WE LIVEBLOGGED events at the Crystal Hall in Baku, as Sweden claimed a runaway success while Jedward finished well down the field in the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan.
19.29 – AS THEY SAY in Baku, axşam yaxşı! Or rather, as they’ll be saying there in a few minutes, səhər yaxşı! It’s near 8pm here in Ireland but over in Azerbaijan it’s coming close to midnight. But anyway, welcome aboard – it’s Gavan Reilly here, hoping to guide you through the next four-ish hours of quiffs, gaffes and vaguely sexist jokes over at the Crystal Hall in Baku.
19.33 – So here we are, 56 years after Switzerland held – and won – the first ‘Eurovision Grand Prix’, it’s the 57th contest in Azerbaijan. Fun fact, trivia fans: in the very first contest, the seven countries taking part were allowed to send two songs each to make a decent show, with 14 songs in total.
19.38 – Ireland first took part in 1965 and have only missed two contests since. The first of those two was once (1983 in Munich) through financial difficulties in RTÉ – the two general elections the previous year had thrown the national Budget up in the area, so RTÉ prudently opted not to go; the other time was in 2002 (Tallinn, Estonia) when Ireland didn’t qualify, thanks to the disappointing third-from-bottom finish of Gary O’Shaughnessy in 2001.
19.41 – Time for a quick look at the betting odds – for most of this evening’s market-watching I’ll be referring to Betfair, simply because the odds are set by fellow punters, so in theory the odds should be more reflective of actual changes. If you’re hoping for an Irish victory, the odds are friendly: Betfair put Jedward in 13th place right now, with odds of 65/1 – while hot favourites Sweden will pay back 2.16. That means you’ll win €2.16 for every €1 you bet – though that €2.16 includes your original bet in the first place.
19.43 – There’s some slightly better news in other Eurovision markets though – while the Jedheads are largely priced out of the winners’ market, you can get odds of 6.6 (at the time of writing) for Jedward to finish in the top 5 – so there is room for a patriotic punt if you’re feeling speculative.
19.47 – Another nugget, fact fans: since Ireland’s last win, in 1996, the closest Ireland has come to a victory is… 1997, when we managed a second place with Marc Roberts’ Mysterious Woman. 1997, as it happens, was the last time that most countries voted based solely on juries: from 1998 onward, the continental phone vote has largely butchered our chances. That, plus the dissolve of the USSR and Yugoslavia – and the eastward expansion of the EBU – means there are loads of other countries to comete with.
19.49 – We haven’t been in the top 5 since then – the closest we came was 2000, when Eamonn Toal came sixth with ‘Millennium of Love’. The first You’re A Star winner, Mickey Harte, did well in 2003 but the votes of the last few juries forced him down the field into 11th.
19.50 – Mind you, there’s one stat that does nod in our favour at the moment: last year Jedward only came 8th (out of 10 qualifiers) in their semi-final but went onto come 8th in the final overall, out of 26. Clearly, a larger audience does them good – so can they pull off a shock tonight?
19.53 – Anyway, an observation on Twitter, via @chrisjharrison:
6 times as many expected to watch Eurovision tonight than watched MTV EMAs in Nov. Little Russian old ladies hv more appeal than Lady Gaga!
He’s got a point. At a conservative guess, the EBU reckons around 125 million people watch the Eurovision live – though in some cases that’s been exaggerated to 600 million, which is the equivalent of one of every twelve people in the world (not unthinkable – apparently it has a huge following in Australia). But compared to the 20m people who had MTV and could watch the EMAs in Belfast, it’s a pretty whopping audience.
19.54 – And to think: more people will be watching the gaggle of Russian grannies than saw Belfast strut its stuff. Such is life, friends.
19.56 – Tony McGahan, in the comments field, is taking issue with the 65/1 odds on Betfair. Well, that’s why I opted to use Betfair in the first place: the likes of Paddy Power would be flooded with people having a patriotic flutter and would have to force the odds down – a problem that you don’t get on betting exchanges, where people are freer to offer odds which better reflect the true probability of something happening.
As it happens, the Jeds are down to a still-worth-taking 60/1 now.
19.59 – And before anyone asks: if Greece win, no, it’s not held in Germany next year.
20.01 – Marty is coming through loud and clear tonight – thankfully; he had some trouble on Tuesday – and mentions that indeed, it’s midnight in Baku. Our opening act has a familiar twinge to it, which you might get in a second…
20.03 – Tron Legacy meets (that song that used to come built in to old-school Casio keyboards). Truly, Eurovision has arrived.
20.05 – By the way, you heard Marty there question whether Jedward were going to wear their hair up or down… well, a little lateral thinking will reveal your answer pretty quickly. If you watched their performance on Tuesday, you’ll spot what is by now a trademark part of Jedward’s ‘Waterline’ routine – the bit where they jump into the fountain at the end. Now, if your hair was going to get wet during the performance, would you bother spending an hour on a quiff? I think not.
20.06 – Yes, it’s (eventually!) actually last year’s winning song from Eli and Nikki – ‘Running Scared’ – which has brought the contest to its most easterly location yet, some three hours ahead of Central European Time, and four ahead of us here in Ireland. The male half of the act, Eldar ‘Eli’ Gasimov, is one of our three hosts tonight. Nice suit, fella!
20.07 – And with that flourish, we’re welcomed to Baku in the first place. “If that was a font, it’d be Comic Sans,” quips my not-a-big-fan-of-Stomp other half. There’ll be plenty more guff like that this evening, I can assure you.
20.08 – The one on the left looks like a brunette Diana Vickers. The one on the right look a bit like a brunette Jerry Hall. Something for everyone.
20.09 – Funnily enough, this timelapse showing the construction of the Crystal Hall – which has 45,000 lights outside which change colour for each flag – won’t show people getting cleared off the site. Heh, funny that.
20.10 – Imagine – I was literally about to quip that it was funny there was no German on the otherwise bilingual broadcast, only for Eli to ruin my observation. Das ist typisch, oder?
20.11 – My other half has suggested that if Jedward win it this year, they might be asked to host it next time around. I wonder which one gets to speak French. OMG, bienvenue!
20.12 – Now, first up tonight is the United Kingdom, who are being represented by 75-year-old crooner Engelbert Humperdinck. One for the trivia fans: he was briefly set to be the oldest ever contestant in Eurovision, only for Russia to trump him with the gaggle of grannies you’ll see later.
20.13 – Some consolation for fans of Jedward’s flattened quiffs: you could launch aircraft off Engelbert’s sideburns.
20.14 – Clearly the BBC’s change of heart regarding earlier acts (Blue? Scooch? Gemini? That Josh fella?) also extends to the stage: they’ve opted for a very dark setting with plenty of dancing silhouettes.
20.15 – As JJ72 almost remarked, why is it snowing?
20.16 – Right, well that was… musical. Which, to be fair, is a bonus given how some of the UK’s acts have done before. He won’t win, but well done to the BBC for making a brave choice. Anyhoo, second up are Hungary with Compact Disco performing ‘Sound of Our Hearts’. These guys were in Ireland’s semi-final, and are like a non-Anglophone sounding Muse.
20.18 – Political geographer and Eurovisionphile Adrian Kavanagh notes on Twitter that the 2nd place draw is the ‘draw of death’.
20.18 – I said Muse earlier – clearly my fingers slipped; I had meant to type ‘Savage Garden’. Same-y same-y, innit?
20.19 – You won’t remember this song in ten minutes. I guarantee it. “Come on people!” Sorry pal, not buying it. The Gestapo called, they want their trenchcoats back.
20.20 – Now, if you’re a fan of women who have coconuts impaled on the back of their heads, you’re in for a treat – Albania’s Rona Nishliu caught the attention on Tuesday with her oddball costume. Her vocals are incredible, her styling… not so much. Here’s her entry, ‘Suus’ (meaning ‘Personal’).
20.21 – Spare Bjork, anyone?
20.22 – …Excuse me for a minute, my NAMA-land apartment’s windows just monumentally shattered. BRB.
20.24 – Well, that was quite something, wasn’t it? Let it never be said that the contest doesn’t produce people with actual musical ability (albeit in a register only audible to dogs.)
Anyway, moving on. As Tommy Wiseau’s variably-named character in the so-bad-it’s-amazing film ‘The Room’ noted, “Love is blind”. Clearly, that’s a theme enjoyed by Donny Montell from Lithuania who is fourth in our show.
20.26 – See? Blind. Love is BLIND. It’s funny, because he’s wearing a blindfold. On a side note, he’s got pretty decent teeth. Now, here comes the bit that sounds like a remix of Cher’s ‘Strong Enough’.
20.27 – My other half here reckons Danny looks like a singer who used to be in Brookside. Any takers?
20.29 – Now. Poor Bosnia and Herzegovina, having been torn apart in the Aviva by the likes of Sean St Ledger earlier, are next up. Here’s MayaSar with ‘Korake ti znam’, meaning ‘I Know Your Steps’.
20.30 – Don’t ask me why, but I reckon this song sounds like the sad music from Love Actually (the bits where young Sam is pining after Joanna, and all that), except with extra sad words over it. Wow, they really must have taken today’s 1-0 defeat pretty badly. Do you see what you’ve done, Shane Long?!
20.31 – THIS IS YOUR one-minute warning for the Russian grannies.
20.32 – To be fair to her, MayaSar gave that a good go. She’s got some lungs on her.
Now, the Russian grandmothers – who look cute, but are willing to steal records from Engelbert. Their song, I warn you, includes an oven on stage.
20.33 – So, without further ago, we present: Buranovskiye Babushki with Party for Everybody. YOU KNOW YOU WANT THE WORDS.
20.34 – If you’re missing the performance on stage, here’s a basic rendition of what’s going on.
\o\ — Come on and dance!
/o/ — Everybody dance!
And that’s really it. It’s mesmerising. Wayne Rooney must be loving this.
20.35 – A vision of the new world led by Vladimir Putin, ladies and gentlemen.
20.35 – Russia’s odds of victory are creeping downward after that! They’ve gone from 5.9 to 5.7 on Betfair.
20.36 – Now, our poorly-capitalised north-west European amigos Iceland are next, with Gréta Salóme and Jónsi (no, not the one from Sigur Rós). Their admittedly decent tune is ‘Never Forget’ – a traditional (in the modern sense) Eurovision entry. Here’s their semi-final gig:
20.37 – I should mention, by the way, that most of the YouTube videos I’m including tonight are from the Eurovision official YouTube account. Which is nifty, if you’re into that kind of thing.
20.38 – This is like Evanescence doing a cover of a moody Taylor Swift number.
20.40 – Next up is Cyprus‘s Ivi Adamou, who is a star of The X Factor (in Greece), having come 6th in that series in 2010. Her song ‘La La Love’ is worth an each-way flutter at 30/1. Here’s her Cascada-on-steroids effort:
20.41 – Twitter seems divided. DOES Ivi look like Georgia Salpa?
20.43 – If you’re missing this, the chorus lyrics:
La la, la la la la la… la-la, la la la la la, la love!
20.45 – France are historically pretty eager to stick in a big power ballad into the song. Anggun is not quite in that mould, but as one of the ‘big five’ countries France didn’t need to get her to go through a semi-final. This one, ‘Echo (You and I’) may also be a sleeper hit: originally from Indonesia, she’s a regular UN ambassador too.
20.46 – Oh dear. It seems things aren’t going too well in Baku – the sound system keeps slowing down and speeding up again, and there’s a workman’s whistle in the background which keeps coming out over the sound system.
What a shame(!).
20.47 – Actually, thinking about it, the whistled hook may be borrowed from the last song. It’s basically going to the same rhythm as ‘la-la, la la la la la’.
Anyway, this French effort isn’t half bad – we’ll see what the markets think in a few minutes. You can get her at 400/1 right now.
20.49 – Now, onto Ireland’s Euro 2012 rivals, the Italians, who as Marty is telling us, gave up and stopped entering for 14 years, but came back and came second (I think) last year – enough to merit a second attempt.
Here’s Nina ‘I’m Not Amy Winehouse, I Swear’ Zilli, with ‘L’amore è femmina’ (Out of Love)”.
20.51 – Observes @GarethTheSoutie on Twitter: “Wasn’t she minister of culture?”
Very possible. Berlusconi had form in that kind of appointment.
20.53 – If James Bond was Giovanni di Bondo, that would easily have been a theme tune.
Now, 11th on the list (Jedward are 23rd, of 26) is Estonia – “the Jim Corr of the Baltic countries”, as my couchmate observes. The act is Ott Lepland, who could easily fill in as a face double for pretty much anybody on Coronation Street. Seriously, he looks like all of them.
20.54 – That song, is this:
20.55 – In case you’re wondering, 50 minutes to Jedward. Go and put the kettle on if you like – I’ll wait for you.
20.56 – 12th is Norway, represented by the hooded Iranian-born TV singer Tooji Keshtkar (he doesn’t use the surname) who is also a trained childcare worker. He’s singing ‘Stay’, which could genuinely be a club hit if he does well tonight.
20.57 – Benni Benassi’s musical legacy is in safe hands, isn’t it? A reminder:
20.58 – Harsh but fair, from the one and only Rosser:
He’s dressed like Sean McDermott Street.
21.01 – Phew! That got the feet tapping! Time for a break on RTÉ – so a quick flick over to BBC shows Graham Norton giving some wry commentary while Engelbert tells the Jerry Hall hostess that he’s … well, he’s saying very little to be honest, and merely proving that he’s not an automaton.
“Is it your first time at a competition like this?” “Yes,” says Engelbert. LIES! Here’s proof, and six other things to know about Engelbert.
21.03 – Now, the home act for defending champs Azerbaijan is Sabina Babayeva, whose gúna is pretty damn impressive. They’ll be hoping that her song – ‘When The Music Dies’ – isn’t prophetic. Though it shares a songwriting team with last year’s winners, it’s not nearly as upbeat.
21.04 – Is her dress fibre optic, or is there some weird shadowy stuff going on?
21.05 – She’s no Ruslana.
21.05 – Hello to Donegal’s finest Clodagh B, reading in from London tonight – don’t be breaking any tables in the room tonight. Wink wink.
21.06 – Now – Romania’s entry, Mandinga, should not be confused with the Sinead O’Connor song that sounds vaguely similar. This is a seven-person band, singing ‘Zaleilah’ in both Spanish and English, with some friendly Scottish/Irish/Russian instrumentation helping out.
21.07 – This could easily be the official anthem for Euro 2012, couldn’t it? Better than the official dross UEFA have offered…
21.09 – This could, alternatively, be a song from the soundtrack of a second Inbetweeners movie, or to another Borat film. In short, fairly identikit Eurovision stuff really! Ah well, she’s done her stuff.
21.11 – Soluna Samay from Denmark looks like Zoolander actress Christine Taylor, let loose in the Sgt Pepper’s wardrobe in Beatles HQ. The former busker says she really ought to have known better. Well, if that’s her thoughts about a Eurovision entry, maybe this wasn’t a great move…
This ISN’T her song, but rather is the song that’s been shamelessly plagiarised for the opening bars:
21.12 – If she was 15 years older, young Soluna could have been Vonda Shepard. (Boom! That’s a name you haven’t heard in a while.)
21.13 – Aoife O’Mahony in the comments field: ‘Denmark is a bit Kelly Clarkson ish, no?’ Yeah, good call!
21.15 – Now, as we slowly get through the running order, time to recycle a gag that not everyone got on Tuesday night. So, in warning you that this is a joke…
Poor Greece couldn’t afford a full-length outfit for Eleftheria Eleftheriou. Or, perhaps, it’s just a ploy for the song, called ‘Aphrodisiac’. No, seriously though: it’s damn short.
21.16 – In all seriousness – wouldn’t it be great for Greece, in spite of the costs of running the contest, to have something to celebrate tonight? Maybe something to ponder when you’re voting in 45 minutes’ time.
21.18 – Anyway, fair play to them. Meanwhile, remember what I was saying about France being generous at 400/1 earlier? 480/1 now. Go figure.
21.19 – Now. This is an important one. Sweden are the runaway red-hot favourites, with Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’. No time for gags: let’s just pay close attention.
21.20 – I’m not going to lie – having not seen the second semi-final from which Loreen qualified, I’m not getting the supposed amazingness.
Then again, guaranteed douze points from Iceland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, some of the Baltics… Yeah, it’ll be fine.
21.21 – She’s like yer wan from The Ring, with choreography from Mr Miyagi.
21.24 – Eli’s making a gag about the Eurovision is 33 years older than him – but, to be fair, it’s worth pointing out the presence of Lys Assia, who won that first contest 56 years ago.
Now, if you weren’t aware, Azerbaijan and Turkey share quite a lot in cultural terms – their languages are closely related, and the social demographics are very similar – so, with respect, you know where Azerbaijan’s 12 points are going.
So, with that in mind, let’s just humour Can Bonomo’s ‘Love Me Back’:
21.24 – “This is a dare that’s gotten out of hand,” suggests Mrs Gav on the sofa. She’s not wrong.
21.28 – Well, that was traumatic: for a good 150 seconds there, my computer decided to do absolutely nothing. Give me a minute to catch my bearings while Celine Dion – oh no, sorry, that’s the Spanish entry – keeps you busy.
21.30 – Now, I think we’re back in business. Spain’s entry, who is really giving it some wellie, is Pastora Soler singing ‘Quédate conmigo’ (Stay With Me). A Celine Dion song by name and nature. As Meteor man would say, mi gusta tu orthodontologia.
21.32 – This was Spain’s song, by the way, if you want the YouTube.
Now, bitte be upstanding fuer die Deutschen: hier ist Roman ‘Think Of Me Like Bruno Mars’ Lob, und er singt … ‘Standing Still’. (How true is that? You try to speak their language, and they only speak English back to you…)
21.34 – Roman is singing about how he’s standing still, while the camera circulates him. Remember that gag I made about speaking English earlier? It appears, from the lyrics, that they’re the only English words he knows.
Here’s what he sounds like:
21.36 – Right, we’re into the home stretch now. Act number 21 of 26 (and we’re number 23!). Once upon a time, Malta didn’t have a host broadcaster and it was agreed that if Malta was to win, RTÉ would act as its home broadcaster for the following year’s show. It never happened, but if you need a neutral country to follow, Kurt Calleja could be your horse. Here’s ‘This Is The Night’.
21.38 – We’re really not sure if Kurt is merely telling us something prophetic, or merely asserting his knowledge about the time of day. Even though, in Baku, it’s 1:40am and firmly morning.
21.39 – Now. JEDWARD IN FOUR MINUTES. In the meantime, you just have to get through FYR Macedonia‘s Kaliopi, singing ‘Crno i belo’.
21.40 – Now, with the greatest of respect to Macedonia, they’re not really the star attraction for us tonight. Somewhere backstage in the Crystal Hall, the lads are getting ready for one of the biggest performances of their lives. There’s no point pretending that we’re heavily favoured to win (we’re now at 40/1 on Betfair, by the way) but you just never know: stranger things have happened.
21.41 – The one thing we DO know, at least, is that the lads are going to give it absolutely everything, as they always always do – and whether you think much of them or not, they at least deserve some kudos for giving every last drop of energy they’ve got in the representation of their country.
21.44 – Some background: ‘Waterline’ is written by Westlife hitmaker Nick Jarl and slightly more classically trained Sharon Vaughn; among the backing singers are former You’re A Star winner Leanne Moore; and, to be fair to them, Linda Martin and Liam McKenna have had their work cut out managing the lads, but have gotten them this far nonetheless.
Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Ireland’s entry: Jedward with ‘Waterline’.
21.44 – BREAKING NEWS: My prediction (see 20:05) about quiffs was accurate. GET IN.
21.45 – And here come the waterworks! The sheer energy of it all…
21.46 – Trademark love heart: check.
21.46 – …and into the fountain we go… 3… 2… 1…
21.47 – Ah, fair play to them. Like them or loathe them: they give it everything, and at the end of the day, can you ask for anything more than that?
21.48 – Well, talk about Europe being a continent of contrasts. After Jedward comes Serbia‘s Zeljko Joksimovic, whose song translates as ‘Love is not an object’. (I won’t give the original name, I’ll do it an injustice: suffice it to say that you wouldn’t want to get the same letters in Scrabble.)
21.50 – If you read into this kind of thing: Ireland back to 50/1 on Betfair.
21.52 – I think it’s fair to say that Zeljko was really going for his home crowd there – a lung-belter dolloped in Eastern flavour.
Anyway, we’re getting close to the end now; 25 of 26 is Ukraine‘s Gaitana singing ‘Be My Guest’.
21.53 – BREAKING NEWS: The Ukranian entrant appears to have nicked the Julian Opie installations that were in Dublin a few years back – someone should check to make sure the one on Parnell Sq is still there…
21.55 – To be fair, that’s a nifty little trick Ukraine have pulled there. Believe it or not, there’s Eurovision rules to say you can only have seven people on stage for your act: by stealing the Julian Opie boards, Gaitana gives the illusion of being in front of a huge crowd. Fair play lads, rules rightly bent there.
21.56 – So, last up is Moldova; and Pasha Parfeny – think Colin Farrell’s mustard-clad cousin – has the typically Eurovision ‘Lăutar’ to close the evening.
21.58 – Another note from Eurovisionphile geographer Adrian Kavanagh: being last in the final isn’t usually as helpful as being last in the semis – because at this stage people are tired, and could simply forget you.
22.00 – Elsewhere on Twitter, you can’t move for people comparing Pasha to a lovechild of Ed Norton and Colin Farrell. I don’t see the Norton side, but fair enough.
Anyway, that’s your lot! All 26 songs sat through. Don’t you feel proud for having stuck through it all? Diana Vickers woman – apparently Leila? – is doing the French routine while Jerry Hall woman makes a quip about it, and Eli moderates.
22.02 – Now: if you’re looking to vote, you want these numbers.
If you’re voting by text, send the two-digit number corresponding to your act to 53125. To do it by the phone, call 1513 71 72 XX, where the XX is the number of your act.
Two things to bear in mind: if your preferred act is one of the first nine, you’ll need to include a zero. So, if you’re voting for the UK and Englebert Humperdinck, you’ll need to turn 1 into 01. Got that?
The other thing is a Eurovision classic: you can’t vote for yourself. So yes, you could try to be smart and text ’23′ to try and vote for Jedward, but you’re going to spend 60c making yourself feel silly, to be honest. So save yourself the bother.
22.05 – Housekeeping: the texts will cost you 60c, the calls will cost more (and will vary depending on your phone provider, so there’s no point in us giving you a cost). If you don’t pay the phone bill, ask for the permission of the billpayer before you dial or text.
Also, if voting by text, you will not receive a response to acknowledge your vote.
22.06 – The more I hear it, the more I’m annoyed that I didn’t get Germany’s likeness to The Fray a little earlier. It’s a carbon copy.
22.09 – Again: text XX (the song number) and nothing else to 53125 (60c), or call 1513 71 72 XX.
So – who’s going to win? Betfair still reckons Sweden. What do YOU think? Let me know – details are above.
22.10 – Now, I’ve spotted that the last list of voting numbers I gave you is pretty blocky and difficult to read, so here’s an alternative version. These are the numbers attached to each act, so you can vote for your preference.
Call 1513 71 72 XX, or text XX to 53125.
01: United Kingdom, 02: Hungary, 03: Albania, 04: Lithuania, 05: Bosnia and Herzegovina, 06: Russia, 07: Iceland, 08: Cyprus, 09: France, 10: Italy, 11: Estonia, 12: Norway, 13: Azerbaijan (host), 14: Romania, 15: Denmark, 16: Greece, 17: Sweden, 18: Turkey, 19: Spain, 20: Germany, 21: Malta, 22: Macedonia, 23: Ireland, 24: Serbia, 25: Ukraine, 26: Moldova,
22.12 – My money’s on Russia, but in the spirit of true journalist integrity, I’m remaining totally impartial and not voting*.
* No, really.
22.14 – I don’t know if this is a slightly liberal interpretation of history, but… here’s the take of the Libraries unit at South Dublin County Council:
Go #Jedward !!!!! Learned it all at Lucan Library you know :-) #eurovision
22.16 – Going back to the betting briefly: It really does look like a two-horse race. Sweden is still well ahead, at exactly 2 (that means if you bet €1 you get €2 back, including your stake – in other words, even money), while you can get 5s on the Russian grannies.
Beyond that, Serbia at 24 and Romania at 30 are the next best. Listening to the reruns there, Romania could actually do pretty well.
22.16 – Right. STOP VOTING. Your 15 minutes are up.
22.18 – Now, to the Riverdance section… sorry, I mean, Interval Act. Our star this year is Emin Agalarov, perhaps the country’s most feted singer-songwriter. If you listen to BBC Radio 2 you’ll recognise one of the songs in his set; ‘Baby Get Higher’ has been added to the playlist of Britain’s most listened-to radio station. That’s the first time any non-Brit from Eastern Europe has had their music featured on the BBC, which ain’t half bad.
22.20 – This, incidentally, is Emin’s BBC-friendly hit, ‘Baby Get Higher’.
22.21 – Typical. You do some research into the interval act and then they hire the cast of Stomp to handle the first five minutes of the interval.
22.22 – I’m just putting this out there: the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 is on the same day as the Heineken Cup final. Could Dublin really handle that double-whammy of tourism?
22.23 – The money is FLYING IN on Russia to win. Sweden’s odds have drifted to 2.3, with Russia now in to 3.6. Democracy, eh?
22.27 – Right. While Brunette Jerry Hall wanders around the green room, some background info to offer on the voting procedure. And there’s good news and bad news.
There are 42 (yes, 42!) countries voting this evening: every country who entered, and not just those who qualified, are allowed to vote. That means the total possible number of points that
Russia any country could get is 504, though realistically if you get over 220 you’re going to win.
22.28 – Ireland’s votes will be read out in 32nd, by our own Grainne Seoige. The votes will begin as soon as the EBU’s version of Stokes Kennedy Crowley Man, Jon Ola Sand, signs off on all the voting.
22.29 – Now, as you’ll all know, each country’s favourite act gets 12 points, the next best gets 10, and the third 8. Then we go from 7 to 1 for the rest; in order to save time, the first seven are wired in and don’t need to be announced out loud.
22.30 – So, getting us underway is Albania (hey look, a spokesman is standing in front of a green screen! How unprecedented). Albania’s 12 points go to Greece.
Shocker. Marty Whelan is STUNNED. STUNNED AT THIS REMARKABLE DEVELOPMENT, THAT ALBANIA HAS GIVEN ALL ITS POINTS TO GREECE.
Nothing for the Jeds there, but early days yet.
22.32 – OK, second up are Montenegro. Eight to Macedonia, ten to Albania, and 12 to the country from which they only gained independence six years ago; Serbia. SHOCKER.
Right, Romania, get yourselves together… announcing the votes is Paula Selling, who was in your correspondent’s favourite ever Eurovision song back in 2010. Anyway, Romania’s 8 to Greece, 10 to Sweden and 12 to (shocker!!) Moldova.
Nothing for the Jeds yet, 3/42.
22.33 – Number 4 is Austria, with Kati Bellowitsch reading the results. (Only four for Germany there! OOF!). 8 to Albania, 10 to Serbia, and douze points to Sweden…
22.34 – Over to Kiev and Aleksey Matius for Ukraine’s votes, 5 of 42… Moldova, Russia, and the top points to Azerbaijan. And the crowd are loving it.
22.34 – Might I observe that this year’s hosting has been very light on “hilarious” misogynistic jokes? Fair play to them.
22.35 – IRELAND ARE OFF THE MARK. One point from Belarus, which gives 8 to Lithuania, 10 to neighbours Ukraine and 12 to motherland Russia.
Imagine. My. Surprise. But thank you Belarus – at the least, Jedward won’t be coming home tomorrow emptyhanded.
22.36 – FOUR POINTS FOR IRELAND FROM BELGIUM! The land of chocolate and political disharmony. An EU handout, basically. Sweden get the 12 there, and are pulling away already.
22.36 – Now, Azerbaijan’s TV darling Safura Alizadeh proclaims this show to be the best one ever. Surprise! Ireland gets one point though, to be fair.
Malta gets 8, Russia gets 10, and guess who gets 12? OH YES IT’S TURKEY, imagine that.
22.38 – Over to Keith in Valletta for Malta‘s results… Turkey, Italy and Azerbaijan get the 8, 10 and 12.
22.40 – San Marino are the tenth jury in; their hostess is plugging their status as the world’s oldest continuous republic. That’s grand, love, but get on with it. Moldova get 8, Russia get 10, and … Albania got 12.
France will continue their longstanding insistence of using French to announce their votes; how dare they! Eight points for Serbia from there; Estonia get the 10 and the 12 goes to la Suede, who now have a 13-point lead.
22.40 – Here’s Scott Mills from the BBC giving the UK’s results. This ought to be a good start.
22.41 – The UK gives 8 points to… Spain. 10 points go to… Ireland! Do the 12 go to Sweden? Yeah they do. This is getting boring.
22.42 – Turkey‘s votes to to Macedonia, Bosnia and … their cultural cousins Azerbaijan! AMAZING! WHAT ARE THE ODDS?!
22.43 – “There won’t be a bit of flat-packed furniture assembled tonight,” quips a bored Mrs Gav. Sweden have this wrapped up.
22.44 – Here’s Adriana in Greece… Eight points to Serbia, ten to Albania, and 12 – shockingly – to Cyprus.
(Nothing to Germany! Frau Merkel and Herr Schauble will be thrilled.)
22.46 – Bosnia sends it love down the well… no, wait, to Sweden, Serbia and its former Yugoslav mates in Macedonia. Nothing to Ireland, but we have Shane Long to thank for that.
Moldova sends its love to Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Romania. Which, again, is not much of a shock if you check a map.
22.48 – Bulgaria doesn’t upset the apple cart much – sending points to Sweden, Serbia and Azerbaijan; Switzerland gives eight to Spain (six to France, by the way), ten to Serbia and a dozen over to the coconut-impaled singer from Albania.
22.49 – Here’s the Slovenian votes, 19 out of 43 now… Nothing for Ireland as Russia takes 8, Sweden gets 10 and Serbia takes 12. Next is Cyprus, who I can tell you will give Greece 12 before they even announce it.
22.51 – What do you know? Cyprus gave Greece 12! Eight for Azerbaijan (‘thanks for a good show, lads’) and ten to Sweden.
Croatia give three points to Ireland (new total of 19) before sending its biggest batches to Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. Groundbreaking development there.
22.53 – Now, that’s 21 out of 42 – which means a quick break from the scoring. Let’s not mince words here: it’s not looking great for Jedward; their 19 points will not trouble Russia on 124, Serbia on 135 or Sweden which is well ahead on 179.
22.54 – Right, Slovakia bring us back from the break, with nothing for Ireland as the spoils are sent to Hungary (huit points), Estonia (dix points) and Sweden (the full douze).
22.55 – If only Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union were still around, eh?
22.57 – Right. Macedonia don’t really like Ireland very much over that whole “did a Macedonia” thing; so it’s unsurprising that we don’t feature there, while Albania get 12.
The Netherlands! Good lads, five points for Jedward there as Turkey get 8, Serbia take 10 and Sweden get the full dozen. Time for Loreen to think about brushing her hair: she’ll have somewhere to be very shortly.
22.58 – Portugal‘s eight points go to Russia; ten to bailout masters Germany; twelve go to Spain! IMAGINE THAT! It’s not like there’d be many Portuguese living there, is it? Oh…
22.58 – From one financial struggler to another – and some solidarity for us! Iceland have four points for Ireland. Eight go to Cyprus, ten to Estonia, and twelve to Sweden. That whole Nordic thing really helps, doesn’t it?
23.00 – In case you’re confused, Sarah Dawn Finer (who’s reading the Swedish votes) is half-British, half-American. That explains the accent.
With Sweden unable to vote for themselves, we take five, while there’s eight for Estonia, ten for Serbia and twelve for Cyprus.
23.00 – Well, normal service will be resumed now. Norway have their votes to cast, let’s see how Sweden do… oh look, all 12! Russia take the 8 and Serbia get the 10.
23.02 – “No Kerry Katona representing Iceland?” Nicely placed, @stuartjharper. Lithuania’s dozen goes to Azerbaijan, with Estonia and Sweden doing well there too. Nothing for Ireland, sadly. Where did it all go wrong*?
* Rhetorical question.
23.02 – Five points for Engelbert from Estonia, bringing him up to six in total. The poor old gent is still at the bottom of the pile. Russia get eight, Germany ten, and Sweden take the douze points.
23.03 – Sweden haven’t mathematically won it yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
23.03 – Says Tony Higgins in the comments:
I’m afraid the only thing worse than watching the Eurovision on the telly is reading this rubbish on the Journal. What a waste of time.
And a Merry Christmas to you too, sir.
23.05 – Now, this is odd… Ireland were meant to be giving their votes 32nd, but it’s Latvia who have popped up on the list. Irrespective, Sweden gets the dozen, to add to the one from Denmark a moment earlier.
23.05 – Nada for Ireland from the Spaniards, who also opt for the Swedes.
23.09 – Hard! Rock! Hallelujah! Mr Lordi – you know, from the band, Lordi – is happy to tell us that Finland will give Ireland four points. That’s us on 46 now. Russia take the eight, Estonia the ten, and … the “hottest, prettiest, cutest babe in the competition”, Sweden, takes the maximum. Georgia’s main points go to Sweden, Azerbaijan and Lithuania.
23.10 – Italy’s points are the crucial ones… they give Germany eight points, ten to Russia, and twelve to Albania. Sweden’s failure to score there means it’ll go to Serbia to confirm the win.
23.11 – Serbia‘s votes: none for Ireland, eight for Cyprus, ten for Sweden, and 12 to Macedonia. Sweden’s lead over Russia is now 80 points, and with only 60 left to win, Sweden have won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.
23.13 – Germany‘s ARD is having the usual street party in Dusseldorf – they really are loyal, to be fair to them – and while the big points totals go to Turkey, Serbia and Sweden, again unfortunately Ireland go empty-handed. Over in Moscow, meanwhile, the votes are divvied up among Ukraine (“thanks for buying our gas”), Azerbaijan (“thanks for being next door”) and Sweden (“you have the best song”).
Three juries left – Hungary, Israel and ourselves.
23.15 – Over to Hungary, third-last jury: no points for Ireland while it’s Albania, Germany and Sweden who divvy up the high totals. This really is a slaughter: Sweden have more dozens than a baker’s convention. Israel are the penultimate jury: Azerbaijan, Spain and Sweden (again!) take the big ones.
23.17 – Last but not least, Ireland’s votes – with Grainne Seoige doing the honours from a green screen showing the National Convention Centre.
Ireland’s full points: 1 for Azerbaijan, 2 for Italy, 3 for Ukraine, 4 for the UK, 5 for Romania, 6 for Russia, 7 for Lithuania, 8 for Estonia, 10 for Germany and finally, inevitably, poetically; the final douze points of the night for the runaway victors, Sweden.
23.20 – And so that’s the lot – as Loreen makes the walk from the ‘Green Room’ (which is actually at the back of the hall anyway) to the main podium, we take stock of Jedward’s finish: tied for 19th place taking 46 points.
Well, that’s the ball game these days: with the multitude of countries taking part, and the way that Irish tastes can obviously somehow diverge from those of the body on the continent, it’s a tough one to win, and sadly this year – as it has been for the last 16 – a victory was too much to ask for.
23.23 – Still, let us not be disappointed or ungracious: regardless of how you feel about the onset of bloc voting, the sheer volume of votes achieved by Loreen and Sweden – 372 in total! – is simply amazing, and clearly the peoples of Europe have united to proclaim ‘Euphoria’ the undisputed winner.
23.25 – So – as Loreen takes the stage for her final performance, and the confetti falls from the rafters of the Crystal Hall, we take our leave from Baku. For anyone who might care, Jedward’s flight is due back into Dublin tomorrow evening if you want to go along and wish them well; more details on that, I’m sure, will be around tomorrow.
23.27 – And so, we leave you with the winning performance of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest: Loreen with ‘Euphoria’.
Thanks for reading, and for your tweets, emails and comments: it’s been a blast. See you all in Stockholm next year?