Climb every mountain…

dress1

Well, today is a historic day for the Eurovision Song Contest. Firstly, it will be the 60th Grand Final. This has been celebrated far and wide, and is a marker of how important it has become for popular culture in Europe since 1956. Secondly, it marks the first (and hopefully only) time that Australia will participate (although we are led to believe that is may become a permanent invitation) to mark the 60th anniversary. Thirdly, this will be the biggest final ever – with (wait for it) 27 countries ready to entertain us this evening. Climb every mountain, indeed! 😀

balls

Watching the dress rehearsal of the final yesterday afternoon did become something of an endurance test. I had walked around Vienna for a couple of hours before going to the press centre, and ultimately the arena. Once again we were watching from the standing area in front of the stage, which was great fun. The only thing is, after watching the performances for a couple of hours I was feeling a little fatigued! Yeah, I’d been on my feet for about six hours, but also getting through 27 songs is a test of resilience! For those watching at home tonight, at least you can refresh your drinks/nibbles/put the bins out during the songs which may not exactly float you boat. For us there is that sense of having to endure songs which you find a bit bland/boring/cringe.

I will be quite happy to never hear some of these songs again after tonight, but let’s stay on the positive side of things (or as Graham Norton would say, the left hand side of the scoreboard). As Europe decides tonight it is clear that there are a clutch of songs that will do well: Sweden, Russia, Italy, Australia, Estonia, Belgium, Norway amongst them. It might be a really close race, and what I like about the Grand Final in recent years is that most of the songs are really, really good. Yeah, some are a bit naff and a bit cringe, and yep, this might be how the UK’s entry might be seen, but all in all, we all have a thoroughly entertaining evening ahead of us.

There are a few things to look out for tonight: a wonderful opening sequence, with pre-recorded orchestra doing a “hooked on classics” kinda medley. Throw in some school kids, singing presenters and a flying Conchita, and you know that you’re in for an excellent evening!

conchita

No really, a flying Conchita, here filmed by me yesterday…

In this 60th year, there can perhaps be no higher honour, or marker of pop culture, than to be immortalised in Lego. You know you’re special when this happens…

Finally from me for now, I want to give you a sense of the final few minutes before the live broadcasts start for you at home. For us in the venue there is a well planned warm-up of the audience. It’s much better than some we have seen over the years (the interminable Abba medley by various singers in Moscow, for example). For the final 15 minutes of the countdown to “going live” there is a fabulous montage on the big screens of Eurovision classics from across the decades. It is really effective, and gets the crowds singing, swaying and dancing along. And then, in the final sixty seconds we see this genius countdown of the previous winners (again filmed by moi)…

If that doesn’t stir your ardour for all things Eurovision, what will!? After that countdown tonight the arena, Europe and beyond, will get their Eurovision party started once again.

By the way, I found my red men yesterday…

red men

… we are all hoping that Ireland gets the green light today…

green men

Enjoy yourselves tonight! 😀 xx