Eurovision 2017. Portugal? What About the Dancing Gorilla or the Yodelling Romanians?

Yes. It’s that time of year again. Whatever is going on in the garden, whatever is going on in the world, whatever is going on in the mind of Mr Donald ‘You’re Fired’ Trump, it can’t be half as bonkers as the content of Saturday Night’s groan and giggle inducing ‘The 62nd Annual Eurovision Song Contest’.

So, as usual, I was joined for the festivities by my long-time Euro-companions, Katy, Bobby, Nigel and Plastic Peter. No Imogen and Frankie this year, it took them three months to recover from the culture shock of their first Eurovision last year so they have, instead, gone to a calming performance of Mahler’s 9th Symphony at the Barbican.

This time we were joined by my delightful, mad and quite brilliant artist friend Janek Antionovitz who was very much against the idea and absolutely NOT a fan, having refused several invitations to watch with us before saying”I wouldn’t watch that nonsense if you paid me” (this from a man who once submitted a clown’s nose in a tub of margarine to the Turner prize committee.)

However, I lured him this year with the offer of some vintage brandy (which is, in fact, very like paying him). After the first ten minutes he turned to me with an accusing stare and said, “But Holly darling,  this is simply fricking marvellous , I can’t believe you’ve kept this from me all these years”. I ask you, what’s a girl got to do to make these people listen?

But to the show. And what a show it was. Another monolithic masterpiece of campness, confusion and choreography.  The usual many-layered cake of muliti-coloured cack, containing all the usual, much loved, ingredients. Here is the top ten…

  1. Famous local presenters who aren’t as amusing as they think they are? Check

    Schnip und Schnap? Not funny. Never were.
  2. Adults waving ecstatically at the camera like children at a funfair? Check
  3. Unnecessary props and costumes that have nothing to do with the song or life as we know it? Check
  4. Odd mime type comedians dressed in national costumes with names like Biff et Boff or Schnip und Schnap or Old Mother Babachuckz who do inexplicable things at the half way mark that aren’t funny at all? Czech
  5. The French singing defiantly in French? Check
  6. Voting representatives wearing very little. Check 
  7. A song that sounds like a lovely ballad until, suddenly, the four-to-the-floor doof-tss-doof-tss-doof-tss kick drum and hi-hat come in and the Fireworks go off.  Check
  8. No-one knowing what’s going on, especially during the scoring when the satellite link fails? Check.
  9. Great Britain not doing well at all…well…not as bad as usual, despite Brexit and Theresa May,  but…yup…still out of the running? Check.
  10. A winning song that baffles all expectations? BIG CHECK!

So far so ‘good-grief not again’. But we were also treated to a Ukrainian fan wrapped in an Australian flag mooning on the stage, a dancing gorilla, inappropriate yodelling, a man from Azerbaijan on a step-ladder wearing a horse’s head, and a decent performance from our singer and a soft, slow, non-poppy winner from Portugal.

Let’s face it. Portugal have not won in over fifty years (feels like that for us although it’s actually 20)  abut they certainly smashed it this year with a record score of 758. And that’s after a long period of ‘what the heck?’ with the most confusing scoring system since Ted Rogers explained the riddles on 3-2-1 with Dusty Bin.

As Plastic Peter pointed out, even the winner himself didn’t understand the scoring system, which would take minds the like of which we haven’t seen since Alan Turing cracked the Engima code to work out. The modest and seemingly underwhelmed Salvador Sobral claimed not to understand the voting system which is probably why, rather than the usual emotional outburst and floods of mascara destroying tears, he received the award like a man who has just been told he has got to the front of the queue for his prostate examination.

And the song? It was sweet, old fashioned, quiet and non-bombastic and called Amar Pelos Dois, (Love for Both) written by his sister. It had a VERY long introduction, and was totally incomprehensible for me as it was sung in lovely sounding but linguistically challenging Portuguese (which is fair enough, it was from Portugal) For me though, it would be fair to say it was underwhelming and seemed to finish before it really got going. Ho hum. Katy rather likedf Salvador, but I did point out that he had a very high voice and a man bun and they really are not the thing.

Italy’s gorilla finds they haven’t won and surrenders

That does though, put it way out in front of the Italian entry who obviously thought that including a loosely choreographed gorilla in the act would enhance his chances, or the Romanian entry which was an extraordinary and baffling fusion of Hip-Hop rapping and Alpine style yodelling. Never thought I’d write that sentence.

I thought our song was not bad at all and Lucie Jones did a great job with an assured and tuneful performance, although she did have an odd habit of pulling strange faces in the emotional bits. Definitely one of the best Brit performances for a while though. The song was called ‘Never Give Up On You’, but someone clealry did or we wouldn’t gave come 15th! Well done Lucie.

All in all I think it was a pretty good year. Could have done with a bit more nonsense, I mean we don’t want it getting too professional, but there was enough colour, character and craziness to satisfy. Janek is now a convert and threatening to hold a huge Eurovision party next year. We’ll see.

So. Did I get into the garden at the weekend? Sadly no. Again. But the grass is growing, the fuchsia tops need pinching and there’s lots to do, so… see ya.   Holly.

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