ESC2018: the launch of another titanic Eurovision…

Europe’s longest running television show is back on our screens this week as the good ship Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) sets sail on it’s 63rd voyage. For regular viewers it’s the now familiar passage through two semi-finals (Tuesday 8 and Thursday 10 May) with each sending 10 songs to the Grand Final (Saturday 12 May), where they will be joined by the ‘Big Five’ and host country Portugal.

In 2018 the ESC is a popular as ever, with a record-equalling forty-three countries taking part, battling gamely to take the Grand Prix de la chanson Eurovision. Be prepared for more hours of Eurovision telly this year than we have ever had. Some of it is going to be a bit of a stretch, as I’m not sure that this is a vintage year for songs. There are a lot of good tunes, but boy do we have some songs to sit through that we are never going to want to hear again! More so than in recent years. That said, there’s plenty to delight the eye and ear again this year, as we will see and hear…

Here in the UK it’s the hottest May Bank Holiday since this early Bank Holiday was introduced in 1978. Over in Portugal things are also hotting-up in Lisbon, the host city for this year’s ESC. After eight days of rehearsals Sunday evening saw the official launch of ESC2018, with the opening ceremony. All of the forty-three participating countries walked the ocean blue carpet – suitably tying in with the nautical and sea related theme for this year’s Contest “All Aboard”. I will try to not have too many sea/water/Portugal related puns. Oh, who am I kidding!

Should you have wanted to, you could have watched the live stream from the blue carpet (well, you still can – via www.eurovision.tv). That would be three hours of your life that you will not get back! I dipped in (I can’t help myself!) at the end to see the UK’s SuRie being interviewed after she’d walked the blue carpet. She seems really nice and comfortable with the whole process. Mind you, it’s not her first time at the rodeo as she has previously been involved with two entries representing Belgium, both of which finished in a rather respectful fourth place. We need not think this bodes well for the UK entry this year – it doesn’t – but more on that in a later post.

Click on the clip below for a sneak-peek at some rehearsal footage of the ‘Big Five’ countries and hosts Portugal from yesterday (Sunday), and some of the action from the blue carpet opening ceremony…

So here we go! I do have more of my Euro-mojo this year. Regular readers might remember that I just wasn’t digging Kyiv 2017. I just didn’t get the winning song from Portugal at all – and yet it was the biggest winner so far.

Up next from me is a review of the songs in the first semi-final. See if you agree with me. Without the benefit of seeing full rehearsals (as I have done in the past), this year (like last year) the top ten predictions on my ‘napkin of death’ will be done during the broadcast, and I’ll pop them on the blog so you can compare them with your own.

Are we ready? Shell yeah! 🙂