As usual, this blog refuses to recognise Australia’s participation at Eurovision. Fortunately, this year, so did the rest of the European public.
25. Croatia – My Friend : 13th place
A nominee for Croatia’s Homophobe Of The Decade performing a subpar end of the pier drag act (Now I’m singing in my BOY voice ohwaitaminute NOW I’M SINGING IN MY GIRL VOICE WTF) but without the actual drag, under a giant rainbow, with a backing video so full of his smirking face that it looked narcissistic even by Eurovision standards, trailed by a veritable flotila of Croatian fans eager to tell everyone that ACTUALLY he loves the gays now maybe YOU are the intolerant one HMMM? No ma’am. Makes you miss other Eurovision Tours Of Tolerance like Mans wearing a “Homos Heteros Heroes” shirt and then ripping it off.
24. Denmark – Where I Am : 20th place
A number of countries this year looked at the “lady standing on the spot and shouting” Eurovision winning template of last year and sent entries very much in the same vibe, but without the passion and genocide references that made Jamala such a favourite. Fortunately most of them got merc’d in the semis but this somehow limped through to be basic all over the main stage. Red dress, blonde hair, wind machine, one mediocre hook, utterly forgettable in every way, not enough. I am happy though that as an Australian with European heritage, Anja here did the right thing and chose to perform for a propah Eurovision nation not some buy-in.
23. Spain – Do It For Your Lover : 26th place
Entries like this really make the automatic qualification of the Big Five even more galling than it is on principle. Not even Hungary could qualify with this mess. NOT EVEN AZERBAIJAN. White boy reggae with the styling of an early McFly video but without the prospect of Harry Judd to take the edge off (or his top off). It gets some points for actually having a shag-van rocking around on the video wall behind him. I was expecting a post-coital Daisy and Aljaz to pop out, and honestly it would have livened the whole thing up by a factor of about 50.
22. Germany – Perfect Life : 25th place
21. Austria – Running On Air : 16th place
Austria this year did well with the juries but tanked with the public, which gives me comfort because it at least means that the Ed Sheeran virus is somewhat contained to this island. Personally the chirpiness and leaping about was a bit much for me, and also I’m always going to have blue balls to a certain extent from a performance that involves someone singing on a giant glittery moon, but which doesn’t have Andrew Lloyd Webber hovering in the background grimacing and sniffing the performer’s shoes. Also some of the more difficult notes were a little…Emilie Fleming…
20. Armenia – Fly With Me : 18th place
She and her backing handers had some interesting stuff going on with their armography but this isn’t the Eurovision Hand Competition and if it were I’d be volunteering as tribute for Israel rather than listening to this Standing On The Spot And Shouting And Waving Your Arms About. I was slightly more enthusiastic in the semis, when if you squinted she really really looked like Iveta, but unfortunately someone had sorted out her styling in time for the final.
19. Ukraine – Time : 24th place
This was terrible but it gets lots of bonus points for being a blatant plea for them not to have to host the competition again next year. Post-industrial chug performed by some not-hot guys with a female dancer shoved right at the back, complete with a GIANT POLYSTYRENE HEAD THAT FIRED LASERS AT THE AUDIENCE if they tried to vote for them. Just zapped their mobiles right out of their hands. Zzzzzzappppp. Don’t even think about it.
18. Poland – Flashlight :22nd place
Again more tedious shouting but with extra credit coming for the fact that her left tit was clearly on the verge of making a leap for freedom the whole time. I will say that I’ve never seen someone so aware that the whole enterprise was pointless because they were performing in the Death Slot with a c-tier Bond theme. Like, a Lulu one they had to swap out at the last minute for something with a hook. She genuinely looked halfway between rage and despondency throughout.
17. Greece – This Is Love : 19th place
Kudos to Demy here for managing to maintain total poise as she had to perform with two hot shirtless men splashing around in a paddling pool in front of her, constantly on the verge with making out with one another. Less kudos for the song itself, which sounds like it should be backing a corporate presentation on how to increase synergy via afterwork Zumba classes. The woman filling this niche last year was PREGNANT Greece, you’re going to have to step your pussies up.
16. Netherlands – Lights And Shadows : 11th place
This was a really A+ Wilson Phillips tribute act, which I would be much more in favour of if it wasn’t 2017 and if I actually liked Wilson Phillips. They get to go up one place however for their pre-song VT focusing around their love of shoplifting. Looking at the dresses, you can definitely see the holes where the security tags have been hacked off with a pair of nail scissors.
15. Sweden – I Can’t Go On : 5th place
Undoubtedly one of the most catchy songs of the competition, marred by the fact that the douchebag rays being given off by the performer were screechingly intense. It was like if we’d sent Mark Wright as our entry. I’m not a huge fan of him saying “fricking” so often either, especially as if there’s any country that could get away with repeatedly saying “fucking” at Eurovision it’s Sweden. Can you imagine there being any consequences I can’t. And besides, everyone knows that swearing doesn’t count if it’s not in the country’s native language.
14. France – Requiem : 12th place
Full disclosure : I was quite drunk by this point and also was out of the room for most of it, but she seemed nice enough. I liked that she was backed up by a Google Maps of Paris as well. Informative.
13. Cyprus – Gravity : 21st place
Fuller disclosure : I remember pretty much nothing about this other than him being shoved around by his backing danceers in some particularly limp Corporate Away Day trust exercises, which makes him the ideal midpoint for a Eurovision ranking list.
12. United Kingdom – Never Give Up On You : 15th place
Yet another big push for a win with a “credible” entry and singer, and it ends up finishing…four places higher than when we sent a tanked up Bonnie Tyler singing a Dolly Parton 2007 album track to take the piss. Oh the UK Eurovision experience. In fairness I think the gulf here between the performer and the composition is what sank us. Lucie may have powerful pipes and a lifetime’s worth of performance experience belting it to the back row in the West End, but no amount of emoting and extravagant staging can hide the fact that the song feels like youre being sleeted on. Still, she’s done a much better job of “having a sense of humour about it” than Joe & Jake managed last year, so that’s something.
11. Israel – I Feel Alive : 23rd place
Not just a hot shirtless man, there’s a STORY here. IMRI here had his first Eurovision experience as one of the Actual Hot Boy backing dancers hired to play wingman for the Israeli entry in 2015. You remember the one – that doughy boy who looked like the rich son of a hotel chain owner singing about how he’s a golden boy and coming across like a genial sex pest? Then he came back last year as a backing singer again before finally realising his dream of actually being a FULL EUROVISION STAR. What makes this better, is that the end result of a typical “backing singer tries to become a main event” storyline is that the backing singer realises that their A+ pipes aren’t adequate recompense for their D- stage presence. Not so here. In fact quite the opposite.
10. Italy – Occidentali’s Karma : 6th place
Going from being odds on favourite to finishing SIXTH in the space of a night has to be quite the comedown. I guess in the end this year was truly a test of the breaking point of Eurovision’s pretensions to intellectualism, as the continent asked itself if it could bring itself to vote as the winner of its annual festival of tack a song containing references to Hamlet, Desmond Morris, and Western appropriation of Asian traditions, cultures and philosophies. And the answer was “no”, no matter how catchy it was. Either that or we wanted a better gorilla costume. Or at least I did. Or more gorilla costumes. Something.
9. Hungary – Origo : 8th place
I misheard the opening VT for this on the night of the final, and as a result thought that he actually had the ashes of his mother inside that butter churn. I was worried they were going to spray all over the stage, given how hard he was banging it. Anyway, I am always here for tortured angsty Eurovision rap-ballads being performed in languages other than English, and this was pleasingly intense. Also easily the least offensive deployment of a top-knot in the competition this year.
8. Belarus – Story Of My Life : 17th place
I think this was my favourite staging this year, apart from the part where the fans on the boat didn’t really work – the speeding visuals in the background made the whole thing feel really dynamic and the snowy Final Fantasy architecture vibe gnerally felt very Belarus. Good job to the singers striking just the right amount of joyousness without coming across like a Belarussian Marnie & Desi, although I can’t help but wonder if that hair would come off as well if you lifted the hat up.
7. Norway – Grab The Moment : 10th place
KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL
6. Portugal – Amor Pelos Dios : Winner
A dream for Eurovision nerds – Portugal winning for the first time ever, after 50+ years in the competition, the first non-English language winner since Molitva and a neat story in that it was brother and sister team where the woman wrote the song for the man (which, let’s face it, isn’t how these things usually work) – all marred for them by a winners speech where Salvador went on a tear against plastic pop, fireworks over feeling and manufactured emotion. To an audience who (at least in this country) have to be dragged kicking and screaming towards rooting for anyone with a penis between their legs and their shirt on at the same time, let alone anything that’s been anywhere near a guitar. For me, I’m for it, as I always love performers who are COMPROMISING THEIR INTEGRITY EVEN BEING HERE (Anouk <3), his voice was probably the best in show this year, and the staging really felt like a MOMENT. All in all it feels like a last gasp victory for the ethos of La La Land against all the haters. Now let Sebastian/Salvador explain to you what TRADITIONAL JAZZ sounds like as he combs grease into his top knot.
5. Moldova – Hey, Mamma! : 3rd place
Victory via meme for sure but WHAT A MEME. Sax Guy bestrode thise year’s Eurovision like a collosus, projected in multitudes on the video wall pretending to play that funky music forever. The whole affair felt like a mix and match of various disparate elements – that one legged dance, the microphones hidden in bunches of flowers, the…random bridal theme – but they all came together for a performance that will no doubt end up soundtracking ITV2s 2018 summer schedule.
4. Belgium – City Lights : 4th place
MISERABLE PERFORMING AT KNIFEPOINT GODDESS ❤ I spent most of this trying to determine whether she was even in tune or not and decided it didn’t even matter. Obviously normally at Eurovision a complete lack of stage presence would be a negative, but Blanche took it so far that it became a positive again. My favourite kind of moody dancepop is the kind where it looks like the singer is only participating because it means their family will be released from somebody’s torture dungeon basement. Also bonus points for use of the phrase “DANGER ZONE” which is always welcome.
3. Azerbaijan – Skeletons : 14th place
To recap, a chalk backdrop created by outsourcing it to Vanessa Feltz, a man stood on a ladder with a horse’s head doing an awkward jerky dance and a performer styled like she’s doing an A Level devised piece about the phallocentric patriarchy’s opressive influence on urban lesbian youth. In Russia’s absence, it was up to Azerbaijan to deliver as villains, but instead they went left-field and doubled down on cheapo staging weirdness, and I appreciate the curveball. The song is actually reasonably catchy as well!
2. Bulgaria – Beautiful Mess : 2nd place
Congratulations Violet Chachki! First winning RuPaul’s Drag Race Series 7, and now finishing runner-up with Bulgaria’s second iconic Eurovision entry in a row, and furthering the country’s grand tradition of either challenging for the win or not qualifying at all. Christian here wrote and performed his song all by his own self, at the age of 17, and he can be maybe forgiven if his attempts to style his own hair weren’t quite as succesful. As well as being probably the owners of the best(/only) modern pop song in the competition, Bulgaria were also the nexus of everyone’s favourite part of Eurovision – nakedly corrupt juries! Bulgaria themselves were clearly holding back points from their nearest rivals Italy and Portugal for no reason other than to improve their own chances, and at the same time the Ukrainian jury apparently dropped Bulgaria from second in their semi-final ranking to dead last in the finals, after they learnt that their act once visited Crimea when he was about 5. Never change Eurojuries, never change.
1. Romania – Yodel It! : 7th place
I’m not sure what to say about this, other than it’s now almost 24 hours later and I will never stop yodel-rapping this. Ever. EVER. IN MY SLEEP EVER. Also the iconic romantic moment at the end there more than makes up for us missing out on the live Macedonian proposal in the semis.