The Eurovision Song Contest 2007
The Grand Final



An earthshattering fiery introduction by Lordi takes us through more explosions than the average James Bond movie, all the way to the stage in Finland.
As is normal, the later comments that are indented - such as this one - are additions and extra information not present in the as-live writeup.
Oh, and by the way, the "MP3" logos you will see relate to songs that I chose to sample and MP3 myself (from a HiFi video recording of the contest). The songs themselves are not available for download from this site - if you would like a copy then the EBU sells a CD of the studio performances of the songs, and for the live performance you can by a DVD. Check the official site for availability/prices. I don't think there is a CD release of the live performances.

The captioned competition is from a BBC interactive stream. As this can be accessed like any other channel using an FTA receiver (not a Digibox), I was able to set it and BBC One to be the channels alternately swapped by pressing the "recall" button.
What this means to you is that many of the contest pictures have lyrics on-screen. Kudos to the BBC for providing both the original language (including in non-Latin if necessary) and an English translation.
Talking of which, you can see in the subtitle above the line that got some religious types hot under the dog-collar - "Now choose to join us or go straight to hell". There was also apparently some consternation regarding the Swiss entry being about vampires. I guess some people are so cosy in God's love that they miss the whole (unclean) hard rock ethos, not to mention the ages-old vampire superstition. I am reminded of the comments about rock music in Don McLean's song American Pie...
I must clear up a small confusion - the interactive streams are available to viewers using a Digibox, however it would only work going in through the red button system, which could take as long as 30 seconds to load. Using the FTA receiver, I could swap between BBC One and the stream as easily as changing channels (that's what I was doing!), and ironically it changed channels faster than the Digibox...
Upon listening to the songs again, it is interesting to note that the audio on the interactive stream was clearer and brighter than the BBC One (South) broadcast, which sounded slightly muffed. I'm not sure what the reason for this is, however all of you that switched to the interactive system would have received a better sound...

After meeting the hosts of the evening, Jaana Pelkonen (left) and Mikko Leppilampi, we are straight into the opening song...


The songs

1 Bosnia & Herzegovina "Rijeka Bez Imena"

Performed by Maria, in Bosnian.

Freaky dress for this deep serious love song, not unlike a female Lane Moje (Serbia 2004).


2 Spain "I Love You Mi Vida (I love you, my life)"

Performed by D'Nash, in Spanish.

A noisy number from a Spanish boy band, who were not so much singing as shouting. Along with lots of boy band cliches.


3 Belarus "Work your magic"

Performed by Koldum, in English.

The sticky girls again for the high-octane pop song from Belarus.


4 Ireland "They Can't Stop The Spring" MP3'd

Performed by Dervish (Cathy Jordan), in English.

With her accent, there is no mistaking she's Oirish. Tin whistles, a Marianne Faithful-lookee-likee, and bloody Wogan talking over the song.
Lovely, I liked this one. I'd have liked it better sans-Wogan.
As I make some small revisions to this page in December 2007, I still remember this song well - for where else will you find a song with a line about archipelagic icicles?


5 Finland "Leave me alone" MP3'd

Performed by Hanna, in English.

The host country follows up the success of Lordi with another rock number. I have one word - Evanescence.


Another brief chat with our hosts, along with a chat with a big fan of Eurovision dressed up like the princess of Hello Kitty. Her dream was to be a host, and... was a little too contrived to just be a random 'somebody cute we found in the audience'.


6 F.Y.R. Macedonia "Mojot svet (¿Sacred music?)"

Performed by Karolina, in Yugoslavian and little bits of English.

A performance every bit as good as in the semi-final, with a good showing by the ballerina, but I found the music to be a little uninspired, which is a shame as the translation (coo, it is even subbed in Cyrillic!) shows it to be interesting.


7 Slovenia "Cvet z juga (Flower of the south)" MP3'd

Performed by Alenka Gotar, in Slovenian.

The powerful soprano performance rocks. Wow - a top fiver, no doubt.


8 Hungary "Unsubstantial Blues"

Performed by Magdi Rúzsa, in English.

An interesting placing, following Slovenia - I don't think a greater change of pace is possible! A nice bluesy antidote to all those inevitable love songs.


9 Lithuania "Love or Leave"

Performed by The 4Fun, in English.

A sort of mediterrannean jazz, an okay performance, but I'm not sure I'll remember it by the end of the contest...


10 Greece "Yassou Maria (You're next Maria)"

Performed by Sarbel, in Greek and English.

Whoa, we're instantly teleported to the mid '80s for the Greek entry. Every so often there is a song which taps into the very essence of stereotypical Eurovision. This is just such one.
And if Wogan doesn't stop talking over the songs, I'm going to hit him over the head with my keyboard. BBC PLEASE can you dedicate an audio stream to a Wogan-free audio channel next year?


From the postcards, it appears Finland not only have a bit of a Goth culture, it is proud of it!


11 Georgia "Visionary Dream" MP3'd

Performed by Sopho, in English.

Sorry, I don't have anything to add over what I wrote in the semi-final. That isn't because it was a bad song, it is because I was reading the lyrics and thinking "No, I'd not have guessed she was saying that!".
Here's the semi-final review for you:  "Traditional" dance meets a power ballad sung by Sherilyn Fenn, oops, no, it is Sopho. Quite a catchy song, this. I would like to see this go through as it isn't bad, and it is Georgia's very first Eurovision entry.


12 Sweden "The Worrying Kind"

Performed by The Ark, in English.

Okay, it's a bloke with hair like that. What is this? A Status Quo tribute band? Maybe that Japanese fad where hetero boys dress up as girls (it's a long involved rejection-of-sararimen thing) was not so far off the mark after all? Or maybe this year's game is "guess the gender"?


We now take a break for sucky advert channels. The princess hosts a segment where she gets several thousand people to hum the EBU theme - "dah dah-dah dah dah dee da-dah". It's actually a famous piece of music, but most non-classical people will probably think "Eurovision!" whenever they hear it. ☺


13 France "L'amour à la française (Love, the French way)"

Performed by Les Fatals Picards, in French, English and Franglais.

Black and pink, eeeeewwwwww! I'm not surprised to learn that Jean-Paul Gautier did the outfits.
Sadly the vocals were not as good as the MP3, but not bad for a live performance, and I'm pleased to see that I didn't entirely mess up transcribing the song.
However I have a horrible feeling that many won't get it. I'm not sure I get it... and watching this performance, having previously said that I liked the song and had high hopes for it, you may start to question my sanity. I wouldn't blame you. This was... how can I put this? This was an awful lot of je ne sais quoi.


14 Latvia "Questra Notte (That night)"

Performed by, in Italian.

Lovely, again. Il Divo stand aside. At the moment, this is the one I'd call as a winner. I only have worries about Serbia.
I must confess, as a fan of several Italian performers and some who perform in Italian (no, I'm not going to namecheck); I must confess that I think Italian is a lovely language. Still, let's see this do well.


15 Russia "Song #1" MP3'd

Performed by Serebro (Elena, Olya, Marina), in English.

From the preview I had wondered if this would be like tATu 2, but instead it comes across like wannabe Goth schoolgirls with some highly dubious lyrics. I can't help but be reminded, a lot, of "The Craft" (the movie). This will do well because, well, because they're kinda cute... from a distance... cowering behind the sofa.


16 Germany "Frauen regiern die Welt (Women rule the world)"

Performed by Roger Cicero, in German with little bits of English.

A jazzy big band number in German. Good grief, don't tell me Germany is finally taking this seriously? Deduct a billion pwah because of the bloke's name emblazened across the backdrop. Ego much!
It's a little bit chauvanistic, isn't it? Or is the German sense of humour more sophisticated than I give it credit for?


17 Serbia "Molitva (Prayer)" MP3'd

Performed by Marija Ŝerifovič, in Serbian.

Marija and the smartly dressed women (who Wogan says look like prison wardens) put on a perfect performance of this song. Awesome!
Or, in other words, Latvia stand aside. This is the one.

Yup, I'll call it here and now. Six songs to go, it'll have to be pure magic to better this. So bow down and worship Marija, with the song that will receive the glory it deserves.
And I'd be dead-pleased to see this win, as Marija isn't a blonde bunny and the backing girls aren't half naked. Let's see some taste and sanity restored. And, a big plus, nobody gets their costume changed halfway through the song. It's all good!


18 Ukraine "Dancing lasha tumbai (???)"

Performed by Verka Serduchka, in English, German, and Russian.

What the...???? This is supposed to be the bookie's favourite. Good grief!
Sue Pollard meets Elton John, anybody? In English, German, and Russian. Mad. It got a big shout from the audience, so maybe the bookies are right? I hope not!


19 The United Kingdom "Flying the flag"

Performed by Scooch, in duh!

You can tell they were nervous, they sounded like gerbils, or maybe squeezing a four minute song into three minutes? I see they found something to do with the backing singers.
Sorry, but the entire point - and possibly why you were chosen in the national selections - is because you would be flying the flag. A little bit of insane patriotism never hurt an American, they've turned it into an artform. So, Scooch, why so afraid to fly the flag now? Worried you might upset sensibilities? Hey, nobody's going to vote much for you anyway - the act measures up badly against the level of some of this years performances. So you should have gone to Helsinki with the union flag...
(aka "is Cyndi watching tonight?")


20 Romania "Ljubi, ljubi, I love you"

Performed by Todomondo, in loads of languages.

In English, Italian, Spanish, Russian, French, Romanian... this song covers just about every style possible and half a dozen languages.
Wild. But messy.


21 Bulgaria "Water"

Performed by Elitsa Todprova & Stoyam Yankoulov, in Bulgarian.

It's the screechy warbly woman. The fun thing was watching the subs fail to be able to translate half of it (see picture) - it reminded me of Ruslana's Wild Dances.
There is more commentary and information on this in the semi-final review.


22 Turkey "Shake it up, şekerim"

Performed by Kenan Doġulu, in English.

Just like the semi-final, it's a dancey sort of song but maybe it'd have more appeal in Turkey? What's a şekerim anyway?
Wogan wants us to know the belly dancers are English girls. Okay...
At my French course today, there is a Turkish girl. So I asked her what "şekerim" (said as "shekerim") meant. She told me it is a name of affection, like "my dear" (mon cherie). So... Shake it up, sweetie-pie!


23 Armenia "Anytime you need"

Performed by Hayko, in English with bits of Armenian.

Is that toilet paper in the tree, or ribbons to ward away evil (re. Baba Yaga)? A serious song with ribbons eh? Somewhat like Armenia's entry last year...


24 Moldova "Fight"

Performed by Natalia Barbu, in English.

And so we end with a rock song, by the weirdly underdressed violin playing singer Natalia. Apparently she sang at weddings back when she was 12. What a change from those days! A nice loud ending to the contest.


Getting ready to vote...

Now they bring out Santa Claus, who embarrasses a few audience members, and Svante Stockselius, before opening the gift box and pulling out the bell that introduces the start of the 15 minute voting period.

Now follow no less than two recaps of the songs. This takes the whole fifteen minutes.


Interval act

Apocolyptica is the name of the interval act. A guy in a bubble, ballet dancers, power cello... loud.


Call it!

Wow. What a night. Some truly awful performances, some truly outstanding performances. But I can only allow myself to list my favourite five, along with who will be a winner.

So here goes, I want the leader board to look like this:

Kudos also to Finland and Slovenia.

Apologises to France. I don't think you'll come bottom, but I really didn't 'get' that performance.

Who do I predict will be last? Romania. It was a hard call, as there was plenty of freaky, but nobody was really out and out terrible (no, not even the UK!). I would put Romania last because the song tried to do so much that it never quite worked out what it was.
They'll be followed by the UK. Sorry Scooch, but your gerbil-like performance was... well... odd. And NO FLAG. I mean, are you so naïve as to imagine you won over Cyndi based purely on the quality of your song, and the 'message' was of no value? Come on!


The results come in...

Mr. Stockselius is ready, so let's do it!

The first country to vote, from a draw, was Montenegro, who gave their 12 points to Serbia (yay!). Belarus came next and gave 12 to Russia. Armenia also gave 12 to the Russian girls, to booing from the audience.

Andorra broke with this and gave their max points to Ukraine (while smarmy Wogan was saying they'd give them to Spain - see, it isn't all tactical voting!).

Austria gave 12 to Serbia. France next, giving their 12 to Turkey - interesting if you recall the political situation.

At this time, the top three are:

I am pleased to see Serbia up there, but I worry about The Ukraine.

At this moment, resting with nil pwah are:

Denmark gave their 12 to Sweden, that could maybe have been predicted. Greece following, giving their all to Bulgaria (I'm sure some would say that's because Cyprus isn't in the running). Spain gave 12 to Romania's mish-mash of languages.

Now it is the turn of Serbia, who give their 12 to Hungary.

Don't know where she represents as I missed the caption (will need to watch the tape again); in any case, she's kinda cute, isn't she?
Ah - watched the results while getting the info for the scorecard. She's Serbian. A Serbian girl, Ana, has filled in details. At this time she was known as Maja Japundza, however she is now married and is called Maja Nikolic. Be warned, however, that in Serbia is a well known singer/performer with the same name... who is somebody different!

Finland, host country, provide their votes now, and give their all to Serbia - yay!
Turkey up next to give their 12 to Armenia.

I'm surprised to see that awful "bookie's favourite" Ukraine doing so well. I am amused to see Russia doing so well. Sarajevo gave 12 to Serbia, to take them back to the lead. Whoo-hoo!

And yes, I know Sarajevo isn't a country. I thought I'd throw that one in so you can see if you can recall a few European capital cities. It's an easy one, I trust you won't need to refer to a map... ☺

Belgium next, to allocate douze pwah to Turkey.

Portugal, who should have been in the competition tonight, voted to give their 12 to Ukraine taking them back into second place.

Albania, you guys have taste - finally giving points to Ireland. Okay, only 5, but... then Albania give 12 to Spain (not Ukraine, yay!).

Romania surprised Wogan by only giving three to Russia, giving their 12 to Moldova. They also rescued Latvia from nil pwah land, leaving only the UK. Scooch must be upset... Cyprus now giving their 12 points to Greece. Oh well, we could have seen that coming, it is almost as big an institution as Svante.

Croatia gave 12 to Serbia. Awesome! They have a definite lead. This was followed up by Slovenia giving 12 to Serbia, to give them even more of a lead.

Israel gave 12 to Belarus.

After a brief pause, Germany gives votes next, giving their 12 points to Turkey. Still rests the UK with zilch.

Lithuania gave their all to Georgia, Georgia's first 12, ever.

Enjoy the moment Sopho, you've done your country proud.

Norway, keep Serbia in the lead with 10 points, but give - almost as expected - 12 points to Sweden.

Switzerland (of the vampires) do the good thing and give the megawhack to Serbia!

The leaderboard appears now, showing Serbia has a clear lead. I think we can probably call it for Serbia .

As the Czech Republic offer 12 points to the Ukraine (yuck!), the UK sits with absolutely stuff all.

The weird Dutch bloke (that gave his mobile number last year), offers an eccentric vote with 12 going to Turkey.

It is Ireland now, will they offer anything to the UK? YES! Finally 7 points to the UK. I notice Wogan says "You can always rely on the Irish" instead of whinging about blocs and tactical/biased voting - yeah, it is different when you're the beneficiary, isn't it? To keep us guessing about the Irish, they give their 12 to Lithuania. Didn't they do that a few years ago?

Actually, it was last year - when they gave 12 points to Lithuania's tubthumping "We are the winners", the only country to give them a 12 that year. The idea has been put forward that there are a lot of Lithuanian immigrants in Ireland voting for their home country... (no results for 2005 as Lithuania did not pass the semi-final)

The green room:

Malta now, big Eurovision fans, offer their 12 to the United Kingdom (they gave Serbia 8). Whoo! Finally a decent vote for the UK! Malta, dear, what were you thinking giving that a 12?!?!

Estonia now, cute presenter, to offer 12 to Russia! See, it isn't all political, as you might have expected Estonia to give Russia negative votes!

Georgia offer their 12 to Armenia! Armenia has done better than I expected.

With the Bulgarian vote, Serbia touches 200 votes. They offer 12 points to Greece. I see that Wogan is singlehandedly keeping the "tactical voting" conspiracy alive.

Sweden offer their 12 to Finland (Serbia got 10).

Ukraine offer a low 6 to Serbia, but they won't be able to give themselves anything. So they offer Belarus 12 points. Safe ex-bloc voting? Doesn't matter, the prison wardens will kick The Ukraine's butt up and down Europe. It's too late now.

Russia, the woman with the plastic hair, offers their 12 to Belarus.

Serbia is in the lead with 221, Ukraine has 185. Latvia now offers a low vote to Serbia (3) and their big score to The Ukraine. Pulls them closer, but not enough to catch up.

Iceland, always a little bit different, give their 12 to Finland.

It's the serious bloke from Poland now, to give 12 points to The Ukraine. But with giving 8 to Serbia, it's not that much of a difference.

Moldova, which is somewhere in Europe, gives their max score to Romania. So, is Moldova somewhere near Romania?

Actually, yes. It's a little country that is bordered on one side by Romania and the other side by Ukraine, who incidently lay claim to the land that could otherwise have been Moldova's coast on the Black Sea. It's a four-city-one-airport country, the capital being Chişinău ("Chisinau" if your computer doesn't do the extended characters).

Now it's the turn of Fearne Cotton in the UK to present the UK votes, with 12 to Turkey. NOTHING to Serbia. I guess the Brits don't have any taste, which is why Scooch aren't showing well. Oooh, miaow!

FYRMac (they of the ridiculously long country name), presented by last year's singer, provide a boost to Serbia with another 12. There is only one country left. Serbia has kicked ass. WHOO!

Hungary, the final vote, provide another stonking 12 to Serbia. As if they really needed it, but hey - it'll look good on the scoreboard.

Serbia has won.


The final scoreboard

...isn't very easy to read. Sorry. The digitiser computer doesn't have enough oomph to capture anything larger than half-frame.
You will find a complete run-down of the voting - who scored what, who voted for who, and who received what from whom - in the score card.


The winners - Serbia

Serbia make their way to the stage.

On stage, a humbled and grateful Marija. She walks out to the audience and gives her flowers to somebody.

As she returns to the stage, she gets a few kisses from Santa Claus - and cheekily asks for another.

The final performance of the song, the winning song. Unknown to Marija, the others are coming up behind holding the Serbian flag.

Thank you Europe!

As you can see, after walking out into the walkway, it is a tight squeeze for the photographers and camera operators.

But this isn't a problem for the performers, it's just a problem for the technical people.

As you can see, they're really happy to have won - especially these two!


With many thanks to a lovely Serbian correspondant called Ana (Zdravo!), I can also introduce you to the Serbian entrants. Here's that picture again...
On the left, Suzana. Aged 21, she will be taking her piano diploma soon.
Next, the shorter blonde is Ana (not the same one!). A non-musician, she has a diploma in sports, and participates in a band called "Bla Bla" with Sanja.
The taller blonde is Ivana, who sings and also works as on the more technical side of things (sound direction, etc).
Fourth is Sanja, who is a singer and a pianist, and apparently has quite a male fan club in Serbia!
And lastly the tallest one, Ksenija, is a virtuoso violinist who plays with their symphonic orchestra. Those with eagle eyes may have seen her before. Like, perhaps, playing the violin for Bosnia (Lejla) last year - she's on the left in the final picture, and you can see her playing in the semi-final picture. Eurovision is in the family, for her sister played violin for the infamous Lane Moje in 2004.

Together they have formed a band called BQ (Beauty Queens) and an album may be available now - is there a Serbian version of Amazon, perhaps?

Let's not forget Marija herself - she is the daughter of a well known Serbian folk singer called Verica Serifovic. She didn't go very far in the Serbian version of "Pop Idol", but I don't think talent gets you far in those mass-consumption and amazingly crass programmes - at least Eurovision offered her the opportunity to show off her talents. She has released two albums.

About the costume - it was designed by Dolce & Gabana. The theme is a prayer for lost love (the English language version of the song "Destiny" just doesn't do it justice!), and so the visual theme was red - heart, blood, love, so they worked with this.
I guess if you think about it, the red and black theme is like a box of expensive chocolates. Stylish on the outside with sumptuous delights inside... ☺


Analysis - new content

The remainder of this document was written shortly after the contest on an Acorn PocketBook II organiser (essentially a rebadged Psion 3a) while I was in the kitchen making something to eat.
The following content was not included in the first release of this document because it was late at night, I didn't want to faff with serial leads, etc etc. I was aiming to upload the first version on the Sunday after the contest.
Anyway, this is a part of the original write-up that was temporarily 'separated'. Here it is:


Analysis - the broadcast

First of all, huge kudos to Finland for putting on a heck of a show. There were a few small technical whoopsies (like cameramen in the shot by mistake), but by and large the show was big and slick and suitably larger than life.
The arena was enormous, and some of the photography was outstanding. There was one device, looked like a Louma-style shot, but can't have been, unless they've made a crane device about a hundred metres long - it starts at the stage and just backs up and up and up and up, practically the length of the vast venue.

(Sir) Terry Wogan must go. Not content with being boringly repetitive during the voting, he talked over the songs. Not one, several.
I found the semi-final commentary by Sarah Cawood and Paddy O'Connell to be much more informative. Perhaps Sir Tel has become bored? Lost his inspiration? I don't know. I just know that he is only the commentator. How dare he talk over the performances.

I shall email to the BBC to ask if they would consider a commentary free audio option for the contest next year. I'll let you know what the reply is.

Well, there was no reply. I just hope enough people complained that he'll either get told not to do that, or replaced with somebody who is a bit more respectful...

Finally, thanks to the BBC for providing lyrics in both the original language and an English translation. If I may make two tiny suggestions - could the subtitling be less intrusive (i.e. if it had been without the flowery bits around it), and could the song country and title caption at the start of the song also include the name of the performer(s)?
In any case, this was the first year that I watched with the subtitles (using an FTA receiver so I can rapidly swap between stream and BBC One in order to catch the performer name(s)), it was nice to be able to see what the song was about and, in some cases, what the song sung in English was about. ☺ Not to complain too much, I can't sing anything in Russian (thinking of Nataliya's song from 2005). Erm, I can't sing, never mind in another language!


Analysis - the result

Well, my wish came true. I had originally thought Latvia would win, but on the night the Serbian performance just had the edge. Interestingly Latvia did a lot worse than I had hoped. Given that the contest now has a strong following in the Eastern part of Europe, I would be interested to know if Il Divo has made much impact there.

Don't think I'm gloating about picking a winner. It was quite a hard contest, and frankly I'd never have given that accolate to the Ukrainian entry. This makes my fourth correct pick of the winning song... since 1992... is that a good batting average? Whatever, I pick songs I like.

I am especially pleased to see Serbia pull off a winning entry. Marija was probably the least dolled-up performer of the night. Don't think I'm calling her ugly, I'm not. But she isn't wearing a slinky gown, and/or loads of makeup. The backing girls are perhaps the most completely dressed since the Belarussian backing girls. It's quite an offbeat emotive performance without any glitzy dance moves. So we will be concentrating on the song and not the bodies of the performers. I would be interested to know why the girls were dressed in that way - suits and red sash. Is this a part of Serbian folklore that I'm not aware of? I figure it is maybe a representation of the thoughts inside Marija's head, expressed in the words of the song. You know, instead of having a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, poor Marija has that lot!
In any case, it is nice to see some class return to the competition, and it is nice to see a completely serious song win - especially given the tough competition from a rather less than serious song from...

The Ukraine's entry being in the top five is a travesty. I mean, what was the song about? A bloke in tinfoil with a star on his head singing gibberish? Ein... erm, erm, I can't count in German! Is it no wonder, with songs such as this tipped to win (and it nearly did!) that some people simply can't take the contest seriously?

I was pleased to see the young Russian performers do well. A rather sassy song, that... I guess it touched a chord with the viewers. Either that or they were the recipients of the "cute points" this year. Sure as heck wasn't going to be Finnish Hanna, who was more p***ed-off-rock-chick-with-PMS than cute. One doesn't say "ahhhhh" to her song, more like "aaaaargh" if you're the one she's singing about.

I don't understand how Turkey managed 4th place. There were plenty of better performances - Finland, Slovenia, and Georgia, to name but three.
[Finland came 17th with 52 points; Slovenia fared slightly better in 15th place with 64 points; Georgia did best of the three, 12th place with 97 points]

And in fifth place we have Bulgaria. The "eeh!" song that I didn't much like. I'd not have given it a top five placing, not quite, but that's just me...


Who's the bottom five?

It is no surprise that Spain ranked low, given this song. It was YABC (said as "y'ay-bee-cee"), or Yet-Another-Boyband-Clone.

It is not really a surprise that Lithuania scored low. As I said, it wasn't a song I would necessarily remember at the end of the contest, however I think it was performed better than a 4th-last placing.

I am not surprised the French pinky magenta horror show did not garner many votes. A potentially interesting song let down by a performance for which words fail me.

UK, second to last. The UK has, in recent years, presented songs with an interesting idea but a poor execution. The schoolgirls of 2006 could have done a lot better with a better presentation of the material (i.e. not as a rap number). I think of this year's entry, we could keep the hostesses and ditch the song. It was way too cheesy, a little bit dodgy, and without the flag they're supposed to be flying it didn't actually mean anything. But the hostesses... it was a very visual performance. Shame about the song.

The massive injustice of the night is Ireland coming last with a score that couldn't even touch double figures. I'd have expected/hoped this song to run in a middle placing at least. With 42 countries voting, for the Irish entry to only have received five points (and many thanks to Albania for that) is simply an injustice.


Given this, I think we can say that the following countries are likely to appear in the semi-final next year:
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Romania, F.Y.R. Macedonia, Slovenia, Latvia, Finland, Sweden, Lithuania, Ireland, and all who didn't qualify in the semi-final this time.

The competition next year will be held in Serbia ("Srbija"), which is a country located in the central-right of what used to be Yugoslavia. The capital is Belgrade (to the English-speaking world; they call it Beograd or БЕОГРАД), and this may be where the contest will be held. Other large towns are Novi Sad (НОВИ САД) and Nis (НИШ).


Analysis - voting

There is not a single Western European country in the top 12. In the entire final, we have only Finland, Sweden, and Ireland, plus The Big Four.
With the exception of Greece ("old Europe"), the first sixteen places go to the East, either to 'new Europe' or places that are not technically a part of the EU.

I will leave it to others to ruminate on the "it's a fix!" angle. I am more interested in asking what this means. While there will always be wacky songs, the few countries of the West offered (in descending result order):

If we discount Ireland from the above list, you'll notice that it is roughly in order of descending yuckiness.
In fact, Finland and Ireland are the only songs worthy of remembering in that lot.
So the West had its ass kicked by Ukraine. This, I guess, was the "novelty act" of the night. It also had its ass kicked by Turkey, an anomoly?
But its ass was also soundly kicked up and down the map by Slovenia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Armenia, and Moldova. Not to mention Russia and, of course, Serbia.
What's important about this? Simple - they took it seriously.
Read the ass-kick list on more time (descending order again): You may find you can recall more than a couple. Gothic (p)opera from Slovenia. A serious performance which deserved a better score. Georgia's pretty Lady In Red singing in rather peculiar English about her Visionary Dream. Russia taking Girl Power to the teenyboppers. Serbia's awesome, winning, performance. Bulgaria's traditional piece set to a techno beat. Armenia - don't quite know what the tree was about, but it was not a cheap gimmick. And Moldova. Weird dress, weird song, but taken seriously.

Perhaps this is where the problem lies? Not so much that the Eastern European countries are in it together, but rather they are starting to realise that Eurovision is a good way to globally show off to several million people. Some will use this as an opportunity to prance around like idiots, while it seems more and more are going for the Power Performance, but not as a gimmick, rather as a serious attempt at winning. For while there may be plenty of headaches involved in hosting the competition, if you should win, the next year you get free reign to brag about your country to the entire world.
Look at what we learned about Finland. Lots of nerds, lots of tech, absolutely loads of mobile phones, plenty of Goths, reindeer, and a rather interesting commute - a businesswoman and her jetski. And she didn't so much as get her shoes wet. Comes with practice, you see... ☺
We learned stuff about Finland. Next year we'll learn stuff about Serbia.

And this could explain what's going on here. An attempt by countries not only new to the EU (or with desires) but also in some cases new to themselves using the contest - which is possibly the largest and most televised international competition in the world today - as a way of shining a light on themselves and saying "we're here". If they don't win, they don't win. But we'll still remember them. Who was the powerful (p)opera singer? Where was she from? Who did the "eeh!" bits at the ends of her lines? She was from where?
Yeah, okay, we also know the bloke with the silver star on his head was from The Ukraine, but it doesn't inspire the same degree of respect, does it?

To put it another way, I have the ability to replay the contest and make MP3s from the HiFi video recording. The only Western European countries I'd give space to are Ireland and Finland. I have the French song as a proper MP3 and I quite like it, but I wouldn't ever have bothered learning the words based upon tonight's performance. I will (or perhaps have, by the time you read this) also make recordings of Slovenia, Georgia, and Russia (must write down those lyrics!). Serbia I MP3'd back in the semi-final.
So from the final, I would give space to two old-Europe songs; and four songs from the eastern side. Forget all those "tactical voting" ideas, there's probably a clearer and simpler message here.

The way forward is simple. And, astonishingly, the answer was practically handed to the United Kingdom on a plate, in the form of the lovely Cyndi. I'm not sure it would have been a winner, but with her I think we'd be looking at a top five rather than the penultimate placing Scooch brought to the country.
I'm sure newspapers will whinge, teletext readers will moan and bicker, and.. you know what? I couldn't give a .... Perhaps Wogan's slip of the mind was a desperate attempt to give the country some hope. But, well, the people voted. They voted for Scooch. Never in hell was that going to be a winning entry.


Serbia rules the waves!

Well, what do you know? There were three Serbian performers in this year's contest:


Before I finish this review, a final congratulation must surely be due to Serbia.


That's all!


My thoughts and comments and 'best of' awards
Thoughts and comments on interactive media

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Copyright © 2007-2008 Rick Murray
Images copyright © 2007 EBU-UER
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and widescreen with subtitles on BBC interactive.