Eurovision 2012: Sofabet arrives in Baku

Having landed last night, I wanted to make sure that I visited the accreditation centre before doing any sightseeing today. Everything went smoothly and the hosts appear to be pulling out all the stops to impress visitors.

On the way there and back I tried to blend into the hustle of Baku. However, being a tall, pale chap in shorts, the locals clearly had my number as they called out ‘welcome!’ to me from across the street. It’s a grand place, a mixture of Istanbul, Kiev and Dubai. Like any boomtown, the principal activity seems to be welding.

Anyway, enough of the the Judith Chalmers stuff. Here’s what you can expect from Sofabet over the next few weeks, as well as a handy set of links to our country-by-country pre-rehearsal analysis of the leading contenders.

If you followed us in Dusseldorf last year, you can expect something very similar this time around. For the first and second rehearsals, I will post a review once all the day’s rehearsals are finished. Baku’s remoteness may be frustrating for those looking to attend the contest, but for blog readers the four-hour time difference means that a local 7pm-ish finish to each day’s rehearsals will enable these summaries to appear by the mid-afternoon back in the UK.

I may also send off a rare, standalone tweet if I feel like something particularly significant occurs during the day. Therefore, it may be a useful time to start following Sofabet on Twitter if you don’t already do so. However, the best way to ask me questions will be through the comments section of Sofabet, as usual. I will endeavour to answer these, though please bear with me.

It’s worth reading again my advice on interpreting the blogs, one of my top ten tips articles written before the 2010 contest. To summarise: don’t get too carried away by early reports; bear in mind the predilections and biases already expressed on each site; and most importantly, use video footage to form your own opinion.

At this stage, it looks like it may well be an open year, though with rehearsals everything is seen in a whole new light based on who is getting the staging right or wrong. Nonetheless, if you want to remind yourself of my own thoughts and biases, here in alphabetical order are my pre-rehearsal articles on the leading contenders:

Azerbaijan

Cyprus

Denmark

Germany

Greece

Iceland

Ireland

Italy

Norway

Romania

Russia

Serbia

Spain

Sweden

Turkey

UK

10 comments to Eurovision 2012: Sofabet arrives in Baku

  • Nick D

    One quick question before the madness starts – which song(s) would you like to have fallen into your criteria for writing a full article, but didn’t? And what would the bottom line have been if they had?

    • Daniel

      Hi Nick, and a great question. By definition the ones I didn’t write about beforehand are the outsiders, and if any of them are to cause a surprise, the rehearsals will tell us more. The obvious one to consider in this respect is the Ukraine, who perpetually seem to raise the bar on their entries once rehearsals start.

      I think ‘Be My Guest’ is poorly structured as a song, but in Gaitana they have someone who could prove adept at selling it. It wouldn’t surprise me if we find that the Ukraine punches above the weight of their song once more.

      • Nick D

        Good call, it’s never a good idea to ignore Ukraine. My little worry is that their biggest flump of the last few years was Be My Valentine, which is arguably also the entry which has most in common with Be My Guest.

        The outsider I’d like to bring to attention at this stage is Belgium – I don’t see it as a winner candidate, but it has surprisingly little competition amongst English-language female ballads and could get a lot of jury love if Iris connects properly with the song. If absolutely everything falls into place, a Hold On Be Strong result (about 5th in the final) isn’t impossible.

  • Shai

    I’m curious to hear your opinion after the rehearsals start about Israel and The Netherlands.Both are total outsiders that could be doing surprisingly well, with the right presentation

  • eurovicious

    I’ve heard that shorts are a bit taboo in Azerbaijan so be careful where you flash your legs 😉

  • Ferdinand

    Hi Daniel, great blog!
    Just a question regarding the organisation of the contest as a whole – I’m guessing you’re press so you got a badge and all sorts — did you get a delegates handbook type thing as well? Do you know if there is an online version to have a look at too?
    Cheers!
    Ferdinand

    • Daniel

      Hi Ferdinand, and many thanks for your post. I do get a handbook but I’m not aware if there’s an online version. I think what you get at eurovision.tv is as much of an online handbook as you’ll find.

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