And we start the show with the whole of Azerbaijan on stage. Or at least it seems that way. They show the building of the arena (handily bypassing the forced expropriations) and we have to hear that crappy song again. I'm so glad it will be the last time. Well, at least they'll always have that fancy arena they built. And the flame towers they threw at us in every postcard. And why are they wearing white? Did they not get the news that black is the new white??
Off we go (for we might forget that the whole exhibition at the start is not what this evening is about) with Engelbert Humperdinck, which makes sense, since he has to be back in the home by 10. My son is a huge fan, sticking to the television. I'm not sure about his love for elderly gentlemen, but I'll let it slide. Azerbaijan seems to have some wiring issues, because fire comes out of the wall at the end. See, Engelbert, you weren't that bad at all. I just think you were forgotten. Which is infitinely worse in Eurovisionland. Not even Ireland gave you a 12! That's shocking! -25th
Did we already see Hungary? None of us can remember the song, which isn't a good sign. Extra point for the guy playbacking his keyboards, because you can see him think "Yeah, check it out, I'm at Eurovision". Grey is not the new white though, so we're not convinced. Especially not when the singer shouts out (what we think is) "Thank you Texas". Wrong show, mate. -24th
Ah, Albania waltzes in, dressed like the Evil Queen from Snow White, with Lord Voldemort in her hair and proudly showing off her chest hair. There's a lot of shouting. I'm sure no one gets it, but pretends to anyway just to come across as intellectual. Just like in the semi, there's a sob at the end of the song. I just wish she'd stop shouting. Europe disagrees with me. -5th
For crying out loud, Lithuania, keep your blindfold on and don't try to play penis-guitar. What the hell *is* penis-guitar anyway. I wish love was deaf instead of blind. -14th
Then comes Bosnia with what many consider a fantastically moving ballad, but for me it's about as interesting as watching paint dry. Points for the worst dye job of the contest, now that blondie from Georgia is out of the picture. -18th
Since Russia has a law stating "promoting" homosexuality is illegal, they're going to be in deep shit if they end up winning this contest. Thankfully it doesn't come to that. Because yes, the grannies are cute, and yes, they bake cookies (philosophical question of the year: who for?), and yes, the chorus is about as catchy as erm... something really catchy. Still... I'm not keen on Moscow. I amuse myself thinking the grannies are styled to look the way they do and will change into their expensive gala gowns and high heels once they come offstage. -2nd
You were robbed, Iceland. Robbed! Robbed, I tell you! Looking fabulously vampiric (if Buffy the Vampire Slayer were watching, she'd have been in Baku in minutes, ready to slay you), singing gorgeously, all the pathos, the bombast, the slight "religious education"-influence... and it all amounts to nothing? Shame on you, Europe. Shame on you! - 20th
The sofa ruins Cyprus for me by comparing the singer to Dexter's Titty Vampire. I can't not-see the likeness anymore, but still... come on people! Dancing on a dolmen! The Ruslana shout! The Helena Paparizou! It's better to steal something well than to have a bad idea of yourself. And she goes to prove that. Love it. -16th
André says France had too many ideas. I think André's getting old. So yes, there's the half naked guys, the Sertab-ribbons, the seethrough curtains for a dress, but this is Eurovision! Seems like the bare minimum if you ask me! I can't say anything about the song though, because I can't for the life of me remember how it goes -22nd
Italy sends a sober Amy Winehouse with red high heeled shoes. I think I may be in lov, but it lacks the impact it should have had -9th
I still don't get Estonia, apart from the man-candy vote. But that could just be me. Half the Sofa is in love, and so, apparently is most of Europe. -6th
What, my dear Norway, is the point of starting your song with a hood over your head. I'm sure whole studies have been done about it, so please enlighten me. Despite this being stolen from every other song in existence ("push me, and then just touch me, till I can get my satisfaction..." and so on) I still love this. Someone decrees the singer is too muscular for skinny jeans, which I'm sure he'll be thrilled to hear, and I'm happy with the return of the Eric Saade octopus. (Behind you!) By the time we get to vote, Europe seems to have completely forgotten about Norway though, which is a pity. -last
Azerbaijan plucked a chicken and has a dress that changes colours. There's also a ballad in there somewhere. The fact that a black cloud is moving in her dress scares me a little and reminds me of that contestant who made a "cancer dress" in Project Runway season one. Blurgh. -4th (seriously, Europe?)
"Did those guys with the moonwalking accordion make it?" Erm who...? Aaaah, Romania! Apparently they did. Something about people pretending to play instruments to a very obvious backing track always amuses me. -12th
We love Denmark in all its crazy glory: there's a very catchy song, the cellist in a hoodie, the manic drummer and a bunch of hot girls. But what's with the cap? And what's with Europe for not giving this more points? Where were the lesbians last night? -23rd
No, but then Greece, the offkey singing bouncy bunny, does a lot better. What is the meaning of "you make me want your aphrodisiac" anyway? I'd hardly consider it a compliment. Then there's the tornado wind machine, a mass of hairography, a dancer touching the singer's crotch and the obligatory sirtaki. Urgh. Oh, Greece, haven't we been subjected to enough of this over the years? -17th
Sweden surprises me. I love the song, love the whole performance, but I'm not used to songs I like actually winning! I kept expecting a dark horse to make it in the end (not literally. I know this is Eurovision, but live animals are still forbidden). "Does she have eyes though", we wonder during the first half of her performance, and "let's hope she doesn't choke on a snowflake this time". Glad to see Mister T found a new career after the A team as a dancer as well. -winner
Turkey and his backing choir of Batmans are a big hit in this household. But then, unlike Edna Mode, we do like a cape now and then. "Ride me like I like you", the singer goes, though I might be mishearing. The boat choreography is genius. -7th
Spain apparently did well with a moving ballad. I wouldn't know. All I can see is the way her hair is pulled back so tightly it must hurt. -10th
Germany pleases everyone who fancies men on our sofa. Well, not literally, because that would be quite inappropriate. I just notice he must be cold, why else would he be wearing a woolly hat? -8th
Malta starts with a very heterosexual fistbump and further proves how cold it must be in that arena, because this guy is wearing a glove. Just the one though. They bring one guy with them for no other reason than his yellow trousers and red hair. Halfway through the whole "straight" act there's the best foot choreography ever to grace Eurovision. And probably the only reason for this song getting to the final. Because this is Eurovision. And we do love this sort of thing. . -21st
FYR Macedonia doesn't baffle me as much as it did in the semi. I'll even forgive her the faux guitar solo and the shouting. I must be getting mellow. -13th
And then come Ireland and we collectively decide we're sick of twins at Eurovision. Especially hyperactive little cybermen. Unless they bring a decent song, which they didn't bother to do this year. Please don't send them again next year, Ireland, please don't. If only for the hazard of combining water and electricity. "I'm close to waterboarding" our hungover teacher remarks. -19th
Serbia has the "most beautiful man of the festival" according to André. And yes, Zeljko is brilliant. He just is. Despite us wondering what "droogy poo" is. Nerd points to my wife for recognising the guy with the flute from Lane Moje. And points to Zeljko for the little lady violinist moment. We like that overhere. -3rd
Ukraine figured they'd save money by making one song for Eurovision and for football. It worked for France a few years back, so why not. And it's not bad, though there's a lot of grumbling on the sofa about "stolen songs" and "too recognisable" and "it's physically impossible to play the trumpet that way". -15th
And speaking of trumpets, what is Moldova singing about? "This trumpet makes you mine, girl"?? "Ah, it's the guy with the porn moustache and his trumpet!" the sofa goes when the song starts. This is what we remember you for, Moldova. But you sing a lovely catchy song. And your backing dancers are dressed cutely. -11th.
And in case you were wondering who this Peter guy was we loved to hate this year (André's sexist sidekick), he's the guy who gave the points for Belgium and insulted the hosts in Dutch ("beautiful show, with your cheap dresses"). That's not only rude, but also cowardly. I much prefer the woman, can't remember the country, who gave a dig about democracy in the voting process.
But yes, Sweden won! And I 'm quite baffled, because I was pretty sure the Russians were going to win. Or anyone else. I was even prepared for the Ukraine. I'm not used to songs I really like actually winning. And I'm thrilled for the Swedes, because they're probably the most Eurovision crazed of them all. Now just let Iceland win next year, and I'll be completely satisfied.