Everything you missed at this year’s Eurovision

What do you mean you were out on Saturday night?

Eurovision is an annual Europe-wide, music competition where countries are challenged to channel their national emotions into a three-minute song. This year, Sweden, the land of happiness, joy and where everything happens to go pretty well, sang a song about not being sorry and frankly, I don’t blame them. The UK sang about not being alone, possibly a nod towards next month’s EU referendum.

And Ukraine? They took a slightly different tact and sang about being invaded.

But here’s why in my opinion this year’s was the best ever:

The songs were genuinely good and as catchy as ever

The following three songs are my favourites, so much so that they’re already in my Spotify playlist, I love them so much. Evidently, the audience did too. Well, yes, all the songs are in my Spotify playlist, but that’s not the point.

Spain’s entry Barei entered a lively, upbeat tune which you can’t help but hum along to in your head. The audience loved this one too. Yay for Spain.

This year’s French entry actually has pretty deep meaning, it’s about a man discovering himself and looking for the mysterious “you”. Perfect for Eurovision then. Breaking from tradition, part of the song was even in l’Anglais. If you have a total aversion to the French language however, Amir was even kind enough to make a full English version here, though most of the meaning is lost and it in no way translates.

The other pretty big tune this year was Russia’s You are the Only One. It was the bookies’ favourite for most of the run-up to the final. The staging employed was spectacular though had a slight resemblance to last year’s winner. Hmmm. Curious. What’s more, Russia wasn’t booed for the first time in a while. Well done Sergey.

Performances were pretty sensible yet we still got madness

This year was somewhat disappointing for the hardcore Eurofans out there; no giants, no dancing grannies, no spontaneous kisses on stage. It was surprisingly sensible and laid back. That said, the interval was a spectacle. Our hosts, Sweden, put on a fantastic performance incorporating something from every act, past and present. Had it been completely up to the public, there’s a decent chance it could have won despite being longer than the fabled three minutes. I give you, “Love Love, Peace Peace”.

Graham Norton’s commentary was his best yet

Let’s be honest, half the reason people tune in, at least in the UK, is to keep up with the tradition of mocking our continental neighbours. Graham Norton does a fine job at successfully slating every person to appear and so he should, he’s had years to refine his method. I was in tears for most of the contest. He criticised the Australian announcer for her tangled headphones (actually a strange ornamental necklace), commented on the Maltese act for her curiously avant-garde maternity wear, and expressed general annoyance with Germany’s Jamie Lee. The Independent sums his best quotes up nicely.

Last year’s winner Måns Zermellöw got plenty of screentime

What’s more, last year’s winner treated us to another performance of last year’s hit Heroes as well as following the age-old protocol of showing off some of his latest songs; not to mention his awesome swegway skills. Unfortunately for him, he was outdone by a performance by JT.

The UK finally got the famous ‘douze points’

This year, the BBC finally went back to letting the British public choose our entry. Though we were still near the bottom of the league table, Joe and Jake actually did a good job with their catchy upbeat song. In any case, it was leagues better than the continental-sized tragedy that was Electro Velvet last year. I don’t have the courage to embed their video and further damage national pride so if you’re seriously desperate, click here. Either way, shout out to Malta for our first “douze points” in seven years.

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Australia did really well

What’s that, you don’t understand why Australia is in Eurovision? Neither do I. It’s Eurovision, it’s not meant to make sense. It’s the one time of the year when the British stop hating things just because they don’t understand them. Somehow, they’ve come close to winning both years they’ve entered. If they did win, they’d have to choose a European country to host, maybe it could be us? Given we have no chance of winning ever again, I say we put the full voting power of the UK behind them next year.

Australia Europe

The Ukrainian results announcers looked like this

Ukraine Announcement

I have so many questions… I’m sure none of them will be answered. Yet another thing that makes absolutely no sense.

The results were actually really tense for a change

Despite voting normally going on for what seems like an eternity only to know the result before even half the votes have been cast, this year we had a giant shake-up. I’ve got to admit, it kept me on the edge of my seat. Australia looked like the clear winner up until the last four minutes. Four minutes of pain, tension, despair and an awfully large amount of uncomfortable pauses. The summer break could not come sooner after experiencing that level of intensity.

And the winner was really emotional

Aside from almost tripping over and breaking her leg as she trekked back to the stage, Ukraine’s Jamala managed to deliver a great and heartfelt winning performance. A deeply personal, and slightly political song, her entry was not without controversy; it had been criticised by Russia before the final. All the more tantalising to watch given Russia effectively lost to her in the last few seconds of voting.

So, if you haven’t watched it already, swing open iPlayer and get on with it. You’re missing out big time. Or at the very least commit to watching it next year. Who knows, if you commute to Kiev, you might even see me there.

University of Bath