Monday, 18 May 2015

Eurovision 2015 - my full review.

Well, unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last few months, you'll know that Europe's favourite TV show starts tomorrow (well, the semis do) so, here's a full review of this year's Eurovision Song Contest entries.

Oh, and apologies for being so late posting this but I've been a bit busy and totally forgot all about it! Oops!

ALBANIA: What is it with the Albanians sending questionable songs lately? It's not for me. I'm out.
ARMENIA: I like the idea of Armenia bringing all the continents together. Sadly for them, the song is crap. Sorry Armenia!
AUSTRIA: Rule of thumb - the country who won the previous year usually sends something unlikely to win it the following year. This one is no exception. Host nation Austria have a good song but they're not going to win it two years in a row. It's going somewhere else next year.
AUSTRALIA: Who told the Aussies they could invade our favourite TV show? Having said that, their début entry is actually a nice little ditty. PS: If you win, Australia, any chance of giving the hosting duties to us next year?
AZERBAIJAN: Elnur is back to have another go for Azerbaijan with a sort-of rock song. And, weirdly, I quite like this one. They're still getting no points from me, though.
BELARUS: The first of many dull duets this year but I do prefer this to their song about cheesecakes from last year. That's all I've got on that one.
BELGIUM: Another year, another snooze-fest from the Belgians. Loo break, anyone?
CYPRUS: Cyprus may be back this year but their song is yet another snooze-fest. Zzzz...
CZECH REPUBLIC: YAY! The Czechs are back but I can't help thinking there was no point in them coming back due to this song being a bit, well... dull. At least it's not a weird guy who thinks he's a superhero, though, so I'll let that one slide.
DENMARK: Most people seem to hate this song but, weirdly, I like it. It was one of my top three in an almost-dull Danish national final and, in the end, the Danes sent their answer to Busted to Vienna. Nice!
ESTONIA: Another song I love. And a potential winner as well. I still have no idea who's going to win on Saturday though. There's a lot of competition at the top.
FINLAND: What on EARTH have you done, Finland?! You usually send good songs to Eurovision and you dropped poor Siru out of the semi-finals for this?! THIS?! That's not music, that's noise! And LOUD noise at that! Even Lordi were quieter! Nil points!
FRANCE: Another questionable song from the Frenchies but at least it's better than last year's effort.
FYR MACEDONIA: Ooh, I like this! I loved Lisja Esenski as well and, what's more, the guy is quite good looking too! What's not to like?
GEORGIA: CRAP! And, not only is the song rubbish, Nina has about as much charisma as a brick. Next!
GERMANY: I'm not overly keen on this either but at least it's better than most of the songs on offer this year.
GREECE: Greece have let me down again somewhat this year. They sent an uptempo dance number to Copenhagen last year. This time, they've given us a ballad. Yawn!
HUNGARY: The last acapella song sent to Eurovision flopped and, whilst I quite like this song, I unfortunately can't see this one doing any better. Sorry Hungary!
ICELAND: WOW! Another one I've loved from the start is this song. Last year, Iceland sent a neon-coloured 'man band' to Eurovision with a naff song. This year, they've gone back to sending nice ballady-type songs again. And, what's more, Dame Hera of Björk is BACK - but, this time, she's a backing singer for María. Hopefully they'll shoot back up that board quicker than they can say 'Reykjavik'.
IRELAND: A young girl and a piano. What could go wrong here?
ISRAEL: This song didn't instantly click with me at first but, several listens later, I actually like it in a weird sort of way. They'll probably need all the help they can get to finally get back into the final again this year though. I thought they'd have done it last year but they were surprisingly robbed.
ITALY: This year, the Italians have gone all classical on us and, as we all know from past Eurovision entries, classical and opera songs tend not to do well on the big stage. However, this song is quite lovely and may break the trend of classical-crossover songs flopping at the first hurdle in the final. But we shall see.
LATVIA: This one isn't bad but it isn't good either and I can't see Latvia getting back into the final any time soon with this. Sorry.
LITHUANIA: Well, at least they've stopped shouting...
MALTA: The best of the two Warriors. Lovely song, lovely singer, lovely performance. One of my top five this year too and it has the potential to do well. Fingers crossed.
MOLDOVA: Questionable song, rubbish singer, accusations of cheating? Well, the guy IS Ukrainian, so it isn't really a surprise.
MONTENEGRO: My word, Montenegro are actually taking it seriously and have sent someone at least half-decent! They ARE learning after all!
NETHERLANDS: Last year, I was cheering like crazy in Copenhagen when my lovely little Netherlands managed to come second behind Conchita's storming win. This year, I'm hoping to do the same, albeit in my own home this time. Like Anouk and 3JS before her, Trijntje has been one of my favourite Dutch artists for as long as I can remember, and I'm hoping for a third successive ticket to the final for my Dutchies. There's a lot of stiff competition though but I'm confident she'll make it.
NORWAY: Blimey, Norway, what is it with another dull and boring ballad? At least it's not totally dull and boring so I can forgive you for this one. Just.
POLAND: After last year's pornographic atrocity, the Poles have gone for the ballad option. And it's actually not that bad. You're forgiven, Poland.
PORTUGAL: My word, Portugal have actually sent a decent song for once! Brilliant!
ROMANIA: Ooh, so Romania DO rock after all! Fabulous!
RUSSIA: Go home, Russia. You're drunk.
SAN MARINO: YAY! No Valentina! Instead, here we have another dull-and-boring ballad sung by two members of Junior Eurovision alumni singing about a chain of light. Yawnsville!
SERBIA: Serbia are back this time after taking a year-long break and have decided to ditch their traditional Serbian-language songs and send something in English instead. Unfortunately for them, the song is a wee bit... odd. Though not as odd as that thing Romania sent a couple of years back so I can probably let them off. Just.
SLOVENIA: Another year, another brilliant(ish!) song from the Slovenes. I have no idea what the large headphones are all about, though...
SPAIN: Another song I've liked since the first listen is this one from Spain. It's probably even better than Ruth's song from last year, which I also loved, and Spanish entries mostly tend to rock my socks off. Well, when they're not sung by a weird Rolf Harris look-a-like with a small guitar singing about bailas and chikis. I still have no idea what the hell they were doing, there...
SWEDEN: A bit like Sanna from last year, it's taken Swedish fittie Måns several attempts to win Melodifestivalen, and he FINALLY managed it with a performance and cute background that rocked everyone's socks off. Unfortunately for the Swedes, the little dwarves he had dancing with him will have to be changed due to a claim of plagiarism, which means they'll look slightly different on stage in Vienna. The song is brilliant too. Another win for Sweden, perchance? Only time will tell...
SWITZERLAND: I usually like the Swiss entries and this one is no exception. I've loved it from the start and it's still in my top 10.
UNITED KINGDOM: I may be from the UK myself but, since I can't vote for my own country, I'm not obliged to like the song. Over the years, we've sent entries that are a bit... questionable. So questionable, in fact, that we've won naff all and come nowhere close to winning. This year, however, I DO like our song. There are influences of Dutch singer Caro Emerald in there, and I love a bit of retro-sounding swing so I will be supporting Electro Velvet this year, though maybe not as much as I'm supporting Trijntje. I just hope we don't suffer the same fate as we did last time we sent a duet to Eurovision.

And that's the wrap! Join me on Twitter over the next week (I'm at @shawsterama) when I'll be reviewing the performances in the semis and the final. But who'll win overall? We'll find out on Saturday night...

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Eurovision 2014 full review.

Well, unless you've been living in a cave for the last few months, you'll know that Europe's favourite TV show, the Eurovision Song Contest, is about to commence in a few weeks time. And this year, it's being held in Copenhagen after Denmark won it last year. There's also the small matter of yours truly going to the final this year as well, despite me not liking the majority of songs on offer this year.

So, without further ado, here's my review of this year's songs. I'm doing it all in one go this year, rather than in two parts, so forgive me if it's a bit long.


ALBANIA: Another year, another rubbish song from Albania. They'll probably make the final though.
ARMENIA: Well done, Armenia, for sending a much better song than the one you sent last year. Still no idea why your singer is apparently named after a music file, though...
AUSTRIA: This song sounds like a James Bond theme throwback but it's not too bad. It's better than most of the songs we've got this year, anyway.
AZERBAIJAN: I know you're known as the Land of Fire, Azerbaijan, but that doesn't give you an excuse to send a song about arson. Anyway, you should have been kicked out after last year’s cheating accusations, so you’re getting nothing from me. I’m out.
BELARUS: Cheesecake? A cake? Of CHEESE? Not in my lifetime...
BELGIUM: Oh, Belgium. Only a mother could love your singer and his voice. Not sure they'll like the song though. I can, however, see Belgium making the final with this. They're up against the Dutch again.
DENMARK: Oh, Denmark, what have you done?! I didn't like this song when I first heard it and I still don't but at least you've cleaned the lyrics up a little bit. Good thing you're already in the final this year.
ESTONIA: Sorry, Estonia, I preferred Sandra Nurmsalu's song and you overlooked her to send something that, most definitely, sounds a bit like Euphoria. Were you all on the vodka when you were choosing your artist or something?
FINLAND: Last year, the Finns sent a bridezilla with a lesbian kiss that pissed off most of Europe. This time, they have a band singing about wanting something better. What could possibly go wrong?
FRANCE: Who told the Frenchies that singing about moustaches was a good idea? Have they not seen Greece's entry from last year? Urgh!
FYR MACEDONIA: I wasn't keen on this song at first but it's grown on me. That's all I've got on that one...
GEORGIA: Have I somehow hopped into the DeLorean and gone back to the 1970's? It certainly seems like it and I will most probably be taking a toilet break at this point. Thanks for creeping me out, Georgia. Again. See you in the semis.
GERMANY: I quite like this one for some weird reason though I can't see it getting many points in the final to be fair.
GREECE: One song that would work in a club is this one from the Greeks. It's not a shit song about free booze either. Nice one, Greece. Not sure you'll want to win though. You can't afford bugger all at the moment. (And, no, I don't know how many rooms it has...)
HUNGARY: After sending a hipster last year, which didn't really work, the Hungarians have gone back to the dance song option. And, blimey, it's a good song as well! PS: Please leave the teddy bear back in Budapest, András. We're still not entirely sure why you had one in the first place.
ICELAND: I thought I could rely on the Icelandics to send nice songs every year but, clearly, they've broken that rule and let me down this year. Where’s their answer to Thor from last year when you need him?
IRELAND: Another decent song from the Irish who will be rather hoping they don't win the wooden spoon this year. They were robbed blind last year!
ISRAEL: WOW! Israel have sent a foot-stomper of a song this year and I actually quite like it!
ITALY: And, on the subject of decent songs, here's another from the Italians! They do rock after all! Bravo!
LATVIA: Belarus have sent a cheesecake and now Latvia have sent a cake. It’s the Great Eurovision Bake-Off!
LITHUANIA: Crikey, Lithuania, quieten down a little bit will you?! You're hurting my ears!
MALTA: The good ol' people from Europe's tiny island have clearly gone for the folk option again this year. Well, it worked for them last year, so they’re trying it again. The song’s a grower as well. Can they make the top ten again this year? Well, they're singing first in their semi final, so I'm hoping they do. We need Malta back in the final!
MOLDOVA: Anyone have any idea what she's singing about? No, me neither.
MONTENEGRO: Ooh, I like this! It's better than previous entries they've sent in the past and I hope they do well with this.
NORWAY: Sorry, Norway, but this is as dull as dishwater. Yawn!
POLAND: First it was Austria, then Latvia, now Poland have sent a crap rap song. Have they learned nothing? Was there any point in them coming back? They’ll probably get the booby prize here. (See what I did there?)
PORTUGAL: I'm still middle of the road with this one. At least they haven't sent a crap demonstration camp to Eurovision, so that's a bonus I suppose.
ROMANIA: Paula and Ovi are back with another foot-stomper but, like with many who have tried coming back for a second go on the Eurovision stage, I have a feeling they'll flop. I hope I'm wrong though.
RUSSIA: The Russians are in deep doo-doo with the rest of the world at the moment, having banned gay propaganda and regaining Crimea back from the Ukrainians, so I really can’t see them getting many points this time round. Not that the song’s much good anyway, mind you...
SAN MARINO: Have San Marino got nobody else to sing for them? Have they not thought to ask the Italians if they can borrow a singer/band for Eurovision? Not even the evil Irish twins came back three years in a row! Still, it's a nice song and Valentina's not singing about social networks, so I can forgive them. Just.
SLOVENIA: I've always been partial to a good piece of music or songs that contain flutes and this one is no exception. Slovenia, you've done me proud!
SPAIN: Yes, people of the United Kingdom, that IS Ruth Lorenzo, who last appeared on our TV screens singing on our version of The X Factor. I'm probably in the minority that likes this song as well. Good luck Spain!
SWEDEN: IT'S SANNA! And she's saved Europe's sanity with this song and it's one of the favourites too. Could Eurovision really be going back to Sweden two years after they last won? Only time will tell....
SWITZERLAND: I'm not keen on this one from the Swiss. They had a nice little ditty last year but I'm not entirely sure about the one they've sent this time round. Sorry.
THE NETHERLANDS: After last year’s success at reaching the final for the first time in eight years, the Dutch have sent a nice little country song sung by Holland’s answers to Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. It’s a nice song too and hopefully we’ll see them in the final again.
UKRAINE: You know I said 'nil points' for Russia and Azerbaijan? Ditto that for Ukraine.
UNITED KINGDOM: Nice to see we've been brought back into the 21st Century at last! After failing badly with doddering old bats who can't hold a note in key whilst singing live, we've gone for someone young and fresh who can! And it's a brilliant song as well! London 2015 anyone?

And that's the wrap! The winner will be revealed on 10th May so stay tuned...

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Beautiful things - June.

Oh my gosh, we're three days into July already! Oops!

I will do my best to give you a recap of what I got up to in June but I can't guarantee it'll be interesting or anything. Most of it was spent soaking up the sunshine and making the most of the hot weather we've finally been getting.

Anyway, June was the month to forget. Well, for the Rhinos, at least. Two more of our best players ended up on the already-long injury list and face a bit of a long lay-off and I'd say we've brought in a few academy players to make up for it but a) I haven't the foggiest who any of them are and b) we're struggling a little bit with some of the younger players being a bit inexperienced. We've won a few matches but we've lost a few more so it's going to be a while before we're back to our best I think.

Here's what else I got up to...


It's fair to say it's getting a bit warmer. Unfortunately, I'm not planning on venturing on holiday any time soon but I have stocked up on my summer wardrobe and put all the wintry stuff away until later in the year when it'll get stupidly cold again.

All of the above items are available at Zara. The dresses are perfect for the summer and, as most people know, I don't mind looking like a prize satsuma in a bright orange top owing to my love of Holland's national football team. In fact, MOST of their national teams wear bright orange. They're not 'de oranje' for nothing you know!


Whilst everyone's been obsessing over the new series of Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model and this year's Wimbledon tournament, neither of which I'm the least bit interested in, I've been getting my music groove on and watching Glastonbury. What's better than camping out in a muddy field watching bands perform live music? Watching it in your own home, of course! Who needs wellies when you can wear decent shoes and dance around your room like a complete loon? I loved most of the acts that performed this year, although Mumford and Sons bore the life out me. Sorry.
Away from the music side of things, I've also been watching old stand-up DVD's again. Namely Adam Hills and Peter Kay. Both are absolutely hilarious and I can't stop watching them. I know most of their routines, from Peter's "IT'S SPITTIN'! EVERYBODY IN!" gag to Adam's "f**k you and f**k the lot o' yous!" and they never fail to make me laugh every time. I even watched The Last Leg back in May. I just love Adam Hills. He's the funniest Australian on the planet and, when he has his sign language interpreter, the routine just gets even funnier, especially this one about the Dutch, which just cracks me up every time.


Remember the cute Swedish guy with the glass box in Düsseldorf back in 2011? The one who got pipped to second place by Italy's comeback? Well, he's back! Yes, little Eric Saade (minus his glass box) is back with a bang and his new single is AMAZING! I've rewatched his Eurovision performance again, which I danced along to on the night, and his new single, Coming Home, is even better. How can you not like him? He's so sweet and even better looking in the flesh! (Oops... did I say that out loud?!)


Unfortunately, yours truly hasn't really done much tweeting lately. I've been slacking, though I did manage one or two post-Eurovision tweets. I'll post my highlights from June anyway...
  • On Everton: "I actually like our new home kit. Shame about the shit badge." (@toffeeluce)
  • "What do you call a man wearing six balaclavas and a pair of ear muffs? Anything you like - he can't hear you!" (@sevens1878)
  • On Arsenal's manager: "Arsene Wenger looks like a stale baguette. Fact." (@sevens1878)
  • On San Marino: "Valentina AGAIN in 2014?! I know they're only a tiny state but do San Marino not have anybody else they could send to Eurovision?" (@scouserach)
  • On San Marino (again): "It's official: San Marino are sending Valentina to Denmark. Even Jedward didn't come back three times in a row!" (Me)
  • On Eurovision: "Armin van Buuren for the Netherlands?! YES PLEASE! (Him or Within Temptation representing them at Eurovision would be AWESOME!)" (Me)
  • On Carlos Tevez: "Tevez to Juve? No thanks." (@catastrophical)
And finally, my favourite tweet of June goes to...
 And that's yer lot! Bye for now!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Beautiful things - May.

It's getting a bit warmer but it's been a bad month for both my teams. Everton are looking for a new manager and the Rhinos have been dumped out of the Challenge Cup and have an injury list as long as Brian McDermott's arm after several of our players picked up leg breaks and shoulder injuries.


Anyway, here's what I got up to in May...


Most people took up a 'Blog Every Day In May' challenge but I didn't. I just blogged when I could but it was mainly about sports teams and the Eurovision Song Contest. That's about all.


Speaking of Eurovision, I watched both semi finals and the Grand Final itself. And what a week it was! The Netherlands got back into the final for the first time in nine years, Montenegro sent astronauts, Romania had a weird falsetto vampire (who, sadly, didn't get stabbed by the giant stakes that surrounded him), the United Kingdom came nowhere but somehow still beat the Germans and the Irish (who finished last), a smiley doctor finished eighth for Malta and a Danish royal won the whole thing, taking the contest back over the bridge next year, assuming it will be held in Copenhagen, though Herning's the current favourite to host it in 2014. Other host cities include Fredericia, Aalborg and Horsens, who want to host the contest in a decommissioned prison. Sorry, Horsens but, in the words of the dragons, I'm out.

Away from the telly (and, erm, Eurovision) side of things, I went to Rugby League's Magic Weekend at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester at the end of May. I was a bit reluctant to go at first because my husband and brother-in-law were involved in a car accident coming back from there earlier this year after Manchester City knocked Leeds United out of the cup but I went in the end and, even though Leeds Rhinos lost against Wigan Warriors whilst there was quite a class conga going on, I had to cheer when I saw that Bradford Bulls and St. Helens got stuffed. Again.


Most of May was spent listening to albums and other songs from this year's Eurovision artists, especially Emmelie de Forest (who won for Denmark) and Krista Siegfrids, the Finnish bridezilla. I've rewatched her Grand Final performance over and over again and her album is BRILLIANT. Here is her new single Amen. Enjoy.


Highlights from my personal Twitter feed in May include:
  • "Serbia won the Barbara Dex award. Not really a surprise considering they came dressed as a real-life game of Candy Crush."
  • "Razvan Rat, Razvan Rat, Razvan Rat and his claret and blue kit..."
  • "Some people are so thick. It's Finland that have the lesbian kiss, not Greece. They just have men in kilts."
  • "Leeds Rhinos. Marching out of the cup together."
  • "It's the end of an era. I feel like crying right now. Fare thee well, Moyes. Thank you for everything."
Highlights from others include:
  • This. That's my childhood ruined.
  • Tweets about Everton's new badge being rubbish. Thankfully, we've only got it for one season.
  • "How many wasps has Dave Whelan been chewing?" (@sevens1878)
  • "FAO Azerbaijan and Russia: you can debate all you like, the votes won't get recounted. Denmark won fair and square. Stop being sore losers." (@deneneogkun)
And, finally, my favourite tweets of the month go to...

Friday, 17 May 2013

Time to follow her tomorrow.

The second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest took place last night and a number of horrors went through to tomorrow night's final. I wanted San Marino and Switzerland to join Norway and Malta but, instead, we got tuneless shouty shit from Greece and a couple of dirges from Armenia and Iceland.


And we now have the running order for the final. France open the show, Spain go 5th, Malta go 9th, Germany go 11th, The Netherlands get the unlucky 13th position, the UK go 15th after the weird Romanian entry, Sweden go 16th, bookies and fans' favourite Denmark go 18th, Italy go 23rd, Norway go 24th and Ireland close the show.

Let's hope for a decent position for all of them and leave the tuneless dirges right at the bottom. We can all dream... right?!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Back where they belong!

I am literally still jumping for joy after last night! THE NETHERLANDS ARE BACK IN THE FINAL WHERE THEY BELONG! It's only nine years too bloody late!

Not one single tuneless shoutathon went through to the final last night but there's still Thursday night to go. Hopefully Anouk will shine in the final but she does have to sing in the first half so I'm hoping for a decent result. Other songs that I thoroughly enjoyed last night were the ones from Denmark and Ireland, both of whom are also in the final. They're both in the second half, though.

(Still no idea how Belgium got through. Roberto was off-key during his performance. My guess is all the Belgian votes went to The Netherlands... and vice versa. And Russia's song is still boring.)

Hopefully we'll see Norway and Malta joining them on Thursday. If it doesn't go to Amsterdam next year, can it go to Valletta instead? I'd like to see Malta win it one day. They've come close about four times but never won it.

Veel geluk, Anouk!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Thanks for the memories.

I'm truly gutted and feel like crying right now. David Moyes is leaving Everton at the end of the season, presumably to become the new manager of Manchester United, so we'll be on the hunt for a new manager. It's been a brilliant eleven years and it's now the end of an era.

So long, you ginger legend, and thanks for the memories. We'll miss you. 

PS: I just hope the likes of Mark Hughes and Neil Lennon don't come to Goodison Park. I can't stand either of them.