I read that Norway spent the equivalent of £20 million on Eurovision this year - a stripped down version compared to last year's Russian show which cost an addition £7 million and featured an enormous percentage of the world's flat screen monitors. One of its cost saving measures was in the half-time show. Rather than commission a spectacular piece from a single troupe, it commissioned a song, "Glow" by Madcon, and choreography, and sent cameramen and the choreographer on tour around Europe to film crowds doing the dance. I really liked the audience in the stadium all joining in, section by section, with all the batches of enthusiasm from the previous month's filming. The live webcam parties joining in didn't work nearly as well. London got a bit of a short shift, but apparently they also had to do most of their crowd rehearsals without music!
I quite liked using a trio of hosts. No fake love stories. No hyper-sweet interactions. They're all very experienced Norweigian t.v. show hosts at all levels, from children's television on up. I liked the women's outfits, especially in the first semi-final. Tasteful, elegant, whimsical. Erik carried off ridiculous outfits with aplomb.
I've already commented on most of the stage presentations over the course of this week, except for the five which go straight to the final.
Spain: The video was better, no surprise. When the stage crasher came on, it looked not quite right - but it wasn't certain that he didn't belong until seconds later, when security came up to retrieve him and there were blatantly more than six people on stage.
France: Fun tune, and nicely casual approach to the stage show, but it came across a bit like an instructional video on how to do the dance that goes with the song.
UK: Still somewhat dull. Would have benefited by being back-to-back with the Ukraine again.
Norway: I'm still sort of fond of this one, especially because of positing the love interest as the sun and the man as the moon. Our houseguest was tempted to vote for it but, in the end, went for Israel (which has improved over the contest).
Germany: The stage show didn't blow me away, but neither did it undermine the song. Lena works best in close-ups, which a stadium show doesn't provide, but it's still the best song of the lot, as I noted when reviewed the videos. And it won! Hurray!
Last night, post-contest, when I was browsing for related articles, I ran across an article from the previous day, on why neither the UK nor Germany could possibly win this year's contest. Bloc voting, of course. It's so nice to see that certainty proved wrong. While there's a certain default towards bloc voting, a good song does tend to trump regional defaults. The UK may have come last (again), but the four countries which disproportionately fund the contest are not being deliberately excluded. They just have a whole lot of competition these days, with 39+ countries competing to win the contest. At least it was only 39 this year - the smallest countries didn't compete at all and several medium-sized ones dropped out because they wouldn't be able to afford to host the competition next year should they win.