The Eurovision Song Contest 2005
The Grand Final (vote)

The intermission

Okay guys... time to vote!
Well. That's it for the songs. Two missed (so I hope they weren't ass-kicking). While Masha and Pasha (or "Ant and Shriek" as Terry described them) talk about the voting, I'll give you my line-up for the top ten. I'll stick my neck out even more and I'll say this is the order...
1. Bosnia & Herzegovina (Abba-like)
2. Latvia (the war is not over)
3. Moldova (drumming granny)
4. Israel (nice loss-of-love song)
5. Switzerland (Vanilla Ninja)
5. Russia (so she's cute, okay?)
6. Norway (aging rockers)
7. Denmark (the special needs teacher with the gross shirt)
8. Malta (the angel of the south)
9. Sweden (Las Vegas and the lack of showgirls)
10. Spain (Las Ketchup)
Some of my favourites...

(look, everybody is right-handed)

There are two number 5's as I think Switzerland would rank around here, going by their performance in the semis. I don't like putting the drumming granny in third, but then it'll do well because... because it had a drumming granny in it... God help us...


In the recap, Germany's entry looks like Jeanette gone way goth.

Terry suggested Hungary, Greece, Latvia, and Switzerland. He says he is worried about Moldova as grannies around the world will become unbearable for the next year if they win.

I am not going to say my three most-hated as they all qualified in the semis, so I will not jinx Bosnia by saying "I hated xxx the most!".



As in the semi-finals, Moray has allowed me to share with you his thoughts on who should have made the top ten:



The interval. Drums, and a weird ballet bloke wearing pyjamas. Where's Ruslana?

A 'body artist'.
While this guy is dancing slowly to relaxing musak, I'll say that I quite liked this Eurovision. There are some I'd play back the VCR and snarf a poor-man's MP3 of (#1, #2, #4 out of my list for sure).

What, no more flame throwing?
Ah, here is Ruslana dressed in red. About time... Yes, she really has the "Cath-Zeta-Jones crossed with Xena" thing going. And all in all, The Ukraine has put on a hell of a performance. This big global production (it has a wider audience than just Europe you know) following on from their successful struggle for independence, I'm sure The Ukraine are dead chuffed with it all right now...



Honorary regrets to...

Regrets, and my heart goes out to, Aline Lahoud from Lebanon.

If for just a couple of hours out of an entire year a country cannot get its act together enough to allow the broadcasting of a competitor's song (it isn't as if they have to vote for it or anything) then what hope is there?

Aline's song is in French. "Quand Tout S'Enfuit" ("When Everything Has Gone"). It begins a soft Arabic sounding number that you'd expect to hear a plinky-plonky piano in. A sort-of bluesy number. It picks up the pace, and Aline's voice is up to the job. Had this been in the contest, it would have done well, most likely a top ten.



The results

Because I cannot guarantee there will be no reception hiccups for the voting, I'm not going to include pictures of the presenters this time.

They like light presenters/presentations against dark backgrounds...
Masha is wearing a bright silver dress. Pasha just looks like a penguin, again...

Monaco offered the same not-Princess-Stephanie announcer as last time, with the annoying faux-posh voice. No points at all for France from Monaco. Oh dear!

The Monican(? Monicalese?) vote.


A number of people think the voting stage, which takes a good hour or so, is a boring part. You really have to have been a viewer for a long time to realise that, even with the televote, the voting is probably more political than whether or not the song was 'good'.
Sorry to disappoint, but I vote songs on whether or not I like them (as good a method as any, right?) rather than who lives next to who. For example, Iceland gave their 12 points to Norway. And what's the betting Greece and Cyprus...

They always look happy in Iceland...

How many of you listen to the Shipping Forecast on Radio Four (198 LW)? The weather in the South-East Iceland area is rarely anything to be happy about!

Good grief, the Belgian announcer is loaded down with jewellery. Not 'bling' exactly, but getting close. She's like a jewel-woman's Jimmy Saville.

The almost-bling looks almost-heavy.

So far, about five or six votes in, the UK, Cyprus, and France have no votes. Norway is showing much better this year, after the bad result for poor Og, Ugh, Ung, Borg... some short word like that... wait, it was "Knut" wasn't it? That was his name...


The leader board at this stage is:
Switzerland 59 (Vanilla rock chicks imported from Estonia)
Israel 48 (a nice simple song)
Malta 46 (big lass sings big)
Latvia 46 (the war is not over)
Norway 45 (rock'n'roooooollll!)

It seems the Scanda-Baltic countries that have voted thus far have a taste broadly similar to mine.


Ireland gave the UK eight points, the only to vote for the UK so far. The Slovenians gave their votes mostly to their fellow Balkans.
The Polish announcer said that he had the pleasure of giving the Polish vote, but then he'd say he had the pleasure of burying somebody with the exact same expression. The world is watching, man, SMILE! Take them 'appy pills, or something...

Hey, dude, SMILE!


Cheryl Baker was celebrating 50 years of Eurovision by drinking a Buck's Fizz. An amusing joke that might have been lost on some, even after she briefly explained it. Good grief, we're almost looking back to the days when Brother Cliff took part! ("Making Your Mind Up", 1981)

Cheryl, enjoying a Buck's Fizz...

At this stage the lovely quiet "The War Is Not Over" is doing well, but Greece (the bookie's favourite) has just leapt into second place thanks to a 12 from the UK. It is nice to see the drumming granny is not storming into the top place.

We cut to Ruslana and some boxer in the Green Room. Couple that with Masha (Terry calls her "Shriek") and the world will think that the Ukrainians shout a lot!

She did her piece in English ... I thought she didn't speak English? Perhaps she did it the Antonia Banderas method?   It is nice to see that some superstitions are fairly universal.

What is the Norwegian announcer wearing? It is like a cartoon, almost an animated blouse... And furthermore there will be riots and political strife as they only gave Sweden ONE point. Is that for real?

Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike it, it is that it is very... you know... 'loud'.

The leader board now, about halfway through, is:
Latvia 104 (the war is not over)
Greece 100 (J-Lo-alike)
Israel 97 (simple song)
Denmark 92 (the yucky shirt)
Romania 88 (angle grinders)
The Turks gave the UK one point, and Terry said "Don't break your heart", well Terry, firstly you should perhaps be rooting for the Irish entry and secondly Javine wasn't the nicest of the selection that the British picked. If she doesn't score well, I won't be surprised.

Terry said "Anybody know what country Moldova is near?", and I must echo that. Where is Moldova? It sounds like one of these dark'n'damp places in far eastern Europe.
I have subsequently been emailed (thank you!) to say that Moldova is a narrow-ish country inbetween the north east of Romania and the south west of Ukraine. So now you know...


A few people have asked me about the bizarre accent of the Andorran announcer. To my ears, after listening to her points half a dozen times, it is as if she is giving the country and the score in French, and then saying 'points' in English, as she sure isn't saying 'pwah'. It is 'punto' in Spanish, so she isn't saying that either... Go figure...

Quelque-chose, douze points!


Oooh! Oooh! Latvia and Greece neck and neck, with 116. Please can somebody (or perhaps several somebodies) give little to Greece and loads to Latvia? "The War Is Not Over" was a much better song than the Greek entry...
Balls! Albania gave 12 to Greece and, IIRC, nothing to Latvia. Argh! Ugh! Argh! Okay, so I sound like Amilyn, so sue me. :-)

It gets worse - 12 from Cyprus, though not exactly unexpected.

The Spanish announcer looks like a Las Ketchup girl given a Jennifer Anniston makeover.

I'm sure you can see what I mean!

Well, Latvia started so well, but now it is trailing 25-ish points from Greece.

Serbia & Montenegro gave their 12 to Greece. YES! Denmark only gave them 2. Latvia only have 40 to catch up on.

Annika Jankell is presenting for Sweden (they, amusingly, caption their presenters so we know who they are!) - every point counts now, but Latvia only get 3, while Greece get 12. Well, I think we know the winner now don't we? Helena Paparissou (or something like that) is quite happy with her vote - but did you know she was actually born in Sweden?

Like it says on the box - Annika Jankell.

Funny that, Macedonia voting high for Serbia and Albania. Like I told you...

Greece is now at 188, some 42 over everybody else.

Would you believe the announcer of The Ukraine is also called Mariya? She was asked to restart the votes from the beginning, and they had a brief pause for another moment. Weird. Maybe the people running the show expected the results to be different?

The Germans only gave Moldova one point, I'd have thought such nonsense would have amused them. Another 12 to Greece.

The signal has improved now, by the way, as if the Digibox needed a committee to write a memo to say the sun had set so stop messing around...

At least the Greeks can't vote for themselves, though it'll take quite a miracle (of the time travelling type) to fix up their massive lead...



But no, Greece pulled through with a gap of 38.
The top ten places went to:
Greece 230 (J-Lo-alike)
Malta 192 (the big song)
Romania   (angle grinders)
Israel   (nice simple song)
Latvia   (the twosome with the sign language)
Moldova   (drumming granny)
Serbia & Montenegro   (crappy boy band clones)
Switzerland   (Vanilla rock)
Norway   (rock lives!)
Denmark   (John Lithgow)
The top five songs are certainly an interesting mix - there is no similarity to them whatsoever.

Added later:
Mom said that the Greek vote was one of the highest votes ever recorded, according to Radio Four.
This is no achievement as we had 39 countries voting so the highest possible score this year (39 x 12) is a cool 468; perhaps dividing the score by the number of countries to take part will give us a better indication of the popularity of the song?
This time, then, Greece's adjusted ranking is 5.8974358974358974358974358974359 (approximately!).
In contrast, last year The Ukraine scored 280 (and Greece's 230 would have put them in fourth place!). Applying the same logic, Ruslana's Wild Dance scores 8 which makes it a much more popular song!


It is ironic that the least voted countries are:

It is worth noticing that these are not only the big players in old-Europe, but are also the main contributors to the EBU, those who are guaranteed to always have a place in the contest, and not to be relegated to the semi-final - perhaps there is a message here from the rest of Europe?


You can get all of the songs of this year (as with the previous three years) on audio CD, as well as new this year on DVD. The CDs are normal recordings of the songs and are not of the performance 'on the night'.

The Eurovision 2005 CD


Terry says only the final 24 countries should vote, as all 39 "drag it out", but that might be seen as being a little bit unfair to those countries that do not quality, and to the EBU contributors who do not need to quality (no matter how bad their songs are).



The results

Malta192Bosnia & Herzegovina79
Latvia153F.Y.R. Macedonia52
Serbia & Montenegro137Sweden30
Denmark125United Kingdom18

Read a complete analysis of the scoring



The final analysis

To analyse my predictions, I am pleased to see that while I did not choose the winner (though the bookies were correct the second year running), I did pick six out of the ten, and with the exception of Malta, I also got the correct six in the right order - Latvia, Moldova, Israel, Switzerland, Norway, and Denmark - there oughta be points for that. Or perhaps cries of "get a life!".

I am suprised that the bouncy chicks from Bosnia & Herzegovina didn't score higher - they didn't even make top ten. To their credit, they are the only part of the performance, aside from Masha and Pasha during an ad break, that paid any sort of tribute to fifty years of Eurovision.
I mean, where was Ruslana yodelling a medley of "Puppet On A String" and "Boom-Bang-A-Bang" (1967 and 1969, possibly before her time - certainly before mine!). Masha could have given an a cappella rendition of "The Voice" (1996) especially for Terry Wogan who'd have fled the auditorium. Perhaps all of the contestants could have gathered together to sing Lys Assia's "Refrain", the very first winning song, from way back in 1956.

What can we learn from this year? Well, we can learn that the perfect Eurovision song for 2005 should be a big old woman banging a drum with an angle grinder whilst attempting to sign the song. Anybody that can do all of that and not detach numerous body parts deserves to win!


I can only commiserate for Latvia who were doing well for so long only to win up in fourth place; and to welcome you next year as the contest comes from Athens... assuming of course that you will still want to read my witterings a year from now.


Until then, peace and love.


Okay then, well done Greece... :-)





Reflections (added later)

For those with access to BBC THREE or similar digital channels in other countries, you may have had a 'behind the scenes' peek at the goings on after the contest. The offering on BBC THREE consisted mainly of the Norwegian lead singer who had obviously been at the bottle, which had the effect of making him comically horny, perhaps much to the astonishment of the woman in the BBC tent!
But right at the beginning we had this gem - the surround around the door out of the auditorium had started to fall down so nobody could get out. Several attempts to put it back up failed, so somebody finally used their brain and pulled it down.
The man with the yellow microphone is BBC THREE's Paddy.
Uh-oh! This should have been Risk Assessed, or maybe not held up with bubble-gum!

Having watched the contest entries again (including the ones I didn't get to see the first time)...
I had previously thought that it was a bit hard on Germany to score so badly, but now I understand - though quite why certain other songs did so much better is beyond my understanding. I also don't understand why France's entry came second-to-last. It wasn't a memorable song, no. But, then, it wasn't a bad song.

Moldova, I think, probably only did as well as they did thanks to the drumming crustie. This does not explain the rubbish from Serbia coming in seventh place.

I would like to wish a better score on the Russian entry, but I do have to concede that the song was mostly gibberish. Nataliya is singing it in my own language and I've listened to it some ten times and I still don't know what she is on about. Is it an anti-war song? Is it a loss-of-love-is-a-bad-thing song? You've got me...
...and this is a shame. I downloaded the lyrics from the Eurovision website, and it seems so clear now - like how did I have problems with it before? Duh!
In case I'm not the only one:

Hello sweet America, where did our dream disappear?
Look at little Erica - all she learns today is to fear
You deny the truth - you're just having fun
'til your child will shoot your gun
Chorus: Nobody hurt no one (x4)
She didn't wanna go to school, didn't wanna face all this pain
"Mommy, can I stay at home? I am scared the boys are insane!
Don't you dare to say her reaction's dumb ... 'cos she had no place to run.

Those who I feel sorry for are the threesome from Bosnia. Fourteenth place (and after the daft "Rimi Rimi Ley" and the depressingly titled "Wolves Die Alone") is simply unjust. I've made frequent comments as to this song being pretty much the only reference to the 50th anniversary of Eurovision and - amazingly - the entire performance on the night made very little of it.
We heard nothing of Lys Assia's "Refrain", the first winning song in 1956. Those of you a generation older than me will recall "Puppet On A String" (Sandie Shaw, 1967) and "Boom Bang-A-Bang" (Lulu, 1969) which won for the UK in an era when music was more innocent.
I think practically everybody on the planet knows "Waterloo" from 1974. Do you remember Brotherhood Of Man's "Save Your Kisses For Me"? Eurovision, 1976.
Buck's Fizz's "Making Your Mind Up" was from 1981 and rippy-offy-skirty acts have followed ever since. Then came the Irish era. Or, more specifically, the Johnny Logan era. I would have said 'with classics such as...' but I didn't actually like them that much. A better Irish entry was the winning song from Eimear Quinn in 1996 called "The Voice". And, yes, she was a singer in Anùna. It shows, doesn't it?
One year before that, Nocturne won it for Norway with "Secret Garden". Anybody who watches figure skating will know that this musical piece (no vocals!) pops up quite often, especially during the free programmes.
Terry Wogan mentioned that Switzerland importing acts (Vanilla Ninja are Estonian) is nothing new. One of those imports was in 1998. Céline Dion who, incidentally, won it for them. Switzerland's previous win was a long time before, with a gentle little song performed by Lys Assia.
And we've come full circle.
And none of this was brought into this broadcast of the Eurovision, save to plug a book. So let's take our hats off to the Bosnian girls (amusingly called Femminem!) who seemed to be the only ones that remembered. They deserved a better score than fourteenth.

The words to Call Me (Zovi) are:

I used to think that we could never make it
A million hearts could never beat as one
But now - miracle is not so hard to find
There were times when I really doubted
If, after stormy weather, always comes the sun
But now - I can see the world from a different side, yeah, yeah
Singer after singer remembered
Different flags the nations gather
From the north to the south, all standing side by side
There was laughter and there was crying
But after all I'm not denying
I'm so happy to be here, 'cos it's the time of my life...
Call me!
Everytime you're feeling lonely
Our greatest wish is one and only
Sing with me - it's how it should be
For the rest of our lives, so won't you
Call me!
We'll reach the very top - and nothing less
United in a song, that's all it takes
Fifty candles on the party cakes
For the many years of happiness.
Repeat from:
There were times when I really doubted
If, after stormy weather, always comes the sun

The original version said "Fifty candles on the forty cakes", but after Lebanon's leave from the contest, they changed it to "Fifty candles on the party cakes", though one of my friends misheard it as "Fifty candles on the farty cakes"! :-)


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