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.

Hallowe’en by R.S. Thomas

Outside a surfeit of planes.

Inside the hunger of the departed

to come back. ‘Ah, erstwhile humans,

would you make your mistakes

over again? In life, as in love,

the second time around is

no better.’

I confront their expressions

in the embers, on grey walls:

faces among the stones watching

me to see if this night

of all nights I will make sacrifice

to the spirits of hearth and of

roof-tree, pouring a libation.

 

‘Stay where you are,’ I implore.

‘This is no world for escaped beings

to make their way back into.

The well that you took your pails

to is polluted. At the centre

of the mind’s labyrinth to machine howls

for the sacrifice of the affections;

vocabulary has on a soft collar

but the tamed words are not to be trusted.

As long as the flames hum, making

their honey, better to look in

upon truth’s comb than to

take off as we do on fixed wings

for depollinated horizons.’

 

by R. S Thomas

from No Truce with the Furies (1995)