LIVEBLOG: Supernova 2016 Final!

Take note – story published 8 years and 3 months ago

OMG! LOL! WTF? Yes, get all your textspeak abbreviations ready because it's time for Latvia, the best country in Europe, if not the world, to choose its entry for Eurovision 2016. We'll bring you all the action as it happens or more accurately, a few seconds after it happens as it takes a while to type this stuff up.

Well folks, like Christmas, the Zika virus or the Apocalypse, it's here at last - the Supernova final!

Like Christmas, we look forward to it. Like the Zika virus, we are a bit scared of it. And like the Apocalypse, there will be nothing afterwards - unless you include the actual Eurovision finals in Sweden. But that is all literally two and a bit months away, which in the modern world is equivalent to something like the Pleistocene period, so not really worth even thinking about.

Incidentally this liveblog is dedicated to the memory of Terry Wogan and Jānis Vaišļa, both of whom sadly passed away this month.

Wogan's Eurovision commentaries for the BBC were legendary and one of his best was even directed at Latvia's pirate-themed entry from 2008 when he said:

"If there are any small children in the room, keep them away from the phone for the next few minutes."

Vaišļa was a member of the act in question, Pirates Of The Sea, so hopefully they are both looking down from star-spangled Eurovision Valhalla and enjoying the spectacle tonight!

Actually imagine that - Eurovision in heaven. The production values would be amazing!



In a perplexing outbreak of common sense, tonight's final will feature just four acts, so it should all stay on schedule instead of dragging on until the Crack of Doom.

In the interests of journalistic objectivity, I have not bothered to watch any of them until tonight, so I should be hit with the full force of their artistic ammunition.

All I know is they are:

Justs with a song called "Heartbeat"

Marta Ritova with a song called "Not from this world"

Catalepsia with a song called "Damnation" and

MyRadiantU with a song called "We will be stars"

Curiously, all the song titles are in English, suggesting Europe will be robbed of the musical sounds of the Latvian language for yet another year.

Huzzah! We are up and running. There are four songs. We have two hours to fill. Not surprisingly, there may be a certain amount of padding...

Anyway we start off by meeting our 'expert' judges, which consist of musician Intars Busulis (who flopped as Latvia's Eurovision entry in 2009), DJ Rudd, whom one assumes is a DJ, voice coach Ieva Kerēvica and drummer/music impresario Guntars Račs who wastes no time in plugging his own talent show.

We also have a friendly social media expert called Arturs who informs us that Justs is by far the most popular act in the Twittersphere at the moment. He says it's probably not a fix.

Hooray, we get a first glimpse of the acts with a potted biography of moderately heavy pomp rock metal act Catalepsia. They seem like a nice bunch of lads and lasses.

As for their sound? Well, imagine a local support band at a Fields of the Nephilim gig who have an extensive colection of Metallica CDs.

"Look through my mind, there's a word of confusion" are the first words sung in anger.

Bizarre, the first few verses are sung in Dave Mustaine style, then we get a sudden snatch of Napalm Death before reverting to hairy-chested power chords.

Was he clearing his throat at the end?

This act needs some spandex, and fast.

Guntars Racs talks to them looking and sounding like he is their bank manager and they just asked for a loan to buy some Peavey amps.

A reminder that if you would like to watch the magic unfold yourself, you can do so HERE.

The judges all say to Catalepsia: "You are very good. If people like you they should vote for you."

DJ Rudd (was that his name) did have particular praise for "your second largest drum."

I have a feeling we will be hearing the same thing approximately 16 times over this evening.

YES, the is-he-insane-or-is-he-a-genius Latvian Beaver is filling our ad break.

He is talking about progressive scientists around the world while attempting to construct some paper snowflakes by scrunching up paper and attaching duct tape.

I suspect this is some form of therapy.

If so there is a danger it will backfire. I really hope that beaver is not packing heat.

"It is not too friendly to the environment because I did not use recycled paper. Now I will eat it," says the beaver.

Yes! He twerks!

"Uh-uh it's going on" quoth the beaver.

While we laugh, there is a deeply unsettling existential subtext to the beaver's performance. Basically that ad break was like a Stephen Hawking lecture. By a beaver.

Act number two is the curiously named MyRadiantU.

The influence of Latvian supergroup and former Eurovision entrants Prata Vetra (Brainstorm) is palpable in their falsetto singing styles and the way they hang their guitars on the wall.

Apparently a lot of people assume they are brother and sister. But they are not. They wish to make that clear.

Their song "We will be stars" begins "Do do do doo" which always gives you a chance in Eurovision. There is also a lot of talk of miracles and stars for further feelgood vibes.

"We won't be silent, we won't be silent," they promise repeatedly. That much is self-evident.

The song itself is a pleasant uplifting little ditty, a bit like a diet book set to the music of Enya. Hard to see it blasting out of radios across Europe though.

Ieva Kerēvica drops heavy hints they are her faves.

Busulis likes their "bridge". This causes some confusion until he clarifies that he is not talking about civil engineering.

Racs likes their clothes. DJ thingy suggests they try switching microphones. That's what you get from professionals.

It's the turn of hot favorite Justs who meets us driving through hometown Kekava, which is also famous for its chicken farms.

"We're driving through Kekava city," boy next door Justs tells us, which is stretching it if you have ever been to Kekava...

Teenage girls across Latvia have suddenly fallen silent as Justs tells us he's "feeling again that you're breathing with me." Good that he knows resuscitation techniques, if he is unsuccesful in Eurovision he could always get a job as a paramedic rescuing people from chicken attacks.

Interestingly, his song 'Heartbeat' was written by last year's entry, Aminata. It is reminiscent of Aussie actor Stefan Dennis' "Don't it make you feel good".

However, Justs is much more handsome and wears a bad leather jacket much more convincingly.

Let's face it, Justs is going to walk this.


DJ whatshisname points out that Stockholm is pretty big and he hopes Justs' amplification will be big enough. Not that he's a shoo-in or anything.

Guntars Racs looks like he might offer Justs a contract on derisory terms at any moment.

Beaver is back.

He's toastin' an' freestylin' in a reggae styleee. That is one Rasta rodent.

"I give da great hello to da reggae shark on da odder side o da world," say Beaver. True dat.

But then a crack appears in his bonhomie.

"I am very tired to be honest," he gasps. Someone hand that beaver some herb.

Tempo picks up. I would say a seizure of some sort is imminent.

Beaver gets the 1,000 yard stare, the sort you get when you are munching uppers and downers by the pawful.

Final contestant is Marta Ritova.

"Tell me where did I lose my soul?" she sings while rehearsing.

Eurovision is great but hardly worth selling your soul for at a crossroads.

Again, Marta seems like a very nice person.

But her song's lyrics sound like a selection of random phrases from a teach yourself English textbook.

"We came back here to meet in this regular world... and it feels like hell when you're in a tear... this love is not from this world... please give me some sign to know that you're gonna keep me safe from all of the pain in this regular world... ahhh... ohhh..."

Guntars Racs lists objects: piano, dress, shoes, and says he likes them. Bizarrely, he also points out that Sweden is quite large.

Ieva Kerēvica says you often have a warm feeling close to your heart when singing.

Or it could be indigestion.

That other judge, JD, the one they always go to last, laments the fact Latvia does not have any stick figure animations it can use, like Sweden did last year.

Frankly, there was no point in having the expert jury there at all.

Now the voting begins. You can vote up to 5 times, so if you just want to burn money, vote for them all! 

While people dial in their dozens, I am going to switch to watch a few minutes of the 'alternative' commentary which you can watch HERE (but you'll have to speak Latvian).

I'm also going to make a cup of tea.

I'll let you know when Justs has won.

Judge Intars Busulis takes to the stage to sing us a ballad from a strange toy piano. It's pretty corny stuff, like a Michael Bolton B-side.

A shame, as Busulis is actually a very talented musician. He's a great jazz trombonist (seriously) and I once saw him sing a brilliant cover version of 'Ghostbusters' while dressed as a Guantanamo Bay inmate (also seriously).

But his Eurovision shot was an unmitigated disaster so his main advice to this year's hopefuls should be "Whatever you do, don't listen to me."

Oh dear, I've just realised this probably means Guntars Racs will also give us a song with a smug look on his face as he bangs the drums.

Now we have the welcome return of last year's highly creditable contender Aminata. She is showcasing her new song, 'Fighter'. The only problem is it is virtually identical to her 'Love Injected' from twelve months ago.

Quiet bit. Another very quiet bit. SHIRLEY BASSEY LOUD BIT! Very quiet bit etc.

"I'm a fighter for the rest of my life!" she screeches, sending the microphones into overload.

Beaver is back on stage dancing and singing with a little girl called Kate. He is wearing a crown and waving a ribbon.

It is strangely touching.

This would definitely have a reasonable chance of winning Eurovision.

In a very odd move, Justs is handed a massive check for €2,000 for being the favorite on the Delfi website. That's BEFORE the actual result of Supernova is announced, so he has to stand on stage grinning while holding it and listening to the judges repeat their largely irrelevant views on how large Stockholm is and how it is important to have your health.

Judge Kaspars, the one I have not been able to identify all night, remembers to thank the jury.

Here comes the results:

4th place Marta Ritova...

3rd place MyRadiantUbend

2nd place Catalepsia

So the winner, in a massive surprise for no-one is JUSTS!

Justs manages to offload his giant cheque to say thanks to everyone associated with him and everyone who voted for him.

Justs performs the traditional reprise of his song, 'Heartbeat', returning to 'Kekava City' two grand to the good and with a free trip to Stockholm in May.

Will he win Eurovision too?


Latvia has fallen into the classic trap of choosing an act very much like the one that won Eurovision in the previous year: good looking young man who can pump his fist at the high notes of a mid-tempo electro anthem. But Eurovision never goes for the same thing two years in a row.

So that is it for Supernova 2016. A supernova is, after all "a rare event that occurs during the last stellar evolutionary stages of a massive star's life, whose dramatic and catastrophic destruction is marked by one final titanic explosion. For a short time, this causes the sudden appearance of a 'new' bright star, before slowly fading from sight over several weeks or months."

Plus, everyone will want to go to Australia next year.

And we didn't have to listen to Guntars Racs after all!

Good night everyone!

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