The sad truth is I’ve been looking forward to Eurovision for months. It’s the one night a year where I really embrace silly pop music. Instead of suffering through a whole series of The X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent I shovel all the cheesy Europop into my face in one massive glitter cannon blast. And then go back to my usual cynical self the very next day.
My friends have much better taste than me, so I have no sexy Euro parties to attend. But Twitter has revolutionized how we watch live events. My feed goes crazy, with humour, love and snark from around the globe. It’s like a cacophony of opinions from about a million people, and it makes the evening brilliant.
Here are a few choice moments from last night:
Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede were our presenters. Usually it’s an enormously awkward affair but these guys were brilliant – their comedy timing was spot on, Petra moved swiftly through the voting (which is usually agonising) and made sure all the show-offs from the national juries were put back in their box. And if you’re hosting with last year’s winner, why not do a song? And what a song!
Absolutely hilarious, totally tongue in cheek and checks off all the Eurovision tropes. Considering it’s being broadcast in China and America for this first time this year, this was a handy introduction to all the weirdness that’s just accepted as normal in this contest – oiled-up shirtless drummers, men in hamster wheels, random old women in traditional dress, a burning fake piano, saucy girls churning butter and a special guest appearance from Finnish masked metallers Lordi (Best Eurovision Winners of All Time, 2006).
Although there was some concern that the interval act was too clever by half for a bubbly pop show:
The contestants themselves were a mixed bag – big ballads, disco and dance tunes, but sadly the sound was pretty generic. These days if you want to see the truly odd you have to make time for the televised semi finals.
This is why even if the song is dull, you have to give love to the wardrobe teams and the set designers trying to keep you entertained through the whole long evening.
So leave off with your snark about Germany’s Jamie Lee and her kawaii dress. That’s an outfit I’d happily wear to a festival.
And I loved Nina from Croatia and her enormous silver tent. As soon as you see a big dress on Eurovision you know there’s going to be a costume reveal during the dong. Yes, she did look like she’d cut her own fringe, but that’s what the kids are into I guess.
And despite a few similarities with the use of background video to last year’s winner, Russia’s staging was fantastic. Lazarev’s song was good but the amazing video and use of a sort of rubber climbing wall that he scrambled around on embeding himself into the video was fantastic.
No booing Russia this year as far as I could tell. People got most heated about Australia. A country about as far away from Europe as it’s possible to get, competing and very nearly winning the show. They were invited as a one off last year for the 60th anniversary and they enjoyed it so much they came back. Europeans tend to vote for their neighbours, and countries who they’ve had a fractured past with don’t win. I wonder if Australia did well because they’re the new kids on the map.
Ukraine’s entry was out-and-out the most controversial song allowed on to the show for years. ‘1944’ was ostensibly a song about the deportation of Crimean Tatars under Josef Stalin, but clearly has parallels with the situation in Crimea at the moment – Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 much to the horror of the European nations. Tensions between those countries are still heightened, so it seems all those votes for Ukraine when Russia was the bookies favourite to win may have political overtones too. Not very subtle ones…
With the jury votes and the public vote being split in two for the first time, the new voting system proved edge-of-the-seat exciting. We really didn’t know until the last minute who would win. And now the whole party has to be really excited to go to Ukraine instead of sunny and peaceful Australia next year…
So there you have it, your winner, surrounded by controversy, glitter and 7 million tweets!
Our last word must go to the stunned looking Justin Timberlake who was absolutely clued up and wasn’t out of his depth at all in front of millions of viewers at ‘Your-Oh-Vision’