Well, it was Eurovision this last weekend.
I kinda knew it was this weekend, but also kinda forgot about it. I dunno - it's difficult to explain.
Anyway, the point is that this year it was actually quite good, in terms of both song content and the presentation. The Danes won it last year and they'd basically built the stage in an old dock in Copenhagen. And it was actually quite decent - the last few years there's been a bit of a trend for one-upmanship, particularly as it's gone to a few of the new Eastern European Nations.
However, the show here was fancy without being overblown - I mean, it was big scale, but the scale was pretty much in the audience: the stage itself was a reasonable size and a fairly basic space. They'd make it swanky with some clever screen and various bits and pieces.
I also thought the hosting was pretty good. The Danes had clearly embraced the silliness of the show over the years, but not gone so far as to take the piss in a nasty way. Indeed, I thought the level of humour overall from the hosts and the pre-filmed pieces was about right. There were a few bum notes, obviously, but overall it worked - I particularly liked the "13" song.
Graham Norton seemed less impressed, but then I guess these things are subjective. He poo-poo'd several songs I quite liked and seemed more impressed with songs I thought were a bit naff.
And speaking of songs, the standard this year was really high. It was a genuine song contest for once, with quite a few songs that would have been worthy winners.
The British entry was reasonable - it was a relatively interesting song structurally (possibly too much so for Eurovision) and was well performed. It picked up a smattering of votes, but was obviously almost totally ignored by the Eastern Block voting. But then that's hardly surprising, given the political issues.
There was actually quite a bit of boo'ing for the Russians, which was a bit unfair on the girls who sung. And the Russian one wasn't a bad song.
There were some duffers of course - the French entry was bobbins, for example. Poland's entry was too close to being the "sexploitation" it was clearly trying to parody - if you look it up online there's an English version and you'll see what I mean, and seeing it, it was a bit surprising it wasn't performed in English as without that it just came across as a "votes for boobies" song on the night. And they were nice boobies, I will happily admit, but the fact it was ironic was rather lost.
The winner was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I get that Eurovision has an appeal for what might be regarded as minority groups, and the winner this year was a man in drag... with a beard. It's therefore not unreasonable to suggest that it picked up votes purely based on a sort of "positive discrimination".
However, I think that would only really work as a point (and it wouldn't have won) if it hadn't genuinely been quite good as well. How can I put it? I think it would have been up there as a real contender if it hadn't been for the man in a skirt thing, but I don't think it would necessarily have been the runaway winner it was without that.