The Local's live Eurovision commentary
Ben Knight · 14 May 2011, 21:00
Published: 14 May 2011 21:00 GMT+02:00
- Eurovision counts down (14 May 11)
Ell, or Nikki, says he's "the happiest man in the world right now," while whichever is the other one thanks God. They're all weeping uncontrollably. Sweden's Eric Saade is sitting backstage on his own with a bottle of champagne looking into a mirror, saying, "I WILL be popular" over and over again. E and N sing "Running Scared" again, as is traditional.
All the German commentators are expressing general astonishment at the winner.
That's it from me. Düsseldorf did good. Still think it should have been in Berlin, though. Thanks for reading! I'm off to listen to some real music, and look up the capital of Azerbaijan.
AZERBAIJAN HAVE WON IT! Bonkers! Lena has just brought the trophy and handed it over to ELL AND NIKKI! She looks relieved.
Now Italy, with that funny little jazz number is in second place, with the Swedish Eric in third. Lena is in a respectable tenth, ten points behind Ireland. In last place, by the way, is Switzerland. The age of the Lena is over.
Azerbaijan are winning it. Ell and Nikki. Boy, my thumb is not on the pulse of European musical tastes. Portugal didn't give any points to Germany. Last year, bitter people were saying that Germany only won because it bailed out Greece. This week, the Bundestag even tried to help Lena by voting to bail out Portugal.
Well, the French experiment with opera does not seem to have worked out. Ha, take that, Le Fop Francais! The Polish presenter tried to muster up some tension by leaving a longer gap than usual before announcing the points. So long that she seemed to have actually stopped. It was funny. You had to be there.
Well, it's all about Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Sweden, still. Jedward are dropping down the order, while Bosnia's Dino Merlin is looking well-placed. Somehow, the male points-givers all manage to be incredibly annoying. It's like the different countries chose the most-bullied man in the country.
It's between Sweden and Azerbaijan. Popular boy and Harold and Maude. But Jedward are back in third place! They sneaked up on me there. That would be impossible in real life, though. I'd hear them bouncing up behind me.
Looks like that Eric Saade really will be popular. He's building a lead. Maybe he'll get that girl. But if you ask me she's not good enough for you, Eric. Denmark just gave Lena eight points. That's nice, seeing as they just closed their border.
Ireland and Jedward just got their first 10 points from Finland. And France has just 20 altogether. So much for the Bild favourites. It's really tight. Lena is stuck in the middle. I wish I was there. Ukraine and Sweden are leading. In front of Greece and UK.
No clear leaders yet. UK is top with Ukraine. So there's egg on my face. A few boos in the room when Cyprus gives Greece its 12. Why don't they give them to Turkey for a change? I know they're not in it this year.
Something very weird is happening. Stefan Raab just referenced Ronald Reagan – finally giving the Cold War the Eurovision treatment. Maybe this is the working-through of history the Germans keep talking about.
The wall to the floating Star Wars parliament green room just opened, and all the artists are floating there, perhaps fretting over the future of the Trade Federation.
Russia gives the top points to Azerbaijan.
Bulgaria gives top points to the UK.
The Netherlands votes for Denmark.
Figure that one out, conspiracy theorists.
Well, Germany's legendary efficiency was certainly on display there. They fairly whipped through those 25 songs with a cold-blooded ruthlessness – but instead of organizing a transport network, it was a gaudy, unforgettable vortex of Europeanness.
Now Stefan and Ange and the other just counted down the end of the voting period. That means the decision has been made. We just have to wait another two hours to find out what it was. My heart says Moldova, my head says Jedward. Actually a bit of my heart says Jedward too. My girlfriend's heart says Lena, because she's so sick of her German friends cursing the poor girl. She says the sheer Schadenfreude of a Lena win would actually bring her inner peace.
Hell hath no fury like a German backlash.
Mika Newton, from Ukraine is difficult to concentrate on because somehow a crazy woman has managed to get onto the stage with a tray full of sand is frantically drawing pictures in it. It's a song called Angel, and it sounds alright, I think.
And then Serbia's Nina is giving us a faux-1960s number – all primary colours and bold eye make-up and those startled looks, while the competition ends with Georgia's Eldrine with some kind of soft-rock number called "One More Day" which causes the ARD commentator to wonder "how they got through all that security."
The phonelines are open another 10 minutes or so. Let the paranoid political back-biting commence. I feel used and abused.
Phew, another break. They've just switched to the "green room," and interviewed the French ponce. The green room appears to be divided into various floating pods, like the parliament chamber in Star Wars. Stefan Raab is about to declare martial law, I expect.
Oops, they've started again. After a non-descript Christina Aguilera-type warbler from Slovenia, Iceland have a group of fat lads on singing a feel-good ditty in waistcoats. Very smart. And Spain also have a chirpy number which promises "They Can't Take The Fun Away From Me" by Lucia Perez. No, but sometimes you feel like they're trying really hard, don't you, Lucia.
Sorry, I can't concentrate. A deranged Austrian woman with too much hairspray on is screaming at me. It's a noise piercing my skull. An audible headache.
Oh, it's okay. She's gone now. A much gentler noise is coming from the general direction of Azerbaijan, who have entered a kind of Harold and Maude act this year. Two of the country's biggest popstars, Ell and Nikki (don't ask me which is which), are singing a love duet. There is apparently a big age gap between the two. The boy looks about 11, so I reckon the girl is 21. They are "running on scared," apparently.
Moldova – Zbob Zbub - So Lucky. It involves men in gnome's hats and a fairy on a unicycle. They are singing "I like to rock." It's a bit like the Beastie Boys doing a Haribo advert. Absolutely brilliant!
Lena is on now. And you know what? Even though I thought it was probably the worst of the semi-final songs, when she sang against herself for about seven hours on TV. It really does stand out next to all the anthems about changing the world and dreaming of it, and life-affirming, Obama 08-esque "I Cans". It still won't win though.
That's exactly what we get from Romania's Hotel FM. What's the title again? "Change"
Ah – lovely lovely Swiss girl singing a naive love song. The Swiss government recently had to release a statement denying that Anna Rossinelli was a copy of Lena. "Honestly. We totally thought of her ourselves," it said.
Now the UK is up. With another totally asinine stinker. Last year's last place could easily be repeated. Hilariously, Blue, singing "I Can" are standing next to giant pictures of themselves. This grandad boyband is about to start a comeback. Dear me.
I think that French ponce just strained something. He looks pained. Don't like him. His operatic pop piece is a blatant rip-off of the Bolero, for one thing. Secondly, I think Lena might get off with him after the show.
Italy has deigned to join Eurovision for the first time in 13 years, I'm told, and Raphael Gualazzi has turned up with a song from the 1920's. It's a charming upbeat jazz piece. These Mediterranean lovers better go soon. I'm sitting in my jogging pants in a t-shirt I slept in waiting for a pizza. Feel a bit inadequate.
Greece is probably the most unpopular country in Germany. What with their ridiculous refusal to sell their islands. But Loucas Yiorkas's Watch My Dance has gone down pretty well in Düsseldorf. It's the first entry tonight that involves actual rapping. But it's in Greek. I hate it when they in their own language, and not English. So much less funny.
And then after that comes a young Russian man who is coming to "Get You" – I suppose it's a kind of complementary piece to Lena's "Taken By A Stranger." Could this be the year that Eurovision is taken over by stalker-themed hits?
About a third of the way through now. Here's a gallery of the candidates to keep track.
Rockefeller Street, by Getter Jaani. Have you ever wondered about the groove in Rockefeller Street, that magical place in a parallel Manhattan? Getter is wearing a shocking pink dress and looks like she needs to stop eating food with artificial colouring. "Everything is more than surreal" there. Now you know.
Hungary's disco pop songstress Kati Wolf is asking "What About My Dreams?" I often yearn to stand in front of a football stadium full of people and sing the same question. What ever happened to that dream I had about the shark that came out of the swimming pool and asked me turned into my mother?
And then Jedward flashed across the screen like two shiny toothbrushes – sort of marching like something out of Fantasia. The commentators
And then, surely, nothing will top Sweden's Eric Saade, with his song Popular. The lyrics are immortal. "Stop don't say it's impossible, cos I know it's possible." Then he sings "I will be popular" more often than is good for his soul.
Denmark's weirdly named "A Friend in London" follows, singing some awful anthem about girls and boys in a crazy, crazy world and a New Tomorrow. I'm sure if they write another song it will explain this Utopian vision in greater depth.
Then Lithuania's Evelina Sasenko follows, accompanying her Broadway musical-style ditty with a bit of sign language. She is apparently determined to inflict C'est Ma Vie on everyone she can.
Paradise Oskar was followed by Dino Merlin from Bosnia-Herzegovina, singing Love In Rewind. Brilliant name – sadly, Dino is dressed like a seedy comedian.
Yes! The first song is one of my favourites. Finland's Paradise Oskar is singing Da Da Dam. It's some kind of environmental song about an extremely impressionable nine-year-old called Peter. His teacher tells him the planet is dying, and he goes home and tells his mum he's going out to "save our planet." "And I'm not coming back till it's saved," he informs her. So that's it. He's off. While singing this alarming story, Paradise Oskar grins enigmatically about the terrible future the Scandinavian lad has inflicted on himself.
The ARD actually did do a countdown. The last ten seconds. There's me thinking it was a figure of speech. Stefan Raab – our host this evening along with Anke Engelke and some tall blonde I've never seen before in my entire life - is kicking off the proceedings with a storming rockabilly version of Satellite – rock guitars, two drumkits, dancers with European flags – and then Lena herself appears singing her old hit! It's already turned shamelessly into a Lena show. Why don't they just get Lena to sing all the countries' entries and be done with it?
The realization is now sinking in that that we may have just heard the best song of the night.
By the way, if Bild is to be believed – and why should we doubt its authority – Lena's main title contenders this evening are the Irish twins Jedward and the French pop tenor Amaury Vassili. If you are not from the UK, you might not know yet that Jedward were scientifically bred to be amazing. They were among the highly placed losers in Britain's pop talent show X-Factor, where they performed an already legendary mash-up of Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby and Queen's Under Pressure. They have ridiculous quiffs and if you squint they resemble a pair of a electrocuted Care Bears. Amaury Vassili, is the world's youngest professional tenor (aged 21) and a big, floppy-haired ponce. One minute to go!
The last 20 minutes are running. I can barely contain my excitement. German state TV, ARD, has just shown its 3,889th montage of Lena's year – the story of her metamorphosis from fresh, authentic school girl to sultry, ultra-successful pop diva has been spun out one last time. Plenty of media outlets have suggested she has changed beyond recognition, Yahoo – the home of news reliability - said the other day that she's become "arrogant," and that we will never get that innocence of Oslo 2010 back. It's like her celebrity is a kind of puberty. Well, she's just been interviewed looking tired and numb, but she promised "don't worry, about half an hour before I go on, I get so nervous. My breasts feel like they're going to implode." She's still our Lena!
Germany's Lena will perform at number 16 out of the 25 finalists on Saturday night. The full running list is as follows:
2. Bosnia & Herzegovina
14. United Kingdom
I'll try to stay sober until at least Moldova hits the stage.
Just one hour to go! Can't keep Slovenian and Slovakia straight? Is Lena's song "Taken by a Stranger" creepy or camp? The Local will gently steer you through the 56th edition of that pop juggernaut that is Eurovision.
If you don't have TV access to the show you can try the official web stream here. But be forewarned – it just crashed my browser! Twice!