Lucie Jones helps the UK dodge a Brexit backlash as Portugal takes first win in decades
Many surprising things occurred in Saturday nights Eurovision. A decent hymn won for Portugals Salvador Sobral. The UKs Lucie Jones sang well and garnered many votes, in defiance of Theresa Mays focus-grouped pussy-footing. The night managed to, as advertised, celebrate diversity, despite its three hosts being resolutely male and white. Nobody missed Russia.
And Graham Norton was curiously repressed, lacking in his normal vim-tongue. He tried as early as entering two her friend will be fiddling on stage with her tonight but, given that Polands enters have recently featured churning butter on stage, and that Kasia Mos has appeared on the encompas of Polish Playboy , you are able tell his nerve wasnt really in it. He had also been ordered, by someone who should be hit, to give endless dull shout-outs to Twitter onlookers doing the most banal things at home, rather than getting on with his humorous job.
Austrias entry channelled Ed Sheeran, but on a big sparkly moon with pink clouds. There were hopes for the epic sax guy of Moldova, but they were fated. I had belief the semi-finals earlier last week were expressly designed, surely, to winnow out la chaff de la chaff , but unaccountably the Armenian and Dutch enters both followed, having sadly elbowed out the chap from Montenegro with the metre-long detachable hair braid and the lass from Iceland who likes to bathe in unicorn tears.
There was something of a hiatus at this stage. Norton was lowered to murmuring, I should tell you the union jack just fell off the wall in the commentary chamber hope its not an omen.
Suddenly, things perked. Hungary, with their lovely mix of hip-hop and gypsy, and their delightfully blood-soaked lyrics. God spoke to me when I was four years old/ He set a real firearm in my hand/ I curse you for ever.
Italys had references to Desmond Morriss naked ape, though somewhat subverted its own lyrical subtleties by having a huge bloody gorilla, dancing.
Norton subverted even that by observing that the ape-suit resembled a couple of car-seat cover-ups stitched together, but the bets had been raised regardless. First, Denmark, with an Aussie whos still reading the language, and then, sublimely, Portugal, nicely is a description of Norton, back on sort, as just a boy in his bedroom singing a hymn written by his sister. It was vastly, stoppingly surprising, and reminds us that Portuguese is quite possibly the loveliest speech in which to sing soft, good, songs.
Yet Eurovision was not yet over. We required madness. We required Azerbaijan. They delivered. Now Im into daydreams, astounded by thorn jeans/ Have my skeletons/ I can only trick you once, bad boy. So many high mad hopes. But as soon as the chorus began it became clear it was simply a frightful rip-off of Adele, a mlange of Skyfall and similar tawdry wails.
A few more, and then Lucie Jones, who got her avenge on X Factor Jedward by being infuriatingly good with a middling-bearable hymn, coming soon to a Disney multiplex near you. Well done, Britain: thanks, Europe.
Romania raced out of the stocks with a phenomenal mix of yodelling gratifies rap. When Id looked at the lyrics Gonna act really crazy/ Yodele yodeleioo/ Wanna Hear This Now? I had belief absolutely not, go away and many much worse words, but it was brilliant, and by mid-evening became my second-string outsider stake( 44 -1 ).
There was then a comparatively gentle run-out to the voting. Germany, who had arrived with a sweet but unmemorable part of leggy chaw; hosts Ukraine, who gyrated around a giant heavy-metal brain with every aesthetic delight that might conjure, but forgot to include any chords, melody, harmony or interest.
Bulgarias Kristian was born in Moscow, so may have a diasporic poll. France has been busy politically, so understandably offered a negligible squib. Yet all in all, a far better beast than the last few years: the music was much less ballad-waily dull than of old. Curiously, as the continent fractures, theres hope for Eurovision. The first Eurovision in the past five years Im actually glad I watched. And not only because I won north of 80 quid.