Snark and Spanakopita: The ESC Insider’s Preview Party

Last weekend, in preparation for my impending trip to Malmö (and to temporarily back myself out of the echo-chamber of Eurovision fandom), I scrubbed my apartment clean, set out the extra chairs, whipped up some meatballs and invited some of my closest friends over to my place for my now-Annual ESC Preview Party.  While we’re all living in Minnesota now, we were actually a pretty global group, with some of us having lived or studied in Germany, Greece, Austria, Bosnia, China, Japan, and Chile.

The majority of my guests had not heard any of the songs before the event, and so all scores were based purely upon first impressions.  Some had attended my little shindig last year, but others were complete and utter Euro-virgins.  As we munched on spanakopita and sipped Belgian beer and Portuguese wine, we let our snarky sides run wild and free, rating each song on its own merits on a scale from one to ten.  There was almost no talk of running order, cultural voting blocs, or previous Eurovision history (except for a wink and a nod to Valentina Monetta’s other contribution to the ESC).  Here’s how the dozen or so of us voted:

Our Top Ten were:

  1. France (8.45)
  2. Greece (7.71)
  3. Malta (7.71)
  4. Switzerland (7.68)
  5. Finland (7.63)
  6. Norway (7.58)
  7. Denmark (7.35)
  8. Latvia (6.83)
  9. (FYR) Macedonia (6.79)
  10. Iceland (6.75)

Greece and Malta were tied on the scoreboard, and even had the same number of 10s, but as Greece nabbed 2 9s, over Malta’s single, Gianluca will have to settle for our bronze.  Honorable mentions went to Germany (6.73), Italy (6.55), and Spain (6.23).  Rounding out the bottom were:

  • Lithuania (2.50)
  • Romania (2.55)
  • Belarus (2.70)
  • Armenia (3.04)
  • Georgia (3.55)

Of course, it’s not a Eurovision Party at Sam’s place without some witty repartee from the gallery.  Here were some shining comments from my friends:

  • On France: “Sounds like Voodoo Skyfall in Louisiana.”
  • On Greece: “Greek men in kilts?  THAT’S what I’ve been missing in my life!”
  • On Malta: “It’s a Target commercial!ʺ ʺThat was so cute, it was vomit-inducingly-trendy.”
  • On Latvia: “This is like that time when George Michael and Vanilla Ice toured together in that dream I had.”
  • On Macedonia: “This woman is awesome.  She could be wearing or doing anything up there, and giving no fucks.”
  • On Iceland: “Icelandic Thor-Jesus goes out to catch a whale with his bare hands.”  “Can he give the other contestants beard lessons?”
  • On Italy: “So…did he just get all of Moldova’s leftover hairspray, then?”
  • On Ukraine: “I refuse to give any song higher than a 5 if it should be airbrushed onto the side of a van.”  “It was a slideshow of Lisa Frank Trapper Keepers!”
  • On San Marino: “I love lamp.”
  • On Sweden: “I just want to hug him and pinch his cheeks!”
  • On Croatia: “So THAT’s where Michael Stipe has been!” “So, they’re called the Klapa of the Sea, but this isn’t a shanty?  Minus one for not being a sea shanty!!”
  • On Bulgaria: “On one hand, I don’t like it…but on the other hand, I could “WEAPONIZE it!”
  • On Israel: “She looks like Tracey Ullman.”
  • On the United Kingdom: “I would not want to carry a glass of red wine through that house.”  “I want my 80’s back!”
  • On Georgia: “This is completely vanilla…but vanilla’s the world’s most popular flavor.” “Compared to Lithuania, Armenia and Azerbaijan, he needs more eyebrows.”
  • On Armenia: “This is like the worst Calvin Klein commercial ever!” “Lonely Planet?  This totally precludes the existence of aliens.”
  • On Belarus: “We play-o? We play-o? Sounds like 7th grade Spanish class.” “Can we Photoshop Andrius’s brows over her eyes?”
  • On Lithuania: “He makes Christian Slater look normal.”  “He has no idea what’s going on…and it’s kind of adorable.”  “I wish my brows were that emotive!”  “Other songs lost to this.”

So there you have it…this year’s Eurovision roster through the eyes of the generally uninitiated.  What’s your take on our votes?  Spot-on, off the mark, or out of our minds?

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Posted on April 27, '13, in 2013, Personal, Special Comment. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I think you had one too many bears when you voted Greece on 2nd place…Happy to see you voted France that high though.
    From your first 10 only France, Norway and a very tiny bit of Denmark say something to me…The rest are forgettable including the cute song from Malta.
    From your last 5 only Armenia strikes a nerve with me. Belarus and Georgia will qualify although I’m not fond of them. Lithuania and Romania are maybes (for qualifying) for me and definitely not that bad as you seem to think.

  2. Interesting list, and I think I agree with Mag. Maybe one too many. lol Are you going to do your annual top to bottom this year?

    • Samantha Ross

      Yep, planning on it! 🙂 You can expect that sometime this week…I leave for Malmö on Thursday!

  3. The best comments are the ones for Macedonia and the last Lithuanian one. They have that status mainly because I agree with them 110 percent. 😉

    Maybe I’m just crazy, but I can find absolutely NO appeal in the Latvian song. Well, different strokes for different folks… Other than that and Macedonia (31), I like your top 10. Now, let the games begin and Italy FTW! 🙂

  4. After the fact, I have to say your party chose well this year, since I do think the best live performance came from France this year! It was the one I remembered most, after watching all of them once.

    Et sa robe? ❤ _ ❤

    I knew this entry would do poorly in the voting, but not at all because it was bad. Marginally worse than last year? What does that mean, when the televote cannot possibly be any worse than last year? Would she have finished dead last if she did not give such a fantastic performance?

    All the other big 5 members fell short of expectations. The Spanish seemed to have a sense of style, but it left us wanting more. I maybe ranked United Kingdom high on my list for what it was (the lyrics had meaning to me), and the live was quite old-fashioned. We got nothing off Germany. Italy bored, apparently resting on its laurels with the consistent jury support. Last year, jurors clearly wanted to be on Zilli's good side in the hopes of getting invited to one of her slumber parties to try on her earrings. This year? I guess they are hoping to get invited to Mengoni's imminent slumber party to try on his suits! Who needs the televote?

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