During the two semifinals a lot (but not all) of the rubbish was wiped out. But I think a couple of the songs that didn't make it all the way deserve an honourable mention. For instance, I kind of liked Estonia's song. It had a certain character that appealed to my alternative heart. Besides, I think Sweden's song were one of the better ballads.
Ok, then we're off. I really ought to watch the ESC final at a shabby hotel room with half a bottle of whisky on the table. (I've done it once, and consequently it's a tradition.) But it's ok watching it in the comfort of one's own home, too.
Nothing special. The verse is rather vapid, and the chorus lasts for four seconds.
Spanish circus melancholy. It's ok, although I'm not really that crazy about sawdust and trapezes. And as we all know, when the laughter has stopped and the spotlights have died, the little clown goes home and weeps...
The most boring ballad Céline Dion never sang. What a personality! What a charisma! Yes, I'm being sarcastic. I'm pretty sure our national broadcasting company won't have to book Telenor Arena for the next year.
I don't fully catch this up-tempo pop tune. Terrible stage show. And much too much sax.
Neat and proper guitar based ballad from the isle of Aphrodite. Pretty dull in my ears.
Guitar based again. Electric guitar this time. Rather rocky. It's ok, I guess.
What? Do Cyprus play an encore of their guitar ballad? No, it turns out it's another song after all. Just almost as boring. It reminds me of James Blunt or Savage Garden or various other artists whose names I don't even bother to remember.
Balkan trumpets at last! I don't quite catch the verse. It's a bit too exotic sounding for my ears. But the chorus kicks ass. The choreography is also pretty cool! A clear favourite so far.
Bel canto from Belarus. And look at those pretty butterfly wings! Pure euphony, and I have a thing for stuff that's sweet and sticky. I love chocolate. But sometimes I eat a bit too much. And then I have to vomit.
"Grand", "beautiful", "Irish" ballad. I'm sure this is good handiwork. And I'm sure this is a nice experience for those who like this kind of stuff. But it doesn't move me much. Besides, I think tin flutes have become the new pan flute.
Ageing Greek surrounded by rutting testosterone bombs. I get an urge to cover my nose. And to give them one on the kisser.
The song Rick Astley refused to record in 1988. Now Stock/Aitken/Waterman have warmed up the stew again, 20 years later. I think you can imagine what it tastes like...
Pretty much the same as their neighbouring country Azerbaijan (see above). My brother just sent me an sms: "Kate Bushism!"
Some kind of nu metal? Not my favourite genre, but I don't mind a bit of rock'n'roll in between all the ballads.
It appears things have changed in Albania since the days of Enver Hoxha. This is modern and catchy pop with a punk rocker on violin and three Albanian Supremes. Quite good, actually.
90s disco with trance influences. Hera is as statuesque as the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, she's also as stagnant (although she occasionally raises her hand and at some point even walks three steps to the left). But the song itself isn't that bad.
Not quite sure what to think of this. It's definitely "different", and that's often a good thing. Soulful in a rock'n'roll kind of way, sort of. But of some reason I also associate the song with "heavy metal ballads" à la Scorpions, and that's definitely not good!
Catchy rhythms from the Colonies. Lots of rump shaking and acrobatics. France's contributions are often quite original. But I suggest they save this one for the Football World Cup.
This is music I really shouldn't like at all. Pure pop. And a lady by a grand piano inevitably generates associations to Alicia Keys. But I have to admit this gets me going. Regardless of the final results, I suspect this is a song we'll hear a lot of in 2010.
Bloody hell, what a lot of whining! I hope this is meant as a joke. But in this case my sense of humour is overruled by my taste in music. Or... maybe not? I've heard this song a couple of times by now... And it may be a bit better than the first impression. In any case, this is a song it's hard to be indifferent about.
A 6 ft 5 beauty with a hair almost equally long sings about an apricot stone from the motherland. Oriental tones and catchy thythms. Not bad at all. But I don't like her stressing ApriCOT.
Bouncy pop and Sprechgesang in an imaginary accent. This is really swinging. Yet another favourite.
Nice, little ballad, performed by a very pretty, young lady. Moreover in Portuguese, which I find a very "musical" language. Hard not to like, although I guess poor Portugal will end up in the 15th position, as always.
Lots of Hebrew plurals here. Although ballads isn't my favourite genre, I'm actually touched by this song. A strong song with strong singing.
He looks like Sting. He sounds like Sting. And he sings a song that's almost identical with a song Sting once wrote. When they finally get to the chorus, and the "Every Breath You Take" bass movement is toned down a bit, it gets downright boring.
Well, all the songs have been presented, and now it's time for the interlude. Madcon and all of Europe dancing. Impressive. I always get a bit worried when Norway's about to arrange big events. Will we manage not to make fools of ourselves? Well, watching the ESC final actually made me feel a bit proud. Not because of the Norwegian contribution (on the contrary!), but because the NRK have pulled off a great production. Thank you, Nadia, Haddy and Erik. You're good, fun and pretty.
Ok, we've come to a conclusion: Next year's ESC final will be in Germany. I can definitely live with that. And the best thing of them all: The UK ended up in a well-deserved last position!