Flag? Check, Lederhosen? Check? Various Alcohols of Europe? Check and Check. Eurovision party is ready to go. Sticking strictly to Eurovison Drinking rules with the subtitles on for those pesky foreign language songs, the night is set for the daddy of all music contests.
In the opening commentary Graham Norton, still known as 'not Terry Wogan' at this time of year, nicely side-stepped the issue of human rights, but did slip in how various locals had been forced out to make room for the new venue built specially for the contest. Shame he didn't bother to mourn for all the quality acts who didn't make it through; including Slovikia's Metallic Max Jason Mai, San Marino's ode to Cyber sex, and Montenegro's hobo on a donkey, Rambo Amadeus.
First up was 'the Hump.' Striding out onto the stage like a colossus, he gave it his all. There was dancing, fireworks, a bit of pointing and a strong vocal performance, but in the end, Englebert was past it twenty years ago. A safe spanish ballad may have won in the seventies, but not today.
Of the early bunch, it was Lithuania who stood out the most. Aside from the over-literal metaphor (The song's clled 'Love Is Blind,' so clearly the singer has to wear a blindfold) the funk dancing and disco beat impressive nearby ladies and men without any sense of rhythm.
Russia definitely livened up the show a bit. Tipped to be surprise winners, these Grannies had it all; the costumes, the look, the token extra small old lady and a sob story to go with it (raising money to pay for rebuilding work to the local church Stalin tore down), hard not to love them. Questionable bakery prop aside, they gave it everything their little bodies had in them, and several members of the room quickly headed to the internet to download what is now the most famous Russian musical act in history.
The small dress and suggestive dancing types from Cyprus and Greece, and then a large amount of possible drag or tranny acts with questionably low voices. Ukraine, Macedeonia, France, we're looking at you.
Iceland had the unlucky privilege of following on from the Grannies. Hard for anyone, but they made task a lot more difficult for themselves with a song Nightwish would be proud of and far more suited to the theatre. Rounds of 'Party for everybody' could be heard during the violin solo.
There's seemed to be a trend among the women of Eurovision this year. They generally fall within the category of slightly odd vampire queens ones as seen by Albania and Bosnia. The small dress and suggestive dancing types from Cyprus and Greece, and then a large amount of possible drag or tranny acts with questionably low voices. Ukraine, Macedeonia, France, we're looking at you.
Italy were surprisingly good, even if Amy Whinehouse comparisons/accusations of plagiarism are fair. Classy song and vocals, and along with Sweden one you could actually imagine hitting the charts.
Praises were being laid upon Romania, with extra brownie points being awarded for a moonwalking bagpipe player, but the lead singer looking to the only black man on stage and beckoning him towards her as 'my sweet chocolate boy' definitely didn't go down very well. Just because you're eastern European doesn't make it to refer to people as 'chocolate boy.'
The in-between shots showed all that the great nation of Azerbaijan had to offer; Culture, Dancing, Local costumes, Tea, Horses and, er, Carpets. Using the same three shots of the capital city over and over plus a few shots of the locals isn't the best advertisement of your country to the world, but never mind. Back to the drinking!
Spain had already gone on record as saying they couldn't afford to host it next year, and you can't imagine Greece would either. On the show of things, it didn't seem like a big issue, Spain offering a very middle of the road female -fronted number, while Greece relied heavily on short skirts and 'sexy' dancing (Was that booing from the crowd at the end of Greece's performance?).Though certain trolls at the party thought it'd be a laugh if everyone voted for them, teach them some sort of economic lesson.
Praises were being laid upon Romania, with extra brownie points being awarded for a moonwalking bagpipe player, but the lead singer looking to the only black man on stage and beckoning him towards her as 'my sweet chocolate boy' definitely didn't go down very well.
Jedward. For Fuck's sake. I hope their parents are ashamed of what they brought into the world. But on the plus side, when you're only expecting two Irish pricks to commit crimes against music, they always deliver.
Sweden put in a good shift, the bookies' favourite showed up with a professional song that's already been a storm in the charts, and despite the Kung-Fu dancing it was actually a decent performance. Compare that to Humpadink and then guess which one is in the race for 12 points.
There was nothing memorable about Estonia, but according to some scribbly notes the women of the party (and one of the men with a girlfriend) decided they wouldn't kick the guy out of bed. Also the decision was made that he was singing about the benefits of gravy and chips, just to brighten up was one of the most dire performances of the night.
Jedward. For Fuck's sake. I hope their parents are ashamed of what they brought into the world. But on the plus side, when you're only expecting two Irish pricks to commit crimes against music, they always deliver. After the disaster of Ireland, things became a bit blurry, and remaining acts generally felt like those obscure countries and principalities you only ever here about on Eurovision. Milton Keynes' entry on stage was expected at any minute.
Result drinking rules: Drink when your chosen country is giving their scores, gains points, is top or bottom of the table.
Some sobering up time during the votes and a sense of optimism were quickly dashed with 1 point from the first 10 countries, while FUCKING IRELAND had managed to rack up 6 by this point. Block voting is expected, and I'm never one to be surprised or angry about it since usually the good songs average enough points to place where they deserve. But when England gives Ireland 10 points, you realise how guilty we are of it. We deserved to lose for that reason alone.
Towards the end punishment ideas for not voting for the UK were being concocted, leading the pack was barring from the Olympics. Other voting highlights include the return of Lordi, and for some perplexing reason Sweden allowing woman who sounds like she's never left Whitechapel to offer 'Seerbeeah 10 points!' on their behalf.
Albania did surprisingly well, considering the Bjork wannabe had a dreadlock glued to her chest and sounded, as the guardian put it, "the desperate wailing of a wounded bear." Serbia won the Bronze award, which is shocking, I remember a middle-aged looking woman [later research shows it to be a man] and my notes simple have the word 'violin' scrawled where a detailed description should be. Clearly following on from Jedward makes your performance seem around 500% better. Possibly something to note for next year.
Shame about Denmark and Norway faring so badly (Norway have the worst record in the competition, this is their 11th last place) but it saves our embarrassment of coming last. Denmark's only crime was crap costumes, the song was actually an alright Natalie Imbruglia tribute, while Norway's Tooji would be a good supporting act for George Michael.
Overall another shabby year for the UK. People will moan about being on first and block voting, but the root problem may lie with a dull song and a seventy year old singer. As for the party, our man supporting Sweden lay in a drunken stupor in the corner clutching his flag, while the vikings of Denmark and Norway were holding back the tears, lamenting into their flagons of ale. Same time next year?
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