…previews being my particular speciality, but I’d be interested to know what you lot made of last night’s contest. But while I’m here, some quick-fire observations:
1. The best songs on the night were mostly placed at the start of the draw, which made for a spectacular opening salvo. Indeed, several members of last night’s gang in front of the telly swiftly declared it to be the best contest ever.
2. However, there was a distinct tail-off in quality after the bangin’ granny of Moldova, followed by a dramatic slump after Serbia. This could only spell good news for Greece, whose entry shone out from the herd by comparison.
3. Although the level of chat in the room drowned out most of Wogan’s commentary, I did catch his lament that many of this year’s songs sounded indistinguishable from another. That would be the BOWEI (Blend Of Western & Eastern Influences) factor, then. It’s an Issue, isn’t it? And honestly, if I ever clap eyes on one more Big Sodding Drum, I’ll… I’ll… well, I don’t know what I’ll do. But it won’t be pretty.
4. The voting went on far, far too long. It was fine in the old days, when only the couple of dozen participating countries on the night voted – but come on, thirty-nine separate juries? Something needs to be done. Watching numbers float about on a screen for the thick end of an hour and a half is not many people’s idea of good prime time entertainment. Two of our lot fell fast asleep. Hell, even I started wilting a little.
5. I’m a bit worried about the potential fall-out from the “big four” countries (UK, Germany, France, Spain), who customarily stump up most of the dosh in return for automatic entry to the finals, finishing in the last four positions. Will they get the hump and start withdrawing their funding? Because the alternative – corporate sponsorship – would be a grisly prospect indeed. As I’ve said before: the day the event turns into the Pepsi Max Eurovision, hosted by Beyoncé, is the day I’ll lose interest.
6. There is, however, an obvious solution to the UK’s continuing dismal record in the voting. (All together now: POOR Javine!) And that is… devolution! If we adopted the football approach, fielding separate entries for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, then we could all block-vote for each other, and everyone would be happy. And why not throw in Lundy, Rockall and the Isle Of Man for good measure? Ker-ching! Sorted!
7. Nevertheless, and despite all the above grumbles, my ardour for Eurovision remains resolutely undimmed. So much so, that after two years of watching the contest on the telly, I find myself ready and eager to re-enter the fray. So, Athens 2006, then? I am like so there already. Try keeping me away.
Still hungry for more? Than why not gorge yourselves upon Anna Pickard’s live running commentary for Guardian Unlimited? (I’m involved in something similar, which will be appearing on Another Web Site in the fullness of time.)
Alternatively, you could check last night’s results on the official scoreboard – where you’ll notice that the UK’s only votes came from Ireland (English speaking), Malta (ditto), Cyprus (army bases) and Turkey (where Touch My Fire has been a hit).
I am now officially Eurovisionned out. Is there still a world out there? Maybe it’s time to step outside and smell the flowers.
(P.S. I am rubbish at making predictions. Worse than last year, in fact. See below for proof. Eight out of twenty-four? And I try to pass myself off as an expert? Pathetic.)