Category Archives: Personal

Semifinal 2: Hopes and Expectations…

ESC2013_butterfly_backgroundOk, so it looks like I guessed seven out of ten for Semifinal One, swapping Croatia, Serbia, and Austria in for actual qualifiers Belgium, Estonia, and Lithuania.  Will my predictions fare any better for Semifinal Two?

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Eurovision 2013: Semi 1 Predictions and Hopes

ESC2013_butterfly_backgroundWe’re only a few hours away from tonight’s First Semifinal, where sixteen songs will vie for only ten spots in Saturday’s Final.  After over a week’s worth of staring, examining, and likely over-analyzing each entry and presentation, most people here in the Press Centre have come up with their list of likely qualifiers, as well as their personal favorites.

…and who am I to argue with tradition? Read the rest of this entry

Impressions from First Rehearsals: Semifinal Two

Days Three and Four in the Press Centre (or, at the very least, at the Euroclub, which served as our makeshift work space) brought us our first glimpses of the Second Semifinal.  Ballads, ethnic touches, hints of rock, whiffs of theatricality…we’ve got it all!  Here are my general thoughts on what May 16 will bring to the table:

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Impressions from First Rehearsals: Semifinal One

ESC2013_butterfly_backgroundThe days are long here in the temporary Press Centre at Slagthuset, and news flies fast and furious as we catch our first glimpses of rehearsals.  Monday and Tuesday brought the first run-throughs from the first Semifinal (we’ll see Semi 2 on Wednesday and Thursday), and there were many impressions to be made!  Let’s take a quick glimpse at what the past few days held…

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Samantha’s Unranked Rankings – 2013 Edition

ESC2013_butterfly_backgroundWell, here we are.  From here in Malmö, the first rehearsals are about to start.  After months of speculation over how Song X will look on stage when all of the lighting, costuming, camera angles, and final arrangements are presented, we’ll finally get our first impressions.  Before those images settle into our collective psyches, however, I’d like to present my own personal list of “unranked rankings”.  Regardless of how I think a song will place, or if it will qualify, I simply judge these songs on how they hit my eardrum!

And with that, away we go!

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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: Read the rest of this entry

Heilsarmee for Switzerland (or is it?)

Heilsarmee_-_You_and_Me_(cover)It’s been a bit of a whirlwind of a long weekend for Eurovision fans (and for me personally, since I’ve spent about 16 hours in the air going to and from the Swiss National Final), so let’s get cracking at climbing the mountain of ESC news that’s come our way over the past few days! Read the rest of this entry

Azer-mania Continues

These past few days have marked the first rehearsals for this year’s Eurovision acts, and it’s been another busy time at the Press Center.  Interviews, press conferences, rehearsals, chaos, laughs, face-plants, and re-evaluations were a constant, as to be expected.  Read the rest of this entry

Azer-Mania, Day 0-1

Minneapolis, New York, London, Istanbul, Baku.  What do these cities have in common?  They’re all large metropolitan areas, major cultural centers with great culinary scenes, artistic life, lovely histories, and major airports.  I mention the airports, specifically, as that’s where I’ve been spending most of my time these past few days.  I left Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon, and after four flights to four countries, I landed in Baku, the site of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, on Friday evening.

The things we do for the things we love…

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The votes are in! A look into an American ESC Preview Party

As part of my last weekend before I head off to Baku (even though I’m still waiting on the return of my passport and visa from the Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington…argh), I decided to host a modest Eurovision 2012 Preview Party from my home in Minnesota.  Over bites of Italian arancini, German pancakes, Turkish apricots and Swedish cookies, my friends and I mulled over the forty-two competing entries in this year’s competition, giving each song a score from 0 to 10.  Most of my friends had never seen or heard the entries prior to our little shindig, and only really knew about the competition through what I’ve forced down their throats over the past few years.  Read the rest of this entry