I did it once, I'll do it again (but this time as a single re-edited post).
I get the feeling I'm going to miss Wogan. In an ideal world, he'd be Twittering his commentary.
- Lithuania: Quiet start - competent but rather bland ballad
- Israel: Verse lyrics in Hebrew. Singing flat, alas. Bit too heartfelt - there must be another way. Where's the cheesy pop? Also, those look like olive oil tins rather than biscuit tins being used for percussion.
- France: "paint-by-numbers chanson", says young Master Norton, and he's not wrong. If I had to, I'd choose something else. ias says she likes it.
- Sweden: French title ("La Voix"), plus EUR37k dress. Mmm. Opera-y intro. Shame she's singing off-key. This made it through the qualifying heats? Obligatory coloratura plus sparkly masks. I shan't be buying this.
- Croatia: Another ballad. Almost tempted to admit to liking this, but I'm not sure that I'd be able to hum the melody in an hour's time.
- Portugal: Alison Moyet look-a-like. I like what I've heard so far - I'd buy this. Folk-pop with accordion/flute/guitar/ukulele/bongo accompaniment.
- Iceland: Backing cello and good voice. Pleasant enough ballad, if not entirely inspiring. ias says "boring".
- Greece: Dance-y intro. Shame he couldn't afford a slightly longer t-shirt. He appears to be standing on a conveyor belt. Cuddly toy, microwave oven, etc. Jesus. Now it's turning into a Greek flag-accented Big Black Monolith. Distracted from the song, though.
- Armenia: "Traditional costumes, but only if you live in a village where Liberace is the mayor". Priceless. Is that a shawm I hear? The Euro-cheese motherlode surely lies this way? Quite jolly, though I'd have to listen to it late at night when everyone else was asleep. Defies categorisation: ethno-hip-hop-pop?
- Russia: Hmmm. Daddy is a billionaire. Dull ballad. Time to change the young lad's nappy and put him to bed, I think. (she's also singing slightly flat)
- Azerbaijan: Ethno-Euro-cheese-tastic. I could dance (badly) to this, but there's no melody worth the mention. Mmmm. Miming with a lute-like instrument.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: Seems to be a theme of quasi-military uniforms this year (Azerbaijan had them too). Now they're re-enacting a scene from Les Mis (ias would like to point out that she drew this parallel before I did - but I still thought of it myself). Good stage presence, but the song's forgettable.
- Moldova: This I like. Ethnic dress, catchy melody in intro, syncopation in the rhythm section. She's a Moldovan Toni Basil! (in the middle eight). I like the backing dancers too. I'd buy this one.
- Malta: They appear to be trying to appeal to the UK vote - they've picked exactly the sort of crap that we choose and lose with. I predict that this will be near the bottom on the right hand side of the leaderboard.
- Estonia: Female ballad. Can't seem to make myself care too much about this one way or the other. ias says Shakespeare's Sister-lite
- Denmark: Sounds like Boyzone, says ias. My gaydar is pinging. Bit of a flat delivery, rather by-the-numbers - I don't get any real emotion from this. Mind you, he appears to wearing a cravat, so he can't be all bad. An attempt to win the Croat vote, perhaps?
- Germany: It's a German John Barrowman! Silver lame trousers are no-one's friend. Song is fun, though - swing-accented cheesy pop. ZOMGCORSET!!!
- Turkey: Either a mic failure for the backing singers in the opening, or poor mixing. Catchy tune, but doesn't really stand out. I have a slight suspicion that she's not quite on-key.
- Albania: Mmmm. Spangly Blue Man-a-like plus Joker/Phantom hybrids as dancers. Song is forgettable, and the dancers are just distracting. Mmm - bust a move!
- Norway: Folky intro. There's a very weird (and completely unexpected) Puppet-on-a-String vibe that I'm getting from this. I quite like this.
- Ukraine: Isn't this a Cheeky Girls song? The pole dancer/go-go dancer/gladiator aesthetic is mystifying. Not so sexy BOM.
- Romania: Pan's People are alive and well and living in Romania. Dull pop ballad.
- United Kingdom: Have I mentioned that I think we're doomed? I don't like this song. Still, she's in tune. Spoke too soon - she's slipping. (and I'm with ias on the warbling)
- Finland: "welcome back to the 1980s" quoth the Norton. Quite jolly. Rap interlude. Bonnie Tyler vibe to the female vocals (had to ask ias for that one - couldn't remember her name).
- Spain: Why is Spain channelling Turkey? Generic Eastern Med rhythm. Lead singer disappears. SHE'S IN A SPACE INSIDE THE STEPS!!! Really, even David Copperfield does a better job.
Jesus wept. They've got the ISS to open the voting. Tsiolkovsky and Korolev must be spinning in their graves. *And* they invoked Gagarin. That was worth spending $100 billion, surely.
Right, I've cast my vote for Portugal. My top five were (in order):
- Portugal (finished 15th)
- Moldova (finished 14th)
- Armenia (finished 10th)
- Norway (finished 1st)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (finished 9th)
At the interval now. Well, this is certainly no Riverdance. Granted, that may be a good thing.
It's at times like this that I like to remind myself that Eurovision are also responsible for broadcasting the New Year's Day concert from the Musikverein Concert Hall in Vienna. It's not all low culture.
And now to the voting.
So, a Norway win. It's a good song, and I'm pleased that it made my top five.