Anyway, it's time for the show, the pseudo-liveblog, and as always the snark!
I'm not sure what I was expecting as the intro but an acoustic performance wasn't it - though it was very good. I definitely didn't expect the followup pair of DJs with a turntable - or the olympics-esque flag parade!
For a change, they don't have a video wall this year. Instead there's a pattern of arches and pillars with some sort of projection or LED setup - it'll be interesting to see if anyone makes proper use of them.
- Ukraine: ...So we have a vampire with a coffin that turns into a piano that's on fire. What.
- Spain: And we go from Ukraine's madness to an incredibly sweet piece performed by a couple on a an empty stage. Proof that you don't need a special effects budget to achieve a great performance.
- Slovenia: Audience participation time! Which is totally spontaneous and not planned at all :P
- Lithuania: Surely it's cheating to mix images into the video feed? That aside, another simple but good song.
- Austria: Meh. Good, but not my cup of tea.
- Estonia: Wow. Someone who can really sing, combined with a shiny new special effect - projecting video onto a giant dress. Colour me impressed.
- Norway: It's Mr. Bean with an invisible violin/drum kit/guitar/keyboard - oh wait, he has an actual violin. Not convinced he's actually playing it.
- Portugal: I rather like this one.
- United Kingdom: WTF happened there - it looked like a protester grabbed her mic and started yelling something incomprehensible (the Twittersphere thinks it was an anti-UK-media rant?). Full marks to SuRie for keeping going through that! Stage-crashers aside I did quite like that song.
- Serbia: The intro to this one reminds me a little of the opening theme from Ghost in the Shell. Not sure about the rest of it - I don't think the techno-like beats work with it.
- Germany: So the solution to not having a video wall is to bring your own. Again, surely that's cheating.
- Albania: Meh.
- France: Awww.
- Czech Republic: What is this madness?
- Denmark: The vikings have discovered Eurovision and wish to point out how badass they are through the power of wind and snow machines.
- Australia: Meh.
- Finland: What.
- Bulgaria: You fail at statue impressions :P
- Moldova: What is this, a comedy show? I don't know what that was but it was very silly.
- Sweden: Meh.
- Hungary: Rock on, dudes, rock on! Complete with crowd surfing and the obligatory Eurovision Final Chorus Key Change.
- Israel: ...And now we have beatboxing with lots of pink clothing. And a couple of bookcases full of lucky cats because why not?
- Netherlands: Apparently their drummer can only be trusted with one drum... and an invisible cymbal :P
- Ireland: Awww.
- Cyprus: Meh.
- Italy: Meh
This year's theme appears to be vampires, zombies and werewolves - even the presenters have picked up on it! As a friend on FB put it "I have seen nothing yet to dissuade me that Eurovision is the one night a year Europe’s vampire get to come out and play."
So to sum up my favourites are Estonia, the United Kingdom, and Denmark. In other news Ukraine is apparently populated by vampires, Israel managed to fend off the Czech Republic for the "what is this madness" trophy, and Moldova win the inaugural comedy award.
Interval act 1: I have no idea what's going on here, other than it does all seem very laid back.
Interval act 2: A short documentary on Portugal's Eurovision history. Viva la Eurovision revolution!
Interval act 3: I don't think I've ever seen someone use a piano as a drum before.
On to the voting, with the traditional "This is $city calling" greetings from around the world as each country phones in with the votes from their official juries. Which are totally awarded on merit and have nothing to do with European politics at all... anyway, Latvia has given the UK some points! This will not be a nul point year! Watching the jury results come in, it does seem like they can't make their minds up. With all the jury votes in it's a tie between Austria and Sweden for the lead, with Israel, Germany, and Cyprus in the running for 3rd place... and France is somewhere in the top half. I don't think I'll be getting my £1 wager back :P
Time for the phone votes! My recollection is there's quite possibly 300-odd points up for grabs for the winner, so it could all change. ...And it just has, with Sweden, placed #2 by the jury, coming in the bottom few from the televote. That just goes to show how little the juries actually know :) Now Austria's been placed somewhere in the middle by the televote, so neither of the jury favourites are going to win.
With the top 8 to go, I'm going to go out on a limb and predict Israel as the ultimate winners just because of how bonkers it is.
Interestingly Denmark's still in the running, and the juries panned it... but the televote's just ranked them 5th.
With the top 3 to go, I doubt Italy can manage it so it's a fight between Israel and Cyprus.
And the final result... Israel! Madness for the win!