Get ready to mark your Eurovision Bingo cards! Of course, if you want to have a shot of drink each time you spot one of these things, you are welcome, but drinking is not compulsory. You can just shout “Hola, mi bebébé. Llámame, llámame!” instead, or whatever you fancy. You do you. Here is what I have got on my list:
- A costume change!
- Ludicrous musical instruments!
- A cynical key and/or tempo change!
- Someone says the evening/songs have been “wonderful”!
- Unnecessary use of the French language!
- Vigorous hand-washing!
- Costumes with cut-outs!
- Someone jumps off the stage!
- A guitar solo!
- Spooky ghost wraiths!
- Someone in the crowd is waving a Ukrainian flag!
- Someone is back performing at Eurovision again!
I’ll try and call them out. And also try not to get into complicated arguments about musicology as to whether something is technically a key change or not. We all know that cynical rising key change for the final set of choruses when you hear it.
Zdob și Zdub are returning performers by the way too, so give yourself a bingo tick!
This is guaranteed twelve points from the Romania jury by the way – and also from my mate and total train nerd Jonn Elledge – because it is actually about celebrating the post-pandemic reopening of a train route from Chișinău to Bucharest. Choo-choo!
The first time I heard this I genuinely did an involuntary LOL when the fiddle started up. Glorious Eurovision nonsense this, made even funnier when in the first semi-final Laura Pausini announced that Moldovia had qualified.
In recent years as I mentioned there has been a slight tendency for some of the quirkier entries to get knocked out in the semi-final, leaving us with a blander Saturday night. I won’t ever listen to this again in my life but it has genuinely added to the joy of the night.
I’m so glad I have so far resisted the temptation to shout “I’ve been there!” into the live blog every time I recognise somewhere in Italy in these postcards by the way, like some kind of cliche of a Guardian writer who you (correctly) assume studied mediaeval Italian architecture as part of his useless humanities degree that never prepared him for work in the real world etc etc
I genuinely think that the only chance of Ukraine not winning would be if the whole of Europe ended up coalescing around the same outside second choice, and I think this Iceland entry is lovely, but one of several songs that is going to split the “I like haunting ballads sung by women” bloc vote, of which I am very much a part. Because we haven’t even seen Sweden yet, which is also in similar territory to the Netherlands, Portugal, Lithuania and Greece.
Iceland’s talent-to-population ratio must be off the scale. Systur are three sisters – Sigga, Beta and Elín – and they make gently spooky Icelandic country music. What’s not to like? The song is about the hope of the sunrise after the long winters in Iceland.
Genuinely got no idea what this broken chairs motif is about. Send suggestions on a postcard to “Burning Eurovision Questions, Guardian HQ, Kings Cross, London.”
I used to live in Greece where everybody around me seemed to take Eurovision very seriously, and you can usually rely on the country for an uptempo number. That is very much not the case this year. Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord was born in Greece, grew up in Norway and was classmates with the superlative Sigrid, and this song is absolutely miserable as sin.
She’s training to be a doctor and the song is about a relationship break-up, but I’m not entirely sure “Die Together” is the kind of bedside manner you’d be looking for, is it?
Don’t let them fool you, other CDs and DVDs are available by the way.
My colleague Monika Cvorak has also been watching the evening, and here is her verdict so far:
What a selection! It is so great to see some classic Eurovision staples on the stage this year. I absolutely loved my favourites, Czech Republic, opening the show. I was a bit worried about Dominika’s vocals after the second semi-final but she seems to have pulled it off and the crowd loved it. A true EDM banger that takes me back to my high school days.
I have to admit Romania’s Llámame has grown on me and the chorus is stuck in my head. I adored the choreography and my friend and I wish we had the female dancers’ costumes for the Abba party we’re going to next week.
I had no idea The Rasmus were still making music and they are this year’s coolest entry, if you ask me. Finland came in sixth in 2021 with metal track Dark Channel by Blind Side, and I applaud them sticking to the rock/metal meets mainstream angle this year. Lordi is still one of my all-time Eurovision faves.
I can only attribute France’s ‘so-unlike-France’ entry to them deciding to do a 180-degree about-turn after finishing second last year with probably the most French song in the world. But I love Fulenn – it’s weird but still catchy, and the staging is so theatrical. Someone on YouTube called it a ‘Celtic forest rave’ and I don’t know if you could describe it better. Also extra points for singing in Breton.
I first heard Norway’s plea for a banana a couple of months ago and couldn’t wait to see it on the big stage. It’s this year’s WTF moment, but it’s also everything we know and love about Eurovision – outrageous, fun and makes no sense at all. Like Martin said: it’s not going to win, but it’s one of the night’s talking points. My Eurovision group chat was full of laughing emojis and question marks – and that’s kind of what you want from Eurovision, really.
Bring on the final nine!