Eurovision never disappoints. Whether they tow a cultural line or they’re off the planet we enjoy each country’s on-stage manifestations—despite their exaggerations. We forgive Europe its zaniness as it forgets its precarious fiscal woes.
Russian entrant Dina Garipova came dressed in what UK Eurovision commentator Graham Norton described as “puppy diarrhea.” That’s pretty harsh, but Garipova’s stylists could’ve done something to lift her flesh-tone ‘outfit’ off of the similar colours of the stage. The poor girl barely showed up on camera. Emerald green satin with a sapphire sash would’ve changed the game. *Said with a lisp*
The lead singer’s eyebrows stole the show and it’s just as well—the band donned the most underwhelming wardrobe of the entire competition. An unfortunate thing considering their soft rock pastiche was as entertaining as Georgia’s ballad. Is it still 1995 in Armenia? Two points for the finality of his hand gestures at the very end.
Throughout Andrius Pojavis’ stunted performance, I wanted him to put his hands down. His recalled practically every Mariah Carey performance I’ve seen where she sings with her hands. Also, maybe there’s some cultural significance in the lyrics, but Pojavis talks of having one shoe called love and the other [being called] pain. Okay, picking apart Eurovision lyrics is futile—I’ll stop.
You can’t go wrong with the formula of an unmistakable pop-opera sound and a pneumatically actuated vampire costume. Cezar (no surname given) played up to his country’s reputation as the home of Dracula with an asymmetrical collar and bedazzled patent leather… thing. His dancers came straight from the third panel of Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. Fantastically, half way through his act, Cezar’s costume lifted him towards the heights of his countertenor vocals… somewhat. This is why we watch.
At odds with Hungary’s right-wing groove, Bye Alex went for the curated die-try-hard hipster look: beanie, acetate frames, leather jacket, ASOS tee and jeans. The unfortunate fact behind looking like you’ve just knocked off from your part time barista job is that any outfit you wear to one of the world’s biggest gigs is anything but happenstance.
WTF? Something happened between the original concept drawing on a napkin in a café and the final production. Farid Mammadov’s boyband voice and soap star looks came second to the over dramatic anomaly occurring beneath him—a black-clad dancer in an acrylic box, asynchronously mirroring Mammadov’s wooden movements. I can appreciate the idea may have worked on a napkin, but it failed to translate beyond that. I like to think that part referenced man-love, but then it got weird when a woman in red was introduced. Mammadov turns his back on both of them as they get it on… as only a woman in a red dress and a guy in an acrylic box can. Europe seems to disagree with me though— Azerbaijan scored big last night.
Who can believe this duet made it to the final? Not I. Georgians Nodi and Sophie put in a performance that was technically perfect, belting out the kind of power ballad we might see on Sunrise when a show passes through town. Unfortunately, it was also one of the most forgettable performances of the night. With no hooks, the duo’s only memorable moment was their massive pyrotechnic key change. Cue wind machine.
I’m not sure if I want to hug Malta’s Gianluca Bezzina or box that smile off of his pretty face. His song’s infectious melody had the potential to win me over, but it was too difficult getting past Bezzina’s sickly sweet delivery. And that bullshit where the whole band sits on a bench like it’s a spontaneous event in an iPhone commercial—no! To be fair, it works better in the video clip:
Ironically, the best cultural references of the night came not from Sweden’s own Robin Stjernberg, but from the comedian host Petra Mede. It was rare bit of self-parody that poked fun at Swedes and the contest itself. Her big show tune won me over with this: By winning this contest you get the chance / To host a show you can’t afford / But then sell your country through song and dance / Here’s our Swedish Smorgasbord.