Just a reminder...

... the final of the Eurovision Song Contest occurs tomorrow night. If you're in Europe, grab a drink, and watch in awe as the enjoyable 3+ hour display of cheesy bad taste unfolds. If nothing else, it's always provides at least one or two pretty good songs, and a few "so bad they're good" examples.

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Oh my. I haven't watched that for at least 30 years, back when there were only 3 TV channels and one of those only ever seemed to show snooker, ballroom dancing or sheepdog competitions. Is it possible to get through the whole thing without playing a Eurovision drinking game (take a drink each time a country gets zero points perhaps?).

Posted by Leigh
Missouri
190 posts

I've seen it before while in Europe, and it is entertaining! I wish I could watch it here in the US.

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
341 posts

It's one of the things that unites us Europeans - we all agree it's crap, but we watch it anyways!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8745 posts

England will win... no more wooden spoon for us ;-) Just vote - England...

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Oh, the public can vote now? So doesn't the country with the biggest population win (or rather, the biggest population with nothing else to occupy them on a Saturday night)? Or perhaps there is some kind of weighting. I don't even know why I'm asking...

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9108 posts

I forget how it works exactly, but I think each country selects their top 6 by popular vote, and you can't vote for your own country. I don't believe population size weighs the vote at all, so San Marino's vote counts for the same amount as, say, Germany's. I'm half-watching the preshow right now on German TV. I saw that one of the acts has the singers performing in space suits. Grab a beer and let the schlock begin!

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
3308 posts

So, I downloaded the app, made sure my sound was up, but I still can only see the video and can't hear any of it. How disappointing. : ( I can hear YouTube and Rick's videos just fine.

Posted by Lou
San Jose, California, U.S.A.
116 posts

Imagine my surprise to find an article about the Contest on my Yahoo page. It rightly predicted Denmark's victory. Thinking I could view the Finals on the Eurovision site or on EurovisionTV on YouTube was a no-go. Fortunately my last attempt worked. I went to RETV.es, Spain's national Channel carried it albeit with Spanish commentary over the English presentation from Malmo.
While we are on RETV.es, I have found this Channel's coverage of the running of the bulls in Pamplona superb.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9108 posts

I only made it half way through the competition before falling asleep (started at 21.00 local time). This iteration seemed far more restrained than had become the norm in recent years. None of the acts that I saw were over the top. And I like the fife-and-drum componenet to the winning song. Congrats, Denmark. Sarah Lund conquers European TV, now they capture the Eurovision title, Europe's most acclaimed restaurant is in Copenhagen... when was the last time that Denmark enjoyed this kind of cultural ascendancy?

Posted by Lou
San Jose, California, U.S.A.
116 posts

Tom, thanks for the heads up on Sarah Lund. But she's now history as is Noma which has been relegated to Second place by El celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain. As a viewer of all genres of European detective stories, I find Donna Leon's Brunetti mysteries unbeatable because of its setting in Venice. The series was produced in Germany. A TV channel I can't get, mhznetworks.org, has a great lineup of mysteries you might want to check out. http://www.mhznetworks.org/programs/mystery-drama. Wikipedia says AMC is doing an English version of Sarah Lund. The quest begins.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9108 posts

"Wikipedia says AMC is doing an English version of Sarah Lund. The quest begins." It's been out for awhile. I watched about 15 minutes of one episode and had to stop. Either Lund just doesn't translate well to a US environment, or they completely botched the adaptation, but it just didin't work for me.

Posted by Rose
NYC
922 posts

It's SO annoying when the American broadcast or cable networks try to create an adaptation 'for an American audience' of a British or European series and botch it completely. Has happened many times. The original British 'House of Cards' was far more compelling and had far superior scripts and acting than the American version. The British version is also on NetFlix streaming for anyone interested.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2012 posts

Eurovision is one of my favorite things about living in Europe. I love camp and cheese. Most Europeans I know don't like it at all, though! At least, not young adults. It's apparently very beloved by older women. I went to a raucous party for it, although it was mostly Americans watching in rapt attention and Europeans out in the hall hanging out and avoiding the show as best they could. Tom, you fell asleep before the cheese started. The second half, in my opinion, had both the best and the "worst" entries and was way more entertaining. Romania was the famousily strange entry this year (look it up on youtube! It's a must see!) like last year's Jedward and Turkey's entry. My personal favorite was Greece by far. Shame they didn't win, but not surprising. Danceable pop-hits tend to be the favorites to win.

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

With apologies for the thread drift... Lou, are the Brunetti stories better than Inspector Montalbano? We've watched a couple of series of that on BBC4 with English subtitles and can't wait for the next one. For us they bring some Sicilian sun to Saturday nights in the dark British winter. I would also mention Zen, a short BBC series starring Rufus Sewell, as the eponymous Venetian (but working in Rome) detective. A mixture of British and Italian actors, it makes the most of Roman light and architecture. And then there is the venerable old Tatort. I've got German, French and Italian satellite TV here, so I can watch any of the regional variations, I just wish my German was good enough to really follow it. Oh, and on French TV there is a detective series called Un Flic, which is pretty good if you can find a station that airs it. I think I've seen it on TV5 Monde.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9108 posts

Wow, I did fall asleep too early! Romania- I'm thinking "What if Count Dracula was a metrosexual counter-tenor?" And every year, there's at least one country that tries sort of an ethnic-techno mix. It never wins, but it's usually more memorable than the flood of international blando-pop. I tip my hat to Greece.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2012 posts

Yep - the genre of music that Greece played is usually referred to as "Balkan Beats". From my understanding it actually got it's start in the Eastern European immigrant communities of hip Western cities like Berlin, and is now spreading back eastward to their 'countries of origin' as it were. It's a great fusion of ska, rock, traditional music with roma/sinti influences, or even Jewish Klezmer. (Related is "electroswing" which takes old jazz and swing music from the 1920s-40s and remixes it with techno beats and an eastern flair). For anyone traveling in large cities in Eastern Europe there will inevitably be a Balkan Beats-type band playing frequently at a local club, usually for very reasonable prices. I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes trendier in the future but right now it's pretty much unknown in the States.

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Linda, that is good news. I'm sure it will be as enjoyable as the earlier series, although my wife says that nothing can compare if it doesn't have Luca Zingaretti in it... Regarding Eurovision, I felt the same about the Greek entry. Singing in their own language, the nod towards national dress, the folk instruments, it was essentially a statement of national pride. Not surprising, given recent events. As for the Romanian entry, Graham Norton was doing the commentary on the BBC and as the song was about to start he said "small children and pets should probably be removed from the room, as we embrace song 14, Cezar." But I quite liked it. I mean, how many 7 foot 8 inch countertenor vampire impersonators are you going to see in one lifetime?

Posted by Linda
Bromley, Kent,, UK
1631 posts

Kevin - I agree with your wife. So hope the new series has something else to offer.

Posted by Lou
San Jose, California, U.S.A.
116 posts

Kevin, Of course, Montalbano, Mimi, Fazio, and Catarella are faves. I believe I have seen every episode. Then there is Inspector Colliandro out of Bologna. Colliandro while younger and hipper than Montalbano is quite a cockup. And yes, Zen, the English version you mentioned has made it across the Pond. Have you seen France's "Blood on the Vine", so named because of murder in the wine country? The star's role is that of an expert in viticulture in the Bordeaux? region. His "nose" helps him solve murders too.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9108 posts

Not for the first time, and probably not for the last, the Eurovision Song Contest has caused a minor international incident yet again. Come on, Putin, are you even seeing international conspiracies against Russia in Eurovision now? BTW, interesting how just mentioning "Sarah Lund" sent this thread down a parallel discussion.

Posted by Philip
London, United Kingdom
1695 posts

I still think there's little to beat the first mainland Europe cop show to get translated into English, the French "Spiral"/"Engrenages". It's been called with some justification "the French 'Wire'". Just don't watch it if you want to keep thinking that Paris is aromantic paradise filled with cheery guys playing accordians.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9108 posts

Likewise, for the Antwerp fans on this website: Zone Stad. Watch this show, and you would think that the population of Antwerp consists almost entirely of psychopathic, sadistic murderers.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8745 posts

OK so its (nearly) wooden-spoon time again. But didn't Bonnie give an awful performance? Rough for the Irish too - dead wood, not even Jed-wood. I'd have gone for Greece.