#                                                                        #
#  This should autowrap to fit the screen on Mozilla/Firefox, Opera,     #
#  IE, and anything claiming to be CSS3 compatible.                      #
#  If it does NOT work on your browser, this is mostly a plain text      #
#  file with some bits in CSS stuck at the top. Save it to your disc,    #
#  rename it .txt (instead of .html) and open it in the text editor of   #
#  your choice.                                                          #
#                                                                        #


And so it begins. I was expecting a recap of Swedish greats like waterloo. Instead we're following a little green caterpillar. Well, it's different. Impressive bridge between Denmark and Sweden. The Eurovision butterfly is born.

A new anthem (written by Bjorn/Benny of Abba, so there's the Abba connection). It is a pop-traditional crossover piece with a choir. Quite impressive.

A bridge is lowered across the audience (dropped a bridge on them?) and the performers walk out across it. Big cheer for the guy from Malta.

As far as flag ceremonies go, this one was excellently put together and visually impressive. Yay Sweden for an opening that is possibly more impressive than half the songs!

Petra our announcer turns up, this time wearing a sane pink dress.

Cut to a live camera in an Australian family... ooh, they're all fast asleep. It's amusing that even Eurovision doesn't take itself seriously.

Right-o, thirteen minutes in, time to begin with the contest itself.

1 France "L'Enfer Et Moi"
Oh dear, France is going first. France last won 36 years ago, but it will e another year. The song is called "Hell and Me", and certainly going first is a hellish position.
Blonde woman with eyeliner makes out with the microphone and puts out a lot of sultry sexuality, but the song is strangely restrained right until the end when it turns into the sort of shouty power ballad that France enters all so frequently.

2 Lithuania "Something"
Nobody has ever won going second, so will Lithuania change this? Oh, yes, it's this really weird song - here's part of the chorus: "Because of my shoes, I'm wearing today, one today. One is called love, the other is pain." Unfortunately, I was humming that damn line to myself at work all Friday. Words that bizarre are strangely earwormish.
Credible performance, but might be a little bit lacklustre compared to screaching vampires and a girl-on-girl snog.

3 Moldova
Moldova's backing singer last year, and last year's singer is on the piano. It's the freaky hair and the frock to beat most. I feel her vocals have improved, and a very nice use of the colour blue to contrast the dress as it turns red and sparkly, then catches fire. I'm going to include a bunch of images as the staging of this song was so damn impressive.

4 Finland "Marry Me"
Apparently Turkey has chosen not to screen the contest because of this song. Graham Norton said "If two girls kissing offends you, you need to grow up". She'd walk the walk of shame? Really, there is so much her to kick feminism back into the dark ages that the girl-on-girl action at the end is like this little coda tacked onto the end.
If you think girls kissing each other is horrible, here's a photo for you:

5 Spain Contigo Hasta El Final
Opening with a Spanish bagpipe, this is a traditional style opening to a song that seems to repidly dissolve into something not unlike a slightly uptempo version of Portugal's "Todas As Ruas Do Amor" before picking up the pace and turning into a bona fide pop song. It's quite a nice song with a pretty performer running around the stage. I wonder if this song might not do so well because it is a little too normal.

6 Belgium Love Kills
The guy with the big eyebrows (can you believe he is only 18?) singing about love kills over and over again. The two dancers (his tutors/bodyguards) are energetic but even more all over the place than last time. Not that this one is a winner.

7 Estonia
The atmospheric monochrome opening by the pretty-preggie and the clouds of fog on the floor. That said, most of the performance is her, and she carries the song brilliantly.

8 Belarus
Perky girl climbs out of a giant glitterball and puts on a performance of a song that would sound more convincing performed by Las Ketchup. Plenty of energy, but the song is hokey as hell.

9 Malta "Tomorrow"
Yay! I like this one. The anal IT guy gets the girl, yeah, well, us geeks can dream, right?
I'm not sure if some of the backing singing is the backing singers of the audience.
Simple song, simple (if unlikely) message, charasmatic performer. I hope this does well.

10 Russia "What If"
Pretty girl, solid uplifting message, a little wobbly on some of the vocals. Glowing bracelets in the audience, powerful finale, this does Russia proud. It ought to do well.

11 Germany "Glorious"
As Graham Norton said, "It is basically Nathalie singing last year's winning song". It is a rather upbeat number for Germany, what next year, Scooter? I'm aware of Cascada from my days watching German MTV and... yeah, her live vocals leave a lot to be desired. It was hard to get a picture of this performance as the camera moved around so much. Hey, Sweden, I noticed the crane-mount creeping into the shot. :-)

12 Armenia
The Moses-lookalike sings about the Lonely Planet with the rock number that doesn't make it as even soft rock. Wobbly vocals... Oookay.

A slight out-take for Mrs Merton with a bunged-up nose. A comic look at Stockholm while lesser channels go to adverts.

Petra now says to the hardcore fans "I have one thing to say to you - you just haven't found the right girl yet". Ooooh, that hurt!

13 The Netherlands "Birds" (Anouk)
"Birds falling down the rooftops
Out of the sky like raindrops
No air no pride"
Credit for entering something different and a change from the usual sorts of Eurovision songs. It is well performed except for the backing singers at the end sounding an octave too high. I still hated it though. It'll do well, won't it?

14 Romania "It's My Life"
Ooooooooookay. Screechy vampire opera-eurovision-wtf. I'm just going to go with this one, raise my cola, and laugh at the hamminess.
There is probably a message in here, but I'm not sure I want to know what the message is...suffice to say, only Eurovision can bring these sorts of delights.

15 Bonnie Tyler "Believe In Me"
It is the UK's entry. Baby Spice's mother starts off a little shaky, but quickly gets into her song. I do wonder, however, how many votes will be for the song and how many will be for BONNIE TYLER. Come on, what would the eighties have been without Bonnie? Go to Wiki and look her up. Good grief. What would the last three decades have been without Bonnie?

16 Sweden "You"
I wasn't much impressed by the song, "it's all because of yooooooooooooaaaah" repeated lots. I was more watching the dance routine, sort of hip hop meets breakdance meets ballet.

17 Hungary
It's the Jarvis Cocker guy, showing the dorkier side of nerds with a song that translates as "sweetheart", but you didn't need to be told that, the style of song pretty much leaves this in no doubt. A gentle ditty, but if this displaces Malta I will go homicidal.

18 Denmark "Only Teardrops"
The bookie's favourite. Julie Zenatti sitting on the floor, with her unusual emphasis. Barefoot, and in an elflike dress. It is an oddly engaging song. Big drum action and falling glitter and a rain of sparkles, it is like it has already won. It's a nice song. Is it the winner?

19 Iceland
Beautiful voice, something almost mystical in the language of Lazytown and Bjork. Holding a note for an eternity, this guy shows us that actual talent doesn't need gimmicks and giant glitterballs.

20 Azerbaijan "Hold Me"
One thing Azerbaijan understands is how to put on a performance. This is no different. It is a simple concept, a guy in a perspex box and a woman in a ridiculously long red dress. It is a power ballad with an engaging visual performance. This will do well.

21 Greece "Alcohol Is Free"
It's the Godfather and the guys in skirts (like a girl's lacross outfit). I think we can probably say that Greece entered a song that intentionally didn't stand a hope in hell of winning. This song, however, is so bad it is good, and performed with charisma in abundance. There's a danger that Greece's plan might backfire and they might bag the trophy and the expenses of hosting the next contest. Hehehe, the problem is these guys take it up to eleven and... like I said... this nonsense is worryingly good.

22 Ukraine "Gravity"
The girl is carried onto a rock by the giant. A guy called Igor who is the world's tallest man. The camera did most of the world here, the girl just stood on the rock and shouted a lot. The backing singers didn't do much either. The song was "okay", but the performance was lacklustre.

23 Italy "L'Essenziale"
Not a bad voice, but he lacks the subtlties of Niccolo Fabi. This song won't do as well as it could because he just stands there for most of the song, but he doesn't have the presence of the Icelandic entry.

24 Norway "I Feed You My Love"
The ice queen from Norway. This is so far from Alexander Ryback that it isn't funny. Don't go much on the music, it is like '80s synth pop gone horribly wrong, though a lot is made up by a compelling performance. It is actually better put together than it first appears.

25 Georgia "Waterfall"
He and her facing apart, turn, move together, long sweeping crabbing shot. This is like a song choreographed from every love-meet-scene in every romance film ever. This is quite probably the power ballad of the contest. This *has* to do well.

26 Ireland "Only Love Survives"
I am going to overlook his voice (hate it!) and comment on the song as a whole. It is energetic, uplifting, and full of action. This is a great way to end the contest (unlike, say, Birds!). Being the last song, it ought to memorable in the voting. But no matter how I try to look at it, the vocals really seriously, tragically, annoy. We'll see in the result if Europe agreed with me. Running last, it'll be momorable, but will it be memorable for the right reasons?

There you go. Two hours down and 26 songs.

Right then. Here are my picks:

12 Denmark - manic pixie dream girl
10 Malta - the IT guy that got the girl
8 Iceland - that voice, whoa
7 Estonia - pretty-preggie
6 Russia - what if we all performed this together?
5 Spain - the yellow girl
4 Georgia - go get a room, guys
3 United Kingdom - Baby Spice's mummy for the UK
2 Lithuania - his shoes, one is called love, the other......
1 Finland - marry her, somebody, then she might shut up
0.5 Moldova - volcano dress
0.25 Romania - screeching dracula
0.125 Greece - the woman's netball team, oh, wait...

Who do I predict will walk the walk of shame? 
No, not The Netherlands. I'm thinking Germany or Armenia. Ireland will be down there too.

Who do I predict will actually do well that isn't in my list of picks?
The Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Norway, Ukraine.

While voting is taking place, a medley of songs by last year's winner for Sweden, who incidently received the most douze-pwah in the history of the contest. But... the hell is she wearing?
Okay, the feathers make sense. Guys on wires and she flies into the air. Well... Um... That was quite the performance. Can we vote for that?

Another recap.

A cut-out for a look at Bonnie Tyler's hectic week. This would be better if we hadn't already seen this.

Petra now introduces a brilliant introduction to Sweden - the "Swedish Smorgasbord" (or however you spell it). It takes the mick out of everything. Go find this on YouTube, it is SO funny!
Dancing meatballs, a woman frolicking in a big glass of milk, Carola (remember her?) blown away and it's quite the performance poking so much fun at Sweden, but the only problem is that I feel half the performance will only make sense to Swedish people.

Now a canned history of Eurovision, which I think most of us already know. They inserted Petra into some of the old videos very nicely.

They bring on a companion to present from the (not) Green Room. A particularly annoying bloke called Eric.

On the stage for an Abba song - appropriately "The Winner Takes It All" - performed by... holy crap, is that the Mrs. Merton comedienne?

Back to Petra, now looking like it is HER wearing a wedding dress.

San Marino. They voted as: 8=France, 10=Malta, 12=Greece.

Sweden. Wow, freaky hair. 8=Netherlands, 10=Denmark, 12=Norway. No surprise.

Albania. 8=Hungary, 10=Greece, 12=Italy.

The Netherlands. 8=Malta, 10=Denmark, 12=Belgium.

Austria. 8=Netherlands, 10=Italy, 12=Azerbaijan.

UK. 8=Greece, 10=Russia, 12=Denmark (a sane top score).

Israel. 8=Denmark, 10=Ukraine, 12=Azerbaijan.

Serbia. 8=Russia, 10=Ukraine, 12=Denmark.

Ukraine. 8=Moldova, 10=Azerbaijan, 12=Belarus (how random).

Hungary. 8=Malta, 10=Denmark, 12=Azerbaijan.

Denmark vs Azerbaijan at the moment. UK, four points. Estonia, nothing.

Romania. 8=Norway, 10=Azerbaijan, 12=Moldova (as is predictable).

Moldova. 8=Azerbaijan, 10=Romania, 12=Ukraine.

Azerbaijan. 8=Malta, 10=Georgia, 12=Ukraine.

Norway. 8=The Netherlands, 10=Malta, 12=Sweden.

Armenia. 8=Greece, 10=Georgia, 12=Ukraine.

Italy. 8=Norway, 10=Malta, 12=Denmark.

Finland, cute girl. 8=The Netherlands, 10=Hungary, 12=Norway. Finally points to Estonia.

Spain. 8=Denmark, 10=Ukraine, 12=Italy.

Hlafway through the voting, nothing is solid, but Denmark is at 128 with Ukraine next at 94 points.

Belarus. 8=Russia, 10=Azerbaijan, 12=Ukraine.

Latvia. 8=Norway, 10=Estonia, 12=Russia. Quelle surprise.

Denmark, 135. Ukraine, 113.

Now a short cut to the annoying guy in the green room. Who is going to adverts right now?

Okay, Bulgaria wasn't there. So a quick recap of the top three songs. Nice and fluid to give a few moments to get Bulgaria to get on line.

Bulgaria. Only 2 for Denmark. 8=Armenia, 10=Ukraine, 12=Azerbaijan.

Belgium. 8=Ukraine, 10=Denmark, 12=The Netherlands.

Russia. Only 4 for Denmark. 8=Belgium, 10=Greece, 12=Azerbaijan.

It is a tight contest. Yikes.

Malta. 8=Italy, 10=Ukraine, 12=Azerbaijan.

Estonia. 8=Denmark, 10=Ukraine, 12=Russia.

So close, so close!

Germany with Lena. 8=Iceland, 10=Norway..... no she meant 10 to Denmark, and 12 to Hungary. She will be kicking herself tonight.

Iceland. 8=The Netherlands, 10=Norway, 12=Denmark.

France. 8=Azerbaijan, 10=Italy, 12=Denmark.

Greece. 8=Ukraine, 10=Romania, 12=Azerbaijan.

Azer at 172, Denmark at 204.

Ireland. Azerbaijan gets a single point! 8=Ukraine, 10=Russia, 12=Denmark.

Denmark. 8=Sweden, 10=The Netherlands, 12=Norway (I wrote that before she said it!).

Montenegro with an amazingly terrible link. 8=Greece, 10=Denmark, 12=Azerbaijan.

Can we call it for Denmark?

Slovenia. 8=Italy, 10=Russia, 12=Denmark.

Denmark at 240, Azerbaijan at 189. I think that's it for Denmark. 8=Ukraine, 10=Armenia, 12=Azerbaijan.

FYRMac. 8=Norway, 10=Italy, 12=Denmark. That's it. Only four countries to go, Denmark have it.

Oh, they have called the winner, and they call it. But after some screaming from the manic pixie dream girl, we're back to the voting. This is possibly to speed up the proceedings with Denmark ready to perform and stuff right away.

Cyprus. 8=Azerbaijan, 10=Ukraine, 12=Greece.

Croatia. 8=Italy, 10=Denmark, 12=Ukraine.

Switzerland. 8=Greece, 10=Hungary, 12=Italy.

Lithuania. A shout out for Bonnie. 8=Georgia, 10=Ukraine, 12=Azerbaijan.

That's it. Votes in. Emily, OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG...

Glass microphone, flowers... whoo.

Maybe the falling glitter and the fire sparkles were an omen?

I've just realised, they didn't put up the final scores. Possibly getting a little flustered at running overtime. Like, gee, they hadn't figured this happens in a live broadcast? I mean, if every vote announcer takes a mere 15 seconds longer than planned, that's 15 times 39 which is 585 which is nearly ten minutes!

The top five:

Denmark - 281
Azerbaijan - 234
Ukraine - 214
Norway - 191
Russia - 174

The bottom five:

Lithuania - 17
France - 14
Finland - 13
Spain - 8
Ireland - 5

A quick analysis of the top picks:

Denmark. Not the best vocals, but really quirKY emphaSIS on her WORds combined with one of the funnest manic pixie dream girls since Paprika (and better still, this one is a real person). Not to mention she is really really cute. I reckon that LOOK she gives the PIper when she is SInging to him really sells it. Not to mention sitting on the floor all vulnerable-like. A winning performance from Emmelie for Denmark.

Azerbaijan. I wasn't keen enough on the song to pick it, but I did predict that it would do well. They know how to put on a performance.

Ukraine. It had this air of "ought to do okay" about it, though I think third place is a little over the top for a performance that was completely lacklustre asides from the giant.

Norway. Better appreciated the performance the second time around, and figured it would be in the top ten. Being fourth was...a surprise.

Russia. Just scraped into the top five, and look, I called it in fifth position. Anything less would have been wrong.

Quick analysis of the flunkies:

First up, yay UK for not being here. We came 19th with 23 points. Might not be good, but it is better than last.

Lithuania. This isn't really a surprise. It was a bit of a gimmick. I picked it because I thought the lyrics were funny, not because I thought it stood much hope.

France. Sorry France, but your solo female singers are so alike. Why don't you try some scat jazz or something...just...different? Look at past Eurovision acts that have scored decently. The shrieking dude from Romania is on the left side of the score board with 65. Nowhere near a winner, but not a loser either.

Finland. Trust me, it wasn't the girls kissing (hint - a lot of guys think girls kissing each other is hot, we just don't say it because that makes us look like bigger perverts than girls already think we are). It wasn't the bouncy blonde yelling Marry Me! It was some of the extremely questionable lyrics. You might have rocked Malmo all week, but some other places are considerably more conservative.
Of course, Finland is now going to have to do some deep soul searching to try to work out why a bodacious bride is a pile of fail but rocking monsters are made of win.

Spain. No, I don't get this. The song was not bad enough to come this far down the board.

Ireland. I guess I'm not the only one who loathed the vocals.

And of my picks:

Denmark FTW, and they did.

I had hoped Malta would do well, and while not top five they are eigth. That's okay.

Did Iceland suffer for being in a language few people understand?

Estonia... only one point over Germany? WTF Europe!

Russia, my fifth, came fifth. Right on.

Spain. I don't get it. Was it really that bad?

Georgia. I thought would do better.

United Kingdom. I had hoped for more love for Bonnie, but the song wasn't really one to make her shine.

Lithuania, the gag entry. I didn't expect so much, but it is an earworm.

Finland. I am a little surprised at how poorly this performed.

Moldova. Some impressive (and freaky) staging got this into 11th place.

Romania in lucky lucky 13th position. Looking at the performances together, it is rather a surprise that two countries used the platform-under-the-skirt trick. With the right staging and camera angles, it can be a pretty impressive gimmick. With a skirt on fire, or a soprano man, it could be epic. Two together? Less so.

Greece. Did pretty decently for a gag song, coming in sixth.

Cutest girl:
Denmark / Estonia / Denmark / Russia / Denmark
Oh, and I quite liked the girl from Denmark.

Best dressed:

Worst dressed:

Best staging:

Dumbest gag:
Belarus (glitterball) / Ukraine (giant)

Dark horse potential:

Didn't stand a hope in hell:
Germany. Might not have "plagarised", but similar enough.