And so the contest reached its conclusion last night. After months of me sarcastically livetweeting the national selections (I do wonder how many unfollows I got as a result of that), then flying out to watch the semifinals in Vienna, and then watching the finals on back home on TV, it’s all over.
So, how was it?
I won’t bother going through all the countries in detail as my two previous reviews of the semifinals discussed them individually. The exceptions to that being the Big Five who cough up the cash, host country Austria and our visitors Australia.
Guy Sebastian wrote Australia’s entry in a couple of days after he was announced as the act. Yep, looks like he rushed it. Don’t get me wrong, he clearly has talent as a singer-songwriter. Even so, after building up to the entry for 3 years, Australia fielded a song that Sebastian basically knocked out on his day off? It was a fun party song, but not really any more than that.
As per usual, the UK ended somewhere near the bottom of the scoreboard, which wasn’t really fair on the act. Although Electro Velvet got panned back home when it was announced, I have noticed that non-UK Eurovision fans liked it a lot more than we did, and thought it was a fun song. If the BBC want to send an electroswing act next year, maybe they should choose an established act from that genre such as Electric Swing Circus or The Correspondents, rather than cobbling together something from scratch.
Still, if we did badly, at least we weren’t as robbed as France or Germany, the latter receiving an undeserved nul points. There does seem to be a tendency for Big Five countries to end up at the bottom of the table, I wonder whether it’s partly to do with people not seeing them beforehand at the semi-finals. Personally I think it would be a good idea if the Eurovision used the Big Five and host country as interval acts at the semis, so they get the same amount of TV exposure.
Austria also received nul points, though unlike Germany this was probably rather more deserved. I watched the national selection for Austria via online streaming, and they missed a trick by choosing a plodding Nickelback clone over eccentric rock act Johann Sebastian Bass.
One exception to the curse of the Big Five was Italy which, in keeping with my lousy track record of predicting winners, finished third. Their stunning work of popera actually won the televote, but was dragged down by jury votes, which surprised me as I’d assumed it would be the other way around.
In the end Sweden won, mainly due to an innovative light show that depicted singer Mans Zelmerlow interacting with his stick-figure imaginary friend. In contrast to Italy, it was the juries rather than televoting that carried it to victory. So much for the juries placing value on musicality over gimmicks.
Still, although I’d have preferred Estonia or Italy to win, at least it wasn’t Russia. I have nothing against Polina Gagarina as an artist or individual. However, her we-are-one-world peace anthem was selected by a state broadcaster that hops to Vladmir Putin’s tune. Whether intended or not, it looks and feels like a PR piece for a nation whose policies are deeply unpopular abroad.
Unlike this year, I probably won’t be attending Eurovision next year in Sweden, as it’s a ridiculously expensive place for a holiday. Admittedly so too is Vienna, but I got around that by staying in neighbouring Bratislava, just across the Slovakian border. Quite possibly I may attend Eurovision in Concert in Amsterdam instead.