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May 22, 2006

Eurovision rocks our world

Eurovision was quite late here on Saturday night - to accommodate you people who live in countries with no sun in the evening it didn't get going until 10pm over here. We were looking forward to seeing the entries that hadn't been in the semi-finals.

We were disappointed with the Spanish entry - with a name like "Bloody Mary" by Las Ketchup how could it go wrong? But it did. We couldn't work out how the Israeli's were doing gospel. We thought that with swathes of the continent in an anti-American mood, Germany's decision to go with a slice of banjo-fuelled country Americana looked like a ploy to avoid the expense of having to host the finals next year.

We were impressed with Latvia's accapella troupe - although weren't sure at which point they decided, "Hmmm, what we really need now is a walking-spoon-man-puppet". Claire didn't rate Denmark's entry - "Seriously, get with the programme!" she said. It was like a slice of 1980s faux rock'n'roll, sung by a woman who had clearly been to the Bonnie Langford school of musical over-acting.

Then with great trepidation we watched the UK entry.

What were you thinking of?????

A bloke long past his teenage years talking about teenagers, accompanied by a bunch of trilling bimbettes dressed up like a night out at School Disco. It made us look like a nation of schoolgirl obsessed perverts! Sorry, what's that you say at the back there about the Sunday Sport's "Sexy Sixth-Former Supplement"?

By the time Ukraine were on we were quite the Eurovision critics. "Oh I think they were much better in the semi-final, she is trying far too hard". The French entry finished with her saying "Efheristo poli" ("Thank you very much") in Greek, so I trust that Jaques Chirac will have walked out of somewhere in protest.

With all the songs done we made our predictions. Claire went for Sweden to win with Romania as her outside choice. I went for a victory for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with the Ukraine as my outside bet.

Then the (mostly) tedium of the voting. We scoffed at the bitterness from Belgium and the Netherlands who both had a dig about their songs being eliminated. We smiled at the over-enthusiasm of the smaller countries like Andorra. We liked the politics spilling into it. We laughed at the French insistence on remaining the only country in Europe not to announce their points totals in English. We cheered when the Cypriot panel couldn't resist having a dig about being Europe's last remaining capital. We booed when the Turkish votes appeared and they had bastardised the Eurovision logo to replace the Greek-flag-in-a-heart motif with a Turkish-flag-in-a-heart motif.

And when it was the UK's turn to vote we had tried to guess who would be presenting it - but we didn't get it right. It was Fearne! Oh, Fearne, we miss you. Back in the UK, thanks to TiVo, every week Fearne would bring us pop gems in the form of Top of the Pops. Or more likely as not everything would be god-awful and thanks to the fast-forward button we'd actually see about six thirty second clips of songs we'd hate and just watch all the links in between. We love you Fearne. She's like your mate's slightly over-enthusiastic younger sister who you actually fancy on the sly but could never tell your mate 'cos they'd think you were a weirdo. Hmm, actually, thinking about it, I can't vouch that Claire feels that way about her too.

It was quite difficult to watch the show at times, thanks to the joys of simultaneous simultaneous translation. No, that wasn't a mistake. Simultaneous simultaneous translation. Greek TV often has two or three experts talking about something at once, so over quite a lot of the links we could hear the original English and French of the show's presenters, and then over the top two different Greek speakers providing a translation and a commentary over the top of each other. At times it wasn't so much Eurovision as Tower-of-Babel-vision for us.

FinlandlordiClaire's predictions turned out to be hotter than mine, with her two picks featuring in the top eight or so, and mine being conspicuous by their absence - although I had also tipped Bosnia & Herzegovina to do well. With Cyprus having failed to qualify, we wondered where her traditional twelve points from Greece would go - look no further than rock monsters Lordi from Finland, helped I am sure by the fact that I voted for them.

Sorry - I know I could have actually voted for the UK for the first time ever - but honestly, what was it up against in the UK to have qualified as our entry?

In the end the monsters of rock from Finland clinched it - cue ridiculous scenes of them being presented with bunches of flowers. The fantastic result means Finland will host next years contest, Lordi will get to appear in it, and we can boggle our minds at whatever the Finnish equivalent of the Greek's stunningly painful "4,000 Years of Greek Song" presentation will be.

I just pray that when the "a-rock-alypse" promised by the song's lyrics arrives, they'll remember how I voted.

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I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear that the tradition of an alcohol fuelled Eurovision party was kept alive in West London. Unfortunately I was let down by my demon bidder who was beaten to the Monsters of EuroRock by a well informed Spurs supporter. We managed to get Russia and Bosnia though so we came away with a small profit.
Was the British entry that bad? I guess I was concentrating too much on the schoolgirls to hear it properly ;)

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