Eurovision TV review: Passions don’t run smoothly

In a very Brexit-influenced Eurovision, Innocent Smoothies declare the death of Ireland, the winner attacks the Eurovision and a horse’s head makes a shocking appearance

Azerbaijan’s Dihaj performs the song Skeletons during the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 Grand Final. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Azerbaijan’s Dihaj performs the song Skeletons during the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 Grand Final. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

 

The scene: A house party divided by those overly invested in Eurovision, clutching their betting sweepstakes slips of paper while their friends continue on with their lives, oblivious to the majesty of this year’s glamorama. 

We are largely tuned to BBC One because “the ad breaks ruin the flow” and because, in a way, with Graham Norton presenting we actually run this show, even though our days of glory are but a distant memory and we still refuse to give the UK any points, much to the disgust of Innocent Smoothies, which tweets “Ireland you are dead to us” before later apologising.

This year’s theme in Kiev is Celebrate Diversity, with three white and completely unqualified men presenting. 

Grindr God Imri from Israel - it is later revealed during the results that it is Israel Broadcasting Authority’s last time at Eurovision - opens the show with I Feel Alive and it’s apparent that we haven’t seen a single woman in the first 15 minutes of Eurovision. That is until Poland’s Kasia Mos - think Brigitte Bardot as a Dundrum hun - comes along with Flashlight. 

In the flurry of Saturday night, predictions are off course and wildly inaccurate, with one party goer being violently hushed when he says with conviction that Portugal’s drippy Salvador Sobral’s is a clear winner. Come 11.45pm, we are clearly in the wrong.

This year’s Eurovision winner competed on Idolos, the Portugese version of Pop Idol, in 2009, and his sister, Luísa, who wrote the winning song, came third in the first series. In the singer’s  winning speech, he bashes “disposable” and “fast food music”. He says “music that means something” and “Music is not fireworks, music is feeling”. In a competition where all songs must be under three minutes, he has certainly come to the wrong show. 

Eurovision is a guaranteed evening of the obscene and the ludicrous, the camp and the flamboyant but now we’ve been landed with one giant damp squib. You cannot go to Eurovision, win the Eurovision and then criticise the very core of the Eurovision. What Sobral did is a clear demonstration of chaos theory. 

Eurovision throws a range of colourful ideas and philosophies, where absolutely anything goes, out into the world. What of Hungary’s Joci Pápai with his kitchen sink approach to performing Orgio, with  milk jugs, dancers, violinists, flames, throat gurgling and rapping? Or The Netherlands’ Wilson Phillips tribute act Windmill Phillips, I mean, O’G3NE? Where else can three sisters who share genes and have a mother with type O blood compete? That’s what their name means. Where else can their kind go?

Even when it’s disastrously bad, as disastrously bad as Azerbaijan’s entry this year, it’s still entertaining. Singer Dihaj stands in front of a graffitied blackboard that is scrawled with rebellious words like extremes, SKELETON, Thorns and ALCHEMY, while a man in a horse mask watches on with sad, disapproving eyes. The song is called Skeletons and you wouldn’t even give a dog this bone. 

Poor Blanche from Belgium is totally unaware that she’s at the Eurovision, barely blinking an eye during City Lights - perhaps she was dumped just before the show - but she was as unfazed to her surroundings as last year’s winner Jamala was to the bare arse of an Australian who crashed the stage during her performance of new single I Believe in U.

Crowdpleasers from this Eurovision party include Croatia’s entry My Friend.  Singer Jacques Houdek duets with himself, as a tenor and a pop soprano, but then, as if by magic, transforms into Celine Dion for a brief second as  the chorus melts into Celine Dion’s Think Twice. And kudos to Romania for giving yodelling the lease of life it needs in 2017. Thank you Ilinca and Alex Florea. Even if your cannons wouldn’t fire, we won’t forget Yodel It! anytime soon. 

And Moldova, who were incidentally sponsored by Sun In, your Major Lazer sax infusion on Hey Mamma! is inspired and we appreciate your backing dancers pulling a reverse Bucks Fizzs by turning a short black dress in a long, white wedding dress. Your efforts did not go unnoticed. 

As the winners are announced, with Portugal swooping up almost every 12 points going, the mood of the viewing party turns dangerous. “Eurovision isn’t what it used to be,” we cry. “Ireland needs to get back in the game.”

The very heart of Eurovision has been mocked. The Moldovas, Croatias and Romanias  of these loose European borders will not take this sitting down. The Irelands may even find their way again.

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