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9:21am on Sunday, 12th May, 2024:



Switzerland won the Eurovision Song Contest yesterday, largely due to the votes of the juries. My own favourite, France, came third, but I wouldn't have minded if Croatia, which came second, had won. I also enjoyed the Armenian entry, not because of the song but because the lead singer was engagingly bonkers. I didn't like the Swiss entry, because it featured an attention-grabbing, low-high-low 3-note sequence, which is what Sweden's winner did the year before.

As usual, old people singing reasonable songs are punished in the public vote. Sorry Spain, sorry Norway.

As usual, similar songs sung by similar long-haired female singers are disambiguated by the voters on the basis of how pretty they are.

Not as usual, there were many buttocks on display. Some of these should not have been on display and will have cost the performers votes.

This was a bad year for the UK. In the past, I've argued that we should recruit a major contemporary singer with an international reputation as our entry, on the grounds that the juries might take against the UK for whatever reason but the popular vote would be in our favour. We tried it this time round, deploying Olly Alexander, lead singer of Years & Years. It didn't work. His was the only act that got zero votes in the public vote. No in-fashion British singer is going to go anywhere near Eurovision as a result of this.

His song was mediocre, but the same could be said of 20 other songs in the final. The homoeroticism was over-the-top, but his wasn't the only act to fall into that category. The staging was first-class and the production values were also exceptionally good. He suffered a bit because of a problem that affected the whole competition, namely that the balance between microphone and music was too heavy on the music side so his voice didn't sound strong, but (obviously) so did everyone else. I get the feeling that when it comes to voting for the UK, it's binomial: either the song and performance are so good that they reach a threshold where voters think OK, fair enough, that does deserve my vote (as happened with Sam Ryder), or it doesn't and we get nothing. Other countries will pick up votes here and there, but for us it's all-or-nothing.

Three solutions now spring to mind.
1) Get attacked militarily by external forces. Israel and Ukraine both did much better in the public votes than their songs merited.
2) Cynically have our singer be a 16-year-old girl who will burst into tears when she gets zero in the public vote, so the "don't vote for the UK" tradition is perceived to have non-amusing consequences.
3) Don't participate for a few years, like France did when it realised that it wasn't going to win no matter how good its songs were. People can decide not to vote for Germany instead of not voting for us.

To cap it all off, the northern lights didn't make an appearance in our part of the world even though the skies were clear apart from some low-lying mist. Bah!

On the plus side, my wife and I ate an entire bag of toffee popcorn between us and almost finished a 310g box of Maltesers, too.

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