OK, so this one isn’t going to be a particularly structured post. It’s just a few thoughts on the return of the greatest show on earth!

Now there are issues that will need to be dealt with. Typically suspect voting that may require a “dream team” of investigators to get to the bottom of. Pretty nasty tabloid hack journalism accusing the winners of something without any clear evidence. And of course a British ‘has been’ making a f**king fool of themselves and our country on live television…and I obviously don’t mean James Newman! But, for now, let’s take time to focus on the positive.

Italy actually won. Måneskin won the Eurovision Song Contest. After returning a decade ago they’ve threatened it so many times, narrowly missing out on a number of occasions. We all watched Sanremo in March, we knew the quality was high and it consequently produced a winner worthy of going to Eurovision and taking it by storm. A brooding, sexy, angry performance turned out to be just what people needed after the shitstorm that has been the last 15 months.

But now they’ve finally done it, and they’ve done it with a rock song. Rock has won at Eurovision for the first time in 15 years. We’ve had very underappreciated gems from the likes of AWS & Nika Kocharov over the last decade. But far too often have we seen the grittier side of music go underappreciated both at the Contest and within individual national finals. Given the bounce the genre had after Lordi hopefully Måneskin can do the same.

What of everyone else? Babs got second. “Oh it’s way too French”, “people won’t understand it”, “Europe won’t like something so French”. Bollocks. That’s the result you get when you put a performer in their prime telling the story of their life. Barbara sold every moment of that performance and despite having heard the song well over a hundred times I still found myself overcome with emotion. Four native language songs in the top 5, more acts sending something authentic to themselves and their culture. This is the Eurovision we want and this is the Eurovision we need.

Only one of those top 5 not in their own language? Daði Freyr. Iceland’s journey over the last two years has finally come to an end with 4th place. Given HE WASN’T IN THE ACTUAL ARENA that is an incredible achievement. No matter what happened last night Daði has already won. In a professional sense the Contest has given him an army of fans. But most importantly he got create something beautiful with his beloved wife, his sister and his mates. That’s a win in my book.

Elsewhere we had Finland securing their best result since the aforementioned Lordi. Further proof that rock is back on the menu. Portugal securing one of the best ever results, who would’ve thought that pre-Contest? Lithuania and Russia both making top ten with outstanding, if completely different, performances. Destiny may not have made it last night but mark my words, this stunning performer will win Eurovision for Malta before she’s 30.

Lastly, and most importantly, we had a Contest. And it was one of the best ever. High quality of songs, fantastic hosts (especially the three ladies), wonderful interval acts and an incredibly tense voting sequence. A voting sequence that included my favourite ever spokesperson…live from Husavik. Serious thanks have to go to the EBU and the host broadcasters for creating such an incredible spectacle. Given we’re still in a time of restrictions with all manner of obstacles they brought Eurovision back to life with a bang. I, for one, am incredibly grateful for such a fantastic return of the greatest TV show in the world.

Next stop? Italy.

Allora.

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