The contest opened with some footage of big moments, like winning, before dissolving into scenes of deserted cities with the text "ONE DIFFERENT WORLD" overlaid, a poignant reminder (as it it were necessary) of exactly how dramatically things have changed in the past few months.
Indeed, the venue that was intended to host the contest has itself been repurposed as an emergency hospital.
All images this year are taken from a recording of the live broadcast on BBC ONE HD. Copyright © EBU, BBC, everybody except me...
After a brief introduction by the hosts, we're straight off to see Johnny Logan, the two time winner (Russia's Sergey and Germany's Lena tried that - it didn't go so well). He talks briefly and then performs an "audience participation" version of his famous song.
Things that would have been difficult a few years ago are now fairly simple - mobile phones having decent video capabilities, networks having the bandwidth to transfer all that data, and servers/computers powerful enough to assemble all of this footage into a big screen of little frames in real-time. This is a technique that I've seen recently in music videos from "Pas Beaux" (Vitae & Slimane) to "Et demain?" (Et demain?). I would imagine artists in other countries are doing similar.
Next come some snippets of each song, a mere thirty seconds or so, followed by a little presentation by each competitor. Some were sweet, some were odd, and some were incomprehensible. Much like the contest itself then...
The songs were presented in groups of eight.
Now it's over to Mans performing an acoustic version of "Heroes" aimed at the current heroes of our time - the healthcare workers who are doing amazing work in an awful situation.
A brief talk with Poland's Viki (to remind us all that the Junior Eurovision is still going (British viewers can get it from S4C)), to a version of "Hallelujah". No, not Leonard Cohen, but Gali Atari who won back in 1979. Along with some children from JESC (none of which I recognised) and a billion Chinese lanterns floating over a deserted Jerusalem, it was quite a spectacle.
Some more talking and some more song snippets, to be followed by something quite lovely.
The drone shots of the empty city were quite astonishing. I suppose, living out in the country where nothing much happens, it is easy to not realise the utter stark difference of busy noisy cities now suddenly...empty.
A performance of "Molitva", on the empty streets of Belgrade. I like that song. Performed by Marija Šerifović, this won for Serbia in 2007.
The music continues with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra performing a quarantine version of "Love Shine A Light", something that might have seemed a ridiculous idea a mere few months ago is now the new normal.
A brief selection of viewer photos (and two dogs?) to take up some time while other channels in other countries switch out to adverts.
Back to the contest, and eight more snippets.
Following that, a performance of "Ein Bißchen Frieden" (originally by Nicole for Germany in 1982 - the girl and her guitar) by Ilse DeLange and Michael Schulte. Ilse was half of The Common Linnets for The Netherlands.
Eight more song snippets, and then a talk with Netta who then performs something completely different - sitting on bed looking normal and singing with a little music box as the only accompaniment.
The music continues with Duncan Laurence, still sitting at a piano and surrounded by a hundred dim lightbulbs.
A visit to various performers, and Alexander Rybak...what the hell? The difference between him in 2009 and him today eleven years later is his quarantine hair. Or maybe it's just bed head. Either way, he's clearly drinking the same magic potion as Mylène Farmer in order to defy that affliction known as "aging".
More snippets. Armenia seems like a sweet girl, and then performs looking like the scary half of Shakespeare's Sister.
A little message from Björn Ulvaeus (who I trust does not need any further introduction) who mocks himself and subtely mocks the contest as well.
Continuing with the talking, an interview with the UK's Graham Norton. It's a little awkward.
The final musical performance of the night is all of the contestants performing "Love Shine A Light" together.
And finally... will there be a Eurovision Song Contest next year? Well, the plan is to hold it in Rotterdam. I believe they also mentioned holding the JESC (that's usually in early December). The thing is, whether or not this actually happens will depend a lot on the state of the current pandemic. There may not be a Eurovision 2021. Nor an Olympics 2021. But don't worry. Just as FIFA matches will resume, so too will Eurovision.
This isn't an end, this is merely an interruption.
A final goodbye as the credits roll, and then the famous EBU title to play us out. Bah-bah bah-ba-bah ba-duh-ba-da....
I'm getting the unspoken lurking theme is getting rat-arsed? With Bulgaria's "Tears Getting Sober" and Romania's "Alcohol You" (it's a play on words - "Alcohol you when I'm drunk" (say it aloud)).
As for the songs, it is difficult to judge songs based upon short snippets, but given that's all I had to go on, I'll say, roughly Norway, Iceland, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Albania...and maybe Spain, Portugal, and Australia. My favourite snippet was Norway.
The UK hasn't won since forever, and their recent songs have been rather naff (this year's entry a little above the mediocre but not a winner). However they can take confort from the fact that when they do win, they do it in style. This would have been the 65th Eurovision. 65 years with many hundreds of songs. And the theme of this year's programme? Europe Shine A Light, and the song that underpinned that message? The UK's powerful winning entry by Katrina And The Waves. You can be proud of that. All of Eurovision history, and that song said what needed to be said in this difficult time.
For the show itself - well, I still think the performers were a little short-changed. The songs, now presented, cannot be reentered next year. So the broadcast was little bits of performance videos. Some were the sort of recordings you'd expect to see from the national performances (I even caught one had a bit of that vocal talent programme - the one with the spinning chairs), while others had proper videos to accompany them. All now condensed into a mere thirty second clip per song.
I suppose we're supposed to find it on YouTube, but it seems like a lot of work for... for what? They didn't even try to hold any sort of public vote on the website (the UK did in a programme just prior to the contest, and predictably Abba's "Waterloo" won).
That aside, it was actually a touching, poignant, and somewhat moving broadcast - with the central theme of "you're not alone". Given the many empty streets and the many in various degrees of confinement, perhaps that's a message that cannot be said loudly enough.
In this time, we need to take care of ourselves.
But more than that, we need to take care of each other.
Same time next year, in whatever form it takes...
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|Dude, 24th May 2020, 14:45|
Eurovision? Who watches that trash?
|Rick, 24th May 2020, 16:20|
Global audiences of 180 to 200 million viewers.
This year's broadcast on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAo_LxJzALw
Already had 1.5M views in eight days. That's in addition to broadcast viewers.
[skip to +45m30s; Molitva stole the show...again...the rest pales in comparison]
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Last read at 15:28 on 2021/04/20.
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