And here we are, the final of the 54th Eurovision Song Contest. The biggest thing to watch is actually not visual, but the commentary provided by Graham Norton, taking over from Sir Terry Wogan. But that’s just dressing, the main course is the spectacle, the music, and the special moments in the three hour show. As we did for the semi-finals, here are TV Today’s predicted highlights of tonight’s extravaganza…
Cirque Du Soleil (Opening act)
The tale of “The Prodigal Son” who wants to escape his humdrum life and sing at Eurovision is beautifully told by the Cirque du Soleil dance troupe, with some of the most amazing gymnastics to ever take a Eurovision stage. And the prodigal son just happens to be Dima Bilan, singing the winning 2008 song to open the show (and doing his best impression of the opening credits of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway).
France (Running 3rd)
A haunting song from Patricia Kaas, one of the worlds biggest french-speaking singers. Taking time out of her world tour to appear in Moscow, this performance is sure to send shivers down your spine.
Portugal (Running 6th)
Surprising many by qualifying from the semi-finals, a fun performance from the Portuguese folk band has already brightened the hearts of many. Can become the first act to for Portugal to break into the Top 5 since the country’s first Eurovision in 1964? The re-introduction of the jury vote will help their cause, and it might just be enough.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (Running 12th)
I think this is tonight’s dark horse. It’s got a slow but strong beat, strong visual imagery (and watch out for the Ridley Scott Hero Pose™ about two minutes into the song. The juries will more than likely go for this, and the public vote could swing behind Regina (Latin for “Queen”) and push them very high up the table.
Malta (Running 14th)
Chiara is making her third appearance at Eurovision and hoping, yet again, to go one better. Coming third in 1998 and second in 2005, she’s the island’s Eurovision expert. On stage with just a microphone stand, she’s a reminder that this is still a song contest, no matter the lengths that some countries (ahem, Ukraine) will go to in the staging.
Norway (Running 20th)
This is the favourite of pretty much everyone on the planet - be it the bookies, the fan polls or the press room survey - but Alexander Rybak still has to go out and perform the song live to the world. It’s by no means in the bag for Norway, even with all their fellow Nordic countries support. Tonight’s scoring will tell one of two stories… (a) can Rybak overhaul the record points score of 298 (Finland Rock monsters Lordi in 2006) or (b) who’s going to beat him.
United Kingdom (Running 23rd)
And so we come to the UK, and frankly this is our best song since Jessica Garlick in 2002, and probably the best chance we’ll have to win it in years. The chasing pack behind Norway are all very close together in the stakes (Greece may be our closest competitor) but with a mix of jury and public voting, this could be Jade’s night. No matter what, we can be proud of this entry — and that is probably more important than winning.