Saturday, May 13, 2023

Liveblog: Eurovision 2023

 10.30am

It's a lot, this year, isn't it? Sure, the last time the UK hosted there was a bit of excitement, but I don't recall hotel room prices in Birmingham suddenly clacking into four figures, or half the DCMS decamping to Sparkbrook for a little exercise in soft power and a few meals on expenses.

It's lucky that The Monarch Formally Knows As Prince Charles is hard to warm to, otherwise you'd almost start to feel sorry for him. You wait decades for your big party, and then your actual Coronation serves no purpose other than to act as a disappointing warm-up to the Eurovision song contest. You know you're the downcard when Rita Ora chooses to go to the other party, and you're stuck with Lionel Ritchie doing some odd gurgling.

Meanwhile... there's just a lot. The early entries in this blog were all written in Liverpool and it's a city that I love; I'm not surprised that it's decided to go balls-deep into the party. And you can understand the BBC deciding to wring every drop of Eurovision juice out of the investment. But even so. There's so much. 

Even a Saturday outing for The One Show. Sitting at home, probably still wearing the purple crown ('the rules say that I can only wear it once, but not how long that one time has to be'), slowly realising the Union Jack flags were probably for Mae Muller and not HRH, the King flicks through the Radio Times, muttering that Alex Jones didn't do an extra shift for his big day. On the other hand, Nationwide did an extra curricular episode for his first marriage and that didn't end well for anyone, did it?

Anyway. There's a lot. Geometricians, in their wildest dreams, couldn't conceive of as many angles as the media have found for covering / shoehorning in references to Eurovision. The Rovers has got a beer pump wearing a red, white and blue bow tie. As I write, Saturday Kitchen is somehow cooking Eurovision. The Archers - in a storyline which makes the time Nelson Gabriel kept that elephant on the village green sound plausible - have got Rylan popping in to judge the Ambridge song contest en route to Liverpool. Leaving aside the scheduling question, what route is he taking to get to the North West? And would he really have chosen a stopping service that would be calling at Hollerton Junction?

As an aside - and an indication of how great Rylan is - it's hard to imagine any other 'as themselves' celeb who has popped into the Post Box studios letting the script team have so much fun with characters saying they've never heard of them.

And Radio 2 has been busy. Oh so busy

Perhaps a little too busy.

Local news hasn't been left out. On Thursday, Look East dedicated a large chunk of airtime to a Sam Ryder lookalike. Realising he bore a resemblance, he decided (direct quote) "to use this for good", like he'd been bitten by a radioactive Eurovision competitor. Samryderman, Samryderman, does whatever Sam Ryder can. It is quite a sweet story, really; he does charity stuff and seems to share not just a face but an air of being warm and approachable with the real Sam. Sadly, the report didn't ask the vital question - did he have long hair and a big beard before he became Second Sam; and if he didn't, how the hell did he know he'd look like him when he grew them?

Sam - the real one - is having the time of his life. He's pretty much the Jeremy Corbyn of Eurovision, what with having a beard and a fanbase that seems to genuinely believe that a surprisingly strong second place is actually the same as winning. And he's got opinions, too.

I'm not sure someone singing Ferry Cross The Mersey on the literal ferry cross the Mersey is best placed to judge what counts as cheese, but we'll let him off on this one.

Having used their trump card on Thursday, last night Look East stretched a bit further to discover the Bloke out of Electro Velvet lives in the region. Yes you do. You do.

The reporter asked him if he could still remember the scatty-bit he did in the middle. Of course he can. I imagine every night in his dreams he's taunted by demons doing "beeebabaadooobiedoobie" before yelling "five points" and giggling.

The Look East report didn't mention that he - Alex Clarke - currently (where 'currently' is defined as the last time anyone updated the Wikipedia page) is Mick Jagger in a Rolling Stones tribute act, but perhaps they thought they'd be pushing their luck with two faux popstars in a row.

He got to show off the shoes he wore on stage, which actually felt a bit sad. I went to Vienna for my country and all I got was a slightly scuffed pair of spats.

Anyway, there's a lot. No President Zelenskyy, though, as Eurovision have ruled that having him pop up would be too political. Because doing a whole 'we're having to do this in Liverpool what with a fucking monster bombing the actual country it should be taking place in' themed event isn't a political statement in its own right. And the man isn't an idiot - surely we all know by now that he isn't an idiot, right? - and could have been asked to do a 'can't be in our country but we send love' bit without screaming 'and give us helicopters, you asshole'. Apart from anything, it would have spared us this sort of thing:

Sunak, too, gurgled out a statement saying that Zelenskyy should have been involved, which is the first time in six months he's said anything that doesn't end with "and number five stopping the boats." Had I been a senior Tory politician wanting Volodymyr to get a cameo, I might have reflected that a bit of gentle diplomacy behind the scenes would have been the best approach because now, there's no way he could be involved without it looking like the BBC and Eurovision are taking direction from the UK government and that really would look politics intruding.

Last year, I only saw the second half of the contest, with the sound mostly down and commentary in Dutch. We've got some hours to go and who is to say that won't happen again? But assuming it doesn't, you know the deal. I haven't seen any of the songs yet (apart from the odd snatch of that one about Poe, and bits and pieces of Muller) and through studious avoidance of the semi-finals, I'll be coming to the whole thing fresh. Back here around 8-ish?


12.30

I regret to inform you all that Rishi Sunak has "joined in the fun"


12.45

If you're in Liverpool, and want something a bit closer to Eurovision than Sunak's stiff Spotify Spadlist, there's always this:


6.15pm

It's going to be Robot Abba, isn't it?.

Mind you, a lot of people speak highly of Robot Abba, although I can't really tell if that's because they really liked it, or if when giant angry pop robots tell you to speak highly of them, you just do that.

People who were milling around Liverpool at the time I was will probably be thinking the same thing as me - surprise band hidden behind a screen on a Saturday night? It's just like Temptation 2, the old uni club night. A night where, if you were well connected to the Liverpool Music scene, or (like me) happened to be friends with people who were well connected, you'd know the secret act in advance and adjust your weekend plans accordingly. This is how, in an anecdote I've told people so often I'm starting to think I made it up, I saw Suede for the first time.

It wasn't always that quality, though. One night was Fabulous.

(The Simon Duffield-led rabble, not the News of the World colour supplement).

The highlight, though, was the time the whole of the city had heard the rumour it was going to be James, and a massive queue snaked round the Guild of Students. It turned out that, actually, it was If?, the short-lived spin-off of the Jo Boxers.

I mean, it might turn out to be If? tonight, which would be a splendid punchline, but... it's going to be Robot Abba, surely?

6.40

I mean, when I lived on the Lane we didn't even have a Co-Op but knowing the place, it's possible they built the grocers rounds the decks rather than the other way round. (Legendary Liverpool DJ Bernie Connor used to work in the deli down there, so it's likelier than you'd think)

6.45

Meanwhile, BBC One is already three drinks in to its Eurovision party. They've currently got a Eurovision Special of the Hit List (Name That Tune in a push-up bra, basically). And already Eimear Quinn and Linda Martin have battled their way through a Eurovision Pointless and made it to the final round, which is more than Ireland have managed to do for a good few years.

The specialness of the Eurovision Special is that they've got a workaround that has meant the celebrity booker could have half the week off:

In a first for The Hit List, three celebrities will be teamed with Eurovision superfans. Returning to The Hit List are former champions Scott Mills and Clara Amfo, who will be joined by fellow DJ Adele Roberts along with their Eurovision-loving teammates Coinneach, Katie and Amy.

7.40

The One Show is coming from the side of the Mersey, adding itself to the list of illustrious magazines programmes coming from Liverpool's docklands, alongside This Morning and that kids show they did from the short-lived BBC Brunswick Dock studios.

Rylan is in wipe-clean trousers and sixteen inch heels; Alex Jones has slaughtered a peacock. They've been joined by Sandie Shaw, who is in a plum wedding dress; Cheryl Baker, dressed for David Van Day's funeral; and Sonia, who has nipped along to Monsoon.

7.45

A link-up with Mel out of Mel & Sue, and Scott Mills, out of General Mills, who are doing the coverage for Radio 2 this evening. Mel is wearing a 1970s bedspread in Ukranian colours.

Rylan has been sent over to get ready for the main show. A countdown clock has appeared on screen. The excitement is... well, being manufactured with all the might they can throw at it.

It's hard to imagine a Eurovision like this occurring in the Wogan era, isn't it? There was just a little too much ironic distance.

I guess this is some sort of a last-minute primer, for those of you who like to cram:

One Show now doing a quick tour around the UK, as a prelude to the breathless tour around Europe we'll be getting in about three hours' time.

7.58

How many trailers are they cramming into this programme junction?

I mean, I can see why they'd be pushing Dannii Minogue's gay dating show here right now, but even so...

OOOOOOH Doctor Who

8.00

And we're off.

Is this the first sighting of Graham Norton this year? Bar his crammed-in-a-screen trailer cameo?

Last year's winning song being done on the top of the Liver Building, with additional Andrew Lloyd-Webber, fresh from closing down his awful Cinderella musical for a second time. Bit like having the bad fairy turn up at a Christening, surely?

Oh, they've got loads of special guests. And Joss Stone.

The Princess of Wales has turned up playing the piano, which I guess makes her sort-of Paddington to Eurovision's jubilee?

(I am now going to be thinking of the Spitting Image sketch of Alastair Burnett fawning over "the dee-ligthful piaaano playing princes' for the rest of the show instead of paying proper attention.)

8.05

Yeah, actually, this was a lot better than Sam Ryder's song, wasn't it?

I'd forgotten they now make all the acts march out at the start, like it's the parade ring at Aintree.

This is probably the highest profile the Marks & Spencer Bank has ever achieved, isn't it?

I'm getting an early sense we're in for a distressing amount of flared trousers this evening.

Australia have already had a drink or two, then. The Romain guy has come on like he's about to do a so-so magic act on Britain's Got Talent.

They're interspersing the marching out with little snatches of former Eurovision acts - that one who was like Christopher Biggins with the glittery star on their head.

8.15

Going to be weird for Graham Norton to not be talking over the person doing presentation on the stage, because he IS the person doing presentation on the stage.

We're getting the explanation of the voting will work later on.

8.20

1. Austria | Teya & Salena - Who The Hell Is Edgar?

And we're off (properly) now with the Edgar Allen Poe one.

Teya (or is Salena) is dressed in a black plastic thing made out of the leftovers of Rylan's trousers. 

I like this. It has that bouncy Poe-Poe-Poe bassline, but also has the feel of a musical interlude from a 1980s US high-school sitcom. Mr Kotter explaining The Tell-Tale Heart to the Sweathogs via a daydream sequence.

8.23

2. Portugal | Mimicat - Ai Coração

Norton is back in the commentary box and has sent Mel out of Mel & Sue who was holding the fort back to Radio 2. 

Mimicat is being shown walking through a market and smiling coquestishly into camera. A manic pixie dream girl sequence, but this has given way to a sort of flamenco Marilyn Monroe performance.

8.26

Scratch Marilyn. More Goldie Hawn. Maybe post-Cheers Shelley Long.

The staging so far seems a lot less elaborate than we've got used to - no sign of magic cages or emerging walls or indoor waterfalls. The night is young, though.

3. Switzerland | Remo Forrer - Watergun

Remo, bless him, looks like he's on an exchange trip in the preview film shot at Lake Zurich.

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH HIS TROUSERS? Did he go into Millets and say "give me waders, but sexy"?

His dancers are doing some very light bondage, but the song is forgettable ballad.

The trousers actually turn out to be shiny in some lights. The trousers are great.

8.31

4. Poland | Blanka - Solo

Ah, starting with a none-more-80s recorded on video camera effect. You know, like it's Malcolm In The Middle.

I think she's got trapped in the video screen backdrop now. "Oh-oh-oh, that's how it goes" is, oh-oh-oh, how the song goes.

There's a little dance break, where the dancers use their thighs as additional percussion. Keeps it cheap.

Blanka pronouces Solo "solar", which might be a problem given the title of the song.

8.35

5. Serbia | Luke Black - Samo Mi Se Spava

Luke Black is showing off his fencing skills in the preview bit, which makes him sound even more like a villain in an Exorcist movie than his name does.

Starting his song lying down on the stage in massive boots. The camera pulls back. Surprise! It's not the stage, he's lying in what appears to be one of those baths they stick in posh hotels that you can never use because they're right in front of the window and you can't make the curtains work.

This song, apparently, it about playing video games at home. Makes you wonder why nobody's ever thought of that before. Lana Del Who?

I hope to god Hasbro aren't watching or there's gonna be a lawsuit over the Transformer-type robot on the screen.

8.40

6. France: La Zarra - Évidemment

La Zarra rides a very small black horse through her opening video.  Maybe she's going to do This Girl Is On Fire from the Lloyds Bank advert.

Her dress is large enough that she might have smuggled the horse on stage underneath it.

"My heart, my hand, my eyes, my lips - nothing is mine any more" she sings. Well, yes, the terms and conditions on Bluesky are quite strict, but that's the price you pay to avoid Elon Musk, isn't it?

We've had the first shower of on-stage sparks of the evening.

It was definitely French.

Aleesha Dixon has popped up, which can only mean that most of Europe are getting adverts. There's a giant Peppa Pig for us, for some reason.

8.45

If Gogglebox don't have the two guys who live in the building they've just shown in the run-up to Cyprus' bit, commenting that their house is on TV, I don't know what we're even doing here.

7. Cyprus | Andrew Lambrou - Break A Broken Heart

Andrew seems like a nice enough lad. He's got the air of someone from an ITV soap who used to be in a boyband. "Tear me up and move on to another" he sings, and, yes, I think we shall.

8.50

8. Spain: Blanca Paloma - Eaea

Blanca Paloma give off the air of what would have happened if you'd locked The Spice Girls in a box and returned twenty years later to set them free.

Nice bit of vocal work at the start of the song, though.

And the second act to have gone with ghostly hands - the first just had them on-screen, here they're real hands poking through the strings.

This sounds like traditional Spanish music having angry sex with EDM. It's all very evocative.

Might have forgotten the "song" bit - a problem with a song contest - but sounds amazing.

8.55

Uh-oh. The wolves from last year - which made even less sense with English commentary than they did with the Dutch one we had - are back. We're in the 'pretend Junior Eurovision is charming' ad break  filler right now.

The winner of JunioEuro is announcing Nice as the host for this year's event - the town, not the biscuits. I think not the biscuits.

9. Sweden | Loreen - Tattoo

I'd like to see Loreen try and unwrap a Dairylea cheese triangle with those nails.

This is apparently the favourite this year, but it's kind of Ruslana-lite. I do worry that her big box is going to slam shut on her before the end of the song, though.

It all looks a bit like an advert for one of the perfumes that sells well in Superdrug.

9.00

Hannah Waddingham is pushing the Eurovision app.

10. Albania | Albina & Familja Kelmendi - Duje

Sefton Park Palm House getting its big moment on Europe wide television.

Albania are looking towards the Urals with their song and its amazing.

(Although like a lot of Eurovision entries, it starts off full-throated Eastern European and then mushes in something a bit more package tour of the Med). 

They're not lying when they say Familija, either. They do look like some sort of mom, dad and sisters outfit.

Didn't know how to finish it, though, so just hit a drum and stopped singing.

9.05

11. Italy: Marco Mengoni - Due Vite

Marco Mengoni dated your sister in the early 90s. Your Mum didn't approve, he didn't have a job but he had a motorbike and a reputation. In the end, it didn't work out.

Surprisingly, he's come on stage wearing a Swarovski vest. I think we now can see why it didn't work out.

The lyric repeats the word 'sleep' over and over again. The backdrop looks like a moon. It's too early in the evening to be trying to lull us into having a nap.

9.10

12. Estonia | Alika - Bridges

"She's bought a self-playing piano with her" says Graham. Pianola. They're called Pianolas.

She's sitting at the pianola which carries on happily playing itself, as she laments that all her lies have died. But she's going to build up some bridges to get things back on track. 

This is very LinkedIn. Focus on you. Change one thing every day.

13. Finland | Käärijä - Cha Cha Cha

Bring. On. The. Umlauts.

Oh, this is the guy who was wandering round wearing what looked like a non-compliant floatation device from a budget airline.

He's come on stage in a cage. And in a bit of a rage.

I know this is meant to make him seem like a bit of a bad boy, but the climbing out a packing case just makes me think of Issi NoHo.

This whole performance is what you'd get if Coronation Street needed to do a scene in an S&M club and had neither the budget to dress the set, not the time to research it.

I think I just spotted someone in the audience cosplaying Graham Norton.

9.20

14. Czechia | Vesna - My Sister’s Crown

There's always one song title that sounds like it's from a PornHub video, isn't there?

The look says 'sleepover at Barbie's place'. The music says 'revenge attack on Ken'. The lyrics have some complex ideas about how royalty functions in the 21st Century.

This isn't bad, and I'm not just saying that because they are all - clearly - trained assassins. 

9.23

Aleesha Dixon, PUT THAT AUSTRALIAN ACCENT DOWN NOW BEFORE SOMEONE GETS HURT.

15. Australia | Voyager - Promise

They've brought a car on stage. Fair enough, it can be hard to find a parking spot in central Liverpool at the weekends, although I'd have tried the multistorey round the back of Central Station before driving into the Arena.

"Have you ever shut the open door?" Yes. That's pretty much what you do with open doors.

It's a bit like someone's blown their workers comp payment on remaking Knight Rider with themselves in the lead role.

Hold on... was that a keytar? In 2023 you come to me with a keytar?

9.30

16. Belgium | Gustaph - Because Of You

Please let this just be the theme to Brush Strokes. 

Oh, the guy in the massive hat.

He's trying to be Boy George. But he's just the bloke who looks after Curious George.

I suppose, if you were looking a track to play as incidental music during a challenge on Glow Up, you could use some of this.

<Checking Twitter> I'm no fan of Mr O'Dowd, but I think he'd have every right to be pissing steam over the way the whole world are happy to see someone in a big hat and think "exactly the same as Boy George"

Aleesha has just reassured the rest of the world that Graham Norton hasn't gone home.

Meanwhile, on Twitter:

17.  Armenia | Brunette - Future Lover

Brunettte is both lying down, like the lad from earlier, and wearing an outfit apparently made from human skin, like Lorreen. 

Hold on, that might just be the lighting. Turns out its a dress made from an old white leather sofa and some shoelaces.

The stage show is really quite good - stark black and white (now they've stopped the pink lighting anyway). 

There's some sort of song she's singing, apparently. It's so weak, though, it's vanished in the bit between my ears and my brain.

18. Moldova | Pasha Parfeni - Soarele şi Luna

Pasha has gone for a tramp in the woods. It's unclear what the tramp did to provoke him. (Joke (c) Bob Monkhouse 1965)

Ah, this is 2023's 'one with the massive drums', is it?

Pasha looks like Adam Barlow, down to the bun, and has got a woodland spirit playing some sort of flute with him. And his backing singers appear to be half Beyonce, half Unicorn. None of this should work but it's actually alright.

9.45

19. Ukraine: TVORCHI - Heart of Steel

Ah, Tvorchi. The Bvattery Bvoy.

Can Ukraine make it two in a row? And if they do, does the hosting for 2024 go to the second place or do we just accept Liverpool's really good at this and let them do it again?

I can see why people like this, and the sentiments are fine, but... it doesn't do it for me.

9.50

20. Norway | Alessandra - Queen of Kings

Queen of Kings. Someone's going to be bursting into ABC with a plan for a role-reversal reboot in the morning, aren't they?

Having said that, this is less sitcom than HBO prestige drama territory, from Alessandra's natty headpiece and flowing cape to the quasi-choral lines about the progress of a royal warrior.

Sadly, it's crying out for a 'skip titles' button.

21. Germany: Lord of the Lost - Blood & Glitter

Or, apparently, the Kerrang one.

"Very popular in Germany" says Graham, which I think we all know was meant as a content warning.

"We're so happy we could die" they sing, which would really put a wrinkle in the evening, guys.

The PVC catsuit is leaving nothing to the imagination, except perhaps thinking about the conversation where they were asking "do you not have this in the next size up?"

I'm not sure how the crotch can be both too tight but also slapping about like a carp on the towpath.

9.57

22. Lithuania | Monika Linkytė - Stay

Monika is wearing boxing gloves and sparring in the little video, and - this might come back to haunt me when it turns out she's Lithuania's Olympic kickboxing champion but - I'd wager that she's never hit anything other than perhaps the 'donate' button on a website raising funds for injured kittens.

The song - and the circle of backing singers in sober black - has the air of a Christian rock troupe who are afraid to veer too closely towards gospel lest the audience start speaking in tongues.

10.01

23. Israel | Noa Kirel - Unicorn

One of Israel's biggest stars, apparently.

She's started apparently trapped inside some sort of Escher nightmare, and when the camera pulls back it looks like she's come onto the stage via a low-budget portal. If Megabus did Stargates.

The spine of this song is like synthy indigestion. 

Look, if we've learned one thing from the films of Tom Cruise, it's that you don't fucking touch unicorns. And this one, especially, you should steer clear of.

10.05

24. Slovenia | Joker Out - Carpe Diem

They're called Joker Out.

They're called Joker Out.

Is that as in 'we've prepared the cards for Canasta'? Is that as in 'I'm a bit like Heath Ledger and that's all I've got to say about it'? Is that as in 'Beadle's About and filming a skit dressed up as a policeman'?

No, it's as in Mark Owen's brief flirtation with an indie music career.

Another awkward handover between Graham and Mel in the booth, as Norton has man's work to do opening the votes.

25. Croatia | Let 3 - Mama ŠČ!

It's Monty Python's Miley Cyrus.

I suspect if you were Croatian, the satirical bite about tractors would be a bit sharper, but clearly there are going to be people in Croatia having meltdowns that this is the song representing them this year, and you've got to love them for that.

10.15

26. United Kingdom: Mae Muller - I Wrote A Song

Brave of the BBC to show so much of the UK's waterways tonight; a rivulet of poop colour running through the multicolour celebrations.

Here we are, then, with the local one. More spooky hands.

This probably sounds more like a Eurovision song than anything the UK has ever entered into Eurovision. Right down to the da-da-da-das. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

I don't think Look East will be searching out a Mae Muller lookalike next year, but I also don't think she'll be mournfully showing her shoes to them in fifteen years time.

10.17

And that's it for the songs. Liverpool is going absolutely apeshit with delight.

And the voting is open.

10.28

Sam Ryder's here, doing a new song. Which at least stopping him making adverts for Vodaphone. Is this his first new song since last year? He did do a lot of things on the New Years Eve show on BBC One, but I was tired and couldn't tell you if they were covers or not. I'm not sure he needs lots of songs. 

Apparently he had Roger Taylor from Queen on the drums, but it looked like Dave from down the market.

Jan Leeming has been wheeled out to remember hosting Eurovision in Harrogate, while three dozen European networks have their hosts try and explain who she is. Very much the new Katie Boyle.

We're now getting a bit about the scoring sequence. Because it's not like that won't be going on long enough in its own right and really needs a few extra moments in the sun.

10.45

Onto the Mersey song cavalcade. 

A terrible reading of Imagine which only has the soothing balm that Lennon will be spinning in his grave.

On the other hand, Pete Burns would be loving this version of Spin Me Round by Netta.

Dadi Freyer has drawn the short straw and is having a crack at making Whole Again into an A-Ha number.

C'mon, lets have some Half Man Half Biscuit, people.

Cornelia Jacobs has made I Turn To You so languid that she's delivering it sitting down. Hold on, no, she's fallen into the bath. Producers going wild trying to stop her white singlet turning music's annual festival into a wet t-shirt contest.

When did we move from ironic love for Sonia into national-treasure love for Sonia? She's being treated here like it's Lady Di come back from the grave.

Got to be honest, this selection of Liverpool toons is going to scupper the chance of Paul DuNoyer's Wondorous Place getting a reprinting.

You'll Never Walk Alone being done by someone in a trenchcoat whose name I missed. For balance, they're going to have to do the Z Cars theme, aren't they?

No McCartney song, huh? I'm revising who I think the Big Secret Surprise act will be in light of this. Unless they're really snubbing him. Maybe Liverpool's not forgiven him for bringing James Corden to the Philharmonic.

23.00

We used to live next door to Atomic Kitten's offices. One night, a very drunk group of young girls stumbled up the street and sang Whole Again through the letter box, apparently convinced the band lived in their office and would welcome a 1am audition. Still did it better than the version we've just heard.

Voting is closed.


23.08 

And we're into the jury vote segment. (So no big surprise, then?)

Ukraine, subtly reminding Liverpool that they're only doing it on Ukraine's behalf.  12 to Sweden.

Italy - presented by a budget Zendaya - 12 to Israel.

Latvia's presenter is a crazy guy, with sunglasses on his head and a wacky jacket. Crazy. 12 crazy points to Estonia.

Already looking a bit grim for the UK.

Netherlands wearing a sweater that hasn't rendered properly.  12 to Sweden.

Malta have got security in to give the numbers. "Thank you for hosting an amazing show, but here are the votes from the Maltese jury". 12 to Sweden.

Moldova offer a budget store Cate Blanchett. 12 to Sweden again.

Ireland have got "Sonia's nemesis"; although they have given UK 2 - so we're now on six. 12 to Sweden. It's a rout at both ends.

San Marino have dashed out of a banker's dinner to give 12 to Italy.

23.15

Azerbaijan are giving style, albeit in a thirty years old version. 12 to Israel.

UK still not picking anything up. That's harsh. Mae's no Bucks Fizz but she deserved a bit more love.

Austria are wearing a well-meaning slogan tshirt. 12 to Italy. Sweden still have double the votes.

France, once again in fromt of the fucking Eiffel Tower. Show a bit of imagination, France.  12 to Israel.

Germany and Croatia are still on zero.

Finland are fresh from the dungeon. UK get 4 and sneak onto 10; 12 to Sweden.

Graham looks a bit bored by it all. Been a big day.

Belgium are, inevitably, wearing a big hat because that's their thing. 12 to Austria. I'd forgotten them.

Germany's fun, gay uncle gives 12 to Sweden. We're gonna see those nails again.

11.20

Portugal have their scores, which is reassuring. 12 to Australia. (<whispers>I think Portugal are stoned.</whispers>)

Croatia give 12 to Italy.

Estonia are recently divorced. 12 to Sweden, but then they would.

Armenia are on their way to a fetish club but drop 12 off for Israel first.

11.25

Poland are dressed for heavy rain in a glittery anorak. 12 to Israel.

Romania have got some nice fountains. "Good evening beautiful world". 12 to Italy. This might just close the gap enough to make the viewers vote meaningful.

Germany still on a flat zero. Everyone's forgotten the UK even exists.

And we're now filling a commercial break gap by chatting to Sweden. Loreen doesn't know what to say.

11.30

They had been doing a top 3 summary, but now they've expanded it top 5 because 'who will come third' is suddenly more of a exciting question.

Iceland have sent some sort of killer robot from the future and he's doing a very slow striptease which is pushing the News back to 1am. Australia get their 12 points, and we're all going to have a word with Iceland after the programme is over. We're not angry, just disappointed.

Serbia have dressed as a cowgirl who also busses tables. 12 to Slovenia.

Cyprus has donned a floral print suit jacket which actually is working for him. 12 to Sweden.

Ben From A1 is in Oslo to do the Norway votes. He's got his wolf head with him. 12 to Finland, and Terry Wogan's ghost mutters 'told you so'.

Smiley Switzerland are represented by Fred from Angel. 12 to Czechia.

Australia have got Su Pollard's aunt. "Definitely worth waking up for" she says, although Graham looks like he disagrees. 12 to Belguim.

11.35

Denmark's scores come from someone so Danish she's practically made of butter. 12 to Finland.

Spain showing a bit of leg and some Dua Lipa action. Nobody's giving anything to Mae. 12 to Sweden. 134 points ahead now.

Israel have got their first ever entrant back, 50 years on, to give 12 to Sweden. Got to say she doesn't seem entirely thrilled.

Sweden have given 4 to the UK, but it's meaningless now. 12 to Finland.

The audience love it when Finland get a 12. Get a bit rowdy. Peter Kavanaghs at chucking out time rowdy.

Sweden are miles ahead.

Georgia have tried to out-wacky everyone. Mel is chuckling. Don't indulge them, Mel. 12 to Belgium. Bad hat boys stick together.

Czechia give their 12 to Ukraine, who had been languishing in the lower middle of the table so far.

Slovenia have splurged on those earrings. They really shouldn't, but they couldn't resist them. 12 to Italy.

Greece take Sweden over 300 but only gave them 6. They're wearing a polyester suit jacket. 12 to Belgium.

11.45

Albania think it would be a shame if anything happened to your lovely shop. 12 to Sweden.

Lithuania are so excited to be here. 12 to Sweden.

And finally, we're getting Catherine Tate with the UK votes, deservedly milking it for all its worth. 12 to Sweden.

So, jury votes counted - Sweden 340, followed by Israel on 177. UK fifth from bottom on 15. No nul points this year.

11.48

Time for the votes from the people at home. They've been checked. They've been verified. Georgia have deleted dozens of votes for Trump. We're POISED.

11.50

Germany get a dribble from the public - an extra 15

Croatia - 112

Poland - 81

(at this stage, countries need over 300 to be in with a chance)

Serbia 16

The UK... get a large cheer and an extra 9. Which is just enough to not become bottom. But the audience isn't happy.

Albania 59 

Moldavia 76

Slovenia 54

Portugal 16

Norway 216

a lot but won't make much difference

France 50

Ukraine 189

Switzerland 31

Cyprus 58

Armenia 53

These points are fairly equally distributed

Lithuania 46

Czechia 35

Looking very much in the bag for Sweden

Spain 5

Austria a surprising 16

Belgium 55

Australia 21 (Graham can't quite believe this)

Estonia 22

The audience are sounding a bit restless as we get to Finland

Finland 376 - spring into the lead

This has, for the first time all evening, started to feel like a contest.

Midnight

We're overruning now

Italy 174. So not their year.

Israel 185. Not their year.

Only Sweden can win now.

Sweden need 187 to win.

They get 243.

Loreen is now going to have perform again despite being very - uh - relaxed.

What have we learned?

So... the Liverpool Echo's big secret surprise act... doesn't seem to have been a thing at all. And, really, isn't that the biggest surprise of them all?

Normally the UK does poorly and, really, you just shrug and go 'yeah, probably deserved that' but Mae Muller should have been higher. Not top five, but a ought to have got a decent three figures.

Catherine Tate really enjoyed her evening.

Iceland either were trying to be funny and ended up being disturbing, or are just genuinely disturbing.

Loreen has won by having a song that has just enough of The Winner Takes It All in its DNA to trigger thoughts of Abba, but making her do her act in that crushing block thing after an evening of refreshing drinks is an industrial injury waiting to happen.

Liverpool know how to host a Eurovision and probably should do it every year. (Although I pray to God nobody's thinking 'hey, how can we do an annual UKvision song contest')

It's been fun. Maybe see you next year?


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Simon,

Thank you for blogging again. If only briefly.

Best wishes,

J

Anonymous said...

"Flapping around like a carp on a tow path" - great stuff!

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