Eurovision 2020 – Semi Final Two Envelope Opening Ceremony – Or Not

Greetings once again and welcome to the written confirmation of the recording of the Grand Opening of the Envelopes Ceremony of the second Semi Final – you can catch the live action on my Facebook page (should you so desire).

SnowdropThis week 26 of us voted and Snowdrop from the European Bear Union scrutinised intently the opening of the envelopes to ensure that everything was above board. So let’s waste no more time; here goes, and this is the order in which the ten songs were chosen:AlbaniaSwitzerlandGeorgiaSerbiaBulgariaEstoniaDenmarkGreeceAustriaIceland

So just to confirm, that means:CongratulationsAnd:bye byeAs official overseer of the ceremony, Snowdrop insisted – quite dogmatically, actually – that the votes awarded to the songs that failed to make the grade should be made public. His wish is my command:

In 18th position with 26 points from 7 voters – POLAND

In 17th position with 38 points from 8 voters – PORTUGAL

In 16th position with 44 points from 14 voters – MOLDOVA

In 15th position with 49 points from 11 voters (including one dix points) – CZECH REPUBLIC

In 14th position also with 49 points from 8 voters (but with three dix points) – ARMENIA

In 13th position with 53 points from 10 voters (including one douze points) – LATVIA

In 12th position with 55 points from 17 voters – SAN MARINO

And just missing out…

In 11th position also with 55 points from 12 voters (but with one douze points) – FINLAND

I can reveal that the country in 10th position received 63 points (and with no douze points) so it was another quite close finish.

All that remains is for me to thank you for voting in this semi final and there’ll be a vote for the Grand Final next week, which I’m sure you’re completely thrilled about. So keep voting!

Eurovision 2020 – the show that never was – Semi Final Two

EurovisionWelcome back to the second part of our home-grown Eurovision Song Contest for 2020. In the absence of any Rotterdam-action, we thought, hey why not just do the show right here in the barn? Last week 25 of you (merci bien) voted on the songs in the first semi-final and this week it’s time to present the songs in the second semi-final. All of course under the vigilant eye of Snowdrop the Psychic Bear who no doubt will be a pain in the backside once more.

SnowdropAs noted for the first semi, the order of performance was never fully agreed before International Lockdown, just the songs that are to be aired in the first half or the second half of the show, so it’s up to Snowdrop to employ his psychic powers to decide the running order.

Snowdrop has decreed that the honour of opening the show goes to Natalia Gordienko for Moldova with her song, Prison.

Attracted by the title, Freaky, Snowdrop’s next choice is Senhit, for San Marino.

Snowdrop is rubbing his temples again, this never ends well. Next up is Alicja, with Empires, for Poland.

Estonia next, with Uku Suviste and What Love Is.

Snowdrop’s not happy. He says he’s still waiting for a decent song. I couldn’t possibly comment. Next up is Greece, with Stefania and Superg!rl (yes, that exclamation mark is particularly annoying.)

Snowdrop’s next selection is the Czech Republic. Wasn’t there a better arrangement of this earlier? he asks me. I say, yes, but it’s not for you to take sides. Here’s Benny Cristo with Kemama.

Snowdrop just popped out to do his shopping (it is allowable, even under lockdown), and it’s all frozen food. That can only mean one thing. Next up is Iceland, with Think About Things by Daði og Gagnamagnið.

Two songs to go before the break, and the first is Hurricane for Serbia, with their song Hasta la Vista. Yes, Snowdrop, there are two other Eurovision songs with that title. Proper little know-it-all, that bear.

Rounding off the first half, it’s Alive for Austria, sung by Bruno Mars. I mean, Vincent Bueno. So easy to get the two mixed up.

So now it’s time for my traditional attempt to blag my way into the Green Room with a fake London Eurovision Party VIP pass (you never know, it could work) to have a quick word with some of this year’s contestants.

So, Senhit, welcome back to Eurovision after a gap of nine years. How does it feel to be back in the bubble?

Senhit: FREAKY!

I see, it’s going to be like that again, is it? Alicja, this is odd, it looks as though you’ve brought a stack of movie magazines into the Green Room with you… what are they?

Alicja: EMPIRES!

Jeez I had to ask. Uku Suviste, let’s test you on your Eurovision General Knowledge. What are the last four words of the chorus to Vikki Watson’s 1985 entry for the UK?

Uku Suviste: That’s….WHAT LOVE IS? Correct!

Enough frivolity. Now it’s back to the serious question of selecting our ten finalists from the eighteen in this year’s second semi-final. Over to you, Snowdrop; and we’re starting the second half with one of the favourites, it’s Victoria, with Tears Getting Sober, for Bulgaria.

Snowdrop’s now getting ready for his sauna, which must mean it’s time for Finland, and Aksel with Looking Back.

A sauna always makes Snowdrop emotional – I’m presuming that’s the reason he’s getting his hanky out. Clearly in preparation for Gjon’s Tears for Switzerland and Répondez-moi.

I’m getting tired of this bear’s dramatics. Now he’s recreating the story of Icarus and Daedalus. I guess that must mean it’s time for Albania, and Fall from the Sky by Arilena Ara.

He’s just opened a bottle of ten-year-old tawny, so I forgive him – provided he shares it. Time for Portugal, clearly, and Medo de Sentir, by Elisa. Apologies for the fact this isn’t the official video, for some reason WordPress is allergic to that link.

Oh, For Heaven’s Sake. Now he’s drunk. Do you want me to talk like an Englishman, he just asked, belligerently. No, Snowdrop, I don’t want you to talk at all. Ah, I see, he’s now chosen Georgia, and Take me as I am, by Tornike Kipiani.

It’s a bit embarrassing when he gets like this because it brings out his BDSM side. He’s now asking me to put the chains on him, which I’m hoping is the code for Armenia’s song by Athena Manoukian.

He really has drunk way too much. In fact, he’s collapsed in the corner. I supposed I’d better go and find out if he’s still breathing, which coincidentally is the title of the next song by Samanta Tina for Latvia.

One song left, and whilst you listen to Denmark’s entry, YES (in emphatic capitals) by Ben and Tan, I’m going to ring 111 to see what they recommend I do about this bloody bear.

And there you have it. All you now have to do is make your top ten selection from these songs and send me your decision, in the traditional 12 points to your favourite, 10 points to the second, 8 points to the third and so on. If you can, email me at – or send me a DM on Facebook. Two super-keen voters on the first semi-final also sent me their votes for this selection, so they have already been added to the master spreadsheet. If you enjoyed voting last time, please feel free to give this lot your consideration. And if you didn’t vote last time, then rise like a phoenix, recognise to your civic duty and vote this time. You’ve got until midnight (UK time) on Sunday April 19th to finally face your Waterloo.

Eurovision 2020 – Semi Final One Envelope Opening Ceremony – Or Not

So, with the excitement at fever pitch, I recorded the grand Opening of the Envelopes Ceremony for the first Semi Final, to confirm the ten songs going through to the final. And could I upload it to WordPress? Could I buffalo. Actually, that’s not fair; I could upload it – but it played audio only, not the visual. Not the effect I was trying to achieve. WordPress help chat were very helpful and full of suggestions; but in the end they didn’t understand why it wasn’t working either. Sigh. I have managed to upload it to Facebook though, so you can enjoy the true “as live” experience there.

SnowdropAs for here, we return to the written word to reveal the ten songs that you have chosen in your thousands, I mean hundreds, I mean 25 of us, drawn by my own fair hand at random from a bowl of envelopes, all the while being scrutinised by the official overseer of the EBU, that’s the European Bear Union, Snowdrop.


This is the order in which the ten songs were chosen:











So just to confirm, that means:




As official overseer of the ceremony, Snowdrop insisted that the votes awarded to the songs that failed to make the grade should be made public. His wish is my command:

In 17th position with 8 points from 3 voters – BELARUS
In 16th position with 27 points from 5 voters (including one douze points) – SLOVENIA
In 15th position with 37 points from 12 voters – AUSTRALIA
In 14th position with 46 points from 10 voters (including one douze points) – UKRAINE
In 13th position with 50 points from 10 voters (including one douze points) – ROMANIA
In 12th position with 55 points from 14 voters – NORTH MACEDONIA
And just missing out…
In 11th position with 58 points from 10 voters (including one douze points) – CYPRUS

I can reveal that the country in 10th position received 62 points (with no douze points) so it was quite a close finish.

All that remains is for me to thank you for voting in this semi final and there’ll be a vote for the second semi final next week, Snowdrop permitting!

Eurovision Semi Final 2 2011 The Morning After

CheeseFor the second leg we decamped (geddit?) to the Stately Home of the Thane and Lady Duncansby, armed with BBC scorecards, Sauvignon Blanc and Kettle Chips. From the historical comfort of the Grand Drawing Room we witnessed 19 more songs of varying quality. Here are our reactions:

Bosnia & Herzegovina – a nice start from an old codger who is in fact younger than both the Thane and my good self. A crisp performance. Only the Thane didn’t put it in their top ten so we scored it 3/4.

Austria – That’s a wig, noted Lady D. We all thought Nadine was a great singer but that there were more entertaining songs. Only the Thane put it through. (1/4)

The Netherlands – a bit dull, and regrettably the lead singer with his hair and teeth slightly resembled a greasy rabbit. It was ok. (2/4)

Belgium – After about two minutes Mrs Chrisparkle exploded with “surely they’ve had their three minutes by now!” I guessed that the older generation would approve of this more. The beatbox sounded like he was in a padded cell – no bad thing. (2/4)

Slovakia – Excellent legs. Singing a bit off. Great legs. (2/4)

Ukraine – The sand artist show with minor musical background. Lots of “can you guess what it is yet?” in an Australian accent. Mika’s winged shoulder pads were mere pupae in comparison to last year’s Belarussian butterflies. (0/4)

Moldova – A performance that was already too weird for words before the unicyclist came in. The Thane read a pamphlet about camping sites. (0/4)

Sweden – An upbeat and slick presentation. “He’s straight??” commented at least one amazed onlooker. The glass smashing isn’t a patch on how it was in Melodifestivalen. (4/4)

Cyprus – We loved the swaying. We loved the sperm. We loved how the sperm swayed with the swayers. No chorus. (0/4)

Bulgaria – Good performance. Other stuff was better though. Not much to say. (1/4)

FYR Macedonia – I still think this song is fun, but I preferred the video. Great backdrop. The others more or less hated it. (1/4)

Israel – I only use the “f” word occasionally but it really was a fabulous three minutes. Ms International had an extraordinary dress constructed of unravelling raffia work. We knew DI had had a sex change but there was some confusion as to which direction it had gone. Great use of catwalk. Sang better than I expected. (4/4)

Slovenia – A cunning combination of dramatic and dull. Much admiration for the thigh boots. Nice top too. Maja must have gone to “Star by Julien Macdonald” at Debenhams. Mental note made for Mrs C’s Christmas present. (2/4)

Romania – Very good performance of a very good song. Everyone singing along. Stripey trousers. (4/4)

Estonia – Getter Jaani looking like a wide-eyed doe, dressed like a delicious liquorice allsort. Thought her singing was a bit off sometimes. “Woeful” said the Thane. Though originally she gave this song the nod, Lady D rejiggled her scores again after seeing Getter in interview and awarded her AV vote to the Netherlands instead. (1/4)

Belarus – Fun. Attractive performance. We tried some excellent alternatives, these work well: “I love Skelmersdale”; “I love Milton Keynes”; “I love Birmingham”. Northampton and Aylesbury just don’t scan as well unfortunately. (4/4)

Latvia – Showed my age by likening the rapping chap to the late Freddie Garrity. I love the song but felt it was all a bit static. “They’re not pulling it off are they” said the Thane. Probably just as well. (3/4)

Denmark – Within ten seconds of it starting: “I like it” said Lady D. “A winner” said the Thane. And we enjoyed the run around the stage. Satisfaction encapsulated in three minutes. (4/4)

Ireland – Our two households couldn’t be counted as Jedward fans. We all think the song is catchy. The descant of the backing singers drowned out the lads. The presentation wearied us and we didn’t really rate it I’m afraid. (0/4)

Scorecard Not as successful a prediction of the ten finalists as we achieved on Tuesday. Only 4/10 for the Thane, 5/10 for the ladies and I got a massive 6/10. Big shock for me was Moldova getting through – admittedly they would have got douze points from Romania but who else would vote for that? Ukraine was also a surprise, I can only assume the voters went for Mystic Meg on the sand board and ignored Mika Newton. In the other direction, I really thought Dana International had done enough to qualify, she oozed star quality and class. I thought Ireland was unpredictable and I still can’t call how they will do on Saturday.

My attempt at a sand picture Thought Scott was much better last night, some very good lines and a much more confident delivery. Sara was also better but the interviews with foreign singers were pointless as they can’t understand her accent. I barely can myself.

Eurovision Semi Final 1 2011 The Morning After

CelebrateSo here’s what happened. Mrs Chrisparkle and I had our calorie controlled salad early and then laid out the wine and crisps in expectation of the company of Mrs Chrisparkle’s parents, the Thane of Duncansby and Lady Duncansby. This was to be their first hearing of any of these songs.

All guests duly settled we each had our own BBC score card and chose the ten songs we would “put through” – the Eurovision equivalent of a thumbs up from the Roman Emperor in the Colosseum. Fortunately since last year our area has gone properly digital, so our BBC3 reception was vastly improved, indeed it was actually watchable; unlike last year, when we had to make a heart-wrenching yomp across town to the inlaws’ which caused us to miss the first five songs and induced in me an ugly and unpleasant sulk. Anyway that was last year. This year:

Poland – decent song got pretty much annihilated with a lack of tuneful singing. The Thane and his Lady, Mrs C and I all agreed it wasn’t going through, thus it gets a score of 0/4.

Norway – lively stage presentation and an entertaining song. Still a bit flat in part. (2/4)

Albania – Good performance, the first one where the singer got most of the notes. All agreed she looked pretty scary though, and nobody liked the song much. (0/4)

Armenia – Enjoyed the boxing motif, and Lady Duncansby thought she would easily get down to this in the disco. But it quickly palled as the lyrics-lite took effect. (1/4)

Turkey – The guitars set a new theme and people quite liked it, but in the end there were some much better songs. And the contortionist just didn’t help. (0/4)

Serbia – Lady Duncansby actually does remember dancing to this song in The Cavern before you were born. A good tuneful performance. (2/4)

Russia – Don’t understand that opening sequence at all. Slick act though, and Mrs Chrisparkle confessed to something about “gutter thoughts” when she thought I was out of earshot. (4/4)

Switzerland – Having spent the last 6 months finding this just a bit too twee, Anna comes along with a knockout performance. Lady Duncansby was so taken with this one she almost dropped her Chardonnay. (4/4)

Georgia – A very good performance of a song that has been a favourite in the Chrisparkle household since its first hearing. Mrs C starting to go off it though. (2/4)

Finland – We loved the emerging planet. It didn’t look at all endangered to us. Only the Thane could see in this what others clearly can. (1/4)

Malta – A great performance from “my mate Glen” as we now term him, and the Thane became the second person in the world to like the song too. (2/4)

San Marino – Looked forward to hearing this lovely song. A very static performance though, which reminded Mrs Chrisparkle of someone frightened of tripping a PIR sensor. Shame about the vocals, but we largely gave Senit the benefit of the doubt. (3/4)

Croatia – Not that great a performance. The first dress change was a bit of a cheat with the camera looking away and then coming back to see her changed. Anyone could do that. No one liked it much. (0/4)

Iceland – Went down very well here, and not just because of the backstory. Excellent performance too. (4/4)

Hungary – Heard that rehearsals hadn’t been great, but she certainly pulled out all the stops. The room went into swoons of appreciation. (4/4)

Portugal – Was expecting a more quirky performance and the banners were just boring. As was the rest of it. (0/4)

Lithuania – a good performance of a dull song. References were made to the size of her hips. I’ll say no more (although the word “twins” was mentioned in that context). The Thane was in sole appreciation. (1/4)

Azerbaijan – I didn’t know she was from Enfield, and her enunciation of “nothing” as “nuffing” was a moment of delight. We all thought this would do well. (4/4)

Greece – The rapper was greeted with cries of “don’t like it” from the room, but it was amazing how the appreciation of this song increased when Loukas opened his jacket. Lady Duncansby hastily rejigged her scoring as a result. (4/4)

ScorecardSo three of us got seven out of the ten correct, and one, the Thane himself, got eight – he got the most last year as well if I remember. The five songs we gave 0/4 didn’t qualify, which is quite pleasing in retrospect. Along with many others I am amazed Turkey didn’t qualify, not so amazed at Armenia’s failure as apparently her performance in the jury-watching-rehearsal was dire, and somewhat surprised about Norway although the Stella Mwangi/Kate Ryan allusion had been made elsewhere previously.

My bets on Iceland and Azerbaijan are still safe, and it was a good looking show. Great set. Didn’t think much of the presenters though, and thought the UK commentary varied from just about adequate to ghastly. I understand there were “communication issues” from Düsseldorf which must have been difficult for new presenters to cope with. But cutting from a live Sara Cox to a pre-recorded Sara Cox when the pre-recorded bits were obviously meant to look live seemed very ham-fisted to me. We honestly thought she was under the influence of noxious substances at times, and I thought the little vignette she did about running to the commentary booth was, well, just pathetic. Ale Jestem She could also have learned how to pronounce “Mwangi” in advance, just as Scott really ought to have known that the J in “Jestem” is pronounced like a Y. I thought he was going to become a bit of a Euro-basher in the Wogan fashion at first but he did have a few good lines later on. Room for improvement for Thursday!