Day 3 – Epic Bagpipe Guy

May 8, 2013 by

Day 3 – Epic Bagpipe Guy

First thing’s first. I am putting in an order for Ralfs Eilands from PeR’s suit. It’s a sparkling silvery number. Only a jacket – he is bare-chested beneath. It’s a look that says, ‘Ladies, scream’ which is funnily enough how he starts the song. Definitely one to wear for the big red carpet event this Sunday.

‘Here We Go’ is an arena song. The guys do their best to get the party started and bring this to life. The 4 of them do a slow motion walk in unison before dancing away on the mini stage closest to where the audience will be. You can imagine the ESC fans loving this on the night.

Never easy performing in front of an empty arena which is what they will encounter, of course, in the jury performance which doesn’t help any of the uptempo tunes. Another guilty pleasure and a blessed relief from this year’s glut of female solos. An interesting reference to the late Andy Kaufman in this song, by the way. The American comedian who played Latka in ‘Taxi’ and died tragically young of cancer, aged 35.

Valentina just produced a decent first run through. She has borrowed the glowing white orb from the Russian delegation, and caresses it as she kneels on the stage, front and centre, in a pose reminiscent of Loreen, dressed in a shawl… reminiscent of Loreen. The lighting is dark and moody, suiting this dramatic Italian ballad.

2 female dancers kneel behind before they rise to their feet in unison with Val as the song builds towards its change in tempo. At which point they rip off the shawl to reveal a red floaty dress. Val sweeps her arms either side so the veils swish beneath, as her dancers join in either side. It works nicely enough visually. This has a sporting chance of qualification and the ESC fans are rooting for it based on the hearty applause that rings out among the press.

Lozano starts off well for FYR Macedonia in solo. Esma arrives and fires up the ethno wailing and while, bless her, she really belts it out, it all starts to go a bit awry. Her vocal gymnastics are not a patch on Bulgaria’s Elitsa – this is stated as a reference of what is to come later. Apologies for the time travelling liability taken in the narrative here. When the 2 of them join together side by side later in the song it is as awkward a looking and sounding duet that you’ll see.

2 solo female singers help out to the side but to be honest they don’t help at all, especially not when they join Esma & Lozano at the end of the song. Esma is like the scary aunt who arrives at Christmas and Lozano looks as uncomfortable as the teenage boy who stands fearing said aunt is going to try and give him a smacker on the lips. FYI FYRM, you are up against it in this semi.

Farid produces a reasonable vocal. It’s the staging that captures your attention. He stands on a glass box. Inside the box is a guy mirroring Farid’s movements. Mirror image man is standing on his head at one point so his feet meet Farid’s as he stands atop the box. After Farid slides down the edge of the box, lady in red joins them on stage and, hang on a minute, does this remotely work…? Azer are supposedly masters at this sort of stuff. Nice effect when the man in the glass box is surrounded by red confetti, looking like one of those globes you shake.

Credit to him. He is seriously nimble, and the woman in the red dress has a seriously long train. Farid and the lady in red finish either side of the box looking forlorn. This is about the only element of this thwarted love affair that makes any sense. But we all remember Safura’s Drip Drop – similarly strange staging and it managed 5th in the final.

2 backing singers help Krista who appears to have sustained an injury judging by strapping on her left knee. In a surprise move it’s all very wedding-themed and pretty much what we have seen before. Not compelled to write much more on this as it’s a 3-minute pop atrocity for me and having seen it in Amsterdam and London, this is quite tough to sit through again… 4 more times.

3 backing dancers flank Krista throughout and they all end up in pink dresses. We have some pyros in the last minute. Krista has the floaty veil effect. There has been a fair bit of publicity regarding the ending of this and it’s no surprise to see the lesbian kiss still there. As the saying goes, there is no such thing as bad publicity…

Gianluca, yes. A proper song and a breath of fresh air after Finland’s bubblegum. He has a winning smile and a certain sparkle in his eyes. I’ve said that before but I’m going to say it again. The lyrics to ‘Tomorrow’ are beamed onto the backdrop in different fonts. I’m good on fonts being a journalist and reckon they should throw in a Sand Bureau just for a laugh. Or better yet, Zapf Dingbats – any media people would appreciate that little in-publishing joke.

He has 2 female backing vocalists, 2 guys playing guitars and a drummer. They all join together for the final few bars of the song with Gianluca perched jauntily on the bench. It’s a very endearing set.

Bulgaria’s Elitsa has what’s commonly referred to in football circles as a ‘mare’ on first run through. She misses the start of the song as her earpiece falls out, she drops a drumstick, and also hits the deck at one point.

What is clear is that the Bulgarians are throwing the full ethno kitchen sink at this one. The guy on the bagpipes gets involved with the fun, and is very much the Bez of the outfit, cheekily expelling sounds from his instrument, combined with some dancing stage left. 3 female backing vocalists help Elitsa, wearing traditional dress just for extra national identity.

Not sure I’ve ever seen more drums on stage and the nimble drumming interplay between Elitsa and Stoyan is great fun. High danger of loss of drum sticks throughout this but reckon Elitsa probably has a spare one tucked inside her black hot pants.

There is a great high note from Elitsa that is begging for ‘Water’ to be mixed into this. They take to the walkway and climax things on the satellite stage after Elitsa does a dainty gait striding along the runway before a final little jig in the song’s death throes.

Epic Bagpipe Guy, his new official title, produces what looks suspiciously like a sushi dish for a face towards the end – I’m not kidding. Essentially a placard he holds up. This is another guilty pleasure. Admittedly not just the song. Elitsa too. You can check it all out below:

Unbelievable. Did you know we have a major plagiarism scandal on our hands? Translated, the first line of Eg A Lif, is: ‘Trudging slowly over wet sand’. Well, that’s what it says in this year’s Official Programme anyway. Starter for ten. Who can name the song that is taken from?

Eythor Ingi is obviously a Mozza fan on the quiet as that line, I can hold off no longer from telling you, has been blatantly ripped off from his seminal tune ‘Everyday Is Like Sunday’, released nearly 25 years ago to the day… F*ck me, I’m getting old.

Luckily Eythor hasn’t had to return to the bench where his clothes were stolen, and he clearly hasn’t been back to a barber’s shop in many a month either. Chewbacca, sorry Eythor, is no Ott Lepland and Eg A Lif is no Kuula.

He wears a terrible white tux on the first 2 run throughs that is very Fantasy Island (this is replaced by a more suitable black jacket later) and his absurd Icelandic mop does him no favours on the televisual front. Wow, this is all sounding rather vitriolic. Really, it’s a pleasant ballad and remains a borderline entry. That said, it looks more like a non-qualifier to me in this tough 2nd semi, unless a few of tomorrow’s efforts disappoint.

So that’s day 3 over. Bulgaria was a personal highlight. Views on today? Please do join in the conversation below.


  1. fiveleaves

    Hi Rob,
    Malta my highlight of the day. To continue the Morrissey references, a charming man and a charming song.
    A top 10 finish possible with a good draw in the final?

    Elitsa very charming too and the guy on the camera was obviously rather taken by her charms at 0.35 in the video.

    I’ve had my 2nd bet of the semis. A small lay of San Marino for qualification. The diehard fans might love it but I can see it being totally forgotten by everyone else, given the early draw and a run of memorable songs following it.

    • Rob

      Hi fig – Malta is ‘charming’ especially coming after Finland 😉
      Top 10 in final…? Think it will need a late draw to stand a chance of this. On my voting allies chart in the final, Malta is 21st. Some above will likely get knocked out in the semis, pushing it that bit higher, but if it’s on early-ish, it could disappear down the old memory plughole.

  2. Bruce

    Thanks for the updates and insights Rob.

    Hard to contribute much on the little we are seeing.

    Azerbaijan top 10 and Malta qualification seem nailed on to me and I’m very much underwhelmed by San Marino – the current win odds are laughable imo.

    Italy and Russia continue to be my main interests – any vibes around the place for the big 6 rehearsals?

    • Rob

      Hi Bruce. There seems a growing consensus SM will likely not get through. The value has clearly been on the NQ side, & still is.

      I was a bit more positive than most regarding the effectiveness of the staging in 1st rehearsal. I still give it a fair chance of getting through but its short price has to be due to the fact it is such a big fan favourite this year.

      Haven’t picked up any news yet regarding the Big 5 + Sweden, who will rehearse for the 1st time on Sunday. Will let you know asap if I do hear something.

  3. Ben Gray

    I have a risk-free (refunded if I lose) £50 bet from Sportingbet. I am considering three options for it.
    Bulgaria top 10 @ 9.5
    Iceland top 10 @ 13.0
    Germany to win @ 34.0
    Would appreciate what you guys think. 🙂

  4. Rob

    Hi Ben. Of those 3, I’d be keenest on Bulgaria’s top 10 chance. It is very distinctive, but would probably need a late draw to push for top 10. In its favour is its voting power in the final – 9th on my figures, so that gives it a potential headstart. Good luck!!

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