Sunday, May 30, 2010

Eurovision 2010: The final

I guess I should be a little worried at actually really liking a Eurovision Song Contest winner. Lena's simple little track appealed to me from the first time I heard it a month ago. What's even more worrying is that I got 7 of the top ten right and 4 of the top five. Then I think of the useful extra income from the bets I placed and it's something I can live with and will, of course, return to yet again next year!

Turkey clearly got the heavy-duty votes for those who still think something mechanical should win and Romania must have put in a good performance to push my other winner prediction, Denmark, and the bookies favourite from the start, Azerbaijan into 4th and 5th places respectively.

Impressed to see the so serious Ukraine entry close the door on the weird Russians for the 10th spot.

Obviously France simply couldn't reproduce the sex on the beach film on stage and, thankfully, that track should only be heard again in holiday nightclubs for the summer before being forgotten.

The surprises for me were the poor showings of Iceland, who easily got the best audience reaction in the semi final (or maybe it was because that was the last song and they could all go home) Norway - I mean, you'd have thought they'd have given the country paying for the whole shooting match a few more votes - I can only assume that their guy didn't hit the notes at the end after all and Moldova, who must have lost out to several neighbours or screwed up on stage.

I didn't bet anything on UK coming last. I was sure they'd be near the bottom but not actually bottom. I still recall the dreadful UK selection programme where every option was an 80s production and left us feeling pretty let down. I honestly don't know anyone who thought it had a chance. I even thought that such obvious disappointment at the time might have made someone somewhere think twice. Whilst Jade made a good impression last year, I still don't think the process worked and all we seem to get are committee songs or least worst options. Remember Andy something or other? Wasn't he last too? Scooch crashed and didn't burn when we went for something wacky and the really good song that we rejected (and which Terry Wogan mistook for being accepted!) would have given that year's winner, a similar offering by Serbia, a run for its money.

So in 2011, can we please not have these TV specials and instead get one of our successful bands or singers to come up with our entry? Someone singing something they've written themselves seems like a good idea.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

American Idol: The Final pt2

Memories of the 2009 Season as Lee, who seemed to spend the whole evening looking out of his depth and with pretty average performances was voted the winner. In complete contrast, Crystal, perhaps because she'd been tipped off earlier about the result, was relaxed, totally at home with the array of stars appearing and performed brilliantly throughout. Duetting with Alanis Morissette and leading most group acts in which she featured, she will, I'm sure, be the act we see hit the headlines over the years to come.

The evening's highlight was an extraordinary live performance of You Lost Me by Christina Aguelera.

We also had The Bee Gees, Chicago, Janet Jackson and even Alice Cooper and Joe Cocker. At least Alanis Morrissette was reasonably young. You do have to wonder quite what goes through the producers' minds in terms of who watches this programme. Surely they're not all as old as me?

Paula Abdul got one of the biggest cheers and led the farewell to Simon Cowell, and I'll miss having a judge I just about always agree with. Anyway, the single America should be sending to the top of the charts (and it will be fascinating to see what happens as it bound to be released sooner or later) won't be the winner's but Crystal's.

Eurovision 2010: 2nd semi final review

Having found some dusty old Bay City Rollers' trousers somewhere I can probably understand the desire of five odd-looking guys to remove them but not, please, when they're wearing such embarrassing knickers underneath. I suppose Eurovision has to have a bit of complete bollocks and this seems to be it, or them.

♪Armenia ▼►
I always want to see small countries sock it to the big boys and this is a catchy number that I had as a Top 10 contender but not so sure now, after seeing some massive great apricot stone sitting on the stage.

UK's Josh really does lose out in both the pretty boy and singing ability stakes to a couple of countries, Israel being one of them. Even unbelievably white teeth, though, don't convince me that this deserves its current 3rd favourite placing. In fact, the guy failed to hit a few of the notes this evening but he got some super-human high one near the end so I guess that'll be OK then.

♪Denmark ▲ ►
Yes!! There's a wind machine on the real stage too!! This is my favourite. Love it. Great track that just makes you feel uplifted if not blown away. My prediction for a winner if the German girl doesn't get the votes.

If big ears are your thing then this will appeal. Otherwise it just starts and stops and not a lot more, other than some ladies in expensive-looking dresses wandering off in no particular direction for no particular reason.

Sweden ▲ ►
Another excellent track. One girl (who genuinely can sing well). One huge guitar. Well-written song. Oh, pity about the extra singers at the end. Still, should do well and she has a sort of vulnerability.

The favourite, at the time of writing. Iconic dark haired girl singer looks a lot better without the woolly leg covering from the initial video release. Powerful and modern number that will, without a doubt, be very close to the top on Saturday. She didn't quite get things right at the end, though, and if nerves kick back in at the final then she may be disappointed. I still reckon she'll be the one getting all the Balkan and ex-USSR votes, though. Gosh, this is a strong set of semi final contenders.

♪Ukraine ▲ ►
You can be sure of remembering Ukraine's entries from year to year. Fabulous song and well sung, seriously, but . . not so sure it'll be that popular and whether Ukraine even go through in such a tight round is uncertain.

Oh, here we go. Sha la la lee, sha la la sha la. Or words to that effect. Am I in 1973? At least it should steal votes from the awful Greek Opa business. For that reason only I hope it goes through.

♪Romania ▲►
Yet another good performance and this is one to worry Azerbaijan. Possibly the highest note in black leather on the night.

I've got a few pounds on this at 580-1. I can't get comparison with a Slumdog Millionaire theme out of my head and find the girl's 'Naivo' terriblt catchy. Nevertheless I admit to the distinct possibility that, in this group, they could have trouble getting through.

Don't know if was just my TV put the sound didn't seem right. Nice song but seems a little out of place. I like the flute player, possibly the most attractive part.

Scary bloke in white. Why so many men in white this year? I'm sure this guy was miming. He won't be there on Saturday.

This is a far more British entry than UK's - a Welsh guy singing and Brits involved all over the place in this. My first impression a few weeks ago wasn't great but now I quite like it. I guess it's not winning material but hope it goes through.

Three model-like girls. Six very long legs. Pretty, but pretty unco-ordinated movement. They can certainly sing but maybe not that popular for all that.

♪Georgia ▲ ►
This was awful in its first outing on the video. Much better now although being tossed around by yet another scary guy in a white suit may have contributed to some odd notes. Passionate. If it was just the girl on stage it'd be much better. You kinda want Georgia to go through, though.

Another well-backed track with the bookies. One of very few rock entries. Extraordinary girl robot with odd shaped boobs strips at the end but the cameraman seems to miss most of it. Odd but may get through with those wanting a heavy track as there's no competition at all in this group.

▲ better on stage than in initial video
▼ worse on stage than before!
► the ten I thought should go through to the final
♪ the ones that did - no Sweden! That's the big surprise. Georgia, Armenia and Romania going through will damage Azerbaijan's chances a bit.

American Idol: The final Pt1

I was in the middle of typing a detailed review of the first section and Crystal Bowersox started performing The Mountain, her third song of the evening and what would be her single if she wins.

It was simply superb and, for a moment, I thought the judges were speechless too. One incredible TV moment I'm glad I witnessed. This girl really has to win. That's all I'm going to say.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

1st Semi Final review

♪Moldova ▼ ►
I always said that the best parts of this were the sax breaks. And the almost iconic electric blue lit guitar.

This is so weird that I almost want it to get through so I can giggle at the bit where the two guys seem to cheer when the lead singer says he's lost and forgotten. In this performance we also got a glimpse of what was actually on that photo - a biro drawing!

Good move putting them on just after Russia so that maybe they don't seem quite as strange as they would next to virtually any other act. The video version did at least lend some visual artistry but watching five blond guys in suits just didn't do it for me and surely that won't get through.

Slovakia ▲ ►
At last, someone singing in their own language! Sounds so much better. They've managed to retain that beautiful shade of blue-green and an elfin-like look, although not so sure about the fat fairy. This is a much improved performance and the best so far, but seeming like a very long 3 minutes.

Love the violinist. Worried about the two blokes in white suits. Chaotic dancing.

The video was funny and less tinny sounding. I was looking forward to "What for are we living, Only Mr God knows" but live this girl's rubbish with just polite appluase to follow maybe telling us that won't be going through.

♪Serbia ▲ ►
Can't think of anything to say about this apart from not being able to wonder about that haircut and whether it'll take off over here in the summer. I bet the guy's really popular in the Balkans so should get through and some girls will like him. Decent live performer.

♪Bosnia Herzgovenia
Any song with the line "Thunder and lightning holding hands" has to stand a chance in Eurovision. Apart from an over-muted guitar and slightly staid movements for rocker-types, an improvement on the video.

I thought the Russian entry was weird. What is this???? Genuinely don't remember this at all. maybe I couldn't stand the video for long in the first review.

♪Belgium ▲ ►
Nice performance after a nervous start. The audience seemed to be willing him along and if can handle the high notes better on the night he could even do quit well. I hadn't got this a s a top ten but now think it could be.

Malta ▲ ►
A ballad. Bit better than UK's but not a lot. Smart ending.

♪Albania ▲ ►
Much better than the initial video released. Strong performance but a crap song, unfortunately that will be forgotten. Possible top ten. This will go through because it is one of the very few that is a pop song

More worrying men in even more worrying white suits or underwear (apart from one in black playing a cricket bat violin thing). It'll go through but I really wish it doesn't. So do the IMF as that'd be another $1bn they'll need to host it.

I spent all 3 minutes trying to figure out just what she'd left standing up on the piano. Missed most of the song but it sounded awful.

FYR Macedonia
Improved performance on the awful video. Probably won't go down very well. Old bloke with young girls with very little on. Oh, maybe, it will now I think about it . . .

Pretty song but lame in English. Watch for the cool dress pop-out near the end. That might put them through but doesn't really matter either way. If the girls had led with the men backing it might have been better.

♪Iceland ▲ ►
Big. Big production. Big girl. Far better than the video and worth a late bet. Just put something on at 70-1 just in case.

I could have done without the annoying female presenter and hope I'll stay patient long enough to complete this. Paddy's fine, though, with some lovely incisive comments and observations.

My ratings:

► means they should go through 
▲ better live than the video 
▼ performance doesn't match the video release
♪ means they were voted through

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dorothy: The Final

Once the families, grandparents and assorted tearful attachments had been sent away the show got under way and the three remaining candidates for the lead role in Over The Rainbow finally had a chance to do what we and they had been waiting for - sing, dance and act a little.

The judges had clearly agreed, or been told, not to try and influence the vote by saying anything bad about any of them. They needn't have been, though, as all three would have been worthy winners. Sophie looked radiant and, despite being the least experienced or vocally adept to date, really began to look as though she might actually win. Lauren's performances were truly immaculate and, whilst she'd be a more serious type of Dorothy, the producers could probably just toss the script at her and leave her to it. Danielle has always been the one to watch in my view. She has a fascination about her and seems to be able totally to take on the part. just look at her eyes and the minute movements she makes in contrast to the deliberate and well-rehearsed broader sweeps made by the others in the show in the past. She can also sing almost as well as Lauren but with a pretty tone rather than the more traditional 'stage' tone.

Reprising her remarkable Mambo Italiano performance could well have been what brought her through to the final two with Sophie who clearly proved simply more popular for this role than Lauren who will, I'm absolutely sure, be seen on billboards for a serious West End show very soon.

Both Sophie and Danielle performed Over The Rainbow and, again, Danielle would have won easily on points but it was still anyone's guess with Sophie really doing a great job of promoting herself and possibly being a new, open-faced Dorothy versus the more traditional and wistful one being offered so delightfully by Danielle.

It was, indeed, to be Danielle's day and, whilst I have been critical of the show in many respects, it did manage to find some brilliant talent on the way and you do have to wonder just how many American Idol or X Factor finalists could have put on such great (genuinely live) singing, dancing and acting with just a few days to learn.

American Idol: semi final Pt 2

A strange show. The first twenty minutes seemed to be taken up with Ryan Seacrest chatting pretty inanely to the remaining three who really just wanted to know whether they'd be spending the next days rehearsing their final tracks and the now familiar videos of whole towns turning out to welcome one or other of the three, assuming they can actually see them through the darkened windows of the ridiculously ugly black limos or behind the bodyguards to whom the same adjectives could probably apply.

Some guy called Travis (not the Scots one from the late 1990s) appeared and mimed his way through a new release that might give Wham a good excuse to get back together again. In fact, tv viewers didn't get much of the Travis fellow as the cameraman clearly preferred a girl dancer who may well turn out to be the most memorable part of the whole show. She must have been delighted at the shots of just her against a shiny red background.

Nice to hear Creedence Clearwater Revival backing the Crystal trip to Toledo. Just comparing the crowds for the three and the way each handled the whole thing would put Crystal and Lee into the final. As it happens, and as I suspected, the votes went that way too and it was farewell to Casey.

Predicting the final winner of AI9 is not easy. I've been backing Crystal ever since the earliest days and I still think she has the raw, natural talent and will be around for years to come. However, more clever song choices by the Lee camp, especially a repeat of The Boxer may well put him ahead. It could be all down to what they have as the 'single' song that both have to perform, although we do have to remember that Adam Lambert easily won all the rounds from start to finish and made a much cooler job of the 'single' but still came 2nd.

Oh, there was also some kid performing just before the announcement.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

American Idol: semi final Pt1

Casey kicked off with something that few of us would ever have heard of. Now that could have been a great move if it had been a track we'd all want to download or seek out on YouTube. It wasn't. Sorry, Casey that was a B side at best and if discs had three sides it would be on the third. OK I'm all right may be his kind of music but it sure isn't going to help him get more votes than Lee or Crystal from US telephone land.

Crystal followed with Come To My Window which I guess just as few will have heard as the last one. the difference is, though, that it was great. The audience loved it and it could well be a single and that single would fly into the Billboard Hot 100. This was Crystal, naturally, singing her heart out and it was exactly what people who support her wanted to hear.

Lee with A Simple Man came up with a good song choice and stepped into Crystal's zone too, whilst making Casey totally forgettable in two minutes. He is increasingly reminding me of David Cook and we know how that turned out.

Casey follows up with Daughters, chosen by Cara and that was much better. Still, though, something lacking and he didn't come across as really feeling or meaning the words. Just a bit lame overall with no good finish to get his fans' hearts a-beating and fingers a-dialling. Simon, as always throughout this year of Idol, was spot on. It didn't have the 'Wow!' factor but he did sing well.

Crystal with Baby I'm Amazed certainly did have that elusive 'Wow!' factor and should be safely through to next week. She put her stamp on the track and showed a massive range and texture. A very clever choice by Ellen.

Lee had the good fortune to have Simon picking a song and that is bound to be a smart choice by someone who understands what's needed to bring him back for the final next week. There's choosing, though, and there's taking that choice and doing something with it. No-one could have expected the trump card of Hallelujah!! One very very cool move. Biggest moment on the show for a long time and even though it was a cut short edition, he sang excellently and even had a choir to help it along. The others must surely be crying 'Foul!' but . . they had all the choices in the first section and don't tell me they don't all get a chance to chat with Simon. That should seal Casey's fate and see him watching himself over and over again as that performance is repeated.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dorothy semi final

A very amateur start to the show, bland song and I was regretting the loss of the cheery and talented Jenny and loopy Jessica last week, those remaining being excellent musicians but, with the possible exception of Sophie, lacking that instant appeal I would have thought the role would need. Steph seems to oscillate between very appealing, surprised to be there still and a little overbearing, trying too hard. Danielle is fabulous and hopefully her performances later will make up for the sad start. Lauren, well, Lauren can sing so well but do we want to watch her, or will make-up and stylists help?

Sophie 8
Easy on the eye, some star quality and nice voice but the 'who I yam' bits jarred and I'm sure some notes were different to what the orchestra were playing. She made up for that with the tremendous performance in the duet.

Steph 7½
Much better choice of song which everyone could hum along too and maybe not notice the poor diction and off notes at the end of lines.She seemed to be determined to smile throughout the whole song which didn't look too good close up. Nice job in the duet but Sophie had the edge on her, vocally as well as acting-wise this time.

Lauren 10/10 for the vocal but 7 for this role
As ever, brilliant voice and control, no faults but rather over acted, unnecessarily so. It's the square mouth that does it, reminding me of Cherie Blair. Excellent in the duet but, again, beaten by Danielle.

Danielle 15
Showing the others just how to present a song without trying, just naturally. She has been so consistent and is head and shoulders over the others but still not absolutely sure she is Dorothy. Sophie and Steph have the 'character' edge at the moment. Danielle possibly combines everything best, though, with a spotless vocal.

More embarrassing group performances to kick off the results show, including a totally wrong Umbrella which no one seemed happy with apart from the male dancers at one point. Individually, these girls are pretty good (although matching a later wonderful few minutes from a current leading lady, Sierra, would be challenging) but together they don't blend well at all.

Then we get some silly stuff about choosing a dog which would be better at children's tv time. Enough said about that.

Lauren was saved by Lord Andrew and probably rightly as she did the last song extremely professionally. I had half expected Steph to be saved as Lauren might well suit a different type of show than Dorothy which Steph could have handled. However, seeing Danielle and Sophie sail through to the final was encouraging and, to my mind, they're the two best suited with Danielle my choice by quite a margin at the moment.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

American Idol: down to the final three

Lee 5½
A Kiss From A Rose will always be Seal's track and Lee could only kind of appear in his reflection. Not impressive enough to make us pay attention. Well sung, but no character and he didn't make the high notes well. Nor did he seem at one with other people backing him. On his own, he could be good, doing his thing his way. Much will depend on how Casey and Mike perform and I have a feeling they will turn it up and turn voters on more effectively. 4th is probably way higher than he ever imagined he'd get, though, and he'll gain a lot from the Top 10 tour. I just don't see his album in the charts for more than a week or so after its release.

Mike 7
Great start. This sounds like his typical brand and suits him well. I'm Only Human was, I think, the title of a track I've not heard before, apparently from Free Willy. Very, very short, though and he just never got going with it. Good as far as it went but . .  that wasn't far. Maybe not far enough. He did work so well with the choir and backing track, though, and should be safer than Lee.

Crystal & Lee 8½ & 9
Falling Slowly duo saw Lee back doing what he's good at. Crystal seemed to carry him along and yet wasn't as noticeable which sounds odd now I've written it but I know what I mean. Nice track and may have rescued Lee's earlier lack of star quality. Good choice but not stunning.

Casey 7½
Singing Simon & Garfunkel's Mrs Robinson just seemed lame and nothing in the heart of that tune from the 1960s came through. I liked the relaxed style and notes were accurate and fairly cool. It could have been something added to an evening session but not really a main number designed to electrify people to make those important calls. He could, with just a bit of effort, have turned it into something special and, for a moment, I thought he was going to but he didn't. He could be in trouble and may, barring a super performance with Mike coming up, possibly have saved one of the other guys.

Crystal 15
I'm All Right was back there in the Crystal zone. Totally at home and everything worked. Again, like most others, the track was way too short and she had just got going and got us grooving along when it stopped. This has got to be addressed for AI10.

Casey & Mike 7 & 11
When You Really Love A Woman saw this odd duo on stage. Both may have done this really well individually but, together, I'm not so sure. Strong song and Mike made a good job, the song being absolutely in his zone. In a way he defeated Casey which probably means everything between the three guys finishes up even and it could be anyone's guess as to which one goes.

The results show kicks off with AI3 winner Fantasia and I was dying to hear Randy tell her it was 'pitchy' but people applauded politely and she went away. She would have had trouble reaching the last 24 this year.

The Final 5 got Lady Gaga so these guys must have felt pretty hard done by for a while, not that the producers would be too worried, having made their cut of the 37 million calls the good people of the States made the night before. They later revealed they'd spent a bit of it on Daughtry and a massive amount on Bon Jovi, though.

Nice shot of Crystal reading Ryan's prompt card. 

Chris Daughtry was impressive, showing Lee how it should be done with another of his consistently classy acts over the years since coming 4th. Compare the audience reaction to Fantasia's.

Mike or Crystal? Really no competition and, sure enough, we bid farewell to Big Mike.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Dorothy: last 6 become the final 4

Danielle 7½
She's really looking the part this week. Unfortunately On my own was off in places,a very difficult song to get right, admittedly, although she expressed the emotions well and I'm hoping that last week's absolutely amazing performance will flow over into this week to her credit as she is a star in the making.

Jessica 6½
Well-acted and presented version of Supercalifragilsiticexpialidocious but her expression was quite scary at times and not exactly Dorothy-like. The running around and legs took one's attention away from the voice. [Strangely, viewers overnight voted to put her and Danielle in the bottom two and Lord Andrew had a tough decision to make but, in my view, made the right one.]

Steph 6
I felt she was trying just a bit too hard tonight. Not looking as good either, maybe the make-up department had been under the weather.

Jenny 9½
With Send in the clowns this girl has delivered yet another of my favourite numbers. Almost flawlessly. She would also be a popular Dorothy as I can see her acting really well. [Obviously the Lord didn't as she was the first to go, although not the lowest in public votes.]

Sophie 10
Excellent song to show off her looks and charm and she also sang very very well.

Lauren 6
Brilliant singing, putting everyone else in the shade in that respect and yet she just doesn't seem to fit Dorothy. She could easily make a living on the stage with more serious, less girlie, parts but I simply don't think she suits this role. Should have been 20pts but that would imply she'll stay which I don't think she should as two go tonight. [Survived the first cut but, as the one with the lowest public vote, which must have told the Lord something about how she appears rather than sounds, may still be going.] [No, she survived and actually rose out of the bottom two overnight. My guess is that there's no clear front runner in this series, and it really is turning into anyone's guess.]

Friday, May 07, 2010

American Idol: 5 become 4

An impressive performance by Lady Gaga tended to take our attention away from the task in hand. Maybe the producers had seen her UK Brits Awards act a little while ago and were worried about revelations upsetting the good old American viewers as there was an abundance of smoke and the camera man seemed to have instructions not to zoom in at any cost and to avoid any below waist shots. Once I'd managed to get over the annoying and pointless audience clapping and cheering at various points I was struck by how much this young lady resembles Madonna in originality and turning tracks into mini almost operatic ideas. She was good.

Back to the five still standing after the night before. They kicked off with a far smoother and less awkward joint rendition with the compulsory few seconds each has to sing alone. Crystal was the lady who is a tramp to the four crooners and you couldn't help thinking that the set gave her a nice high profile: basically it was Crystal and The Others, which isn't far off fact anyway.

Lee gets let off the hook before Lady Gaga appears and we have some very cool Harry rehearsal shots and even cooler singing the Lennon & McCartney And I Love Her which I adore. I can only assume that Lee's doc had written in to the teachers to say he was likely to crap himself on stage if Ryan Seacrest did the usual misleading of Lee thing yet again this week.

Crystal must be wondering whether she'll ever get a chance to sing the stuff she really enjoys ever again and, although she is looking so much better these days, I do hope she can kick some ass in the final few weeks. The last five sing-a-long was rubbish and they'd have been better just getting on with the results for my taste. *Eventually, though, they did, and after Mike and Crystal are duly relieved we're with Aaron and Casey staring at the ceiling.

Mike can't believe his luck again and you have to start wondering what on earth can make people vote Aaron off after some pretty nondescript weeks. Casey's had some good moments but it's becoming increasingly clear that his time's going to be up sooner or later with Cara if not the rest of the US population. will it be tonight?

*I actually wrote this before knowing how the last four would divide up! Hmmm. Didn't see that coming, did I?
Mike still can't believe his luck again. And my initial review was right after all. Bye Aaron.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

American Idol: The songs of Sinatra

Really great mentoring by Harry Connick Jnr. I feel Siobhan could have drifted easily through this week (well, assuming she'd agreed that screaming wasn't on for Sinatra) and definitely the wrong person went last week.

Aaron 4
This should have been a good week for Aaron but this was a nervous performance, notes wobbling and being missed. Not good at all. Certainly not the kind of stuff expected of one the last 5 out of ¼ million applicants.

Casey 5½
Well out of his zone but, mercifully and maybe luckily for him, not out of tune. Again not at all impressive.

Crystal 18
Beautiful. Totally at home in this genre which I didn't expect. Gentle and she seemed to mean the words. Very smart and infinitely better than the first two guys, neither of whom came within a mile of her appeal. You could tell that she can react to the band and was part of a whole as well as being the star that she surely will be, albeit in a totally different way.

Mike 6½
Now I'm expecting him to wow the audience this week. He could have picked a huge big band number and crack out of the gloom that he is almost permanently in these days and had huge applause and respect. Instead we got another slow-mo. Sped up after a while but wasn't the song to speed up without losing its whole point and the feel was totally lost and all in all, just amateur and not something anyone should pay to hear. Response was one of the best of the night, though, so maybe I missed something.

Lee 18½
Dressed, finally, to look so much smarter than the car mechanic image presented to date, he has a chance to put this week safely in the bag and move on to that big Last 4 night.  He took it, he made it. He even pushes Crystal, tonight at any rate, into 2nd place. Cool, cool performance. well done.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Dorothy last 7

Steph 11
Heavy-handed and a bit raucous for my taste. She can certainly act (and overact, unfortunately). Seemed to miss bits or maybe that was a bad arrangement thing. Assuming, though, that that was what she was supposed to do, she was excellent and impressive. [Voters clearly picked up on the negatives too as she was in the bottom two but saved by Andrew Lloyd Webber]

Jenny 7½
A comfortable performance. I still like this girl but would so much have preferred the brooding, hot summer night version of Feeling Good.

Sophie 8
Nice voice. Gentle performance but not exceptional. Perhaps too much effort is being made by everyone on this damned interpretation which is really beginning to annoy me.

Danielle 20
Brilliant! Perfect choice. She can dance and the whole thing was so natural.

Lauren 7
Good. Very difficult song to deliver, especially following Danielle. Not the easiest on the eye, particularly when she's acting sad and angry. Maybe not the best choice of song.

Stephanie 6
Unusual interpretation of one of my favourite songs, Mr Bojangles. I sort of got what she was doing but she took some huge risk. She should get away with it as I see her in the Dorothy role. [She didn't and in the most emotional and unexpected departure of the series left everyone in tears]

Jessica 7
Professional. Well done albeit lacking a bit of character and shade. Another I find a little odd to look at.

Eurovision: second thoughts already!

I have to keep reminding myself that votes will be cast after just the one performance. Songs that grow on your over a few weeks may be great and probably turn out to be the ones that better stand the test of time. My favourite tracks on albums are seldom the biggest hits. Duffy's 'Rockferry' for example took a while and I genuinely look forward to hearing it again. But it was Mercy that got the initial attention, the instant buzz.

So I need to temper my inclination to change my predictions just because I'm getting used to a track. What I wanted to write was that I am not as enthusiastic now about the Azerbaijan, Moldova or Sweden entries. And I now absolutely adore the German girl. Denmark's great too.

What I shall write instead is that Azerbaijan do deserve their current favourite position as it does grab you instantly and I'm sure she'll appeal. Germany is the one my money's going on, though. If that little girl can appear on the night as carefree, natural as in the video and if she doesn't get told by a host of choreographers and advisors to do anything other than act and look just as she is then she will capture hearts all over the place. If it were anyone other than Germany I'd say she would win this by a mile.

Seeing betting odds approaching 600 for Slovenia I thought I'd better look again in case I'd got muddled up with Slovakia. The bookies are probably right, unless the voters are all mad. But then they'll go for Netherlands or Russia or even Aisha from Latvia :)

Here's my revised Top Ten:
Germany | Azerbaijan | Denmark | Sweden Moldova | France | Norway | Slovakia | Armenia | Ukraine

Eurovision 2010: Slovakia

I had this in amongst 'the others' but as I'm struggling to find ten for a top ten I replayed one or two and decided to rescue Slovakia. Not just because the girl has to be one of the prettiest in the contest this year. She sings fantastically well, albeit not as interestingly as the really cool chick from Germany or as passionately as the slightly frightening Ukraine blonde. It has to do reasonably well as I can't imagine a single one of Slovakia's near neighbours not giving her a decent number of points. I still stick by what I said first, though. It has all been done before and if she tries that dance with the tape in Oslo and gets tangled up it won't go down so well. I also wonder just how impressive she'll be when she doesn't start off a beautiful green colour like an elf and finish with completely different make-up and hair.

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