It's less than an hour to go until Eurovision starts, and that - on past form - means we're only about six hours of bilingual vaudeville until someone actually sings a song.
Tonight is Eurovision 60, which I find puzzling as it feels like this is at least the ninetieth Eurovision liveblog I've done - the first was when Napoleon won with Able Was I, Ere I Saw Elba which of course went on to be number one for around fifteen years.
The most recent was last year, which was won by Conchita Wurst who has enjoyed the full fruits of victory - a position as an answer on every light-hearted year-end quiz; a return for this year's performance; and the angry glowers of fellow countrypeople who are having to fund the 2015 competition from money they could be spending dubbing Family Guy into German.
It's perhaps just as well that Ireland were knocked out at the semi-final stage; given the sheer joy in the country at voting to tell the Pope to go screw himself ("in favour of same-gender marriage") if they also won Eurovision it's possible they'd never stop trilling with joy.
We'll be back as things get underway - in the meantime, there's this:
While everyone's getting excited about the appearance of Australia in this year's event - I KNOW THEY'RE NOT EVEN IN EUROPE IT'S CRAZY WHATEVER NEXT WILL IT BE LIKE MEXICO OR ATLANTIS OH MY SIDES OH MY DAYS AMIRITE? - let's instead spare a thought for the nation who'll be sat at home, flicking mournfully through the events muttering "could have been us" - Liechtenstein, who were going to debut this year but... couldn't afford it:
1 FL TV, the national broadcaster of the Principality of Liechtenstein has confirmed to Esctoday.com that Liechtenstein will not be participating at the forthcoming 2015 Eurovision Song Contest next May in Austria.Maybe they should do a gofundme for next time?
1 FL TV informed esctoday.com that it has no plans to join the EBU at the moment, thus excluding the possibility of participating at the Eurovision Song Contest next year. The broadcaster did state that they are interested in competing in the Eurovision Song Contest, thus we might seen the tiny state enter the competition in the near future.
1 FL TV’s Head of Television Programmes Mr. Petr Kolben informed ESCToday:
We are interested in participating in the Eurovision Song Contest, but at the moment we have to evaluate the costs of the EBU membership. It is very unlikely we will participate in Austria next year.
Also not taking part tonight is Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät, who didn't gain enough support in the semis with this:
I suspect that if they'd made it to the wider vote tonight, they'd have done a lot better but the restricted franchise of semi-final voters are a lot less forgiving of noise rock.
Nick Knowles is doing a Who Dares Wins Eurovision special. Dana and Cheryl Baker are trying to remember as many Eurovision winners as they can - which should be easy for them as they only ever appear on TV programmes with other Eurovision winners.
There's a musical guest at the lottery draw - because one thing tonight is short of is bad music - in the shape of Rixton. Or Micky Pearce Does Pop Idol.
Gaby Roslin and Rixton very excited they "wrote for the album as well". One song. And I suspect it's a co-writing credit.
BBC trailing the FA Cup before Eurovision. Apparently the FA Cup is like Eurovision for dull people.
"With strobe lighting, this is London calling Vienna..."
Ooh, are they doing it outdoors? Or have they just shoved the classical musicians out in the tent?
"The longest contest to date" warns Graham Norton. Twenty seven acts. Looks like I picked the wrong day to give up glue sniffing.
A lot of circle-related prelude stuff right now. That's the theme of the evening. Looks a bit like a bunch of rejected ideas for BBC One idents.
"These bubbles are about to morph into a very large ball" announces Graham. We've all been there.
The ball turns out to be the giant thing that used to follow Patrick McGoohan around Portmerrion.
It's very red. Until Conchita appears from a hole in the ground wearing metallic lilac. Was this last year's winning song? Everyone remembers Conchita, but... her song? Hmm...
The Sugababes take the stage pretending to be the local hosts, while Conchita ascends to heaven. Do all Eurowinners perform an ascension on the day their year as winner ends?
And of course it's the Vienna Boy's Choir turning up now.
Someone else has popped up now. Imagine if Will I Am and Jamiroquoi had a kid. Yeah. That terrifying.
We're introducing all the countries. They do this in the Olympics, but the Olympics doesn't have to be finished in three and a half hours. DO SOME SONGS.
Not the song done by Jam.I.Am, though.
Forty countries going to vote, too. Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up heroi... hang on, I haven't given up heroin, have I? Where's my heroin?
In other news, next door are having a barbecue only it smells more like that they've accidentally set fire to their shed. Photos if the fire brigade show up.
They've done a thing on "our social media platforms" with people "building bridges". Cue two minutes of poorly-filmed, compressed to buggery Euro-optimism.
They're meant to be cute but actually look a bit violent - a Russian waterboarding a Turk; someone else throwing paper angrily across the continent at someone else. A lot of tossing of water in people's faces.
"A very good-humoured competition this year" says Graham. We'll see how good-humoured it is when Cyprus are giving twelve points to Greece.
This year the event is being shown live in China, although there it is called "Western Decadence In Its Most Extreme Ugly Form 2015".
There's an app for voting with. It's like living in the future, isn't it? If, say, you're looking from the perspective of 1998.
Slovenia Maraaya "Here for You"
She's wearing massive, ugly headphones. Dr Dre product placement.
What is with the headphones? Is she trying to drown out her own song? She does seem to be singing to a totally different tune, so maybe she's got some completely different backing track in there.
Things can only get better from here.
Nigel Kennedy on piano, also wearing massive headphones.
Good work by the wind machine people, I guess.
France: Lisa Angell "N'oubliez pas"
Don't Forget. A song named after a notepad you might stick on the fridge.
Lisa is stood in front of a backdrop of some sort of natural disaster.
The backdrop is behind some sort of musical disaster.
It's all a little grim. Like, in some alternate history, Vichy France had chosen to enter the contest.
This song actually smells of Gitanes.
A bunch of drummers have turned up wearing apparent flesh-coloured bodysuits.
Israel: Nadav Guedj "Golden Boy"
From the title is sounds like it could be a Miss Kittin cover, but we're not going to be that lucky, are we?
It's hard to tell with the lighting, but it could be Gary Barlow. Maybe his tax exile status has got out of hand?
Oh, the lights have got better and he looks less like Barlow, more like Mike and/or Bernie Winters. And if either of them did a rap, it'd probably sound like this.
Estonia: Elina Born & Stig Rästa "Goodbye to Yesterday"
Stig is apparently a big deal in Estonia; he's got a bit of a flop to his hair. Max Beasley with a dash of former Communist steel.
Elina stands behind him, singing like a divorce is about to happen in a 1970s Play For Today.
They're a nice couple, but the song is a bit weak.
United Kingdom: Electro Velvet "Still in Love with You"
On ITV, they're claiming Britain's Got Talent. BBC One is expensively disproving that.
Remember, at the moment they have no points. This may be true by the end of the night, too.
On BBC news earlier, the bloke from the band had a look on his face like someone had just sent him a link to Jive Bunny.
I suppose if each nation has a lot of Bugsy Malone fans, there might be a chance of making it to the top half of the table.
But the stuff to make the dress light up ruined the way the fabric hung.
Armenia: Genealogy "Face the Shadow"
Possibly the worst name for a band ever. Who do they think they are?
The concierge from a budget hotel and the world's least stagey dominatrix plod through a ballad in a forest.
Hang on, there's a bunch of the S&M D&D fans. Norton suggested Game Of Thrones; it's a bit closer to fanfic Merlin.
And an angry bloke with a beard. Where did he come from?
Lithuania Monika Linkytė & Vaidas Baumila "This Time"
Monika killed all the birds whose corpses she is currently wearing.
She'd have been great, but the bloke who has turned up with her is a bit of a buzzkill. It's like you thought you were going to be on a date, and she arrived and said "do you mind, I've bought my mate with me..."
Oh, god, they kissed. I suspect this whole event might have been a plot by Vaidas to get to snog Monika.
I fed the cats during Serbia. Sorry, Serbia:
Serbia - Bojana Stamenov "Beauty Never Lies"
Sounded alright as I went through the room looking for a missing kitten.
Norway: Mørland & Debrah Scarlett "A Monster Like Me"
What is with the girl-and-boy pairings this year? Mostly with the girl appearing over the shoulder of the boy at the end of the first chorus.
Neither of them appear to be monsters, despite the title of the song. They're probably just misunderstood.
The song itself sounds like something Lloyd-Webber knocked out quickly to bring the curtain down at the end of the first act.
An hour in. This means some people get commercials, and the rest of us get to see entertainment die. These sequences are probably the strongest argument for abolishing the licence fee.
Sweden: Måns Zelmerlöw "Heroes"
No. Not the Bowie one. Although I'd like to see if you could pull off that.
Norton says "electro-folk", but doesn't make it sound like the warning it should be. Like shrugging and saying "yeah, that's horribly radioactive, maybe shouldn't be holding that..."
Oh! He's the guy with the imaginary little friend. And some fake rain.
"We are the heroes of our time" he sings. Although that's setting the bar pretty low, isn't it?
Not that keen on the song, but have a strange urge to find out if Pepsi have just launched a new variant.
Also, the first contestant to pull off wet-look trousers tonight. Or maybe he's just wet himself.
Sidenote: Mans believes that being gay is a "deviation", so he can fuck right off. (He claims it was a 'miscommunication', as homphobes tend to when called on it.)
Cyprus: John Karayiannis "One Thing I Should Have Done"
The manager of your local building society is having a go at being a pop star. The song's not great but he does have the power to grant up to 97% loan-to-value, so be kind to him.
"I broke your heart/now mine's broken too." You've only got yourself to blame, chum.
Australia: Guy Sebastian "Tonight Again"
Oh, Guy's dressed like a cricketer on an early morning pre-Test series photocall.
Apparently, if they win, we don't go to Australia next year, but the Australians get to choose which country will host. That's disappointing.
There's some fist-bumps on stage; the song might work if it was being done by an S Club 7.
Belguim: Loïc Nottet "Rhythm Inside"
The son of the chair of the Governors meets The Tomorrow People.
Oh, he's having a lie-down.
This is the best song so far tonight. But it's not a Eurovision winning song.
(It might actually be a Rhythm Nation-era Janet Jackson song.)
Austria: The Makemakes "I Am Yours"
The home team. Or possibly Kasabian pretending to be Austrian.
I suspect we're in for something a bit Live And Let Die-y here.
"Apologies for the loss in transmission there, we hope you enjoyed that extract from Top Of The Pops 1978. Now, back to Eurovision."
Ooh, fire on stage for the first time this evening. Because the piano is on fire.
A quick jaunt backstage while they put the burning piano out.
"Why do we even have a green room?" asks Conchita.
Because otherwise the artists would have to stand outside waiting to come on, presumably?
Greece: Maria Elena Kyriakou "One Last Breath"
That sounds like it's going to be a cheerful one, right?
She's come as Ray Of Light era Madonna.
Luckily, her accompanist has found a piano that isn't burned out. I say "luckily".
Jesus, she's got long fingers. I haven't seen a finger that long that wasn't made out of foam and on the hand of a sports fan.
This is a song that should be angry and booming, but appears to have been sent to anger management and so it just sitting in the corner counting to ten.
Montenegro: Knez "Adio"
We're running out of songs, and there's been nothing truly outstanding yet. Who knew that 27 might be not enough songs?
This is starting with some pleasant relaxy-local-colour-background doodling.
Knez is an evil magician who is attempting to hide his plans to kill us all with trained magic doves by singing ever-so-gently.
You've not fooled me, Knez.
Germany: Ann Sophie "Black Smoke"
Ann, of course, is the runner-up who won default when the other guy didn't want to do it after all.
Ann is stroking herself in a way that clearly is sexier in her head than it is on screen.
I can't decide if she had a dance routine she's forgotten; if she's forgotten she doesn't have a dance routine; or if they've paid a choreographer but been ripped off.
You have to wonder what the third place song in the German qualifier was like. Poor Germany.
Poland: Monika Kuszyńska "In the Name of Love"
Poland next to Germany. That's always a recipe for disaster, if history is a guide.
Lots of drapes. If this piano goes up as well, there's going to be tragedy.
Not sure about the footage of 'before she had an accident' being thrown on screen. What message is that meant to be giving?
The song is no less floaty and formless as the massive curtains at the back of the stage.
Latvia: Aminata "Love Injected"
Love Injected could be filthy from the title.
This is like something from Bjork's spare hard drive. A slight element of 'Kate Bush goes to the Hitman And Her'. I think I like this one.
Romania: Voltaj "De la capăt (All over Again)"
I think these are like the Romanian Wurzels or something like that.
They do good work for charity, though, helping kids and that. Which is lovely. But we must be tough. Good deeds butter no Eurovision parsnips.
Oh, Ming The Merciless has turned up trying to fit into his wedding suit.
And using pictures of the children you're trying to help with your charity is just squalid. Really squalid.
Spain: Edurne "Amanecer"
One day, it'd be great if a singer came on stage and said "shall we take the dramatic, low-key opening as read and just get to the bit where it all kicks in?"
Has she paid that bloke just to hold the end of her train?
Oh, no, he's a dress thief. Blimey.
(I wonder how many times that went wrong in rehearsal. I'd like to see film of that going wrong in rehearsal.)
Hungary: Boggie "Wars for Nothing"
Wars for nothing. Because, like, war - war is stupid. Right? Do you understand?
Ooh. Off-key. I mean, I know the sentiments are fine but... you should try and hit the notes every so often.
This clearly was written for a year ten assembly about history, but somehow got overpromoted.
Felt like the Hundred Years War. About as welcome as another Schleswig War.
Georgia: Nina Sublatti "Warrior"
Georgia have gone full-on Goth.
YOU WOULDN'T UNDERSTAND, STRAIGHT PEOPLE.
*drinks half a bottle of Mad Dog in the park*
I'll level with you: I know this is a tribute to Ruslana, but done with half the gusto, but this year, a misfiring Ruslana tribute is the best we can hope for.
"I've been a danger for too long" goes the lyric, and clearly that's not true, but she's probably made a couple of people on the bus feel a bit jittery in case there's something living in those feathers on her shoulders.
Azerbaijan - Elnur Hüseynov "Hour of the Wolf"
Awkward moment when there was a camera pointing down a woman's shirt, which I hope to god was merely an accident.
Back on stage, there's a guy dry humping the stage. I hope to god it's dry humping, or at least someone can get a mop on before the next act.
The hour of the wolf feels more like a month and a half of a a dachshund.
Two hours down. How are we all doing, people?
Russia: Polina Gagarina "A Million Voices"
This isn't the song that Harry Hill used to say that he liked the best. Probably more 'a million voices calling out in pain'.
Russia have sent a woman off a box of hairdye. (Shade 23: Uncanny blonde, if you're wondering.)
The drummer is pulling a Steve Coogan face.
The odd thing - if they've got a million voices, couldn't they have found a better one to do the singing?
Went down well in the room. God help us all.
Albania: Elhaida Dani "I'm Alive"
Well, the good news for Albania is it looks like 1980s hairstyles have just arrived in Tirana.
Elsewhere: Philip Schofield has deployed the Irony Hashtag.
Italy: Il Volo "Grande amore"
Not only almost an anagram of Il Divo, they pretty much are Il Divo. But the good news is that they're closing off the first chunk of the evening.
Hang about. Timmy Mallett.
If you close your eyes, you could just about buy this selling liqueurs during a mid-December ad break on Channel 4.
Now, the people of Europe will spend the next few minutes voting for the songs they can just about remember through their drunken tears.
The Sugababes have changed from black dresses to white dresses. No expense spared.
"You can't vote for the United Kingdom, because you have self-respect."
Lines open & 36% of UK voters are restrained by their loved ones with screams of "remember what happened last time you voted??" #Eurovision— Law Geek (@law_geek) May 23, 2015
I've just checked; there isn't an alternative version of this programme on Channel 4 being done by Jeremy Paxman and Louise Mensch. I think Channel 4 have missed a trick there.
Oh, fuck, it's Drum Theatre.
This is what a cry for help looks like, everybody:
I going for 1. Serbia 2. Sweden 3. Lithuania - Serbia had a fabulous Zedd/Stay the Night 'Reveal' which tipped it.. #BBCEurovision— Ed Balls (@edballs) May 23, 2015
So, Ed Balls thinks Serbia will win it. Mind you, he believed he'd be doing an emergency budget next week.
This just in:
They're still drumming. It's like a polite version of Stomp.
Another run through of the songs. If you've not voted yet, it's because you are refusing to vote until you can use a postcard or a sealed-down envelope.
There's only one minute left to vote.
"Europe... Australia... are you ready for the countdown?"
"What am I, chopped liver?" asks Israel.
There's a massive bang at the end of the countdown, which is either intended or that blasting through in Wookey Hole has gone awry.
Conchita Wurst on again, burning off the last goodwill like the brandy on top of a stale Christmas pudding.
"My whole album's my favourite track" reveals Conchita. Which also suggests they're all equally poor.
Here's a quick public service announcement:
I see Ugly Betty's nephew won Junior Eurovision, then.
They're counting votes in the background. Galloway demanding a recount.
And we're off to the Green Room.
More Conchita. Very much the 'hey, people like horseradish on their beef, so let's just make an entire bowl of horseradish that's how it works, right' of Eurovision.
Results at last!
Montenegro more overdressed than any of the contestants.
12 goes to Serbia.
Malta wearing a sensible sweater. There's a grudging one point (the 'dont take away the George Cross) for UK; 12 to Italy.
The scores do an annoying ping like an email coming in which is already more than we need.
Finland does a joke that requires explanation from Graham (without that, just sounds like she's a bit desperate). 12 to Sweden.
Greece has clearly been drinking. Their 12 to Italy.
UK still has a single point thus far.
Portugal vanishes from the screen so they move on to Romania.
Romania just shows off. 12 to Italy.
At least so far it's not one running away with it.
Belarus are the first nation with a bloke doing the scores. He's in a salmon jacket he picked up from a charity shop this morning.
UK still on one; Belarus give their 12 to Russia. Putin puts the phone back in the cradle and strokes his cat.
(The famous anti-boo technology working poorly now, probably overwhelmed.)
Albania's host has had to break off from serving in a Chuck E Cheese to give his 12 to Italy.
Has nobody been to check on Portugal yet?
Moldova's scores come from an Am Dram version of Dynasty. 12 to Romania, surprisingly.
Azerbaijan thank Austria for the amazing show. So they're bullshitting even before the 12 goes to Russia.
Latvia's votes come from Nick Tilsley off Corrie with a birdnest on his head. 12 to Sweden.
We still have just one point.
Graham Norton has started to get a bit Wogan on the votes commentary.
Serbia - off the shoulder dress compensated for by hair over the same shoulder.
12 to Montenegro.
So far, Austria, France, Germany and Poland all on zero. Bad days for big Europe.
Estonia vanishes before they can give their scores. Maybe Putin thought they wouldn't give 12 to Russia, and pulled the line?
Denmark are wearing a market leather jacket. 12 to Sweden.
Switzerland are dressed for a space wedding.12 to Sweden.
Belguim are a David Walliams tribute act. 12 to Sweden.
All this love for Sweden isn't helping best Russia.
France are immaculately turned out. 12 to Belgium.
Clearly the dropped ones are being pushed to the end.
Armenia are dressed like it was dark when they got ready, and too far from laundry day. 12 to Russia.
Ireland give us a grudging point. That's two grudging points. Strong votes for Sweden & Russia, so the homophobes in Ireland pulled something back. Their 12 to Latvia.
Sweden give 12 to Australia. Perhaps for a joke.
Germany have clearly broken off a bitter divorce to be here tonight.
She just called Conchita half a lady, which was... let's say misjudged, shall we?
12 to Russia.
Ooh, Australia are about to vote. Sternly.
You'll note we don't even get a grudging one from them. 12 to Sweden.
We're half way through. Looks like Russia might win this. And ElectroVelvet are dead in the water.
They're still convinced the news will be on at 11.35. Good luck with that, BBC One.
Czech Republic. Ooh, that's the first dress I'd happily wear. But I bet it leaves a pile of shit behind when you sit down.
12 to Azerbaijan.
Spain pad their part somewhat. 12 to Italy.
Austria are dressed like a vice president of mermaids. 12 to Australia.
Macedonia look like they'd pretend to forget their wallet if you went on a date with them.
12 to Albania.
UK still on 2; Germany and Austria on zero.
Slovenia praise the event for making dreams come true. They play their part by giving 12 to Sweden.
The hall now chanting for Sweden - which is odd to see a homophobic singer being given support to avoid having to go a homophobic nation.
Hungary have their entire GDP round their neck. 12 to Belgium.
Now, it's Nigella. She won't pad her part. Although she does have Zoom-Zoom on her breast.
Blimey, we've taken Sweden back to the top.
Georgia, coming straight off the set of Blakes Seven, and then vanishes.
Lithuania dressed like a cheap choc-ice. 12 to Latvia.
Netherlands better not move too much or there'll be an incident. 12 to Belgium.
Poland have, erm, flowers on their hair. 12 to Sweden.
10 more results to go. (Unclear if that includes the ones we've had to skip).
Israel are dressed like your Dad. 12 to Italy. Which is what your Dad would have done.
Russia's bloke is trying to not look evil. The joke about giving 12 to Russia goes down like a Soviet tank in an independent state. Actually goes to Italy.
San Marino give three to ElectroVelvet - more than the rest of Europe put together. Their 12 to Latvia.
Sweden are pulling clear ahead.
Italy have stolen your watch. 12 to Sweden.
We've been watching this so long the Sky Box started to go into sleep mode.
Iceland's 12 to Sweden makes them almost untouchable.
Cyprus have their scores being done by someone who did the news on NBC in the 1970s. Probably wearing the same jacket. 12 to Italy.
Sweden have won. They've called it.
Putin is hoping he can get his deposit back on the conference centre.
Norway have sent a Manic Pixie Dreamgirl to do the scores. 12 to Sweden but it doesn't matter now.
Second crack at Portugal. They had a chance when voting meant something, you might recall. 12 to Italy.
Estonia are there again, like a bad drawing of Willow from Buffy. 12 to Russia.
Georgia - Blakes 7 lady. 12 to Armenia. And that's it for the voting.
So, Sweden win.
The UK only score five, which is probably five more than we deserved. Austria didn't get a single point in their own living room, which is just rude.
They're dragging out the closing minutes. Which, frankly, they don't need to do.
Conchita hanging about on the edge of the screen, slowly moving off the sides.
God alone knows how damp those trousers will be on the inside after four hours of studio lights and voting.
In case you were worried: the neighbours' shed didn't burn down, although there was a mysterious visit from a security firm roughly around when Cyprus was on.