The Null Device

2006/5/21

Finland's metal monsters ran away with Eurovision, winning it with 292 points; a lead of 44. The runners-up were: Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania and Sweden.

The bottom 3 were: France, Israel and Malta, with Malta being the only ones to get nul getting one mercy point from Albania. I guess eyebrows just don't do it.

Lordi are taking to the stage, kissing the Greco-American woman, holding up the prize and giving a mighty roar, and getting back on stage with a reprise of their winning song as the credits roll.

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2006/5/20

And now we come to the voting, a display of national rivalries and political horse-trading set in front of picture-postcard backdrops.

Finland's leading the voting handsomely; the screen showed a bunch of fans in KISS-army/monster makeup celebrating.

The Cypriot representative was blatantly political, announcing that he's voting from "the only divided capital in Europe", and delivering the 12 points, in song, to Greece.

Anyway, we're about halfway through the vote, and I'm calling this one for Finland (leading 163, with Russia following with 137). Eurovision 2007 will be coming to you from Helsinki.

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The Turkish entry involved a woman with extremely bleached hair, singing from deep in her throat over a funky-disco backing track.

And Armenia has a chap in a sequined hoody surrounded by girls with long ponytails like the anti-Daz Sampson. Apparently he's singing in English, though you can't really tell. And now they're doing a bondage routine with black tape.

The Greek woman hosting the show sounds extremely American, both in her accent and the exuberantly bubbly way in which she says that everything is "amazing". If you had a shot every time she said the word "amazing", you'd be catatonic by the end of the night.

And here comes Nana Mouskouri in a flowing white robe and her trademark geek-chic glasses.

I don't know about you, but Lordi get my vote; the Latvians would have been my second preference.

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Ireland's entry is fairly boring; just a well-coiffed gent in a suit singing banalities about every song being a cry for love or something. Bland and inoffensive and guaranteed to be impossible to laugh at, and thus to be easily forgotten.

And Sweden's entry follows the national tradition of sounding like ABBA. This year, they're ripping off "The Winner Takes It All". The singer has a Christian symbol inscribed on her bicep in black texta and scarily white teeth. I am told that she won Eurovision for Sweden in 1991, and then ended up joining some kind of Christian sect. That makes two representatives of fringe religious groups so far.

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Have a guess what the French entry was like. They were a hardcore pirate-punk band. No, I lie. It was a lady in a long frock singing a ballad.

Croatia has resisted the temptation to do Eurodance/R&B/international saccharine ballads, and have a folky number, with dancers in national costume, a chap playing a ukelele with a bow (shades of Sigur Rós there?) and a funny-looking woman in a red frock. Did she really just sing "Afrika Paprika"?

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And Greece's entry is Bonnie Tyler trapped in Anastacia's body, and a rather unique costume.

And here comes Finland, with the mighty Lordi doing "Hard Rock Hallelujah". They're a bunch of blokes in sci-fi monster/alien latex costumes doing a somewhat tongue-in-cheek metal-pop, replete with unusually comprehensible Cookie Monster vocals. Check out the impressive bat wings on the lead singer (that's the chap raising the battle axe towards the sky). I am informed that Lordi are a mainstream pop radio fixture in Finland.

Ukraine, meanwhile, have Eurodance with cossack dancing.

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Lithuania are on now. Their entry is a bunch of guys in suits doing a football chant going "We are the winners of Eurovision, we are we are!", with megaphones, over a muscular backing track, strutting around and dancing spasmodically. I think they're meant to be a comedy act.

And here comes the UK, harnessing Chav Power with Daz "ASBO" Sampson, a balding neckless geezer in a yellow tracksuit top, doing a rap ballad about being a teenager, surrounded by dancers dressed as schoolgirls. It looks like it has been a long time since he has had a teenage life as well.

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Russia had a mulleted, wifebeater-clad Glenn Medeiros impersonator named Dima Bilan doing a ballad, and a human statue emerging from a white piano.

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is jumping on the hip-hop-dancing bandwagon, with a Balkan melody and the power of cut-off denim shorts. As Terry Wogan said, "the legs have it"/

The Romanian number is a piece of high-energy eurodisco with the usual house beat, hoover presets/mid-90s dance-music sounds, ballet-style choreography and a few hamster squeals. It's technically not bad, and slightly less dated than the Russians' entry.

Oh, and the Latvian acapella act before was rather impressive. If this was a meritocracy, they'd be likely to win; Wogan said that they'll probably come last.

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Your Humble Narrator is watching the Eurovision Song Contest. We're up to song 6 (Spain's Las Ketchup doing a number titled "Bloody Mary"; given that the chorus seems to go "Duty Free Duty Free Duty Free", I think it's about cheap booze).

The first few songs have been interesting enough. Moldova did a vaguely hip-hop-flavoured Latin-dance-pop number with choregoraphy that ventured across the line between raunchy and wrong. The Israeli entrant (by a black American member of some Black Hebrew sect or other) was a syrupy R&B ballad, partly in Hebrew, which may have been about world peace, Zionist nationalism or neither. The Swiss entry was 100% pure Eurofromage.

We're now on to the Maltese entry, a pumpin' disco number. Those are some serious eyebrows there. And now we've got some German banjo-pickin' country music, with a blonde singer and a Bert Newton lookalike wearing a cowboy hat. Yee-ha!

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