Saturday, 13 May 2017

Eurovision Song Contest - and I picked the winner!

In Kiev, Ukraine, this year's motto - "Celebrate Diversity" - hardly lived up to its words, at least visually. I think I managed to count  at least two non-white faces among all the backing singers and dancers, but otherwise it was a case of 'Caucasian rules OK!'

I've been following the contest ever since the U.K. first entered it in 1958, missing only two or three in the late 1970s because I went along with the notion that the whole thing was a bit naff. Can't think how I ever could have bought into that idea!

The number of times when my voting choice turned out to be the actual winner I can count on the fingers of one hand, but last night it happened, with Portugal achieving its first ever win after a wait of 54 years! - a stand-out, simple and modest ballad without any gimmicks, performed by the distinctly unglamorous Salvador Sobral and composed by his sister - and one of the very few not sung in English.

I didn't know until the voting was over that the singer was suffering from a serious heart condition, causing him to miss some of the rehearsals. I can't say if this was widely known before the contest and might have added to a 'sympathy' vote, though even if I'd been aware in advance I still think this was the best song by quite some margin - and totally different from any other of the 26 finalists -  a gently appealing non-belter.

Second was Bulgaria, a song which I didn't rate much, sung by the youngest of the participants, a 17-year old, who might have got the 'cutie' vote:-

Third came Moldova (which I'd have placed 5th), one of those barking mad entries which we love but don't like to admit we found infectious. (Nice dance moves.):-

Coming fourth, Belgium was a worthy contender, which I'd have put in around 8th position, though not remarkable enough to be much higher:-

And in fifth place, the ever highly-placed Sweden which, like Belgium I'd rate definitely above average but not spectacularly so:-

My own Top Five included three that didn't register in the final tally:-
1) Portugal
2) Romania - a happy, yodelling song which deserved to finish higher than the seventh place it did. Full marks for the sheer nerve of it! :-

3) Croatia - possibly the most remarkable listening event of the night, but finishing in a vastly unfair 13th place. A male performer with evident Pavarotti-like 'embonpoint' who sings in two vastly different registers. Possibly the most attention-grabbing performer of last night:-

4) Italy - An arresting image, and for a long time prior to the night the favourite to win, actually coming sixth. Song performed alongside man in a cheap-looking gorilla suit. Fun though, and not at all bad song:-

5) Moldova, which came 3rd.

And the U.K.?:-
Lucie Jones yelling out one of those so-called power ballads which bore me beyond tears. I've heard it several times and I still ask myself "Why?". Anyway, she managed our best position in years, coming 15th, so suppose one ought to be thankful that at least we weren't entirely humiliated as we often are.

I'm also very pleased that after a long time the title has been wrested out of the hands of eastern Europe and Scandinavia, which was getting all a bit depressingly predictable. So grateful for that.

Btw: I switched over during the several interval acts while votes were being cast and missed a stage-crasher coming on and baring his bottom. A bit sorry not to have seen that though must say that on the whole I got my evening's worth of entertainment - I've seen several worse than last night. 

And finally, have to mention that out of the three presenters (Diversity? Hah!) I just couldn't take my eyes off one of them. Guess which!:-

So, till Lisbon(?) in 2018 - and in the hope that the U.K. can at last end what will then be our 21-year drought.


  1. I am so glad that you posted your review early. Couldn't believe that the show was finally being televised in America. Had to DVR it, but will watch in its entirety today. Your "picks" will make it much more interesting to watch. I've discovered from previous years that Romania always puts on a good show. Also wondering how American censorship will handle the "bare bottom" issue?

    Congrats on picking the winner!

    1. I saw, or rather didn't see, the quick flash of arse on the news today, Paul. That bodily part was smudged out so as 'not to offend' Just as well. Can't say I want to see it in all its 'glory' which is now sure to be available on numerous sites for those who need the 'thrill'.

      It was a good show overall - it finished here at 20 mins to midnight! - and you'll have the advantage of being able to FF the several dull, talky bits. But more than half the acts are worth seeing complete.
      Hope my posting above gives you a few worthwhile pointers as to what to look out for.
      It's always been a particular gay man's favourite event, though rarely openly acknowledged as that. Must be all the showbizzy glitter and outrageous costumes and ideas which appeals. You can certainly see that there are thousands of Euro-queens in the audience, and I'd love to have been able to join them.
      I'll be very interested indeed to finding out your own Top 5 in order.

  2. I have not heard of this spectacle, although Facebook and Twitter are awash in its news. Sounds jolly good fun.

    1. It's been a staple of TV here for sixty years now, Dr Spo - hootingly derided at by many ever since it started, but also with hardened fans like myself who'd miss terribly all the absurd razzmatazz were the UK to withdraw, as currently again the demand for such gets louder. It IS good fun - but also maddening as hell.

  3. I thought Croatia was going to win, he was very entertaining. Graham Norton isnt as funny as Terry Wogan was.

    What is with the new flag explosions at the beginning? It seems a bit Miss World. I love it being naff. Normally we are in Greece for it and locals are normally in bars watching the TV screaming for who they want to win (normally Greece of course). I dont think I have ever seen that in the UK.

    I thought UK Lucy Jones dress was awful, and she could have done with some lipstick. I think lipstick makes everything better. Wowsers was France's lady really pretty. Gosh. Her dress was lovely also. Polands lady was also very well dressed it highlighted her hair (enhanced some other assets as well! lol).

    The man (of the 3 in your last picture) on the far left had the most amazing teeth! Every so often he sounded completely British! lmao. The one in the middle had a crazy accent in English. he was kind of like Max Headroom to me!

    Isreal was a little like Glee. I feel that they didnt either play him loud enough or powerful enough.

    A couple of the acts looked seriously young? And what is with the cheesy winking at the cameras about? I am sure more than one act did that. Is it a Eurovision thing?

    I loved how they showed a lot of the Ukraine, where it is really beautiful.

    oh, big comment. I was hoping someone would post about it. I am never sure who will watch it. I was there with my shandy and snacks! loved it!

  4. Yes, the Croatian chap seemed to have it in the bag, judging from the audience reaction. So surprising and unfair to have him finish as low down as he did.

    I thought Graham Norton particularly lacking in fizz this year. It was only his remark about the violist who was going to 'fiddle with his sister' that made me sit up - and even then I'm not sure he meant to say it as there was no audible knowing wink in his voice.
    I agree that generally he doesn't compare with Wogan's acerbic wit. It needs something like that to alleviate the dull bits, and goodness knows there are enough of them. Let's hope Norton improves, though he's already had quite a few goes at it.

    I don't like that opening bit with the flags and introductions either, It unnecessarily lengthens what is already going to be an arduous watch. Bad idea.

    You are 'NORMALLY' in Greece? What? You go every year? And did you really find that the Greeks actually do always root for Cyprus as being the BEST song (as also vice versa) no matter what standard it is?

    I've already forgotten what Israel's song was like, as well as Poland's. As for UK, I don't care if I never hear it again! Mediocre stuff!

    Funny you should mention that presenter's teeth. I kept thinking of Rylan Clark for precisely the same reason. How do they both get so many teeth into that limited space?

    I also love it when others say they watch it. It doesn't matter if they pull it to pieces, we all accept that it just asks to be knocked down. But I still find that a lot of secret fans won't own up to to being so, rather like a slimmer surreptitiously indulging in a whole box of chocolates in the privacy of ones own bedroom. Come out of the closet!

    Thanks for your comments, Sol. Very much valued.

  5. I am very fortunate to have friends who live Greece in Porto Heli. Posh boy does all of their families websites, for their restaurants and hotel. In return we get the use of a flat they have for a week, we pay our flight. We normally tack on a week on a yacht sailing ourselves. We havent gone last year or this as we got the dog. Until we move and settle we wont be going, as we will need family to dog sit. Good thing really as they had twins last year. They have their hands full!

    I am unsure also why the Italian act was singing about nirvana and had a gorilla dancing? But I liked it that it looked like he had the Pride rainbow colours down the arms of his coat. I thought that was a really good touch.

    1. I didn't notice the Italian fella's arm, Sol. Must watch it again. I think the 'gorilla' only served to lodge the act in the mind, and it certainly achieved that, though the song would have been strong enough without the gimmick. I'm glad they did it like that, though.