Thursday, May 22, 2008

I've got Eurovision fever!

Well, both semifinals of the Eurovision Song Contest are over and 18 countries have been duly eliminated from the original 43, so the 25 contestants for Saturday's contest have been picked. I am so lucky to have an officemate who's willing to listen to hours and hours of often really bad Europop, and even join me in the voting: thank you, Aaron!

It's so funny how much I adore the ESC, seeing as how I can't stand things like "American Idol" and its ilk. I guess it's because I grew up watching it, and there's just something special about voting for a specific song, knowing that it will take its place alongside classics like ABBA's "Waterloo" or the ubiquitous "Volare," first performed at the ESC in 1958 by Domenico Modugno. (It came in third.)

Of the songs eliminated in the two semifinals this year, I mourn these three the most:

- Malta: Vodka. Enthusiastic and liquored up, with the buoyant chorus "Vodka! That's the secret word! Na zdorovje!"

- The Netherlands: Your Heart Belongs to Me. Europop + Middle Eastern spices = seriously toe-tapping.

- Switzerland: Era Stupendo. Just sweet and earnest and smiley.

Good songs all, and they deserved to move on. Especially when you realize that downright bad songs like Bosnia and Herzegovina's Pokusaj and Azerbaijan's Day after Day did move on. Yuck.

Oh, well.

Here are my top three songs among those that will be competing in the final:

- Latvia: Wolves of the Sea. A fun, stomping seafaring song, and my top pick.

- Denmark: All Night Long. An eager and catchy little sing-along ditty. (I know it's Denmark and all, but seriously, I'd have picked it anyway!)

- France: Divine. Oddly reminiscent of the Alan Parsons Project.

If any of those three songs wins, I'll be pleased. But many bookies in Europe are apparently theorizing that Sweden's got it in the bag with the boring and all-too-predictable Hero. God, I hope not.

As it happens, I will be at the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra's pops concert in the park, Ypsi Pops, while the Eurovision Song Contest is streaming live online on Saturday... so I will have to avoid my urge to find out who won and watch a replay after the fact. Entirely worth it, of course: I'd rather be sitting in the sunshine in Riverside Park enjoying all the symphonic springtime pops fun! I do have some sense of priority.

But Saturday evening... oh, man. Don't nobody bother me. ;-)

Go Latvia!