Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Thanks to everyone who's visited, read, commented and supported this little blog over what has been (personally) a very difficult 12 months however I really enjoy doing this blogging thing and I don't intend to stop it anytime soon. Your support and friendship continues to be very special and means a lot to me.
Carry on visiting in 2009 and hopefully, in the words of the great philosopher Magnus Carlsson, it will be "a happy happy year for us all".
I should be back here on New Year's Day (current domestic crisis permitting!!) :)))
Sunday, December 28, 2008
1. It’s Only You Part II - Salem Al Fakir
2. Black and Gold - Sam Sparro
3. Twelve Fingers - Salem Al Fakir
4. Let It Shine - Tingsek
5. Beggin’ - Madcon
6. Lay Your Love On Me - BWO
7. Just A Minute - Rongedal
8. Viva La Vida - Coldplay
9. Save The Lies - Gabriella Cilmi
10. Propane Nightmares - Pendulum
11. Homecoming - Kanye West & Chris Martin
12. American Boy - Estelle & Kanye West
13. Do You Love Me - Amanda Jenssen
14. Divine - Sebastien Tellier
15. I’m Yours - Jason Mraz
16. Love In Stereo - Ola
17. Bang On The Piano - Jack McManus
18. 42 - Coldplay
19. Happy Hour - Palladium
20. This Is My Life - Euroband
21. Until I Die - September
22. Jennie Let Me Love You - E.M.D
23. Come On Girl - Taio Cruz
24. Dance Wiv Me - Dizzee Rascal, Chrome & Calvin Harris
25. Built To Last - Melee
26. Dangerous - M Pokora
27. Beli Jablan - Aleksa & Ana
28. Smilin’ - Bryn Christopher
29. Cry For You - September
30. Sex On Fire - Kings of Leon
31. My Cool - Adam Tensta
32. The Age of the Understatement - Last Shadow Puppets
33. Comme Avant - Mathieu Edward & Sheryfa Luna
34. What You Look For - Sam Beeton
35. Who Do You Think You’re Foolin’ - Rongedal
36. They Said I Said - Sugarush Beat Company
37. Would You Believe - Daniel Karlsson
38. And I Lie - Prata Vetra
39. Hur Svart Kan Det Va - Linda Bengtzing
40. Just Dance - Lady GaGa
41. Femme D’Aujourd’hui - Sofia Essaidi
42. Last Goodbye - Avenue
43. Shady Lady - Ani Lorak
44. 4 Minutes - Madonna & Justin Timberlake
45. Always Always - Zuma
46. La Histeria - Marquess
47. Work - Kelly Rowland
48. If Only You - Danny
49. When You Touch Me - Freemasons
50. We Keep On Rockin’ - Alcazar
The 2009-50 will start on 19th November 2009!
"Your Country Needs You" starts next Saturday, I saw a trailer for it after "The Weakest Link" and I got rather excited about this, which is quite unusual as I'm not usually too over-excited about the Royaume-Uni selection process.
My mum was a bit puzzled about Eurovision season starting so early, so I had to reassure her that "on season" started from December onwards....anyway it will be something for us to watch next Saturday now that "Strictly Come Dancing" is finished.
It might just get a mention on here this time next week..... ;))))
Artiste Masculin Français: Christophe Mae; Renan Luce; David Guetta; Laurent Wolf; Martin Solveig.
Prediction: Christophe Mae should win this one.
Album Français de L'annee: "Blonde Comme Moi" - BB Brunes; "Comme a la Maison" - Christophe Mae; "Ersatz" - Julien Dore; "Repenti" - Renan Luce; "Point de Suture" - Mylene Farmer.
Prediction: Christophe Mae.
Album International de L'annee: "This Is The Life" - Amy MacDonald; "Viva La Vida" - Coldplay; "Rockferry" - Duffy; "One Of The Boys" - Katy Perry; "Funhouse" - Pink.
Prediction: Coldplay or Pink.
Artiste Feminine Française de L'annee: Jenifer; Nadiya; Shy'm; Zazie; Mylene Farmer.
Prediction: Mylene Farmer.
Artiste Feminine Internationale de L'annee: Britney Spears; Christina Aguilera; Pink; Rihanna; Beyonce.
Prediction: Britney Spears.
Artiste Masculin International de L'annee: Chris Brown; Enrique Iglesias; Lenny Kravitz; Akon; James Blunt.
Prediction: Chris Brown.
Chanson International de L'annee: "Viva La Vida" - Coldplay; "American Boy" - Estelle & Kanye West; "I Kissed A Girl" - Katy Perry; "Beggin'" - Madcon; "Disturbia" - Rihanna.
Prediction: "I Kissed A Girl" - Katy Perry.
Clip de L'annee: "Womanizer" - Britney Spears; "I Don't Care" - Fall Out Boy; "C'est La Vie" - Martin Solveig; "La Debacle des Sentiments" - Stanislas & Calogero; "C'est Chelou" - Zaho.
Prediction: Britney Spears.
Groupe/duo Français de L'annee: Cleopatre; Enrique Iglesias & Nadiya; Magic System; Sheryfa Luna & Mathieu Edward; Stanislas & Calogero.
Prediction: Sheryfa Luna & Mathieu Edward.
Groupe/duo International de L'annee: Coldplay; Estelle & Kanye West; Fall Out Boy; Madcon; Pussycat Dolls.
Revelation Française de L'annee: Gregoire; Marc Antoine; Sheryfa Luna; William Balde; Zaho.
Revelation Internationale de L'annee: Amy MacDonald; Duffy; Katy Perry; Jonas Brothers; Leona Lewis.
Prediction: Katy Perry.
I've just made my predictions the way I think the vote will go....of course I will be voting on the website and many of my choices will be different from my predictions of course :))))
Three weeks tonight in Cannes, all will be revealed!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Last Saturday saw the final of Series 6 of Strictly Come Dancing. I think it would be fair to say that I didn't really enjoy this series, for many reasons. Notably the favouritism shown by the increaingly powerful judging panel, towards Rachel "desperate ex-pop star in need of career relaunch" Stevens; and Lisa "Model and TV presenter" Snowdon.
This blatant favouritism managed to get these two to the final, via an embarrassing semi-final vote mix-up which meant that, despite Tom Chambers winning the viewers vote, he would not escape the 'dance-off'; a ludicrous idea introduced in Series 5 to ensure that the panel's favourites would progress as far as possible in the competition, with (IMHO) a complete disregard for the public vote.
So on 20.12.08 we ended up with the following three couples in the final:
Rachel Stevens and Vincent Simone;
Lisa Snowdon and Brendan Cole;
Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup.
It all went in a predictable fashion: Rachel was all posing and no dancing and the panel continued to fall for it; Lisa's desperation outweighed her efforts on the dancefloor, and Tom....well, he was back on form after the semi-final.
Tom had excelled since day one and had managed to crack the crucial, crowd-pleasing combination of showmanship and the sheer joy of dancing which ensured his progress all the way to the final.
Note to judging panel: Tom was never in the dance-off. Rachel and Lisa were. Make of that what you will.
Above: Rachel and Vincent's 'Rhumba': all style and no substance.
On the night, Lisa was first to go, leaving Tom and Rachel to go head-to-head in the show-dance. Tom and Camilla managed to reignite the Fred-and-Ginger magic of previous routines when it mattered....and won.
Above: Tom and Camilla celebrate their win.
I was very happy indeed with the result, as I hate the increasing manipulation of such shows by the judging panel. At least the whole John Sergeant saga this series proved that the more the panel hate you, the more the viewers save you...even this ended with a bad taste as Mr Sergeant felt the need to quit, quoting the risk that 'he might just win it....'.The eviction of Austin Healey in week 12 also left a bad taste: he and Tom were arguably the best dancers in the contest, and both should have been in the final.
The Strictly Christmas special, screened on BBC-1 on Christmas Day featured this year's three finalists and their professional partners, in competition with former winners Jill Halfpenny/Darren Bennett and Alesha Dixon/Matthew Cutler, and Kelly Brook got another chance as she had to quit the contest in 2007 following a family bereavement. She was previously partnered with Brendan Cole but as he was dancing with Lisa, Kelly's new partner was Brian Fortuna, who was one of this series' new dancers. We decided some weeks back that Brian is the best (and fastest) of all the male dancers!
It was an enjoyable show, made all the better by Jill, Kelly and Alesha, all of whom had dancing talent, likeability and personality- something which was noticeably missing in Rachel and Lisa IMHO.
In the end it was between Jill/Darren and Kelly/Brian: I thought Kelly and Brian were fabulous on the night and just had the edge, but the final result - a combination of judges vote/studio audience vote - meant that the title of Strictly Christmas Champions 2008 went to series 2 winners Jill and Darren, who still remain very popular with Strictly fans.
The highest-rated show this Christmas was the latest, long-awaited Wallace and Gromit short film - A Matter of Loaf and Death. I absolutely love these shows - they have a "cracking" mix of witty scripts, sharp visual gags and stunning animation. As ever, Gromit saved the day, and there was also a potential love interest in evil Piella Bakewell's nervous pet poodle Fluffles....
Above: Fluffles and Gromit (picture courtesy of www.wallaceandgromit.com)
Courtesy of the ultimate TV/entertainment website Digital Spy, here are the 20 most-watched TV shows in the UK on Christmas Day.
1. Wallace & Gromit: A Matter Of Loaf And Death - BBC One, 8.30pm - 14.25 million, 53.3%
2. Doctor Who: 'The Next Doctor' - BBC One, 6pm - 11.71 million, 50.5%
3. EastEnders - BBC One, 9pm - 11.47 million, 44.9%
4. The Royle Family - BBC One, 9.30pm - 9.98 million, 41.7%
5. EastEnders - BBC One, 8pm - 9.89 million, 40.6%
6. Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special - BBC One, 7pm - 8.57 million, 35%
7. Coronation Street - ITV1, 7pm - 7.36 million, 30%19:00 Coronation Street (7356, 30.0%)
8. Wallace & Gromit In The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit - BBC One, 4.30pm - 7.22 million, 39.8%
9. The Queen - BBC One, 3pm - 6.45 million, 42.6%
10. Blackadder Rides Again - BBC One, 10.30pm - 5.58 million, 30.9%
11. Dancing On Ice At Christmas - ITV1, 8pm - 5.2 million, 20.4%
12. Emmerdale - ITV1, 6pm - 4.76 million, 20.5%
13. Shark Tale - BBC One, 3.10pm - 4.69 million, 31.1%
14. It'll Be Alright On The Night - ITV1, 9.30pm - 3.8 million, 15.9%
15. Top Of The Pops Christmas Special - BBC One, 2pm - 3.74 million, 30.6%
16. Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban - ITV1, 3pm - 3.32 million, 20%
17. Dad's Army - BBC Two, 8pm - 2.7 million, 11.1%
18. The Two Ronnies - BBC One, 1.05pm - 2.52 million, 22.5%
19. The Santa Clause 2 - BBC One, 11.25am - 2.37 million, 22.2%
20. Stanley Baxter: Now & Then - ITV1, 10.30pm - 2.16 million, 11.8%
Friday, December 26, 2008
1. Listening to (and voting for) John Peel's Festive Fifty;
2. Buying the Christmas issue of the NME - it was always a double edition with year-end charts and rock stars dressed up as other celebs; (I stopped buying NME when it went from a newspaper to a 'glossy')
3. Tuning my radio and hoping for a decent signal from RTE Radio 2, to hear Dave Fanning's Fab 50 chart, which was also a listeners' choice but a bit less left-field than the Peel one.
Reassuringly, Fanning's Fab 50 is still going, and here is this list which is reproduced courtesy of www.rte.ie.
It can always be relied upon to provide a mix of old rock, 80s and 90s indie, and recent/current favourites.
1 - One - U2
2 - Sex on Fire - Kings of Leon
3 - Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
4 - Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
5 - Bad - U2
6 - With or Without You - U2
7 - How Soon Is Now - The Smiths
8 - There is a Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths
9 - Black - Pearl Jam
10 - I Am The Resurrection - The Stone Roses
11 - Dearg Doom - Horslips
12 - Run - Snow Patrol
13 - Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
14 - Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
15 - Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
16 - Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
17 - Hurt - Johnny Cash
18 - Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
19 - Human -The Killers
20 - Imagine -John Lennon
21 - Gimme Shelter -The Rolling Stones
22 - Kids - MGMT
23 - Viva la Vida - Coldplay
24 - Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd
25 - Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
26 - Live Forever - Oasis
27 - I Wanna Be Adored - The Stone Roses
28 - Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
29 - Sweet Child O'Mine - Guns N'Roses
30 - Mr. Brightside - The Killers
31 - A Day in the Life - The Beatles
32 - 1979 - Smashing Pumpkins
33 - Intervention - Arcade Fire
34 - Where the Streets Have No Name - U2
35 - Teenage Kicks - The Undertones
36 - Debaser - The Pixies
37 - Creep - Radiohead
38 - Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen
39 - Rebellion (Lies) - Arcade fire
40 - Bullet with Butterfly Wings - Smashing Pumpkins
41 - Sunday Bloody Sunday - U2
42 - One Day Like This - Elbow
43 - Don't Stop Believing - Journey
44 - Fans - Kings of Leon
45 - Time to Pretend - MGMT
46 - November Rain - Guns n Roses
47 - Fool's Gold - The Stone Roses
48 - Enter Sandman - Metallica
49 - Love is Noise - The Verve
50 - Back in Black - AC/DC
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Anyway, I'll keep it brief.....have a great Christmas everyone, and hope it's filled with love, happiness and good music!
I'm off now to prepare for Santa's visit. I may be back on here later tomorrow night, but failing that I will definitely be back on Boxing Day - Friday - with all those overdue posts.
Have a fab festive season!! XX
Monday, December 22, 2008
It was Mickels versus Alice in the final - and thankfully we got the right result, although it was very close. Mickels won by 52.2% of the vote (I wish British TV talent shows would be so forthcoming with voting stats).
I haven't had time to watch the videos of the show so will catch up in the next couple of days.
Will there be a season 9? Rumours were rife since the beginning of this edition that it would be the last, mainly due to poor ratings and a lack of exciting contestants, but more rumours suggest that a 9th, and heavily revamped, season could be on the way.
What we do know is that another two familiar faces will be missing from the line-up. Choreographer Kamel Ouali will be working on a new dance movie, whilst fitness guru Christophe Pinna would appear to have had enough, if French press reports are anything to go by.
If you want to see just how good Star Ac was in its heyday, head over to http://staracademy.tf1.fr and follow the link to '8 ans de Star Ac' where you can find lots of videos and info on all the past 8 seasons. I don't know how long this site will be around as TF1 has a habit of removing its Star Ac stuff once the season is over.
Above: Larz-Kristerz win Dansbandskampen. (photo courtesy of Aftonbladet)
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The blog will be back on Monday 22 December with reviews of the Star Academy and Strictly Come Dancing finals.
Retro Saturday's also taking a break and will return on 3 January.
In the meantime, have a good weekend everyone!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
These are in no particular order, just totally random.
It may not have made the MGP final, but "Colliding" by Nicholas Carlie was a nice swaying ballad.
Question of the year? "Are we human or are we dancer?" The Killers were back, and "Human" was (and is) fab.
The return of Darin was cause for much celebration in blog-land: "Breathing Your Love" was a very good electro-pop style comeback.
Another Swedish talent returned this year: Christian Walz. I loved the retro-70s vibe of "What's Your Name".
I finally got into Jason Mraz's music this year. We all know how great "I'm Yours" is, but "The Dynamo of Volition" was a fast-talking little gem from his great "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things" album.
Alphabeat deserved much credit for bringing pop back to the charts - "Fascination" was just such a foot-tapping feelgood song.
One song which did very well at MF was "I Lågornas Sken" by those witch-burning cheeky boys Nordman. Very dramatic and very...Swedish!
Talking of Swedish, one of our old faves Brolle returned with an album in his native language. He's a great singer in any language, and I liked "Solo i Stockholm".
"Flyer (Under Fire)" by Sergey needs no introduction for fans of Russian pop...and if you like this then visit Rachel's wonderful Work Your Magic.
The comeback single "Måndagsbarn" by Veronica Maggio was in that retro-60s style which seemed to be popular this year, and she did it particularly well. Produced by her other half Oskar (Kihlen) from Snook, which is another good reason to love it.
Everytime I hear "The Bells of Freedom" by BWO I just feel like dancing around the room. There's nothing new or original about it, it's just BWO being BWO but that's a good thing!
"Outta My Head" was a ridiculously catchy single by Ashlee Simpson and it should have done better in this country.
"Love Song" by Sara Bareilles was a massive radio airplay hit so I got tired of it eventually, that's why it probably never made my top 50. Still quite like it though.
I once referred to Sara Bareilles as the female Daniel Powter, well the man himself was back this year with "Next Plane Home" which might not have been as classic as "Bad Day" but it was still rather nice.
If you needed a Prince-tribute this year then you couldn't get better than "Hot Mess" by Sam Sparro. It should have been a single IMHO, but I wonder what will happen with his career now after the failure of "21st Century Life"?
"The World Should Revolve Around Me" by Little Jackie really grabbed my attention this year...the backing track reminds me of "Kommer Ifrån" by Snook, which is a good enough reason to love it.
One of the year's best new acts with major international hit potential is Irish trio The Script. They released a very impressive debut album, and "The Man Who Can’t Be Moved" really deserved its hit status.
Great to have Will Young back again. "Changes" had the same kind of musical feel as James Morrison's "You Give Me Something" and I really identified with the lyrics. Will is just a great charismatic artist.
Watch out for VV Brown next year - if there is any justice she will take the world by storm. "Crying Blood" is catchy and irresistible. And she has such an amazing look!
Incredible but true: my hatred of Snow Patrol was abolished thanks to "Take Back The City" which proved that they had a bit of life about them after all. A really good track - what a pleasant surprise!
When I heard "Viva La Vida....." initially, I didn't really like "Cemeteries of London" however a couple of days later I heard this played loud in a record shop and suddenly it all made sense. Coldplay made an amazing album.
My introduction to Hot Chip came with "Ready For The Floor" which was an incredibly catchy tune. I never did get round to hearing their other stuff, but I liked this.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
This show is so over-manipulating now that it has ceased to become entertainment. Yes, Tom did have an "off" week but he's been given another chance in the final: fingers crossed that we get the old Tom back.
X Factor: I haven't watched any of it but I wanted JLS to win as it's about time a group won. What's the point in having groups in it if they're never going to win? I don't particularly have any love for "Hallelujah" but I have even less love for it when it's bawled out Whitney-style by 2008 winner Alexandra Burke.
Swedish Idol: I said "Beware of the Borg" and I was right. Oh well done anyway to Kevin Borg, the young lad who moved from Malta to Sweden one year ago - he's Sweden's new Idol, but I still can't see him having a long career. At least runner-up Alice Svensson had a nice understated singing style and in good old Idol tradition she might get a nice career out of not winning.
Dansbandskampen: Scotts and Larz-Kristerz to the final, along with some other wild cards who shouldn't even bother turning up as they won't win it anyway.
Star Academy: An Alice vs Gautier semi-final was always going to be the musical equivalent of the devil and the deep blue sea. Couldn't work out who was which, but I'm just glad we don't have to look at Gautier's scowling face any more. It's Mickels (who can sing) versus Alice (who....can't) in this week's final. Go Mickels!!! - but don't be surprised if the viewing public get it wrong again.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
They say that the music business is in a horrible mess at the moment, but I'm not really surprised.
The record companies and the media, notably radio stations, are failing promising new artists.
1) There are now no prime-time TV outlets for new music - only Later with Jools Holland (not on at the moment) and Sound (tucked away in a stupid Saturday afternoon slot).
2) There may be a lot of music video channels now, but they are all completely lazy, mostly playing the same boring r'n'b songs all day and night. Only The Box has tried to break new (often European) acts but there are now less than before, in favour of top 40 hits.
3) Local radio stations are the worst offenders: why play new music from unknown acts when you can play boring oldies or Pink, Rihanna and Amy Winehouse all day long?
Sorry for the rant but I'm just fed up with the lack of priority given to music now. Even the record shops seem ashamed to sell CDs in favour of games and DVDs.
Thank goodness for blog-land, where fanbases can be built with word of mouth (or should that be word of mouse???) and we can get to hear about great music. Long live bloggers!!
I immediately loved this new version of the song: it is bright, sparkling, happy and uplifting, and as you would expect from Salem it is just pure musical perfection with a timeless quality. My love of this song is reflected in the fact that it is now in the top 10 of my iTunes play count. I won't let a day pass without hearing this song. I just love it.
Unfortunately there was nothing on his debut album, good though it was, to even come near equalling this.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
"The Astronaut"/"Someday" - Salem Al Fakir: two live tracks from his appearance at the Swedish Radio P3 Guldgalan press conference. These will be on his forthcoming second album, but hear them in very different acoustic form at http://www.sr.se/sida/artikel.aspx?artikel=2482155&programid=3266 and follow the link at 'lyssna: från presskonferensen'.
"Broken Strings" - James Morrison & Nelly Furtado: a very nice little duet which sounds great on the radio. I'm not a massive James Morrison fan, although I like some of his songs and I think he is rather underrated nonetheless.
"Crying Blood" - VV Brown: this is soooo ridiculously catchy and should have been a massive hit. Expect to hear a lot more from her in 2009: she's certainly a lot more lively than many of the female singers around at the moment.
"Ping Pong" - Stereolab: an oldie, but what a great one! For no reason whatsoever, I've been listening to this a lot lately. The lyrics are brilliant too.
"Silly Really" - Per Gessle: a very welcome change in musical style, more lively and catchy than anything he's done lately, and recalling Roxette in places.
"Rehab" - Rihanna: I'm getting really tired of her being a constant fixture in the charts and on our radios, but I rather like this, probably because it sounds like "What Goes Around Comes Around" with new lyrics.
"Rule The World" - Take That: this is having a revival at the moment, and already it's sounding like a timeless classic. To think I hated it at first....unthinkable now.
"Up All Night"/"Hello" - Take That: I haven't listened to "The Circus" too much yet - will need to rectify that. Strangely enough I'm gravitating towards the Mark Owen songs which on first/second listen are the most instantly catchy tracks.
Sharp, witty writing and often exceptional acting performances made the show a must-see every week, even if some of the plots and storylines became a bit too bizarre at times!
The fifth and final season should be on Living TV in 2008; series 1-4 meanwhile are available on DVD.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
First (and, clue, not the last) song in my chart from possibly my favourite album of the year. I know a lot of people don't like them - and I went through that phase myself - but I just thought "Viva La Vida" is a great album, and they won't make a better one.
Three-part epic "42" starts off in a slow and bleak way, but then halfway through it erupts into something quite anthemic and joyful, before retreating back to where it started.
The sound of a band in their prime.
Strictly Come Dancing - I can't really talk about this at the moment as I'm pretty disgusted. Pathetic result BTW. There are three people left in this competition, and two of them do not deserve to be there. I hope the other one wins, or the 1% credibility this show has left will have just gone out the window.
EDIT: So Austin is gone, and I'm not happy. The manipulation of this show by the judging panel has got to stop or the viewers will stop watching. I can't understand the blatant favouritism shown towards Rachel Stevens and Lisa Snowdon, as IMHO their dancing just doesn't merit this. Tom Chambers to win - he's the best dancer, however none of the remaining contestants have the sparkle, charisma and star quality which you'd expect from this show.
Dansbandskampen: Aftonbladet reports.....oh it's Groundhog Day. Guess the result!!!!
Star Academy: well, well, well! Mickels is in the final!!! I'm very happy about this although quite sad that it wasn't actually a Mickels-Joanna final as both of them deserved to be finalists :(
Stjärnor på Is: I haven't been following this, but tonight's final was won by Markus Fagervall, ex-Idol winner so congratulations to him.
I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here: cheeky Cockney chappie, ex-Eastenders Joe Swash won this on Friday night, beating tennis legend Martina Navratilova to the title. Ex-Star Trek and Heroes actor George Takei was third, with camp-nemesis David Van Day (ex of Dollar!!) in fourth place. This was always one of my favourite celebrity-reality shows but like the rest of them, it's all gone pretty stale :(
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Semi-final 2: Alice vs Gautier.
Now I didn't watch last week's prime to find out how we got to this, but I can't help thinking that there's something not quite right about this draw :(
What happened to the old days of the boys' semi-final and girls' semi-final? Oh well, maybe not, as we'd probably end up with a Alice vs Gautier final.
If Star Academy was to go out on a high (for despite the denials, I can't see it coming back for another series) it should have been a Joanna vs Mickels final, but it's reality TV, and we know all too well that it's not about the 'best' anymore.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I said it before and I'll say it again - beware of the Borg. For he is going to win it. Even though my view has not changed that he is a boy-in-search-of-a-boyband and there is nothing really special about him. He is very confident though.
Anyone else think that Robin bears a spooky visual resemblance to Markus Fagervall? Robin does have a good voice though, but again he lacks star quality.
And what's with the restyling of Alice into some kind of Beyonce clone? It just doesn't suit her at all - she is far too 'nice' for that style.
To be honest I don't really care who wins this year, but will continue to watch it anyway.
Strictly Come Dancing: this programme is being spoiled now by the crawling favouritism shown by the judges towards Rachel Stevens and ultra-desperate Lisa Snowdon, whilst Tom Chambers and Austin Healey don't seem to be their flavour of the month any more. Do not underestimate the Great British Public - for they do not love Rachel the way you do, dear judges, and she found herself in the bottom two. Poor Christine Bleakley didn't have a chance however as the judges took the opportunity to save their fave.
Worst moment of the week: when Arlene Phillips dared to compare Ms Stevens to Alesha Dixon. Umm....no, I don't think so. Alesha had it all and she could dance, but as for Rachel - well, she does nothing, the girl does nothing. Except pose.
I want a Tom vs Austin final, not just because they're the best dancers but also because their partners Camilla and Erin seem to be getting genuine enjoyment out of it, whilst the professional males Brendan and Vincent are just too tense now.
I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here: Celebrities? Sorry but who are Brian Paddick and Nicola McLean? (A dour personality-free ex top cop, and a pneumatic Jordan wannabe-WAG). Only David Van Day is keeping the carcrash quota up this year, and for that reason he must be kept in, especially now that his partner in crime Timmy Mallett is gone. Joe Swash, ex of Eastenders, has the sufficient cheeky-chappie quality to win, but who knows?
Star Academy: the semi-final line-up is now known. It's the talented singers (Joanna and my favourite Mickels) versus the Chosen One (perma-scowling Gautier) versus the People's Favourite (Alice, aka Elodie Frege Mk II). There was no room for Solene, who looked the part but her inconsistent performances let her down.
Dansbandskampen: Scotts and Larz-Kristerz....oh wait, it wasn't on this week, replaced by some Nordic junior Eurovision nonsense. Normal service is resumed next week!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
"Fangad i en Drom" which he sang in Dublin in 1981 was my favourite of his two entries, although I never figured out the significance of the gloves :) indeed his styling was completely wrong but his vocals were just right for the drama of the song. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=qKd8aqEqbVw
"Det Blir Alltid...." from Paris in 1978: indeed his styling wasn't any better three years earlier either, this achieved notoriety in Sweden for him just making up the words as he went along. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=LYoPjN0CbXI&feature=related
I was listening to a few Mansun songs on my iPod today and wondered why I hadn't featured them here before now. "Attack of the Grey Lantern" was a fab album which I played and played and played for a long long time.
"She Makes My Nose Bleed" was a great record. In this video, http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=-8MPDK0gW9w, lead singer Paul Draper looks as if he's paying tribute to Midge Ure!
"Wide Open Space": http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=tj7aNPWbvgo&feature=related again a very well crafted and produced song, maybe forgotten now but a classic of its time.
"Six": http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=jpYNvwmlrJY&feature=related An amazing song. This was from later on in their career. I know they weren't always the media's favourite band but I thought they were great, that's what we are missing at the moment - inventive, creative guitar bands rather than the generic indie rubbish which is played to death on Radio 1 :(
"Return of the Mack" was one truly magical musical moment from 1996 from a man who was better known for his criminal record, notably when he got someone else to do his community service. The video is just bling-soaked and as close to hip hop parody as you can get: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=uB1D9wWxd2w
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Telly is really poor at the moment isn't it! No wonder I prefer blogging.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Voting is open at www.grammis.se between now and 10 December, then the final shortlists will be announced.
Here are the nominees in some of the main categories:
Best Album: Amanda Jenssen / Anna Ternheim / E.S.T. / Frida Hyvönen / Håkan Hellström / Hello Saferide / Kleerup / Lykke Li / Titiyo /Veronica Maggio
Best Group: Backyard Babies / Bo Kaspers Orkester / BWO / Dungen / Eldkvarn / Fatboy / Hästpojken / Kent / The Hellacopters / The Soundtrack Of Our Lives
Best Dance/Hip-Hop/Soul: Afasi & Filthy / Chords / Firefox Ak / Form One /Lazee / Looptroop Rockers / Melo / Petter / Sophie Rimheden / The Last Days Of Disco
Best Dansband/Schlager: Charlotte Perrelli / Christer Sjögren / Drifters / Lasse Stefanz / Linda Bengtzing / Rongedal / Sarek / Sten & Stanley / Streaplers / Thorleifs
Best Newcomer: Afasi & Filthy / Amanda Jenssen / Anna Maria Espinosa / Detektivbyrån / Hästpojken / Joel Alme / Juvelen / Kleerup / Lazee / Markus Krunegård
Best Female Artist: Amanda Jenssen / Anna Maria Espinosa / Anna Ternheim / Frida Hyvönen / Hello Saferide / Lykke Li / Miss Li / Sophie Zelmani / Titiyo / Veronica Maggio
Best Male Artist: Eric Gadd / Håkan Hellström / Juvelen / Kleerup / Markus Krunegård / Per Gessle / Timbuktu / Timo Räisänen / Tingsek / Ulf Lundell
Best Live Act: Lars Winnerbäck / Robyn / Håkan Hellström / In Flames / Björn Skifs / The Hellacopters / Ulf Lundell / Veronica Maggio / Peter Lemarc / Lykke Li
Best Song: Empty Room - Sanna Nielsen / Hero - Charlotte Perrelli / Do You Love Me - Amanda Jenssen / Jennie Let Me Love You - EMD / Måndagsbarn - Veronica Maggio / Det Är Hon - Brolle / Lay Your Love On Me - BWO / On And On - Agnes / Jag Är En Vampyr - Markus Krunegård / Longing For Lullabies - Kleerup Feat. Titiyo
The Swedish press are focusing on the female domination of the Swedish music scene in 2008 and this is certainly reflected in the nominations so far.
I'm not really too bothered who wins all the awards this year as it's not like last year when I did want a certain person to win everything (!) however the list just once again proves the diversity of musical talent coming out of Sweden.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Star Academy - first week of all contestants being up for the public vote, and the two out this week were Edouard and Anissa. How these two can be evicted yet Alice and Gautier remain in the contest...it's all down to popularity again folks!
Dansbandskampen - oh, just give the title to Scotts and be done with it! As Poster Girl reported, Scotts have been given a song to sing at next year's Melodifestivalen and I reckon they should do quite well. They would appear to be the natural successors to Barbados, appealing to both the older dansband fans as well as a younger market. Yet another foregone conclusion this week as Larz-Kristerz also went through along with Scotts to meet (and presumably beat off) next week's batch of contenders.
I don't think she'll be back at MF for a little while, but I'm sure she'll be back some day - hopefully as good as this.
Normal service should be resumed tomorrow night, now that this holiday nonsense is over! - as the 2008-50 gets back to two songs per night and the countdown continues.
In recent years the worlds of musical theatre and pop success have been interchangeable in France. After Kamel Ouali's hugely successful "Le Roi Soleil" we were all eager to see what he'd come up with next. Answer: a musical about Cleopatra, with Star Academy 3's Sofia Essaidi in it. That's certainly ok with me, and so was the first single from the soundtrack album (which I bought on my travels in Nice). "Femme..." is less the sound of ancient Egypt and more influenced by "Umbrella" ...a totally contemporary sound and a welcome return for Ms Essaidi. The musical hits the stage in Paris early in 2009.
Monday, November 24, 2008
It had been 13 years since we first visited Dublin for a holiday. Earlier this year we briefly returned for a friend's wedding and we got the urge to go back yet again. This time we decided to do some more obvious touristy things like the sightseeing bus tour for example, although we ran out of time to visit the Guinness Storehouse. Something we did do was cross the famous Halfpenny Bridge (pictured above).
Last night we went in search of the "craic" and found a bar with some live Irish music - great stuff!
Dublin has changed so much. It's such an international city now - we hardly heard an Irish voice when we were there, what with the numerous tourists and also the influx of young Eastern Europeans who, it would appear, almost exclusively dominate the 'service industries'.
One other notable change is the steep rise in prices of everything from food and drink to clothes and consumer items. The Euro is very strong against the pound at the moment (I think that's the expression), therefore we're not really getting good value at the moment - whereas many Irish citizens are heading to Northern Ireland for their bargain shopping. However, we saved up our money and consequently...spent it!!
I'm not really a fan of weekend breaks, as I don't feel that two nights is ever enough for anywhere, but Dublin fits the bill perfectly as it's compact and within easy reach. It may not be the most beautiful/picturesque city in Europe, but it has an irresistible buzz which you can't resist. Well worth a return visit, and if you haven't been yet then you have to go!!
Friday, November 21, 2008
Can't believe how the whole John Sergeant saga on "Strictly Come Dancing" made the front page of almost every newspaper in this country this week. Basically, the guy was good entertainment and was to dancing what George Bush was to world peace - but as the weeks progressed he became a cult figure. The more the judges hated him, the more the public loved him, and he was the latest in a long line of "vote for the worst" candidates.
Faced with the serious possibility of actually winning the thing, Sergeant quit the show a couple of days ago. But did he jump or was he pushed? That, we will never know.
So now Strictly goes back to being a serious dance competition, but the problem is that some of them are taking it a bit toooo seriously, and the more serious it gets, the less entertaining it becomes. The fun needs to be put back into Strictly Come Dancing, and fast.
Anyway, I'm off now to get an early night and I'll be back on Monday.
Bye y'all! X
Thursday, November 20, 2008
2008-50: No. 43 - Since I've lived in your shade, every step that I made brought me nothing but zero
One of those songs this year which actually had a life beyond ESC for me, even though I didn't really appreciate it at the time. I can't really say why I like it, but it has that certain ooomph (!)about it and is rather dance-pop-tastic in its own way.
The 2008-50 will be back on Monday 24th (or more likely, Tuesday 25th) with more of my favourite songs of the year.
If someone had said to me at the beginning of 2008 that I would actually like a Madonna song I wouldn't have believed a word. But she threw Timbaland and Timbalake into the mix, which is always a good thing in this blogger's world. The result was ''4 Minutes'' which despite (still) being played to death I still never really got sick of it.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Norway’s MGP delivered a reasonably successful winner - Maria Haukaas Storeng’s "Hold On Be Strong" - but this was a particular favourite of mine with its 80s New Romantic vibe and mad, nonsensical lyrics. Rachel at the brilliant Work Your Magic also loved this too!
You'll have noticed that I've posted four songs from my chart tonight, because after tomorrow I won't be posting anything again till Monday. Another two songs tomorrow though.