I'm excited to return as a guest panelist on Jason Deline's Comedy Album Book Club Podcast on Thursday June 7th at The Social Capital Theatre. Last time we Listened to Patton Oswalt's Werwolves and Lollipops, this time we will be listening to Eddie Izzard's Force Majeure. Eddie Izzard was one of my first favourite comedian's when I was a teenager, and I've met him a few times. I'll be telling a story about the last time I met him and how excessively awkward and confusing our conversation was.
It’s almost that time of year again! The Eurovision Song contest is coming! That cheesy, over the top glorious annual song competition that pits every European country (and Australia, stick with us) against each other in a spectacle of ridiculous pop music that has to be seen to be believed. I say believed instead of understood, because I’ve watched Eurovision and I still don’t understand it.
May 8th 2018 the Semi-finals begin in Lisbon Portugal (Home country of Last years winer Salvador Sobral) and the Finals will air Saturday May 12th. And in my home city of Toronto I will be co-hosting a Eurovision 2018 live-streaming party with my friend Rena Ashton at Paupers Pub on Bloor St west near Bathurst subway station. Check out the facebook event for more details
Much like my love of wrestling, I’m addicted to watching Eurovision for the horror, the hilarity, the shock of the badness, and also the surprise moments of beauty and undeniable talent. I watched my first Eurovision last year after being invited to a friend’s viewing party, and after that WILD ride, I’m ready and excited to watch the calamity again this year!
If you have never heard of Eurovision or think you know nothing about it, you’re wrong, past winners have been the worldwide launching point of acts like Abba, Celine Dion, and Lordi (remember Lordi?) Conchita Wurst (you know, the bearded opera drag queen?) and acts like Julio Iglasias, Lulu, and Olivia Newton-John have performed songs in the contest.
Not every song from ever country makes it to the finals but here is a recap video of all 43 entrants into this years contest.
And here is my opinion of every song:
- Eugene Bushpepa - Mall (Albania): 1998, somewhere on the road in North America. The windows of your car are down, there’s barely anyone on the road and the radio is blasting AOR (Adult Oriented Rock) music. You don’t know where you are driving to, you just know you had to get out of the city because you had FEELINGS™ you couldn’t explain, and you just needed to go somewhere and SORT OUT YOUR THOUGHTS™. You light an anxiety cigarette, hoping the ennui and existential void in front of you will diminish. It will not. You still have FEELINGS™ you long to escape from so you sing along to the song on your car stereo at the top of your lungs. This is that song.
- Sevak Khanagyan - Qami (Armenia): That dance beat, that rock solo guitar that pathos background gospel choir, Armenia, I FEEL you! Plus the video looks like some Shape of Water break up angst video
- Jessica Mauboy - We got love (Australia): Oh Australia! We have an excellent pop R&B style singer standard uplift pop song lyrics and a faster Celine Dion “and that’s the way it is” vibe. “Don’t give up! Cause we got love!” Classic top-notch pop song formula. It won’t win.
- Cesar Sampson - Nobody but You (Austria): ABSOLUTELY NO JOKES FROM ME ON THIS SONG! I have chills listening to this. His voice is beautiful, his falsetto is angelic, this is an exceptionally talented performer and I will be searching out more. MUST WATCH!
- Aisel - x my heart (Azerbaijan): This is Eurovision realness! the cheesy Eurodance beat, the standard love lyrics that MAKE NO SENSE (I cross my heart, I tear down the firewalls, I cross my heart I’m stronger than cannonballs????), basic, but classic, what I expect from Eurovision.
- Alekseev - Forever (Belarus): Once again this year I ask BELARUS WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! This song is what happens when a serial killer writes a Muse song. In the video he is WET, laughing maniacally, failing at push ups (seriously) and has that Bill Skarsgård Ugly-hot look.
- Sennek - A Matter of Time (Belgium): Dark pop song, with a talented vocalist who looks like she’s about to perform a witch ritual with Florence Welch to undo all of Lana Del Ray’s plastic surgery and bring her back to the coven.
- Equinox - Bones (Bulgaria): “I love beyond the bones!” Looks like Darryl Hanna’s Robot character in Blade Runner started a mild alternative dance band that writes love songs even though they don’t understand human emotions.
- Franka - Crazy (Croatia): Franka you are not Amy Winehouse and this is not your “Back to Black”, ok? Video is HIGH FASHION™
- Elena Foureira - Fuego (Cyprus): “Who are my influences? Oh I love Rhianna, and Beyonce, I wish I could have their careers, you know? And Kylie’s Fever was huge influence growing up.”
- Nikolas Josef - Lie to Me (Czech Republic): *SIGH* Prettyboy pop needs to be stopped. Justin Timberlake needs to atone for what he has inspired. The second that Brass band trumpet sample hits I’m yelling “NO” at my screen. Stop this fuckboy nonsense right now.
- Rasmussen - Higher Ground (Denmark): Sounds like a hipster anthem, looks like a bunch of clean vikings, feels like my “Proud of my Nordic heritage” dogwhistle alarm bells are going off.
- Elina Nechayeva - La Forza (Estonia): YES THIS IS THE EUROVISION I’M LOOKING FOR! Exceptional soprano opera singing, dark dance beats, glitter everywhere, this is what Eurovision is about. I hate it, but damn that’s talent.
- Eye Cue - Lost and Found (F.Y.R. Macedonia): If you only watched the Official recap video you would think this song was just A 2014 moody club banger. But when you watch the whole video you realize its actually 3 songs mashed into one. Two of those songs vibe together and make a great intro and chorus. The other song, the main verses, has a sanitized WHITE PEOPLE™ reggae beat that sounds like a song MAGIC! wrote and sold because they were too embarrassed to release it themselves.
- Saara Aalto - Monsters (Finland): I love this song! it is 100% a 2010 Rhianna Club banger, and I’m here for it! EMPOWERMENT™ jam!
- Madame Monsieur - Mercy (France): I want to make fun of this band's aesthetic (OH THE FRENCH BAND IS IN BLACK TURTLENECKS AND SKINNY BLACK JEANS, HOW FUCKING FRENCH OF YOU, DID YOU LOOSE YOUR BERET, WHERE IS IT!?) but the song is clearly a pro-refugee song, and considering the negative politics in France over refugees I can’t hate.
- Iriao - For You (Georgia): This feels like a men’s stoic drinking choir went too far and they don’t know how to back out so they’re trying REALLY seriously.
- Michael Schulte - You let me walk alone (Germany): Watch out Ed Shernan! This cute ginger who sings better than you is coming for your ballad career! WHOLESOME™
- Yianna Terzi - Oneiro Mou (Greece): - There’s a point in Eurovision viewing where you just start to feel nothing. Its so bland, and there’s nothing bad, but nothing to hang on to. yeah the voice is great, it’s epic, sounds ethnically greek while dance music but… nothing. I feel nothing.
- AWS- Viszlat Nyar (Hungary): YES! RAISE THOSE HORNS! IT’S THE RETURN OF THE EUROVISION METAL POP SONG! Epic vocals and screamo vocals, metal guitars, you get one of these every few years and it is a glorious change of pace in every show.
- Ari Olafsso - Our Choice (Iceland): Do you like plain white bread? Do you like milk? Is salt too spicy for you? Then good news! This song is for you. Ugh.
- Ryan O’Shaughnessy - Together (Ireland): Wholesome™ gay love song! It sounds like Sam Smith’s falsetto finally found true love and is mushy happy about it.
- Netta - Toy (Isreal): If you only watch one whole Eurovision 2018 contestant video THIS IS THE ONE. It’s weird, it’s banging, there’s chicken scatting samples (no, I mean she’s literally making “Bock” noises as beat samples, don’t be gross) I would not be surprised if this song won!
- Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro - Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente (Italy): I loved last year’s entry of Francesco Gabbani's Occidentali’s Karma SO MUCH I still listen to it, so this is bumming me the fuck out. Two thoughts: 1) Yeah I also like 2003 Juanes, but leave it in 2003. 2) It’s 1998, somewhere on the road in North America. The windows of your car are down, there’s barely anyone on the road and the radio is blasting AOR (Adult Oriented Rock) music. You don’t know where you are driving to, you just know you had to get out of the city because you had FEELINGS™ you couldn’t explain, and you just needed to go somewhere and SORT OUT YOUR THOUGHTS™…. (see Albania for the rest)
POST SHOW EDIT: Ok. I'm a dick. I found out what the song is about (The Bataclan, Paris and Ariana Grande terrorist attacks) and I was a little too glib and dismissive in my comments. But I still stand 100% by my "See Albania" comment ESPECIALLY since I've found out Ermal Meta is Albanian-Italian. PSYCHIC™
- Laura Risotto - Funny Girl (Latvia): Official SAD™ Anthem for that beautiful but shy cosplay/steampunk chick you know who is just looking for the Joker to her Harley.
- Ieva Zasimauskaite - When We’re Old (Lithuania): HER PARENTS ARE STILL TOGETHER AND IN LOVE AND SHE CANT WAIT FOR THAT TO BE US OK? WHOLESOME™ and she likes Enya.
- Christabelle - Taboo (Malta): Welcome to the PG version of Caligula. You ever met an virgin woman so desperate and obvious that they constantly acted over-sexed and BDSM obsessed in public in order to try and cover for being an obvious and desperately skin hungry virgin? That’s this video. The song? Its a standard generic “I love early Rhianna” dance song.
- DoReDos - My Lucky Day (Moldova): AH Moldova! Always gives us some crazy dance songs (e.g. “Epic Sax Guy”) I love this, and not just because her Hat is bigger than both of them in the video. It’s got a bit of a fast paced Klezmer or Romani vibe and its catchy! I wanna see this song in the finals!
- Vanja Radovanovic - Inje (Montenegro): Fuck off Montenegro. This epic, earnest mediocre song pisses me off. You’re not a Holy Angel, just stop.
- Alexander Rybak - Thats how you write a song (Norway): 2009 Eurovision winner Alex Rybak is bak! (HA!) This song is cheesy and dorky as fuck in the lyric department but I love it. Alex always has really interesting rhythmic compositions and fun catchy tunes. I like him, I don’t care what other people think, this cheese smells good to me!
- Gromee featuring Lukas Meijer - Light it up (Poland): - One of the joys of Eurovision is the English as a Second Language lyrics. This song, which sounds like a 2010 EDM pop hit, takes the english slang “Get Lit” and mistranslates it into “Light me up”. Ok, Gromee, I will light you up, what are you wanting? Shots of the Wodka or bottles of Budvar? Why not both (of the things I have for offering to you)?
- Claudia Pascoal - o Jardim (Portugal): - Beautiful Butch femme Lesbian chill groove love song, giving me them chills! Portugal brings us Butch teen Beiber look-a-like and Pink haired awkward-gait manic pixie dream femme doing beautiful harmonies together. I love it!
- The Humans - Goodbye (Romaina): - Do NOT tell Sass Jordan that an Eastern European look-a-like is doing Sass Jordan better than Sass Jordan has done in decades.
- Julia Samoylova - I won’t Break (Russia): Julia was banned from representing Russia in last years Eurovision contest because of the politics around Russia annexing Crimea. She’s back and she’s good but… The way they play off her Spinal muscular atrophy and use of a wheelchair has been a little cringe and inspiration porn in the past, so if she gets through the semi-finals it will be interesting to see how they present her in the final performance. The video for her entry is worth watching simply because (spoiler) at the end of the video she is revealed to have been A SENTIENT HUMAN-HEAD MOUNTAIN THIS WHOLE TIME.
- Jessika featuring Jennifer Brenning - Who we are (San Marino): This song is a mess. Gorgeous vocals, bizarre lyrics, no hook, musically all over the place, TERRIBLE white girl rapping. And not to mention this is a OBVIOUS rip off of the 2015 Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw's Heroes.
- Sanja illic & Balkanika - Nova Deca (Serbia): - This band has a hipster wizard on flute, and a Faith Hill Look alike singer. Lots of Serbian indigenous vocalizations and harmonizing. Is it good? Who cares, they have a wizard and a guy playing giant garbage can drums!
- Lea Sirk - Havala Ne (Slovenia): This lady likes MIA, clearly, but also basic as hell dance moves. This song is fun, and is creative and trying to be different than your average Eurovision dance song. Thumbs up, not shitty!
- Amaia y Alfred - Tu Cancan (Spain): After Spain’s TERRIBLE last place performance I get why they would want to play it safe with a cute boy/girl ballad. Your boring WASP, Christian grandma would like this song, and think it was adorable. But you? You have better taste than her.
- Benjamin Ingrosso - Dance you off (Sweden): Once again Sweden doing what Sweden does best: Handsome, catchy pop-tactic dance floor fillers! No doubt your pre-teen sister is already in love with this guy, even if she doesn’t know it yet.
- Zibbz - Stones (Switzerland): Bluesy powerful female vocals, hipster hard rock, and great band name! Singalong potential, I like it!
- Waylon - Outlaw in ‘Em (The Netherlands): FUCKING Waylon. This guy is PISSED that he wasn’t born in the United States. He wants to be country rock “Don’t tread on me/I’m proud of my confederate ancestors!” SO BADLY. But here’s the thing Waylon: you’re from the Netherlands, your country is WAY better off economically and socially than United States and COPPERHEAD ROAD WAS ALREADY WRITTEN. Get out of here Waylon! I hope you DON'T make it to the finals.
POST SHOW EDIT: He made it to the finals. And it was a "Look I'm not racist, I have Black Friends!" shucking and jiving racist mess.
- Melovin - Under the Ladder (Ukraine): Hard rock grand piano playing angry singalong! Their finalist video includes a lot of things on fire, so I think Billy Joel would be proud.
- Surie - Storm (United Kingdom) I can’t tell if Surie is trying to be Katy Perry (Fireworks) or Annie Lennox (Little Bird). Fun poppy paint by numbers song, easy to relate to lyrics and sing-a-long chorus, sometimes you want simple sugary pop hooks and this song brings you that delicious frosted vanilla cake you crave.
At the beginning of March I was a guest on voice actor Jason Deline's Comedy Album Book Club podcast all about Patton Oswalt's Werewolves and Lollipops comedy album. Have a listen to Kyle Betts, Beaverton's Ian Mcintyre, Jason and myself talk about one of my favourite Comedians earlier works, and hear the story about the time I met Patton Oswalt and the tweet he made about me afterwards.