Eurovision 2021 : Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Once more we return to the battle of the ballads in this international song contest consisting of European nations and a few non-EU nations they allow to compete – including the United Kingdom now we are no longer in the European Union. Although if there was ever any talk of kicking out one of the five biggest financial contributors to the contest at any point I never heard it. Of course it is arranged by the European Broadcast Union and has nothing to do with the political EU but I’m sure some people conflate the two for the sake of national pride and competitiveness.

The entire live stream of the 2021 contest

The sixty-fifth competition’s finale was at last held after a year’s hiatus due to the global pandemic events. You know what it was so no need to dwell. There was a 3500 audience limit on site dur to restrictions and apparently everyone has been tested and precautions taken. There were 39 countries who took part in the previous round but 19 were eliminated. The finale took place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. When the Russian entry came out during the initial ‘contestant parade’ introduction it sounded like she was booed slightly though the cheering covered most of it but it was noticeably lower in tone than the cheers for others.

A recap of the songs for those who don’t want to go through all the videos below.

After everyone had entered the hosts sang with Eurovision dancers behind them. Nikkie Tutorials, I forgot she existed but she was one of the presenters and I think was involved in last year’s replacement events so it sort of feels like she has become a permanent fixture of the event. Video postcards were shown before each act depicting interesting art installation, open walled, rooms around the country.

Beneath are my initial reactions to each act along with those of Graham Norton who is the commentator for the UK. He seemed to finally getting very comfortable in the role and making quips in the style everyone fondly remembers Terry Wogan coming out with back when he covered it. Of course the irreverent tone of commentary rubs up certain quarters of the contest the wrong way for not taking it as seriously as they do themselves. That’s the awkward thing about the contest – it has this façade of ‘a bit of fun’ but it’s a very serious business to some. Thus everyone can be enjoying themselves then someone comes along and po-faced says ‘right, stop that right now’ like a John Cleese or Graham Chapman character interrupting a Monty Python sketch. Except it’s not surreal or done for comic effect.

Cyprus / Elena Tsagrinou – El Diablo

Diamonds over a skin tone body suit to get the dad vote. The song is one of those summer time anthems that all end up sounding too similar if it’s not music you take and interest in. Part of me keeps hearing Lady Gaga’s Alejandro in the chorus parts.

Good energy and presentation so might do fairly well despite being the opening act. The dancers with the red line down the centre of their face look like they’re from a cult in a fantasy series – with the red catsuits it reminds me of the TV adaption of The Sword of Truth series. The hip isolation part of the dance is very impressive on a technically level but the costumes of the dancers mean they disappear due to the read and often low lighting given to them.

It’s a good pop song… because it sounds like a remix of the Lady Gaga song Alejandro with different lyrics. I would be surprised if there hasn’t been a claim of plagiarism.

Albania / Anxhela Peristeri – Karma

A ‘silver Vegas leotard look’ as Graham Norton puts it. The performance has a good opening. The song reminds me of the soundtrack from the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Good staging and lighting effects but is it really effective for the song? A costume of diamond strings and… that’s it besides some red smoke. Usually you’d expect an evening dress like look if doing this if stood alone on stage or to have backing dancers if wearing a costume like that. Another ‘trying to get the dad vote’ costume decision then.

She is playing to the people sat voting at home rather than to the audience due to the looks to the camera that were planned. Woof. Then comes the unannounced epilepsy seizure moment (which seems common this year unless you notice the small text on the screen during the postcards). Norton said she looked like Carol Voderman.

One thing I notice in hindsight is the official music video for the entries are usually far tamer costume wise than the stage costumes in the finale. It’s not critical to the songs but it probably does affect the presumed acceptability of some acts only for the finale to have the more provocative wardrobe choices.

Israel / Eden Alene – Set Me Free

She trained as a ballerina and is attempting the B6 note which is apparently the highest ever attempted at this competition. It’s hardly a Mariah Carey like vocal performance so, honestly, it’s not something anyone would realise unless you were informed before hand though she does randomly hit the note just before the end.

I suppose it will give her some achievement as the song itself doesn’t feel like it will stand out. Interesting crown/traditional Slavic headdress inspired hairstyle. The silver and white costumes look like sportswear. The ribbons on the dancers seem like a desperate last moment effort to avoid that comparison.

The song is an also ran sort. It’s not really got any good hook though it’s competently performed. Then a last moment on stage wardrobe change which doesn’t change much.

Belgium / Hooverphonic – The Wrong Place

Dark and moody. It reminds me of late 90s songs. They’ve a Portishead vibe but the song is more alternative pop. Much more toned down presentation with the singer and band wearing black on stage, although the singer having some sparkles on her dress, so the focus is on the song.

As spectacle is part of this contest so they probably won’t do amazing but this is more about getting their name out to potential future foreign fans it seems. It’s a nice subdued song – the sort of thing you imagine being the music of a intro to a TV drama.

I have come across it before but I don’t known if that was by chance or it was on an advert. I’m sure I’ve heard their name before.

Russia / Manizha – Russian Woman

Wearing what looks like a jumpsuit which is in stark contrast to the wardrobe of other entries. She has a message of tolerance and acceptance which apparently caused some issues in Russia.

Initially she seems a novelty act due to the massive puffed out layers and golden hair ribbon headdress. (Later San Marino does a similar idea of shedding an ornate dress which seems a coincidence). Chanting. It’ll either do well or fall flat… and since it’s the Russian entry and she seemed to get booed when entering earlier it might be like the UK entries from a few years ago where no matter how positive the message it’s still going to get a bad reception (fortunately it did end up doing quite well though not near the top contenders). More epilepsy flashing imagery.

It’s nice enough and evokes moments of Russian traditional music to represent the nation’s culture which many entries often don’t choose to do.

Malta / Destiny – Je Me Casse

She won Junior Eurovision at 13 years old and is now 18. Sparkly dress with tassels. The song is effective. Wow, if you’ve not had an epileptic seizure by now it’s some miracle or you’ve avoided looking at the screen.

It’s a good song but it will probably be mid tier. The bright neon pink of the dancers with the ballet bar kind of draws attention to how little the singer is doing physically in the performance. She will get a ‘body positivity’ vote but Eurovision seems very traditional in its values so that might not get her far (it didn’t).

‘Large and in charge’ she reminds me of American gospel singers from the late 80s or early 90s. The lyrics are very repetitive. It’ll get a nightclub remix and do well on the dance floor. Technically good but not that engaging.

Portugal / The Black Mamba – Love Is On My Side

Norton said it’s very Paul McCartney/Wings in tone. Retro suits and showing them in black and white on TV initially which seems a bit of a cheat visually. It’s a very nice performance.

A slow ballad. Portugal seem to do well with slow ballads. The dark horse entry but it could win as other dark horses in the contest have previously (including Portugal themselves in 2017).

The first song, so far, where I actually would like to hear it again a few times. Simple but bold graphics on the screens behind them. I would be shocked if this isn’t a contender for winning. One of my favourites of the night. (They came twelfth in the end).

Serbia / Hurricane – Loco Loco

Oh, I notice they do put a text warning for epilepsy on screen in the postcard section. I sort of wish Norton had said it earlier too and he might have.

Intricate costumes. They remind me of some costumes I’ve seen Little Mix wear for concerts. Sex sells. Woof. The song is bold but I can imagine we are going to hear a few which have this sort of presentation and tone during the contest so I can’t see it doing amazing though they performed very well and were far more dynamic than many other acts.

I’m biting my tongue not to say ‘generic modern Eurovision dance song’ but it feels like one. They all look like they’ve had plastic surgery or are wearing heavy layers of make up as seems the trend recently.

It was a good effort but this would have done better about ten years ago before things began becoming a bit more conservative culturally across global society.

. . .

Then a break with Nikki Tutorials. I’m sure she is very popular but she just feels tacked on appearing as a contest presenter. I think it’s her make up. It always looks severe to me in how much bronzer she uses. I was surprised to hear her age as she looks 15 to 20 years older.

United Kingdom / James Newman – Embers

First of the big five (the major financial contributors to the contest).

Wearing a leather coat or jacket with a gold stripe design which is a bit ‘try hard’ while very understated. It reminds me of clothing I see in some ‘you wouldn’t expect it to cost that much’ high street clothing stores. Also some rings and a golden chain which is a very ‘1980s comedy sketch show caricature of a Greek business man with a market stall selling items of questionable origin’ look.

The song is very ‘modern British’ tonally which is nice as a representation of our current music culture but also fits into Eurovision quite well. It’s a fun, inoffensive number and the dancers get to have some fun. It won’t do amazing but we should do okay. Maybe it’s just my TV but it did sound like the sound was peaking and tinny a few times midway through.

A fun entry. It’ll be interesting to see if his weight is held against him as society seems to accept women as ‘beautiful at any weight’ but not men. (spoiler: zero points from the professional juries and zero points from the public vote too. The audience in the venue were audibly shocked and cheered him when he put on a good face which is a positive to take away from it at least).

Greece / Stefania – Last Dance

According to Norton she just apparently just turned 18 and is ‘dancing with laundry’ according to Norton. She looks like Holly Valance.

Sparkly, form fitting, body suit with ‘flesh windows’ as if it’s a comic accurate superhero costume at a comic book convention. It’s a unique look for Eurovision. She looks like a dominatrix who spilled glitter on herself. The dancer being green screened is amusing but random and you can only imagine how confusing it would be for the live audience. It feels like it is trying make the entry memorable.

The entire performance is very… if you asked someone to do a parody of a Eurovision entry they might make something like this I suppose. It does feel like an early 80s music video but with modern production values. The song is energetic if, again, a bit ‘been there and seen it before’ safe.

Switzerland / Gjon’s Tears – Tout l’Univers

More down to earth than many others. The puffy shirt is an interesting choice but doesn’t suit him. In fact the overall look is of a 5 year old dressed by his mother at the heights of the 1980s.

The song is good and reminds me of serious contenders from previous years. Minimalist staging (but with the flashing lights once more sporadically). I like the song but people tend to either vote for unique entries, saccharine ones or those with the strongest visuals.

It might do exceptionally well or it might do okay. It’s hard to tell with how the votes go often. I would hope it does well. It’s very anthemic. Again an ‘intro music to a detective drama’ type song. (It was one of the leaders during the jury vote alongside France until the public vote gave it to Italy).

Iceland / Da∂i Freyr og Gagnamagni∂ – 10 Years

One of the band members proved positive for Covid so they’re isolating and doing it remotely. Their song last year got a lot of good feedback. This song is about his wife and being married for ten years. She is the one in the back with the keyboard/ curved key-tar.

This will surely blow everything else out of the water. The ‘pixel art’ sweaters of the band members faces, the differing sections of the song to appeal to everyone… this is surely a Eurovision classic already? People said they felt the group was robbed by last year’s contest being cancelled (and it’s a rule everyone returning to compete had to perform a new song) so it’s highly likely they’re going to steam roll to victory.

This is one of those songs you can tell people will be listening to decades down the road as we do some songs that were in the contest in the 70s and onwards. A modern classic of a Eurovision entry so it’ll be shocking if it doesn’t win really but there’s some strong competition. (I got it wrong. They came in fourth place after Italy, France and Switzerland).

Spain / Blas Cantó – Voy A Querdarme

Second of the big five who get automatic entry due to financial contribution.

The moon is apparently the biggest prop ever used for the contest. I guess the screens used in recent years don’t count. Black shirt open enough to show some chest and a 5 o clock shadow – that’ll get some votes no doubt.

It’s a classic sounding piece so will do well though I would challenge you to single it out if similar songs were put with it. It’s an end credits song to an anime. It just kind of stops suddenly. (It came twenty-fourth! I thought it was a solid entry personally but apparently it was a strong year for entries overall so it fell by the way side apparently.)

Moldova / Natalia Gordienko – SUGAR

One of the backing dancers looks like the British comedian Michael McIntyre according to Norton.

A blonde with big hair and a sparkly short dress to show off her legs so she could be from the current year or any time since the contest began arguably. In fact it’s like the costume used in Cyprus’ entry but with sleeves. Woof. The dancers are bare chested so look like ‘sexy’ cosplay versions of PSY, Matrix agents or Dr Octopus.

The song is enjoyable if generic. Another ‘it’ll fall somewhere in the middle’ song. It was okay. Nothing wrong with it but nothing stood out either. (It came thirteenth – right in the middle!)

Germany / Jendrik – I Don’t Feel Hate

Third of the big five financial contributors.

The ‘marmite one’ according to Norton so you’ll love it or hate it. He thinks it sounds educational like ‘don’t play with matches’.

The bold colours and designs definitely evoke children’s television programming. The ‘peace sign’ hand is another ‘trying to be memorable’ effort that feels too blatantly quirky. It’s a fun song so might get some votes but also makes you want to punch them in the face a little bit. Try hard quirkiness. From experience such people are miserable off stage.

It’s entire tone is clearly meant to be jokingly passive aggressive like ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’. That’s the tone coming across really. It’s Eurovision’s version of Mean Girls. A bit of German humour which fell flat as they came last but one with three points: two from Austria (block voting?) and one from Romania.

It was fun but it seems like Eurovision is actively drifting away from encouraging kitsch recently.

Finland / Blind Channel – Dark Side

Lordi’s homeland. Also the homeland of the Moomins. Also the homeland of Simo Häyhä ‘the white death’ sniper who terrified the Soviet Army during WW2. It’s a nice chilled country in more than one sense.

ROCK! YES! One of my favourites by default. The baggy parachute trousers don’t look good on anyone but whatever. PYROTECHNICS! YEAH! THE DARK SIDE! HOO HOO HOO!

But, to be serious, it’s a standout compared to other entries. I hope it does well but people are more prudish these days even though this is nothing challenging and you can tell they’ve cleaned it up a bit to fit into the contest. (They got sixth place which isn’t bad considering how different the song is to everything else though Norton seems to think all rock music is the same as he kept comparing it to Italy’s entry.)

. . .

then we have a look at some commentator booths. Denmark – It looks cramped. Apparently they had been wearing their silver suits for the past 2 days according to Norton. Then the Russian one – the ladies jacket seems to be missing the shoulder sections. They give the host woman a bouquet of flowers which was nice.

. . .

Bulgaria / Victoria – Growing Up is Getting Old

Her father has motor-neuron disease so the staging reflects the sands of time running out. Stuck on a derelict ship/island surrounded by rippling water. A simple little ballad. Sat on the floor wearing a blue linen body suit covering her tattoos in case some people don’t like them. Woof. It will hopefully do well as another stand out in the contest.

It’s another anthemic piece which is very reflective yet uplifting if a little twee. The end credit music entry in contrast to those that are the intro music. Hopefully it does well. One more ‘want to hear it again’ entry.

One of my favourites of the year – actually Bulgaria, if I recall correctly, always seem to put in entries I like.

Lithuania / The Roop – Discoteque

‘People from IT dressed up as Steps’ according to Norton. Hand gestures and a very 90s aesthetic achieved with modern techniques.

It’s a good song. Slightly darker in tone due to the electronica aspect. Again I’m getting ‘TV thriller intro music’ vibes. It won’t win but I enjoy it and it’s another ‘wouldn’t expect to want to hear it again but I will happily’ entry

The hand gestures are proof again that entries are trying to insert memorable aspects for when the vote comes around. (The United Kingdom gave our 12 points to them).

Ukraine / Go_A – Shum

They grew in popularity and gained traction days before the contest apparently. A dance track with a folk song backing. The singer’s style reminds me of the Polish quartet TULIA in the 2019 contest but with flamenco dancer boa sleeves. She has a striking look. Woof. It’s one of the few really reflecting the culture of the nation.

The light circles with the dancers are an interesting addition. The rising tempo suggests it should do well. It definitely stands out and should do well. It makes you want to get up and dance. The disco ball men in the screens are a bit nightmare fuel though.

It reminds me, in hindsight, of the band Percival whose folk song adaptions were used for the computer game Witcher 3. Rewatching clips during the voting period I’m going to say this edges it as my favourite of the year though there were some good entries. (They came in fifth place ultimately).

France / Barbara Pravi – Voilà

The fourth of the big five financial contributors to the competition.

They haven’t won since 1977 apparently but they’re a bookies favourite this year. A rousing French ballad. Very French in style. The bustier and being alone on stage is meant to represent her being raw and exposed – her emotional vulnerability exposed to the audience. Woof. It seems this year it’s a mix of standard fare, striking visuals or earnest pleas to the heart. The bustier reminds me of Besson’s The Fifth Element unintentionally. It is another dark horse potential contender. Even if it doesn’t win it’ll be remembered in years to come and again is one of the entries to reflect the nation it represents. Very striped back staging and everything but it works in it’s favour hopefully. Norton says it’ll win or be top five. (It came in second place after both counts concluded).

Azerbaijan / Efendi – Mata Hari

Sparkly. Chanting. The high pony tails. It’s clear what vote they’re going for – the girl group vote or the dad vote. It’s okay but too similar to other entries as a song.

The patterns in the background are nice and the instrumental both allude to the nation’s cultural heritage. Woof. The choreography is much more elaborate than many entries which is to their credit.

It picks up towards the end but I don’t see it being one of the big contenders though it was well performed.

Norway / TIX – Fallen Angel

This entry was talked about a lot. He has Tourette’s and facial tics hence the glasses and his name.

The angels and demons imagery with him chained by his demons is a bit on the nose symbolism wise but it stands out and will be featured in future ‘remember the 2021 contest’ clips no doubt.

It’s a nice ballad but doesn’t quite have the power of some other entries. If he swore or said something out of the blue I think it might have gone down better – either for the car crash potential or sympathy vote.

It really reminds me of a music video for a 90s boyband – East17 of Boy Zone in particular.

The Netherlands (Hosts) / Jeangu Macrooy – Birth of a New Age

An M.C. Hammer jacket or is it more like those of Milli Vanilli? The person in red is very emphatic and I like the body isolation dance/gestures they do about a minute in.

It’s a pleasant song. It really is invoking the 90s to me. The sort of thing you hear on the radio and enjoy then forget to look up later until you chance upon it years down the line. Good choreography.

It won’t go far but it was a feel good performance in a year of entries vying for the top spot (probably to recoup costs incurred by the delay of last year by everyone).

Italy / Måneskin – Zitti E Buoni

Fifth and final of the big five financial contibutors to the contest who get automatically entered into the finale.

Norton finally mentioned the strobing effects for the last three. Another heavy metal song! Norton hopes it might grown on him ‘like mould on a bathroom ceiling’.

The costumes remind me of Jo Jo’s Bizarre Adventure part 5, Vento Aureo, which is set in Italy and yet are also very 1970s rock inspired. Someone mentioned they are like the British band The Darkness in evoking that era but being modern.

The song is good if vocally a bit too fast paced and more a modern skater punk induced rock rap than classic rock. The guitarist woman woof. It’s not a patch on the Finnish entry though and Norton lumped them in together as heavy metal rock when this is more glam in tone.

Norton says they’re more ‘angry as if they asked for no ice in their drink’ compared to the energy of Finland’s entry. (Italy won the competition ultimately).

Sweden / Tusse – Voices

Apparently there was a mild controversy that Tusse was representing Sweden this year. Last year the Mamas were selected to represent the nation but the Swedish 2021 representative selection contest proceeded and the Mamas didn’t win it. Other nations automatically re-entered their 2020 entrants to be fair to them. Not in Sweden though sadly.

His costume is very… live action adaption or embellished cosplay of a fighting game. Specifically the live action film adaption of Street Fighter comes to mind. The choreography is very well done synchronisation wise.

The song is pretty good but will be lost in the selection this year though it would do well in other years. The flashing lights add nothing to it but I feel those effects don’t add to most acts anyway. Everyone kept saying this was a strong year of contenders according to Norton.

San Marino / Senhit – Adrenalina

Senhit represented the country ten years ago. This time she is accompanied by Flo Ride surprisingly. Impressive costume at the start. It’s very esoteric.

But then she removes it and it’s a more bland trouser suit with large shoulder pads. Well it’s bland for Eurovision. Fur collar and sleeves. It reminds me of Black Cat’s costume from the Spider-Man comics. The costumes on the dancers are… interesting. I’m not sure what aesthetic they’re going for here. Maybe ‘sexy steam punk yetis’?

Then Flo Rider turns up and it’s like a remix of the first half of the song. I wonder how they got him involved.

It’s a fun song and nice way to close out the running order. Hopefully it does quite well as it’s a strong performance. It took ten people to write the song apparently.

Norton jokes there are so few people in the country that everyone has a turn eventually if they want to.

Voting Time Events

The presenters dresses look like packaging bows on overpriced boxes of chocolates. It’s an interesting look. Garish enough for those who consider Eurovision cheesy but stylish enough they probably are couture.

Afrojack – Music Binds Us

A nice uplifting song with a cute video. Bit weird to have the string quartet on the tram with face masks on but no one else. Imagine if that’s your big moment for international recognition and your face is covered. Then a guy with a goatee beard appears. Who is he? The guy who can’t perform due to Covid I assume who won last year. Sad for him as this was a moment in the limelight to pass the torch to this year’s winner. No, it’s a DJ. Then the strings with the dancers don’t have face coverings. The video feeds into the live performance of ‘Bulletproof’ song with the DJ ‘shouting it out’. Nice transition!

Nikki Tutorials does a skit about ‘how to rock the vote’

I think it’s the faux-American mannerisms and such that make her hard to like. The American makeup tutorial YouTubers are all a controversial bunch but she may be nothing like them but the presentation is similar to theirs. As mentioned I don’t see why she is connected to the contest but it might be due to being the Netherlands point announcer, featuring last year and again this year and she doesn’t feel as if she is a part of it but is there nonetheless.

Some behind the scenes B-roll while the votes are collated.

Then there is some Carpool Karaoke with former winners. Some joking about hard rock hallelujah Lordi’s costumes with an older winner who liked them but not their monstrous look.

Then there is a tribute to the previous events where people wore evening dress and it gradually grew more and more like a party than a formal event. They also thank the audience for the support throughout the years.

They keep mentioning inviting everyone to the rooftop party.

2015’s Swedish winner is shown performing. He seems a bit more demure compared to the clip when he was competing. I get a sense he is sick of his song which is common for performers if they have one or two ‘big’ songs everyone knows.

Then Teach-In with Ding-A-Dong. Norton asks if it’s the original line up. It’s a office outing karaoke of people who should have retired long ago…

Sandra Kim – 1986’s winner. A ‘mum’s had too much wine’ look on the girls’ night out.

Lenny Kuhr -1969’s winner. So different tonally to the more recent ones. Folk music sounding but then it is from the late 60s and such music was popular then. I like it.

Helena Paparizou – Full figured. Woof. 2005 Greece winner.

Lordi – 2006 Finnish winner in full costume. Norton mocks the costumes must stink and it’s the reason the rooftop concerts were outside. Still got it. Just the right amount of rock to not scare off normies.

2019’s winner Duncan Lawrence is isolating due to testing positive for Corona. They’ve mentioned it a few times throughout the night to the point you wonder if there is some bad feeling’s from the organisers that he was obligated to not attend. They show him performing his new song ‘Stars’. It’s nice.

Before the announcement the blonde announcer Chantelle changed her golden bow dress for a silver one. For the count down dancer create numbers and Norton jokes it’s bitter sweet because once they hit zero they’re all out of a job. And there are inside fireworks.

Jury Votes Announcement

The head of the Eurovision executive board has been replaced by Martin Osterdahl who writes thrillers apparently. I wonder what happened as the previous guy was there for a long time.

Graham Norton’s comments on the vote announcers

The voter jury announcements appear in order of their representative’s performance. Israel has ‘a nice dress’. Poland is ‘wearing a zebra print dress with full length arm gloves’ as Norton notes and wonders ‘if it has a head’ to the costume. He jokes ‘there are so few people in San Marino the announcer will likely represent them eventually’. Malta: ‘someone’s made an effort’. Estonia – ‘the daughter of Estonia’s only ever winner’. Azerbaijan sings and he says ‘there’s always one…’ Norway: ‘wow, she really enjoyed it. She likes music’ (sarcastic). UK: Amada Holden ‘a familiar face’ – she says hello in French but admits she doesn’t know what she is saying. Admits she has on an over the top dress (it looks like ostrich feathers). Greece has a ten year old as their vote announcer. The youngest in Eurovision history. He is an actor. Graham says he did better than many giving the votes. Ireland: no points for the UK. Moldova played a saxophone. He entered multiple times and only did well when not performing live apparently. Serbia: WOOF! Bulgaria: ‘Joanna’s going out later – she’s in a bubble’ WOOF! Cyprus: ‘could Greece get the 12 points? – ‘of course they do’.

Those were the National Jury Votes so far. We have then had a break before continuing. The UK has 0 points so far. It’s between France and Switzerland with Malta, Iceland and Italy following but with growing distance between each step. France was the bookies favourite. France vs Switzerland so far. All the bookies’ favourites are at the top. Three of the big financial contributors are at the bottom.

Germany: ‘trying to get lipstick off her teeth’ – puffy sleeves dress and weird ribbon medals. Finland: ‘oh, hello, I wear this every time I go to the smelting plant- just casual (glittery pink dress/jacket). Portugal Woof. Taianna – woof. Iceland: Netflix Eurovision song – ya ya ding dong so jokey entry. Says 12 for ya ya ding dong. But really for Switzerland. Romania – former Olympic gymnast woof. Croatia ‘oh, little bit of product in the hair’. Czech Republic (not Czechia despite the government trying to get people to use that name) Woof. Georgia ‘someone dressed up’ (the man was wearing a t-shirt with a map of Georgia on it). Denmark ‘you’re out late’ Russia Polina Gagarina: WOOF! Graham apologises if you hear foul language despite the late hour from the green room. France: woof. Sweden ‘did she know that man’ – an audio engineer had to adjust her mic/coat/dress collar as she appeared. ‘more wine for Barbara – corolla’ when she stumbled over her words. ‘what, what who are you I can hear voices’ – ‘we got there in the end’.

At the end of the Jury Vote the UK had got 0 points.

Viewers’ Votes Announcement


Then the viewer votes. The UK got theirs first because of the placement so far. The votes are collated so we don’t know which countries gave us the most backing unlike with the professional jury votes. The UK also got zero points from the public! People in the audience were audibly shocked. But James put on a positive face and people cheered him (as he spilt a bottle of beer on the floor when waving his arms). Germany got zero points too. As did Spain. No one else received zero public votes, Everyone else got points. Graham believes people all voted for certain countries so there would be some high scoring for certain entries. Usually ‘the public spread their love around’ so it’s unusual. Norway got 60 points out of the lowest jury vote scorers. Graham believes it to be ‘a year like no other’ due to the way the votes are spread.
Lithuania got 165 public votes. Finland got 218 points! They won’t win but it’s a lot of votes. Ukraine got 267 points! Russia got 100 points. Iceland got 180 points! Italy got 318 points! France got 251 points! It’s now either Italy or Switzerland… Switzerland got 161 points.

Italy won with 524 points. France had 499 points despite being the bookies favorite. They did well with the jury vote and public vote in fairness. Not one I ranked as a potential winner but good for them. Also nice he said ‘rock never dies’. It’s very 70s style which was the ‘golden era’ for Eurovision so calls back to that costumes wise and so… it shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s soft rock so doesn’t scare off those who don’t enjoy rock music.

Conclusion

Here are how all the scores were spread if you wish to check. The UK gave Lithuania our televote’s 12 points and the jury vote gave 12 points to the French entry. Looking at the numbers it definitely seems like there was a division between the jury votes and public vote on which performances should get points. That seems a common universal theme – what is valued by experts and what is valued by the common folk can vastly differ.

Graham notes there are a lot of disappointed people in the arena on the night but everyone is glad to be back in the contest.

First it was the Iraq War and now Brexit I guess. That or our entries really are that bad and we can’t rely on block voting to even give us a few ‘friendly’ points. Then again if you’re reading this you probably already consider the UK to be outside the EU anyway due to Brexit. Perhaps you feel that should extend to participation in the contest although there are non-EU countries who participate and we are one of the bigger financial contributors to the competition so it would only serve to damage the event for the sake of tolerating our annual entry.

As a little extra for those who got this far here is a behind the scenes documentary BBC Radio 1 did with James Newman and a few others are also mentioned.

Eurovison 2018 Grand Final

So as per tradition here is the list of the Eurovision grand final entrants with videos of their songs and the contest’s results along with my usual irreverent comments… not that anyone takes Eurovision that seriously anyway hopefully.

Each act drew in which half of the Grand Final they would perform. As host country, Portugal drew its exact starting position (8) during the Heads of Delegation meeting in March. The running order is being decided to ensure each act has the opportunity to stand out. The producers look at the genre of music, whether a song is performed by a solo singer or group, the use of props, music tempo and various other aspects of each act. In other words the run order is ‘quiet, LOUD, quiet, LOUD, slow, FAST, slow, FAST, etc’

The running order in the finale was:

  1. Ukraine – MELOVIN: Under The Ladder

He is a vampire… or one of the goths off South Park. During one of the green room interviews the presenter, via a translator, asked him about it… That aside the backing singers paw the air and he sets fire to a set of stairs leading up to a grand piano. Common practise for Eurovision then… The song is generic so I can’t really comment on it. It was okay but forgettable thus they sacrificed him as the first act in order to warm the crowd up.

  1. Spain – Amaia y Alfred: Tu Canción

She looks like a young Rachel Weisz. He looks like the Jonas brother Disney locked away but has escaped. This is the ‘we really are in love, no honestly! – we’ve been in love the past 3 weeks/months… around the time we were put forward for the contest’ entry. It was a good ballad. I wish it had done better. I wonder if they’ll be together now the contest is over.

  1. Slovenia – Lea Sirk: Hvala, ne!

Electro beat, lots of synchonised dancing and a costume that makes me think she is going to run off into a plane and go do a bit of wingsuit glding like a flying squirrel… It’s meant to a motivational song but… it comes across like an exercise class down the local recreation centre by a motivational speaker.

  1. Lithuania – Ieva Zasimauskaitė: When We’re Old

This is the first of the ‘wait is that being projected as a hologram so the audience there see what we at home are seeing?’ moments. A 1970’s dress, twee millennial song and baiting ‘isn’t being in love for a long time great?’ for votes. Then to cap it off her husband comes on and awkwardly gets her attention before giving her a hug. Rewatch the clip for the moment he taps her to get her attention. It was a hilarious micro-transaction. Also do Eurovision have a ban on kissing? Becuase that would have been more appropriate as it seems this was a planned moment and would have been more fitting. It’s a nice song… but like all twee minor key ‘girl in love’ music I would likely be out for blood if having endure it repeatedly over the space of a a short amount of time. This sort of music seemed to be everywhere a few years ago.

  1. Austria – Cesár Sampson: Nobody But You

A good, soulful, song. His shirt is of a fabric last seen worn in the early 90s. Actually seeing it again I notice a ruffle on it’s left sleeve. It looks jut like a basic tshirt with a rubberish surface but apparently not. The song starts off well by by the end gets a bit too repetitive for my liking but what are you going to do really? It was a good effort.

  1. Estonia – Elina Nechayeva: La Forza

Sing opera. Wear an elaborate dress they project imagery on. I like it but it feels ridiculously melodramatic even for the Eurovision let alone an operatic performance. I really liked it but it was inevitable something more ‘accessable’ would win… [rant incoming…]

  1. Norway – Alexander Rybak: That’s How You Write A Song

The second, and most motable of the ‘does the audience there see all these effects or do they just see him miming?’ moments. The song title is arrogant thus his manner and everything becomes ‘I’ve done it once and I’ll easily do it again compared to these Eurovision amateurs. The backing dancers look like they escaped from a 90s housing estate. The man’s face at 1:32 of the video sums up everyone’s reaction to this song… Then the guy pulls a violin out his backside and does a shuffling dance. No one in the audience is singing along though at one point in the song he calls on them to. Yeah…

  1. Portugal – Cláudia Pascoal: O Jardim

Pink hair = SJW agenda? It sounds like Dido or the XX but it’s an original song but the influence is there… It came in last place at the end of the night which really was undeserved as it had more merit than some other songs. Ultimately it was a victim of ‘on the night’ having a weak vocal performance. I don’t know if it was the best choice to have the second person come on stage for that one refrain really… who also hasa very retro 80/90s hairstyle. It was a good song so it’s a shame it did so poorly.

  • break position

    The hosts go about goggle eyed interviewing people, making jokes and coming across incredibly awkward even for Eurovision hosts… especially the one with the constant look of shock doing all the work in the green room unfortunately.

  1. United Kingdom – SuRie: Storm

There was a stage invasion during this performance and apparently they’ve chosen to not give the ‘grand finale’ version but the Jury Show version done the night before the final. But fear not for here is the moment!

It was a decent song but admittedly nothing spectacular. I think we should have done better to be honest but then as the memes of Twitter commented Brexit no doubt played its part and everyone joked we should win and then deny anyone coming for the contest visas. But then there’s hold over from the Iraq war resentment and such too no doubt. Some countries, a few which were surprises, gave us points and there were jokes they’ll be seeing a boost to their tourist as an act of their good faith. I think what got to people was the lack of sympathy votes of a point or two from all but a few countries. The audience at the venue however gave her a rousing cheer so t least she has that. She recovered incredibly well after the stage invasion and was given the opportunity to perform again at the end of the running order if she wanted but she declined. As for the stage invader he was rapper, political activist and serial stage invader ‘Dr ACactivism’, who was plugging his book with a slogan on his t-shirt.

  1. Serbia – Sanja Ilić & Balkanika: Nova Deca

Obviously the pipe player got ‘MVP of the night’ no question. The male vocalist reminded me of Rasputin from Hellboy. You know it’s around now I began noticing how few of the perofmrers seemed to be wearing any colours besides black and white tonight which is a massive shift from previous years… it’s ll getting a bit too earnest nowadays. Nonetheless I enjoyed it. Later on, in the green room, apparently the singer kissed the presenter there unexpectedly and people on twitter were commenting on informed consent and such…

  1. Germany – Michael Schulte: You Let Me Walk Alone

The song reminds me of James Blunt, David Gray and singers from the early 2000s. People compared him to Mick Hucknell. He, like the Lithuania entry, has old photos showing in the background to get the emotional response. He was decent in fairness but it’s not the sort of music I’ve ever found appealing.

  1. Albania – Eugent Bushpepa: Mall

I really enjoyed this. His jacket’s design was interesting. People thought he looked like Elijah Wood. I’ve not much to add really. It reminds me of any number of songs I hear as the title song for computer games or at the end of films during credits – but in a good way.

  1. France – Madame Monsiuer: Mercy

How did this not steamrolled over other acts when getting points? They performed 13th and came 13th… It had it all… a message, the performance, while a bit weaker than previous ones, was still strong, they won over the audience… Maybe it’s just it’s very up my street and it charmed me. Admittedly the ‘half skirt’ they both are wearing and her shoulderpads are a bit ‘odd but not in an eccentric way’. The red shoes seem a bit unco-ordinated with the rest of their outfits barring her lipstick and nail polish.

  1. Czech Republic – Mikolas Josef: Lie To Me

Geek chic… or I should say ‘unflattering depiction of intellectual characters in a comedy from the early 90s’… Everyone was wondering what was in the backpack and kept comparing him to the lead character in the film ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’. The dancing was good. The song was decent pop. Um, yeah nothing to be critical off except the costume to be honest. Probably a nice guy but the whole thing gave an attitude he probably is a bit of a wanker ‘lad’ going out on a drinking session on a Friday night in costume for some reason like a stag do…

  1. Denmark – Rasmussen: Higher Ground

Everyone compared the red haired singer to a character from Game Of Thrones. This was a great anthemic song… yet also only got middling vote numbers by the end. This year was baffling. Admittedly the ‘stomping in formation’ choreography is a bit funny but overall it was a good performance. I get it was too ‘one note’ or something compared to others who seemed to completely shift their musical style mid-song this year.

  1. Australia – Jessica Mauboy: We Got Love

Indigenous Australian lady performing for her coutnry and apparently had quite the heartwarming tory behind rising from an amateur ordition on a reality show all the way to performing here. As people noted her dress was far too short for some of the dance moves she was busting out towards the end. Or to be more exact the cameraman’s angle was clearly aiming to get a gratuitous shot or two. Nonethless it was a strong entry from Australia as per usual… but also came near the bottom. On Twitter were a lot of photoshopped maps reminding everyone that Australia isn’t in the southern hemisphere but actually just the other side of Ireland.

  • break position

I can’t remember what happened. More ‘comedy’ and interviews. I think this is when the presenter got an unexpected kiss and everyone suddenly began to decry informed consent and such. Who knows? I didn’t see the exact moment myself just the stillframe shots of her reaction… which looked just like her normal face as she had a PTSD stare the entire evening.

  1. Finland – Saara Aalto: Monsters

If this had been the second act of the evening you would think there was a horror theme to tonight’s finale. People said the backing dancers looked like Fascists or Star Wars rejects. People thought this, rather than the Irish entry, would be the gay anthem of the night. The spinning wheel and going upside down was good. The song is a bit too repetitive for me but there we go. This was second to last in the final votes of the evening which… well it was as good as many others but it wasn’t bad and at least had the backing dancers in interesting costumes.

18. Bulgaria – EQUINOX: Bones

As people said the female singer has a very Lady Gaga/1980s cyberpunk look though she reminds me of Gwen Steffani more so. The song is decent pop though its lyrics are a bit repetitive but whatever… Fun fact: I almost left this off the list by accident somehow.

  1. Moldova – DoReDoS: My Lucky Day

The staging and perfromance is classic Eurovision. The song is classic generic Euovision in sound reminding me of Abba… but that’s it. They’ll be on lots of ‘hilight clips’ no doubt. It’s just all very ‘Scooby Doo chase’ and cheesy 70s sex romp comedy really…

  1. Sweden – Benjamin Ingrosso: Dance You Off

Is this a remix of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Rock Your Body’ song and it’s music video staging? The intro part definitely makes you think of it. So that’s 80 seconds before he actually does his own song… then goes back to the copyright infringing part. Then he begins doing drunk dad at a wedding ‘I used have some moves in my youth’ dancing… The staging is nice for a pop song in fairness but it is quite bland to me.

  1. Hungary – AWS: Viszlát Nyár

It reminds me of a lot of recent rock music with the screamed lyrics. It’s in Hungarian so that’s novel but I swear I’ve heard parts of this in other rock music recently. Someoen joked it was nice to see the band ‘Bullet For My Valentine’ getting work. I can imagine this being on the soundtrack for an action film aimed at teenagers. I enjoyed it and it’s a change of pace for this competition.

  1. Israel – Netta: Toy

Chicken noises. What I’m assuming will get claims of ‘cultural approriation’ from certain quarters. It’s the sort of act that always gets included in the highlights for being flamboyant and eccentric. The sad thing is you can hear she has some ability as a singer but the nonsense noises and such just make it unpalatable. It’s not so much the act itself that bothered people as much as this is what won in the end… personally I’m fine with such entries but there were some that were seriously worth doing better and to have this as the victor feels like it rubs salt in the wound for those entrants.

  1. The Netherlands – Waylon: Outlaw In ‘Em

A Netherlands country singer, who worked with Waylon Jennings before his death so is definitely trained by the best, and his backing dancers who honestly must have been at a loss at what choreography to do to the song short of line dancing… so chose gurning and flailing. The costumes for this all seemed to be wrong. The song was good country music in fairness but I think no one was sure how to stage it at all… also… leopard print? Really?

  1. Ireland – Ryan O’Shaughnessy: Together

A milquetoast song. Due to this one having the dancers depict a homosexual relationship and the tattoos of other acts the showing of the Eurovision song contest was banned in China as it was against their broadcasting regulations. The dance choreography was good. The song is a bit too scchrine for my tates what with the sustained ‘whine’ sounding note. People want Dustin the Turkey to have another go at Eurovision and to go represent Ireland in Israel next year.

  1. Cyprus – Eleni Foureira: Fuego

People said she was a Poundshop (i.e. budget/cut price/cheap knockoff) version of Beyonce. In fairness the dancers are all incredibly well synchonised but this is definitely more about the dance than the song which I swear I heard last year or recently at least. Maybe the dance reminds me of those ‘man in high heels’ ancers that were on British adverts in Britiain a few years ago (if you don’t know what I’m on about by all means go look for the ‘Money Supermarket’ adverts on YouTube). To be honest if this had been performed earlier in the running order I don’t think it would have had the votes it got in the end but it did at least stand out amongst this year’s entries.

  1. Italy – Ermal Meta e Fabrizio Moro: Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente

This seemed like the definite winner to me. However on the night the staging and such was a bit bare bones. I still think, despite getting 5th, this should have done better. This was Italy sending out it’s big hitters with an anthemic song with a message…

THEN THERE WAS AN INTERLUDE WHICH SEEMED LIKE IT WOULD NEVER END. It was slow songs (ONUKA last year were brilliant and other years they’ve had people like Justin Timberlake but it fell on it’s face this year save informing anyone who wasn’t aware that last year’s winner had a heart transplant and is in good health now), terrible comedy sketches by the presenters, interviews, cut aways… it just seemed like an eternity to many people on Twitter with some professing they had lost consciousness or grown a beard in the meantime.

But then finally the votes came along. The world rejoiced… for a moment.

The highlight being the greeting ‘hello humans’… as if the woman speaking was a humanoid lizard or something. The low light being the needless booing when the Russian judge appeared. It’s hard to say things are not political when you have such pantomime behaviour like that…

The Voting results in full

  1. Israel 529

  2. Cyprus 436

  3. Austria 342

  4. Germany 340

  5. Italy 308

  6. Czech Republic 281

  7. Sweden 274

  8. Estonia 245

  9. Denmark 226

  10. Moldovia 209

  11. Albania 184

  12. Lithuania 181

  13. France 173

  14. Bulgaria 166

  15. Norway 144

  16. Ireland 136

  17. Ukraine 130

  18. The Netherlands 121

  19. Serbia 113

  20. Australia 99

  21. Hungary 93

  22. Slovenia 64

  23. Spain 61

  24. UK 48

  25. Finland 46

  26. Portugal 39

Thus Israel won. The gag entry won.

I guess, in a year of such diverse acts, it proves that in such situations where there is so much choice to suit different people’s tastes it’s ultimately the lowest common denominator which ends up rising to the top… and for Eurovision that is novelty acts.

I can’t wait to see how Israel deals with this. Everyone complained about going to Russia due to any number of reasons. Meanwhile everyone will act like it’s perfectly fine entering a country which [insert whatever is the current news coverage when you’re reading this regarding any middle east conflicts and such] happening on it’s borders if not inside them. It’s going to be fun finding out which acts will be barred from entering due to political reasons just as the Russian competitor was barred from entering Ukrainian territory last year and told to perform via satellite feed if at all… [Fun fact: it was the same person meant to perform this year but she didn’t make it through to the grand final].

Usually I enjoy the contest but the near silence regarding the stage invasion by the (even more wooden than usual) presenters acknowledging it and the underwhelming tone of the event, as a whole, really made this worse than many recent years. There were a few outstanding songs but the subdued tone of it all means this year will be quickly forgotten. I think we have all got used to the spectacle of elaborate staging in recent years and that was something that felt like it was missing this year. Perhaps there’s a much tighter budget or something and if so it has had a detrimental effect sadly.

Eurovision 2018 Entrants

These are in alphabetical order and I’ll do a follow up of the live finale in due course.

For coverage of the Grand Final go to Eurovison 2018 Grand Final.

Albania – Eugent Bushpepa: Mall

Uplifting song. It’s the sort of thing that’ll get used in advertising or a feel good TV drama. Not sung in English which hopefully will be the norm this year as I would prefer performers to do their entries in their native language since this is meant to represent each country and not compete for homogeneity. (fun fact: if you look that word up on Google the example sentence it gives is “”the cultural homogeneity of Europe”. But I would comment on that being British and therefore leaving the EU via BREXIT…)

Armenia – Sevak Khanagyan: Qami

Another ‘not sung in English entry’. Very soulful. It’s ‘end credits’ music for a story with a bittersweet ending. It really builds in intensity towards the end. I really like it.

Australia – Jessica Mauboy: We Got Love

I didn’t mind Australia being involved that one year but it’s a little odd to have them in the EUROvision song contest… Inevitably, as seems common nowadays with English language singers, she sounds slightly American. An energetic song and definitely a ‘get up out of your seats and dance’ one. Enjoyable but it doesn’t really stand out. A good entry nonetheless. I can see this becoming someone’s favourite song if it was released unconnected to the Eurovision. Good driving or motivational music for working out due to it’s driving beat.

Austria – Cesár Sampson: Nobody But You

He reminds me of Aloe Blacc’s song ‘I Need A Dollar’ from a few years ago. Kind of a generic pop song as it progresses. I mean I could say that of others but this actually made me think that particular thing… I like the official video for actually doing something a bit more experimental. It’s alright but it seems to rely on the refrain a bit too much for it’s impact. I like it but I can’t see it winning. It gets a bit too repetitous towards the end lyrically.

Azerbaijan – Aisel: X My Heart

This one feels a bit sped up as if you’re playing the video at 1.25 speed on YouTube and yet her voice is soft and restrained… then it kicks it up a gear. It’s a bit ‘Eurivosion anthem’ paint by numbers. There are elements in it that remind me of a number of songs of recent times. Especially with the alternating soft, LOUD, soft, LOUD, juxtapositioning. I feel like this will be an also ran unless the performance at the finale pulls something out the bag. This is the sort of song that is popular on the radio in the summer so maybe it’ll get votes.

Belarus – ALEKSEEV: FOREVER

Looks like the actor Stuart Townsend or musician Pete Doherty in his promo photo. Opens his video by ‘cutting’ his hand for ink and therefore lyrics to bleed out. Pretentious… The song sort of shifts tones a bit too suddenly. It starts off as one thing and shifts to a totally different style. Nevermind he says ‘its something me must call dream’ when you would probably say dreams in that context so the English used is questionable if it was double checked at all. It’s very late 80s/early 90s feeling. I can’t get a grip on it. There’s elements I like but others I just feel are too jarring to allow me to say I like it as a whole. Also it has that repitition of one line issue.

Belgium – Sennek: A Matter Of Time

Instantly I like this song! It reminds me of Moloko or Portishead – that sort of era of music. It, unsurprisingly, considering what she has worked on, has a ‘James Bond film theme tune’ feel to it. I wish the initial ‘echo, echo’ burst of energy was better incorporated; it would have been better to keep the more minor tone until where the second chorus occurs in order to make it have more of an impact towards the end. Another one I’m rating highly.

Bulgaria – EQUINOX: Bones

The intro is very ‘now’. The members haven’t worked together before but it really feels like a well oiled machine. The lyrics are a bit odd regarding ‘I love beyond the bones’. It’s trying to sound deep but it’s like they took a phrase from a randomised English phrase generator and worked it into the song. It’s well made but I can’t say it’ll get far though I hope the members work together again as there’s a seed of potential there. It’s an intro song for a murder drama on TV.

Croatia – Franka: Crazy

The official music video is a high quality production. Another slow, seductive, song. The ‘love, love,love’ bit is a bit too severe a break and then the ‘voice over’ like bit will be interesting to see incorporated. I can’t say it’ll get far to be honest. It’s kind of bland once you step back from it. Another where they add bits that break the tone as if there’s some obligation to do so for the contest and it ruins the song effectively.

Cyprus – Eleni Foureira: Fuego

There’s a nice setting for the official video. It sounds like there’s autotuning to a lot of the vocals which personally I don’t like. It’s very upbeat and another ‘get up and dance’ one. However it also sounds quite generic. I wouldn’t notice this standing out if it was playing on KISS FM or another ‘current music’ radio station. In the official video she has a few ‘nude colour’ clothing scenes but that won’t sway the judges in the end if that’s her costume for the finale. It will however for home votes by horny dads and teenage boys no doubt… except men tend to not vote for these things anyway according to statistics. Honestly this song could have come out ten years ago and you wouldn’t realise it. It’s ‘early era Rhianna’ if you wanted a simple description.

Czech Republic – Mikolas Josef: Lie To Me

Geek chic look. Upbeat but maybe a bit too harsh an intro tonally. The trumpet segway makes it stand out but… it’s clean cut pop but personally it’s a bit ‘rushed’ feeling in it’s tempo. The official video has some visuals reminiscent of Pharell Williams from a few years ago so maybe they got the same video director for this. It’s an okay song but not one I would want to hear repeated too often. Its’s a ‘wake up’ song they’ll probably put about half way through the running order.

Denmark – Rasmussen: Higher Ground

Visually distinct from the more clean cut, clean shaven, entrants. Much more sombre intro and becomes anthemic. Straight away I really like this immensely and it has that distinctly Nordic aspect to it. Their official video isn’t a ‘music video’ like the others but them performing to an audience. That’s refreshing. It’s the sort of song I would like outside the contest but it’s not got that ‘victory grabbing’ je ne sais quoi depending on the crowd on the night…

Estonia – Elina Nechayeva: La Forza

The song reminds me of the music from the Drakengard/NeiR game series. She also performs to an audience. This is a very traditional Eurovision entry. It’ll no doubt do well for that but is it enough? It’s interesting to have classical singing at the contest so who know this might just do it. Singing in Italian might get them some Italian votes potentially though, as I’ve said before, I would prefer nations perform in their native tongue.

FYR Macedonia – Eye Cue: Lost And Found

Eye Que… it’s meant to be a homophone of I.Q. But makes me think of some surrealist painting of eyes queuing in a post office… She sounds very American. It’s a very professional song and official video. It’s a good song but… will it stand out enough to make an impact? The ‘interludes’ seem to cover a variety of styles as if trying to have something for everyone which might put people off. It was enjoyable and eclectic while not being silly. Hopefully it gets them some international coverage and the band will see increased sales after since they’re definitely good albeit not my thing personally. Also cudos on having a guy whose got a receded hairline for once in the competition’s history. Either you’ve a full head of perfectly quaffed hair or our a shiny baldy man… there’s no in between usually.

Finland – Saara Aalto: Monsters

She was the voice of Anna in the Finnish dub of Disney’s Frozen apparently. The music video is good. The song feels generic. You’d dance to it in the club but honestly would forget it moments later. It’s very ‘Eurovision dance music entry’… even for a Eurovision entry…

France: Madame Monsiuer: Mercy

They look like a parody of the stereotype of the French Newwave or how people stereotype Beatniks and, in general, the French at a nation or people at a poetry reading… ‘Look how art house cinema we are’ The song is very good and I’ll listen to again though it definitely has ‘1980s’ tones to it. I have mixed feelings about this. It definitely stands out but it won’t win like other stand out performances have done in the past depending on how it does on the night. Also the pun of ‘mercy’ and the French word ‘merci’ is a bit laboured but then I could say that of a lot of lyrics outside the contest too. Very good. I would listen to more by them. It’s going to do very well, I’m certain, if not possibly win.

Georgia – Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao: For You

That name is a bit on the nose… it almosts sounds like a library classification of what they are. Jokes aside this is really up my street so I’m biased. I want this to win. Even if the intro sounds like it’s leading into a nursery rhyme… It’s just very emotive and has this wonderful soothing impact on you. The sort of song played over a scene of victory as people rejoice. I WANT MORE! In fact when going through the entrants in alphabetic order before the contest I replayed this a second time and it was the only one so far – so that should tell you how much I like it.

Germany – Michael Schulte: You Let Me Walk Alone

It’s bland. It’s a bit like James Blunt, David Gray or one of those singers from around that time.. He’s not a bad singer but it’s not going to get much of a reaction. I wouldnt be surprised if he’s put early on or very late in the proceedings as an also ran entry in the running order. The information on the site more or less described him as a YouTube sensation who sings covers… take that for what it means to you. Once the song’s tempo increased it was much more enjoyable but it was right at the end once most will have tuned him out.

Greece – Yianna Terzi: Oniro Mou

Celtic pipes like intro. It’s a good song and video (if a little pretentious)… but I can’t see it winning. It’ll do well based purely on the capability of the performer on the night. I can imagine this song playing over a montage of someone going over a landscape… which is what the official video depicts with her in a pit. It’s humorous in an all too earnest way.

Hungary – AWS: Viszlát Nyár

‘Modern metal band’ according to themselves. It will definitely standout and could win for being so different. It reminds me of a lot of the ‘soft rock’ sound in recent years. More about screaming than audible lyrics. Actually if you’ve heard the professional lead vocalist ‘screamers’ in such bands and wondered what they would sound like if the lyrics were audible then this is the case study for that. It’s enjoyable as a change of pace from the other entries but it depends who’ll be voting on the night how well it will do. As for me I’ve heard this sort of song a number of times by other bands and nothing stands out in and of itself save they’re of course singing in Hungarian.

Iceland – Ari Ólafsson: Our Choice

A 19 year old who has been in musical theatre. The ‘have a break’ song entry they’ll put after a more energetic one in the running order. It’s incredibly bland and inoffensive. This could have been performed in any year of the Eurovision and not been out of place. It’s the most generic song entry I’ve witnessed… I’m sure he’s a very good performer but the song is incredibly bland.

Ireland – Ryan O’Shaughnessy: Together

He was an actor in an Irish soap opera Fair City. A nice relaxed song. It’s enjoyable. Hopefully it’ll do quite well. There’s not much to add really. The official video depicts a, presumably, gay couple… the dancing is well choreographed as they dance through the streets.

Israel – Netta: Toy

Is she a ‘gag’ entry? The kimono and hair makes her seem so. The video all but confirms the ‘big character’ image… If you took out the bizarre vocal ‘clucking’ bits at the start and during it then this is a good, infectious, song with a very ‘of the moment’ looking music video. Will it win? Probably not but it’ll be a highlight of this year. [edit: Apparently she’s one of the favourites this year so what do I know?]

Italy – Ermal Meta e Fabrizio Moro: Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente

Italy bring out the big guns with an aim of winning at all costs. This will win or come within the top three without question. The official video has lots of political imagery to all but demand points being awarded by the judges viewing it as a protest song. I didn’t like when Ukraine did that a few years ago, let alone the outright ostracisation of the UK entries after the Iraq war, so I prefer politics or any allusion to it be a faux pas in the contest but then with the block voting, despite their best efforts to stop it, and what happened to Russia last year it seems unavoidable. The song is in and of itself excellent. It’s blown everything away so far while going through the entries in alphabetic order. Very anthemic. It’ll definitely be a highlight.

Latvia – Laura Rizzotto: Funny Girl

Woof. This is the sort of bittersweet song I enjoy so without question is one of the highlights for me. The music video is also good though the flashes of harlequinn makeup look needlessly silly like a teenager trying to be spiritually deep because they listened to some sad music. It stands out from many of the others but I think it wont win though it’ll get good scores. I would listen to more by her after the contest nonetheless.

Lithuania – Ieva Zasimauskaitė: When We’re Old

One of those chocolate box ‘spiritually uplifting’ singers like Nora Jones. It’s a nice slow piece and should do well but the winners of Eurovision usually have stand out presentation, a punchy tone or, as last year, some sort of story behind them if they’re a slower piece. It was good but might be too jarring a minor key shift when compared to other entries with the major key, bombastic, songs. She’s good though and I would be interested to hear what else she has done.

Malta – Christabelle: Taboo

The official video seems needlessly cinematic at the start with a Mad Max: Fury Road tone. It actually distracted me from the song. Once it gets going to reminds me of ‘Warriors’ from last year at times but can’t maintain the same impact. It starts building up then suddenly cuts into this song. Also the singer reminds me of the actress Shona McGarty who plays Whitney Dean on BBC’s Eastenders…

Moldova – DoReDoS: My Lucky Day

Folk-pop… sorry they won me over instantly within a few notes but it’s not anything special. Infectiously energetic and fun in the moment. In 2017, DoReDoS won the contest New Wave in Sochi, Russia and there they caught the attention of Russian singer, songwriter and 1995 russian participant Philipp Kirkorov, who composed the song My Lucky Day for DoReDoS’ entry for the Moldovan national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, O melodie pentru Europa 2018. The songs good as an entry but I won’t recall it after this year’s contest despite what I said… it’s somewhat forgettable and I can see that happening during the votes depending where it is in the running order.

Montenegro – Vanja Radovanović: Inje

I like the music video’s cinematography. I really like the song initially and its orchestral instrumentation. However he looks like the bastard half-brother of Peter Serafinowicz… um it’s okay. I think I’m just distracted too much to really say much about the song itself…

Norway – Alexander Rybak: That’s How You Write A Song

The video is well done. That song name though is a bit cheeky any entry let alone by someone who won the Eurovision contest in 2009 thus it comes across as quite arrogant on his part. It sounds like the sort of upbeat happy song with a ‘sing along’ bit that would win the contest… however I’m bitter and thus hope someone else wins because it kinds of screams he’s got an ego with this entry. It’s the British way: we like underdogs but once you’re on top we want to knock you down…

Poland – Gromee feat. Lukas Meijer: Light Me Up

Festival dance music. After the previous entries Poland has played it relatively safe this year with a strong entry. It could win but it’s not the sort of music I listen to personally. It just kind of washes over me and sounds like all ‘anthemic summer dance festival’ music. The guy with the hat looks like the white bastard lovechild of Pharrell Williams and Will.i.am…

Portugal – Cláudia Pascoal: O Jardim

YES! THIS SONG! A striped back focus on lyrics, vocals and accompaniment… however the lead vocalist in the video does sound like she’s risking having ‘off key’ moments when performing in the final… but at it’s core this is the sort of thing I would want to see more of. Then again it’s this sort of striped back, no hiding behind vocalisers and other tricks, performance which won last year so… maybe this year they’ll opt for omething completely different.

Romania – The Humans: Goodbye

The group name combined with the song title… that’s an interesting choice. Maybe they’re robots. As for the song… it’s a bit dreary at the start. On the whole it’s very Bonnie Tyler (or another 80s female rock singer) with a middle aged garage rockband doing a gig down the pub… Enjoyable but I can’t see it going anywhere.

Russia – Julia Samylova: I Won’t Break

A modern style music video. Auto tuning. Repetitous quasi-dance music… but it’s Eurovision so it fits in. The lyrics are good but I don’t think it’s enough. If it’s to stand a chance they’ll have to pull off something exceptional with the staging. She’s in a wheelchair which reminds me of Poland’s entry a few years ago. She did the opening on the Sochi Paralympics in 2014. In case you forgot Russia got ‘banned’ last year so she was meant to perform then but they let he do it this year instead. It’ll end up an ‘also ran’ and likely due to current attitudes receive few votes if the attitude from last year carries over to this year. It happened with Britian due to Iraq and it’ll happen to them too possibly…

San Marino – Jessika featuring Jenifer Brening: Who We Are

Dancing toy robots and an unflattering costume reminding me of the 1970s… then a rapper in a yoga outfit. It’s an also ran. I can’t add much really. It’s a talent contest entry and looking at the information about them that’s more or less confirmed…. a nice effort but… no where near the quality of others.

Serbia – Sanja Ilić & Balkanika: Nova Deca

Balkan traditional music styles fused with rock equates to music I like. I will defintely be checking out more of their music but I can imagine it’s not everyone’s thing. The costumes for the women aare a bit silly but then it’s Eurovsion so it’s all in keeping I guess. If anything I would have preferred it to stay closer to the traditional aspects or was something like ONUKA’s Vidlik…

Slovenia – Lea Sirk: Hvala, ne!

I read the information on her and it’s basically ‘she finished each stage of education early with flying colours’. The offical video is of her performance on stage. It’s good but the song starts with the lyrics ‘my name is Lea’ and then her offering the audience advice on not accepting negativity from others. In others words if she wasn’t a single person’s creation I would swear it was written by a commity of Disney writers the message so trite and the performance so by the numbers. Also epilepsy warning if you want to watch the video… though you probably watched it first before reading this and are on the floor convulsing… She is an excellent ‘technical’ performer and composer but like such people she has all the technique down but none of the raw je ne sais quoi of ‘creative’ genius… She’ll go far in her career but will be outshone by others inevitably which is a shame.

Spain – Amaia y Alfred: Tu Canción

A lover’s duet. I will be shocked if this doesn’t do well. It’s very honest and really should. Sometimes these things come off as cheesy but vocally this really works. Who knows maybe it’ll (hopefully) win! It just has winning entry written all over it without feeling overly manufactured.

Sweden – Benjamin Ingrosso: Dance You Off

1980s synth music. I like it but it’s a taste. Of course the 80s are on trend right now with the younger generations so it was inevitable someone would appeal to that era’s style as openly as this while mixing some moden aspects. It’s okay. I can’t honestly see it going too far though it might do okay during the votes depending how it goes on the night. It’s a bit ‘Justin Timberlake’ sounding.

Switzerland – ZiBBZ: Stones

Siblings who describe themselves as each others soulmates… incesty just like last year’s winners. The song was meant for a Canadian singer but they used it for themselves instead. She’s got a widebrimmed hat and he’s got a topknot. She’s toured with theatre productions and he won a drumming contest. They had five seasons of their own reality TV series. Anyway the song is pop rock and okay but doesn’t stand out really.

The Netherlands – Waylon: Outlaw In ‘Em

Wannabe American Country music singer… but he did go work with Waylon Jennings before he died in 2001 so… he is one. The song was written with Ilya Toshinskiy who was born in Obninsk, Russia but works in Nashville. It’s a very different song to what’s heard at the Eurovision but is this the slow creep of American influence into Eurovision when it’s been one of the few bastions where American influence had been minimal until recently? I don’t mind it but it’s at risk of losing distinctly European sounds despite the efforts of some acts to preserve, and bring into the modern era, their cultural influences. Unintended American imperialism. It’s a good song nonethless.

Ukraine – MELOVIN: Under The Ladder

His promotional photo makes him look like a male model. On stage he looks like a drama student who takes himself too serious to the point you cringe. I think it’s the shirt more than anything. He’s like one of the Goths from South Park… The song is okay and the staging with the on fire stair case is a nice touch but… eh he’s an also ran to be honest.

United Kingdom – SuRie: Storm

It’s a nice song. It will be used on TV promotions and adverts. I swear I’ve heard it used for those at some point but I can’t have. Tonally it’s different from many other entries and in the minor key. Really the UK is still clawing it’s status back after the whole Iraq thing years ago and now there are more competitors than ever doing their best and proving there are musical artists throughout Europe deserving of more recognition internationally than ever. It’s a good song. We won’t win but hopefully get a decent score and anything in the top half would be good. Pessimistic I know as actually this is better than quite a few I’ve been listening to while writing this but there we go don’t want to blow your own trumpet and seem elitist.

My likely high scorers and potential winners:

Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, FRANCE, Georgia, Ireland, ITALY!!!, Moldova (my dark horse bet), NORWAY (though I hope not), PORTUGAL (if they can pull it off on the night though they’re the hosts and you would assume not want to host it two years on the trot), Serbia, SPAIN (!!!), Netherlands (following the trend of ‘the, stylistically or presentationally, stand out performance usually wins’ logic seen in past years).

The running order in the finale will be:

Each act drew in which half of the Grand Final they would perform. As host country, Portugal drew its exact starting position (8) during the Heads of Delegation meeting in March.

01. Ukraine

02. Spain

03. Slovenia

04. Lithuania

05. Austria

06. Estonia

07. Norway

08. Portugal

break position

09. United Kingdom

10. Serbia

11. Germany

12. Albania

13. France

14. Czech Republic

15. Denmark

16. Australia

break position

17. Finland

18. Bulgaria

19. Moldova

20. Sweden

21. Hungary

22. Israel

23. The Netherlands

24. Ireland

25. Cyprus

26. Italy

The running order is being decided to ensure each act has the opportunity to stand out. The producers look at the genre of music, whether a song is performed by a solo singer or group, the use of props, music tempo and various other aspects of each act.

… well Georgia, of my favourites, got knocked out before the finale. Italy are the final act so that might work against them potentially or cause them to have a landslide victory. Spain is so early it might be forgotten by the voting time. Norway is also on early and France is exactly half way through.

I’ll try to cover the finale by the end of Sunday but as I do a post about the competition each year this will be put up just in case I don’t for some reason.

Eurovision 2016

The 61st contest which this year is set in Stockholm.

Graham Norton is commentating for the UK audience on the BBC broadcast. He is still nothing compared to Terry Wogan’s coverage sadly.

My first impressions of each song and performance are noted below. I didn’t watch all the lead up semi-finals etc so I am seeing these for the first time.

There is an epilepsy warning accompanied by a pseudo-catwalk fashion show in the introductions of the competitors projecting their national flags onto avant-garde fashion designs worn by the models. It is a spectacle but could easily outshine the costumes of the competitors’ performances in its extravagance unfortunately. I remember that, year on year, there would be competitors with very unique appearances and performances but if it is going to be anything like last year? I feel like everything is going to feel very toned down compared to the past.


Details on each performer can be found at: http://www.eurovision.tv/page/stockholm-2016/participants


The presenters: No idea who they are. Home crowd loves them obviously. Cheesy jokes – but that happens every year. ‘put our differences aside and join in our love of music’ Petra declares – shame no one said that around the time of the Iraq war as it feels like Britain is still paying for a choice our government made without the support of its citizens. UK viewers cannot vote by text apparently and no reason is given why not. Then Graham rattles off a long list of how the voting has changed and I would be surprised anyone was definite what this meant from what he said. Richard Osmond (who gave our judge’s vote later) made a short film explaining it apparently. I wasn’t aware of it personally. Petra’s dress is awful. It is that oddly washed out vomit tone of salmon which never looks good. A little later the male presenter goes to the stadium next door where people are gathered for some reason and speaks to two previous winners – and cuts one off as she sings Hallelujah! Awkward.


Performers intro videos – nice if a bit unconnected to the performers featured or indicative of their personal nationality. It gives you a few tourism brochure like images of the country but tells you nothing of note.


Belgium: Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure : Disco/ R&B sensibility. Golden lights and sparkly silver clothing. It’s the first person to perform so you already know it’s the ‘no hoper’ for winning. If I heard this on the radio I would enjoy it as an upbeat little song. The dance routine feels very restrained. It’s a nice ‘warm up’ for later acts. Age 19 – Graham keeps mentioning everyone’s ages tonight. Is he feeling a little old or something? Wogan embraced it and mocked the young performers. Maybe the BBC have been very strict with Norton considering some of the things Wogan used to say – but that was the fun part noting the ridiculous aspects of the performances.

Czech Republic: Gabriela Gunčíková – I Stand: Nice dramatic intro. Big contrast to the previous song. In fairness to Stockholm they have really given the performers a massive amount of variety with the under stage lighting effect and everything. This song I can imagine being very effective in a film soundtrack associated with a very emotionally impactful scene but in isolation it feels a bit… numb. It reminds me of Spectre’s ‘The Writing is on the Wall’ theme song. I didn’t like that song initially but it really grew on me over time. I will be surprised if it gets a high level of votes tonight which is unfortunate. Good but in the way that it would take time to be appreciated which sadly a song contest like this doesn’t allow.

The Netherlands: Douwe Bob – Slow Down: Clock floor. Very country music in tone. Wearing a suit with an unbuttoned shirt to expose his throat tattoo just makes it look like he has a cravat. The keyboardist looks like a young Bob Dylan. This is the sort of slower acoustic song I would expect on a boy band album that doesn’t get released as a single. The 10 second stop is stupid. It adds nothing to the song. The lyrics were incredibly repetitive. Tells Europe to slow down… for what reason?

Azerbaijan: Samra – Miracle: Her intro is like a model’s film reel with her posing in a shop and roller skate park. Good timing with the flame effects to add emphasis. Clearly learned from last years winner. In fact I can imagine many of the entrants are really going to go to town with the stage effects… The song is like a B-side of a girl band album where they’ve let one of the less prominent members have a go as lead vocalist. So far everyone’s sung in English… I kind of want people to represent their nation in their own language and show a bit of pride rather than go with what is most ‘commercial’. Outfits wise its like a low-budget 1970s sci-fi film based on a pulp fiction story.

Hungary: Freddie – Pioneer: So again its a ‘stood posing around the city’ intro. Dull. Ooh a taiko drum on stage! The jeans and t-shirt look isn’t doing it for me. The backing singers bouncing on their heels back and forth is ‘dad dancing’so unintentionally hilarious. Let’s face it people will vote for the pretty boy’s face or the drummer who isn’t actually the competitor. The song is a nice anthemic one but… it’s missing that special something but definitely would grow on me very quickly. So far this one is the one I would say is in the lead. Good overall performance.

Italy: Francesca Michielin – No Degree Of Separation: ATTRACTIVE LADY! (If you read my coverage last year I kind of noted which ones I thought were attractive so ;P to any who take umbridge) And she sings in Italian!!! automatically I want her to win. The staging. There are actual physical decorations in the form of floral arrangements. (In the end I think she was the only one to have physical decorations onstagw while everyone else used the back projected scenes). She is wearing odd dungarees that remind me of a Klimt painting… The song is a very nice soft ballad. She kicks it up into English and I am really enjoying it. On the screen are whisps and water drops which an audience there wouldn’t see so that’s not great. The fruit offering at the end is a bit hokey. Overall I really liked it.

Israel: Hovi Star – Made Of Stars: The guy looks like one of the goth kids off South Park. Go look and tell me I’m wrong. A sparkly shirt under a dull black suit. Very emo looking though I thought that fashion faded out a few years ago. He has a good singing voice. The hoop gymnast dancers are impressive but very much distracting and I feel trying to make up for the limited tone of the song as it is much slower than the competition so far. At the end it kicks up instrumentally but he doesn’t really match that energy. It was a good effort but not enough.

Bulgaria: Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime: Side of the head shaved hairstyles are fashionable now. I don’t know if I like the style or not as I grew up seeing it in the British comic 2000AD and Tank Girl as a futuristic punk style so it’s very old-fashioned to me. Her costume is very like a sci-fi cosplay as a sort of military half beige, half black, uniform. She is cute… kind of hitting a few geek fetishes… phwoar. (I’m joking). The song is energetic and she at least moves a bit unlike many of the previous entrants. I actually would like to see her do really well as the entire performance is coordinated in tone and aesthetic. Oh the costume lights up! and the backing singers appear. Yes I really hope she does well.

Sweden: Frans – If I Were Sorry: Franz wears a beanie. It reminds me of that character from ‘American Beauty’ who films a plastic carrier bag moving in the wind. He is being clapped along with so… yeah he has home team support and is a good, if sterile, young male, spray tanned one too many times, performer. Casual but stylishly fashionable clothing which is inoffensive. An upbeat slightly crooning style of song. Words appear behind him. He has what the Might Boosh would describe as ‘shrimp eyes’ usually associated with Julian Barrett. He is only 17 years old Graham notes again. Host nations on the year usually don’t go all out as they don’t want the cost year on year but this was a nice entry nonetheless.

Germany: Jamie-Lee = Ghost: Graham says she annoys him but doesn’t explain clearly. I know she is a Koreanphile. I really like the stage design. Lasers and old black gnarled tree forest. But she stays stood at the front and the backing singers are hidden away so it all feels a wasted opportunity for really elaborate dance choreography. Clearly the presenters little chat between this and the last song was to allow time for it to be set up. She starts in silhouette. Should have stayed that way as her head-dress or even maybe the whole outfit is ridiculous. I feared everyone would be very muted in visual tone this year. My fears are allayed. The song is slow and again maybe something that given a context in a young adult film might get an audience but it feels too weak to compete her. (Later I note they got very low votes. Is it because Eurovision is moving in a more ‘serious’ direction? Is it because of the fetishisation people perhaps felt was implied by her overt interest in Korean culture? Was it just because its Germany i.e. one of the ‘big 5’ nations and there is some bitterness towards them? Or maybe the song just wasn’t up to standard. What do you think?)

France: Amir – J’ai cherché: A trained dentist. Sings in French but adds a little bit of English. Good. Again dressed casual smart in a suit but with t-shirt and white trainers. Works the camera and moves around the stage. Good energy. No great energy! This is a competitor! Doesn’t need much in the sense of visuals as the song itself is more than enough… but then we know Eurovision doesn’t always award talent. (I was proven right in the end sadly).

Poland: Michał Szpak – Color Of Your Life: Long haired guy with a pseudo-rocker look. Graham says he doesn’t like performing. I kind of wish Graham would hold off these comments of his until after the person has performed. (Actually it turns out Graham is correct as this guy doesn’t come across very well). So he is a guy in a circus owner’s long red coat with epaulettes. Black shirt, trousers and shoes. No socks. Another modern look that feels wrong as people would be mocked for short trousers and this look when I was a teenager. The song is lacklustre. He gesticulated a lot. There isn’t much to add really. Ooooh Ooooh Ohhhh. I see violinists but couldn’t hear them.

Australia: Dami Im – Sound Of Silence: I appreciate they watch it ‘down under’ and as a special celebration they let them compete last year but I don’t think they should be a permanent addition to the EUROPEAN song contest. Emigrated to Australia at 9 years old. Won their X-Factor or similar talent show. Stong singing voice. Sat on a glittery box in a dress I would expect to see on a pre-teen beauty queen pageant contestant in America. The way she is sat on the box reminds me of Kermit the frog and any other muppets… The song is good. This is a strong competitor and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see this on another show. Serious competitor despite my views on who should or shouldn’t be allowed to compete.

Cyprus: Minus One – Alter Ego: Band performs in cages. Weird… oh wait they are a rock band so it’s okay. Vocalist has a bit of a whine in his voice so I’m not impressed. Lots of seizure inducing flashing. The song isn’t great as a rock song and as an Eurovision entry is generic. They wear black as shirts, leather jackets and such. Dry ice smoke. Graham should have warned about the light show on this entry even if he did the disclaimer at the start of the broadcast. I will be surprised if this rises above the bottom 5 ( and only then because of political voting). Fucking hell I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone didn’t get a headache from those lights let alone a seizure.

Serbia: Sanja Vučić ZAA – Goodbye (Shelter): Side shaved head again. Graham makes another critical but unfunny observation. Long black (leather?) dress with shoulder tassels and … whatever is happening on her hair fringe. Nice imagery. A dancer interacting with her for the songs narrative of her being a betrayed women standing up for herself. Nice visuals. The song would definitely do well under other circumstances. It reminds me of the late 90s – early 00s James Bond themes. I really like it although the song and visuals don’t really go together if I’m honest.

Lithuania: Donny Montell – I’ve Been Waiting for This Night: Competed before. Might remember him wearing a blindfold as his song was about ‘love being blind’. Has a mini trampoline this time. Side shaved head again. The ‘black t-shirt, black skinny jeans and trainers look that is popular coupled with a white leather jacket. The song is generic ‘I’ve been waiting for this night (to have another go at competing in Eurovision)’. Visuals are… ok. Someone heard the other competitors were going to use it so they made generic splashes and … oh! There was the mini trampoline and dry ice making his jacket disappear! Well that was the ‘hook’ of this performance otherwise… bland as hell.

Croatia: Nina Kraljić – Lighthouse: Partially shaved heads are on trend right now then obviously. Half shaved heads for the girls and the skinny jeans and t-shirt with designer trainers for the boys. Graham comments her dress is too big for her as if she lost weight – he should have saved it for after we saw the poncho dress to get the joke. Her hair is awful. Like someone bought a white widow’s peak wig and put it on wrong but didn’t adjust it. Interesting cape/poncho. Then underneath she has a very art deco dress with extravagant arm wings which are mirrored bits on one side and lavender feathers on the opposite side. Dame Edna has had her wardrobe raided I guess. The song… she sounds off-key. Backing singers/dancers are like cult members preparing for a sacrifice. This is a stereotypical Eurovision entry. I will be shocked it gets a big numbers of votes.

Russia: Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One: Bookies favourite apparently. Had to speak out against his homeland to please voters which really feels like he is going to cause himself trouble once back home. Dressed in black. Using the back screen to full effect for wings and storm effects. Backing singer/dancers appear. Very visually impressive. Definitely Graham’s description of him going on a charm offensive wasn’t inappropriate. Then sat on the screen… climbed as its made of rubber so he could dig his feet into it. They’ve really pulled out all the stops for this. The song is very anthemic and immediately pleasing. No wonder this is the favourite its a near masterclass on combining the best parts of the previous few years’ winners.

Spain: Barei – Say Yay! Apparently her fall is intentional in the middle. Graham is ruining the performances by alerting us to these aspects. (Actually the lights cut out and she is laying sideways, as if on a chez longe, on the floor). He has seen them during the preliminaries but we haven’t! It ruins the expereince for people who just watch the final. Very attractive features. Her hair… guess the style- except she brush it in the opposite direction to the other competitors. She has a sparkly mini dress on and pixie boots. Also gauntlet like jewellery on her left arm. Very good song! Extremely energetic performance and song. Gets the audience involved too! Works the stage wonderfully. It has definitely been affected by being placed directly after Russia’s song but this is certainly up there and deserves a lot of votes.

Latvia: Justs – Heartbeat: Similar to other male competitors he wears the fashionable uniform but with cut out knee slits and a black leather jacket. It’s… not great if I am honest. Subdued performance. He puts emphasis in certain parts but the electronica instrumental doesn’t justify it. This is the sort of song I imagine being played towards the end of the night when the nightclubs want people to leave. Maybe girls will vote for him as he is attractive in a Chris Hemsworth way.

Ukraine: Jamala – 1944: Grandmother was deported by Stalin. Denies the song is anything to do with Russia. ~cough~sure~cough~. Will get votes for its political commentary. Dress is a navy off the shoulder with long arm ‘wings’ piece. Very good song with traditional tones but electronic drum beat. Reminds me of a lot of 80s alternative songs or maybe 90s stuff like Moloko. The lights are red and therefore the focus is completely on her and its a very good performance. A Eurovision winner – we will have to see but I would listen to it again definitely which is more than I can say for most of these songs. I think the only one I listened to again from last year was Georgia’s entry ‘Warrior’. Didn’t sing in English which is a bonus to me. Good entry. (Was the winner in the end).

Malta: Ira Losco – Walk On Water: Was in it 2002 or 2012 before apparently. She is pregnant. Filmed smoke effects to open into it. Then an art deco corridor effect behind her. sequined dress. Lots of cleavage and slit to the thigh dress to expose a leg to get male voters onside. Then a dancer erupts from nowhere and disappears just as fast. The song… it’s okay. Nothing special in the context of the competition. Might get a bit of radio play as one of those songs people half remember and request on Sunday afternoon shows. An also ran entry. Might have done better in past years but the Eurovision has begun to shift to more modern tastes after years of stagnancy.

Georgia: Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz – Midnight Gold: Rock show lighting show with a mirroring effect. Wearing modern fashion in blacks and greys with wide-brimmed hats. Decent rock song. Eurovision tends to prefer spectacle though so while I would definitely listen to this again although it isn’t going to do neither good nor bad vote wise on the day. Then the epilepsy light show occurs. Again, thanks for the timely warning Graham. Also thanks for saying it felt overly long… I felt it passed very quickly. Personal tastes of course but he isn’t funny like Terry Wogan was and I think he is all too aware of it.

Austria: ZOË – Loin d’ici: Sings in French. Has a pastel pink ’16 year olds special day’ type dress on with a single strand wire tiara you can barely see. A gentle use of the wind machine. Pop dance song with violins. Enjoyable. Forgettable. Inoffensive. Will be used in a clip show edit to show this year’s competitors. I probably would enjoy other songs by her but this feels a bit too muted compared to other competitors this year.

United Kingdom: Joe and Jake – You’re Not Alone: Intro features football and rugby because we British handed in our ‘part of globally significant arts’ card a long time ago apparently. And smoke flares. We clearly pissed off someone at a sports match with drunken louts who the travelled to Stockholm… Two young guys so they’ll get girls’ votes. Dressed in the fashion uniform of this year. The song is quite ‘radio play on a Sunday’… It’s inoffensive. Oh fuck – we are going to be in the bottom three again aren’t we? I can already tell. Fuck. I can see the tabloids using this as a weak argument for ‘Brexit’ (Britain exiting the European Union). Decent performance but the other competitor’s came to compete and win – not just take part.

Armenia: Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave: Last entry. Last entries have won before so not saying bad but you can bet it will be one of the good ones as they want to end on a high when some turn over preferring not to watch the voting etc. OOOOH ATTRACTIVE! the lights and pyrotechnics have clearly been invested in. the dry ice smoke too. She is wearing a sparkly black opaque leotard with ‘butt cape’. Dirty old man vote winner of the night. The song is good and changes tone well unlike most of the one note songs tonight. Didn’t quite hit that high note at the end. Shame as a bit more polish and it would have been a serious contender.

Vote time: It was good. I think it is clear who the top ones are going to be. Of course now we have the presenters banter… Oh and she has a green dress on now. It looks terrible. I hope she was forced to wear in. Weird 70s crepe shoulder flower ruffles thing and the ‘skirt’, beneath a narrow silver ‘belt’ is a sparkly abomination like something dredged up from the deep. So they show Ian McKellen and Derrick Jacobi from a scene in that rubbish ITV show they did… which was random. Some come across better in the voting snippets than they did during the full performance and some come across worse as I notice the Czech entry awkwardly hit her top note apparently.

Hungary, Russia and maybe Spain are my ‘top three’ likely to win at the moment. I wish Bulgaria, Italy or Spain would win though. Australia will do well I have no doubt and Armenia deserve a good number of votes. Poland, Latvia, Croatia or Lithuania getting large numbers of votes will surprise me.

Justin Timberlake turns up in the green room because… just because. Oh promoting a film. Nice that we can’t have even one evening where America isn’t involved in any sense. Oh and he is going to sing 2 songs. Great. Bulgaria’s entrant is hovering around in the background. Okay she is winning me over since her outfit is far better than the presenters dress.
Then we get some VTs and such in a supercut of various moments in Swedish musical history and music videos by a guy who did a Madonna video. I will be fair it was entertaining as I recognised many of the songs. IT EVEN HAD PAPA EMERITUS FROM GHOST IN IT! I’m won over!

Then Justin Timberlake. Rock your body. Of course with more backing singers, a more tightly choreographed routine. Inevitably it blows everything else out of the water. Yes please remind us America does it bigger and better. There was talk of letting them compete in Eurovision. I hope it was just a rumour because we all know they are going to go whole hog into winning year on yea until Eurovision becomes amalgamated and just like every other homogenized American product we consume day on day. Nothing against Justin personally as he is very good but I just get a bad taste over the entire matter. Then again Britain has pulled out the stops dragging in international singers in a few years recently so I shouldn’t be overly critical. People joked they wanted to vote for the American entry. Be careful what you wish for…

Malta won the Junior Eurovision. The winner comes on stage promoting the Junior Eurovision. That’s nice as she seemed a little nervous but then many performers come across like that once the stage persona is
Petra chides her boy toy for interrupting her. Now she is wearing an elegant gothy lace and satin dress which is far better than the previous ones. Then they do a run down of ‘things to have to win’ sketch.

Humour can be very awkward but this was actually quite amusing in inoffensive. Oh they got the violin guy back! Then they did the costume change and she has a Shakira like style on ut the top is a one piece with skin tone which makes her look worse than ever! Like some one in their 50s trying to dress how they did as a 19 year old! I am wondering what her actual age is as I;m guessing the way she has been styled tonight has made her look far older than her actual age. Then they do a song which was good. She lets her hair down while he shows off his chest and lots of dancers with very different styles referencing previous entries get on stage. a Very impressive filler while all the voting is going on. Good for them.

Then they have a comedian, Lynda Woodruff, some on as a representative of the EBU while they go off for a costume change. Really falling flat answering some emailed questions. Then she crowd surfs off back into obscurity. Guy is back in open collared shirt and suit. Then a bit of bragging over how often they’ve won on a VT about Sweden’s achievements.

It’s self-deprecating however so they get away with it as they say Eurovision influences their foreign language lessons, gangs, religion, etc.

Petra returns in a flowing Dame Edna Everage dress… Sparkly with a mix of pink raw flesh tones. Like someone who got thrown through a window in the middle of the day into a bottle bank. She introduces the previous winner who does a very ‘Hugh Jackman at an award ceremony’ like performance.

The song ‘Heroes’ still holds up no question. In fact I could argue that putting this year’s winner up next to it will probably make this year look like a step down from last year in terms of quality unfortunately – certainly the fact so many acts adopted his use of back projected imagery proves how effective the entire performance was.

So national votes and televotes are presented separately. How you vote doesn’t change just how they present it. 50% from the voting boards and 50% from the public.

The vote announcers of each country always comes across strained and extremely false in their joy… and straight off the bat Australia got 12 points! Then a guy holding a dog. Oh right so they just say who got the 12 points from each country. I can live with them doing that I guess though it’s a bit less fun than the minute or so of build up for the big numbers. San Marino gave use 8 points. Czech Republic gave us 4. So far we are not doing bad this year which is encouraging. Ireland gave us 7 points. Georgia phwoar lady from last year! 🙂 Gave us nothing though… Bosnia and Herzevogina gave us nothing. I’m going to assume we just had a nice start. Malta gave us 12 points!!!! But that was a political vote if we are honest. Spain gave us nothing. (I should be noting who is giving who 12 points so will do that next year for those interested – oh except they put up a video on YouTube of the entire votes process so no need). Finland gives awkward banter and no points to us though 12 to their neighbour Sweden obviously. Switzerland gave us nothing. Denmark gave us three. France gave us nothing… obviously ;p Moldova lady is very Hello Nurse! Ash blonde, red lips and in a suit and they gave us nothing. Armenia had a connection issue and gave us nothing. Votes seem quite spread this year although Ukraine is getting quite a few. (So ironically even this new style of voting though much closer in its first year of use gave away the final winner early). Cyprus gave us nothing – the guy looks like a sweet shop owner. Bulgaria lady is hello brunette in off shoulder jacket dress and again we get no points. (admit you are enjoying this repetition in the abscence of there being no chance of anyone being ‘nul points’ -nil pwa- this year). The Netherlands give us nothing and their lady wears a jacket with random bits of kryptonite stuck on to ward off Superman. Latvia has a basement dwelling man-child stereotype give the vote and we get no points.

Israel are missing in action so Petra has to buy some time. ‘we are half way through’. Yeah whatever. Her boy toy is in the green room wearing a black shirt and trousers with a white blazer. Are the fascist fashion police on patrol tonight or something? This uniform for men I joked about is a bit too adhered to… Australia is in the lead. It reminds me of Britain’s Got Talent where it’s acts from other countries doing well not our own acts.

Ukrainian lady seems a little drunk or overwhelmed.

Israel sort their side out and we get nothing after the guy uses a little Swedish to flatter Petra. Belarus give us nothing but of course give Russia their 12 points because after all Belarus is beautiful Russia. Germany have their presenter in front of a crowd and give us nothing but emo Israel 12. Russia PHWOAR weird ‘parcel wrapped’ red dress and we get nothing. Norway has their 1985 winner give the vote who give us nothing nor anything to Sweden surprisingly. Australia give us 4 points from an anorexic Asian news presenter with a weird weaved neck ruffle thing. Belgium has a… humpty dumpty brought to life guy give us nothing but Australia 12. UK has Richard Osman give the vote. Nothing for us obviously. We gave Georgia 12 interestingly – its girls voting for a boy band obviously. Croatia has an attractive middle-aged voter giving us nothing but Australia 12 points. Greece has a well-groomed young guy making ladies’ hearts flutter and 12 points to Russia. Lithuania blonde in sparkly white dress and red lips gives us nothing but Australia 12 points. Serbia gave us 2 Points. Very attractive side swiped brunette haired lady in white dress voter. Australia has clearly won its obvious and the new points displaying thing has failed to keep tension. (I was wrong fortunately). FYR Macedonia gives nothing to us and 12 to Ukraine. Albania gave us 5 points and 12 to Australia. Estonia gave us 3 points and 12 to Sweden. Ukraine – WTF mix of traditional dress and the soviet star from the top of the Kremlin… I remember that person. We got no votes and 12 points went to Lithuania. Italy sexy lady, obviously, in a simple red dress giving nothing to us and 12 to Spain. Poland give us nothing and 12 to Ukraine. Slovenia – HELLO! Red hair and leather dress. We got nothing and 12 went to Ukraine. Hungary has a blonde in a yellow dress/coat. Nothing to us and 12 to Australia. Montenegro guy looks like he just walked in off the street and doesn’t speak English as all the others did. Nothing to us but 12 to Malta surprisingly. Sweden’s vote from a Kim Kardashian wannabe in a weird formal dress with cleavage window and sparkles in the shoulder, groin and arm areas like armour. Nothing to us and 12 to Australia.

If Australia win they will partner with an EU member and host it in their country… so that scuppers everyone’s idea of having a jaunt down under next year then. If they partner with anyone but the UK it’ll be a slap in the face of the commonwealth.

And so they move to the popular vote i.e. tele-votes.

Yeah Australia are around 100 points ahead.

*drum roll*

Six lowest voted for countries: 0 to the Czech Republic. 8 to the UK. 10 to Germany. 10 to Spain. 11 to Israel. 16 to Malta. 24 to Georgia. 33 to Croatia. 34 to italy. 39 to the Netherlands. 51 to Belgium. 53 to Cyprus. 56 to Hungary. 63 to Latvia. 73 Azerbaijan. 80 to Serbia.

63 points to the UK in total this year.We have done worse recently so this is a good result despite what the media will no doubt say.

Ten highest voted for countries: 96 points to Lithuania. 109 points to France. 120 points to Austria (which skyrocketed them up the chart). 134 points to Armenia (ditto skyrocket). 139 points to Sweden (ditto but cannot win). 180 points to Bulgaria (ditto skyrocket to second place so far).

Poland, Australia, Ukraine and Russia still need numbers.

Dramatic long pause.

191 points to Australia. So they win with 511 points possibly.

Russia, Ukraine and Poland left.

222 points to Poland. but only to fifth place at this point. went from the bottom to that.

Shocking.

Russia and Ukraine are left now. Kind of ironic considering recent events.

323 points to Ukraine. May very well have won.

So Russia got the most tele-votes. Who got 361 points. So he hasn’t done it.

Ukraine, Australia and Russia.

Russia 3rd place
Australia 2nd place
Ukraine 1st place

(We gave 10 points to Poland in the tele-vote apparently. It must have been patriotic immigrants who voted).

Well I’m glad Australia didn’t win just because of the power it gives them to decide who to partner with to host it next year.

Ukraine winning is a political statement I feel due to the, admittedly denied, implications of the song. It’s a very good song but clearly with this and Conchita Wurst it’s ‘pan-European sociopolitical statement’ entrants who win ultimately. The voting system revision did make it a bit more exciting and concise I will admit so that is a positive move forward for the contest as in previous years the voting seemed to drag on indefinitely.


It’s a shame I can’t embed a link of the condescending tone of the reporter, Nick Higham, on the BBC news immediately after the show coverage ended. He was hilarious and instantly punchable in the face due to his attitude and trite comments about things such as how cheesy it was and the Ukrainian entry adding ‘a well needed tone of seriousness’ as it referenced the ethnic cleansing during Stalin’s era. He obviously didn’t want to cover the event but was forced into it just like the current royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell. Actually add in the political lead Nick Robinson and it seems the BBC are partial to arrogant correspondents named Nicholas at the moment…

Well that was fun. I hope you’ve enjoyed. Comment, Like, follow – all are welcome. That’s all until next year when America is let in as a guest entry with a view to becoming a permanent fixture take care!