19 May 2006

Not this year, Eurovision nation

Last night was the semi-finals of Eurovision 2006. Like always, everyone here was sure that this was the year, but just like last year we weren't voted ahead, and Iceland will not be participating in the final on Saturday. Our great hope, Silvía Nótt, had not made herself popular with the crowds in Greece, so when she took the stage there was noticable booing in the crowd, but she still performed well enough to draw laughs all around at the Eurovision gathering I was watching from.

The general consensus here is that the whole competition is too much of a crony-based "vote for your neighbors" event, and that Iceland will probably never win. Since you can't vote for your own country, most people vote for adjacent countries, so it helps to have buddies with as much voting power as Russia. There are also huge variations in style, and what we think is cool here is of absolutely no interest to people in Croatia.

For example, last night we were all busy laughing at the Russian contestant, a scrawny mullet-haired guy with a chinstrap beard that had two classical ballet dancers to go with his pseudo-tuffguy singing. The high point of his performance was when he slid across a white piano, and called forth some kind of freaky sprite that dwelled inside. A woman's torso emerged, fully covered in white body paint, and she undulated to the music, surrounded by rose petals. We we all sure that this was the last time this song would be performed, but lo, it was voted ahead. How is that better than our Silvía? Ain't no accounting for taste.

Still, it was slightly heartening to see that the Polish group that looked like their costumes had been made by a gaudy Miami upholstery shop didn't make it to the finals. At any rate, whatever theatrics happen on Eurovision, and however much everyone says it's a cheesy, pointless contest, you can be sure that almost the entire Icelandic nation was watching last night.

Ship sighting: Today is the first day that we will have absolutely no full darkness, only civil twilight, so I will be able to see lots of boats for the next few months. It's also coming up in skemmtiferðaskip time (fun-trip-ship, meaning cruise ship) The first one is coming next week, according to the harbor website. Spennandi!


cK said...


I recall HBO had a program many years back that showed clips of international tv and it always looked really strange. (In memory, George Plimpton hosted, though I can't be certain that's correct. It seems like a Plimptonic subject, though.) I recall a Japanese game show that had contestants drink vast quantities of liquid, then compete to see who would pee last. They'd have to wear Speedos and sit on blocks of ice. They'd have to soak their hands in warm water or listen to the sound of rushing water. People would tickle them.

For years this stuck in my mind as really odd, then we started reality tv in the US. Abruptly, I realized how friggin' peculiar our show are. Just as garish. Just as nonsensical.

It's all about spectacle.

ECS said...

it is definitely all about spectacle! Yesterday the winner was the most spectacular group, a Finnish hard-rock group dressed as monsters, complete with bat wings, axes for microphones, and glowing skull eyes. I'm happy with it though, since if we couldn't win, at least it's a northern country, and so far from the endless parade of cute, tan, often blonde girls that sang one after another for the rest of the competition.

carmen said...

The fact that that Finnish band won actually gives hope for more offbeat acts to start taking over the Eurocheesevision competition.

sb said...

That's one competition I don't really miss.

Oddly enough I prefer the NPR program the other day.

E, you and J have become my mbl for Iceland where are you guys, where's my ice and pod blog fixes :D
Yes, sorry to admit when you don't blog I miss it!!!
It's become like an addiction - phew and not an easy one to let go of.

ECS said...

Carmen- I don't hold much hope for the future diversification of performance style, but I'm sure I'll still be watching as long as I'm here. Love the cheese. Makes great conversation at the coffee machine for weeks afterwards.

Sirrý-I've been too busy planning an act that will wow everyone here SO much I'll be next year's Eurovision delegate :-). Actually, I have been doing arty things in the form of weaving. will post photos when I have something to show.