Liverpool hosted this year's contest as the 2022 winner, Ukraine, was unable to do so because of the ongoing war - and last year the U.K. was runner-up.
As happened last year, before the actual performances began, we viewers were told that we had up to 20 votes at our disposal? Eh? Why? When there are only 26 contenders? Absurd. Then, when it came to voting time, and also like last year, we were told to vote for our favourite act/song/performer - all in the singular, just as it should be. So goodness alone knows what was intended. I first voted for my favourite, Norway, then after a few mins decided to try to vote for my 2nd and 3rd, Poland and Finland, and see if they'd be blocked. They weren't. What everyone else thought and did, Lord knows! They've got to sort this out! Sheesh!
Yesterday's innovation was that this time not only would the 37 original participating countries be eligible to vote (no one voting for their own) but the whole world could! Presumably, just those broadcasting the programme live - countries in North and South America? Arab countries? Asia, Africa, New Zealand? How these votes would be monitored I dare not ask and don't want to know.
Winner was Sweden - a doleful, bellowed-out ballad sung by long-fingernailed damsel-in-distress, who appeared to be locked in some low-ceilinged prison, bewailing her sorry predicament.
Second, and winning just before the final vote announcement, was Finland's brave, sassy and daft - but engrossing - entertainment - 'Cha-cha-cha' by Kaarija (my own 3rd choice) - a true sing-along crowd pleaser, and for me too......
In 3rd place came a nondescript Israeli entry, and then in 4th was the evening's eye-candy, Italy's Marco Mangoni......
Next was my own top choice, Norway's Alessandra with a bouncy, rhythmic number, even if the (English) lyrics were rather banal. But it captured me for appeal.
And so right at the bottom of the results table, and coming just above last-placed Germany, who had already taken the wooden spoon last year, was the U.K.'s Mae Muller. This was a true surprise as I had liked the song from the very first time I heard it, and I still do, honestly believing that it was a potential winner. Catchy melody, superior lyrics. However, it did have the 'misfortune' to be performed as the very final entry behind all the other contestants, when much of the telly audience would already have made up their minds. Pity. She deserved much better.