Since we had our first taste of the American (technically the United States) version of Eurovision this past Monday, I figure that I would make some comments about the first qualifying round. I guess that I should take that back because the format of ASC is more like Melodifestivalen, the national selection that Sweeden uses to select its candidates for Eurovision.
A quick preface:
Within moments of watching the show, I found myself tunning out because of the high number of commercials. Then I realized that I was watching ASC as a Eurovision fan. Once I was like: Hey Kwame, you are from the States and know how we do prime-time music contests so act right. After I changed my mental paradigm, the contest was a bit more enjoyable for me.
You know I think my issues with all of the commercials is due to me mostly streaming TV shows. Since I do not have to see commercials (for the most part) on Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, I have been spoiled by ad-free entertainment content. Wait, wasn’t I supposed to cancel Disney+?
LOL, since there were two New England states in Monday’s heat, the hubby made lobster rolls and New England clam chowder. Random: I do not think that I’ve consumed homemade (ie not from a can) clam chowder outside of a restaurant.
ASC Qualifying Round 1:
On Monday, we had these performers
Overall, I think everyone did a decent job, but my top 5 were Hueston (Rhode Island), Michael Bolton (Connecticut), Alisabeth Von Presley (Iowa), Keyone Starr (Mississippi), and Christian Pagán (Puerto Rico). Before and after the show, everyone seemed to be all about AleXa (Oklahoma), but she did not really do it for me because she relied way too much on her backing track (I’d even say that she was lipsyncing). BTW, Michael Bolton still has those vocals.
I had to LOL at his performance a bit because he was like once I walk to the microphone, I ain’t moving ANYMORE. Also, I wonder why NBC used this picture instead of what he looks like now. Well, he pretty much looks the same, but with white/grey hair.
Also, Hueston, one of my top five, automatically advanced to the semifinal round, and I was very pleased. In ASC, out of the 10 performances, the 56-member jury will send one performer to the semifinals. After a 3-day voting window, the public will send three songs to the semifinals.
Things that Kwame liked about ASC:
-I think Kelly and Snoop were great hosts. They have pretty good chemistry and play off of each other very well.
-You could tell that NBC spent money on this because all of the performances had pretty high production values, which is always good for this sort of thing. Word on the street is that NBC was not too happy with the ratings for Monday’s show.
-I liked that performers could have more than six people on the stage. However, I thought a couple of performers might have had TOO many folks on the stage. For example, UG skywalking (Indiana) because sometimes he and his hypeman blended into the background dancers/randoms.
-Voting is free, and you get three days to do so. For Eurovision, I think you get about 30 minutes to vote and you have to pay.
-A few states thought outside of the box for their contestants. For instance, Oklahoma sent a K-pop artist.
-A few of the introductory videos for the performers and their home states/territories added some complexity to my perceived notions of their states/territories. For example, I never considered that there are rough cities in Rhode Island.
Things that bugged Kwame about ASC:
-Too many commercials. This is when I had to change my mindset and be like these types of shows in the States have many, Many, MANY commercials. Typically for Eurovision, there are no commercials during the entire 3-4hr show.
-The performers’ backstories were WAY too long for my liking. Again, this is how we do music contests in the States. Like are we voting for the song/state-territory/performance or the performers’ sob stories? For Eurovision, unless you watch supplemental videos or interviews, you really do not get a bunch of irrelevant information about the performer. In ESC, you really random information about the contestant during a 30-second “postcard” clip. Typically, these clips are played while production is getting the stage ready for the next performer. Maybe the backstories and commercials are not that bad because you will get a chance to use the restroom. Watching ESC21’s final in a bar, I definitely missed a few ballads bc of my pee and smoke breaks.
-It’s not as efficient compared to ESC. For ESC, you have song (3 min) -> postcard to introduce the next country (30 seconds) -> song (3 min) -> and repeat. For ASC it was backstory (5 min) -> song (3 min) -> Kelly Clarkson & Snoop Dogg randomness (45 sec) -> commercial (5 – 8 min) -> Kelly Clarkson & Snoop Dogg randomness (45 sec) -> backstory (5min) song (3 min) -> and repeat. For the 1st three performances, I was pretty much like START THE DAMN SONG! WHEN’S THE DAMN SONG GONNA START?
-For ASC, you can assign 0 – 10 points to all performers in an unranked system. For instance, if you really, really like all 10 performances, then you could give everyone 10 points. What is this everyone gets a trophy mess?
-Way too much reliance on backing tracks (also one of my criticisms of Eurovision). To be perfectly honest, I think one of the performers was straight up lipsyncing. Ok, I get that it takes a lot of work to sing AND dance. BUT, if you are dancing so hard that you cannot sing a substantial amount of your song IN A SONG CONTEST then maybe you should ease up on the dancing . . . that’s what the backup dancers are for. Another performer was “singing” a high note, but the microphone was nowhere near their face. I say the same for ASC like I do for Eurovision:
While it was not the contest that I was expecting, I was still entertained. I’m pretty sure that I will stick around to see the next qualifying round. Depending on how that goes and my annoyance levels, I’ll either stick with the show or watch the semi-final rounds and/or the final round. For next week’s qualifying round, I think that I will watch the contest the following day on Peacock or the RTVE’s app (one of Spain’s public broadcasting networks). For Peacock, you have only 30 seconds of commercials. For RTVE, there are no commercials, but everything except for the performances is dubbed in Spanish (as one would expect from a Spanish network).
Speaking of next week, it’s going to be a nail-biter for me. We have my home state (Virginia), and my second home for about 20 years (New York) competing in the same round. I wonder, which state’s or region’s food will the hubby prepare.