Monday, May 26, 2003
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© 2003 Geoff Harrison / The Eurovision Database. Not to be
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As you probably know by now, Turkey won the contest on Saturday night
with "Anyway that I can" sung by Sertab Erener. The UK
achieved its first no points score, and made history as no country
will ever come 26th apart from the UK!
I am really tired having got back very late last night. I will write
a fuller report later.
I had taken today (Saturday) off - we went to the seaside resort of
Jurmala - very pleasant.
Friday night & Saturday afternoon saw two further rehearsals and
I was in for the Friday, and did an interview on BBC Radio 5
afterwards. Just waiting for BBC7 now.
Both rehearsals went well. For the Friday evening Turkey, Latvia, and
Poland came over best and were well supported by the mostly Latvian
crowd. Turkey is visually stunning, and is surely a tip for the top
5. I have put £10 on it myself. Poland's peace message went down
well, and Latvia's "Hello from Mars" is so perfect - it
looks great with a beautiful girl and two nice guys playing off each
other to a tune which hits you first time. Surely a contender for top 3?
Some disappoint. Iceland comes over rather static, and Birgitta has
some great shoulders. Bosnia is all in black and rather too static.
There's a extra sort of stage in the crowd but only Poland and the
presenters use it.
Mando gives us an eyeful of her cleavage with a laced up black dress,
which I think is all that works in her song. Ukraine goes well, if
the stage looks rather busy with the bendy woman and dancers. That is
also the problem with Romania - great song, but the choreography
distracts a little.
Of course Tatu are the talk, after Julia (dark-haired one) was sick
with a throat infection and missed both Friday night & Saturday
afternoon rehearsals. There was a story she was rushed to hospital by
helicopter. I saw the chopper, but the whole thing now seems a stunt.
I have just seen the Tatu girls being photographed near their Hotel
(the Hotel De Rome) and both looked very well with their jair &
ake-up looking fine. I am sure they will both be on stage tonight,
but who knows how it will turn out.
So discounting Tatu (who were booed on Friday evening) I think the
top should be Latvia, Turkey, & Poland, with honourable mention
of Ireland & Ukraine.
See how wrong I am in a few hours.
Friday, May 23, 2003
Last night saw quite a few parties. We didn't make it to the Dutch or
Russian party, but we did get to the Ukrainian party and the
Meditteranean party. The former was surprisingly noisy. Olexandr did
us some very rocky numbers and was briefly visited by 1995 Russian
entrant Phillip Kirkorow.
The med party was a hot crush, but had great sets from Lynn Chircop
(Malta), Stelios Konstantas (Cyprus), Beth (Spain), Lior Narkis
(Israel), and Mando (Greece). Apart from Israel everyone did more
than one song. Very good. They also did an imprompu singing of
Imagine together, and also tried to sing each other's song.
Today saw the "Technical Rehearsal" which we didn't get
into but saw on monitors. Lots of gentle humour and everyone looked
good apart from Rusia whose rehearsal was a disaster with Microphone
problems for Julia. Latvia, Ireland, Turkey, and Slovenia come over
strongest. Another rehearsal in a few minutes, so I gotta go. See you later.
Thursday, May 22, 2003
Another gruelling 24 hours here in Riga. First a special mention for
the official UK entrant site which has finally emerged at http://www.jeminiofficial.com/ -
go and help support Chris & Gemma.
Last night saw several parties - there was the German/ Polish with
some great food, but terrible crowding. Both Lou & Ich Trje sang
after some speechs about peace etc between the two nations. Then it
was over to the Reavl hotel for Norway. Unfortunately I
missed Jostein sing 4 songs, so it was into the Slovene party
where early-goers got a Karmen bag and cap. Karmen Stavec was on
great form and sand "Nanana" in both English &
Slovene, as well as singing her song from last year's Slovene
selection, "Se in Se". Very crowded but fun. There was
a special cocktail, the nanana.
I'd missed the Israeli party which saw furious dancing which is the
hallmark of their entry "Words for Love", in which girls
strip to reveal T-shirts bearing words for love in variuos languages,
and then have one letter spelling out LOVEU.
Today we saw the Ukraine rehearsal - which features a very bendy
woman, and plenty of dancers. Olexandr has a great voice, but he's
almost upstaged by all the kitsch camp-ness of it. I think "Hasta
La Vista" may do better than thought.
The UK entry, "Cry Baby" was very competently performed,
but somehow the song just isn't interesting enough - it still seems
too long. Chris & Gemma are very engaging and look great, and
work well, but I fear there will be disappointment on Saturday.
A word about the stage - they have a brilliant underfloor lighing
system with overhead cameras so flames or whatever can be displayed
on the floor. In the case of Romania's song "Don't break my
heart" we get flasing coloured squars and a routine with a
dancing girl, DJ and huge coloured discs in the colours of Romania's
flag. Nicola sings well, and pronounces the English very clearly
despite speaking very little English. Its been the mother of three's
wish to represent Romania for many years. She told me Alsou's
"Solo' was the most memorable song for her in Eurovision history.
Tatu did another rehearsal - much worse than before, and every
go was different, but its clear they are planning some kissing or
petting of some sort, but it wasn't actuually done - just hinted at -
in the rehearsal. The press conference was again unresponsive, but
slightly less rude.
We did hear something from the EBU about the contest's future. There
will be two shows next year - a qualifying round and a grand final,
but they haven't decided if the qualifier will be on the Saturday
before, Wednesday before, or whatever. 10 songs will join
10 which get their place by being in the "big 4", or
by winning or scoring high this year. There was a lot of debate.
Parties right now for Holland, later Ukraine, Sweden, and the
Mediterranean from Spain, Greece, Malta, and Cyprus. It will be a
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Tuesday evening had a really great party hosted by the Latvian band
F.L.Y. Not only did they do a promotional concert of their own album
including their Eurovision song, "Hello from Mars", they
also invited The Maltese, Dutch, Polish, and Estonian acts to perform
their songs. Only Poland's Ich Troje chose to perform a song
other than their Eurovision song, and there was much humour. FLY
are intended to be a parody of ABBA, at least originally - even the
name is made up from their names - but they are missing a girl,
so when Lynn Chircop had finished her song, FLY joined her on stage
and said "Now we're ABBA".
One of the best parties for years, and I really liked FLY's music,
and am pleased to say I now have their album, and am looking forward
to hearing in soon.
We took a breif drive into the Latvian countryside today to Sigulda
which is supposed to be the Switzerland of Latvia, but it is just
hilly, but we had a good time in the fine sunshine.
Plenty of parties tonight.