Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Eurovision Song Contest: The Grand Final, Vienna, 24.05.15

I don't know about the rest of you, but by the time Saturday night came round I was so excited that I could burst!  For viewers in the UK, the Grand Final was preceded by a Eurovision-themed edition of my favourite TV quiz show "Who Dares Wins" where the teams were Dana and Cheryl Baker versus Carrie Grant and Bruno Tonioli.  As it turned out, it wasn't as Eurovisiony as planned, although it gave Nick Knowles an excuse to put on a nice sparkly jacket.  The ESC-themed rounds proved that just because you've appeared in the contest (or a national final) doesn't mean that you know very much about it!

The 2015 Grand Final opened with an orchestra; no less than the Vienna Philharmonic, leading into a recap of the announcement of last year's winner.  And then a circle-themed intro VT.  Which was very long, and pretty pointless.  All circles and lights and balloons.  As ever, I am watching the Grand Final with mum, who has already told me that she's not going to have the stamina to sit through three and a half hours (little did she know that it was going to last just a bit longer than that).

Finally there is some music, a nice little orchestral tribute to Austria's first ever ESC winner Udo Jurgens, who recently passed away, leading into a brief "Rise Like A Phoenix" which then turns into this year's contest theme song "Building Bridges".  I quite like this song - it's bright and uptempo, although it does overstay its welcome after a while, and everything is a little busy and disjointed. The three hosts, Arabella Kiesbauer, Mirjam Weichselbraun and Alice Tumler are singing (ok, miming) and they really do look like a girl band, don't they!

Seeing the ORF radio symphony orchestra on stage brought back fond memories of the old Eurovision days when we had the orchestra.  There are kids singing.  And a rapper in a hat.

Mum: The Italian flag reminds me of the Irish flag.  Is the Irish song any good this year?
Laura: Ireland isn't in the final, they failed to qualify because their song wasn't up to much.  They need to start sending better songs! (triple underline!)

We're back to the Australia drinking game now: if you were to drink every time Australia is mentioned, well you would be wrecked by 8.30pm!

There's yet another unnecessary VT of fans across the world bridge-building, to the soundtrack of Russia's 2013 entry "What If".  The video includes a same-sex kiss (it wouldn't be the last one of the evening) and I'm guessing that the use of this song is either (a) a subliminal two-fingered gesture to Russia for their views on Conchita, or (b) a subliminal gesture to viewers to say 'vote for Russia'!

After the longest introduction in ESC history, the song contest finally begins in earnest at 8.21pm. Graham Norton has already mispronounced Maraaya.  Tut tut.

SLOVENIA: "Here For You" - Maraaya.

Two things: one is that I wasn't happy at all with the draw, because I wanted this either in the middle or towards the end of the running order, and the other thing is that there is still something wrong with the vocal mix.

M: Just what is that demented woman doing?
L: She's an air violinist!  By the way, I've never seen the point of the air violinist.  It takes away from the song, which is still one of my favourites this year.

There is something missing here though,  I can't quite figure out what it is - whether it's the sound mix or that Marjetka is coming over as a little strained, and I'm not picking up the right vibes. Everything is just falling short.  I still like this song, its very underrated but will not do as well as I once thought it would.

FRANCE: "N'oubliez pas" - Lisa Angell.  

There are macarons and a fancy tea set in the postcard.  But things don't look too good for France, even before Lisa has even sung a note, as no song placed 2nd in the running order has ever won.

M: I like French language music.
L: It was co-written by Jean-Jacques Goldman's brother.  (I then go on to tell her all about JJG)

The staging is quite spectacular; in the space of three minutes, the backdrop goes from destruction to reconstruction, and the arrival of the drummers on screen is the money shot.  Yes it's very old-school 'French ESC ballad' but she is vocally perfect and even if this is not going to do well at all, we liked it here.   

ISRAEL: "Golden Boy" - Nadav Guedj.

This is the first entry from Israel which I've liked in years.  (I didn't like "Same Heart" at the time of last year's contest but it later grew on me).

M: I like his boots.
L: Golden boots for a golden boy.

Once again mum spends the bulk of the song talking about Nadav's boots.  When she's not talking about how old he looks! The song is one of the very few lively numbers this year but Nadav's vocals aren't always as good as they should be, and he often relies on the backing singers to fill in the gaps. Nevertheless this is still one of my favourite songs this year, and one which I'll go on to play long after the contest is over.

ESTONIA: "Goodbye to Yesterday" - Stig Rästa and Elina Born.

This one has been killed by the draw.

Stig kicks off the song - his vocals have been better - and then Elina, the latest in my long line of Estonian girl-crushes,  walks in, and the magic happens. There are so many mixed emotions here - anger, sadness and regret to name three - and this is one of those songs which you should really play to a Eurovision-hater to change their mind about the contest.

M: What country is this?
L: Estonia.  Another country I would really like to visit in future.
M: I like this, I really do.  It doesn't sound like a Eurovision song.
L: There is no such thing as a Eurovision song any more.  This is great.
M: I'd like a song like this to win.

UNITED KINGDOM: "Still In Love With You" - Electro Velvet.

D-D-D-Dance!  This year the UK are represented by Bianca and Alex aka Electro Velvet, put together for the contest and once again chosen in an internal selection.

M: At least this one has a bit of life to it.
L: And wait and see what happens with the dress.
M: I like this, in a strange way.  It's lively.
L: At least they finally look as if they are enjoying it - in the lead-up I've thought that they always looked as if they'd rather be somewhere else.

And some good advice here, don't drink too much wine, just one or two will have to do.  I'm going to have a bit more than one or two tonight. I really hope that Alex and Bianca are not scapegoated for the UK's annual failure - they did the best they could, and the fault lies, and will always lie, with the BBC and the nature of our selection process.

ARMENIA: "Face The Shadow" - Genealogy.

L: That would be good old Don't Deny.
M: "Don't be nice!"
L: This isn't having as much impact for me tonight as it did in the semi final, although I like this effect where they all go to their countries on the map.
M: That guy's got a loose sleeve!
L: It's just too shouty.

It's all too shouty for us here at EuropeCrazy HQ.

LITHUANIA: "This Time" -Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila.

Now time for our other old ancestral homeland.  Leaving aside the merits of the song and the performance, there is only one question.

L: Do you fancy Vaidas?
M: No, he's not really my taste.
L: He's been very popular with both the guys and girls this year!

Meanwhile there is that "one kiss!" which goes on and on, with the result that Monika and Vaidas actually miss the next line of the song.  Vaidas has also crossed the line of playing to the crowd, (although not quite at the level of Alexey yelling "Do you feel my heart beat Europe?"). Off-topic and no offence to the flag-waving fandom, but if I ruled Eurovision I would ban flags, ok then maybe not ban them totally but at least limit the number of them.  Rant over.

SERBIA: "Beauty Never Lies" - Bojana Stamenov.

Talking of flags, they're part of the staging of this song of course. After her outstanding performance in the semi-final it's no surprise to see that the audience is going mad for this body-empowerment anthem.  Could Bojana upset the odds and take the contest to Belgrade next year?  Well, no. Tonight's performance is not as good as Thursday's. And mum is not prepared for hurricane Bojana tonight.

M: This is completely overdone.  I'd go as far as to say this is hellish.  It's not a song, it's just all shouting.
L: It's not hellish, but I agree she's doing more shouting than singing tonight.

NORWAY: "A Monster Like Me" - Morland and Debrah Scarlett.

M: We will need to be calmed down after that last song.
L: I just hope she doesn't sing too weird.
M: Is she singing "bye bye the noo"?
L: (!)

We both love Debrah's hair, and she might just win our prize of best hairdo which is usually a default win for Estonia.  But just what did he do in his early youth?  Alas we shall probably never know, but all this mystery and darkness completely elevates this song and even though I have read some criticism that they don't know how to fill that mid-song instrumental break, I have no issues at all with this song and want it to do very well.  For the past three years, Norway have sent some cracking songs to Eurovision, and it's about time they were rewarded for it.

SWEDEN: "Heroes" - Måns Zelmerlöw.

M: I know this song.
L: Indeed you do.

I am doing his little 'dancing with the demons in our minds' dance. Mum is just looking at me as if I've lost the plot :)

M: This song is far too repetitive for me.  But I understand why it'll do well, with the distraction of the cartoons.
L: I think it's totally blown everything away so far.  Yes there are the visual gimmicks but I think the whole package is just superb.

By the way, at this point I'd just like to say that this producer-chosen draw is working very well so far, bringing some nice contrast between the ballads and the more uptempo numbers.

CYPRUS: "One Thing I Should Have Done" - John Karayiannis.

Aww, John!

M: Good!  No dancing, no stupid stuff.
L: No fancy lights, just lovely.

We both listen to the rest of this song in silence.

AUSTRALIA: "Tonight Again" - Guy Sebastian.

I have to explain to mum again about why Australia is appearing as a special guest in this year's contest.  And they've sent one of their best-known singers.  Watch and learn, BBC.

M: I've heard this one before as well - I know this.

L: I've played it a few times before. He is a very good singer. 

Guy and his backing singers dance and strut around the streetlight-themed staging.  The guy is a real star and he takes Eurovision up another level with his professionalism.  Imagine if the UK sent someone as good as this, with a real catchy song?  This is definitely one of my big favourites this year although I still can't see it winning for some reason.

BELGIUM:  "Rhythm Inside" - Loic Nottet. 

Mum is nodding her head to this one.L: This is very, very well staged.  And he has given us a new word for our vocabulary: rapapap.

M: He is very young.  This is different!
L:  And he does a great twirl.  I think he's really talented and has a lot of potential - I can't wait to hear how his career goes from here.
M: The lighting is hurting my eyes.  But he's done well.  Good job done son!

The staging of this could be described in Loreen's words as 'an everlasting piece of art'.  More than any other song this year, you could play this to someone who hates Eurovision and they would never guess it was a Eurovision song.

Right so I really need a comfort break but this will have to wait because the running order has determined that there are a lot of songs which I like, all in a row.  And here is another one.

AUSTRIA: "I Am Yours" - The Makemakes.

I've liked this song a lot since it was chosen to represent Austria.  It's the kind of retro-flavoured piano pop which we both like, and mum has decided who her favourite guy of the night is - the beardy, hat-wearing lead singer of The Makemakes.

M: He's nice!  I like him,  Best looking guy so far.
L: The smoke alarm will be going off any minute....now!  Fire! Fire!
M: Why did they have to set the piano on fire?

I explain to mum that this is not a particularly original effect as it had already been done by Ralf Gyllenhammar in Melodifestivalen 2 years ago, and I thought it suited that song much better.  As it turned out, this silly visual effect didn't make any difference to the song's score....

I really, really need a comfort break, so I skip Conchita and take some time out.

GREECE: "One Last Breath" - Maria Elena Kyriakou.

After a run of good songs, we're back to a boring ballad.  As I said in the semi-final, didn't the backdrop remind you of the old schools TV clock?

M: This is so mundane, it would put you to sleep.
L: They always do quite well though, but I can't see this one getting a great result.
M: Too many gestures.
L: Too much drama, and not in a good way.

It's a no from the EuropeCrazy HQ jury for this one.  I've enjoyed so many of the Greek songs over recent years, so can we please have something more uptempo next year?

MONTENEGRO: "Adio" - Knez.

I give mum a brief introduction about Zeljko Joksimovic and the type of songs he sends to ESC. Mum is more interested in the staging.

M: I hope that water's not real.
L: Don't worry, it's just an effect.  There was real water on stage last year though.
M: I don't want to hear about last year.
L: Big dancey bit!  Big Balkan drama.  Me like.
M: What language is this in?
L: Montenegrin?  Or is it Serbian? I'm not sure.  I'm only just getting into Balkan music so I have a lot to learn.

GERMANY: "Black Smoke" - Ann Sophie.

A.K.A. The one which isn't "Heart of Stone" by Andreas Kummert.  Andreas of course won the German selection and then controversially decided this whole Eurovision lark wasn't for him, so he defaulted the win to Ann Sophie who looks as if she could be Lena's big sister.   This song was written by Ella Eyre and a bloke who used to be in Ultra.  (Remember them? "Say You Do"/"Say It Once"/"The Right Time").  I liked those Ultra songs, but I don't particularly like this song.

M: I quite like the staging of this.
L: Her styling's much improved since the German final, but there is still something missing.  It's one of those songs which I don't listen to all the way through.

Torrential rain has just come on and we spend the remainder of the song talking about the weather. (See what I mean about not listening all the way through?)  I can't see anything other than right side of the scoreboard for this one.

POLAND: "In The Name of Love" - Monica Kuzynska.

I explain to mum about the wheelchair and the back story.  IMHO this was a major factor in her getting to the final, sorry but that's just what I think.  The song is nice, but not much more than that, and I can't see myself ever listening to this song again.  We are both agreed on the loveliness of the staging, though.

LATVIA: "Love Injected" - Aminata.

Graham Norton calls this "one of the worst titles".  By the way we've not really been listening to Norton's commentary tonight so I can't really comment on what he's been saying.  The staging is perfectly in line with the song - jarring and experimental.

M: This sounds like someone hammering a nail in.
L: My ears, my ears are bleeding. No, no, a million times no.

But if I can say one thing in its favour - it's unusual, original and like the Belgian entry, as far removed from the ESC stereotype as you'll get. So can someone please drag the British media's preconceptions of the contest out of the mid 20th century?

ROMANIA: "De La Capat/All Over Again" - Voltaj.

L: He still reminds me of someone but I don't know who?  Oh I've got it - Fabien Barthez!  That French goalie from years ago!  Doesn't look exactly like him but anyway...
M: This is quite a nice song.  I'd have preferred the full song in English though.
L: I disagree!  But then I'm just an old-school native language geek.

SPAIN: "Amanecer" - Edurne.

I miss most of this because mum's sent me into the kitchen to make her a hot chocolate, but the bits I do manage to catch don't convince me to change my view that it's all drama and ultimately empty with no substance.  Quedate Conmigo it ain't.  And not even a topless male dancer will make me change my mind.

HUNGARY: "Wars For Nothing" - Boggie.

Nice dress, clever staging but the song's just zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......

M: This would put you to sleep!

GEORGIA: "Warrior" - Nina Sublatti.

M: Is she wearing an ostrich?
L: Whatever, you don't mess with Nina.

This is one of the best examples this year of superior staging boosting a song which I never really cared much about before the contest.

M: How many hours has this song been on?
L: You're a bit grumpy tonight.
M: No I'm not!  I'm not grumpy!

AZERBAIJAN: "Hour of the Wolf" - Elnur Huseynov.

For the land of fire it's an appropriately fiery postcard.  Unfortunately the choreography overshadows Elnur's impressive vocals.

L: If I ruled the world I would BAN CONTEMPORARY DANCE!! (goes into angry rant)
M: He is a very good singer but that dancing or whatever you want to call it just spoils the song.
L: Those dancers are annoying the life out of me.

RUSSIA: "A Million Voices" - Polina Gagarina

Another faultless performance from Polina, and some, er. enhanced applause/cheering - please please please, EBU, don't make a habit of this in future contests.

L: This is a serious contender to win, but I hope it doesn't.
M: I've had my fill of this show by now.  I don't care who wins.
L: Oh you know that's not true!
M: How many more hours to go?

ALBANIA: "I'm Alive" - Elhaida Dani.

And here's Elhaida in yet another new dress, slashed to the waist, trying to challenge Trijntjtjtjtjtjtjeje for the Barbara Dex.  Vocally she's crossed the line over to the dark side of shouty and screechy.

M: What is that she is wearing?  How did this song make the final?
L: I don't like the dress, and I don't like the song.  Her hair is awful too.  This is a complete no from me tonight.  Hope Albania make a better choice for next year.

ITALY: "Grande Amore" - Il Volo

And now....my winner.  The three guys who make up Il Volo get a very warm reception - and I think the applause is real this time and not fake!  And if Italy has developed a reputation for not really going that extra mile in the Grand Final, then they finally got the memo this year.

Il Volo certainly have stage presence, and even do something almost approaching choreography (if walking off and walking on counts).  And that little wink from Gianluca gets the EuropeCrazy douze points.  In fact everything about Gianluca gets our douze points :))

At this point I'm starting to speculate about Italy winning and what kind of contest RAI would produce, *visions of Toto and his clipboard being wheeled out just one more time*

So that's it for the songs then.  This year's interval act to entertain us is none other than Martin Grubinger and the Percussive Planet (nope - me neither).  Bongos are being, er. bonged.  Demented xylophonists do their thang.  There's a tuba duet.  They're building hearts and bridges in the green room.  IMHO this is not one of my favourite interval acts of all time, but it's a decent enough display of musical virtuosity and Martin himself seems to be enjoying it.

I guess though that I didn't give it my complete attention as I was too busy casting my votes - for Estonia, Sweden, Italy and Norway!  Very proud as ever to take part in the democratic process, in-between making some mighty fine home-made cajun spiced potato wedges :)

The countdown is on till the lines close.  The voting is over, the lines are closed and it's time for a Conchita mini-concert featuring "You Are Unstoppable" and "Firestorm". (I really like that song - it reminds me a little of "Dance With Somebody" by Mando Diao).

Vienna 2015 won't go down as the most memorable contest ever, although it was adequate enough. I was glad to see Conchita being such a big part of the final.  She means so much to Austria - after all they wouldn't be hosting Eurovision if it wasn't for her.

There follows an appearance by the current Junior Eurovision champ - Vincenzo from Italy.  Could it be an Italian junior and 'senior' double this year?

But the night is getting on, it's 10.30 already and mum has decided to have another little snooze and she's told me that she doesn't have much stamina for the voting marathon ahead.  Alice and Mirjam reappear in drab beige gowns.  Let the results begin!  But before that, there's a little montage of past winners.  Jon Ola Sand's also got an announcement - ESC has made the Guinness Book of Records as the longest-running TV music competition in the world.

As in previous years there are some ex-contestants as jury spokespersons: Andrea Demirovic (Montenegro), Julie (Malta), Krista Siegfrids (Finland), Helena Paparizou (Greece), Teo (Belarus), Basim (Denmark), Tinkara Kovac (Slovenia), Edsilia Rombley (Netherlands, wearing that infamous Trijntje dress), Valentina Monetta (San Marino), Suzy (Portugal) and Tanja (Estonia).

Montenegro kick off with a predictable 12 to Serbia.

Malta give 1 point to the UK and 12 to Italy.

Finland's shy, retiring and understated Krista slips in a 'ding dong' and announces 12 to Sweden. Judging by the look on Alice's face, she's not too familiar with the whole Krista concept.

But anyway it's on to Greece and the first shock of the evening.  Gasps in the hall.  No 12 to Cyprus - only 10 points with the 12 going to Italy!

Portugal - what the wawawe is going on?  Suzy makes a brief appearance then disappears.

Romania - after a display of her knowledge of German, the spokeswoman announces 12 to Italia! Presumably in the absence of Moldova.

Belarus - twerpy hamsters at the ready, cause it's Teo announcing the results culminating in a not entirely unexpected 12-points-go-to-Russia!  You can hear the booing in the hall.

Albania's jury spokesman has some, er, interesting clothing going on.  It's a 12 to Italy.

You'd expect Moldova to give 12 to Romania, and you'd be right!  This 12 lifts them off the bottom of the scoreboard.

Azerbaijan - 12 points go to "I'm not surprised at all" says the jury spokesman - Russia (boo-boo-boo-boo).  We're not surprised at all either, that they overlooked Armenia.

Latvia don't give 12 to Russia.  This is like breaking serve in a tennis match.  But it's early days.

Top 3 time: Russia, Sweden and Italy.

Alice gives a little speech about equal treatment and respect.  Presumably the subliminal message here is 'stop booing Russia!"

Serbia - 12 to Montenegro - quelle surprise!!  Yay for neighbour voting :)  This takes Montenegro over to the left hand side of the scoreboard.

Estonia - Tanja disappears.  Graham Norton: "are there tin cans and string connecting these countries?".  That's a major disappointment tonight - the number of connections lost to the various countries.

Denmark - 12 to Sweden.

Switzerland - with only 7 to Russia and 12 to Sweden, is this the game changer?

Belgium - 12 to Sweden.

France - Italy surprisingly voted down, only 8 to Sweden and a 12 to Belgium!

This is not going to be a runaway victory for anyone at this stage - it's very close and it's anyone's game.

Armenia - both Italy and Sweden voted down, and the 'Anne Hathaway impersonator' (says Graham Norton) announces 12 to the 'beautiful and talented young lady from Russia'.  And nul points to Azerbaijan.

Ireland - well hello there lovely Nicky Byrne.  Only 1 point to the UK but better than nowt.  We're desperate now, we'll even just accept 1 point.  8 to Russia, 10 to Sweden, and 12 to....Latvia!
Cat?  Pigeons?

Top 3: Russia / Sweden / Italy.

Sweden - Mariette Hansson announces the Swedish vote.  Both Norway and Russia are voted down and the 12 goes to Australia!  Their first 12 of the night.  It's clear they're not going to win but they're picking up votes from almost every country.

Germany - Italy voted down, and 12 to Russia.

At this stage both Austria and Germany are still on the dreaded nil points.  At the top end of the scoreboard it's all to play for.

Australia - cheers drown out the Aussie spokesperson giving those historic Aussie votes.  It's 12 to Sweden and nothing to the UK.  The Queen says: "cheers for that, Australia, you're off the Christmas card list and won't be invited back to the Commonwealth Games".

At this point Conchita's interviewing Polina, she's crying and it's all too much. What will she be like if she wins?  Polina is lovely but I do not want Russia to win tonight.

Czech Republic - the Italian victory slips away and it's a surprising 12 to Azerbaijan.  Hmmm...

Spain - 12 to Italy.

Top 5: Russia/Sweden/Italy/Belgium/Latvia.

Austria - they do what-do what-do what they want and award 12 to near-namesakes Australia!

Nil Points watch: Germany and Austria are still there....

FYR Macedonia: FYROM pull a not too surprising vote vote here: the top 3 are voted down and it's a 12 to one of their favourite recipients of 12s....Albania.

Slovenia - if we're talking game-changers here is another one.  Only 5 to Russia, only 8 to Italy and a big 12 goes to Sweden.

Hungary - both Russia and Italy are marked down here and their 12 goes to Belgium.

United Kingdom - it's a weird and wonderful choice for the UK's jury spokesperson this year - only the 'domestic goddess' herself, Ms Nigella Lawson, who shows off her multi-lingual skills and delivers 8 to Italy, 10 to Australia and 12 to Sweden.  A low mark to Russia makes it a real game-changer as Sweden finally leapfrogs Russia and takes the lead.

Georgia - further lolz here as they only give 5 to Russia, prompting a massive cheer.  And then she disappears.

Lithuania - it's bad news for Italy (1 point), 10 to Sweden and 12 to....Latvia.  And crucially, nil points to Russia.  The Swedish lead opens up.

Netherlands - both Italy and Russia are marked down whilst it's a not too surprising neighbourly love-in with a 12 to Belgium.

Poland - Russia and Italy marked down again and Sweden stretch their lead with another 12.

Top 3: Sweden, Russia, Italy.  By this point I'm hyperventilating, whilst mum's oblivious to all this
excitement as she is having a snooze.

Israel - 12 to Italy.

Russia - boo, boo, boo....Dmitry is not attention-seeking in the least, is he?  "12 points from Russia go to....Russia".  This might be remotely funny had Bjorn Gustafsson not already done this already, back in 2008.  (They actually give 12 to Italy, which is quite surprising).

San Marino - oh look, it's Valentina.  Well she had to be involved somewhere after 3 years representing her homeland!  Russia is by-passed here, and the UK even picks up 3 points.  Only 10 to Italy though, with their top marks going to Latvia.

Italy - like Russia, they're generous to their rivals giving 10 to Russia and 12 to Sweden.  Can we call it yet for Sverige??  Actually, Italy give votes to the top 9 countries apart from themselves so as voting patterns go, that's pretty accurate.

Iceland - a low mark for Russia and a 12 to Sweden, but according to Graham Norton, we still can't call it!

Cyprus - headlines of SHOCKA!!! as not only do they give Russia a low mark but they only give 8 to Greece.  Yes that's right.  Graham Norton: "That is unprecedented, I think".  Italy get the 12 from Cyprus.


Yes, in the great tradition of recent years the winner is announced before all the voting is completed. Sweden have won the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest!

Norway - a low mark to Russia and 12 to their "Heroes" from Sweden.

Now we're retrying the countries which 'broke down' earlier.
Portugal - there's only 3 points to Spain, and Suzy announces the 12 from Portugal to Italy.
Estonia - here's Tanja in Tallinn again, with 12 points to Russia.
And finally - Georgia - marking down both Sweden and Russia, with a 12 to Armenia.

Mum finally wakes up to discover that Sweden have won.  She seems pretty happy about this, although disappointed for Italy.  I tell her that the voting's been much more exciting and even dare I say unpredictable than usual.  She's annoyed that she's missed it, but thanks to recording the contest she manages to catch up the following day.  But before the show ends tonight I get a final "how long's this been on for? 4 HOURS?  4 HOURS????" Yes this year's contest was certainly a record breaker - the longest ever Eurovision night.  Now I know that we Eurovision fans can be very greedy and want as much of the contest as we can, but for me a 4 hour final is not the way to go.  From the far too lengthy introduction, to the interviews and unnecessary time-wasting, ESC seems to be falling into the modern-day TV trap of 'more is more'.

So that's it for another year. Måns Zelmerlöw has won the Eurovision Song Contest this year for Sweden with "Heroes".  It's Sweden's 2nd win in 4 years and their 6th win overall.  But the Swedish win hit a sour note as it quickly emerged that they only came 3rd in the televoting result behind Italy and Russia. As for the jury vote this was won by Sweden, with Latvia 2nd and Russia 3rd. When the split results were revealed this prompted the now annual calls for the reform of the voting system.
At the bottom of the scoreboard we had our first nil-pointers in 12 years - not just one, but two (neighbouring) countries, Austria and Germany, with an even sadder statistic as Austria is the first host country to score nil points. But before you get the hankies out to wipe away those nil-points tears, at least the Makemakes and Ann Sophie both managed to have a laugh about it, with their own versions of "We are the zeroes of our time" Makemakes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAgcqZNwgb0
Ann Sophie - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTpZPwmu9P8

For post-final comments please read a post which I wrote on the day after the contest - http://europecrazy.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/eurovision-day-after.html


"Heroes" did very well indeed across Europe - hitting no. 1 in several countries, even making it to no.11 in the official UK singles chart and I'm proud to say that it did even better here in our Scottish singles chart, making it to no.7. Måns released his album "Perfectly Damaged" on the back of his win, and the follow-up single to "Heroes",  "Should've Gone Home" is getting lots of airplay on Swedish radio and is in the Swedish top 5 at the time of writing. Måns is also hotly tipped to host next year's contest which will take place at the Globen complex in Stockholm, with Petra Mede as another rumoured host although no announcement has been made yet regarding the presenter(s).

 SVT are promising a "cheaper" contest, half of the grossly over-budgeted Copenhagen 2014  but I'm sure they won't skimp on the production values which we expect of them by now.  There is one shocking potential change which will have all us old purists in an uproar though - SVT want to change the start time of the contest, to start an hour earlier.  I guess this is presumably an answer to the increasingly late running time of the show, which this year didn't finish until 1.00am central European time and even later the further east you go. Or is SVT planning a 5-hour extravaganza next May, and they're not telling us?

Meanwhile Guy Sebastian went on to enjoy success in the European charts with "Tonight Again" and all these months later, it's still a fixture on Swedish radio playlists. At this point there's no news from the EBU on whether (a) there will be a 'guest country' in 2016, and (b) who it will be.  I'd be very happy to welcome Australia back, if they keep up the standard of their debut.

Song submissions are now being invited across the continent, and the 1st September deadline has now passed, meaning that anything released from now on is technically eligible for Eurovision 2016. So on-season is....on!  We are also coming into that time of year when countries are gradually confirming their provisional participation.  Be gone PED (Post-Eurovision Depression), because ESC 2016 is on the way!!

So I finally got round to posting my backlog of ESC posts.  Hope you enjoyed them.  I'm now heading off on a long-awaited holiday and am hoping to get back into blogging after I return.  Really looking forward to getting this blog up and running again.  

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