU! Lost a point for the god-awful “Eurovision make some noise!” plea from the lead singer.
Semi Final One (Tue 19 May)
- Estonia*: (So:8 Pf:8 St:9) 25
- The clear winner for me on the night, and another country who I’ve loved entries from many times in the past, so perhaps that counted towards the score. For me Goodbye to Yesterday could so easily be the opening track to a Bond movie, which is high praise indeed (I’l spare you my encyclopedic Bond-theme knowledge here). Glad to see it go through, and high hopes for the final.
- Russia*: (So:7 Pf:8 St:7) 24
- Obi-Wan said something about A Million Voices once, and I guess that helped score some votes. A little bit retro but the lead singer could certainly sing, had a fabulous dress and was fairly easy on the eyes. All things that clearly helped punt them through to the final.
- Denmark: (So:6 Pf:6 St:7) 19
- For me the biggest travesty of the night is that this didn’t go through, I really liked the retro feel of the song and the band too. The very nicely dressed backing singers helped too, but why didn’t this genuinely fun pop song fail? Without a doubt one I’ll be adding to my Spotify playlist. Easily should have gone through while less creative stuff (paging Romania…) slipped past the gates. Be interesting to see where this ranks when the detailed results are released next week.
- Hungary*: (So: 6 Pf:7 St:6) 19
- Described by Mrs Llama as “More hippy shit” and me as “Oh look, Arya Stark’s singing” this was a upper-mid range performance. No idea if it’ll do well in the final or not, especially against stronger competition. The Doctor Strangelove meets DEFCON stage aesthetic was a nice touch though.
- Georgia*: (So:5 Pf:4 :St:7) 16
- My twitter had been jail-locked by the time this slinky raven of a singer took the stage. Probably just as well as I’d have likely tweeted something about the Dark Sansa singer that would have gotten me a vicious slapping from Mrs Llama. Stage set was pretty cool, all those lightning bolts and her costuming was splendid. Nice powerful performance, and while I didn’t love the song, I liked the overall impression enough to make it a top 5 pick on the night. Might do well in the final, might not – can’t tell yet.
- Albania*: (So:6 Pf:4 St4 ) 14
- Surprisingly high in my ranking, especially as I didn’t particularly like the entry that much. Overall low standard of this semi’s songs means the lower half of my top 10 is largely stuff I wasn’t that keen on. Opened the show, but not on a high note.
- Serbia*: (So:2 Pf:2 St:8) 12
- Rated above Greece purely because I thought it contained the best theatricality and stage performance of the night by far. All those masks, and then the costume changes made for a brilliant distraction from a song and performance that largely left me cold. Felt a bit too much like another Eurovision by-the-numbers entry. Probably do well on the night, but I didn’t really love 2/3 of its components. Maybe it’ll grow on me…
- Greece*: (So:4 Pf:4 St:4) 12
- For me this was a real meh of a song from Greece, the perennial churners out of high-energy party-styled anthems with a lot of hunky men leaping around the stage. Much as I appreciated the dress slit all the way to an almost eye-popping level singing in front of a Stargate…I didn’t love it. In my top 10 only because the rest of the pack were worse. Totally forgettable Eurovision paint-by-numbers song, even if it had one of the few (only?) key-changes of the night.
- Belarus: (So:3 Pf:4 St:3) 10
- Marginally higher than Armenia, if only for the line about “Time is beating like thunder, ha-hah!” which had me roaring with laughter. Worse stuff than this went through (Belgium, I’m looking at you), but there you go. Heated questions in the Belarus’ parliament again I guess…
- Armenia*: (So: 3 Pf:4 St:3) 10
- With a title like Face the Shadow I wanted a whole lot more, although the lead singer turning up dressed like Captain Scarlet was a bonus. A whole lot of wailing, a whole lot of ren-fayre costumes and pretty forgettable. Mid-table fodder I’d say for the final. So it’ll probably win.
- Romania*: (So:3 Pf:3 St3) 9
- This song totally passed over me like a warm-gust of wind from a take-away extractor fan. Wafts of something interesting, but beset by an awful lot of forgettable hot air. Somewhat surprised it went through as my notes just read “Meh”.
- Finland: (So:3 Pf:3 St:2) 8
- I wanted to like this more, as it was a break of fresh air after all the naff X-Factorish ballads. But let’s be honest…it wasn’t great, and the mercy of it being the shortest entry ever in the contest was perhaps a mercy.
- FYR Macedonia: (So: 3 Pf:1 St:4) 8
- The falling leaves of the song title kept going up, which was somewhat confusing. The English was painful (wish people would sing in native language more)
- Moldova: (So:1 Pf:1 St:6) 8
- Moldova usually manage to send something memorable, and most years (when I can) they get a vote from me. The Hot Cops meets YMCA costumes boded well but the song and performance were diabolical. Singer sounded like finger-nails on broken glass..
- Belgium*: (So:1 Pf:1 St:2) 4
- Still unsure if I liked this less or more than Netherlands, but it wasn’t great. And it went through too, moon faced singer and all.
- Netherlands: (So:1 Pf:2 St:1) 4
- As I said at Castle Llama on the night “If this and Belgium go through I’ll eat Paddie Ashdown’s hat.” Looks like I only need to eat half a hat though. Liked the wing-suit costume though
Now the finals are over, they’ve released the results of the semi-final voting in detail, and it makes for an interesting read as always. Sweden scored nothing other than 10s and 12s (other than from the UK and Azerbaijan), whereas Russia has a lot of 10s and 12s too, but markedly more 10s and a lot more scores lower than 10. From reading this it was always going to be Sweden’s night – although with both Italy and Australia total unknowns it did make for a lot more uncertainty than normal!