Instead, it's time for boggyb's highly inaccurate guide to the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 Final! Yes, it's that time of year again wherein us Brits get to collectively snark at the artistic endeavours of Europe. This year $work's decided to run an office sweepstake and so I have a whole £2 running on it - so let's hope Romania or Norway does well.
So, on with the show, the pseudo-liveblog, and most importantly the snark!
This years theme: glitter and sparkles, judging by the flag intro and the presenter's outfits.
- Israel: Good opening act. Mini-rant: is it just me, or is there practically no bass in the sound mix? I recall the past couple of years having similar sound mixes.
- Poland: Almost a good one. I think it would work better with more singing and less shouting. Did like the Freedom birds though.
- Belarus: What.
- Austria: Pretty background video, meh song.
- Armenia: Interesting. The choreography has a certain style to it that is so often lacking.
- The Netherlands: Female barbershop triplet with surprise electric guitar!
- Moldova: Microphone flower bouquets? Okay...
- Hungary: I see they've gone the traditional dress route - at least, I'm assuming this is traditional dress and not merely excessive gold braid.
- Italy: Surprise dancing gorilla with a bow-tie! Otherwise, meh song, decent (if incomprehensible) video.
- Denmark: I rather like this one.
- Portugal: Wow. Just wow.
- Azerbaijan: Not quite sure what to make of this. Seems like a macabre goth song... except somehow not.
- Croatia: Meh.
- Australia: Meh.
- Greece: Um...
- Spain: A nice upbeat song.
- Norway: Daft Punk lite!
- United Kingdom: Almost an excellent entry - I don't like the way the vocals become a bit harsh when she tries to put too much power into them.
- Cyprus: Full marks for use of the floor video display.
- Romania: Bonkers combination, but it seems to work. Slightly disappointed that the cannons didn't do anything.
- Germany: Meh.
- Ukraine: It's Andross!
- Belgium: Hmm. This one has potential.
- Sweden: Ok Go! Except nowhere near as convoluted.
- Bulgaria: Surprisingly good.
- France: Stunning background video, meh song.
Overall I enjoyed Armenia and Norway, Portugal's entry is pure understated awesome (it's rather like an inverse Lordi), and Belarus wins the WTF award. I struggled a bit to pick favourites this year - Denmark, Poland and United Kingdom I almost really liked, but they're let down by harsh vocals which is a shame. Portugal aside, this year's collection seemed somewhat underwhelming and few songs really grabbed me - or perhaps it was that last year had some particularly good and epic entries in it.
And as for my £2, well I'm not holding out much hope but you never know (after all the bonkers entries have been known to win - like the Russian grannies from a few years back...).
First interval act: pretty decent.
Second interval act: interesting mix of modern synths and traditional instruments. And whatever bizarre (possibly made-up) drum-with-a-tail thing they've got in the middle. Overall I rather like it.
Third interval act: um... well someone apparently wanted their 5 seconds of TV fame. Full marks to the singer for carrying on regardless, but nil points to whoever was on the TV mixing desk and failed to switch away. Interruption aside, a reasonable song though I preferred her Eurovision entry last year.
Time for the voting! As with last year, all the voting countries phone in with their jury votes, and then the total phone votes are added at the end. There's something wonderfully quaint about all the satellite links with the backdrops of famous landmarks and the "Good evening, this is $place calling" (or in the case of Australia, "Good morning"). Anyway, the jury voting has put Portugal at the top with a surprise second of Bulgaria... but it's all up for grabs with the phone votes with a potential 490-odd point swing (which last year completely changed the result). As with last year, the public doesn't quite agree with the juries and is awarding some decent point values to countries with very low jury scores. My prediction (at eight to go): I think Portugal will get it.
At 4 to go, I think any of the remaining ones could win it (even Belgium who are currently down 274 points).
At 3 to go, I'm not so sure. It depends on how many points 2nd/3rd get. Still think Portugal will win.
At 2 to go: whoever gets the next points will tell us who the winner is.
At 1 to go: called it. Portugal wins, and deservedly so. There's something so very awesome about an orchestral piece managing to win a contest stuffed full of pop music - it's on the same scale as Lordi's achievement all those years ago.