Eurovision Song Contest 2008 Final, BBC1

Did we like it?
We liked it a whole lot more than Terry Wogan who cast a miserable air over proceedings and should be dumped as commentator. How can BBC1 let him get away with promises of a “long evening” of “painful musical mayhem” which will “all end in tears”? And doesn’t he feel like a stuck record banging on about the neighbour-favouring judging? Even if there is some bias, the better songs normally rise to the top and Russia wouldn’t have won with votes from its neighbours alone.

What was good about it?
• We didn’t think the Russian winner – Believe by smooth-chested, wild-eyed Darius-a-like Dima Billan – was the best song, but it was good enough to win and we can’t dispute the result. While Wogan was busily bemoaning the way it stacked up votes, maybe he should have referred to the Radio Times which had picked it out as the likely winner, somewhat undermining his tiresome carping. The one thing we did hate about the winner was that fucking skater (James Dreyfus in a bad blonde wig) who should have been shot.
• The other top five songs – from Ukraine, Greece, Armenia and Norway – were all worthy of their high scores. The Greek and Norwegian entries were high on our list of favourites.
• Of the five songs we hadn’t heard and reviewed in the semi-finals, the only good track was French song Divine by Sébastien Tellier but the wonderful bit of whimsy didn’t come across very well because the directors missed their shots and the act relied on too many gimmicks.
• The vignettes between the songs, featuring paint and scribbled messages, worked well and were a blessed relief from the usual travelogues.

What was bad about it?
• We would dispute the Wogan assertion that Andy Abraham’s Even If was “Our best entry for years”. It was a 1970s disco track that would have struggled to make the Top 20 even back then, performed by a non-smiling man in a tarted-up demob suit. The fact that it finished last was no great shock.
• Germany, Spain and Serbia’s entries, which had automatically qualified for the final, were also pretty dire.
• Wogan slagging off the Bosnia & Herzegovina entry, Pokušaj by Laka. It was wonderfully eccentric and we’ll remember it long after the bland songs he liked have disappeared from our memory.
• Wogan crashing the songs, especially with that stupid pirate impression.
• The grovelling apology for the BBC’s phone vote scandal before the programme put a dampener on things.
• We had to suffer last year’s winning singer (the famale Harry Potter) again.
• The main presenters weren’t too awful (well, they were awful but it wouldn’t be Eurovision without a bit of showing off) but the screaming behind-the-scenes idiots should have been gagged.

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