Eurovision 2016 kicked off with Belgium's ‘Bring Out the Best in Me’ (intro sounded like ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ - Queen!) Female lead reminds me of an Agnetha in brunette curls. Gabriella Guncikova, in a long classy white dress sang ‘I Stand’ was next for Czech - their first time in a Eurovision final. ‘I’m Standing just because of you, every part of me is a part of you, I stand’ she sang. ‘Railing against modern life’, Douwe Bob put himself down for 100,000 euros to win, for Netherlands, self-accompanied guitar playing ’You got to slow down brother, if you can’t go on’. Azerbaijan’s Samra in a sequined body suit, with song number 4, ‘Gonna take a miracle to save us now,’ accompanied by dancers in tight fitting white costumes that show off every contour. ‘Mira - mira-cle, mira mira-cle ] (ala Coldplay’s para para-dise).
Next Freddie, who holds a hotel management degree, from Hungary performed ’Pioneer’ with 3 male backing singers plus a bare chested male ‘kodo‘ drummer. (would have done better if he had dropped the drummer and the dad dancing at the back‘) Francesca Michelien snag ‘No Degrees of Separation‘ fro Italy - ‘Nessun grado di separazione‘, includes some English lyrics, ‘Dancing in the sky we are shining’. She holds out what looks like a young green sapling as she ended. (France awarded Italy their 12 points). Song 7 from Hovi Star from Israel called ‘Star’ - with a mighty on-stage hoop manned by a couple of dancers - ‘You ride a black horse in the rain, you hypnotize me’ ‘Cos we are all made of stars’ Poli Genova from Bulgaria sang ‘a really catchy pop song’, in a futuristic patchy beige white and black outfit, with black chiffon sleeve on her left arm ‘Together we’re untouchable you and me against the world,” O daj mi ljubovta’ is in the refrain. Song 9, by 17 year old Frans representing Sweden ‘ If I were Sorry’ - bit stilted delivery of a rather weak vaguely country and western style song, but seemed to get good audience response throughout. In the very brief in-between commentary from the official hosts, we are told that Stockholm was founded in 1252 by [Birger Jarl ].
Next song 10, Jamie-Lee (female) from Germany in a short bouffant skirt, wearing funny things in her hair, with a song called Ghost (Gary Norton said, there’s not a single thing about her that doesn’t’ annoy me’) ‘Our life won’t wait for us to live, we don’t need a lifetime to figure out what we missed’ ‘This is the ghost of you haunting the ghost of me’ (story line a la Dickens’s Christmas Carol?) Representing France, Amir, in fact a trained dentist, with ‘J’ai Cherche’ - ‘You’re the one that’s making me strong, I’ll be looking looking for you’. Michal Szpak from Poland, long haired resembling the narcissistic Renaissance artist Duhrer, with- ‘What colour is your life?’ - ‘Oh oh oh oh tell me black or white?’ Australia’s Kylie-esque singer Dami Im, with ‘Sounds of silence’ for Australia - yes Australia! Song not my cup of tea, prefer Simon and Garfunkel’s far more interesting and original song.
After her, Cyprus, by apparently Goth-influenced band led by a bald singer, ‘Take it on get me through the night, take it on till the morning light’, which includes howling. Sanja Vocic Zaa siang ‘Goodbye’ representing Serbia, with a ‘strange’ backing team - probably on account of balck ‘fetish’ gear worn by them. Handsome Donny Montell, who came 14th in 2012, ‘I’ve been waiting for this Night’, for Lithuania - sporting a mini trampoline - I like the refrain - ‘For a thousand years, through a million tears.. I’ve been waiting for this night’, Wow he did a quick change from white suit to black casuals via a mini trampoline! Tree-hugger Nina Kratjic for Croatia with ‘Lighthouse’ - in outsized dress reminiscent of Japanese Kabuki dancers (did Bjorn wear something like this once? - which she slips out of to reveal a more showy costume with long frilly add-on sleeves, and waves her fingers like Shirley Bassey did. For Russia, song 18, Sergei, who spoke out against homophobia in Russia, has a bakery making cake for dogs called Poodle Strudel, (may well be our winner tonight said Norton)
From Spain, Barei, with an upbeat song called ’Say Yay’ - ‘We only got today to learn from our yesterday’ She does an intentional fall in the middle, so don’t feel sorry for her, advised Norton. ‘thank you and yay to Barei,” said the presenter. You know what they say cray is the new black, she added. Not sure what she meant! Latvia’s Justs who began his career as a street musician in Riga, sang a catchy song - Next Ukraine (which I didn’t really pay attention to..), then Ira Losco who came second in 2002, for Malta, followed by Georgia - with a heavy metal rock number ‘Stains of mud on your skin, Night will come so will the sin’ Song 24. Zoe, who looks a little like a young Brigitte Bardot, from Austria, whose grandparents are French, in a fetching ballroom pastel orange dress, with a French song - Loin D’ici. I quite like this one (as I do the Italian, Polish and Lithuanian entries so far). “A pretty song,” said Norton. Next from the UK - Joe and Jake, just 21 and 22, “really good song, brilliantly executed,“ said G. (Malta gave UK 12 points!!) After that Armenia - ‘Caught in a downward spiral, I lost my way in dreams’ she screeched. (Spain gave them 12 points - why?)