By now you know that Sweden won Eurovision 2012, and that Jedward finished a disappointing 19th for Ireland. But if you, unlike this reporter, actually have a life, and missed last night’s extravanganza, did you miss much?
If you are as big a fan of Marty Whelan as I am, then yes! You missed loads of impatient and resigned one-liners during the voting.
Otherwise? No, not really. The entrants for 2012 were high on sameness and low on crazy. Overwrought ballads, light bondage and ethnic dancing were the order of the day: just like every other year.
There were a few exceptions in the crazy factor. I must admit that I was surprised that Albania placed so highly. Their singer Rona Nishliu, wearing her hair coiled into the shape of a snake, sang a lovely ballad which ended with her screaming again and again like someone had just plunged an axe into her back. Eardrums across Europe vibrated threateningly. Somewhere in New York, a shiver ran down Mariah Carey’s spine.
Turkey’s boat of men was one of the more homoerotic entrants of the evening. Apparently pirate inspired, it only served to confirm the long-held suspicion that most sailors are as gay as any major feast you care to name.
The world may be growing bored of Lady Gaga and her antics, but not Lithuania. Donny Montell sang most of Love is Blind with a studded blindfold across his eyes, surely a nod to the great annoyance herself.
Poor old Englebert Humperdinck though. The grand old crooner finished second from bottom for the UK, with an utterly forgettable ballad about love setting you free… or something… sorry, I drifted off halfway through. Our nearest neighbours seem to have given up completely, no doubt convinced that the old powers of Western Europe can never win in the new Europe, which seems to contain 391 countries.
Or… wait. Can they? After all, the winners of last night’s show, Sweden, absolutely walked off with the title, despite a) being one of oldest nations in Europe and b) having relatively few close neighbours. Doubtless, the reintroduction of the jury system has helped, but it goes to show that the, ahem, cream of Europe will rise to the top.
Sweden’s Loreen sang Euphoria, a pleasant enough slice of dance pop that owed a significant debt to one Calvin Harris and a Miss Robyn ‘Rihanna’ Fenty. It earned countless douze points across the continent, including from our own Gráinne Seoige. The second entry, Russia’s absolutely bonkers and brilliant Party for Everybody, never came close.
Speaking of Russia’s grannies, they really typified the glorious madness that is the Eurovision, something the competition was a little short on this year. From the opening notes when they started baking, to their incomprehensible lyrics (which may or not have been in Russian) to the tiny old lady with a grin like an apple, it was simply inspired.
And now, to Ireland. Jedward are like Marmite, you either love them or hate them. Personally, I think hating Jedward is like kicking a small, extremely annoying, yappy puppy. You can see the reasoning behind it, but that doesn’t make it OK.
Whatever you think of them, they performed Waterline with all the enthusiasm and energy we expect of them. Loved across Europe, and the bookies’ favourite, it was therefore surprising that they placed so badly.
Well, the reason is simple. They placed highly last year with a very similar song, and the people of Europe saw right through our tactics in sending the same act twice. It would be like if the Russians sent the grannies back in 2013 with a song called A Hooley for All of the People. People would just say ”What, again?” and vote for someone else.
For all our moaning that the competition always goes to Eastern Europe (like Sweden this year, and Germany in 2010, and Norway in 2009) and the stupid novelty acts, Ireland’s the one who sent hyperactive twins, a turkey puppet, and a song written by John Waters to the Eurovision in recent years. In a cheesy continent, we’re making our Cashel-blue shaped mark on the cheeseboard.