Sunday, 15 May 2016

We wuz robbed, but so was Putin!

We're heartily sick of saying it, but it seems that the UK really isn't terribly popular in Eurovision-land. Joe and Jake's song was not a bad one, but even in one of the most bizarrely unpredictable Song Contests for years, they really did deserve better...

And it certainly was unpredictable (in every way but the usual plethora of over-strained, preposterous power-balladry, of course)! All bets from the pundits prior to the show opening were on an outright win for the "pariah state" in this bastion of gay-fan-dominated entertainment (we call it the "Gay World Cup" for a reason) Russia - and, heavens, did the Kremlin pull out all the (theatrical) stops to try and make it so? Clever staging, trompe l'œil special effects, thumping club-oriented power-pop, pretty-boy singer, the lot.

Well ha-bloody-ha! That particular bit of political "muscling in" didn't work for Kaiser Putin and his homophobic state!

The evening was a long one - almost four hours of madness - but "our gang" (Me, Madam Arcati, John-John, Hils, Crog, Sal, Julie, Baby Steve, Alex, Russ, Jim and Paul) all crammed into our living-room for the duration. We take it all very seriously, you know: each guest is allocated a country to dress up as and/or wave the flag for, and one for booze and one for food; we have scorecards; I decorate Dolores Delargo Towers from top to toe in appropriate flags-of-all-nations decor - and time flies when you're having fun! And imbibing lots and lots of the aforementioned booze, of course.

As hostess, I was "All Nations" - and even decorated my "big boot" with fairy lights!

Madam Arcati was Belgium, so came as Poirot (d'accord):

We manfully sat through every iteration of Euro-naffness: the rather fab Belgian Stacey-Lattisaw-wannabee, the heavily pregnant Maltese singer with such a histrionic vocal style we honestly thought her final note might have coincided with a birth on stage, the Italian over-emoting singer in a plastic flower-clad set, the totty from Hungary, the uber-camp Israeli equivalent of Antony Hegarty, some truly terrible cod-rock, some even worse attempts at white-boy-rapping, and the hugely over-confident Dutch boy with bad eyebrows among them. The newcomers - last year they were "special guests" for the 60th anniversary, this year a full-fledged fixture - Australia actually provided a proper singer and a proper song which seemed, throughout, to be the fan favourite:

Out of the blue, Graham Norton - our ever-reliable piss-taker BBC commentator - turned slightly serious at one point: “Tonight's Eurovision is a bittersweet one for all of us as it's the first contest since the death of Terry Wogan. Eight years ago when I first started presenting Eurovision he kindly and very graciously phoned me and said 'Don't ever have a drink before song nine.'

Well this is song nine. And while the crowd in the global arena cheer, I would urge you back home in the UK to raise a cup, a glass, a mug to the man who has always been the voice of Eurovision, Sir Terry Wogan.”

And we did. Cheers, Our Tel!

Highlights for us among the entertainers included our ultimate top-scorer Spain, with its "90s house" feel (it did rather badly in the final scores, much to everyone's surprise)...

...the Bulgarian uber-trendy girl with a quirky half-skinhead hairdo and a quirky vocal to match...

...and the sort-of-sexy sort-of-cool (in other words archetypal) French funkster:

The contest being shown for the first time in the USA, it was fitting that the interval entertainment was provided by Mr Justin Trousersnake. He said some very nice things about Eurovision, and some words of encouragement for the performers, then he sang. So we all went to top-up our drinks, tuck into the buffet and have a pee. Far better, indeed, was the routine provided by our rather fab Swedish hosts (last year's winner) Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede, and their "guide to success at Eurovision" - Love Love Peace Peace:

Hilarious - and actually a lot, lot better than most of the acts!

Anyway, after sitting through all twenty-six of the buggers, our gang's votes went thus:

United Kingdom

Then came round two of our marathon evening's viewing - the votes of the official juries from each of the eligible countries (which is a lot more than those who actually participated, or passed the semi-final rounds). Here, we had the opportunity to cheer and boo (as appropriate) as the randomness began to take hold. Countries that usually vote for their neighbours were throwing out their "douze points" for other entrants for a change - particularly popular were Italy, Bulgaria and France - and, to our joy, "anything but Russia" would appear to have been a bit of a trend; and Australia led the pack to the end. But... And it is a big but...

The voting system this year was different, with a 50/50 split between jury votes and phoned-in votes. So the tension ramped up again, as we awaited the final results from the adjudicators (which were counted down by Mr Zelmerlöw and Miss Mede in a most nerve-wrackingly slow and dramatic fashion). Would Russia leap-frog the Aussies? Poland certainly had a helluva leap - from a "mighty" seven votes from the combined juries from 42 countries, they suddenly received a massive 222 more points via phone votes [which, we agreed, just shows how many Polish people live outside their home country - where they would not be able to vote for themselves]; a similar story for Bulgaria (which got 180 more points) and Armenia (134 new phone votes).

In the end it was Ukraine that trumped the Oz table-leaders (as well as their antagonist neighbours Russia) to win the contest, with (what we thought) a rather fraught number about political oppression...

The final votes:

Ukraine - 534 points
Australia - 511
Russia - 491
Bulgaria - 307
Sweden - 261
France - 257
Armenia - 249
Poland - 229
Lithuania - 200
Belgium - 181

The UK came 23rd with a mere 62 points. Our fave Spain got 77.

Should anyone wish to enter a scientific analysis of who voted for whom, never fear - The Telegraph has done the hard work and has published a handy guide to the new voting system.

In spite of everything - same time, same place next year!

The Eurovision Song Contest is always a highlight of the Season.


  1. The Ukraine? Oh dear. The important thing is you had fun and you weren't even on your back! How very festival to embrace the boot with fairy lights!!! Nice to know it wasn't the only thing lit. Cheers on your weekend🍹🍹🍹

    1. None of us believed that the Ukraine was good enough to win, but once again, politics will out. It matters little to us, however - the party is the whole point! And it was fab.

      Now, back to my coffee... Jx

    2. Thanks so much for a fabulous evening. As usual there was lovely food & drink, fantastic friends and terrible music. Exactly what a Eurovision party should be. Touching tribute to Sir Tel as well. Roll on next year! Hils x

    3. Bring it on, dear - bring it on! Jx

  2. It was a fab night, we both really enjoyed it!! Thanks for having us!! x x x

    1. You are more than welcome to be "had" any time, dears...

      It was a fab party, and glad you were there! Jx


Please leave a message - I value your comments!