So, here we are again! We've got the folk dancing and traditional music out of the way, and we're now getting a recap of last year's winning song.
And here we go...
UK: The #hump has already wound me with his pronunciation of 'love' as 'lurve'. Also, dull song. That's the anticipation of disappointment over and done with.
Hungary: I can find very little to say about this song, positive or negative. Complete non-entity of a song (albeit less so than the Hump).
Albania: And the first non-English language song (hurrah!)
"I land my airplane of the lightless runway of your soul". Classic. Also, heroic quantities of toupee tape must have been used to stick her ponytail to her cleavage.
Lithuania: And another dullish ballad. How can I have run out of incisive critical comments this early?
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Ballad! I am already unable to distinguish it from the previous ballads!
Russia: Here are the grannies. This is exactly what I'd expect if you grabbed six random OAPs from a bus stop and told them to sing. Isobel suspects that vodka may have played its part. Still, the 5mo seems to be enjoying it more than the ballads (and the accompaniment is good).
Iceland: Ballad duet, but at least it's a power ballad. Also, fiddle solos are always welcome. Best so far.
Cyprus: This is more like it! Fun, disposable Euro-pop. Shame she's singing slightly offkey.
France: Gallic synthpop. Jaunty and fun, and she's got a good voice. Good floorshow from the gymnasts.
Italy: "An Italian Amy Winehouse", according to Norton - and he's not wrong. Arresting op art background. The words don't make a great deal of sense (which is neither good nor bad, in the great Eurovision accounting). I liked this.
Norway: Good choreography. I like the accompaniment, but the song itself isn't doing much for me. Slightly offkey in a couple of places. Isobel quite likes it, but I'm less impressed in balance.
Estonia: Serious ballad is serious. See, I make it serious with my eyebrows.
Azerbaijan: Looks a bit like a young Barbara Streisand. Not bad, but I don't think that I'd give it my vote.
Romania: The instrumental is rather fun. Also, accompaniment from bagpipes *and* an accordion. I quite liked this.
Denmark: Superfluous epaulettes! Glockenspiel solo! All good, as far as I'm concerned. Norton nails it with "a bit Alanis Morrisette-ey".
Greece: Rhyming "maniac" and "aphrodisiac". Upbeat europop. Competent, but doesn't have the necessary madness to make a true Eurovision classic.
Sweden: Dance-y europop. Well-managed tempo changes. Shame that she's channelling Kate Bush. Quite liking it.
Turkey: Good intro. Camper than a fleet of VW vans *and* a jamboree combined. It's stretching it to call this some of the lyrics double entendres. Fun choreography with the cloaks. I rather like this.
Spain: Oh no, it's another heartfelt ballad with SERIOUS FACE. Good voice, but I don't see the Spanish broadcaster going bankrupt next year.
Germany: Competent, inoffensive ballad. Not quite my glass of absinthe, but I quite enjoyed this and could see it winning.
Malta: Fun europop. Perfectly respectable entry from a country with a population only barely larger than that of Southampton and Portsmouth combined. I liked that.
FYROM: Soft rock ballad. Excellent voice.
Ireland: This is traditionally the point where I leave the room to avoid the BEAST WITH TWO HEADS. This year, I'm going to stick it out and see what this Jedward business is all about. So, blond Gary Glitter clones. *How* much lucozade did they feed these lads before they sent them on stage? They're twitching all over the place! Worst. High-five. Ever. God help me. I can believe that these lads are the most irritating thing since horsehair underwear, but I quite liked the song. And you can't deny their enthusiam.
And now I've lost track of where we are. Such is the power of JEDWARD.
Serbia: Lost the plot. Found the plot. There have been a lot of waterlines and ships in this contest, no? Another earnest ballad.
Ukraine: I've only just realised that she's singing in English. The 5mo is grinning, though that might just be wind. Not overly impressed.
Moldova: Good intro. Fun costumes. "You haven't seen before how looks the trumpet" - classic, and that's an English lyric, not a translation. Hammered dulcimer solo (I think) in the middle eight. I could almost vote for this.
Lummee. I'm stumped - for the first time ever, there's nothing that stands out to me as a must-vote-for. France got our vote in the end.