Saturday, May 12, 2018

Liveblog: Eurovision 2018

During the Second World War, the Ministry of Defence ejected the inhabitants of Imber from their village, so that their homes and streets could be used for training purposes. All these years on, the MOD still controls the settlement and limits access, although once a year - just once a year - the Church is thrown open to hold a celebratory service.

In much the same way, No Rock & Roll Fun has been depopulated for generations, and its comments areas reduced to being used for testing ballistic bollocks of SEO spam, but on this one, very special day, we're allowed back inside to mark the occasion of Eurovision.

Although since we're here we'll also point out that Bono's son is as much of a tiresome arse as his dad.

We'll be back in about an hour, where we'll bring you exactly what you haven't been missing since we went on hiatus: gratuitous rudeness about musicians just trying to do their best; shoehorned in gags about Brexit; high-concept puns that miss their targets and really, really bad typos.

Did you miss us?
While we were away?

*sounds of silence sweeping through the air*

If you're looking for a better way to follow Eurovision, by the way, @neilslorance could be your man:

Pointless is doing a stage actors special, rather than a Eurovision special, which is all wrong.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm writing this on drugs: LemSip Max. The daytime ones, which are Iron Man colourschemed; not the nighttime ones which are Spiderman colourschemed.

We're sharing this country with some sour-faced types, aren't we?

We're off! Graham Norton is promising us we'll see every nook and cranny of Portugal tonight. Thank god it's a small country or we'll be here all night.

Is this last year's winner kicking us off? Didn't catch what Graham said, and have no memory of the song which won last year.

No, hang on, Michelle Williams doing Gwen Steffani is now on, doing something to the sound of men drumming on a bridge. This is not a euphemism.

There's some business with flags this year, with your Uncle Dan and his son Matt, just out of prison, being allowed to do their wedding disco dj act, as flags of all nations are paraded on stage.

It's like a little chance to take against the singers before they even have a chance to sing a single note. It saves time, I guess.

The flag bearers are dressed like sailors. Well, not sailors, Jean Paul Gaultier's idea of what sailors might look like.

"There is no clear winner here" says Graham Norton, which is something you'd have thought he'd have learned as standard during the half decade he's been doing this.

Oh, turns out he means there's no clear favourite.

Theres a bunch of ballads, promises Norton. Great, that'll keep the energy up.


I think I saw at least one person channeling Starsky And Hutch pimp stylings there, so there's that.

The hosts are coming on. Oh god, there's four of them. It might be Four of Diamonds, finally bobbing back up to the surface.

We have the power, it's promised. ("Alongside the juries", so not all the power then.)

Graham explaining how we vote in the UK. You have to #usepens, apparently.

Under The Ladder

Melovin is meeting a horse in the pre-performance role. Interesting name. There's only one Melvin with the hole in the middle.

Holy shit he appears to have been buried alive. What the hell?

His coffin has opened up to eject him, like a weird vampiric Stannah stairlift.

"Curtains down, I'm laughing at the trial" he sings, like some sort of far eastern David Platt.

He also suggests that the wind is always fair, which for someone who gets is whipping into him straight from the Urals is quite generous.

His coffin has now turned into a piano.

Amaia y Alfred
Tu Canción

Amaia and Alfred have cooked some food in the hot springs of Portugal. In real life, they're a couple - but have only just become a couple. Whether their relationship will be able to withstand performing this plodder in front of millions is anyone's guess.

(Spoiler: it won't)

They're singing in Spanish, which is interesting - this year is the year that a record number of contestants are doing songs in their own language rather than English. Like we've gone already, isn't it?

Lea Sirk
Hvala, ne!

Lea Sirk has gone to look at a lighthouse. That's a sign that Portugal is running out of nooks already, isn't it?

Disco! Disco! Disco! Disco!

This sounds like something that would have turned up in the second half of The Hitman And Her. The bit where you wake up and realise you hadn't made it to bed yet.

She's not bad. It sounds like a disappointing track from an otherwise OK album.

Hang on, she's trying to get the audience to clap and sing and along.

Ieva Zasimauskaitė
When We're Old

A wind farm. We're now into the 'underwhelming school trip ideas' part of the pre-song films.

Is she going to stand up and have some drums kick in after the first verse? Or is she intending to sit down for the whole thing and let it dribble towards us?

Nope, she's going to sit for the whole lot and let the heavy lifting be done by some superimposed ghosts.

Hang on, she's up and moving about. (I haven't said that with the same level of relief since my gran got over her fall in 1977)

Someone has now turned up to help her off the stage.

Graham says it was pared back. True, but pared back leaving nothing.

Cesár Sampson
Nobody But You

Cesar has been sent cycling.

Cesar's aunt is Pepsi out of Pepsi and Shirlie.

He's got a nice shiny shirt on, which I bet is making him sweat like a bastard. "It wouldn't be right, letting you go" he says, which maybe sounded less creepy when he wrote he.

So, in the Pepsi family, he's very much the sugar-free version.

Elina Nechayeva
La Forza

Elina is being forced to scramble up the side of a mountain to introduce her song. So she's putting in the effort, then.

Oh my, her dress appears to be a functioning brain of a giant sea mammal.

This is an opera style song and not one of the good operas. It's an opera written by someone who doesn't really like opera and thinks it's just women going "waaaa-lllaaa--aaaaah" at a high pitch. I think I mean Andrew Lloyd Webber, don't I?

Alexander Rybak
That's How You Write A Song

There's a hostage to fortune in that song title right there, isn't it?

Alex is looking at some street art before the song. He's done a picture of a doggy.

Oh, jesus, he's got ghost instruments. He's done air guitar, air drum and air violin in the first ten seconds.

The track sounds like it desperately wants to be advertising a second-string fizzy drink at some point in the mid 1980s. Something not quite as good as Quatro.

Oh, enough with the doo-dabby-dab-doo-heys.

Alex seems convinced "how you write a song" is just splotting out some jazz-scat words in a jaunty fashion. Clearly never seen Words And Music with Hugh Grant, has he?

Cláudia Pascoal
O Jardim

Home team time. Claudia has been sent to meet some jolly Jack Tars on a sailing clipper. She doesn't look thrilled.

She's started singing now, and still doesn't look thrilled.

Very much pitched at the 'we don't want to be embarrassed, but we really don't want to have to host this again next year' sweet spot.

The hosts have popped back, and did a joke about listening to music "straight" - "well, that's one way to put it". Because it's gay. DO YOU SEE?

There are adverts in the rest of the Europe. We get people doing creaky gay jokes.

United Kingdom

SuRie's pre-song bit looks like one of the Aldi adverts where they make people go to farms as punishment for being rude about discounters on Twitter.

She might have picked this song up at an Aldi, too, come to that. It's a 'great summer of sport on ITV4' idea of anthemic.

There's an incident - jesus, someone's pinched her microphone. She's carried on like a pro, though.

She looks really pissed off. May have got her some sympathy votes, though.

Panicky cut to the green room, where they're doing a really nervy interview to try and cover the problem without referencing what actually happened.

She's so relieved to pass back to the music.

Rylan's fucking ready for a fucking fight:

Sanja Ilić & Balkanika
Nova Deca

This is quite nice in a Dead Can Dance meets Ming The Merciless way. But meanwhile, let's take a look at that stage invasion again:

Michael Schulte
You Let Me Walk Alone

"Germany's answer to Ed Sheeran", apparently, which you would have thought would have been "no, thank you"

Michael goes to see some birds.

Oh god, he's not an answer to Ed Sheeran; he's like the North Korean nuclear program's attempt to create an Ed Sheeran.

One love! true heart! His lyrics are basically a stream of shit tattoos. I suspect the chorus is going to be "peace, but written in Sanskrit."

Eugent Bushpepa

Eugent is wandering down a canal, like a poor man's Timothy West.

Tuck your shirt in Eugent. You're on the television.

He's clapping... but not in time with the song he's singing.

This is 'hair band, but somehow they've been booked to do a wedding and so are doing their best'.

Madame Monsieur

Ooh! A funicular railway. If Monsieur ever quits, Michael Portillo would be happy to fill in.

Some serious shoulder pads going on here with Madame.

I'd been hoping it was going to be a solo artist playing about with gender, but instead they're just a translation of Him And Her without the Zooey Descahnnel.

It's good that someone is addressing the European refugee crisis at Eurovision. It's just a pity the song is such a hostile environment to a tune.

Czech Republic
Mikolas Josef
Lie To Me

Mikolas has been sent to do whatever the Portugese equivalent of Morris dancing is.

Oh god.

Just no.

It's a Hubba Bubba advert.

If the Fresh Prince was Prince Edward and not Will Smith.

Higher Ground

Yes, Denmark. You're Vikings. WE GET IT.

Very much the opening theme to an attempt by European broadcasters to make something for the Game Of Thrones audience.

"Freeze the arrow in the air, make your mark and leave it hanging there." That's not how arrows work.

Jessica Mauboy
We Got Love

We've finally all got over Australia taking part, right? They've been doing it for years. We're no longer surprised, are we?

That's a no, then.

I like her dress. Like a proper Dairy Milk wrapper from back when they came in foil rather than plastic.

It's only two-thirds of a song, though, which is a shame.

A scheduled break now, with a less panicky visit to the green room. This does mean they're doing a bit of prescripted bantz, though. I think I prefer it when they're all confused.

Saara Aalto

Saara has been sent off to do some golf. So she's suffered enough.

She's come dressed as a soap opera goth. And holy shit she's been strapped to one of those rotating wheels that magicians assistants are lashed to so that they can have knives thrown at them.

And her dancers are like Nazis from a sci-fi series set in a near future dystopia on BBC One for Saturday nights in the 1970s.

SuRie has been offered a second crack, but she's turned it down.


First pan pipes of the evening.

Meanwhile, looking back at the awkward green room bit:

Back at the Bulgarian entry, and never have so many people put so much effort into a song with so little result.

My Lucky Day

The band have been sent to... some trees or something. Oh, a country house.

DoReDos was, of course, used by most Moldovan PCs until they got hold of some dodgy copies of Windows XP.

They're singing behind the doors from Rowan And Martin's Laugh-In.

"I walk into temptation; something tells me we can make some music." Yes, but you really should resist that temptation based on this.

"Oh my god, I love your chicken" the host says to a member of the audience.

Benjamin Ingrosso
Dance You Off

Benjamin has also been sent to a farm. They're really running out of ideas now. He's making cheese, like he's doing one of the dull 'local colour' bits on Escape To The Country.

Ooh, he has some slinky hips.

It's fair enough to admit that he's basically bought a 'How To Be Michael Jackson' guide from the back pages of a comic, but at least he read it to the end.

He also appears to be doing a vocoder voice with his actual voice.

Viszlát Nyár

Some sort of wandering about at a castle for their pre-song bit.

Oh, this is tonight's ROCK ENTRY.

This is the sort of rock that won the Cold War, people. Give it some respect.

Little bit more respect.

Okay, that's enough respect.

You can buy Levis in any high street in Eastern Europe now. Your work is done, guys.


They don't even seem to have bothered to come up with something for Netta to look at. Just got some people to hang around with her.

Bjork, if Bjork was made with High Fructose Corn Syrup and artificial sweetners.

It's got some snap to it, but it's so self-consciously quirky that it's hard to like.

The Netherlands
Outlaw In 'Em

Waylon's making bread - no, hang on, he's making those tarts they sell in Nandos.

Waylon is the Starsky and Hutch pimp dude - remember him, from two hours ago? Although this song is more designed for a southern cop series - he's a maverick, struggling with a divorce and a drink problem; he's getting his ass busted by the suits down at City Hall.

"Everyone's got a little outlaw in them" he sings.

Ryan O'Shaughnessy

Ryan has gone off under water, because they've run out of dry land to take people onto.

This is the song that upset the Chinese, because of the same-gender snogging in the dance routine. It would have also upset Chinese gays because frankly if you're going to have two hot boys kissing, they deserve a better soundtrack than this.

This is a fair point:

Eleni Foureira

They've sent Eleni off to do some cooking in a greengrocers.

Now, that's a statement outfit. Can the song rise to the outfit?

Oh, yes. It can.

Although now it sounds like there's a kazoo somehow got into the mix.

One left to go...

Ermal Meta e Fabrizio Moro
Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente

This bunch have been taken to a circus. They're cruel bastards in Portugal.

Ah, a jolly song about all the terrorism in Europe. That's a high spot to end the contestants upon.

And we're done. All over. Except the voting. And... this bit in the middle.

They're explaining the voting, and reminding us of the many horrors we have survived this evening.

Here's a grab of that invasion:

A wartime scientist is rushing on stage to stop a Butlin's kid's show pirate from interfering with Annie Lennox.

We're about to celebrate Lisbon, everybody. A place that brings together "songs from all places". Including, it turns out, from under the fridge.

If the stretching of the pre-song films didn't make you think about cancelling plans to fly to Lisbon, this musical celebration will have you trying to get your money back off from EasyJet.

Another voting recap. Even when Hitler died they didn't make him have his life flash TWICE in front of his eyes.

If I'd seen Dennis Nielsen had died before that last entry, I could have gone with a more topical monster.

The worst thing about Twitter is that we get Graham Norton reading out a long list of people having parties.

He's also chiding the stage invader. It's not what you do, no matter how worthy your cause, scolds Norton. Yeah, rot in hell, Emily Davidson.

Portugal now explaining why they didn't win for 53 years with a 'comedy' bit. This comedy bit explains why they won't win for another 53 years.

Still an hour of this go, everyone.

Turns out Moldova was more interesting from behind:

If you've been wondering what the most shoe-horned reference to Eurovision would be on timelines this evening... I'm calling it for this:

Ah! This is last year's winner, but doing his new single. He seems blissfully unaware that European viewers give about as many fucks about his new single, as points Norway traditionally get given.

Now he's going to do a duet version of last year's winner. He's really spoiling us.

Did last year's winning song really last fourteen years? Because it is right now.

Why are they doing the voting recap again? We've had long enough to do a fucking postal vote, never mind a phone-in.


They're finally closing the voting.

They're doing that bit where an old guy mutters into a microphone.

We're into the scoring

Ukraine - Charlize Theron in spy mode gives 12 to France. Nothing to us.

Azerbaijan's Matt Baker gives 12 to Albania. Abania now lead on alphabetical ordering.

Belarus have two members of some sort of shit cult giving 12 to Cyprus.

UK still on nothing.

San Marino has someone wearing a bow tie and padding his part with a big envelope. 12 to Israel.

Netherlands have last year's girl band giving 12 to Germany

The voting is all over the place, although the UK has got fuck all from everyone.

Macedonia makes a joke about Beyonce which doesn;t make sense. Estonia get their 12.

Malta are in front of a fountain. She flatters the hosts, she flatters the show, and gives 12 to Cyprus.

Georgia's woman looks bald due to a lighting mix up. UK still on nothing; Sweden get 12.

Spain, in a flamboyant jacket, give 12 to Cyprus.

Austria pretends to be a chicken and gives 12 to Israel.

Denmark gives 12 to Germany.

UK are still on zero.

Mel out of Mel and Sue is doing the UK scoring from Uxbridge. 12 to Austria.

Israel currently in the lead. UK on the cold bottom.

Sweden's guy starts with his back to the screen - 12 to Cyprus, who he reckons has the best dancers he's ever seen. Doesn't get out much, then.

Latvia give the UK two points, and 12 to Sweden.

Albania's bank manager dude gives 12 to Italy.

The voting is zipping along, compared to the interval. We might even get the news early.

Croatia give another 2 to UK; 12 to Lithuania.

Ireland. Nicky Byrne has a pile of hair on his head. No points for the UK. 12 to Cyprus. Let's put a hard border in, then.

Romania has asymetrical long hair, which is a thing. 12 to Austria.

Czech Republic's 12 to Israel puts them back in the lead.

Iceland are wearing a football top; 12 to Austria

Moldova have a girl from a perfume counter with a cut-glass RP meets Eastern European accent. 12 to Estonia.

Belgium wishes she was there to party with the Lisbon girls. She doesn't really. 12 to Austria.

Oh, we've gone to a break. Just when it was zipping along.

Back to the voting.

Norway look like they were halfway through making a Daft Punk outfit but ran out of time. 12 to Germany.

UK stuck on 4.

France give 3 to the UK, and are wearing a horrible 'flesh' coloured suit. Possibly made from flesh. 12 to Israel.

Italy gift 6 to the UK. We're really trundling forward off the bottom now. 12 to Norway.

Australian bloke shows off he can talk Portuguese. 12 to Sweden.

Estonia breaks off from doing a serial killing to give 12 to "the amazing Austria"

Serbia give 12 to Sweden.

Cyprus have an ill-advsied 1980s jacket and seems to think the scoring works like last year. 12 to Sweden.

Armenia looks like you'd expect; praises "the most dynamic show ever" so clearly missed the interval. 12 to Sweden.

Bulgaria found it all emotional. 12 to Austria, who are starting to build a lead.

Greece are wrapped in bacofoil. Does a La La Land joke which falls flat.12 to Cyprus.

Hungary have a TV presenter on hand; 12 to Denmark.

Montenegro remember we exist, and give 2 points. 12 to Serbia. The stadium is booing, which is a bit rich. Save that for Twitter.

Germany is in the worst bridesmaid dress of the night. 12 to Sweden.

Finland has a mini Bjork for the scores, so it makes sense 12 to Israel.

Russia. 12 points to Putin. No, Moldova, which is even more surprising.

Switzerland has a lot of hair. 12 to Germany. The UK has had another dry patch.

Israel have given 8 to the UK. 12 to Austria.

Poland has even larger hair than Nicky Byrne for the 12 to Austria.

Lithuania have made out like a bandit at TK Maxx. 12 to Asutria.

Slovenia have dressed for a sexy winter funeral. 12 to Sweden.

Last knockings from the jury votes is Portugal. 12 to Estonia.

UK end up on 23 from this part of the votes.

Now, let's open the floodgates and let in the viewers votes. The wisdom of the crowds.

Oh, we're doing some backstage business first.

"This will be exciting" says old bloke.

Well, probably not. But let's do it anyway.

Okay it is a bit exciting.

It's shaking things up a bit.

25 to the UK to bring us up to 48. Solid bottom quarter performance.


There's a lot of half hearted flag waving as people get large points totals that won't take them to the top.

Okay it's pretty exciting. Providing Israel don't win.

Bollocks. Israel's plinkyplonky turkakakla stuff has just edged past Cyprus right at the end.

Graham Norton briefly forgets we're the UK and thinks we're Australia.

The UK came 24th our of 26th. If the stage invasion helped her vote, she'd presumably otherwise have been in negative equity.

Now we're going to ave self-consciously quirkiness all over again. I think I dislike it more this time.


Next year, we should enter the ghost of Peter Glaze doing something from Crackerjack. It's our only hope.

"We'll see you in Israel" says Graham Norton, showing more hope for the Middle East than most political commentators right now.

Well, this has been fun. Thanks for sticking with us for what has felt like seventy hours of torture. See you back here next year, probably...