The last time the UK entered a duo into the Eurovision Song Contest, they scored precisely nul points. 12 years ago Jemini [sic] began their performance out of tune and spent the next three minutes groping fruitlessly for the right key. On the upside however, this meant that our duo Electro Velvet could not do any worse. Eurovision is all about the positives, people.
The always excellent Graham Norton was on hand to inform us that this year's theme (there's always a theme?) would be "building bridges". Considering the popularity of last year's winner Conchita Wurst, more appropriate surely for it to have been "growing beards", but perhaps some of the female contestants had protested.
After the usual pre-recorded shizz which inexplicably included some sort of tribute to Austria's history of synchronized swimming (nope, me neither), Conchita duly appeared and the audience in the Vienna Stadhalle orgasmed loudly.
The tradition of deathless patter from the hosts was upheld. "Hello Australia." Yes, right out there on the edge of Europe, Australia would be fielding its own entrant in the form of X Factor Australia judge Guy Sebastian.
Anyway, first up was Maraaya from Slovenia, singing "Here For You". Dressed as a bride trapped in a language lab, it was the usual crap, enlivened somewhat by a gymnast playing an invisible violin. Look I just report this stuff, okay? Don't ask me for explanations.
A glum French woman, Lisa Angell, stood in front of a film of a ruined building and sang "N'oubliez pas" (translation: Don't forget). Sometimes, the jokes just present themselves, don't they? Israel's entry was Nadav Guedj, singing "Golden Boy". A passable song of the kind where clapping along and shouting "HOI!" are obligatory, it featured three men bouncing around in a routine reminiscent of a 1983 aerobics class. The audience loved it.
Next, Estonia: Elina Born and Stig Rästa, Goodbye to Yesterday. Stig resembled Harry Styles after an accident with a hedge trimmer. Their song had a pretty, sub-country music melody, and tetchy lyrics. "Woke up about 5am, my eyes were closed. Why didn't you wake me up? Goodbye to yesterday."
Then it was the United Kingdom! Whoopee! Electro Velvet gave it their fairly limited all, singing a sort of Downton Abbey meets The Pet Shop Boys ditty entitled "I'm Still In Love With You." It wasn't appalling, and you can't say fairer than that. Oh alright, you can. No YOU shut up.
Armenia's entry was sung by Genealogy. "Face the Shadow" was barely a song at all; dressed as extras from the Lord of the Rings, they bellowed "DON'T DENY" at each other and the audience prayed for it to end. Lithuania's entry was a duo from the Same Difference stable, but they were pretty good, although their lyrics were extraordinary. "My God. Why don't we just go out for a drink? Woe, hoe. Woe, hoe, hoe. Arm feelink luff."
Serbia fielded a ginormous woman dressed in a marquee made of glitter. "BEAUDY NEVA LIES. FINALLY ARKANSAY. HERE I YAM." She sounded like a woman trapped in the bowels of a ship as it sank, but the audience applauded raucously. Who would be next? Ooh, Norway. Poor old Norway. What would they give us? The answer was a duo who looked uncannily like Jon Snow and Ygritte, but were actually called Mørland and Debrah Scarlett, They sang "A Monster Like Me" and the less said about it, the better.
Måns Zelmerlöw from Sweden (the bookies' favourite) sang about being a hero to a chalk drawing of Nigel Molesworth whilst it rained milk. I thought it was rubbish, but then I have form in never picking the winner of anything, so don't listen to me. Cyprus's John Karayiannis sang "One Thing I Should Have Done" which, let's face it, was write a better song, but the poor sod instead focused on not being there for someone. "Inya hower of need, I shoulda come." It's okay John, we understand.
Australia's set was bright yellow, presumably to represent the sunshine of his homeland. "This is one tough act to foller," yelped Guy Sebastian. It's not Guy, it's really not. Dressed as Jimmy Cagney in Matalan chinos, it was banality incarnate. Belgium's entry, "Rhythm Inside" was sung by Loïc Nottet, who looked less like a pop star and more like a teen worried that he hadn't done his Physics revision. "Barapp Pap PARP!" he shouted as he marched around the stage, before his mother arrived and told him to go to bed. Austria's entry could not have been less like Conchita; it was Kings of Leon meets Showaddywaddy, and the crowd loved it. Which was hardly surprising.
Hard to know why Greece bothered this year, as most of Europe hates them at the moment, but Maria Elena Kyriakou gave "One Last Breath" a pretty good go anyway. The sub text of the song wasn't particularly subtle. "Nothing left. Begging. Save me." She might as well have sung "One Last Cheque". Montenegro's entry was, I'm pretty certain, sung by George Galloway.
Germany's entrant didn't win the selection, but the chap who did wisely decided he didn't want to do it after all so Ann Sophie stepped up to the Eurovision plate. She shouldn't have bothered. "Ven ya know da flamingo's running OUT! Ah tell masell just LEAVE IT NOW!" Poland's appalling dirge was sung by an admirer of Miss Haversham, if her costume was anything to go by. "Come on and steal the rings. In the name of love." Latvia's song was entitled "Love Injected", a front runner for the worst song title in history. Aminata was dressed as a toilet dolly by way of a goth Cleopatra, and just for good measure appeared to be 14ft tall. It was everything that is glorious about Eurovision, ie completely, utterly, bonkers.
Romania's entry was sung by Andre Agassi wearing a Claire's Accessories brooch. Spain's entry, sung by Edurne, was a miserable ballad entitled "Amanecer", It was vintage Eurovision. Standing in front of a wind machine so powerful her face resembled that of an astronaut re-entering Earth's atmosphere, she screeched dramatically and air-grabbed like a woman on an invisible trolley dash. The audience whooped its delight.
Hungary's chanteuse, Boggie (yes, that's her name, I checked) gave us "Wars For Nothing". She maintained her expression of utter misery throughout, as indeed did I. "It's okay to ignore the beige. I see children drawing sums. Can you just re-file the mice?" Georgia's entry, "Warrior" was sung by Nina. She was the angriest contestant ever, as indeed she should be given that her costume comprised little more than two crows and a pair of thrush-inducing leather shorts. "A bin a danger for too long. No dis wire ain't gonna breed. Oooooh. Hooooo. WARRIOR!"
Azerbaijan's entry sang a forgettable ballad but on the plus side, featured a topless Billy Idol doing pilates in the background. Russia's Polina Gagarina (another of the bookies' favourites) sang "A Million Voices". I got roundly scolded on Twitter by an angry Russian woman this week when I suggested the song should be about a million voices asking Russia to get the hell out of Ukraine, so I shall limit myself to saying only that Polina had nice hair. And keep an eye out for strangers pointing umbrellas at me.
I missed most of Albania's entry because I couldn't find the corkscrew to open the second bottle of wine (look, the only way to get through Eurovision is to drink heavily, alright? Don't judge me) but I did hear a great deal of anguished wailing so you'll just have to settle for that. Finally, Italy presented us with a distressed Il Divo-esque trio called Il Volo, crooning "Grande Amore". They sang in Italian, and there are no subtitles on Eurovision, but I think the lyrics were something along the lines of "Embrace my body with your hot legs. You please me more than a Dolomitian goat in the Springtime. Have some carbonara," You're welcome.
The interval act was a sub Seaside Special 1974 orchestra load of twaddle. There was a terrible five minutes while the hosts (possibly the worst in Eurovision history) ran out of things to say, and were reduced to gazing at the Eurovision trophy. "Here it is. So beaudifool."
Finally, the voting. It was the usual political tosh. Belarus's votes came from a man standing next to a motorway. He handed 12 points to Russia. Shocker. The voting graphics bore a frightening resemblance to a nuclear missile launch.
Halfway through, the UK had amassed the huge total of two points, one of them from Ireland. Thanks, Ireland. "Well, at least we're not going home with nul points," giggled Graham Norton. Let's just face facts. Nobody in Europe likes us. I blame Nigel Farage. Amid rumours that Russia had edited out Conchita from its broadcast, Conchita went and sat with the Russian entry whilst wearing a "fuck you" expression. Meanwhile, the host country hadn't received a single point, which seemed awfully rude. Nigella Lawson, looking sensational, gave the UK votes. I was a bit disappointed she didn't bring a cake with her, but you can't have everything. The judge from Georgia appeared, didn't award Russia 12 points, and immediately disappeared from our screens. Presumably Putin ordered the live feed to be unplugged.
A quick check of the scoreboard revealed that the UK had climbed to five points, not that anyone cared. It was all about Sweden vs. Putin. Astonishingly, Cyprus gave Greece eight points instead of the customary 12. What the hell was happening? With only four countries' votes to go, the hosts suddenly announced that it didn't matter, because Sweden had won! There was a huge cheer in the auditorium. Suck on that, Russia.
First published here