Oslo Blog

Semifinal 2 – The Venue

To be fair to all national fan club members, seats for each show (Semifinal 1 & 2 and the Final) are in different places so that everyone will have a chance at least once to be in the section close to the stage.

For Semifinal 2 my seat was behind the cameras, which means I could only see parts of what was happening on stage. So during the time when I was missing half of the show anyway I focused on what was going on in the Telenor Arena which is the venue of ESC 2010.

To start from the beginning, at the entrance to the inner yard of the Arena the security control was a simple physical body check of every ticketholder and a quick look inside any handbag. In the inner yard were some kiosks selling the official merchandise, drinks and some other items but while waiting to enter the Arena building it was strange that there was no Eurovision music played on loudspeakers to keep up the mood.

Yesterday I was seated in Section 9 Row 14 Seat 37. People holding signboards would indicate your section number, after which you find your row and seat number by bending over to check the tiny stickers on the floor next to each row.

Even though the audience was required to stay by their seats and not run about during the show (so as not to block the view of others as well as for safety reasons), excited fans would try to rush closer to the stage especially during their country’s performance. The security personnel that I saw were mostly petite young girls who were helpless to enforce the ”stay by your seat” rule, especially when facing a loud somewhat drunk crowd. Yes, alcohol could be bought and brought to the seats which can be a problem when some people would spill them (on other people..). I also smelled cigarette smoke at one time.

These are the things that television viewers do not see on the screen, and maybe it is better this way..

Oslo Blog

Overheard..Fans at the OGAE International Party (Euroclub)

“The contest will be between Azerbaijan and Israel..”

 

“The Israeli song is boring and only gets good in the last part..”

 

“The Dutch song is horrible but everyone is singing it..”

 

“The winner will be either Sweden or Belgium..”

 

“The Georgian song would be good if only she would just stand and sing..”

 

“I think Netherlands will make it to the final..”

 

“Portugal will win..”

 

“Turkey..”

 

“Albania, not Armenia..”

 

“Rumour says Iceland finished top with the votes yesterday..”

 

“Iceland cannot win, nobody can get there..”

 

“I don’t care who wins as long as it’s in a warm country..”

 

“I hope it will be in a country with warm blood people, like Greece..”

 

“It’s difficult to say who will win with so many different songs..”

 

“With the jury who knows how they will vote..”

 

What do YOU think? (Whisper..”Azerbaijan”..)

Oslo Blog

Overheard..at Semifinal 1 Press Conference

 

Vukašin Brajić (Bosnia-Herzegovina), responding to a question about qualifying to the Final: ”I bet some money and now I have money..”.

 

Vukašin Brajić, responding to a question about his biggest competitor: “Tom Dice.”.

 

Olia Tira & Sunstroke Project (Moldova), when asked what they feel:

–       Olia Tira: “We are proud to be here with our friends Russia and Belarus..”.

–       Sunstroke Project: “In one word..no, in two words..energy.”. (Ross: I thought “energy” was just one word?)

 

 

Master of Ceremonies (MC) to Peter Nalitch (Russia): “Wow Peter, you made it!”.

Peter Nalitch: “It seems yes..”.

 

Giorgos Alkaios (Greece) about qualifying: “In Oslo 2010, to be a song in Final, in Greek, it’s great..”.

 

MC to Milan Stanković (Serbia): “As usual, great performance..great Dress..”.

 

Tom Dice (Belgium): “Belgium waited so long for this moment..”.

 

Journalist to Tom Dice: “All Europe loves your guitar..”.

Tom Dice (pointing to his guitar): “You want to ask him something?”.

 

Juliana Pasha (Albania), when asked if she had a chance to see Oslo: “Someone told me that Oslo is a very beautiful country..”. (Ross: A-ha..most people used to think that Oslo was just a city..).

 

Hera Björk, responding to a comment about Iceland volcanoes erupting at her success: “They’re actually calming down..They’re happy that I am in the Final..”.

Oslo Blog

The Semifinal 1 After Party

The After Party was at the Euroclub, and I only managed to arrive at 02:00 after attending the Press Conference at Telenor Arena and taking care of Blog duty..

The place was crowded and moving about was not easy, so I simply chose a safe corner from which to see what folks were up to. As the old English saying goes, ”Good things come to those who wait”, so from my corner at least I saw passing by Maria Haukaas Storeng (Norway 2008),  Vukašin Brajić (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and  Marcin Mroziński (Poland).

Before I left I heard the DJ play ”Bye Bye Baby” and ”Eläköön Elämä”, so Finland too was present at the party!

Fans had a great time, no matter whether their countries qualified tonight or not, and I guess that is what really counts.

Photos & gossips coming up later today, so check in again!

Oslo Blog

Getting to the Telenor Arena..

Surpises never cease in Oslo. The Oslo ESC provides a shuttle bus which does the round among the three official hotels and then on to the Telenor Arena at intervals of 20 minutes. The latest surpise is the fact that with hundreds of accredited media and fans trying to get to the Arena for Semifinal 1, only ONE shuttle bus was provided which was of course full before it reached the third official hotel so it did not even bother to stop; no information was provided about the situation which saw me running across town in my party shoes trying to catch the public buses to be on time for the show.

Fans coming to the live shows at the Arena are required to arrive before 20:15 local time, after which the gates will be closed. Gates are open from 18:30.

My advice is to take the public bus 31E from the bus stop next to the National Theatre (Nationaltheatret) and the journey takes around 20 minutes. You can buy tickets from the driver but the price is cheaper if you buy the tickets in advance from the Trafikanten office outside the Central Railway Station (Oslo S).

The public bus stop is quite far from the Arena, and the walk takes some time, so bring an umbrella just in case it rains and remember to be on time.

At the Arena be prepared for another surpise: the public toilets.. (but I will let those who are still on their way here to find that out for themselves).

Oslo Blog

The Press Conference

The Press Conference for the 10 qualifiers from Semifinal 1 was held directly after the Event. Only two questions were allowed for each qualifier, one in the native language (presumably from the qualifier’s national media) and one in any language. Following the question & answer session each qualifier would choose one black ball (logo of the Oslo ESC) from a bowl which contains the qualifier’s place in the Final line-up on 29 May. More info from the official Eurovision Song Contest website: http://www.eurovision.tv/page/news?id=17143&_t=Tonight%27s+winners+draw+their+position+in+the+Final

As with a few other arrangements at the Oslo ESC, the Press Conference was somewhat clumsy with too few microphones (I saw just one microphone being passed around the hall) and no simultaneous interpretation of questions & answers in languages other than English (unlike at the Moscow ESC). The Master of Ceremonies (juontaja) could also do well to remember the correct names of the qualifiers. There are two more Press Conferences coming up: after Semifinal 2 and after the Final, so perhaps there will be some improvement.

Oslo Blog

Lord Have Mercy..

Surprises tonight at the end of Semifinal 1. The biggest surprise (”shock” is actually the word) is that Finland did not qualify, and disappointment among the Arena crowd (Finns and non-Finns alike) was big: I understand the emotions of those Finns who walked out of the Arena after the results were announced.

As suspected the jury vote, which is usually different to televote results, influenced the qualification of some unlikely candidates (Portugal comes to mind..). Personally, 6 of my favourites did qualify to the Final (yes, Russia was one of them, ha-ha to you too..), and my sympathies for Latvia, Poland and Slovakia.

In any case, the decision has been made, so congratulations to the 10 qualifiers and good luck!

Remember to tune in to the Final on 29 May at 22:00.

Oslo Blog

Wir Geben ’ne Party!

 

Monday night was the night of the Parties:

 

21:00 Ukraine-Germany in Euroclub

21:30 Turkey in Opera Bar

22:30 Israel in Nasjonal Jazz Scene Bar.

 

Remember that as in Belgrade and Moscow, OGAE ID cardholders are entitled to come to the Euroclub and to any party that is held there.

 

It was windy & rainy, but that didn’t stop the party goers. Ukraine-Germany generously offered free drinks at the bar, with performances by Alyosha and Lena. Azerbaijan’s Safura made a brief appearance on stage to say greetings before leaving for some place (probably to the Turkish party..). The on-cue stage performances in between playback music & general socialising gave this party a very central European touch. By 22:15 many of the guests started to leave for the next party.

 

I managed to drop by at the Turkish party around 22:30 to see members of maNga manning the DJ stand and mingling with the crowd. Food was on offer and I spotted some members of the Azerbaijan team (so I was right about Safura earlier..), but with the guest numbers starting to dwindle I guessed I’d better hightail it to the next party.

 

There was an awesomely long queue outside the Israeli party and the rain got heavier, but queue the fans did and eventually practically everyone made it inside. Perhaps in typical Israeli fashion a big screen behind the stage showed clips of past Israeli ESC winners while the host and assorted members of the Israeli delegation and fan club were on-stage boogieing away and exhorting the party-goers to do the same. Food in small trays were simply passed hand-to-hand among the crowd, while Harel Skaat, Michael Von der Heide (Switzerland) and Marcin Mroziński (Poland) took to the stage. Also seen was Josh Dubovie (United Kingdom).

 

Tonight the Euroclub will host the Semifinal 1 After Party: Oslo is buzzing that Finland will have a reason to celebrate soon!

Oslo Blog

Open Dress Rehearsal

The First Open Dress Rehearsal of Semifinal 1 began at 15:00 local time in the Telenor Arena. There was great excitement at seeing the final version of each country’s entry being performed for the first time on stage.

This was also the opportunity to see how the Event will look like on live television, and so far it promises to be a good show. Even the simple stage looks good on screen, with the occasional use of pyrotechnics/fireworks in some of the songs.

Kuunkuiskaajat gave an excellent show which was both charming and energetic, receiving a very good welcome from the audience in the Arena. This is certainly something to look forward to tomorrow.

One of the interesting aspects of attending the ESC live is to see the entry change on stage, when one country would leave with their on-stage props and the next country would enter with their own props. In previous years television audiences were not able to see this process, but this year part of the entry change will be shown live.

Another change involves the televoting: this year television viewers can vote by telephone or sms already at the start of the contest, instead of waiting until all songs have been performed like in previous years.

More news from the official Eurovision Song Contest website: http://www.eurovision.tv/page/news?id=16853&_t=Live+Report%3A+First+Semi-Final+Dress+Rehearsal+1

So go and listen to the songs again, choose your favourites and vote tomorrow 25 May beginning from 22:00!

Oslo Blog

Marcin Mroziński hosted the Poland Party on 22.5, and it was open to everyone. Attending also were 3+2 (Belarus), Vukašin Brajić (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Niamh Kavanagh (Ireland), Thea Garrett (Malta) and Kristina Pelakova (Slovakia).

Marcin of course performed Poland´s entry ”Legenda”, and invited Niamh to perform Ireland´s entry. Only one member of 3+2 (Artsem Mikhalenka) attended at the start, and if I understood Belarusian correctly he performed a cappella the Belarusian national anthem. Kristina was preparing to sing the Slovak entry when the music failed to play, so she simply went on and sang a cappella and can the girl sing! Thea Garrett performed ”That´s All I ask of You” with Marcin, and this was when we discovered that the guy is an actor for the stage performance of ”Phantom of the Opera” in Poland.

There was a discussion between Niamh and Marcin about whose country produces the best apples. Explaining that the apple represents sin, after each performance Marcin got the other singers to take a bite out of a Polish apple (yes, he confirmed that the apple was Polish and not Irish..), but interestingly he did not ask Artsem (the only other male singer) to do so as well..

Niamh was true to the Irish stereotype: she was friendly, chatty and generally great fun! She was also always eating..apples, strawberries, etc.