World of Chig   

Dobar dan!

Greetings from Sava Centar in Beograd (Belgrade). It's not a supermarket; it's a bloomin' great big sports hall which has been converted into the Eurovision media centre for a fortnight. Unusually, it's also 12-15 minutes walk from the Beogradska Arena, where the rehearsals have been for the last nine days and where Eurovision is actually taking place tonight, Thursday and Saturday on your telly boxes. I now realise that some people haven't been watching rehearsals in the arena at all, just on the TV screens here, which is slightly surreal, coming all this way and then sitting inside, watching TV, slightly removed from the reality of it all.

I only have a few minutes here before I have to go back into town to the Eurocafé, where the annual meeting of the Anglo-Irish great and the good will be taking place in order to have a pre-semi-final meal (if there's anything I can eat - it's not looking good so far) and partake in the now traditional Serviettes of Death prediction competition.

I haven't really considered a list of ten qualifiers yet, but I'll have a stab at it when we have the meal and report back tomorrow. I watched the first public rehearsal for tonight's show on the huge screens in here yesterday afternoon and the quality of many acts was pretty poor. If you're trying to convert anyone to Eurovision, don't tell them there's a semi-final tonight. They'll be none the wiser. Just get them watching on Thursday. UK viewers can't vote tonight anyway; Thursday is your chance. I'll be waving a small Irish flag on a stick tonight, not because I love Dustin the Turkey particularly, but because I would like to see them in the final and I am 37.5% Irish. And because it will annoy many people if it gets through (which is touch and go, to be honest, as it's a bit of a frantic three minutes with too much going on).

Because there is such a lot of shite in tonight's show, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Norway stick out like sore thumbs as beacons of quality. They are both performed brilliantly, if completely differently and should both sail through to the final, as will Russia and Romania. All great shows or great singing. The Netherlands now looks like a possibility too, and their white dancer wins my award for totty of the show so far, along with Vlad from Romania, of course.

In other news, it was extremely hot and humid here this morning, but it has rained earlier this afternoon and cleared the air, which is a blessed relief because it was getting a bit too clammy for my liking. On the plus side, it does feel very summery and there is consequently lots of totty on display. Rarely have I seen such a high proportion of lean but muscular, short-haired men on the streets of a nation's capital. I have yet to see any fat people at all. True. It makes me think we should bring back national service at home; I'm sure that has a lot to do with it.


Well done to Joe, who has won his second competition on here in a few days, and will now be overloaded with Eurovision tat (I have plenty already) by almost guessing my favourite five correctly. He only transposed 3rd and 5th, effectively giving him a score of -4. Thanks to Chris P (-6) and Stephen (-8) for having a go too.

My top five faves in Eurovision this year are:

1st Norway - 'Hold On, Be Strong' - Maria Haukaas Storeng
2nd Bosnia & Herzegovina - 'Pokusaj' - Laka
3rd Ukraine - 'Shady Lady' - Ani Lorak
4th Bulgaria - 'DJ, Take Me Away' - Deep Zone & Balthazar
5th Latvia - 'Wolves Of The Sea' - Pirates Of The Sea

Reviews will follow later this week, but you know where to look for videos: YouTube.

The Serviettes of Death await! Dovidenja!


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