So, most of Europe reached for their atlases last night - where exactly is Azerbaijan again? That’s right, next year Europe will extend to within 1000 miles of China, and only a hop away from Iran!
Sundip: More people from within the Europe Union voted for the winning Azerbaijan group than for the President of the EU! #Awkward
Apart from worries over the state of hotels and gay rights in Azerbaijan, the European television companies will no doubt sigh with relief - Azerbaijan is one of the few countries rich enough to stage the competition in the current economic climate, and they are absolutely desperate to do so. Should be mega - expect something to rival Moscow in 2008.
Seriously, Azerbaijan deserves big congratulations for their winning song “Running Scared”, sung beautifully by Ell & Nikki, who had such great performance chemistry. It was also highly amusing watching them fight over who got to hold the trophy in close-up while singing their reprise.
I really should have placed a bet, shouldn’t I? - A first or top three for both Azerbaijan and Sweden would have been the ticket. The joker in the pack was Italy - coming up from absolutely nowhere (and against everyone’s expectations for a sophisticated jazz number) to finish second.
Poor Blue finished 11th, and behind Jedward too - so a pretty miserable finish for the UK, albeit vastly better than the ‘nul points’ we are used to from previous years.
My head is still buzzing, but here are a few initial conclusions:
1) The bookies can get it so wrong! - France was a massive favourite for months during the build-up, only to disappear in the voting. Poor Amaury Vassili must have been devastated.
2) Opera and show tunes do not work. Not for Amaury Vassili, nor for Norway last year, or the disco-fied opera Sweden did the year before that. The UK did best in this genre in recent years with Jade Ewan’s Andrew Lloyd Webber number, which finished 5th.
3) Despite Eurovision having a huge gay signature, Gay Anthems paradoxically don’t work either. Sweden never had success with their past entries in this genre; Iceland got nowhere last year; Malta didn’t even qualify this year; and Hungary - a really storming anthem and another bookies’ favourite to boot - finished well down the header board this year.
4) What does work? - Good-looking cute boys have won very frequently in recent years, but the song has to appeal too. Josh Dubovie was cute, but his song was awful. And Jedward’s talents were flattered by an excellent pop tune and hugely sophisticated production.
5) Is Eurovision getting boring? A twitter friend expressed regret this year twitter lacked the bright banter of previous years. He suggested it was because there were so many more people tweeting now that the wittiest gems get lost in the electronic blizzard. There may be something in this; I think however it is also the case that the competition is evolving and the Eastern European countries are all now capable of producing respectable attempts - there was a total lack of unintentionally funny acts this year (cf Armenia & Ukraine a few years back). The ‘funny’ acts were all knowingly, calculatedly funny - Moldova just as much as Ireland (both the UK’s highest scoring countries).
Tweets, yes, I have to say there were fewer that caught my eye, so I don’t know if I will continue my tradition of tweet digests next year.
6) Where to now for the UK? The poor BBC must be at its wits end. Maybe do an Italy and take a break for decade or two?