And that’s that. Congratulations to Ukraine, who might be pleased about winning Eurovision now, but only because they haven’t realised that they’ve basically just invited Heidi Stephens to rampage drunk through their country.
With that, it’s time for me to say goodbye. Of all the Eurovision song contests I’ve ever liveblogged, this has certainly been the most recent. Thanks for your comments and tweets and general moral support. God knows I needed it. If you want to follow me on Twitter, I’m @StuHeritage, but I suspect you might not. Thanks again, world, and goodnight.
It’s goodbye from Stockholm, but first a giant thanks to my lovely friend Alice, who has been amazing at helping me keep up with everything that’s going on backstage on what has been a crazy, crazy night.
I’m on Twitter @heidistephens if you’d like to say hi, but right now I’m off to the Euroclub to dance the night away. Thanks for joining in, and see you in Kiev next year!
What a victory. How exciting. And how terrible for next year’s Eurovision, now that it’s going to be full of miserable UK garage songs about all the horrible things that happened to their grandparents.
The press room has gone ballistic, the Ukrainians are screaming, and the Russians are in tears. That was INTENSE.
Good God. UKRAINE HAS WON EUROVISION. That was tense.
Woah. Ukraine has won. If my maths is right, Ukraine just pipped Australia, and Russia won’t be able to make up the difference. This new voting system is AMAZING and also I’m about to die of a heart attack.
SO TENSE in the Press Room right now. People are gasping like dying goldfish.
Again, this is proof that democracy simply does not work.
I’ve also just realised that Poland was the hipster Jesus guy. And he’s gained most of the public vote. I know nothing. Everything is broken.
What a nightmare of bad maths. This is like if the best rave you’ve ever been to ended up with a GCSE test.
This whole thing is teetering on the brink of total technical meltdown. Also I’m confused. And tired. And we’re only going to come third from last now. And I think Australia is definitely going to win. But mainly I’m tired.
Oh boy. We’re going to come second to last.
This is easily the most confusing thing I have ever seen.
The United Kingdom did not get a single point in the popular vote. This new voting scheme is BRUTAL.
We’re about to find out how the public voted. Australia’s inevitable victory will be rubberstamped at some point in the intermediate future.
Did the Swedish announcer just say, “If there’s room in the heart, there’s room in the butt?”
The jury votes have been completed. If this was a normal Eurovision, Australia would have won by now. But we only know half of the total votes. I have no idea what happens next, but I hope it’s swift, and followed by a deep sleep.
Australia is 90 points out in front now. But is it all meaningless, since the public vote hasn’t been revealed yet? I wish I knew. I basically haven’t got a clue what happens after this bit. If anyone makes Georgian Kasabian win, though, I’m going to have the world’s biggest tantrum.
Petra is being unflappable in the face of all these national jury idiots. You don’t screw with Petra. Clearly you don’t.
Georgia now has more points than the UK. But everyone has more points than Germany.
Richard Osman is talking too much, plus he gave 12 points to the Georgian Kasabian. I’m not sure what I think about that, but it can probably be summed up by the phrase “BAN RICHARD OSMAN”.
Norway just failed to give Sweden a single point. This doesn’t happen. Forget what I said about Nato. We might need to send them north.
For anyone wondering what will happen if Australia wins this year, a very nice man called Dave from the EBU explained to me earlier that next year’s show cannot take place in Australia – the rules state that it must be held in Europe.
So Australia have already made an agreement with a European country (unconfirmed rumour: Germany) to host on their behalf if they win.
Russia has given six points to the UK. Nato shmato, I saw. This is the start of a beautiful friendship.
Bottom of the pile at the moment, and possibly for ever, is Germany. That seems fair, given that it was singularly the worst song I have ever heard.
Mans is visiting the green room to talk to the Australian entry. Smartly, her big silver dress is now doubling as one of those foil blankets they hand out to marathon runners at the finish line. It’s this commitment to sartorial multitasking that has pushed Australia so far into the lead.
I’m loving the bonkers voting this year. We haven’t even got to the public vote yet, but I think Australia are lining up for a spectacular win *starts booking hotels in Berlin*
The Netherlands has let the Legion of Doom reveal the score, and Australia get pushed even further into the lead.
The Armenian Jimmy Fallon gives 12 points to France. The Cypriot Harry Potter gives 12 points to Russia. The UK is now in the bottom half of the table.
Think back to my prediction about Spain winning for a moment.
Spain is fifth from bottom.
I know nothing.
The Swiss guy is a whistler and must be banned immediately. Australia is way, way out in front, by the way. Take that, everyone’s dad.
Much excitement on the Team UK table (me, my mate Alice, Rob from Gay Times and Steve from BBC Newsbeat) that the UK has ACTUAL POINTS.
God, I love Malta. GET IN.
TWELVE POINTS FROM MALTA. This hasn’t happened for YEARS. And every country has points now. What a nice, happy ending to a very long evening.
Georgia has fielded a vampire, and handed maximum points to Ukraine. So far, it’s quite tight at the top.
Three countries in a row have given the UK points. I honestly don’t think this has happened once since I started liveblogging Eurovisions.
San Marino now, represented by a genuine San Marinan rapper. He looks just like the rough kids at my school, but he gave the UK eight points so that’s very nice of him.
Atmosphere in the press room: 1,000 tired people who really, really need a drink.
Iceland brought a dog.
RIGHT! VOTING! Austria, represented by a woman who won’t shut up. She gives Australia 12 points and the UK none.
But first! A very boring man explains the thing that was just explained! More of this next year please!!!
But first! An incredibly long explanation of the new voting process! Yay for administrative housekeeping!
OK! The voting begins! I think!
Meanwhile, in legitimately awful ideas:
In lieu of a recap, Mans is singing another song. On one hand, good God is this man working hard. On the other, he’s performing this one on a Swegway and it’s making me want to punch myself in the face a bit.
Right, that’s over. Lines are almost closed, which hopefully puts and end to that terrible recap business.
And now a sketch about how knowledgeable Swedes are about Eurovision. This, also, is a bit of a dud. They should have just made that How To Win Eurovision song 20 minutes long instead.
I don’t know what’s going on now. There’s a Eurovision spokesperson, but a joke one, and it’s coming off a bit like a best man’s speech gone wrong.
Can I just say that this “how to win” section is the best thing Eurovision has ever done. I salute you, Sweden.
Oh dear God, the ghost of Alexander Rybak continues to haunt me. I’ve said I’m sorry, and it’s been SEVEN YEARS.
This is actually pretty great. It’s basically a slow-build Jools Holland jam that tells you how to win Eurovision. It’s a really affectionate pisstake, essentially. I am a fan.
Apparently the winners’ press conference is at 0130. If Joe and Jake win, I’m going to have to go, rather than dancing the night away at the Euroclub. PLEASE DON’T VOTE FOR THE UK.
Now for the real half-time show. It seems to be some sort of self-aware breakdown of what makes a Eurovision song successful.
Now, I’m going to make a prediction. And bear in mind that I have never made a successful prediction in my entire life. However ...
Spain will win.
I am certain this will not come back to bite me on the arse.
I wonder what percentage of my life I’ve spent liveblogging recaps. At this stage it feels like a good 60%. It’s all I do. I watch something, then I liveblog it, then I have to watch it again, and then liveblog that again. This is no job. This is no way for an adult to earn a living. If there’s a recap of this, and I have to liveblog that, I’m just going to lock myself in a cupboard and you’ll have to finish this alone.
Timberlake has Timberleft and we’ve still got another hour to go. However could we fill this huge expanse of dead air? Oh, that’s right: another recap.
No disrespect or anything, but this is coming across like when Lionel Richie turns up on Sunday Night at the London Palladium for the billionth time and Bradley Walsh has to feign enthusiasm for him.
Ah, now Timberlake is singing Songs From Now, When He’s Less Good. This song, in particular, sounds IDENTICAL to the one Andy Abraham, the Singing Binman, sang at Eurovision – and came last with – a few years ago.
The room is split on Justin Timberlake performing at Eurovision. Lots of people are harrumphing at a US Megastar gatecrashing Eurovision to shamelessly flog his new single/film. Meanwhile, certain individuals* are fangirling madly and dancing like they’ve got sunshine in their pocket and a good song in their feet.
Someone told me recently that more people watch Eurovision than the Superbowl. I hope nobody told Timberlake this, because it means he’s bound to go and rip somebody’s bra off.
Time for Justin Timberlake now, performing Songs From When He Was Good.
I hope this montage will be available on Spotify soon, because I need something to listen to when I’m having my next cluster migraine.
Hang on, this is another recap. This is basically a recap of Sweden. Oi, enough with the recaps, Eurovision. I feel like my head is about to explode.
This is likely to be a weird few minutes. Every Swedish song ever recorded in four minutes, or something. You know when you get in a car with an idiot, and they keep flicking through songs on the stereo just as you’re getting into them? This is that. This is exactly that.
They’re in the green room at the moment, by the way. This seems to be purely because the Bulgarian contestant can point at things and pull a funny face.
Oh hello, it’s Justin Timberlake. A hatless Justin Timberlake, talking verrrrry verrrrry slowly, the same way your mum does when she gets on a bus abroad.
If stadium noise is any measure of what might win, it’s going to be Australia, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine or Bulgaria for the win. Rumour is that if Australia wins, they’ve already done a deal to host in Germany next year. Any chance of a country where it’s sodding WARM at this time of year?
There’s still an hour and a half left of this, you know.
I just looked at Twitter. Three consecutive Brexit references. You people must be absolutely hammered by now.
Lots of songs about people asking other people not to do horrible things to their hearts tonight. I didn’t know that illegal organ-harvesting operations were such a hot-button issue on the continent.
I can’t help feeling that the producers missed a trick by not using the Netherlands’ 10-second silence in their recap slot. Hoist them by their own petard, producers! HOIST THEM!
Oh good Lord, they’re recapping all the songs. All of them. In order. This might take a while.
Graham Norton is now describing the voting changes this year. Basically, it’s impenetrable, and we won’t win, and we may as well just all go to bed now. Deal?
It is over! All the songs have been performed! Now, while there’s a bizarre cutaway to the cancelled ITV sitcom Vicious – seriously, what the hell is this? – I need to go and plug my laptop in before it dies.
A lot of love for Joe & Jake in the arena; hard to know if it’s genuine love for this year’s song, or relief that we haven’t sent another performance that everyone has to pretend to like. Earlier a journalist from Slovenia said, “Your act is surprisingly good this year,” and I was forced to agree with him despite the bucket of shade that comment was delivered in.
In other news, earlier I asked Joe and Jake what their favourite cheese was. Jake loves Red Leicester, Joe doesn’t like cheese, so he picked New York cheesecake. Never let it be said that I don’t bring you hard-hitting journalism.
I just danced about the press room with the rest of Team UK, and I’m not even drunk. The shame.
I like this song too. First she mumbled an introduction, then it sounded like a fire alarm was going off, then she made a noise like a happy ghost. All the boxes ticked as far as I’m concerned. Oh, and now a fiddle. This is delightful.
I like this woman. She starts the song by saying, “Hey, it’s me”, and if you ask me, not enough Eurovision songs begin with formal introductions. Full marks for politeness, Armenia. However, points deducted for fielding a woman who looks exactly like every other female performer at Eurovision this year.
Now for the last song of the night. It’s Armenia: LoveWave, by Iveta Mukuchyan. Armenia, land of horses and bread.
You know what? This isn’t bad. Given the state of our last decade of entries, this is actually borderline decent. And one of them keeps stomping on Meryl Streep’s face, so bonus points for that.
Hey, it’s us! Specifically, it’s those two boys we chose to represent us, even though they look like a pair of six-year-olds who were knocked out of Britain’s Got Talent in the semi-finals because the producers were worried about how they’d cope with the pressures of live television! Will this song win? Oh, who cares any more. I’m so tired. So tired.
Right, brace yourselves everyone. United Kingdom: You’re Not Alone, by Joe and Jake. United Kingdom, land of Liverpool and nothing else.
Wind machine. Drink. Whatever that thing I said about losing your will to live was. Drink.
Austria is the homeland of many things I love – Conchita, my boyfriend, apple strudel – but this song is Disney princess saccharine awfulness. Singing it in French is just twee sprinkles on a cake of fluff.
Obviously I said none of this when I was randomly interviewed for Austrian TV yesterday.
Hang on a minute, Austria’s singing a song in French. This is a brilliant move. More countries should sing songs in French. Especially since, as is the case here, it helps to cover up how blandly generic your song is. Also, I realise that my French isn’t too great, but doesn’t “Loin D’Ici” translate as “Here Are My Genitals”?
Austria: Loin d’Ici, by ZOE, now. Austria, land of pretty girls in mazes.
Did he just say, “I reached around and grabbed some farmer goat from your blag?” I can’t be bothered to look it up.
The next three minutes of Georgia is an excellent opportunity to make tea or pop to the loo. You’re welcome.
Oh, thank God. When you see that a band is called Young Georgian Lolitaz, you kind of fear for the worst. But it’s OK; they’re not distressingly sexualised schoolgirls, they’re just the Georgian Kasabian instead. Which would normally be a bad thing, but it gets a pass this time purely because it isn’t another soggy Sia rip-off. Just about.
And now Georgia: Midnight Gold, by Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz. Georgia. Land of kebabs and chilly mods.
Malta. A diva giving us a high-tempo but ultimately repetitive club banger, in a revealing outfit, while heavily pregnant? We haven’t seen the likes of this since Katie Price’s doomed attempt to win Making Your Mind Up.
Literally the most generic song I’ve ever heard. It sounds like Celine Dion has fallen on hard times and chosen to devote her career to recording the music for ITV2 promos. Also, the lyrics go, “I can’t get you out of my heart,” so let’s assume it’s about cholesterol.
Next up is Malta: Walk on Water, by Ira Losco. Malta, land of pregnant women standing on hills.
This song sounds like Phats and Small after a harrowing afternoon reading about Stalin on Wikipedia.
Get your glowsticks out, this is a party banger. Oh no, hang on.
“Jamala, is this … ?”
“A ballad about the mass deportation of 240,000 ethnic Tatars from Ukraine’s Crimea region during World War Two? Yes, yes it is.”
“You’ve seen Eurovision before, right?”
“Yes, it’s that big event where all the countries in Europe air their historical and political grievances as aggressively as they possibly can, isn’t it?”
“No, it’s not. It’s people in silly costumes singing happy songs in a nice way. That’s all it is.”
“I messed up.”
Now for Ukraine: 1944, by Jamala. Ukraine, land of huts and tables.
So whenever a song plays, the press delegation for that country gets up and dances and waves their national flag, and people from all the other delegations crowd round and film it. Am I going to have to bust some moves for the UK? God, I need booze.
“You’re the air that I breathe, don’t throw my heart away,” he’s singing. This guy needs a new surgeon, am I right?
So let me get this right: a semi-convincing Latvian statue of David Tennant was struck by lightning and came to life, and Latvia only had the means to dress him up like a Miami Vice Tyler Durden, and then put him to work singing songs that sound like every other Eurovision song ever recorded? Not cool, Latvia. Not cool.
There is now an interlude where the hosts try to punt official Eurovision baseball caps to viewers. But that’s over and now it’s time for Latvia: Heartbeat, by Justs. Latvia, land of plants and pianos.
In an interesting development, all the lights just went out, and when they came back on, Barei was lying on the floor. I was hoping it marked the invention of Eurovision Cluedo. Who killed Barei? It was her song, on the stage, with tedium.
Apparently this song has already been number one three times in Spain this year. I’m no expert, but I think this must mean that all the other songs released in Spain this year have been field recordings of crying children. This sounds like every spin class I’ve ever been to.
Next is Spain: Say Yay!, by Barei. Spain, land of lots of shots of this woman practising her song.
This guy looks like Dapper Laughs.
Fun fact: when in Russia, Sergey owns a company that makes cakes for dogs called Poodle Strudel. James Middleton, take note.
The talk of the press room, however, is today’s UK tabloid tales about Sergey’s racy past.
We are absolutely NOT singing “lighting and thunder, my fetish porn blunder” in the press room right now, and anyone who suggests otherwise is a big fibber.
Apparently this is the song to beat this year. Could this be because Sergey has nicked last year’s winning gimmick for his staging, or is it because his official Eurovision biography contains the sentence “Sergey likes pets”? In truth, we may never know.
Now Russia: You Are the Only One, by Sergey Lazarev. Russia, land of snow and dogs.
Oh bollocks, we double-gazeboed. That wasn’t in the drinking game, but from now on multiple references to garden furniture requires a stiff drink.
Had to have a lie down after Lithuania. Be still, my beating heart.
There are quite a few Sia tribute acts this year, although this one appears to be tangled up in a broken gazebo. Good song though.
Oh, this is a song about how love is like a lighthouse. I didn’t see that coming. I hope Nina Kraljic never goes on a rollercoaster. She’ll never bloody shut up about it.
I’m not going to pass judgment on this woman’s outfit, because in all honesty, who hasn’t accidentally bought a gazebo from ASOS after a couple of drinks and tried to style it out in public?
Now for Croatia: Lighthouse, by Nina Kraljic. Croatia, land of books and cobbles.
Meanwhile on Twitter:
If I was this guy, I’d be waiting to get out of those ridiculous jeggings.
Reasons to be disappointed by this song:
1) Donny Montell sounds like the name of a minor lite-R&B star from 1992, not a Lithuanian guy who looks like a trainee barista.
2) It’s called I’ve Been Waiting For This Night, which either makes him sound like a sex pest or a vampire, neither of which are particularly endearing.
3) I haven’t been waiting for this night. I’ve been actively hoping I’d be hit by a car to get out of this night, to be honest.
Now for Lithuania: I’ve Been Waiting For This Night, by Donny Montell. Lithuania, land of whatever.
Imagine the chafing in those Serbian outfits. Incidentally, song 9 is long passed, and I’ve never been more in need of a drink in my life.
I looked away for a second and now the woman has cloned. There’s loads of her. Did someone get her wet? Is she a mogwai? Oh, never mind.
The singer is now being pestered by an interpretive dancer. Moral: interpretive dancers are the absolute worst.
Again, I have no idea how good this song is, because I’m too distracted by this woman’s face. She isn’t so much singing as violently puking these words up. She’s pulling a face as if she’s constipated, and simultaneously repulsed by the idea of faeces still being in her body. It’s weird and off-putting and frankly I wish I’d never been exposed to it.
Next is Serbia: Goodbye (Shelter), by ZAA Sanja Vucic. Serbia. Land of whiteboards and gang signs.
This song is basically the answer to the theoretical question, “What would Right Said Fred be like if they were raised on cider and black and wolf noises?”
You may be watching this with someone who now wants Cyprus to win Eurovision, in the mistaken belief that this is “real music” purely because it’s got some guitars in it. This someone is your dad, and you should probably file for legal emancipation from him, because he likes bad music and is an idiot.
Now for Cyprus: Alter Ego, by Minus One. Cyprus, land of volleyball and wanton destruction.
Dami Im has now vacated the antimatter plinth, which can only be a good thing, really.
Biggest cheer of the night so far for this Sia-lite power ballad. It’s always been a contender, but Dami’s performance at the jury final last night took the roof off – the arena audience were bordering on hysterical by her last wail. The biggest reaction behind Sweden here in the arena. Dami has INCREDIBLE pipes and most impressively manages to sing “silence” in an ever so slightly different way each time.
You may be watching this with someone who keeps complaining about Australia’s inclusion in Eurovision, on the basis that Australia isn’t a European country. This someone is your dad, and you should probably file for legal emancipation from him as quickly as possible, because this is one of the best songs so far.
PLUS, the singer is sitting on a plinth made of GENUINE ANTIMATTER, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
Now for Australia: Sound of Silence, by Dami Im. Australia, land of boulders and bridges.
Please note that Poland is the low point of this evening – everything else you will hear this evening is better than this. To be fair, a circus workshop in a bouzouki factory would sound better than this.
Apparently we’ve heard almost half of the acts tonight. It flies by, doesn’t it? Mans is now live from the overflow stadium – which is really a thing that actually exists – singing old Eurovision songs for no immediately discernible reason.
I sort of hope this guy wins, because I worry about what he’ll do if he has to get a job working in an office. Imagine how terrified he’d be, shredding documents with a haircut like that. He’d be taking his life into his owns hands every single day.
Although it’s nice of Poland to enter Hipster Jesus into Eurovision this year, I’m a little concerned that they went with the cheaper Hipster Jesus option. Because this Hipster Jesus, I’m sure of it, is coming off a bit like someone who’s read The Game. And if that’s the case, then this song is basically a form of negging. I certainly feel negged, because this song isn’t very good. Moral: always spend the most you can afford on Hipster Jesuses.
Next up, Poland: Color of Your Life, by Michal Szpak. Poland, land of NO HAIRDRESSERS.
“You’re the one that’s making me strong,” he’s singing. Therefore I deduce that this song is about creatine. Bit weird.
Love this song, and France is very easy on the eye, NON?
“What if Nick Knowles was French?” you ask. And then, “What if French Nick Knowles blundered into the plot of a 1980s bodyswap comedy where he swapped brains with the guy out of Coldplay?” This song is the answer to that question. Now stop asking such bloody stupid questions.
That weird nightmare over, it’s time for France: J’ai Cherche, by Amir. France, land of balls and ostentatious upholstery.
You know, in a way, this performance reminds me of that Kids Company documentary from a few months ago. I think it’s the headgear.
“Oh no! We forgot about my Eurovision costume!”
“Oh no! Do you still want to go as an uncomfortably sexualised Japanese schoolgirl?”
“I do! Here’s what I want you to make the costume from.”
“But this is just a pile of twigs and dangerously flammable nylon.”
“I messed up.”
Following a brief host interlude, it’s time for Germany: Ghost, by Jamie-Lee. Germany, land of intolerable hipsters.
Awww, bless Sweden. The crowd is going wild because it’s Sweden, but there’s a lot of genuine love for this little song. Apart from the two Swedish guys I got chatting to in a club in Stockholm last night, who said they hated the song and that everyone who watched Eurovision was a communist. Must not speak to strangers.
I feel like this guy should never be allowed to meet Kate Nash. It’d be like the Gatekeeper meeting the Keymaster. It’d bring about the end of the world.
Clearly this is an afterthought of a song, the sort of thing that Sweden will sporadically throw up to let other countries have a shot at winning Eurovision. But, actually, it’s still pretty good. You know what? We should all vote for Sweden to win, because that’d bloody teach them for demonstrating basic competency, wouldn’t it?
Now for Sweden: If I Were Sorry, by Frans. Sweden, land of, I dunno, stuff.
Oh, she was singing “loofah”. I thought she was singing “tiny loser”. I thought this was a song about Richard Hammond.
I LOVE this song - it’s a solid gold banger that the arena audience are going mad for, and loads of people in the press room are up and dancing. Who can resist singing, “I’m a loofah” while waving your knees in and out? And people will remember that District 12 light-up costume when it comes to picking up the phone to vote. VOTE BULGARIA (but not yet. The lines aren’t open).
I’ve just been told that the chorus is “O, dai mi liubovta”, and it’s actually about a man she once met in Swansea. Possibly.
“Here’s my song about about if love was a crime.”
“Yeah, but it isn’t a crime.”
“I know, but here’s the song.”
“But it isn’t a crime, though.”
“I know, but what if it was?”
“You mean like paedophilia? Jesus, Poli, is this a song about paedophilia?”
“Oh God! I didn’t think of that! Quick, let me write something else instead!”
“Too late, I’ve already entered this one.”
“I messed up.”
Quick note: if you’re going to start your performance with a giant close-up in the age of HD, make sure you’ve got all your lipstick off your teeth.
Now: Bulgaria: If Love Was a Crime, by Poli Genova. Bulgaria, land of steps and people.
I feel for this guy a little bit. He’s clearly been warned about the Swedish climate, because he’s wearing a great big coat. But he’s paired them with fingerless gloves. That is a rookie error, Hovi Star. The fingers are the bits you want to keep warm. What are you going to do with a warm palm, Hovi? Do up buttons? Hardly. Think on, would you?
Massive cheers for Israel in the press poom. Either that or someone just found a whisky miniature from the plane over in their manbag.
I don’t trust this song one bit. This is partly because it’s the same mopey old piano ballad that Israel always enters, and partly because it’s a song that contains the line “We are all made of stars” and is sung by a man whose actual surname is Star. I think he’s trying to tell us that he’s boned all of our mums. Grim.
Israel: Made of Stars, by Hovi Star now. Israel. Land of dogs and bowling alleys.
Good tactic, though. Flood the stage and ruin the night for everyone else. Nice work, Italy!
Actually, this isn’t a bad song. I’m slightly worried by the staging, though, because Francesca is stranded on an island surrounded by water. I haven’t checked Twitter, but I’m certain that someone has turned this into a Brexit allegory. If they have, they must be stopped.
This is a song called No Degree of Separation, which leads me to believe that Francesca Michielin is terrible at party games. That’s like playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and only ever picking Kevin Bacon. Get it together, Francesca! The world is watching!
Now it’s time for Italy: No Degree of Separation, by Francesca Michielin. Italy, land of women who dress like posts.
I’ve just figured out what this song reminds me of.
You’re welcome, world.
There are two journalists from Hungary on the table next to me; they have been here for nearly two weeks promoting this song and have entirely lost the will to live. The essence of our conversation was, “I don’t like the song, it won’t win, I want to go home.” Fair enough.
This is a boring song by a handsome man with a voice that sounds like a dog barfing up a Twix wrapper. You know what’d be better? If this song was called Pie On Ear, and Freddie sang it with a pie on his ear. Yes, that would be much better.
Apparently the random 10-second gap in the Netherlands song was because it had to be exactly 3 minutes long, but there wasn’t time to repeat the chorus.
The next song is Hungary: Pioneer, by Freddie. Hungary, land of markets and buskers.
This, if you’re not watching, is basically a woman daring the Gods of Cameltoe to strike her down, while a bunch of Flash Gordon extras prance around in the background like they’re walking through Lego barefoot. It’s quite something.
Poor old Samra. She was in love with someone, but now she’s not. This, fact fans, is the first time a Eurovision song has ever dealt with the theme of love gone wrong. Who knows what’ll be next? A song that rhymes “fire” with “desire”? Fingers crossed!
Now for Azerbaijan: Miracle, by Samra. Azerbaijan, land of terrifying white landscapes that look slightly post-apocalyptic.
My daughter has just sent me a text saying, “This guy looks like Joey Essex.”
Somewhere in the Netherlands, there is a bride and groom FURIOUS that their wedding band hasn’t shown up. Nanna’s resorted to playing her iPod into a microphone. It’s a mess. Curse you, Douwe Bob! Curse you!
And stop stopping the song, too, because tonight shouldn’t be any longer than it needs to be.
Now, listen, what sort of monster enters a Dutch country and western song into Eurovision and then calls it Slow Down? Don’t slow down! Do the opposite! Speed up! Go as quickly as you can, because this is a bad song and I think that just having to sit through it is giving me deep vein thrombosis.
Now it’s time for the Netherlands: Slow Down, by Douwe Bob. The Netherlands, land of trees and horses and nothing else.
Lots of white outfits already tonight. Not worried about norovirus stains, this lot, are they?
Also, either this song is meant to contain a note that sounds like a cat being thrown against the side of a boat, or she just messed up.
I’m only half-listening to this song, because I want to pace myself so that this nonstop onslaught of identical songs won’t wear me down into a pulsating nub too quickly, but it seems to be about a woman boasting that she can stand up. Well, GOOD FOR YOU, DARLING. You must be SO HAPPY ABOUT THAT.
Next, Czech Republic: I Stand, by Gabriela Guncikova. Czech Republic, land of bridges and bouldering centres.
This song, apparently, is all about doing what you want to do. So, in the spirit of the song, I’m going for a nap.
Belgium is a great start to the show – it’s glittery and cute and bouncy and a shameless rip-off of Uptown Funk. But it’s up first, so it won’t win. Sorry, Belgium. Thanks for coming, though.
Well, this is confusing. It’s a Eurovision song I actually like for once, mainly because it sounds a bit like that Fleur East song from the supermarket adverts last year. Still, it doesn’t matter, because this is the first song of the night, which means that the only way it could ever realistically win is if all the other contestants suddenly get struck down with the norovirus, so fingers crossed for that.
And with that, the actual contest begins. First up, Belgium: What’s the Pressure, by Laura Tesoro. She’s introduced herself in the VT by dancing in a subway like she’s never seen The Returned.
I don’t like it when Eurovision hosts are funny and self-aware. I want two people who look like cousins speaking broken English and pretending that they really want to sleep with each other. I thought that was Eurovision law.
Well, that’s that. And, as Europe forms its biggest ever queue for the recycling bin, we get to meet tonight’s hosts. They are a woman named Petra and a man named Mans. They are self-aware, which I think contravenes many international laws.
Oh my, that opening sequence … pompom-tastic costumes! Vogueing! Death drops! Say what you like about Sweden (and I would like it to be known that £25 for two gin & tonics is bordering on a hate crime), but SVT have achieved the impossible: making Eurovision even more spectacularly camp. Loved it.
You know, part of me wants the sprinklers to go off, because then we’ll get to witness the unforgettable sight of European singers attempting to fight their way out of a papier mache tsunami.
Sorry, that was inaccurate. The acts are being accompanied by people wearing toilet rolls. And if we really want to be picky about this, they’re wearing raspberries made of toilet rolls. Sorry I missed “People wear raspberries made of toilet rolls” on the drinking game.
Also, for those of you inexplicably only following the contest on this liveblog, all the acts are wearing toilet rolls.
Here we go. The first son... oh, hang on, no, first we have to watch every single act walk out onstage one after the other and do the sort of annoying flairwork that contestants on Take Me Out usually do.
The BBC announcer just said he hopes that the UK ‘does a Leicester’. I think that means he wants a foreign billionaire to buy Eurovision and make it better. Fingers crossed!
OK, the show is about to start. This is your last chance to leave. You have been warned.
Oh, and drink whenever someone makes a tedious Brexit comparison. There, now nobody gets to end the night sober (apart from Heidi, who is apparently doing the evening dry).
OH GOD, I forgot the drinking game. Right, this is all a bit ad hoc, but DRINK IF:
- Someone wails a histrionic ballad about love gone wrong
- Justin Timberlake wears a funny hat
- A lady shouts into a wind machine
- So many people interact with animated backdrops that you think you may as well be watching Who Framed Roger Bloody Rabbit
- The hosts try to subvert their roles in a way that makes your sphincter recoil
- You wonder where all the funny novelty acts are
- Someone within earshot mutters, “Yes, but it’s all political, isn’t it?”
- The show overruns by more than five minutes
- You’re gripped by the distant and intangible sensation that you’re somehow wasting your life
DO NOT DRINK IF:
- You see three consecutive tweets that make the same bad nearly-observation about one of the acts. If you drink when this happens, then you will be dead before the third song.
There. A drinking game. Happy now?
And, right on time, here’s Heidi with an update from Stockholm:
Greetings from Sweden, where I’m reporting from an increasingly hysterical Press Room at the Ericcson Globe Arena. It’s a space the size of a football pitch, currently home to about 1,000 members of the European press. Imagine mission control at Nasa, but many, many times more fabulous.
Stu is in charge of the blog this evening, but I’ll be sprinkling the proceedings with a touch of press room glitter and backstage goings-on. It’s difficult to predict who will win tonight; everyone here has heard each song approximately 1,452 times, and they all claim to love everything. If that’s not Stockholm syndrome, I don’t know what is. Enjoy!
Full marks for the Stockholm syndrome pun, Heidi. All those marks deducted for describing a press room as anything other than grumpy.
Hello world, and welcome to the 2016 Eurovision liveblog. This is it. This is the moment I’m going to pretend that you’ve been waiting for all year: another Eurovision Song Contest. We are all so very lucky.
You’re all Eurovision experts, so you know how tonight works. At 8pm British time, the eyes of the continent will fall upon Stockholm, where too many acts will sing too many songs that contain too many notes, and the whole thing will go on for so long that the winner, when they’re announced, will seem like a horrible anticlimax. We’ve been through it before, so this should be a piece of cake.
Oh, and Justin Timberlake will be performing too, either proving that Eurovision has got huge, or that Justin Timberlake has got small.
Clearly, a Guardian Eurovision liveblog wouldn’t be a Guardian Eurovision liveblog without some sort of potentially disastrous gimmick – last year, remember, the Australian office was going to pitch in, except they all overslept – so this year we’ve got Heidi Stephens on the ground in Stockholm. She’ll either a) keep us up to date with frequent witticisms about the atmosphere in the arena, or b) immediately get drunk and forget that this even exists. I don’t want to be a pessimist but, you know, I’ve met Heidi.
So that’s that. At 8pm, I’ll start liveblogging Eurovision. If you feel like leaving comments along the way to help me feel less lonely, that would be lovely. And HEIDI, DRINK SOME COFFEE. SOBER UP, FOR GOD’S SAKE. THIS IS A BIG NIGHT.