ESC 2014: My opinion about the Final (Part I)

Hi,

eurovision2014

Later than usual, but here I start my view on the wonderful Saturday, 10th May 2014 – more precisely, the ESC 2014 Final. And it all started with images of the final moments from last year’s edition held in Malmö, Sweden. Then we’d move on to Denmark, especially to where ESC 2013 was held this year: Copenhagen – all done with lots of movement as the people go all the way to the arena in various ways, waving the 26 finalist countries‘ flags

As we move on to the B&W Hallerne, and after the opening’s frenzy, the Olympic Games‘s influenced parade of nations surfaced: always a symbolic moment

The presenters of the show (Lise Rønne, Nikolaj Koppel and Pilou Asbæk) then appear at last. As said on my previous posts, the presenters do their job well – however, they didn’t really have an impact on me

Unlike my previous posts about the semi-finals and also unlike my posts of all the ESC 2014 songs, I’ll do a one by one opinion more concerning the performance than everything else – in this case, this is the first of two parts including the first 13 entries. The last 13 will be posted in the next blog post:

01: Ukraine – Mariya Yaremchuk – Tick-tock

01ukraine

A catchy uptempo entry with retro influences is the main opening leitmotif for this year’s Final. I’d say it was really an ideal one to open the edition (and there has been some great opening songs throughout ESC‘s history): Mariya has put a great effort on her visual and vocal performances (well, she was vocally better in the final than in the semi) + the wheel cage is so effective and proved to be essential for the performance’s flow

02: Belarus – TEO – Cheesecake

02belarus

The R’n’B stuff (à la Robin Thicke) is coming to town, despite having the so called “unlucky draw” (throughout ESC history, no country has ever won by performing in second place (we’d have to go back to 1965 for the one country that came close to a win by performing from that same draw (United Kingdom, Kathy Kirby, “I belong”). On jESC, though, Croatia had become the first country to win after being the second country to perform, all thanks to Dino Jelušić and to his catchy ballad “Ti si moja prva ljubav”). Many thought this wouldn’t qualify, but I thought it had the extra special that could do some wonders and it quite did by reaching the final. In there, there was once again the confirmation of my thoughts – everything in his performance looked smoothy cool (as well as well performed). The highlights: his little feet dancing routine during the “I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna…” part and the effective end of his performance

03: Azerbaijan – Dilara Kazimova – Start a fire

03azerbaijan

Once again, Azerbaijan sent their big guns (aka. a ballad) and a simplistic but mesmerizing visual performance to illustrate the classiness of the song. Dilara defended it well vocally (it wasn’t pitch perfect, though), despite the quite strange english pronounciation and the trapezist-like dancer was a pretty nice touch. Maybe it lacked some “oomph” to stand out even more as the competition progressed…

04: Iceland – Pollapönk – No prejudice

04iceland

The novelty song of 2014, mixing punk-rock with 70’s disco sounds during the non-singing part at the middle of the performance. I was quite suprised by its qualification to the final, but I guess it’s understandable why and it can only be said in one word: “fun”. Full of colour and happiness visually to contrast the social triggering lyrics about prejudice and its prevention

05: Norway – Carl Espen – Silent storm

05norway

Coming up next is a powerful ballad with intimistic lyrics. For a song of its type, just a simplistic and effective performance is enough to get the special attention that’s needed (nothing less, nothing more)… and that’s what happened indeed. Very good vocal performance from Carl, by the way

06: Romania – Paula Seling & Ovi – Miracle

06romania

Up to the dance music departement for the first time and coming from a returning duo. Well, surely it’s totally not like 2010 in both song and performance, but it’s still a professionally solid one on both terms. Liked the hologram effect and the eye piano combined with the LED images at one point (it quite reminded me of France 3 (FR3)’s 19751985 logotype)

07: Armenia – Aram MP3 – Not alone

07armenia

A modern midtempo entry with dubstep sounds is what the country in question offered this year. Eventhough I still don’t get why it’s called a masterpiece by many ESC fans, I can admit Aram‘s vocal performance was pretty good and the LED imagery helped the song to elevate the visual performance to higher grounds

08: Montenegro – Sergej Ćetković – Moj svijet

08montenegro

The first of two countries that finally got their way into the Final after several years of getting there since their first participation (in this case, Montenegro debuted as a independent country (that is, after the dissolution of Serbia & Montenegro) in 2007). Their music genre weapon: a powerful balkan ballad. Also powerful was Sergej‘s sublime vocal performance and the way the visual performance was concieved (the figure skating dancer’s showcasing talent was a plus and blended really well with the song and the LED graphics)

09: Poland – Donatan & Cleo – My, Słowianie (We are Slavic)

09poland

A curious mix of R’n’B and hip-hop music with traditional folk sounds was the country’s proposal for this year. As much as I find it totally average (it could have been a good song if those annoying hip-hop beats weren’t , I must confess the visual performance is somehow a guilty pleasure of mine: Cleo‘s vocal fierceness and stomping moves, the backing dancer-vocalists’ connectivity with the song and its lyrics, the non singing-dancing girls’ grand display of sexuality… a entirely perfect candidate for the title of ESC 2014‘s cult performance”

10: Greece – Freaky Fortune ft. RiskyKidd – Rise up

10greece

Dance music mixed with rap motifs isn’t something new in today’s mainstream music, but its appearance in ESC is quite rare and that has happened this year (eventhough I’m not really fond of the complementary use of rap on many songs, this one being no exception to the rule, as I don’t think it blends well). In visual terms, I applaud the ESC 2014‘s host broadcaster (DR) for its excellent camera work: totally action-packed with a combination of multi-layered and split images, as well as the slow motion effect during the trampoline gymnast’s  at the final climax. Vocally, it wasn’t too perfect (then again, that also quite happened in the semi they were in), but not too troubling giving the artists’ joyful enthusiasm and commitement

11: Austria – Conchita Wurst – Rise like a pheonix

11austria

After two uptempos, here comes a classy retro-sounding ballad that could really fit into a 007 James Bond movie (some even compared with the latest Bond movie, “Skyfall”, sung by Adele in 2012 for the eponymous movie). Despite the controversies before ESC weekConchita did make a powerhouse performance out of the song (one that surpassed the performance given in the semi Conchita was in) – the first amazing vocal performer of the night if I may dare to say it. The visual performance (aided by the competent camera work that captured the beauty and the fierceness of Conchita s performance) was a delightful bonus, with everything going on the right track. A real standout, me thinks

12: Germany – Elaiza – Is it right?

12germany

Here comes now a alternative folk-pop entry sung by a newcoming group. The performance was competent and nicely delievered, but then again, it wasn’t a real standout – especially not in visual terms: I’m not against simplistic performances without the aid of special effects, but it just lacked something to stand out from her closest competitors (Austria and Sweden, both big favourites to win). Good use of the confetti, though

13: Sweden – Sanna Nielsen – Undo

13sweden

To finish the first part of my opinion about the Final, a modern power-pop ballad is on its way. Sanna has proved with time that we should always count her for an unforgettable performance… and that day was no exception: impressive vocals and rightfull posture aided by an aesthetic display of dark and bright lights showcasing the artist throughout the performance at the right moment. Overall, a combination that provided a wonderful symbiosis between the singer and the stage. Just one negative point: I don’t think Sanna‘s dress was really… flattering (don’t get me wrong, it’s well concieved and tailored, but it just isn’t the kind of dress I’d like to see in a woman (it gives me some ESC 2012 flashbacks when Maya Sar (Bosnia & Herzegovina) wore a dress that didn’t go well with her looks)

Before ending this first part of my opinions regarding ESC 2014’s Final, a special treat – the performance of my two favourite entries in this year’s ESC edition:

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)

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Posted on 11 de June de 2014, in Eurovision Song Contest. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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