France opened proceedings with a dirty little left-field pop rock ballad, delivered by a scruffy blonde whose idea of choreography was to jerk about like a mime artist experiencing a nervous breakdown. I actually quite liked her.
The Netherlands were even more audaciously restrained, sending an actual singer-songwriter, who warbled a kind of wayward Sondheim-meets-Joni-Mitchell orchestral ballad about a bird who can’t fly with the casual flair of a beatnik poet in the backroom of a coffee house.
Italy sent a scruffy bearded guy in a suit, with no band, no backing vocalists, no contortionists, dancers, dry ice or lights. They might be in worse economic shape than they’re letting on.
There were actually a lot of young men with beards, affecting that scruffy slob-in-a-suit look, as if they didn’t really care whether they won or not, until cameras caught them screeching and sobbing, waiting for votes to come in.
Only Finland and Belarus really gave it the full Eurovision: cartoon blondes, hunky dancers and lots of “uh oh a ding dong” lyrics. Seventeen of 26 finalists chose to perform in a language bearing a vague resemblance to English only with more vowels and less sense. Germany gave us Glorious, or, to pronounce it as the singer did “Glo-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-orious”.
Lithuania’s scruffy guy, Andrius Pojavis, had the best Eurovision lyric of the night: “It becomes untrue because of my shoes I’m wearing today, one is called love the other is pain”. No, me neither...Sounds Aw-aw-aw-aw-aw-aw-aw-ful.