Here’s our Phil with a quick reminder…

Happy Eurovision final day!

It’s almost time…

After months of build-up it’s time for the crowning of the next Eurovision Song Contest winner. If you haven’t seen any of the performances (really?!) do a search on YouTube/TikTok/etc., and you can enjoy full performances and selected clips.

My final day in the ESC host city on Friday was a busy one, and on our way back to my home, Brian and I dropped into BBC Radio Merseyside to be interviewed as part of their Eurovision party…

I’m sure you can check out BBC Sounds for Claire Hamilton’s show and hear our contribution. We were on at about 3:10pm, so an hour and 10 mins in. A quick chat with Claire and a then we bid fond farewell to the city.

And so to grand final day!

Let’s remind ourselves of what we have to look forward to (and some songs to endure) this evening…

(source: EBU)

As I have mentioned previously, there were raised eyebrows when many of the hot faves were drawn in the first half of the draw. I think the EBU have done a fab job curating the ebb and flow of songs, even with the pickle of a problem.

01 Austria will open the run of songs. We know who Edgar is, and this infectious song is an uptempo pop song very much in the Billie Eilish stylings in places (and the chipmunk Daphne and Celeste opening).

02 Portugal have the draw of death as no one has ever won performing second. As I probably said in every other year of the blog, this won’t change this year.

03 Switzerland gives us an early pause for thought with a reflective anti-war song. For a relatively young singer this is a rich vocalist, and it will probably do well with the juries.

04 Poland provides us with a pop banger – and one of those songs you have already heard even if you haven’t. It will get lost in the draw, but I was glad it got to the final.

05 Serbia provides us with the first scratching of heads, and surprise that this got to the final. That it is currently bottom of the betting tells us all we need to know. Hard to connect with on any level, for me.

06 La France has been bobbing around in the top five betting odds for a while, and peaked up to third following the initial rehearsal clips were released. It’s slipping back now, maybe because you have seen this type of performance before. The songs is fine, but putting a singer on an elevated plinth with loads of fabric festooned below isn’t fresh.

07 Cyprus was the victor in the near-neighbourly competition with Greece. It’s not lost on any of us that an attractive performer can help sell a song. Case in question here, deffo. A snack re-filler for me.

08 Spain is definitely inhabiting the indigenous ethno-pop stylings from their culture this year. Visually quite interesting, performed with commitment, but I just can’t find the hook in it. I like the ethno-flavoured songs in the mix this year, but this one not so much.

09 Sweden has been the favourite to win with this song even before it had been selected by the Swedish public to be their representative this year. Returning champ from ESC2012, Loreen (or Lorraine as I lovingly refer to her!), is back with a much-fancied song. Yes, it’s Euphoria adjacent, however Tattoo inhabits a different ethereal space whilst still being a pop banger. And yes, there is a whiff of Madonna’s Frozen in the mix. My winner, but I am looking forward to the tussle it will have with Finland. And if you haven’t seen it, don’t worry, Lorraine escapes from the panini press in which she seems trapped at the start of the song…

10 Albania provide more ethno-pop vibes. It’s done well to qualify and might get cancelled out by a couple of similar songs and visuals.

11 Italy have a returning singer from ESC2013. The song has drifted in the odds, but has been in the top ten for a while now, which is probably where it will end up. The juries will most likely support it, but for me it’s another song where it doesn’t linger in the memory, and for people hearing this song for one time only before they vote, there might be a problem…

12 Estonia will stand out at this stage as it’s the first big ballad of the night. It will be a nice change of pace (obvs), and a lot of us were delighted this progressed to the final.

13 Finland will be the one to challenge Sweden, for sure. It might win. There are differences of opinion all round on this! Some people are automatically anti-Sweden in the euro-bubble as they’re consistently good at Eurovision. Finland offers something entirely different. I love it, but, again, those hearing it for the first time tonight might not get it. It is a marmite entry. That said, I like marmite. Keep your eye on the jury voting. If it flies with them, well hello Helsinki in 2024.

14 Czechia is a stylish performance. I like the melody of the song and it’s very well-choreographed and is visually impactful. Again, let’s see what the combo of public and jury do with it – I’m intrigued…

15 Australia give us our first taste of dad rock. It’s rerto-rock feel will connect and if they were giving out medals for committing to the moment, well… Top 10 with a good wind, I’d say.

16 Belgium are bringing the euro-party, and there aren’t many songs tonight that do. This is going to lift the arena, which will translate to the viewers at home. Sixteen songs in we will need to be! If it makes the top ten that would be amazing, but I think it will deffo be on the left hand side of the leader board. C’mon dancing queens!

17 Armenia will give you an opportunity to refresh drinks and nibbles. It’s a bit beige for me, and you know what I’ll be doing! Did well to qualify…

18 Moldova allows me to roll-out my usual line ‘will you be bowled over by Moldova?’. They always do well at the end of the day, although always poorly backed with the betting odds in the UK. Don’t be surprised when Moldova bowl the viewers over…

19 Ukraine is the reason why we’re doing all of this in Liverpool for ESC2023. It will be interesting to see their placing tonight. The song is a departure from last year, and I like it. The staging is effective for TV, but in the arena, it wasn’t particularly impactful. Let’s see how it does with public and jury tonight when we see it on the telly/viewing device.

20 Norway is another song that has been backed well over the last couple of months. It will benefit from its position in the draw. I hate it when people sell songs as ‘fan favourites’, but this has been gushed about since it got the ticket to Liverpool. That said, all I can hear is how similar it sounds to a song that competed in Sweden’s Melodifestivalen last Year. Take a listen to Klara Hammarström’s Run To The Hills… (excuse the pitchy vocal!)

And then…

Hmm. Klara should call the lawyers! 😉

That said, top 10 for sure.

21 Germany are back feeling the dad rock glam rock vibes. A bit like Finland – it’s your jam or it isn’t. Some people like jam rather than marmite. Kudos for the effort on that staging, but it’s got cliché rhyming lyrics which you might find catchy but I find irritating.

22 Lithuania gives our only Disney princess moment this year. Aah, Eurovision – always a good time to grab my Pumbaa…

23 Israel is another popular song that will deffo gain from this placing in the draw. Or, given that this is (what) our fourth pop princess, will they start to merge. And as I said to you on an earlier post – she’s feeling like a unicorn, when they don’t exist.  Top 10 all the way, maybe top five?

24 Slovenia will provide a break between the bangers and bonkers of songs 23 and 25. Well, it does nothing else for me! They might be popular in Europe, but surely it’s the bottom half of the right hand side leader board?

25 Croatia ups the fromage towards then end our buffet. I like the song, but dislike the staging. I might be having a sense of humour fail about it, that not a bother as by the time this is on screen tonight a few bevvies might make this a riot (in a positive way) for the voting public – I’m not sure what the juries will make of it. Again, let’s track that before the public vote…

And finally,

25 United Kingdom were drawn by Ukraine to play out the songs this year (the UK drew Ukraine’s place in the draw). Mae Mullar’s I Wrote A Song debuted in the UK Official Charts Top 40 the week after its release. That was a sign that this song had been very well received. It’s usually the case that, if they are lucky, a UK song debuts somewhere in the top 100.To enter at number 30 shows that in the UK at least, people liked what they were hearing and seeing.

As I said on a previous post, the performance clip of her arena preview performance didn’t blow people away in terms of the vocal. It didn’t need to. She just needs to bring it tonight. Fingers crossed, as on this now updated/remixed arrangement Mae she spits some bars, and is a tweak that some said the song needed when it was initially released.

Top 10 would be a great result. Whatever happens I hope she gets a bounce on the socials after the Contest, and if we’ll get any more songs from her…

I will report back one more time on Sunday/Monday with some reactions and reflections to the winning song and country. For those of you listening to BBC Radio Lancashire on Monday morning, I will be on at around 8:20am. They liked me so much the other day, they invited me back to do the same (reactions and reflections).

To you all who have been reading this week, and to all my friends and eurofans, enjoy tonight. This our night, so let’s enjoy it. And bring on Sonia!?

чудово провести сьогоднішній вечір

(have a brilliant time tonight!)

Phil. xx