Eurovision 2016 – Semi Final 2 Results

semi2qualifiersThe Second Semi Final of the 61st Eurovision Song Contest took place tonight in Stockholm and what a Semi it was. From start to finish, Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw but on an amazing show. Well done to the host broadcaster SVT, I’m really looking forward to Saturdays show! (I especially liked Mans here…)

The show started off with an amazing opening act on “What is Eurovision?” Do watch it, it reminded me of the interval act from 2013, the Swedish Smörgåsbord  also starring Petra.

We also got a bit of history of the Eurovision Song Contest in the form of Numbers which amazed the nerds like me…

So on to the qualifiers. The ten countries that made it to the Grand Final are:

  • Latvia
  • Georgia
  • Bulgaria
  • Australia
  • Ukraine
  • Serbia
  • Poland
  • Israel
  • Lithuania
  • Belgium

So hard luck to Ireland, Switzerland, Belarus, FYR Macedonia, Slovenia, Denmark, Norway and Albania who don’t make it through.

For those wondering I got 9/10 again on my predictions! Damn you Georgia!

We shall find out the running order for the final tomorrow ahead of the Jury Final tomorrow night. Join me again on the @UCCExpress Twitter account for some views and opinions on the final which will air at 8pm on Saturday Night on RTÉ One with Marty Whelan and on BBC One with Graham Norton.

 

Eurovision 2016 – Semi-Final 2 *UPDATED*

Welcome to my Preview of Semi-Final 2 of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest which takes place on Thursday May 12th in the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. Eurovision is getting that bit closer and its time to look at the contestants!

*UPDATE* Today April 22nd the European Broadcasting Union has withdrawn membership services to Romanian Broadcaster TVR following non-payment of debts totalling over €14.5m (CHF 16m). This means that only 42 contestants will compete at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest with 18 in each Semi-Final. There is no change to running order.

Semi Final 1 takes place on Tuesday May 10th, check out my preview here.

The new voting system will also apply to the Semi-Finals, but we won’t know the full details of the results until after the Grand Final which takes place on Saturday May 14th. Sweden, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom are automatically qualified for the Final.

19 Countries are competing for the 10 places in the Grand Final available and Irish hopes rest on Nicky Byrne. Hopes will be raised as the United Kingdom will be voting and performing tonight along with Germany and Italy.

Semi-Final 2 seems to be the tougher of the two Semi’s with some excellent songs (and some not so great) from countries who normally do well. Getting out of this Semi will be quite the task for many of the entries and will be dependent on good performances for the Juries and Televoting Public!

So on with the show!

All betting odds are from PaddyPower for outright winner and taken on 20/04/16
Continue reading “Eurovision 2016 – Semi-Final 2 *UPDATED*”

Eurovision 2014 Semi-Final 2 Preview

Tonight sees the 2nd Semi-Final of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest get under way in Copenhagen. 15 countries are battling it out for 10 places in the final. 10 countries have already qualified from the 1st Semi-Final, including the two favourites (Sweden and Armenia), so it is a bit easier to qualify from tonight’s Semi.

So who is performing tonight? All odds are from PaddyPower. As well as those taking part Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom will be voting, so that will help some countries.

Malta: Malta start us off tonight with this track that would could be mistaken for Mumford and Sons! It is one of my favourites. Very different from anything we have heard so far in the Semi’s. And could do very well, like Malta did last year. One to watch!

Firelight – Coming Home
Odds: 50/1

Israel: Israel will be trying to do what Latvia failed to do and qualify from starting 2nd. This entry is a marked difference from Malta. A good rocky pop song, sung in English and Hebrew. Israel has nearly always managed to Qualify to the final and with this entry, should be no different. I can see Eurovision audiences lapping it up for good reason!

Mei Finegold – Same Heart
Odds: 33/1

Norway: After two fast entries Norway slows us down with this haunting song. Listening to this you get goosebumps. There is no doubt Carl is an amazing singer and this track suits him perfectly. A very strong start to the Semi!

Carl Espen – Silent Storm
Odds: 25/1

Georgia: After those 3 we have Georgia, now this eh different. I am genuinely unsure what to say about it. Suffice to say, I will be extremely surprised to see it Qualify.

The Shin & Mariko – Three Minutes to Earth
Odds: 300/1

Poland: Poland last competed in 2011 and its great to have them back as they are normally a bit different and this year is no different with this Eastern Hip-Hop track. The video is quite suggestive so I can only imagine what they will do on stage!

Donatan & Cleo – My Słowianie – We Are Slavic
Odds: 125/1

Austria: Now we have the only Drag Queen of this year, and a bearded one at that! To be fair to Conchita he has some voice! While some countries may not be happy that he is here, it is one Austria’s best entries in years. This song has a bit of a bond feeling to it. It has perfect placing after Poland and before Lithuania

Conchita Wurst – Rise Like A Phoenix
Odds: 20/1

Lithuania: Are you paying attention? Lithuania speed things up again with this entry. It doesnt have great odds as songs like thos often don’t do well live. So it might be a year with no Baltic finalists

Vilija Matačiūnaitė – Attention
Odds: 250/1

Finland: Finland bring some soft rock to Eurovision. Its a really good song. One to bop away to. Stands out well in this semi, should qualify.

Softengine – Something Better
Odds: 50/1

Ireland: COME ON IRELAND! While it won’t win, it will hopefully qualify as it is a good Eurovision song!

Can-Linn (Feat Kasey Smith) – Heartbeat
Odds: 50/1

Belarus: Our second song about cake this year! But seriously who calls some their cheesecake? An odd song from Belarus, but could struggle to qualify.

Teo – Cheesecake
Odds: 250/1

F.Y.R. Macedonia: While the odds are long on this one, I really like this song! Its catchy and bops along nicely. While this won’t won the contest, could do very well for Macedonia as it is one of their more modern entries in a few years.

Tijana Dapčević – To The Sky
Odds: 250/1

Switzerland: Switzerland have been hit and miss over the past few years and I’m afraid this one is a miss. It has a country lilt to it, but the Netherlands have a better country song so could mean the Swiss dont qualify.

Sebalter – Hunter of Stars
Odds: 150/1

Greece: Another bit of hip-hop here but Balkan this time! This song could catch on. Expect to hear this over the summer at European beeches! But its a toss up here, could make it!

Freaky Fortune feat. Risky Kidd – Rise Up
Odds: 50/1

Slovenia: Slovenia slow it down slightly with this pop track. But it is a good track. Good vocals from Tinkara and an overall nice song.

Tinkara Kovač – Round And Round
Odds: 200/1

Romania: Their back! They last represented Romania in 2010 and hope to do better this year. And they have a good chance. This song is brilliant! Go listen to it now! Great song to end the night on a high note.

Paula Seling & Ovi – Miracle
Odds: 40/1

Thats it. The 2nd Semi, but who will qualify? As only 5 countries won’t make it, its hard to call!

  • Austria
  • Ireland
  • Romania
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Greece
  • Malta
  • Israel
  • Poland
  • Slovenia

The Second Semi-Final will be live tonight at 8pm on RTÉ2 and BBC3

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Eurovision 2012: Semi-Final One Preview

Its that time of year again! Eurovision Time! Like every year I do a preview of the Semi’s and attempt to predict who will get into the final.

This year the 57th Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Baku, Azerbaijan. 42 countries will be taking part. Montenegro returns this year to the competition while Poland and Armenia wont be taking part.

10 countries from each of the Semi-finals will proceed to the Final and join the five automatic qualifiers, the Big Four (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) and last years winners and this year’s host Azerbaijan.

The voting will be again be by a combination of Televoting and Professional Jury.

The First Semi Final will take place on the 22nd of May, followed by the Second Semi Final on the 24th of May and the final taking place on May 26th. All shows start at 8:00pm GMT (9:00pm CET)

Ireland has been drawn in the First Semi-Final and along with the 18 countries in this final Azerbaijan, Italy and Spain will be voting in this Semi.

All odds are from Paddy Power and correct on April 15th. Odds are for winning the overall contest.

01 Montenegro: Rambo Amadeus with “Euro Neuro

If you tune in late during the first semi and you can’t figure out whats going on, its probably cause Rambo Amadeus is on stage doing what is described as “crazy jazz-funk music”. Im not sure if you would class it as music. Cant see this getting out of the Semi. Odds: 125/1

02 Iceland: Gréta Salóme & Jónsi with “Never Forget

Iceland is one those countries I normally like and this year they have a duet. This is a bit of rock duet and is a good one. Jónsi previously represented Iceland in Istanbul in 2004 with “Heaven” and came 19th. While Gréta Salóme is a multi talented singer/songwriter who also plays the violin. They combine well on this song and should do well in Baku. Odds: 22/1

03 Greece: Eleftheria Eleftheriou with “Aphrodisiac

I won’t even attempt to pronounce this ladies name, who is a good singer. She came to fame through X-Factor 2 in 2010, even though she didn’t win. This song is like many past Greek entries. Upbeat pop and catchy! I can definately see myself singing along to this! This should definitely qualify. Odds 22/1

04 Latvia: Anmary with “Beautiful Song”

“She was born in a distant 1980, in the year that Johnny Logan won” that is the first line if this entry from Anmary. She got her start when she came 2nd in The Talent Factory. This song is about fame and name drops a number of famous people. Its an interesting song, and one I do enjoy. Will it stand out at Eurovision is the question. Odds 100/1

05 Albania Rona Nishliu with “Suus” (Personal)

And the first Ballad is from Albania. Some years Ballads are few and far between and that can help make them stand out. Rona certainly has a voice that suits this song. She does a wonderful job with and hopefully can do it on the night. Odds: 100/1

06 Romania: Mandinga with “Zaleilah

Bagpipes, an accordian, a catchy summer tune, whats not to love? Mandinga bring a bit of the the summer party to Eurovision with this song and I for one enjoy it. Mandinga play latino music, latin jazz, balkan salsa or even club music and this song certainly sounds like the perfect mix of them! Odds: 33/1

07 Switzerland: Sinplus with “Unbreakable

And now a rock song! Sinplus are brothers Ivan and Gabriel Broggini who grew up listening to Queen, Bob Marley and U2. This is a good song, but not one you would listen to a lot. Odds: 100/1

08 Belgium: Iris with “Would You?

Belgium send a young 17 year old to the contest, hoping to do what Sandra Kim did in 1986. Here Iris is singing a ballad, which to me is a bet meh and the odds are reflecting this. It will be hard for this to get out of the semi. Odds: 125/1

09 Finland: Pernilla Karlsson with “När jag blundar” (When I close my eyes)

And at the halway point, Finland sends a Swedish Ballad to Baku this year. It is another ballad, but its a nicer one then Belgium, but coming straight after them could harm it. It could sneak out of the Semi. Odds: 80/1

10 Israel: Izabo with “Time

Israel are taking a different direction this year and are sending Izabo, a band that combines Psychadelic Rock, Disco and Punk flavoured with Arabic spices. This is certainly different and should be some fun on stage in Baku. This may well qualify. Odds 100/1

11 San Marino: Valentina Monetta with “The Social Network Song

This is a bit of a strange song about love online and using social networks for love. Its one those songs that is trying to be current. Im not sure if it works. Odds: 150/1

12 Cyprus: Ivi Adamou with “La La Love

This is another summer song that will be in my head for awhile. A more upbeat song then normal from Cyprus but a good move, but coming after the pop song from San Marino might make it harder for them.

13 Denmark: Soluna Samay with “Should’ve Known Better

Denmark is another country I always like and this year is no exception. An excellent song which is a pop song along the lines of Carly Rae Jepsen and Taylor Swift which are popular at the moment. This should qualify no problem. Odds:14/1

14 Russia Buranovskiye Babushki with “Party for Everybody

Buranovskiye Babushki or the Russian Grannies as they seem to be known as hail from Udmurtia, a republic between the Kama and Vyatka rivers in Russia. They are certainly very different to anything that has come to Eurovision in the past! They beat a past Eurovision winner to get to Baku so I think they are very much in contention for the top spot! Odds: 5/1

15 Hungary: Compact Disco with “Sound of Our Hearts

After the Russian Grannies we have Compact Disco a dance act from Hungary. It certainly stands out after the last song, but if thats the only reason it won’t go further in the final. It certainly a song that will chart around Europe so will be in the final. Odds: 80/1

16 Austria: Trackshittaz with “Woki mit deim Popo” (Shake your ass)

This duo have their own unique genre “tractor gangster party rap” which may go down well in Ireland! For me it is a bit shouty, but one that will be played in clubs around Europe! I will be in the mix to qualify, but will the name but people off? Odds: 80/1

17 Moldova: Pasha Parfeny with “Lăutar

This is a fun song from Pasha who is well used to winning international music festivals and is hoping to add a Eurovision win to his collection. This is a song that I certainly enjoy, but the bookies don’t think Pasha can take the top prize. Odds 100/1

18 Ireland: Jedward with “Waterline

And to finish out the show, its Jedward!! Jedward, (John and Edward for anyone who has been living under a rock) Irish twins from Lucan, Dublin, try a second time to win Eurovision. Last year they came 8th in Dusseldorf with “Lipstick“. This is fast, uptempo pop song and should see them into the final. At the moment they are 3rd favourite at the bookies with odds of 10/1. Come on Jedward!

Prediction

This is always the hard part, who I want to get in, and actually will. These are the ten acts I think will qualify in no particular order.

  1. Ireland
  2. Russia
  3. Greece
  4. Iceland
  5. Denmark
  6. Romania
  7. Austria
  8. Israel
  9. Finland
  10. Moldova

Who do you think will qualify?

Monday Links – 10/08/09

Blue Lake Jetty
Image by Chris Gin via Flickr

Well its Monday, its been a hectic week at home for me, no travelling at least, so I have a few things for you to check out.

Tommy, of TrustTommy, had an excellent article in the Times of all places! Fair play!

Irish Web Awards Nominations are open!

Easkey, Co Sligo [pop. 250] went gay for a day!

Some cool cards on CurlyDena’s blog

Gamma has a video of Billy Connolly on Catholicism and Sarah Palin

“Are we European or becoming European?” asks The European Citizen

Joe has a fantastic post on Global Nomads and organising a wedding as one

Bock asks what has Irish Independence given us

Sara points out that I am a geek over a post on Dailyshite

Carmel has an excellent post on the LGBT Community in Israel since the recent killings in Tel Aviv

The North could have ended up in France?? What??

South Koreas Military is a bit odd, what are practising for?

Have a nice day!

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What has Anne Frank have to do with Gaza?

Anne FrankImage via WikipediaFor the last two days there has been a protest on Patrick St about the Israeli offensive in Gaza. At the stand they had a picture of Anne Frank wearing a keffiyeh. Why?

A friend suggested that the protestors were trying to draw a comparison between the Nazi’s who killed Jewish children (Anne Frank for example) and Israeli Defence Forces who have killed children. Maybe? But is it really the fault of the Israeli’s that Hamas place weapons and military personal, near civilian areas, near schools and near UN compounds. Hamas have done this to dare Israel to attack them, in the hope that the collateral damage will pile further pressure on Israel.

To me, using a picture of Anne Frank like this is sick, plain and simple. Anne Frank was murdered by a state policy that mandated the killing of all Jews in German Occupies Territories during the Second World War. Does Israel treat its Arab citizens like that? No. In fact Israel’s Arab citizens have the same rights as Jewish citizens. Worryingly though, Israel has banned all Arab parties in the upcoming elections which might have a bit of backlash, and is comepletely wrong.

What I thought was the funniest thing about the protest though was the slogan used by the protesters. “Help the people of Gaza, sign our petition”. Yes really, signing a petition will help these people. Come on please. No one can be so simple to think that. Israel has ignored many such petitions in the past and will continue to do so. Maybe instead of signing the petitions people should think of donating money to aid agencies in Gaza. This sort of action will help the people of Gaza when the fighting stops.

Of course, do not think that I am completely on Israel’s side here. It is because of Israel’s actions that this situation has come about. Both sides, in my opinion need their heads knocked together. Israel needs to knock down that wall, end the economic blockade and attempt to win over the hearts and minds of the Palestinians if they are to have any hope of existing peacefully within a two state solution.

But back to Anne Frank, I have visited Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and it ias hard to keep a dry eye, while visiting it, but its this how her memory should be used? No! Anne Frank was a victim of State sponsored genocide. Israel is not commiting a genocide. Israel is defending itself and until Hamas defenders see that they are defending a terrorist organisation they will continue to misrepresent Israel. Of course the Irish Media are doing enough of that themselves!

Right thats enough about Israel for this week. I promise!

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Israel–Gaza conflict

Hamas, stop dragging Israel into fighting.Image by ShadoWalker Photography via FlickrSo last night I, along with many others, found out via Twitter that Israel had launched a ground offensive in Gaza.

How this will work out for Israel is a different matter, but I am slowly changing my mind on the conflict. It is hard to see a way out of the issue for Israel without resorting to some sort of military action to protect itself?

The more I read, both anti-Israel and Pro-Israel the more I seam to agree with Israels military actions (I am very much against their Economic Blockade which is collective punishment). How long could you live in a country consistently under bombardment with reacting. You cannot always turn the other cheek.

As in all conflicts there is collateral (ie Civilian) casualties. The Israeli Defence Forces will take a lot of casualties as well due to the fact that Gaza is small area and has highly urbanised areas which always lead to high death tolls on all sides.

The Observer calls the military operation a return “the failed strategies of the past” and that “While Hamas’s offensive capacities will be blunted for a while, the likelihood, as with Hezbollah after Lebanon in 2006, is that it will quickly rebuild its military strength.”

I’m not so sure that Hamas will be able to rebuild as fast as Hezbollah have as the Economic Blockade and the destruction of the supply tunnels will limit how quickly Hamas can rearm.

I can see why a large percentage of Israeli’s are supporting the current action, but I do hope to a quick end to this as the longer it takes the more casualties on both sides.

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Gaza returns to the spotlight

encoreImage by David M* via FlickrThis post is sort of inspired by a friends status update on Facebook which says the following:

F…. thinks the EU and NATO should take unilateral action to protect the citizens of Gaza. But that’s obviously wishful thinking…

Now the issue of the people of Gaza has propped up again in the media as Hamas lets the cease-fire lapse.

There were two things I read today, one blog and one editorial, that made me nod in agreement on this issue.

Firstly the blog. Bock has an excellent post calling the Israeli air strikes that killed 200 Palestinians “Murders” and I can’t help to agree with him. As he points out

They murdered 200 people in Gaza, the most densely-populated place on the face of this planet. They bombed the hell out of a people hemmed in by the Israeli-built concrete wall. Men, women and children. They bombed their own concentration camp.

And why? Rocket attacks on Israel. But how many did they kill? One. While this is tragic does it really mean that Israel can launch air strikes that kill 200 times that? Does it not make it a bit out of balance?

On to the Editorial. Today’s Observer has an excellent editorial on this. It points out that a ground invasion could be “imminent”. The editorial also points out two of the main causes of the heightened hostilities

It is a depressingly familiar scenario, a cycle of provocation and reprisal that periodically escalates into full-blown war. There is no simple account of events leading up to the current confrontation that does justice to the amassed sense of grievance on both sides. But two specific events have played a decisive role: the decision earlier this month by Hamas to end a six-month ceasefire and elections in Israel due in February.It is a depressingly familiar scenario, a cycle of provocation and reprisal that periodically escalates into full-blown war. There is no simple account of events leading up to the current confrontation that does justice to the amassed sense of grievance on both sides. But two specific events have played a decisive role: the decision earlier this month by Hamas to end a six-month ceasefire and elections in Israel due in February.

While the cease-fire didn’t halt all attacks on Israel it did allow things to temper, but with elections around the corner Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Leader of the Kadima Party, and Binyamin Netanyahu, of Likud, trying to out do each other on being hardliners on the Palestinians. In recent comments Ms Livin, who is also the designated Acting Prime Minister, said that the rocket attacks were “unbearable” and that the Hamas administration in Gaza should be “toppled”.

The current Prime Minster was badly damaged by ground operations against militants in Lebanon in 2006. Would a new Israeli leader be damaged by a ground assault in Gaza?

Gaza has suffered hugely over the blockade, but this has helped Hamas who “”taxes” money and goods smuggled in and provides welfare services to the population. Under siege, its monopoly is secure.”taxes” money and goods smuggled in and provides welfare services to the population. Under siege, its monopoly is secure.”

There can be no negations as Israel, the EU and the US all see Hamas as a terrorist organisation, which it is, but Hamas has one the battle for the people’s Hearts and Minds in Gaza due to Israel actions and the refusal of the international community to condemn Israel.

Israel has made sacrifices. They have pulled down settlements in Gaza. But what have they gotten in return? Nothing. Of course there is the issue of the West Bank were things have, moderately, improved for Palestinians living under Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but progress under Mr Abbas cannot be used to win hearts and minds as it is nothing like the progress towards statehood that would allow Mr Abbas to claim his more moderate approach works better than the militant line taken by Hamas.

Moderates on both sides need to be backed, but how can this happen would both sides seam to be spiraling into hardliners due to actions of the otherside. But a Military offenseive against Gaza will not work as

Hamas craves confrontation because its support increases when ordinary Palestinians are collectively punished, as has happened under the blockade.

Israel would be foolish to invade Gaza, but with things heading the way they are, I would not be surprised if they do.

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BIG – Boycott Israeli Goods



Well I have decided that I shall boycott all Israeli Goods. This dosent affect my new job, though we do only stock 1 line of Israeli products and I would never use it anyway. There is a handy list of Israeli products on this website

Why Boycott Israel?

The Palestinian people are experiencing their fortieth year of military occupation. The siege by the Israeli army and the economic blockade have devastated their daily lives so that ‘normal’ life is impossible.

Israel operates an entrenched system of racial Apartheid against its own non-Jewish inhabitants and has been illegally occupying Palestinian land in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights since 1967. It has sought to further annex these lands and has systematically transferred its own civilian population into these occupied territories in contravention of international law. Israel continues to build the illegal Apartheid wall, annexing vast swathes of Palestinian land in the West Bank and creating Palestinian ghettos, despite the ruling of the International Court of Justice that it is illegal

180 Palestinian organisations and unions, in response to Israeli onslaught, have called for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Apartheid Israel.


Source

Morning Briefing, 26th February

Well I’m back in Cork after USI LGBT Standing Conference, where I was re-elected to Working Group on the 3rd count! Also congrats to Ms. Sonya Donneally who was elected unanimously as the new LGBTRO! woo! (P.S. If anyone wants to know what motions where passed email me!)

In the news today!

The International Court of Justice, is due to deliver its verdict today on whether ot not Serbia is responsible for Genocide ‘through the killing, torture, rape and expulsion of Bosnian Muslims’ (CNN, RTÉ, Breakingnews) If passed, it will be the first time that a state, rather than an individual or group, has been held responsible for genocide.

Nurses begin there industrial action today with a protest outside CUH (Breakingnews, RTÉ) The INO and PNA are seeking a 10% pay increase for their members and a reduction in their working week to 35 hours.

Israel is after performing a raid on the West Bank, it has now entered its second day (RTÉ, Breakingnews)

Jean-Marie Le Pen has laucned his latest bid for the french presidency (France 24, CNN) He has put forward an anti-immigration, ultranationalist stance, pledging to cut off social benefits for foreigners and deporting those who are unable to fend for themselves. He is having difficulty getting 500 mayors to back him.

Talks begin today in London on Iran’s Nuclear program. (CNN, France 24). The P5 and Germany are meeting to discuss the next course of action. Israel is denying that its has plans to attack Iran’s Nuclear facilities (France 24) and the USA have plans to bomb Iran according to Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh (CNN)

Thats its for now!