Back in February, when it was announced Australia would make its Eurovision debut, even I didn’t fancy our chances.
Not that we weren’t good enough or couldn’t bling it. This is after all the land of Peter Allen, Dame Edna Everage, Kylie Minogue and Baz Luhrmann. We know our way around a sequin.
But, not being part of the European clique, I wondered where we’d garner our votes.
So I set my expectations very low. Just beat the United Kingdom. That was all I asked.
And then along came Guy Sebastian who, without a sequin, feather, blow-up kangaroo or breath of a wind machine, just about stole the Eurovision show.
“Don’t screw this up for your country,” was Sebastian’s last thought as he took to the stage. Cranking out Tonight Again against a backdrop of red desert and city lights, he steered Australia into Europe’s top five, coming away with 196 points and more than a few Bruno Mars comparisons.
Ten of our points came from the UK. In return, we gave their Electro Velvet…well, nothing at all. Back in London, The Telegraph tried to drum up an issue about this slap in the face but its readers responded with comments like these.
“I wouldn’t have given UK anything either… and I’m British.”
“If UK’s supposedly best friend couldn’t give it a single point, it just showed how bad the song was.”
“It’s an Ashes summer, so maybe they thought they’d get some early mind games in.”
The UK finished in 24th place with five points, its worst result in 12 years. Still, it was better than France, which completely killed the Eurovision mood with a World War One version of Les Miserables.
Austria set an unenviable record, becoming the first host country to score zero points. The Makemakes seemed to be under strict instructions to makemake sure Austria didn’t host the song contest two years running. The lead singer even set fire to his piano. Smashing guitars is so last century.
It’s hard to score a bagel in Eurovision. It means not one of the 40 voting countries places you in their top 10 and it hasn’t been achieved in the final since British pop duo Jemini sang an out of tune Cry Baby in 2003.
But Austria didn’t have to suffer the ignominy alone this year. Germany’s Ann Sophie spent most of her performance with her back to the audience in some kind of slow motion twerk. So the voters gave her the arse too.
At the pointy end of the competition, Swedish favourite Måns Zelmerlöw took the prize after a tussle with Russia’s Polina Gagarina, who looked like she had come from her own wedding.
Gagarina cried when she finished singing and as she took the lead in the voting. Had she won, I’m pretty sure she would have needed resuscitating. And that in Moscow next year, it would be Vladimir Putin taking the stage with a version of this song. Which would have been something to behold.
As for Zelmerlöw, his song was a complex geopolitical number (kidding) that sounded like an Enrique Iglesias rip-off (not kidding). It was hard to interpret the lyrics but I think he was trying to tell us we are the heroes of our time, hero-oh-oh-ohs, wo-oh-oh-oh. It’s deep and warrants reflection.
Zelmerlöw took refuge in the usual Eurovision trickery when your song is only a middling ditty, donning leather pants and employing some ripper animation.
He also had to backpedal from some anti-gay comments he made last year when he said LGBTI couples shouldn’t be parents and it wasn’t natural for men to want to sleep together.
Someone obviously got into his ear about where a large proportion of his Eurovision votes might be coming from because he’s turned since then, at least in his rhetoric, declaring in his acceptance speech: “We are all heroes, no matter who we love, who we are or what we believe in.”
Despite moves to a more sophisticated offering in recent years, some nations held firm. Slovenia had a woman in a sequinned unitard inexplicably playing air violin. The singer wore headphones. Either she wants to be a Teletubby or she knew how bad the song was.
Lithuania’s offering was all a bit Hillsong. Until the lesbian pash.
Armenia looked like they’d broken into the Game of Thrones wardrobe. And sang like the guest performers at Ned Stark’s funeral.
I think Greece was after another European bailout with its number, One Last Breath. Poor woman couldn’t even afford to buy the front of her dress.
The Estonian duo was almost too cool for Eurovision school but his haircut saved the day. He kept saying he didn’t want to wake her up and she asked why so often I could see where he was coming from.
Serbia’s Bojana is a big woman with a big set of lungs. When the wind machine got going it looked like two kids were wrestling under her dress.
Cyprus’ entry is proof that Elvis Costello and Nana Mouskouri had a love child. Georgia was auditioning for the part of Birdman’s girlfriend. And I want to know how Latvia got hold of Diana Ross’ Chain Reaction dress.
Dodgiest lyric of the night goes to the chap who warbled: “Pull me, baby. I’m your trigger.” Ah Israel. It’s always about the firepower.
As for our Guy, what was he looking forward to after the excitement of the evening? “I can’t wait to get home and see my little bubbas.”