The Voting Is Closed

Now it’s time for Maria & Sakis to vamp a bit while the votes are counted. Sakis performed a song during the semis on Thursday. Tonight, we get a celebration of 4,000 years of Greek song.

This gives me chance to sift through the Eurovision website, where I learn that Serbia and Montenegro withdrew from the competition. Because they pulled out late, they still have to pay the participation fee.

The BBC has a story about what happened: “Serbia-Montenegro in pop song row.” Montenegro votes tomorrow on whether or not it will declare its independence from Serbia.

Meanwhile…

While we’re waiting for the votes to come in and to be counted, we get another performance by last year’s winner, Helena. It’s a slightly better song than the one she won with. It’s exactly three minutes, too.

The Vote

Now it’s time to vote. Countries are not allowed to vote for their own entries, which means there’s frequently a lot of bloc voting. You can call or send a text message to vote, just like on American Idol.

Legendary Greek singer (and former Eurovision competitor) Nana Mouskouri came out to turn over the hourglass that opens the 10-minute voting window. (It’s a huge heart-shaped hourglass with the Greek flag on it, mounted on a stand.) After turning it over, the hourglass turned back rightside up, so they had to quickly get it going again. I guess you get an extra two seconds to vote.

24. Armenia – Andre: "Without Your Love"

And now, my Eurovision performance with Andre. Unfortunately, this follows Turkey, whose song has a similar sound to it. This isn’t as good a song as Turkey’s. It isn’t as good a song as most other countries’ songs, actually. Still, it’s not horrible. It’s just a run of the mill Eurovision song, right down to the ba-ba-ba-DA ending.

23. Turkey – Sibel Tüzün: "Süperstar"

I liked this number when I first heard it during the semis. I have a thing for disco beats, I guess. And for blonde Turkish women with lots of tattoos, maybe. This would be better if she doesn’t hit random high notes during the chorus.

Sibel and the back-up dancers form a star on the stage at one point, which is cute. As cute as the star lights and the star belt buckles on the dancers.

This is my third favorite straight-up Eurovision song after Bosnia & Herzegovina and Germany, although it’s fifth if you include Lithunia and Finland, which the voters probably won’t.

22. Sweden – Carola: "Invincible"

Seriously, at some point, Sweden needs to give up on trying to replicate ABBA’s success. Anyway, Carola is wearing a wicked long blue train being waved by two people on the background. The train seriously fills up the entire stage. At the end of the first chorus, she takes it off so she can actually move around.

The back-up performers are waving giant white flags, which is weird, since the song is called “Invincible.” I mean, if you were invincible, you’d never need to wave the white flag, right?

This is pretty lame, but the crowd seems to like it. I heard a few boos, though.

21. Ireland – Brian Kennedy: "Every Song Is a Cry for Love"

And now, the moment I’ve been dreading. I think it’s Eurovision tradition for Ireland’s song to suck. That they’ve won so many times blows my mind. Brian is a decent enough singer, but the song is in a battle with France’s for overreaching earnestness. Brian gets down on his knee to sing a verse at one point, for Pete’s sake. Awful, awful, awful. But in tune, unlike France’s number, so I guess Ireland wins the earnestness battle.

20. Croatia – Severina: "Moja Štikla"

Eurovision, from what I understand, was originally started to promote the traditional music in each participating country.† Aside from some local flourishes in some of the numbers, the contest is nowhere near that anymore. Croatia, however, is going for the traditional gusto. The main gimmick: the female singer’s long dress detaches to become a short dress so she can line dance with the back-up performers. This was lots of fun.

This is not even remotely true.

19. France – Virginie Pouchain: "Il Était Temps"

France’s entry is very, very earnest. Virginie is clearly singing live, because if this were pre-recorded, you’d think they’d make sure she was singing in tune. Smile through it, mon petit chou. She’s not even horribly out of tune. She’s just slightly off on every high note. The song is bad, made worse by her performance.