Superbowl?! It’s time for Eurovision!

Monday, 8 February 2010 -- 6:30 pm

In case you live under a rock (or outside the US), last night was the Superbowl. That’s a big American football game that everyone watches, even if they’re not into sports. Normally I don’t really care about it, but this year the two teams playing were the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints. Given that I’m from Indiana, my interest in the first is obvious. As for the second, their quarterback (that’s the #1 cool player on an American football team) is a guy named Drew Brees. He’s originally from Austin, Texas but he was the quarterback at Purdue while I was at university, so I watched him play all through my college years.

I would have been happy if either team won, but congratulations to New Orleans and to Drew Brees.

Unfortunately the game aired from midnight to 4am here, so I didn’t get a lot of sleep. I came to work fully expecting to be talking about the Superbowl with a few interested colleagues. Especially since this was the first year that the Norwegian TV network actually showed the game.

However, I failed to realize that Saturday night was Norway’s national Eurovision final, and more importantly that today at 9 am the Eurovision tickets went on sale! If you recall, Norway won the Eurovision contest last year, and that means it will host the contest this year.

I love Eurovision in all of its cheesiness, and I really want to go, but the tickets sold out in 20 minutes this morning.  Luckily, there are still seats available for the two Semifinal competitions earlier in the week, and since not every country makes it to the finals, the semifinals are where the true gems come out.  It wouldn’t be Eurovision without the embarrassingly bad performances!

So our lunchtime conversation today skipped over the Superbowl and went straight to Eurovision and the highlights (or rather, the lowlights) of past Eurovision performances.  I re-watched my Eurovision WTF Award winners from last year and they continue to make me laugh, but I got to thinking about some of the other performances.  I remember the worst acts for being horrible, but there are some other songs that continue to get stuck in my head, even though the contest was over 9 months ago.  I feel like those songs deserve a little bit of recognition for clearly doing something right if I still remember them.

First, there’s the super-enthusiastic girl from Moldova.  Apparently the Moldovan government couldn’t actually afford to send her to Eurovision, so she paid her own way.  They offered to cover some of the expenses if she made it to the final, which she did (we even voted for her).  Although the story itself is memorable, I quite like the song.  It’s just so happy and high-spirited, and I get “Hai la hora, hai la hora din Moldova!” stuck in my head even though I don’t know what it means.

Also, after reading Eric Weiner’s depressing account of Moldova in his self-indulgent travel memoir, I like watching the original video for the song, which shows a completely different portrait of the country.

Then there’s the Iceland entry.  If the Eurovision vote was limited to 10-year-old girls, Yohanna would have easily walked away with the top prize.  She’s dressed like a Disney princess, and the stage setting screams Lisa Frank with a dolphin diving through a cloudy night sky.  But in spite of all that, it’s actually a decent song, and she performs it well.  And after a little too much Gammel Dansk at Midsummer, I was dancing around Victoria’s apartment doing a crooning Yohanna impression.

And finally, there’s Romania.  Romania almost made it into the WTF Awards, but I just couldn’t pin down what they did wrong.  The dancing-fairy theme is a little weird, and the singing in the live performance is pretty bad, but listening to the original recording (with all of its studio magic), I actually really like the song.  It’s still Euro-Pop, but it has that great girly energy of a song that makes you want to go out dancing.

By the way, if you’re curious to see what Norway is sending to the Eurovision competition this year (and what didn’t make the cut), Michele has a great recap of the national final that I missed!

One Response to “Superbowl?! It’s time for Eurovision!”

  1. Michele Says:

    Ah, Meg, thanks for the compliment and link! And a bigger thank you for reminding me that the semi-finals are where the best fun is to be found—because of your blog, my husband and I are going to buy tickets today to one of the semi- nights. Woo hoo! It will be my first EV! Totally exciting.

    And I agree with you 100% about Romania’s entry last year. I thought they had a very good chance of at least getting into the top 5 but, as I recall, they didn’t do well at all. Seems my EV radar needs a lot of fine-tuning. 🙂

    Hey, maybe see you at a semi-final??

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