The Eurovision Song Contest 2009
The Grand Final




Again, letters swirling around the neon city.

Russia, a country with a history of circus acts, brings in the Canadian Cirque de Soleil for some mind-bending acrobatics.

Then it's on to Dima Bilan (with even foppier hair than ever before) enthusiastically overacting "Believe". Well, actually there's a whole sort of theatrical story going on here complete with recycled footage of him crashing through a polystyrene wall, and the unintentional comedy of him trying to throw off his jacket, only for it to get stuck around the fly-wire.
One of the performers had to help him. Oh dear, how embarrassing...


The hosts today are Alsou and Ivan. They are actually non-annoying, but... I dunno. I quite liked the semi-finals hosts. Like many a zombie flick, they were so bad they were good.


21:12 local time (that's here, not Moscow, it's about midnight over there), we begin with Lithuania.


1 Lithuania "Love"

Performed by Sasha Son in English.

It's the mafia-hat guy with the burning hand, and a pleasant start to the contest.


The interactive captioning is still a bit over-the-top, but it is more tactful than previous years. I like to see the lyrics for the non-English parts, but some years the on-screen graphic has been just too awful.
Some suggestions? I would make the caption bar smaller yet. The wobbly coloured bar at the bottom isn't really necessary is it? Also, the "Now/Next" could be scaled down a bit. Credit for showing the Hebrew and Arabic bits in their respective alphabets instead of wussing out and skipping non-Latin stuff.


2 Israel "There Must Be Another Way"

Performed by Noa & Mira Awad in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

As before, I just really hope that people start to listen. Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, or which God you believe in, broken buildings and corpses eventually help nobody. Today's performance is slightly more polished than the semi-final.


3 France "Et S'il Fallait Le Faire"

Performed by Patricia Kaas, in French (yay!).

Patricia Kaas is apparently a huge star in France. Graham Norton said he didn't know who she was. Don't feel bad, mate, for I've lived in France since 2002 and I have no idea who she is!
Actually, it's a bit of a typical "French" song, as you might expect from Edith Pfiaff. I'm waiting for the harmonica and accordion. Come on, it's like the soundtrack to Amélie, you won't mistake this for anything other than French. But it's the sort of French music I don't listen to, at all. I've heard of Jenifer, Sophia Essaïdi, Alizée, etc... But this?
That said, quite a powerful performance.


4 Sweden "La Voix"

Performed by Malena Ernman in English and French.

It's back to the popera, and GN reports the dress costs around 37,000 euros. I think if I put everything I own together, it wouldn't amount to half that. Can we justify the price of two Smart's on one dress? Or, put it like this, does it look like a €37,000 dress? Look at the picture below - it's like a rocket taking off!
Oh goodness, the screechy bits are in French - thanks to the captioning there! I guess if I had half a braincell in my head, the song being called "La Voix" might perhaps have been a clue! ☺


5 Croatia "Lijepa Tena"

Performed by Igor Cukrov feat. Andrea Šušnjara, in Croatian.

A powerful, and serious, song. Feels like a better performance than in the semi.
With all this calling for Tena, Tena I wonder which one has a weak bladder? ☺


6 Portugal "Todas As Ruas Do Amor"

Performed by Flor-de-Lis, in Portuguese.

Yay! It's the lovely gentle (and traditional-style!) song from Portugal. This might well be one of my favourites of the night. And she managed to cry slightly less obviously at the end, awww blessssss!


7 Iceland "Is It True?"

Performed by Yohanna, in English.

Now here is one of the problems to Portugal. That sweet song is followed here by another simple song which pays more attention to the song than to any sort of gimmicky lunacy.


8 Greece "This Is Our Night"

Performed by Sakis Rouvas, in English.

Well, it's no surprise at all to see Greece's overacted workout routine in the final. I still don't see how this could be thought as being a winner. Okay, it's an upbeat pop number, but there are so many entries with more going for them. Portugal, for instance.
Or are all the female viewers supposed to think "he's a hunk"? Sure, he's annoyingly good looking and comes with a half-unbuttoned shirt, but...


9 Armenia "Jan Jan"

Performed by Inga & Anush, in English ☺.

It's the Grimm fairytale sisters with the ethno-techno song. Reading the captioning, what is "NOR PAR" (it's in capitals, an acronym?). Reading the captioning... um... don't. Some of the lyrics are inane, even by Eurovision-mangled-English standards. Can you keep a straight face while karaoke'ing "How can I be without me"?

On the plus side, it's funny how these traditional outfits are often very intricate. Where's the sackcloth? Jeans and T-shirt? These two are wearing incredible outfits.
Mmm, what's British "traditional" costume? Oh, please tell me it isn't the outfit Morris dancers wear!?!


10 Russia "Mamo"

Performed by Anastasia Prikhodko, in Ukranian and Russian.

Graham Norton says there were a few raised eyebrows when she was chosen to represent Russia as it was a very last minute entry and he father is a billionaire. Well, wasn't there some potentionl funniness with Leona, sorry, Jade Ewens?

She looks like a Russian Renée Zellweger. It's an emotional song, performed with aplomb by Anastasia, but she is upstaged by the video performance in which thoughout the song she ages. It is subtely and beautifully done.
There are some backing singers off someplace. I point this out as it sounds like she's singing along to the ghost chorus off the video, but non-live vocals aren't permitted.


11 Azerbaijan "Always"

Performed by Aysel & Arash, in English.

It's the pretty girl and the hotel porter. I'm trying to work out if the three girls at the back are all female.
It has been said that as Arash wrote the song, he decided he wanted to sing it. This is a shame as his vocals are not entirely up to the job. Aysel alone would have done a better job.

Arash is apparently a big recording star across the Balkans. Is that a hint as to how the vote will go?


Talking of which, the voting this year is 50% televote, and 50% jury. The jury have already voted on the performance of the final dress rehearsal.


12 Bosnia "Bistra Voda"

Performed by Regina, in Bosnian.

It's the toy soldiers and the bizarrely memorable stage performance.


We have a short time-out where Irena Ponaroshku gets policemen and taxi drivers to sing.
Much more interesting than Jade promos!


13 Moldova "Hora Din Moldova"

Performed by Nelly Ciobanu, in Moldovan.

What does Nelly have written on her hand? How to say "thanks" in Russian? It's the intricate dress and the traditional dance. It's apparently called "Hora", and there I thought that was Spanish for "hour". ☺
Who's the guy with the mop?


We in the west complain that there is such an eastern bias. Those in the east have entered quite a number of "traditional" entries, whether song or dance or both. Is there any sort of correlation here? Maybe in the east they have been less polluted with generic pop and pop idol rejects? Or perhaps they are more in touch with their heritage?


14 Malta "What If We"

Performed by Chiara, in English.

It's the annoyingly repetitive power ballad from Malta. Chiara's third time. Only her third? (yup, previously in 1998 and 2005 - I thought she'd been around more times). Good entry, but perhaps Chiara's personal weakest. I think this would have benefitted from more lyrics and less chorus.


The Russians let us know that the Russian word for Gagarin is... um... Gagarin! Would this be Gagarin as in the first bloke in space?


15 Estonia "Rändajad"

Performed by Urban Symphony, in Estonian.

It's gorgeous violin girl and her assorted strings with a rather Bond-like performance. You'll notice me mentioning Bond a few times, as it is a style that seems quite prevalent this year - forget electric guitars, the violin has made one hell of a comeback!
Beautiful, haunting, high hopes for this.


16 Denmark "Believe Again"

Performed by Brinck, in English.

It's the Ronan Keating song. Close your eyes. You could easily mistake it for Ronan performing the vocals.


17 Germany "Miss Kiss Kiss Bang"

Performed by Alex Swings Oscar Sings, in English.

It's apparently a style called swing. Remind me not to listen to any of that genre... I guess Germany, who have only won once in something like 53 years, have decided to try every musical style going until they find something that works.
Miss Kiss Kiss? Somebody called Dita Von Teese who seems to be famous for being the ex Marilyn Manson (bleurgh!). She was blatantly introduced in the middle of the song, as if we'd all be like "wow, it's a celebrity, I'd better vote for that".
You remember the sex/fettish obsessed female Nazi general-person in 'Allo 'Allo? There was a lot of this vibe going on.

what the hell do I know about military ranks? either you watched and know or you didn't...
...if you didn't, um, the picture below says all you need to know!


18 Turkey "Düm Tek Tek"

Performed by HADİSE, in English.

From memory, Turkey always does quite well in the contests. Maybe we all watch stuff like this and have recollections of "Arabian Nights"? Whatever, I think this benefitted from following Germany's song, it's like "okay, now for something worth watching"...

I like the way the Turkish songs of recent have been in English with just a dash of Turkish - here it is Düm Tek Tek, remember Shake it up, şekerim?


19 Albania "Carry Me In Your Dreams"

Performed by Kejsi Tola, in English.

Close your eyes for this one. It's a good song, but the dancing dwarves can go back to Twin Peaks and the blue bloke can go back to a '90s Intel (ding-ding-ding™) advert... Let's just have the girl and the song.


20 Norway "Fairytale"

Performed by Alexander Rybak, in English.

It's a catchy song. Cute girls in pink. Even more violins. Acrobatic dancers. This is the bookies favourite, and if it should win it will be understandable.


A brief break and we see Alsou wearing the most incredible dress, like she's been gift-wrapped. Call me a nutter, but I kinda miss Nataliya...


21 Ukraine "Be My Valentine! (Anti-Crisis Girl)"

Performed by Svetlana Loboda, in English.

Obvious this would pass into the final. Ukraine has never been eliminated from a semi-final. Not a winner though, it isn't Wild Dances. Love the three-bloke-spin. Apparently Svetlana mortgaged her place for the prop. What, the Ukrainian broadcaster couldn't come up with some cash for the staging?

The caption says "You are sexy BOM". Sounds like she's singing "You're a sexy bum"! As for anti-crisis girl, it's more like it'd be a crisis in the making. There's this ever-so-slight underlying threat of violence, like "Be my valentine! (or else!)".


22 Romania "The Balkan Girls"

Performed by Elena, in English ☺.

Today's lesson kiddies - Balkan girls are easy. A fun, fluffy, and energetic entry, but perhaps not on the same night as Greece?


23 United Kingdom "It's My Time"

Performed by Jade Ewen, in Euskadi... only kidding! ☺

I think it all depends on how much she's promoted herself - she's been all over Europe in a first for the UK, instead of the usual arrogance of not bothering with promotion - so how many Leona Lewis/Lloyd Webber fans are there?
A diamond microphone, a glitterly set of steps, and Lord Webber himself on piano. Oh, and did I mention more violins?
Honestly? I don't think it will be a winner (too damn repetitive on "it's my time", Lord W what were you thinking?), but this is the best entry the UK has sent in a decade... I'd be very surprised if we didn't top-10 it this year.


24 Finland "Lose Control"

Performed by Waldo's People, in English.

Yeah, okay, let's just watch the baton twirlers. Flaming batons, just to keep it interesting. Nice chorus, but it won't do well. It can't. Rap never does.
The lyrics... yikes! Did they come out of the "Rapping for Dummies" handbook? The caption below - I cause hysteria worry yourself that's how I roll? Is this for real?

I take it Finland can't currently afford to host the 2010 competition, and they just got a little bit worried when this one actually managed to pass the semi-final!

Come on Finland... where are the dark-haired babes from, the 2007 postcards? Oh, wait, my mistake, they've all gone to Estonia... ☺


25 Spain "La Noche Es Para Mi"

Performed by Soraya Arnelas, in Spanish with a few lines in English.

A pop song written by Swedes, Greeks, and Spaniards. An energetic performance, but not a winner. She's more Annie Lennox (or maybe Jamie Lee Curtis) than Ana Belin. Oh well, at least I'm not insulting it this year! This may be the best Spanish entry since "Europe's Living A Celebration" (2002).


Televone Wote ☺

Wow! The ISS astronauts orbiting in space start the telephone voting. You know, this whole Russian production has been something of a mind-blowing trip. Where's the famous Russian ice skater? Where's the circus troupe? Putin himself? Oh no. Not tonight. We'll just get some guys in space to do it. In space. In... space... You know, like you do... Goodness, what can you say? [!]

Here's my pick:

  12 Portugal (gentle traditional song)
  10 Iceland  (song sung blue)
   8 Norway   (loving a fairytale)
   7 Estonia  (moody violins)
   6 Sweden   (popera)
   5 Israel   (peace process)
   4 Bosnia   (the catchy oddity)
   3 Greece   (Sakis and the workout)
   2 Turkey   (arabian nights)
   1 Russia   (and the aging woman)
   1 UK       (it's about time we had a song worthy of a top ten)
   1 France   (elle rrrrregrrrrrette rrrrrien!)
   1 Chiara   (Malta)

Okay, there's four with one point. Pick one. And if Scandanavian countries should do well... well, look at my list.

You want reality? Shove Portugal down the list aways, it will be Norway 1st (as the bookies predict) and Iceland second. Don't know who will be third, but it's not going to be a two-horse race between Norway and Greece. Sakis didn't work magic (sorry, but...).

The UK? It was a bit of a shock to see Lord Webber going himself to play the piano and that is sure to help with the voting. Unless life is cruel, I reckon they will make it into a top ten position.


No pictures/edits beyond this point as yet... to come! (I will try to have them on line by the end of summer)


Elena something-or-other dispels a few myths about Russia in a comic way. The hosts have already mentioned that it isn't quite like it is portrayed in Bond (as in James, not violinists) movies. Except perhaps the bit where every other Russian girl is called Nataliya. Never mind, I think every other French girl in the 25-45 age range is called Nathalie (and the rest are usually called either Sandrine or Françoise)... :-)

A peek in the Green Room. Come on, I give up. Why is it called that?

Another recap. I can't believe we've whizzed through 15 minutes. This is probably why I need to pee. It's been two hours and two cups of tea and a can of Pepsi, and it doesn't feel like two hours. It's a shame time doesn't fly by this quickly when I'm at work!

Okay, the interval act are pools suspended from the ceiling, a massive silver curtain, people hanging, kissing through plastic, spinning. And we leave the two small pools to two enormous pools above the audience. There's another over the green room. It's absolutely mad!

GN says, amusingly, "it's like you've been to a giant fair and won a girl in a plastic bag". The pools are lowered to the audience. It is an incredible thing. For all that people might have said about Russia's win, I am very pleased that Russia won because the technical competence, the staging, the sheer scale of things is amazing. I don't think there has been a Eurovision on this scale before EVER in over half a century, and I suspect this may be THE year. THE performance. The one that people will talk about in another half century. I bet the beancounters in Norway's state broadcaster have all just keeled over dead (don't win, oh please don't win! we can't afford THAT!). Did I mention the entire stage is like one massive digital display (even the floor)? I think every flatscreen LCD telly ever made in Russia is in this studio tonight. Compared to what that's capable of, the traditional lighting effects are, frankly, lacklustre. No, this is a one-off. The budget alone would sink a small country (Iceland, anyone?).



Spain gives us 10, and 12 to Norway.

Belgium gives 12 to Norway, and nothing to the UK.

Belarus, 3 to the UK, and their 12 to Norway. The first three top scores for them.

Malta gives Norway only 8. 10 to the UK, Malta usually is kind to the UK. Their 12 is to Iceland (the girl in blue).

It's the usual ARD1 bloke for Germany, with 8 to the UK. YES! The UK is not going to languish at the wrong end of the scoreboard. 12 to Norway. Might be a bit of a thing.

Czech Republic gives a 6 to the UK. Early days, bit blow me we're six countries in and we are second! Their 12 to Armenia, and only 3 to Norway.

Sweden gives 10 to Iceland, and I will say 12 to Norway. Nothing to the UK. The girl sung all the entries she gave points to. But at this stage, we're still second. This is almost euphoric!

Dora from Iceland gives 12 points to Norway ("the cutest guy in the contest", she says, I bet Sakis went green... :-) ).

France awards the UK 4 points. Only 8 to Norway. 10 to Israel. 12 to Turkey. Slightly eccentric voting, no?

Israel gives us another 4. Hey, don't knock it, there have been times when that's all we've had all night. 12 to Norway, again. They have just topped three digits. I think we can call it now. It's amazing.

Russia's host is at the other side of the arena. They gave us 6 points, and yet another 12 to Norway.

Latvia, Roberto with an astonishing shirt, offered the UK 2 points. I will predict 12 to Norway. Yup, that's right.

Montenegro only gives Norway the 10. Their 12 goes to the Bosnian oddity. The UK is no longer in the top three, but it's in the top five.

Andorra gives the UK 4 points. Will they suck up to Spain? Only 10 to Norway. Yup. Predictable. At least it rescues Spain from nul pwah land.

Finland only gives 8 to Norway. 10 to Iceland, who will get 12? Estonia!

Switzerland gives 8 to Norway. 10 to Portugal. 12 to Turkey!

Bulgaria now offers the UK 7 points, with only 2 for Norway. 8 for Azerbaijan, 10 to Turkey, and their 12 to Greece. Finally. Sakis is supposed to have done really well and is behind the UK! Oh dear. The shame! The shame!

Lithuania offers the UK three points - the UK is still in fifth place. This is incredible! And another 12 to Norway.

The UK itself offers 8 to Iceland, 10 to Norway, and 12 to Turkey. Oh my God, the UK gave Germany 7 points!

FYR Macedonia offers the UK 6 points, only 8 to Norway, 10 to Bosnia, and another 12 to Turkey.

A space for a commercial break. Or for us, some of the contestants performing a traditional Russian song - "Not Gonna Get Us" by tATu!
They couldn't showcase any OTHER Russian performers? What about Origa?

Okay, back to the voting. Slovakia. 7 for the UK. How many times have we seen the UK turn up? 10 to Norway, they've now passed 200, fzweeeee-beep-beep! And a 12 to Estonia!

It's the regular bloke (Alexis) from Greece. 10 to Norway, and an astonishing 12 to the UK! Whoa! There it is, all over the TV for about five seconds. 12 to the UK. How long has it been since we've seen stuff like that? This is a good year.

Hey, it's Laka from Bosnia. I'd recognise that hair anywhere! :-) 4 for the UK. Norway gets 10, with their 12 to Croatia.

Ukraine offers the UK 6 points, and another 12 to Norway.

Turkey now. Did GN say she was called Milton? Isn't that a surgical cleansing solution? Right now, 238 for Norway and in second place is Iceland with 137. That's quite a gap. Can I pee now, please?

Albania offers only 7 to Norway, 8 to the UK, and a 12 to Greece.

Serbia now. 12 to Bosnia I predict. 8 or 10 to Croatia? Whoa, only 5 to Croatia. Their 8 to the UK. 10 to Norway, and 12 to... yes, Bosnia! I could see that coming, but hey, 8 points!

Cyprus, with a woman who sounds spookily like Davina McCall (McColl? whatever...). 7 points to the UK, only 10 to Norway and there's no guess really where the 12 went.

Poland now, not the non-smiley guy any more. 4 points to the UK. 12 to Norway. I guess we can say Norway will be hosting next year.

The Netherlands offers three points to the UK. 12 to Norway. I'll tell you what, that guy could probably pull any girl in Europe right now!

The Estonian vote awards their 12 to Norway and puts them to the highest score ever awarded, now to 301 points, and there are ten countries still to vote.

Croatia offers Norway 8, Azerbaijan gets 10 so it is doing well, and no real surprise that Bosnia gets 12 points.

GN reports that this is the most easterly the song contest has ever been. It's 2am there.

Helena in Portugal offers 5 to Norway, 10 to the UK, and their 12 to Moldova! Hehe, that's a blindsider.

Romania offers a low five to Norway, 10 to Iceland, and another 12 to Moldova!
Moldova... Moldova... oh, the green skirt and the mop guy.

Ireland now, this ought to do well for the UK. 8 to Norway. 10 for the UK, and 12 to Iceland. GN says "will Denmark get the 12?", why, look, they already had been awarded four!

Denmark offers 3 to the UK. 10 to Iceland, 12 to Norway.

The top scorer? Norway (duh!) with an astonishing 339, and 186 to Iceland in second place.

Moldova, only 8 to Norway, their 12 to Romania.

Slovenia offers 3 points to the UK, and a 12 to Norway.

Pretty girl from Armenia (remember Qele, Qele?) offers a big 7 to the UK. 8 to Norway, 10 to Greece, and their 12 to Russia.

Hungary's votes announced by a Cameron Diaz lookee-likee offers 1 to the UK, and a 12 to Norway.

Azerbaijan with a dodgy video link. Apparently they've not got through a single dress rehearsal without technical hiccups. Norway receives 8, Ukraine 10 and 12 to Turkey.

No more votes for Norway, as it is Norway. The final points of the night to the UK. The UK is in fifth position. That's a good score. Norway's 12 to Iceland.


That's it. Norway won. Britain finally didn't languish at the end. This is the best score the UK has had since 2002 when it came in third place. Norway has set the highest score in the most incredible exhibition of the performance. You know what, THIS IS IT. A good winning song, a good result for the UK. An amazing performance all night long. 2009 is THE year the song contest grew up, went big, bold, serious, and even better, there are a number of good songs. Not gimmicky songs, but good old fashioned with-words-and-a-message song.
Dima Bilan from last year, and Alys from the very first contest, turn up to hand over the winner's award.

So here is a recap of a great song, a great production. Well worth watching.

I'll talk more later (this is the 'live' rough), but hey, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this year as much as I did.

Oh, and in case it wasn't already rather obvious, the winner was a country in the west. It's all good! Oh, and we are bang on time too.


[there is more on my organiser to transfer and mark up; oh, and I won't gloat (much) about correctly picking not only the winner but the second place - for it wasn't actually that difficult; the shock is who is lurking just behind in third place!]



Zippedy-do-dah observations

(more lucid observations to come)


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Copyright © 2009 Rick Murray
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