Something I posted elsewhere, but I thought I might as well stick it here. Basically, a running commentary (sometimes on the running commentary) of Eurovision as televised by Logo. Edited somewhat to clarify things here and there. Additional commentary designated by NOTE.

* * * *

And the grand final! It has begun!

List of contestants in order of performance, with qualifying videos. Sadly, Belarus did not make the final, so we will not get to see a live performance of Naked Man With Wolfpack. (NOTE: he remained dressed for his semifinal performance and the stage remained entirely free of live wolves at that time. He did, however, rehearse the song naked with wolf. Sort of.)

The hosts, Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede, who basically introduce the show and then largely disappear for big chunks of the next three hours, were kind of adorable. Especially the part where she remarked that the Eurovision crowd was the most polite she'd ever seen, because she was in the parking lot surrounded by men and not one had made a pass at her, and what did Måns think about that? At which point he very scriptedly (but still adorably) changed the subject to avoid saying, "Because they're all gay, of course." (I've no idea who Petra is; Mans is last year's winner.)

Update 1: So after half an hour of this, I'm guessing that Eurovision is just a festival of dancepop, big ballads, and dance ballads. And also interesting lighting effects, fireworks of various sorts on stage, and a surprising number of people in hoops.

Update 2: Bulgaria's contestant is allegedly wearing "the most expensive clothing outfit in Bulgarian history." I'm ... not quite seeing how that works, even though parts of it light up quite a bit. She's also apparently favored to do very well, I guess based on previous rounds. (NOTE: she did not do well.)

Update 3: Sweden's contestant is also apparently heavily favored. Kind of ... not seeing that, either. I mean, his song is fine, it's just not all that interesting. On the other hand, he is talented, and he has the sort of face that would keep him alive on Idol (if Idol itself were still alive) or The Voice regardless of talent, so. (Also, from what I understand, Sweden is probably devoutly praying he doesn't win, because they really don't want to host this again.) (NOTE: he did somewhat well with the jury, but tanked in the public televote.)

And this is followed by Germany's contestant, who got swapped in for their original winner when they discovered that he was connected to neo-Nazi groups. And her costume is ... um ... kind of j-pop/k-pop falls into a pile of bow-shaped barrettes. Also, sadly, I think her nerves are getting to her, because she keeps wandering noticeably off key, in a song that doesn't have enough instrumentation to hide that.

Update 4: I'm ... not sure I can tolerate three-plus hours of Carson Kressley/Michelle Collins commentary. (NOTE: I survived. Somehow.)

Update 5: France's song was both annoying and catchy. And Australia is back again this year, with a powerful bridal ballad! (...Well, she's wearing a wedding dress. Sort of.)

Update 6: Well. Cyprus rocks out! In cages! (Seriously, they've put the drummer and bass player in cages.) Also, I'm surprised nobody is screaming, "MY eyes! my eyes!" because that is a LOT of low-power lasers and high power spotlights, that is. Oh, and a moment of fireworks, as one does. (NOTE: Sadly, putting your drummer and bassist in cages is not a way to win votes and influence people, either in juries or the public at large, as Cyprus also tanked badly.)

Update 7: I ... genuinely think that Croatia's contestant is costumed to echo a lighthouse. (The title of her song is "Lighthouse".) Or rather, she starts out that way. And then a couple of the background singers -- who are all dressed in monks robes, more or less -- rip off the gigantic lighthouse exterior to display the interior. Which is sort of ... silvery piano attacked with feathers. And also huge. (NOTE: dressing as a lighthouse may or may not influence juries somewhat -- albeit not enough; it does not win favor with the general public. At all.)

Russia's contestant directly follows Croatia. The audience was expressly forbidden to wave rainbow flags during Russia's performance. There may not have been the masses of rainbow flags that there were last year, but there were one or two. That aside, the light show part was very VERY cool, and I want to know how they managed parts of it. (NOTE: Russia won the public vote, and, frankly, that is not even vaguely a surprise.)

At the current pace (19 of 26 finalists performed in 90 minutes), I guess at least half the show is devoted to ... voting? Half the show. OK, then. (NOTE: Yes. Half the show. Really.)

(Petra apparently has very firm opinions about the Eurovision merchandise. Reasonably sure you can't get a Eurovision straitjacket.)

Update 8: Ukraine's contestant has a very ... pointed, shall we say, song called "1944". I suspect it will not go over well in Russia, somehow. And it really desperately needed for Carson and Michelle to shut their damn mouths about it, which it did not get. (They said that her song was entirely in Ukrainian. Pretty sure that the verses were actually in English, what with the entirely comprehensible parts about knocking on your door and raping and murdering your family, and then saying that they're not guilty of doing anything wrong. Either that, or I've acquired a miraculous understanding of Ukranian!)

Update 9: And we finish the contestant portion of the evening with Armenia.

Following that, we get video of Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as their characters from "Vicious", commenting viciously (of course) that they hope someone from "one of the more attractive countries" wins. And the voting begins! (Good lord, for most of Russia, this is nearly past the wee hours into almost dawn. People from east of Moscow -- including in Australia, assuming they get to vote (NOTE: they do) -- have to be seriously devoted to stay up to vote for this.)

Maybe it's just me, but it seemed a touch ... buttoned-down this year. No lascivious milkmaids from Poland, no drag queens from Austria (or, indeed, anywhere). Kind of disappointing, really.

No idea who's going to win. I think, based purely on performance, Russia deserves it; I also think, based on the fact that Eurovision voting is relentlessly political, he probably won't.

Update 10: And now, randomly, Justin Timberlake shows up to be interviewed and later perform a song that the US is not allowed to see, for some reason. (NOTE: I've no idea where the song landed. One of the pre-taped segments, I guess, but since those segments were also announced by Mans and Petra to the in-house audience ... I've no clue.)

Update 11: And now, "The grey people", Eurovision's modern dance statement about the world-wide refugee crisis. One of those things which, when you hear it, seems like a possibly very bad idea, but which worked surprisingly well.

Update 12: "Love Love Peace Peace", the "ultimate Eurovision winner" as "scientifically determined" was absolutely, cynically perfect. More Eurovision than any in-competition song this year. And it included lascivious milkmaids, shirtless drummers and a guy in a giant hamster wheel. Måns and Petra sang together, with their initial clothes being tear-aways that revealed her costume at the beginning, his white pants at the start, followed by his top half getting gradually more and more undressed throughout the song. (He semi-undresses very nicely.) And apparently, all of the performers were members of past recent Eurovision competitors and winners.

Update 13: It's going to be fascinating to see how this comes out. So far in the juried voting (about halfway through at the moment), Australia has won only three of the 21 jury votes, but has been no lower than fifth on any ballot, and usually either second or third, which means that they're basically stomping the competition. Ukraine has won more of the juries outright, but has very few top five votes by comparison, so they're not getting a lot of overall support. (Also, there could be nothing more precious -- in every possible sense of the word -- than the way the Ukraine jury spokespeople dressed.) (Also, quoting the head of the Swedish jury: "We booked two arenas because we could afford it. After all, if there's room in the heart, there's room in the butt." ... OK, then. I'm guessing that there's a pun in there relating to the second arena that I didn't get.)

Update 14: And Ukraine, by finishing second to Russia in the public vote, manages to overtake Australia (first with the juries, fourth in the public vote) to win! It looked, for a brief moment, as though the final order of finish might have Russia overtaking Ukraine, which would have been rather excessively symbolic for Eurovision.

Oddly enough, the winning song pretty much did NOTHING that was listed in the Perfect Eurovision-Winning Song Formula. Pointedly political, a relatively dressed-down performance, and it still won.

Theoretically, next year's competition will be in ... well, probably Kiev, assuming that the war allows. I wonder if Eurovision has ever had to deal with the issue of a host country having an active war going on?

Despite not being nearly as over the top as past Eurovisions, still fun to watch. I do hope that, if it's televised by Logo again next year, they find different commentators. Either that, or get Carson and Michelle to button down the snark a bit and PAY FUCKING ATTENTION!
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