Sunday 14 May 2023

Eurovision - U.K. second again, but now second from LAST....again!


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.

The appeal of her song, giving her more than sufficient votes to take the title, escaped me, and still does - even though, on hearing some days ago that it was the bookies favourite to win, I played it several times, and now even after its victory I still do not rate it at all. Must be my age.  Her winning makes Sweden now an equal leader with Ireland for number of wins, seven times. Moreover, this chanteuse, Loreen, is only the second singer to win the contest twice, as well as being the first female to do so, Ireland's Johnny Logan being the first of all. 

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.

Sixth place came Ukraine, which I'd feared might win again through a substantial sympathy vote, though it did get a higher placing than I think was deserved.

And it would be criminal to omit mentioning seventh-placed Belgium, with singer, Gustaph, a handsomely-attired top half including fetching white stetson but negated by lower-reaches pink bloomer-pants, rather like jodhpurs, suggestively split between his thighs to shorts/underpants? Oh dear! He was interviewed at least twice and both times he mentioned his husband, which surely must have freaked out certain LGBTQ non-sympathetic countries. Good for him, too bad for them!

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.

The presenters this time were a headache (as usual)......

Alesha Dixon who, I understand, is a pop-singer, and whose name only vaguely rang a bell with me - Ukrainian Julia Sanina - and big, butch-like, six-footer (almost), Hannah Waddingham, English actress, I believe. The latter was particularly annoying, shouting to the audience,,,,,,,,"Are you ready? What's that? I said Are you ready???" - Oh, of course they are. Shut up, woman! For the announcements of the voting results the three ladies were joined by an untypically subdued and reticent Graham Norton who'd deserted his place till then in the commentary box.

The pre-voting 'interval act included last year's runner-up Sam Ryder singing his new release. I still can't comprehend why his last year's song 'Spaceman', came second, though I'm not complaining. After multiple hearings I still cannot discern any melody in it. His performance last night was accompanied on drums by the Queen drummer, Roger Taylor, heavily bearded but whom I recognised before the announcement had been made, though I dare say that much of the audience may not have been sure of who 'Queen' were.

And finally, the most outrageously accoutred (prominent Y-fronts et al!) Croatia's 'Let 3' performing an anti-war song and finishing 12th.......Mad, mad, mad! 😄

So there it was. As simultaneously entertaining and infuriating as the contest always is - and once more every bit as camp as Catterick. We'd been hoping that for the U.K. last year's nearly-first placing had marked the end of our more than two decades of being in the Eurovision doldrums. It now looks like that just may have been a flash in the pan and we're now once again back as a non-entity in Queer Street. But who's to know? What can't be denied is that this year Liverpool, with all the technical wizardry and fireworks we've come to expect, did us and our country proud.  

Till 2024 in Stockholm, then (or maybe Malmo, Gothenburg, Kiruna........?)


  1. Excellent review as usual Ray. Just have to say that when writing my blog posts I always save as I go along so that the whole thing can't disappear. So sorry you had to write it twice. I too thought our song was catchy and thought it should have done much better. Oddly though having loved it on the radio I found nothing seemed added by it being live and think being last did it no favours. My next favourite was Austria and again oddly enough being first it still remained the most memorable for me. My next favourite after that was Belgium and I agree with you on theirs. I thought Germany rightly came last which is exactly where I would have placed them. I didn't like the winning song and don't know why it came first. I was also confused about the judging. I thought Liverpool did an amazing job. I enjoyed the evening and was anticipating your view on it as I know like me you are a fan.

    1. Hi Carol. I usually do 'save' when writing blogs, but these things WILL happen, won't they?
      I too liked Austria (VERY original!) - as well as Portugal, (the latter performing in the jinxed second position) both of these not getting the recognition I felt both songs merited, but that's they way these things go.
      Germany seem to have just given up on trying to win. That's okay, but I only hope they're not considering dropping out altogether, which would be an irreplaceable loss for the entire event. Let's hope they pull their socks up next year.
      All-in-all, it was a good show. I don't think it can get any bigger, though I do hope they don't start allowing yet more countries in. If Australia has to be let in, let it be the one and only one - though their presence continues to appear incongruous, last night's forgettable offering of theirs not helping matters. No more dilution, please!
      Very instructive to get your views, for which I'm immensely grateful. Great to have another avid fan like yourself.

      Btw: I can go right back to remembering 'Sing Little Birdie' which gave us second place in 1959, and also the following year when Teddy Johnson's (singing with Pearl Carr) brother gave us the same runner-up position with 'Looking High, High, High'. Ah, such nostalgia!

  2. Well, I suppose I should watch some clips.

    1. You really should, Mitch. You'll get some laughs at the very least, even if you roll your eyes at some of the spectacle.

  3. I hear you and some fellow bloggers talk about this, Eurovision, but I'm not sure what the hub-bub is all about. Is it basically a singing competition like American Idol? But only acts from all around the world? The only name you mention I recognize is Hannah Waddingham, and only because she is now starring in Masterpiece's Tom Jones as Lady Bellaston..and she is delicious in it.

    1. I suppose it is, in a sense, rather like a talent show, M.M., only much, MUCH bigger - and many of the performers will already be big names in their own countries with some already having even wider fame. But it's the whole show-worthiness of it that is its principal appeal - as well as being more camp and outrageous than anything else on TV. Yet we all take it so seriously. It truly is the highlight of my TV year!

      Not being a seasoned TV viewer, apart from stuff like this, I didn't know Hannah Waddingham either in name or appearance. I've now become aware of what a following of admirers she has. However, her featuring in last night's show doesn't make me want to see more of her - there was already too much of that for my tastes!

  4. I always love your detailed reviews and agree with Italy being a looked lol.
    I disagree with your review of the presenter Hannah W …she was a blast

    1. (Don't know what had made your submission here to be classed as 'spam', JayGee, but corrected now).

      Yes, maybe I shouldn't have been so ignorant about who Hannah W. was/is, even though last night wasn't the best introduction to her 'talents ' for me to appreciate her.

      Thanks for reading through my review. The fact that it's about the only TV prog I ever write about compared with your own many musings on such, reveals just how little telly I actually watch. I still enjoy your own takes on programmes I myself would never consider viewing.

  5. I told myself this year I was going to figure out a way to watch this program. And then I forgot! You and other blogger friends talk of it in such a way I must see it next year! I do enjoy the British Bakeoff show; I know it's hokey but for some reason I love their stories, etc., and getting to know the contestants. It has a calming effect; such a pleasant thing to watch, when everything around us is always so chaotic.

    1. I really hope you do catch Eurovision next year, Elle. It's always a blast, even if it , or parts of it, annoys me like hell, it still remains compulsive viewing. I suppose it depends a lot on how the final results accords with one's own opinion, which in my case is mostly never! The show has got so huge now, and so ostentatiously campy, it's quite unique.
      I only very occasionally watch the 'Bake Offs', and only when at least one of the participants I am familiar with. If I don't know them I don't bother. But when I have followed it it CAN be interesting enough to follow, though I've not seen any of the non-British ones so I don't know how ours compare.

  6. Some time I should watch this spectacle. I get amused reading about all the hype and hoopla about this. About a week ago I heard a podcast on its history which was fascinating.

    1. It's certainly unique, though you will need quite a deal of patience to watch it all. It's now grown to no less than FOUR hours long - plus (if want to watch them as well which I always do) two preceding semi-finals during the few days leading up to the 'real' final.. I still find it great fun, though there's inevitable exasperation, disappointment and sheer disbelief at the idiocy of it all on the way. Nonetheless I'd be devastated to see it go.

      Btw: Good to see your comment posted directly here, not having first been relegated to 'spam' as had been happening. Let's hope it stays this way.