Eurovision 2024

May 17, 2024 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | LIFE, MUSIC | 0 Comments |

Malmö in Sweden got to host dear old sparkly Eurovison after Loreena’s win in 2023. Loreena was welded into a silver cocktail glass at the end of the evening and pushed onto the stage under a fringe of shredded shower curtains where she writhed and sang a rather wan version of her 2023 winning entry.  Her stringy beige bodysuit shrank in the wash so her stylists had  glued some robotic bits onto it. Very Eurovision. Looks 5/5, song 1/5.

Our hosts this year were normal size, not angry and only two in number. It looks like Graeme Norton said, “I’m not doing that again”. He so clearly hated it last year. The two women (who had Swedish names I cant be bothered looking up) bantered awkwardly. We do rather miss the bank of men and women regaled in glitter, uneasily waiting their turns to speak. These two suffered under the burden of having to mention ABBA’s win 50 years ago, which interested no-one, certainly not ABBA who, despite the constant teasing, we knew, were not going to appear. On the whole the hosts weren’t too bad. They were even slightly funny at the end. Definitely not an easy thing for a Eurovision compere. The younger blonde wore a lacklustre white evening gown. The more mature brunette beauty wore a. black leather-look number which  became more interesting later in the evening when we saw the back – a fishtail! Divisive.

Joel in Split Enz makeup (the eyebrows!) and Myf were there again and added little. Courtney Act wandered around interviewing left-over odd bods out the back. Hint to Courtney – long straight wigs do you no favours. Stick to the Marilyn (Monroe, not Manson) style curls.

There was of course even more political controversy and heavy-handed virtue-signalling than usual this year. The Swedish Doom Goblin lead a pro-Palestine demonstration outside the auditorium.  (We at TVC do wish that they would keep music out of politics). The Netherlands entrant was disqualified, for allegedly making a threatening gesture toward a camera operator. Whatever happened to Eurovision peace love and understanding?

Before the nonsense, we readdress our voting system. It has two aspects. We award points out of 5 for how a song might manage when let loose into the real world without the lamé.  Then we award Euro-points out of 5 for the ineffable “Eurovisionness” of each act. In particular, one point was traditionally awarded for each of  those Eurovision stalwarts dry ice mist, contortionists, bad dancing, clothing being torn away, dwarves, angel wings or mock flying, piano as furniture, a bearded lady and puffs of smoke. However, the list develops with the ever on-trend (30 years ago) Eurovision style. So, dry ice and puffs of smoke are now compulsory for every Eurovision song and rarely worth mentioning. We may need to add  silhouettes, strings and a red/black/white colour scheme if they feature again this year. It may be that clowns, contortionist and dwarves (not PC) are on their way out.  Let us see what is to be added or removed when we get to the end of this year’s ordeal.  Overall though, it is just the whole Eurovishiony feel of an act that matters.

We feel the need also to mention also that there is a Eurovision-type of girleen singer. We all know what we are talking about. Think Ariane Grande. Boyish build from all those herring diets and jazz ballet classes. She usually wears a leotard and high boots. There’s a lot of hair-spinning and strutting with this type. She smirks and sometimes winks. (Jazz ballet gets you only so far.) See e.g. Poland and Armenia from last year’s review,  although they are not all talentless. We might have to make an acronym for these in order to take time. Please read the below, ponder and send us your suggestions.

Now to the show. The crowd screams, waves flags and girns for the 30,000 cameras.

SWEDEN presented us with Marcus and Martinus, who pouted their identical-twinly way through Unforgettable” in forgettable blue and black skydiving outfits against a flashing Matrix meets Tron set. All very 90s. 3/5 for the song.3/5 Euros. [The Swedish Jedward – Ed.]

UKRAINE.  With the snappy name of Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil, a standard Eurovision sweetie and an – ahem – rather more curvaceous woman, both in beige shower curtains and shoulder amour, pounded their way through the pop anthem “Teresa and Maria”.  Something to do with saints, we think. The excellent water effects and a pretty good number earn them 3.5/5 for the song. It would have been 4 if only the fat one hadn’t broken out into rap. The shower curtain clothing, inexplicable rap, shoulder amour, and sword allow us to award 4/5 Euros. Ever so slightly Wagnerian. Also contributing to the high Euro point score are lyrics like, “All the divas were born as human beings”.

GERMANY.  Germany disappointed us this year. Their entrant is usually so vile that it’s awfully amusing. This year they sent Isaak who doesn’t have a bad voice but was dull, dull, dull. He dressed in fat boy black clothes and sang “Always on the Run” while decidedly not running from the hideous loungeroom set which was lit by a 44 gallon drum fire and fire effects.  3/5 and 3/5.  Bleah.

LUXEMBOURG. Obviously there aren’t many shops in little Luxembourg and as for couturiers  and hairdressers – forget it.  Tali, a ?, wore a curiously ugly red leotard, black tights, black boots and topped-it-off with plaits so long that Greta T would complain about their carbon foot-print. Shirtless men rioted around Tali, giving her the smouldering looks she wasn’t getting from the audience, or even her stalker. The background lit-up with pink and gold mountains and a completely irrelevant AI leopard. She sang competently in French and English but, as she presaged, “I’ll end up completely mad and that’s it”. Dry ice, fire effects, yada yada.  2/5 for the song and 4/5 Euros for being so awful.

ISRAEL.  The crowd was said to have booed Eden Golan’s “Hurricane” but we didn’t hear it.  A less interesting entry than Israel’s in 2023, but still weird. Of course. The song was “Hurricane”, about which we can’t remember a thing. Apparently it was in English.  Eden wore beige shower curtains also and a cheap stick-on nail job – a feature of the evening as it turns out. The smouldering guys (another common element) carried her around, then indulged in some acrobatic dancing and rushing about in a circle. At the end we saw an audience member in a red velour onesie with an Israeli flag painted on his chest crying. We know why. He went to so much more effort than some.  2 and 2.

LITHUANIA.  Silvester Belt (is this an anagram of some sort?) horrified us with “Luktelk”. Hail the Eurovision silhouette lighting specialist! Silvester worked baggy bellbottoms with a metal decoration on the bridge of the nose. “Am I still alive?” he intoned. There was acrobatic and Cossack dancing by men in gimp outfits. Tron and the 90s set-design are back. Silvester’s face loomed repeatedly in the background.  Red, black and white and strings featured a year late. It was nasty and vaguely threatening. Good Euro stuff.  1/5 and 3/5.

SPAIN.  The oldest duo ever to appear on Eurovision, or indeed on television, Nebulossa, wanted to “challenge sexual stereotypes’. They didn’t mention the geriatric ones. More silhouettes and red, black and white. A 300 year old Blondie appeared to be wearing black lace tights but had forgotten her skirt. There were dancers in spangly lounge suits, fireworks and pretend musicians. The male dancers were squeezed into g-string corsets, fishnets  and high boots; doing splits and somersaults. Ouch! But not really challenging for the sexually stereotypically inclined viewer. 2/5 for a competent song and full 5 Euros.

ESTONIA.   As readers of TVC know, we have ties to Estonia and hope to see Eurovision in Tallinn.  Clutching our passports in order to wave them when Estonia was declared the winner in 2024, we sadly put them away after 5 seconds of this act. 5 Miinust and Puuluup (6 men in deconstructed black suits – it’s so edgy when part of a sleeve is missing) belted the hell out of “We Might Not Know About Those Drugs That You Might Know About” (The title seems to be deliberately off-putting, even more so in Estonian). Tongue-in-cheek references to drugs that you might know about is edgy too, apparently. Energetically and cheerfully they sawed away at kitchen implement type instruments. Limply and sombrely, we wilted, an attitude not untinged by contempt. “Were not druggies, we’ve done nothing wrong…You turn on my body like a hot plate” they sang. Estonia were only saved from Nil pois and the bottom of the table in the last minutes of voting. 0 and 4.

IRELAND.  They say that Ireland plays Eurovision not to win because the Irish can’t afford to host it every second year. However, and without reason, Bambi Thug were a favourite this year. A rather nasty young lady (who had had some uninformed things to say about the Israel/Hamas conflict earlier) thought that she and her partner would shock the audience with a satanic, witchy look. She put on some white makeup and antlers. The chap put on some blue makeup and fangs. BT is of course, non-binary (as was her performance in that it wasn’t quite rap and it wasn’t quite screeching. It certainly wasn’t singing.) The song, “Domesday Blues” was unstructured –  It was all so scary and non-mainstream for us straights!  Pentacles and jerky dancing!  But then  Bambi pulled off her black Stevie-meets-Wednesday outfit to reveal a candy coloured bikini thing. You get points for that!  The first disrobing of the night. 0/5 and 4/5.  Yik.

LATVIA.  Dons sang “Hollow” with a minimum of fuss.  A circular Stargate thing which is dragged out of the Eurovision storeroom every year was his only prop, apart from the ubiquitous water and dry ice smoke effects.  A bald guy, Dons tried to distract us instead with his electric blue shiny breast plate and pants. No dancers. No winking. His ballad was strong and individual. A winner in our book. 4/5 and 3/5 Euros.

GREECE is known for sending bad gifts to the unsuspecting, and Marina Satti is one of the worst. We certainly were not suspecting a prancing rhyming unhappy looking ? in an asymmetrical pink alfoil puff skirt-nappy, pink crop top and clashing mauve lace up boots (nor was Marina, probably). There was some half-hearted belly dancing, hanky waving, hair spinning and tongue display. However, even lyrics such as, “I wont remember the times I almost lost my mind” don’t help, not even on the Euro scale. Too try-hard and sombre in a way that is difficult to pin down. 1 and 2.

UNITED KINGDOM.  and you thought Silvester Belt of Lithuania was creepy. With a very few exceptions, the UK’s entrants are always awful and this one keeps up the tradition. Olly Alexander (again, sounds like code), a set of English teeth with some skinny limbs attached, seems to have filmed “Dizzy” in a filthy public toilet. Add to the tired red, black and white scheme some greenish mould and grey grout and you’ve got the idea. Olly and his friends donned tattered singlets and boxing outfits. They clutched their cod pieces, did the pelvic thrust and glowered. They humped each other. And to think that t.A.T.u from Russia were nearly banned in 2003 because their act might have been perceived as a bit lesbian. 1 out of 5 for the song, which was not as tragic as the staging, and only 1 Euro, because Eurovision should have some standards.

Having a gay old time

NORWAY. Gate stood on a dias made from sticks in a dress made of tyres. Her feet were bare.  Was that meaningful in the context of the song, “Ulveham”?  Is it something to do with soccer? We don’t know.  A strobe lit up the dry ice smoke.  Men in skirts twirled about in the water effects. All very Norsk and Kate Bush. 1/5 for a passable song and 2/5 for the tired goth aesthetic and guitar throwing.

ITALY.  Yes, the halter-neck leotard with sparkly tights and clodhopper boots is still with us. As Angelina Mango warbled “La Noia,” with such lyrics as, “It’s the cumbia of boredom” and ,”I’m dying because dying makes you more human,” chubbies in one-legged leotards thundered about her. There was a thorny rose background and a shower of light rain, so there’s that. 1/5 for a song which didn’t make our brains bleed and 2/5 Euros for a pretty poor effort.

SERBIA. Teya Dora didn’t really need to bother. Norway had just done it all. Teya sat on a rock in the sea, looking a bit like Liv Tyler’s elf in a beaded top and a skirt made out of shower curtains – violet this time. Bare feet too. A nice black wig with a fringe. Yay fringes! There were no dancers which obviously reduces Euro points possibilities. Teya sang mournfully about “Ramonda,” a flower which dies or something. 1/5 and 1/5.

FINLAND. Remember Kaarija in the neon green puffer jacket and spiky black plastic pants last year? Well he taught these guys all that they know – how to look stupid while ‘singing’ a song worth one point.  Windows95Man’s “No Rules” was one of the worst things seen on tv in all time, not just Eurovision. I mean, it is up (or down) there with Croatia last year? The Napoleon Dynamite looking one (‘the Man”) cracked his way out of an egg wearing a curly blond wig and cap, tee shirt and – maybe some shoes.  How they chortled from Brussels to Bondi as the Man covered his crotch with his hand; camera operators and men with clipboards helped preserve his modesty until a pair of denim cut offs were let down on a string, the Man put them on and raced about with handheld fire crackers. The Man’s  friend wore a cloak made of strips of flapping denim, a denim shirt, shorts and boots. The dancers in denim bellbottoms were in silhouette. The Man lay on the ground and reached out to the camera. Sadly he didn’t have any pockets in his shorts in which to hold glitter to blow at us at home, but you can’t have everything. Again, we wonder where the censors were. 1/5 for the poppy song, which did not make cause us nauseous and a full 5 Euros for the act, which certainly did.

PORTUGAL.  Yolanda wore the only elegant clothing of the evening – a white pantsuit which, unusually, could be worn somewhere other than the Eurovision stage. Thankfully, her long black fall, huge powdery eyebrows, Godspell eye makeup, cheap stick-on nails (some like talons, some short – or did the glue fail?) came as a relief. We were pretty sure the the channel hadn’t been switched on us. Then her dancer appeared. Yes this is Eurovision. Their white suits were accessorised with fencing masks, or white lace balaklavas – it was hard to say. They had been ordered not to let Yolanda further than an inch away and wanted to actually carry her about.  Other than the light boxes threatening to crash on, it was all too serene. Oh, she sang “Grito”. 1 for that and 1 Euro.

ARMENIA.  Haven’t we suffered enough yet – what with Estonia, Lithuania, United Kingdom and, God help us, Finland. I’m going to the Hague. This is cruel and unusual punishment. Ladaniva, a Lene Lovich would-be and her grinning folk orchestra, gestured and bounced their way through “Jako” with the assistance of national dress, jazz flute, crazy looks to camera and a chicken graphic. God knows what it was about. The drummer looked like that Muppet.  0 for the song, but 4 for the regional zest.

CYPRUS. “It’s about the fakeness in the world” said Silia Kapsis of her masterpiece, “Liar”.  Speaking of fakeness and liars, this is the second time that Joel and Myf have insisted that Cyprus’s entrant is in fact, Australian.  It seems that Silia was born on a Sydney beach to Mr. Kangaroo and Mrs. Koala and eats nothing but Vegemite. Suspicious, given that she has an American lilt to her dinky-di Ocker accent and is appearing for Cyprus.  Give it up kids.  Was she any good though?  Let’s just say that Silia is a 17 year old Cypriot – Australian who will be a Real Housewife of Nicosia after her stint at Bondi RSL Cabaret Nights. Silia spun about, shouted, turned to camera and bored us all while sporting a glittery harness and glittery wading boots on straps over her white jeans and crop top. Duck-hunting at a Mormon drag show. The male dancers, in white t-shirts and black sweatpants, put little effort into it until they tore their shirts-off in the time-honoured Eurovision manner, but this time it apparently meant “freedom”.  1/5 and 1/5 because none of them cared.

SWITZERLAND.  Was an improvement on last year’s “I don’t want to be a soldier, soldier”. Nemo is also “binary”. To prove his point he (sorry) wore a shaggy crepe-paper cardi, miniskirt, tights and chunky shoes all in pink.  Because what says “non-gender specific” more clearly than that?  Nemo seemed to have terrible pustulent white heads around his eyes. One of the problems of arrested development no doubt. Anyway he balanced cleverly on a moving disc, sang “The Code” very fast and high and has a true showman quality about him.  4/5 and 5/5.  Winner.

The black leather host reappeared at this point in, astonishingly, the same dress.  Is this Eurovision or the Logies?  There was a funny bit about a runestone and DVDs or something. Oh those Swedes!! [note to President Biden: insert laughing emoji here – Ed.]

SLOVENIA.  Raiven (real name Sara), a very tall and skinny lass in a long blonde wig, again with the cheap nails, wrapped herself in a bit of black gladwrap and tried to seduce us with “Veronica”.  Her dancers (non-binary, in that some were male and some female) were also nearly naked. It might have worked, had Raiven not had teeth of Freddy Mercury proportions and the dancers not resembled spiders and snakes. There were contortions and screaming. Again, not so subtly threatening. 1/5 and 2/5.

CROATIA.  Baby Lasagne, Baby Lasagne, next time please run your putative name past a native English speaker, it might not be as punchy as you think. His or their (was it just the guy or the band?) song “Rim Tim Tagi Dim” was true pop music for now people. Also, apparently a statement on society. What society?  The Rim Tims or the Tagi Dims? The whole thing was a bemusing mess which worked. Baby kitted himself or themselves out like Adam Ant wearing a doily for a chest piece. We think we saw kerchiefs and more lace, even on the drum-kit. It was difficult to see what was going on because of the crazy camera angles, the steam and the electronic goats.  A good song 3/5 and great Euro, 5/5.

GEORGIA.  I don’t think many people could point to Georgia on the map.  Certainly the team behind Nutsa Buzaladze can’t point to any plan behind what they served up. Nutsa wore a leather look mini-dress with matching gauntlet gloves. Ok. If you must, but grey marle boots. Really? The shouty song was “Firefighter” and Nutsa got lifted up by 4 men in black skirts. They all did some calisthenics and Nutsa waved her oily hair about. That’s all I can tell you. 1/5 and 2/5

FRANCE.  Slimane sang “Mon Amour”.  What an imaginative title. Here there is no doubt about the anagram. Slime Man, a Pavarotti-lookalike, opened lying on the stage, loving the camera, wearing a white net shirt and white pants. Was he pleased with himself. (A rhetorical question). It looked like David Brent’s publicity photo from when he was in a band. “Please come back to Paris…I love you. I don’t know why”. 0/5 for the song. It would be 2/5 Euros abut we added one for the sheer oily awfulness of it.

Then there was an admittedly slightly amusing bit, “Brighton. How did the historic ABBA victory change the city?”  Not much, said the Brightonians.

AUSTRIA.  Thank The Lord, the last act ,although there’s still the voting, isn’t there?  Kaleen, another skinny type in silver leotard and boots (sigh) appeared at first all mysteriously clad in a floor length hoody. It wasn’t actually pulled off. Is that breaking the rules? Her male dancers and Kaleen gyrated and posed, broke it out, and Kaleen was hoisted up. “We Will Rave!” No you won’t. Nor will we. 1/5 and 1/5.

After the aforementioned Loreena bit, the hosts appeared, in new dresses, finally. Sequins.

A screen behind the state opened horizontally to show us the contestants in the green room. They all stood and waved their national flags, no to mention the rainbow flags. “They are heroes, all of them”, shouted our hosts. It was grandiose and ridiculous. No cocaine was spotted. There was a check in with a bunch of heads on a parapet and a lot of booing, to do with the Netherlands, we think. Indeed, one of the heads gave the Netherlands’ their vote because they are too naughty even to do that.

The hosts made a lot of pretending that ABBA would appear, showing us some lot called Alcazara (who were hosed-off the stage) and then a crossover to London to talk to ABBA holograms. So cleverly then, Charlotte, Carolina and Conchetta sang “Waterloo” with a background of ABBA clips. Get over it, Sweden.

Then the interminable jury voting. Everybody’s a comedian. First the Ukrainian woman in blue satin who so amusingly turned side-on to show us her baby bump. “A new Eurovision fan” she chortled. Doubt it. If s/he’s exposed to this rubbish so early s/he’ll be forewarned before his/her first breath. Joanna Lumley for the UK, holding a glass of Bolly, declared the show “absolutely fabulous”.  Did we say this just 30 years out of date? The guy from Malta had blue hair and dark glasses (it was about midnight), teddy bears on his collar and was eating a banana. There are no excuses.

Had we not known the result, the voting would have been quite tense. Nemo was ahead for most of the time, then Portugal and (ugh) France gave him (sorry) a run for his (sorry) money.  The crowd voting, which nobody understands, included a huge vote for Israel, despite some of the luvvies in the auditorium having turned their backs on the Israel jury member.

So after the dust has cleared, what can remove from and add to the list of Euro sins?  Strings and angel wings are out. Stick-on talons, shower curtains and shoulder amour are in.  A bit less interesting than 2023, but  gob-smacking hypnotic effect remains.  ‘Til 2025 and Switzerland!


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