Saturday, May 18, 2019

Liveblog: Eurovision 2019

Bollocks. I was rather hoping I'd have forgotten how to use Blogger as an excuse to swerve this year's Eurovision Song Contest. As, perhaps, we all should be doing, what with it being held in Israel and, thus, helping the Israeli government in their campaign to appear like any other country.

There have been numerous calls for the competition to be removed from Israel, or for a boycott of the event - although, in fairness, if your objection is to Israel hosting the contest, you're effectively saying you don't mind them taking part in Eurovision, so long as they don't win it.

The management of Eurovision are, of course, adept at making the case that you shouldn't spend too long thinking about how the government making everyone so welcome to sing a few songs doesn't really have so great a human rights record. After all, they got a chance to trot the arguments out a few years back in Russia.

Netta - whose inability to lose despite offering up a dreadful, twee performance last year got us into this mess - popped up on the BBC yesterday stressing how Eurovision is a chance for everyone of all races, sexualities and genders to come together in peace. It's a line the Eurovision producers are hoping will be amplified across the course of the show, although I've checked the running order a couple of times and am struggling to see whereabouts the Palestinian entry is coming on.

The approved Eurovision, um, vision of everyone coming together can't be seen as a political message, though. Because the producers are very clear that no politics will be tolerated in the arena tonight - one senior man, whose name I didn't catch, told BBC News last night that anyone trying to make a political statement will be "stopped and punished".

Stopped is disappointing. Punished is really concerning. What sort of punishment will the Eurovision organisers have at their disposal? Engelbert Humperdinck can attest that simply setting foot on a Eurovision stage has the power to make you disappear completely from public view so god knows what they could do if they were pissed off with you.

The point at which the contest is most likely to lurch into an unplanned commercial break (while UK viewers are treated to the hosts awkwardly bantering over the sound of human howling) is during Hatari's performance. Back in February, the band challenged Netanyahu to a wrestling match and have given off signals that, if we must go to this place and do this thing, we're not going to do it quietly.

Back when it was Russia, the it was comfortingly easy to get outraged.. Because it's Russia, and Putin. With Israel, though, the politics are a lot more complicated - it's almost impossible to type the words "Tel Aviv" without wading into a confused chamber of rows stinking of racism, antisemitism, and bad-faith extrapolations in all directions. It's almost as if the politics of the Middle East is an easy thing to get drawn into, but becomes something of a quagmire should you look to leave.

If you'd like a calm, clear explanation of why holding Eurovision in Israel is fucked up, you could do a lot worse than read Abier Almasri's piece for Human Rights Watch. And if we are going to not pretend that we can't see where Eurovision is this year, maybe the best we can hope for is that as many voices like Abier's are amplified and help drown out the messages the Israeli government want to send.

If you're not looking for a calm, clear explanation of the politics of Eurovision 2019, though, you should send for Bobby Gillespie.

Bobby's already had something a red letter month. Denise Johnson tweeted this a few days back:

And a couple of weeks earlier Gillespie did a fashion spread. Now, doing a fashion spread is one thing. But when you appear wearing a three thousand quid coat in a newspaper edited by George Fucking Osborne, you might have lost the moral high ground a bit.

So, things weren't looking good when he went onto Newsnight and was asked about Eurovision.

He served up a take so bad it's possible Ben Gurion and Yasser Arafat, watching it from their not-really-that-different-heavens, might be able to make common cause on yelling "shut up".

"All of my heroes are Jewish" is both a refreshing reworking of "some of my friends are black", but also an amazing revelation about the Paint It Black era Rolling Stones.

But even before being awful about Israeli politics, Bobby has already been awful about Madonna.

To say "she's a prostitute" as a criticism, and then to rush out "not that there's anything wrong with being a prostitute" is perhaps the most radical attempt at a remix since Weatherall somehow shook Loaded out of I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have. You might think that Gillespie is a misogynistic arsehole - not, of course, that there's anything wrong with misogynistic arseholes. "She's a whore" was one of the most commonplace attacks Madonna had to weather during her early years, and as an insult says nothing about either Madonna or sexworkers, but a whole lot about the person hurling it.

It's less controversial to say that Madonna will do anything for money, but it's also not exactly revealing a hidden truth when one of the songs she's going to do tonight is The One From The Big Pepsi Commercial. It's also a bit much to take from someone who's just reissued Velocity Girl with a shiny new video, and promoted it in an article which contains the words "Givenchy jacket, £1,810; shirt, £476; trousers, £684 ( Gucci boots, £875 ( (Drew Jarrett)" as the image caption.

So here we are, then: The attempts to protest Eurovision haven't brought down the Israeli regime, or even stopped the contest. But they have managed to destroy Primal Scream for us.

Which is something of a long way round saying: welcome to the No Rock & Roll Fun 2019 Eurovision Song Contest Liveblog.

We'll be back just before 8.00pm...

Have just realised the football starting at 5pm has robbed us of the chance for a Eurovision Pointless.

Here we go, then. The gap between the TV and the streaming version of BBC One is now so huge you could edit out a swear-filled rant from Shaun Ryder between one and the other.

Oh god. There's some business with a pretend plane kicking us off, apparently piloted by last year's winner.

Oh, and waving scouts.

I'd forgotten they'd introduced the 'having all the contestants walk on at the start' thing; to give you a chance to have completely forgotten what they look like by the time they actually come to the stage.

Dana International is looking fabulous, but it's not clear why she's got El Al cabin crew stood behind her.

The sound mix is terrible on this. Hopefully they;ll sort it out before the event proper gets under way.

It's time to meet the presenters . Four of them this year. Probably one is there solely to wrangle Madonna.

"This is our third date" says the bearded host to the host in a corset, "and you know what happens on a third date".

Well, that's awkward.

This bit of cut-up old presenters talking about how you vote is quite a nice touch.

They've added a new touch, we're warned. The intro videos are going to feature the contestants dancing.

"How about we open tonight's Grand Final?" Yes, you've been going for quarter of an hour already, please do get a crack on.

Malta: Michela – Chameleon

Michaela is wearing a cheap rain mac of the sort you buy at Alton Towers when you forget your anorak; with a denim top over it.

There's some very Primary School Teacher doing the lights for a play effects going on here. Sadly, thats the most interesting thing about the performance. The song is like a watered down version of Baltimora's Tarzan Boy.

At least it can only get better from here.

I say that, there's plenty of time for it to get worse.

"She'll be thrilled with that" observes Graham Norton. That makes one of her.

Albania: Jonida Maliqi – Ktheju tokës

Jonida is dancing in a pond.

She's performing from inside a crown of thorns, which is a provocative choice from Israeli State TV all things considered.

This sounds like it could be authentically Albanian, although I have no idea if that is the case.

Hang on, now it sounds like she's singing about Oreos.

They've added some fire to the stage set. Didn't improve Uncle Roy's barbecue party; didn't help this.

Czech Republic: Lake Malawi – Friend of a Friend

They could have made Lake Malawi stand in a pond for their dancing video, because that would have made more sense. Or at least a weak sight gag. Instead they appear to be dicking about on a wall.

Oh god, that drummer is clearly not playing that drum.

"He was my neighbour when we were 13" sings the grinning Pellow-like lead singer. I think we see where this is going.

I might be being unfair to the drummer; it could just be that he's six feet tall and using a kid's drum set. Perhaps he forgot his own drums, and that was all you can get in Tel Aviv on a Saturday? Is there a drumming animatronic bear at a kid's restaurant missing his kit?

Germany: S!sters – Sister

Oh, this isn't sisters like Buffy and Dawn. This is sisters like Shula and Elizabeth. The sort of sisters whose drama you wouldn't tune into if you were sat behind them on a long train journey. They're teating us to the sort of the thing that Elaine Paige and Barbara Dixon would have thrown out to test the mic levels.

The blonde one is wearing the 'sexy outfit', which looks like she's gone to a fancy dress shop and bought a 'sexy sexy outfit outfit'

Russia: Sergey Lazarev – Scream
Apparently did well in the public vote last time he appeared at Eurovision, says Graham.

Imagine that. Russia doing well in a public vote.

Sergey is dressed entirely in white, and singing in front of a BBC Micro rendering of a leap into Hyperspace.

Hold on, he's now standing in a shower.

This song is so slow, you'd be able to lead a funeral procession with it.

How can it only be 8.34? He's been singing this for an hour and a half.

Oh, we're up to a break already. A chance to talk to Jean Paul Gaultier for no apparent reason other than maybe Madonna?

Denmark: Leonora – Love Is Forever

This starts like it's going to be Orinoco Flow and then quickly morphs into the sort of plinky-plonky song that they might use in a Nationwide commercial.

"Don't get too political" she sings, confusing the instructions taped to the side of the stage with her autocue.

It's a testament to how poor this evening has been that this is the best thing we've had so far.

Leonora is climbing up a ladder from which a young version of Albert Steptoe is hanging off.

San Marino: Serhat – Say Na Na Na

"This song took five minutes to write" reveals Graham. Very little of that spent on coming up with a title.

Another all-white outfit.

"Be strong - look at me" says the background. I mean, you're no oil painting Serhat, but I don't think it's fair to say you'd need superpowers to gaze at you.

The backing dancer blokes have forgotten to put their strides on.

North Macedonia: Tamara Todevska – Proud

Tamara presents a challenge. Is she meant to have an asymmetric bob, or does she just have a bad hairdresser?

The lyric so far is generic "say it proud and loud" stuff, which was pretty much the message of the last one. Given we're in a Contest where participants have been told to ensure they shut the fuck up, that's a little ironic.

I keep expecting this song to kick up a gear. It is running out of time to find that gear.

Nope. No new gear. She just shouts a bit.

Another break. Pencilled on beard man is throwing to commercials. Corset woman is sitting with the Maltese singer, who is being more animated than she was during her performance.

Pencil beard is with the German sisters. They don't entertain him with their claim they see each other as queens, so he heads off to someone else.

Graham's done the toast to the ghost of Terry Wogan.

Sweden: John Lundvik – Too Late for Love

Starts off dangerously close to Curiosity Killed The Cat's Name and Number, but then shifts into standard Eurovisionballadry. Oh, and then shifts again into a standard Euro pumper..

"Everything reminds me of your face" says John. What, everything? Doing the bins? Nigel Farage on the telly? A dead badger mouldering slightly in the drizzle on the side of the A37? Really, John?

Backing singers channeling off-Broadway performance of Sister Act energy.

Slovenia: Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl – Sebi

They met on Instagram, warns Graham. Okay, Slovenia: double influencer power is go.

They're wearing all white, of course. Is tonight sponsored by Persil?

She's looking at him as she sings with the eyes of someone who had been promised everything would be alright and doesn't believe that any more.

Yeah, they're going to do this whole song staring at each other. This feels awkward.

She's pawing him now. This is just the ten minute freeview, isn't it?

Cyprus: Tamta – Replay

When Tumblr axed all the adult content on their platform, the deleted posts came to life. And they came to life as Tamta, with her 'rustle up your own PVC costume' approach.

The song are two verses of nothingness held together by a chorus of a robot marching downstairs.

"You're stuck on me, darling". Yeah, you'll get that if you don't use enough talc with your PVC.

The Netherlands: Duncan Laurence – Arcade

The favourite to win tonight.

But first, a quick look back at Slovenia as seen on Twitter:

Back to the Dutch. Well, at least Duncan isn't wearing white, but he has bought a keyboard which is both too large and too small at the same time.

"My mind feels like a foreign land, silence ringing in my head" sings Duncan, and boy, does a foriegn country where it's quiet sound like a real treat compared with this year's song.

Greece: Katerine Duska – Better Love

Kat is doing some stuff in a library for her dance video, which must be annoying for people trying to use the library. I know libraries aren't all "shush" and "no noise" any more but you've got to draw a line somewhere, surely?

Florence And The Machine That Needs New Batteries, isn't it?

Oh, there are people fencing on stage. I hope they're really good at fencing. (Secretly thinking: it'd be amusing if they're not really good at fencing).

Kat reaches for a high note with confidence. Misplaced confidence.

"Burning feeling inside" she trills. Mmm. Try yoghurt for that.

Halfway point. Of the songs. Just of the songs.

Time for the home team.

Israel: Kobi Marimi – Home

Jesus Christ alive, that bust of Lionel Richie from the Hello video has been animated and thrown on the stage.

Is that a metal bow tie he's wearing?

Well, I think we can rest assured that a year hence Newsnight isn't going to be asking the lead singer of The Bluetones what they think about the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Oh, he's crying.

Norway: KEiiNO – Spirit in the Sky

Presumably this isn't going to be the Norman Greenbaum one.

Why is Nick Tilsley off Corrie pretending to be Norwegian here?

He's just been joined by cabaret-tribute-to-mid-period-Madonna.

Oh, and a third voice provided by Varys, who has time on his hands now he's been burned off Game Of Thrones.

Ooooh I love love love their giant stag. The giant stag is the best thing so far.

United Kingdom: Michael Rice – Bigger than Us
Michael's used to the big occasions, having won that awful singing thing with Geri Halliwell and Rob Beckett in front of an audience of at least two dozen.

"It's bigger than us. It's bigger than You And Me." Yeah, but we'd rather be watching Crow and Alice.

This isn't a terrible song, and on the evidence so far, it's a lot less terrible than many of the other terrible songs we've heard. It doesn't deserve to win, but it deserves to do a lot better than it actually will wind up doing.

Another break. This time they've made the contestants come to the hosts. This is what they call a format tweak.

They're asking the guy from San Marino what he'll do if he wins, which is that level of cruelty you get when they ask people on Pointless who have offered no credible answers how they'll spend the jackpot "if by chance" they find a Pointless answer.

This is what we've waited for.
Iceland: Hatari – Hatrið mun sigra

Now, THIS is how you do a BDSM performance. It's like mid 80s Martin Gore has been brought on to do the visuals, while Skinny Puppy have chucked in the tune. VOTE FOR THIS WITH ALL YOUR LIFE.

Extra points for the prancing gimp.

"Verfur lyga" they snarl, and I don't think that's their safeword.

Estonia: Victor Crone – Storm

Poor Victor Crone, having to follow that. I'm not sure they'll even have had time to mop the lube up yet.

Victor has come on after the sex people with the air of Ralph McTell the week Alphabet Zoo reached the letter Q and the format's weakness has just revealed itself to him.

"When it all calms down, we'll be safe and sound" sings Victor, making a love song sound like a Protect And Survive leaflet.

Belarus: ZENA – Like It

This year's favourite for the 'send the show to somewhere problematic' option.

"Tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be Paris Hilton. And Paris Hilton will be being Gwen Steffani."

To be fair to Zena, this is the first song tonight that sounds like it would fit in the current Top 40. I mean, not the Top 10 or the 20, but it could certainly hold its head up down in the lower 30s.

Azerbaijan: Chingiz – Truth

Takes some balls for someone who has a Jimmy Hill style protrusion to go on stage with a name that starts with Chin.

He's being operated on by one of the robots that used to build Fiat cars back in the 1980s for some reason that isn't entirely clear.

Hats off for making "shut up about it" a hook, though. And "I'm in the mirror/so fucking bitter" is a great line. This isn't offensive.

Oh, and the massive head from the Space Sentinels has popped up to do backing vocals.

"She is a killer with that freaking perfume." Yeah, we've all been sat behind someone like that on a plane.

France: Bilal Hassani – Roi

Imagine if a PSE lesson was made flesh. Yeah. Like that.

"Only you can choose who you want to be" says the backdrop. John Whiterow'll have something to say about that in the morning.

Graham Norton: "this show gives exposure to people who wouldn't normally get this sort of exposure". Mmm, this is true. Oh, if only you were in a position to allow people like that on the TV more often, Graham . eh?

Italy: Mahmood – Soldi

Mahmood's shirt is made from wallpaper found in an Indian restaurant which closed in 1984. He's also still got his housekeys on a long chain dangling from his waist.

He looks really, really angry. Oh my god, and they've just flashed "it hurts to be alive" on the wall. This is all really uplifting, then.

Serbia: Nevena Božović – Kruna

Nevena is the only person who's bothered to hire an evening dress for the show. She's singing a song which sounds like it could be about her recent divorce.

Meanwhile, Twitter is still talking about Italy:

Switzerland: Luca Hänni – She Got Me

Luca is sexy, in a 'I haven't had it for a while and you clearly know your way round a zipper' sort of way. The sort of sexy that does quite well as the clock edges towards closing time.

He's singing a song about "the kind of woman that mama likes", and so it's possible he's just helping his mum get back on the dating scene.

The chorus is just repeating Dirty Dancin', which is just lazy. I bet there was a draft where he was going to be shouting out "Top Gun".

Australia: Kate Miller-Heidke – Zero Gravity

At last, I suppose, we've come to terms with Australia being in Eurovision. So let's not pretend we never learn anything year on year.

Proving their commitment to Eurovision, Kate is wearing a headpiece based on the 1970s Eurovision logo. She's singing on the top of the globe. Maybe thats a nod to the 1970s BBC One ident? Are we going to see her spinning off on a flying Y, like Dusty Bin at the start of 3-2-1?

When you're thinking about Ted Rogers, it's a sign that the song isn't very catchy, for all the cheap operatic trilling thrown at it.

Now on a massive pole, like Simon Stylites.

Spain: Miki – La Venda

We're nearly there. One last push. Oh, Miki, will you be so fine, so fine you'll blow our minds?

Good use of the old Celebrity Squares set here, Miki.

This is impressive. Lots of colours. Lots of energy. Lots of bounce. And a body popping whicker man. It's the polar opposite of Iceland. It's the sound of optimism. It's not bad.

Pencil beard is calling for a toast - "I don't drink, sorry" he says, as if it's impossible to toast with anything other than alcohol. Unless he doesn't drink any liquids at all. Maybe he's on a drip.

Goggles, foil dress and corset have just opened the voting. So time for the last couple of hours of our lives to flash before our eyes again.

"It's a scientific fact" says tinfoil dress "that we're more alike than we are different".

Is it, though?

Conchita Wurst has been dragged out on stage again, dressed a little bit Frankie Goes To Accessorise.

We're now balls deep in singers you've forgotten winning doing songs you'd forgotten won.

Oh hang out - this one didn't even win. It's last year's forgettable second place song.

And, yes, I'm afraid I haven't forgotten the Christopher Biggins Cybermen, who are back too.

Pencil beard is bringing Gali Atari on stage now. You remember. From 1979.

In the BBC Newsroom, Clive Myrie glances at the screen, sighs, and puts on an eye mask. It's going to be a while until he's going to be needed.

Graham Norton is reading out a really long list of names of people who are having parties. It's like listening to Junior Choice.

Oh god Madonna's wearing the eyepatch.

She's just said "everyone here is from all over the world".

Oh, Jesus, she's making the crowd chant "music makes the people come together". You know, from the one that had Ali G in the video.

Sweet hell, she's not even the next act. They've brought on one of Israel's most celebrated musical performers. The Idan Raichael Project, apparently. He's shouting out "make some noise", and - to be fair - getting more response than Madge did.

"Do you know what Eurovision is?" Goggles man asks Quaver. His eyes scream back "if I knew, do you think I'd have come?"

Over in the green room, meanwhile, a mindreader has turned up. It's like a shit bit from a Paul Daniels.

This is not a trick; if you ask anyone to name a Eurovision winner they will always choose Waterloo by Abba.

"Don't let all the fun distract you" says Pencil Beard.

To help with the fun not distracting you, they've dragged last year's winner back to do her new song. It's like a cold cut found outside a Palomar Faith recording session.

Foil dress, who is no longer in a foil dress, appears to hit on Netta. She is rebuffed. "I'll do my walk of shame then" says foil dress. But... you'd only do a walk of shame if you'd not been rebuffed.

This hasn't been though through.

We still have two songs from Madonna before we even get to the voting bit. Somehow I don't think we're going to be done by 11pm tonight.

Finally, we're getting the chance to see Madonna. This is so late, the pub Bobby Gillespie was planning to storm out of has already called last orders.

Oh, look, it's the Total Eclipse Of The Heart video.

Jesus, Madonna missing notes. This is quite bad.

Why is she doing this silly accent?

Gingerly picking her way down the stairs.

I suppose at least nobody knows or cares what the new one is meant to sound like, so it won't be as disappointing.

This is so bad. "Your voice can take me there", perhaps, but unfortunately Madonna's voice can't get you there.

Now about to do a cover of Frank Muir's Fruit and Nut adverts.

Erm, people with gas masks dying on stage perhaps a bit ill-considered given the circumstances of this contest.

Quaver's on stage, doing quite a bit of the heavy lifting.

This is what she chose to do from the new album. You wonder what the rest of it is like. But not so much that you'd fire up Spotify.

Oh, a tiny Palestinian flag on the back of one of the dancers. Well, Madonna, that's certainly answered the critics there.

At last, the voting is over.

Clive Myrie is heading out to get a burger.

We now seem to be getting a message from the Tel Aviv tourist board delivered by Gal Gadot. What can YOU do with three minutes in Tel Aviv?

Goggles and Pencil Beard are behind a table ready for the scores to come in.

We all want the scores.

Portugal are up first, doing the 'who has two thumbs' stance - 12 to Netherlands

Azerbaijan have the narrowest tie in the world. 12 to Russia.

Malta's Ben is someone waiting for a Grindr hook-up: 12 to Italy

North Macedonia stares nervously into space. 12 to Italy.

San Marino have spent their entire 2018 GDP on that necklace. 12 again to Italy.

Italy heading out into the lead. UK still on a solid zero.

Netherlands have thrown a boa on to stop the cold biting. Sweden get their 12.

Montenegro's off-the-shoulder dress looks more like they couldn't afford the whole thing. 12 to Serbia.

Estonia appear to be doing their bit via Skype. 12 to Sweden.

Poland's turn next. He's posing for a 1980s dating video. 12 to Australia. This is quite jerky voting.

Alex James left in the washing machine turns up to do Norway. 12 go to Czech Republic. The UK have got our fist point

Spain have got a beautiful dress on; 12 to Sweden.

Austria's perky bloke has an equality t-shirt. 12 to North Macedonia.

Italy are in the lead.

Rylan! Rylan! Hey - how are you in London when you were in Tel Aviv yesterday? Did you really fly home to do this bit? UK's 12 to Macedonia.

Confusingly, Italy have got the Eiffel Tower tattooed on their arm. Denmark get their 12.

Albania have rolled their sleeves up for this one. They give 12 to North Macedonia again. They're starting to firm up a lead.

Hungary have shown up in an old thornproof. 12 to the Czech Republic.

Moldova give 12 to Macedonia.

Ireland are glittery; 12 to Sweden.

Belarus are being attacked by crows. They've given 12 to Israel which has lifted the hosts from being a solid zero.

God alone knows where Armenia got that outfit. 12 to Sweden.

UK on 11 now, which is probably few than we deserve, but more than we'd expect.

Romania got dressed in the dark, and is yodelling. 12 to Asutralia.

Cyprus is as you'd expect. 12 to Greece. Who would have guessed, eh?

We're about halfway through. So they've gone to commercials.

Australia kick off the second half. They've got two people to deliver the scores, but one does have sticks in their head. 12 to Sweden.

Russia (I wish the hosts didn't always sound slightly uncertain when they say who's coming next). Oh, he's playing the fucking piano. Clive Myrie is sobbing into his pillow. 12 to Azerbaijan.

Germany's Barbara looks like the woman on the front of all German magazines. She's pretending to be Australian. 12 to Italy.

Belgium is the ghost of George Michael and loves Madonna. So that's one person, then. 12 to Italy.

North Macedonia are heading out into a commanding lead.

Sweden is wearing pyjamas. 12 to the Netherlands.

Croatia send kisses from Zagreb and give 12 to Italy.

Lithuania's "12 Points To Go" tshirt is probably funny if you're Lithuanian. 12 to The Netherlands

The UK hasn't picked up a point for quite a while now.

Serbia are ready to fire a shotgun, but stylishly. 12 to North Macedonia.

Iceland's jacket might be an electronic circuit. 12 to Sweden.

Georgia have broken off from pouring the wine at a wedding to give 12 to the Czechs.

Greece are doing a tribute to Bill And Ted. 12 to Cyprus. The booing when Cyprus gave Greece 12 is reprised.

Latvia want to yack on about music being a universal language. 12 to the Netherlands.

Czech Republic do a lot of waving. 12 to Sweden.

Denmark really looks like you'd hope. 12 to Sweden

France are chic, in an Amelie sort of way, though disappointingly don't have the Tower of Pisa tattooed on their arm. 12 to the Netherlands.

Christopher has a natty windcheater. 12 to Sweden. Every time he gets 12, John Lundvick does a pose which is meant to look greatful but screams 'heart murmur'

Switzerland have sent Bill AND Ted. 12 to North Macedonia.

Slovenia know they're coming late so have pulled out the stops - 12 to the Czechs.

Last jury vote is Israel and the last 12 to the Netherlands.

So at this stage, Sweden have overhauled North Macedonia. The UK has 13, and aren't quite bottom.

Clive Myrie's last tube has left.

Bring on the popular vote.

Apparently we've got to have some waffle.

A lot of waffle.

The public have given the UK three points. Or "the bum's rush" as it's known.

Yep, UK solid bottom whatever happens now.

Germany got nothing at all, though.

Norway have got over 200 and jumped from lower arse of the board to the top.

Iceland flashing Palestinian flags as their score comes through.

Italy take the lead, but Netherlands, Sweden and Macedonia to go.

North Macedonia only got 58 points. Blimey. That's brutal.


It's fucking Sunday.

And they're dragging this out.

Sweden only get 93 points. And the look on his face.

So the Netherlands win.

Their first win since 1975.

Duncan Lawrence takes the stage to belt out the song with the credits rushing over it. Over an hour late. I suppose we shouldn't have expected Israel to respect the boundaries of the schedule.

Duncan asking the audience to "sing it", as if they might have been able to remember any aspect of his song.

So, what have we learned? Greece and Cyprus are the only countries who are prepared to run the risk of booing through mutual back-scratching. Madonna's voice has gone to shit. The UK got the result it didn't deserve but should have expected. And at least next year we might be able to avoid holding a silly song contest in a human rights disaster zone.