Just ask Croatia, who didn’t make it to the final.
Let me tell you all out there, it was not easy to stay oblivious of the result. Dodging internet information was easy, however, Australian television news was not.
Every single broadcast network—save for SBS (they kindly suggested that those of us not wanting to know the results go have a cuppa during their own news broadcast)–felt compelled to reveal the winner in their morning and evening broadcasts. I combated this by switching over to Max (a music channel on cable which actually broadcasts music videos) frequently.
I wonder whether next year SBS will consider broadcasting it midday Sunday. Although it might conflict with some sport they’re airing.
Adverts: The Socceroos scarves look like crime tape. I’m just saying.
Before Te Deum we have a bunch of Eurosong-celebs waving hello to us in Australia. Julia & Sam (all dressed up and smiling!) make mention of the Big 5 and dash off.
And we have Te Deum.
New opening! Very dramatic, starting out in Lugano 1956 with a Swiss family huddled around the first Eurovision. The pink bubble appears and travels through Vienna 1967, Brighton 1974, Paris 1978, Dublin 1981, Munich 1983, Brussels 1987, Istanbul 2004, and Moscow 2009. This is like watching an opening to an Olympic Games! Good job, NRK.
And we’re in Telenor where the words SHARE THE MOMENT appear onscreen. The words give way to various Eurofans wishing good luck to their respective countries’ representatives. Alexander appears and wishes good luck to everyone.
He then appears alive and sings a very dramatic version of Fairytale. Ol’ Alex is in good voice, although he looks like he still has yet to reach puberty. Oddly enough he’s doing the same performance with only a few more performers.
HEN say “Good Evening Europe.” Julia coos. Sam calls him “the little brother who never writes or calls.”
Nadia is in red, Haddy is in beige, and Erik is in a tuxedo. Only Nadia looks good. HE give us the spiel about voting being open. Julia & Sam do the same with regards to the unofficial Australian voting.
It’s actually a pretty quick start compared to Eurovisions past.
Azerbaijan: Apparently the choreographer behind this did Beyonce’s Single Ladies. (Explains the hood-esque moves) Ever since I saw this song yesterday, I have had visions of Beyonce pulling Safura’s hair and saying “Gurl, just give up.” Anyway, Safura does the same thing, and since we here in Australia know she can’t speak English, odds are that she doesn’t really know what she’s singing about.
Spain: I had never really rated this, but the staging with the backing dancers dressed as toys does work. It’s nostalgic Eurovision at its best. Oh, there’s someone running onstage who isn’t supposed to be there. Impressively Daniel gets even stronger with the interruption. Good on you, mate.
Norway: Julia & Sam discuss the intruder animatedly during their intro for Didrik. Didrik does a more operatic version of this year’s Israeli entry. I’m really trying to find anything different here, and apart from the backing singers (who are using the traditional Israeli backing singer formation, ironically), I see little that is different. Eh.
Moldova: Sam warns us about the saxophonist. Yes, mate, very wise to do that. The saxophonist is still verging on annoying, but the paucity of upbeat songs makes me loathe him less. The Moldovans do pretty much the same thing they did on Friday [for those of us in Australia]. That is a good thing. Chisinau 2011, not quite, but if they build on this it could happen sooner than Euroland might think.
Cyprus: Julia & Sam still rabbit on about the gatecrasher. Jon Dice shows his midriff. I still don’t care. Since Jon annoys me, I chose to focus on The Islanders who I’d much rather hear sing this. The performance is pretty much the same, so I chose to take a quick smoko.
Someone in the audience waves an American flag. Eh?
Bosnia-Herzegovina: Julia says that the song is about a couple in strife and that it’s a metaphor. (Really?) Vuk seems to be even more aggressive than he was on “Friday.” He hams it up onstage, although the Businessman/Chorus Girl combo singing backup are still unintentionally funny. The song unfortunately just. ends.
Julia & Sam send us off to adverts and they both manage to smile. Shock!
Adverts: Now that’s saving money. Sam is also part of the presenting team for SBS’s World Cup show.
Alright, I am going to make a blatant appeal to SBS for me to do co-presenting duties next year. SBS, I’m acerbic, a new Australian, and willing to undergo whatever training regime to make me photogenic.
Back from adverts, Julia asks Daniel about his role in Mamma Mia (via translator). Sam gets Safura’s backing singers to sing and whether they’d sing for Australia. Julia asks Alexander about his Facebook friends. Alexander says that he would like to sing Satellite.
Belgium: Sam says the Belgians can’t believe that they are in the final. He also makes the astute observation that only 12% of the people in the world can get away with a song like this, and Tom is one of them. Well, not with me, Sam. Not with me. Anyway, The Dice does the same “Friday” performance. I realise that Jon Dice is slightly more annoying (even though Tom does an “Oslo” shoutout mid-song) because he tries to upstage The Islanders. Tom, on the other hand is alone onstage. Hold on. Let me revise that, they’re equally annoying.
Serbia: Ooh! It’s the Serbian Akiko Wada. Julia says that Milan believes that it is important to have a “strong look onstage.” Yes, and unless you’re Boy George, you generally can’t get away with androgyny. Sam calls it the “quickest 3 minutes ever.” Milan gives us the same circus sideshow complete with dancers wearing outfits that look like they were designed by a bunch of bored Serbian homemakers. The female backers shake their things. I check to see if I set the PVR to record Underbelly.
Nadia comes onstage to remind us that Spain will perform again at the end. (I guess that was the smackdown. She uses the word “assaulted.”) She also gives a shout out to Australia.
Belarus: That one male singer still sounds dodgy as hell, although they have strong accents to overcome. This song and performance scream barely qualified. I don’t care if the three girls sprout wings, it still looks weak. I don’t think Belarus will be troubling the scoreboard tonight.
Ireland: Sam mentions how Niamh is Eurovision royalty. Julia quotes Peter Allen (“there’s a lady onstage”). Niamh seems to be a bit stronger in voice than she was on “Saturday.” Of that run of Irish winners in the 1990s, I must admit that I liked Niamh the most, because she seemed the most soulful. Not a winner, but a respectable showing. Sam says that we shouldn’t rule her out.
Greece: How’s this for contrast? Giorgos toady-ups the crowd from backstage. This is probably the most aggressive performance so far, even though it looks like they aren’t doing anything different from “Friday.” Giorgos’s “Friends,” however manage to drown him out with their “OPA!” On a symbolic level, I like how this is a bit like a finger to the world in the face of all the bad press Greece has been getting lately. Crowd goes wild. Sam makes a Sakis Rouvas-hand-me-down joke.
United Kingdom: Julia & Sam get all giggly over the Stock-Aitken-Waterman connection. (Kylie Minogue is Australian, remember.) Josh looks oddly like a very young Sakis Rouvas. He sings a pleasant danceable Hi-NRG tune that would probably storm the charts in 1993. He’s charismatic in the “aw, bless!” way, but it just is missing that X-Factor (no pun intended). You just get the feeling that it was developed more, it would be a contender.
Julia & Sam send us off to break. Julia smirks. Sam manages something approaching a grin.
Adverts: Sergeant Croydon wants you to give him your superannuation money. (Apologies for international viewers as that’s a real Australian reference there.)
Back from adverts, Julia talks to Giorgos & His Friends. The Friends take centre stage. Sam talks old SAW songs with Josh. Julia asks Giorgos if Greece could afford to host. Giorgos is diplomatic in his response. Sam & Josh bond over the state of each other’s hair. Sam tells Josh that the UK has no chance.
Georgia: Julia brings up the fact that last year’s Dutch entry and this year’s Georgian entry share the same name. She is quick to point out that this is a very different song. Anyway, Sofia & Co. do the same acrobatics that they did on “Saturday.” Oh, she winked. Didn’t notice that earlier.
Turkey: Julia finally explains that the origin behind the band’s name. The lead singer toady ups the crowd. It is the second aggressive song of the night and that is a good thing. The lighting really helps this (more so than the Helmet-headed dancer), and I suspect that the Turkish rock scene better prepared to be raided for year’s to come. It’s still no Deli. Sam calls it “not the best song if you’re an epileptic.”
Albania: Sam calls this a song of “absolute commitment” given that Juliana has competed in the Albanian final for several years. I still hear Knock on Wood, but I don’t mind it much. It’s rather interesting how little choreography there is (save for the mad violinist) for a dance song. Still I think Eurovision will be heading to Albania in a few years if they build on this performance.
Sam reminds us about Spain performing again.
Iceland: Julia says that “if you aren’t singing this by the end, you aren’t human.” That’s right, Europe, we’re full on biased down here. (Love it!) This is another dance song with little movement, and I suspect that Albania & Iceland will be cannibalising each other’s votes all night. Hera pretty much gives a more energetic version of her “Friday” night performance.
Ukraine: Julia calls Alyo another powerhouse voice [after Albania and Iceland]. Alyo is in even stronger voice, although she can’t really alter her performance that much from “Saturday.” I must say that I’m surprised by how much better she is live.
France: Julia is not a big fan of this. (Julia is French-Australian.) The crowd yells in approval when Jessy comes onstage. It’s very catchy (although a bit dated) dancehall pop. The sort of song you’d expect to hear at Club Med. There’s a lot of dancing, which unfortunately the camera doesn’t catch enough of. They do a version of a Haka (Shoutout to NZ!) onstage. Jessy & co. give their all, I must say.
Romania: Sam recycles his Eartha Kitt joke, and calls Ovi a “Romanian Adam Zwar.” (I’d take that as a compliment.) Compared to the French entry this is very restrained. Catchy as hell though. They also bring more energy than they had on “Saturday.” I’m surprised that there are only 6 more songs left.
Russia: Julia says sarcastically that she “doesn’t hope [the song title] comes true.” This song looks extremely weak coming at this point in the running order. I get the joke now, and it’s still not all that funny. It’s just daft. I get the feeling that this year (due to the GFC), it’s more a case of aiming to place high, but not necessarily win it.
Oh, it’s HE again. I had forgotten all about you lot. Erik talks to already manic French and the subdued Brits. Sam recycles his Norwegian Josh Thomas joke.
Armenia: Sam finally explains the whole symbolism behind the apricot stone. He also talks about her hair. (Seriously, mate, your obsession with hair is unhealthy.) Since Eva is singing about national identity at the final she is less about bouncing breasts and more about performing. A tree grows from the apricot stone! Didn’t notice that before. Sam pervs on her.
Germany: Julia mentions that this is a hot favourite and that Lena’s English is a bit odd. Sam calls her this year’s Alexander. The staging is oddly low-key, preferring to rely on Lena’s charisma, which I must say she does have in buckets. The mockney accent does grate a bit. It is a toe-tapper (as opposed to a foot stomper) though. Crowd does go a bit crazy after her.
Portugal: Filipa does her thing. It’s a stark contrast to Lena, although Filipa smiles a bit too much. Now, I like this song, but this is a field full of tortured love songs, and while she does her best, and this is the best of that lot, it doesn’t have that extra bit of WOW.
Julia & Sam send us off to adverts promising that we’ll see them interview some Australians in the audience.
Adverts: According to my other half, these health reforms are really needed. I’ll take his word.
Back from adverts, and we have a bunch of fans’ messages…and the North American who apparently wrote the Turkish fans. You would be surprised at how many Australians are there.
Israel: Julia is in favour of countries singing in their own language. I like you, Julia. Harel does his dramatic Sakis Rouvas thing like he did on “Saturday.” Didrik take notes, Harel manages to stay closer to the key. (Mind you, the whole gatecrasher entry probably made Didrik shaky.)
Denmark: Julia & Sam call it a “catchy number.” Julia mentions that it sounds like The Police. I think it sounds more like Jon Waite (“I ain’t missing you at all!”) I read that this was rejected from Melodifestivalen. Given that Sweden missed out on the final, I think SVT might be radicalising Melodifestivalen next year. Anyway, Chanee still steals the show and N’Evergreen still does his Ronan Keating imitation. Brilliant song nonetheless.
Spain (take two): Sam gives us more information on the “serial pest.” (A Catalonian nationalist activist.) Crowd goes wild. Only thing different that I notice is that Daniel & co. really seem to be dramatic the second time around it. He also brings the house down. The backing singer seems to be almost redundant. I reckon they could have done without him.
Haddy tells that we’ve seen amazing performances. Australian commentators agree. Julia & Sam rattle off several of their (re: Australia’s) favourites. Erik tells us how to vote. He then strips off into a low cut green shirt as we go to the recap. This lot is no Ingvild.
Recap: Safura goes ghetto and is hilarious… Daniel gives his all…Didrik does a A- version of the Israeli entry…Moldova and that saxophonist…Jon Dice (usch)…Vuk and his businessmen/chorus girls…Tom Dice aggravates…Milan and his fringe (Julia & Sam like him)…Julia & Sam call 3+2 the “slowest minutes of the night”…Niamh is regal…Giorgos and his bare-chested friends…Josh tries hard but his song didn’t…Sofia does acrobatics…Turkey brought the rock and rap (“Not a good song for an epileptic” says Sam)…Albania knocks on wood…Hera impressed…Alyo brought.it…But so did Jessy…Although Paula & Ovi did even more…Peter and his friends should be forgotten…Eva does her bit for Armenian nationalism…cute ickle Lena (“this year’s Alexander Rybak” says Sam)…Filipa sings her heart out…Harel Rouvas…Chanee took advantage of her moment, n’evergreen not so much.
Other half says he would’ve voted for Denmark. I would’ve voted for Ukraine. I like a growling singer, what can I say?
Adverts: I still can’t get over how Hyundai is pronounced as “HI-Undai” here in Australia.
HEN tell us that we had 25 “fantastic performances.” Nadia takes over the difficult English bit from the pretty HE.
This introduces a video clip about how multi-lingual they are with the artists. I’m going to guess that it is meant ironically. Haddy & Daniel talk about hair, and had I not heard Sam go on about hair all night, I would laugh more.
HE talk about how anyone can win. (In front of the German delegation.)
Recap. No changes in my opinion, save for the fact that I think Moldova would KILL if they were late in the running order, Belarus has no place in this final, and Denmark had the best place in the running order for that song. It really becomes apparent that this is a race for 2nd, not 1st.
HEN are back, giving us Eurovision voting history in respect to close victories. They lead us in the countdown.
Julia & Sam appear briefly to tell us to go vote on the website.
HE ask us if the audience is the best-looking audience ever. (Not going to say anything.) They tell us that it is time to dance.
Two men sing a bunch of incomprehensible lyrics as a bunch of people dance in a section of the Telenor.
Oh, it’s a trans-continental dance party? From Iceland to Slovenia to Sweden to Lithuania, we see shots of people dancing. It’s like an extended version of the dancing segment on Ellen Degeneres’s show. (Speaking of which, the Gold Coast really wants her to come to Australia.)
There are black people in Norway…NRK really wants us to know this.
Alright, NRK, if you are willing to give me residency and/or citizenship, I’ll gladly become Norwegian. I pick up languages easily.
Julia & Sam tell us that this is a celebration of having Eurovision parties at home.
There’s a shot of some Norwegian royals.
Dammit, I want to be Norwegian now. Or at least Norwegian-Australian.
Ok, now this is fun. Julia & Sam sound like they are having a blast.
HE welcome us to the Green Room and do their whole fun facts with the artist thing. I continue to crack up at how wooden they are. Erik wears butterfly wings. Erik, you are no Ingvild…don’t even try.
Sam tells us that it is time for Nadia to do plenty of hard work. (No shit.)
Nadia introduces Svante as “his majesty.” This is met with loads of dramatic music and lighting….and….Svante (who is loving it.) He calls her “princess Nadia.” (No shit as well.)
Oh lord, 39 votes…and I have an early morning flight. Sleep isn’t going to happen, is it? (Current time: 1015 pm AEST.)
Romania: 8 to Turkey…10 to Moldova (shock!)…12 to Denmark (YES!).
Ireland (perky Irishman, Sam slags him): 8 to Germany, 12 to Denmark.
Germany (good to get this one over quickly, you can never make out the German vote, the crowd sings “Seven Nation Army”): 8 to Greece, 10 to Turkey (shock), 12 to Belgium.
Serbia: 8 to Germany…10 to Greece…12 to Bosnia-Herzegovina (Sam calls it bloc voting, Julia doesn’t care)
Albania (he’s got charisma): 8 to Turkey…10 to Germany (crowd goes wild)…12 to Greece.
Greece is in the lead. Sam expresses shock that Giorgos is 33. I agree.
Turkey (she can barely get through her intro): 8 to Bosnia-Herzegovina…10 to Germany (crowd goes wild again)…12 to Azerbaijan (GURL!)
Sam tells us that the mobile phone company in charge of votes can handle 7 million votes.
Croatia: 10 to Bosnia-Herzegovina…12 to Turkey.
Julia points out that Belarus is on zero.
Poland (apparently she’s a morning show presenter): 8 to Azerbaijan…10 for Belgium…12 to Denmark. (Danes oddly subdued.)
Bosnia-Herzegovina (some funny English there): 8 to Germany…10 to Turkey…12 to Serbia (Sam is happy with that…eager for Milan to stay in touch).
Back from adverts and a compilation of the “Hello Australia” greetings that the contestants have recorded.
Finland: 8 to France (YES!)…10 to Israel (that’s a surprise)…12 to Germany.
Sam expresses surprise as to why there is a French translation.
Slovenia (no Peter!? What gives? This guy is funny though): 8 to Serbia…10 to Germany…12 to Denmark (Crowd goes wild, though Germany still in the lead).
Estonia (“quite a jacket” say Julia): 8 to Georgia…10 to Russia (boos from the crowd)…12 to Germany. Sam says “I don’t think we’re going to Ireland.”
Russia: 8 to Ghetto Gurl…10 to Georgia (Shock!)…12 to Armenia.
Julia is pissed about Jon Dice.
Portugal: 8 to Greece…10 to Romania (Finally!)…12 to Spain. Sam wonders if we could vote for Jimmy Jump.
Azerbaijan (Sam likes her, because she’s “all business”): 8 to Georgia…10 to Ukraine (Julia & I agree on that)…12 to Turkey.
Julia & Sam talk about how the jury votes are already factored in.
Greece (Sam says “he looks like my banker”)”: 8 to France…10 to Albania (Good)…12 to Cyprus (not a shock).
Iceland: 8 to Greece…10 to Belgium…12 to Denmark. Julia & Sam remark on how Belgium is doing well.
Denmark (isn’t he cute and elfin): 8 to Romania (YES!)…10 to Belgium…12 to Germany.
Leader board: Germany/Belgium/Turkey.
France (elegant presenter): 8 to Portugal…10 to Serbia…12 to Turkey.
Turkey now in 2nd. Germany still in 1st.
Spain (it’s Georgie Gardner!): 8 to Armenia…(Julia & Sam shocked at how bad Ireland & the UK are doing)…12 to Germany.
Germans oddly subdued.
Nadia gives us the top 5: Germany/Turkey/Belgium/Denmark/Romania. She tells us that anything can still happen…if you’re German or Belgian at this point.
Erik talks to Lena who is, um, verklempt im Englisch.
She talks to Germany in English. Lena is acting like she’s already won.
Haddy talks to maNga. They are diplomatic.
Back to Nadia at the lectern of Winning. Long shall she rule.
Julia & Sam are surprised at how well Turkey is doing and say it’s all about the diaspora.
Slovakia (he’s smooth): 8 to Israel (Julia is happy)…10 to Belgium…12 to Germany.
Julia is shocked at how well Germany is doing. Sam is shocked at how well Tom Dice is.
Bulgaria: 8 to Armenia…(Julia expresses shock at how badly Norway is doing)…10 to Turkey…12 to Azerbaijan.
Ukraine (It’s Miss Ukraine 2008): 8 to Turkey…10 to Russia…12 to Azerbaijan (slight boos from crowd).
Latvia (Julia & Sam call him a “cool cat.” He sounds like he’s got something stuck in his mouth.): 8 to Russia (boos from crowd)…10 to Denmark…12 to Germany.
Lena in shock.
Malta (oh, it’s Chiara): 8 to Denmark…10 to Belgium (the Maltese like their ballads)…12 to Azerbaijan.
Sam mentions that we can safely say that Norway won’t win this year.
Norway (oddly subdued): 8 to Denmark…10 to Romania…12 to Germany.
Julia complains that Norway should’ve given their 12 to Iceland.
Cyprus (lots of happy Cypriots behind her): 8 to Romania…10 to Azerbaijan…12 to Greece.
Sam calls it a “race for second.” Hear, hear.
Lithuania (is that David Bowie?): 8 to Spain…10 to Germany (Julia is happy they didn’t get the 12, so they could “even it up.”)…12 to Georgia (Sam makes a comment on the unnecessary choreography.
Lukashenkoland: 8 to Israel…10 to Ukraine…(Sam laments Josh)…12 to Russia (boos all over, and Julia is surprised).
Switzerland (wow, she’s blonde, and a Chook Lotto girl): 8 to Albania…10 to Serbia…12 to Germany.
Sam calls it for Germany. Julia mentions that it’s a dry commentary box.
Belgium: 10 to Germany…12 to Greece.
Sam resolves to keep an eye on the UK.
UK (is that the Irish spokesperson doing an accent?): 8 to Romania (been awhile)…10 to Turkey…12 to Greece.
The Netherlands (“X Factor” shout-out): 10 to Israel…12 to Armenia (she says that “a lot of Dutch men must’ve voted.”)
Israel (Perky linguist): 8 to Romania…10 to Russia…12 to Armenia. (Julia remarks that it would be a surprise if it did go to Germany.)
Julia is pissed that Germany running away with it.
Macedonia: 8 to Germany…10 to Turkey…12 to Albania.
Julia & Sam grouse about how Lena must know that she’s won by now.
Moldova: 8 to Ukraine…10 to Russia…12 to Romania.
Georgia: 8 to Azerbaijan…10 to Armenia (that’s balanced)…12 to Belarus (which puts the UK at the end of the scoreboard).
Sweden (cheeky lad): 8 to Denmark…10 to Romania…12 to Germany (Nothing for Iceland.)
Julia calls it for Germany.
Armenia (“apricot greetings”): 8 to Ukraine…10 to Russia…12 to Georgia.
Germany wins it with 246 points. Sam says she’s overwhelmed. I’m still surprised at how subdued they are in contrast to other winners.
Julia & Sam mention that it’s two years in row that the favourite has won it.
Julia mentions that Norway wanted to reveal the winner in a special way…by having the winner march onstage direct from the Green Room, escorted by HE. Lena is overcome. Alexander looks manic and kisses her.
Lena struggles to say anything.
I’m quite pleased with a German win. I’d be really happy with a Danish or Romanian win, but still, she’s a good winner.
I love how Lena says “Do I have to sing now?”
Nadia excitedly says “next year the final will be in Germany!”
Everyone is thinking it, but at least the one country that could afford to host it is hosting it.
Lena sings it with a look of total surprise on her face.
She says “Oh my god, this is so crazy” during an instrumental break.
Based on the way she reacted, Lena is the most deserving winner ever.