Saturday 13 May 2017

Eurovision live blog (well, everyone else seems to have one)

Tonight, on the BBC, is Eurovision night.

It's a very BBC's thing. I wonder how the corporation would feel if we Brexited the Eurovision Song Contest too - as, according to YouGov, most Brits want us to do. (Leave would win such a referendum by 56% to 44%, according to YouGov.) I'm betting they'd be in tears for years at Broadcasting House. 

As ever, I've got it on with the sound down and am listening to 'The very best of Thomas Tallis' on YouTube. I keep looking up from time to time though, noticing the variety of very pretty women, androgynous men, token 'blokes', goths and IS-lookalikes competing. 

Infuriatingly, however, the two Ukrainian hosts look like Ant and Dec but aren't standing in the right places for Ant and Dec. 'Ant' is on the right and 'Dec' is on the left, which should never be the case. And, frankly, that alone is more than enough to make me want to join the 56% in that YouGov survey. 

The reason I have it on is because I like the voting. I'll watch any election. I've booked the Friday after the general election off work, for example, just as I did for the last election, just so that I can stay up and watch the results coming in on the BBC, watch the BBC's reaction, and then chill out the next day. 

The voting on Eurovision has, infamously, been political for years and years. The fun is in guessing (not that I'm a complete nerd) who will get the big points from each country and which neighbours will give each other nul points. Some are far too easy, like Romania and Moldova giving each other 12 points or Armenian and Azerbaijan giving each other no points. Greece and Cyprus, notoriously, used to be the easiest of all, but they went all weird last year and didn't give each other 12 points (to universal, nay, interstellar astonishment). And as for the countries surrounding Russia, the big question was who would give Putin 12 points and who would give him nil points. (That's been spoiled this year by the purely political exclusion of the Russian contestant by the Ukrainian hosts - the ultimate political nul points.)  I could go on on...

Meanwhile, I see that Lord Norton of Louth, Professor of Government at the University of Hull, "Dedicated to study of Parliament, comparative legislatures, the constitution, and the Conservative Party", has tweeted: "For the avoidance of doubt, I am not related to Graham Norton. Norton's not his real name anyway". 

And Nick Robinson, doubtless glued to his set (whilst, from time to time, sobbing into his Chianti over not getting the BBC's election gig), has tweeted: "UK entry totally defies spirit of #Eurovision by singing competently. Didn't anyone explain to Lucy who this works?" (He hasn't spelled Lucie's name correctly there, but, no, I'm not going to get AnonAnon accusing me of pedantry, so I won't mention that at all). 

Pre-post Update: Thank Gawd! 'Ant' and 'Dec' have swapped places and are now in their right places. 

That's not changing my mind though. In fact, it's made it even worse. Ant and Dec should never, ever change places. 'Stick to one side and stick to it forever' is the golden rule for all the Ants and all Decs of this world. Swapping around is as ridiculous at the Common Agricultural Policy. Let's take back control of Ant and Dec impersonation, now!

OK, all 26 have sung now and we're getting the first reprises of the songs so I've turned the sound up. Ouch! That was a mistake! Oooh, yodelling Romanians! Lots of people are singing in English though. (Take than Jean-Claude!) Right, it's the midway 'entertainment' bit, so off with the sound again and straight back to Mr Tallis (aaah, and, by chance, it's my favourite If ye love me. Woo-hoo!)

First post-post Update: You may (or, more likely, may very definitely not) be wanting to know why I'm not commenting on Graham Norton's commentary, which might be entertaining or biased or whatever. Well, I did used to keep turning off the MUTE button between songs when Terry Wogan was presenting as his increasing disillusioned mockery was a joy to hear and, after Graham took over, I felt disappointment that he was far less waspish and amusing and have started keeping the MUTE button on. In fairness, I'm now listening to Graham and he's just made me laugh by being sarcastic about the presentation. That's encouraging.

Second post-post Update: Just turned the sound up again. Some man has just stormed the stage and mooned. An Ozzie I suspect, given the flag. A quick screengrab and I believe I'll have scooped the Daily Mail:

Third post-post Update: It's voting time. "Good evening Europe. You've done such a good job. Thank you for your amazing job. Thank you to all the contestants tonight." Ant and Dec are back in the wrong place again. Vote Leave.

Fourth post-post Update: 'Salam', says the Azerbaijan jury head, before saying that "all men" will want to be in Kiev tonight given what they've seen. I think I know what he means. The Israeli jury head, after speaking Ukrainian, said this is the last time, after 44 years and three Israeli wins, and that the Israeli Broadcasting Authority, Channel One, is shutting down "forever". "That is very sad", said Graham. What's that all about? Is Israel leaving Eurovision?

Fifth post-post Update: Hurrah! the Balkans have arrived! Montenegro has voted for Greece already and Macedonia has voted for Bulgaria. BUT Albania has given us 8 points. (I might watch a Norman Wisdom film in tribute to them.) And Denmark has given 12 points to...Sweden. Hurrah! The UK is picking up points from EU and non-EU European countries. We're doing quite well. Viva Brexit! Chew on that, BBC!

Sixth post-post Update: Double hurrah! Greece has given 12 points to Cyprus. Normality has returned. Portugal are winning the jury vote. I like Portugal. Hope, if they win, they aren't bankrupted. 'Dec' has just said that the Moldovan spokeswoman is "beautiful". Graham Norton commented, "Get a room!". (In fairness, the Moldovan spokeswoman was very beautiful though).

That said, the Moldovan jury has just voted for...hurrah!...Romania!! (See earlier in the post). Graham Norton, unlike me, didn't see that coming. He's obviously not a politics nerd - or very geographically informed. (Moldova is a Romanian-speaking country, lest you've forgotten. Some in both countries want them to merge). Portugal look as if they're bound to win - as they have done from the start (like Mrs May?). Iceland have just given us 10 points. I win each some cod and chips in tribute to them. Our European friends Australia have just given us 12 points. Bring on those trade deals! And, take note Jenny Hill and Damian McGuinness of the BBC, Germany have given us 6 points. The Netherlands have given us five points, Cyprus five points. Hungary two points. Slovenia 10 points. Etc, etc. We're getting points from Poland, the Czechs, and others too - and Belgium (Did Jean-Claude vote for us?)! So, so much for that, BBC!! Brexit is doing well for us - better than we've done for years. (That said, Ireland have given us nul points.)

Seventh post-post Update: And Cyprus have now given Greece 12 points!! (Woo-hoo!)

Eighth post-post Update: The national juries have voted. Half of the votes. Now for ze televotes....though Portugal will win, which isn't very exciting...though I'm rushing to Paddy Power nonetheless.

Ninth post-post Update: The UK did much less well in the telephone votes. Still better than Germany! ("Poor Germany, relegated from #Eurovision", tweeted Newsnight's Europhile Chris Cook). We finished 14 out of 26 - a lot better than most years recently.  Portugal won, bless 'em! - their first ever win. I've got a bottle of ASDA Douro wine in my wine rack. I'll crack it open tomorrow. Our oldest European ally!

And on that bombshell, good night. 

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