Weaver's Week 2018-05-13

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Eurovision Song Contest

Once again, it's time for the Senior Eurovision Song Contest. It's the first of at least five Eurovision contests we hope to cover this year; Eurovision Young Musicians in August, and the much-promised Eurovision Asia is scheduled for October. The Junior Eurovision Song Contest is in November, and – what! Really!! S4C are going to send an entry of their own!!! With a national selection show! Truly, we are spoiled! Spoiled!

Ahem. Calm down, let's not get as excited as Lizi Pop after eating three packets of sherbert. Going into this year's contest, we were in the unusual position of having absolutely no clue who would win. "Toy", the debut from IPBC, was the early favourite, but feels a little too avant-garde. "Mercy", the France2 entry, is stylish and cool, but could come across as a pair of poseurs. NRK have given the gig to Alexander Rybak; what does he left have to prove? Saara Aalto from The X Factor might be going straight to the clip shows. "Lie to me" and "Nobody but you" have impressed in rehearsals, "Fuego" gave a standout jury show.

France2's entry.

The Eurovision Song Contest is a contest between participating broadcasters, through the medium of popular song. While it is convenient for the EBU to refer to broadcasters by the territory to which they broadcast, this is a fiction, and contravenes the EBU's "no politics" claim. This column will refer to songs and broadcasters, and name the performers. Following complaints from readers, we will also name the "country" as shown on screen.


Semi-final 1

RTP for RTE Radio 1, BBC4, and others, 8 May

Of course there's going to be a short film about Lisbon, ending with the ship-shape arena. Of course we're going to check in with Zbyszek Zalinski and Neil Doherty of RTÉ Radio 1. And we're very pleased because the radio over the internet is within milliseconds of the BBC4 pictures. We'll take it!

Eurovision Song Contest Say you will, say you won't, say "Good evening Europe!".

Four hosts for this year's contest. Four! All women, Silvia Alberto, Filomena Cautela, Catarina Furtado, and Daniela Ruah. The last appears in NCIS, and seems to be Neil's favourite. The postcards involve people walking through a door appearing from nowhere, like on The Dare Devil.

The stage is called Hilda. It's a large performance area, the apron continues round as a catwalk, and it's possible to make a complete circuit. In the pit are some hundreds of standing fans, and there are banks and banks of seats as far as the eye can see. The arena has no LED screens, the first to be so bereft since Oslo 2010. Delegations are entitled to bring their own visual effects.

Eurovision Song Contest It's too late to ask for a postal vote.

How to vote for song xx? Use the Eurovision app. Or In Ireland, call 1513 7172 xx, or text xx to 53125. Calls and SMSs cost 60 cent. In the UK, call 09015 22 52 xx from landlines, 6 22 52 xx from mobiles. Calls cost 15 pence (about 18 euro cent) plus any landline access charge. BBC viewers cannot vote by SMS, because the Beeb want to be 100% sure all votes arrive and are counted. The Active Voting Window was from 21.29 to 21.47 last Tuesday.

During the active voting window, paper ballots wre brought on stage, but can you imagine the number of clerks needed to count those papers? The interval act was of last year's contestants singing "Amar pelos dois" in the style of "Perfect day". There was a comedy film presentation from "David Attenburger", the history of the contest in "ESClopedia", and the ESC board game. After the result was announced with the maximum of fuss, these were left out.

Not going through

X my heart – Íctimai – Aisel

Co-written by one of Dreadzone. Aisel and her backing dancers perform from on top of the icebergs from the Titanic. Sparklies in the background are the first visual effects, and they complement a sparkly set. A confident start, best foot forward, but there are eighteen more songs to go. This had to be memorable to the juries, and it had to be memorable to the televoters, and it simply wasn't. The 100% qualification for "Azerbaijan" is over. We did enjoy her tinkle on the toy piano during the first advert break, but we had to watch the web stream later.

Eurovision Song Contest Had this drawn Thursday, it would still be in.

Our choice – RUV – Ari Olafsson

Ari stands with his back to the audience as they wave their mobile phones in the air. Then he stands in his whiter-than-white jacket, over-emoting about how love brings us all together, and we're all the same.

[phone rings]

Hello? No, this isn't Dial-a-Puffin from "Iceland".

[puts phone down]

That was Boyzone. They'd like to join in. And the big note at the end dissolved into tears.

A matter of time – VRT – SENNEK

Ooh, it's her-out-of Portishead singing the great lost Bond theme from 2013. The Bond comparisons begin at the start, when the screen shows just an arm, before pulling out to show the full body of the singer. If you'll excuse the language, this was a complete "Belgium" of staging. In retrospect, this song needed much tighter framing. Imagine SENNEK staying in the shadows until the first chorus, perhaps her eyes visible, perhaps whipping around to other cameras and giving us a glimpse of cheek.

Eurovision Song Contest Full marks for showing Hilda, but this isn't the Eurovision Stage Contest.

Forever – BRTC – Alekseev

It's all in here. Whiter-than-white shirt. Woman dancing round in flowing skirt. A rose being fired from an arrow. A mystery cut-out hole on the stage riser. Video effect rose petals zooming out of the stage, then the stage riser rises, and shooting woman ends up with a rose tattoo on her back. On the radio, this works; on the screen, it is a Proper Goth drama in three minutes. The combination doesn't work, and "Belarus" will not be loved.

Eurovision Song Contest A rose is still a rose.

Lost and found – MRT – Eye Cue

It's not reggae, it's a young gerbil. "I don't care about this," agree RTÉ radio commentators Neil and Zbyszek. It tries to meld reggae and pop and R&B, and sounds more of a mess than it ought. Looks messy, too, not least because "FYR Macedonia" is too long for the corner. We had in the notes, "Do a joke about Lost & Found Music Studio", but we wouldn't inflict this song on any CBBC viewer.

Crazy – HRT – Franka Batelic

Good grief, it's Ickle Billie Piper if she hadn't shacked up with Cliff Evans! It's a power ballad, the sort of thing we would expect Ickle Billie Piper to be performing if she were still doing pop today. Franka projects confidence, she sells her song well, and the final moments are technically demanding. But this turned out to be a poor night for acts that just stood there and sang well. All of the qualifiers had some sort of stage show, Franka didn't. Wouldn't surprise us that "Croatia" finished a gnat's crotchet off the pace.

Eurovision Song Contest Why you gotta play that song so good? Because we want to!

Oniro mou – ERT 2.0 – Yianna Terzi

"If you talk to my mountains, my loneliness will be listening." The contest for a "Greece" song was fraught with danger. Some songs stabbed each other in the back, others were stung by trackerjacks, and the song with momentum going into the final gave an interview describing "how *I* can rhyme," implying the rival could not. After all of this, "Oniro mou" was the only song still alive, and steps onto the stage here.

This is widely believed to have been an error. The backing singers do all the heavy lifting, and the notes towards the end are distinctly dodgy. This was not qualifying, not in a month of Sundays.

Qami – AMPTV – Sevak

The spiritual successor to Junior Eurovision winner Polina Bogusevich, lots of "Wings" here. Sevak has learned not to translate his lyric from "Armenia" into Poplish, so we're not going to renew the argument about "reaching up the sky". Just lots of standing around on the 1991 Fifteen-to-One set, and massive flashing lights near the end of the performance. It's solid, but he could only going through because of the diaspora.

Eurovision Song Contest Sevak, for you, it's lights out.

Stones – SRG SSR – ZiBBZ

This one was overlooked in the rehearsals, but it's a really strong pop-rock number. Coco looks like a powerful rock chick, and knocks over the mike stand like all the best singers. Her brother plays the drums with feeling, and there are lit flares (lit flares!) in the performance. Don't try this at home, kids, even if you are "Switzerland". Even at song 17, that was our favourite of the night so far, and not just because we've seen Coyote Ugly in good company.

Ten for Saturday

"Money" by The Pink Floyd. Stravinsky's "Firebird" suite. "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel. Sting's "Love is stronger than justice". Joan Osbourne's "Right hand man". "All you need is love" by The Beatles. And now "Mall" by Eugent Bushpepa. This column loves songs in unusual time signatures, and 7/4 is an unusual time signature. RTSH has sent a serious song, there's a huge amount of emotion in his voice. Even though we don't understand a word of "Albanian" (and neither does 99.99% of the voting public), we get what he's singing about, and we get the screech at the end, just on the right side of controlled.

Returning performer alert! Ieva Zasimauskaite did Junior Eurovision a decade ago, and looks like she could compete in that contest again this year. Phones are used as torches, and the crowd reaction in the opening lines gets amped up to Ten Squillion. Ieva performs most of LRT's "When we're old" sitting on the stage, while video effects of family – young babies, old people – are superimposed onto the picture. They have money for effects in "Lithuania". "There was no chorus," says RTÉ's Neil Doherty. Spot on, sir.

Eurovision Song Contest Lots of love for this entry.

The song is technically excellent, but feels like it's missing something. Julia and Griffin kissing, probably. It's a polarising song, people either love it or "meh" it. There's a new voting calculation for the juries this year, an exponential decay to the marks will benefit the mid-table mush. Songs that someone loves and no-one hates get a lift, even compared to songs that people love or hate. Wonder if this qualified because of the new rules.

Opera done in a pop style. Yussss. "La forza" boasts a projection dress, which appears to spin around Elina Nechayeva, and changes pattern as the song goes on. Remember how there are no video walls this year? ERR found the loophole, there's nothing against bringing your own video skirt. Opera isn't as much of a jury fave as we might expect, but the viewers do tend to like it. Especially when, like Elina, like Paul Potts, the singer looks in control of the stage. "Estonia" could go far.

Eurovision Song Contest This is a novel idea, we've never seen it in competition before.

Like a video on screen

"Lie to me" sounds like a Tweenies cast-off, with lines like "Plenty of %harrumph% want to eat my spaghetti"? Mikolas Josef suffered an injury in rehearsal, and he's not breakdancing tonight. He leaves that to his CT backing dancers. The picture is framed beautifully, with black borders top and bottom like a movie. Fast cuts between Mikolas and his dancers make it look like a music video, not entirely sure that the song is All That. Confirm nationality of this entry? "Czechia".

Ten years ago, RTÉ were sorry for Riverdance. This year, they've sent Ryan O'Shaugnessy from Fair City and a girl on the piano, "Together". Yep, the audience are using their phones to provide illumination, the lamp-post isn't going to provide any light. Coming over the bridge are a couple of lads, dancing around and on a stone table as the snow falls. This performance is exactly where "Ireland" and Europe are in 2018: both uneasy and comfortable around same-sex relationships. And it's the right song to soundtrack a superb contemporary dance performance.

Eurovision Song Contest What's Cair Paravel like at this time of year?

We're getting depths to this staging. We have a lamp-post, an old-fashioned gas light. Across a bridge come two guiltless lads, who perform a sweet and innocent dance around an old stone table. Snow is falling. All we need is a faun, or some beavers, and we're in the land of Narnia. And the analogy doesn't stop there, could these dancers be the new Aslan, here to slay the wicked queen of discrimination, narrow-mindedness, and prejudice? Write your own fanfic. Or your own thesis.

Battle of the Planets

Equinox is not a band, it's a "common framework". They perform "Bones". Basically, this is Battle of the Planets: The Musical. First we hear from Mark, the leader. Then Jason and Tiny and Keyop chime in (lancer, big guy, comic relief). Token woman Princess provides the emotional heft as they all sing about how love goes beyond bones. And then they prepare to blast off in the Phoenix of "Bulgaria" to do battle with the evil enemy. Strong song, and if you believe the stage show, it really works.

Eurovision Song Contest Cleared for landing...

Ten minutes later, the evil enemy has arrived, and he's singing "Nobody but you". César Sampson starts with the stage riser in the "up" position, and sings as the stage comes down to land. Strobe lighting flashes in the background as he comes in to a flawless touch down. Cesar is Zoltar, landing and ready to invade the whole world on behalf of "Austria" – or at least the front catwalk of the stage. Flawless vocals, and this could go very far.

The link is not that the BBC rejected both songs, though they did turn down "Nobody but you". No, the connection is that BRT and ÖRF have both contracted the Symphonix International organisation to work on this year's songs. BRT worked with Symphonix the last two years, as well.


"I'm taking my Pikachu home, you're stupid just like your smart phone."

Eurovision Song Contest

What a debut entry for IPBC! Human beatboxer Netta Barzilai isn't allowed to use her looper pedal – that would count as an instrument – but brings a high energy performance of "Toy". Think of what it's going to be like at 10pm on Saturday night, you've sat through 26 performances, it's the final recap, the urge to vote is here. The one labelled "Israel" is memorable, and it'll intrigue the people who turned over after Got Talent. That said, it was a ragged performance, and wasn't The Greatest Thing since Sliced Bread like the fandom would have us believe. A few days off could help recharge batteries.

Saara Aalto starts "Monsters" from one of the wheels on I Don't Like Mondays, and it's clear where Alan Carr went wrong – needed more singing while upside down. The YLE singer is joined by four backing dancers in grey suits, and sings a high-energy song, culminating in a Pyro Curtain Of Victory. Don't think "Finland" will be involved in DEADLOCK!!!!! this week

Eurovision Song Contest Name one famous Finn.

After Monday's jury final, we suddenly had a new favourite. "Fuego" from CyBC. Have we had the catsuit? We haven't had a single catsuit! Quick, get one on Eleni Foureira, otherwise Scott Mills will have to wear one. It's ethnic pop of the sort that made great sense when it was warm (ie yesterday), but doesn't quite work in the cool of this evening. The catsuit and the label "Cyprus" will attract a decent televote, but this feels like a winner from the Televote Error, not from the Balanced Jury 'n' Televote Era.

After taking a second look at the performance, we're going out on a limb here, and saying this is actively bad. The song is nothing, instantly forgettable dance pap. Eleni and her dancers makes their point while wearing very few clothes, and making as many provocative moves as they can. Eurovision Song Contests don't have to be won by a song for the ages, just by the best song on the night. If the Eurovision Song Contest is a one-night stand, this performance is a quick trip into the wardrobe; all Turkish Cypriot Delight and not even a coat.

Eurovision Song Contest Hope the budget runs to clothes for Saturday.

Semi-final 2

RTP for BBC4 and others, 10 May

Must we listen to Scott Mills and Rylan Clark-Neal? Probably. They recap Tuesday's events over a montage of life in Lisbon. The hosts are still B*Witched in evening dresses, fun and entertaining, they say "Ola!" and accidentally awaken Jon Ola Sand. This is generally regarded as a very good idea.

The rest of the show was less good. Scott Mills talked to various people in the commercial breaks, Rylan had an extended comedy sketch behind the scenes, and handled the winners' announcement solo – Rylan's a very good presenter, this might have been a dry run for next year. This was always the weaker semi-final, debilitated further by the BBC's presentation. From the end of the recap to the Big Five presentation was almost half-an-hour of the BBC showing its own stuff.

The world was having a party in the background, but the Beeb refused to let us in. Alexander Rybak larking about in the green room. San Marino's robot giving a good interview. Beard-stroking. Handing out cake in the green room (but it's not as good as Vicky's shortbread). Candids from filming the postcards, and a piece on how the Eurovision Song Contest sparked a revolution in Lisbon. But no, the Beeb would rather show Scott Mills continue his "acting" career. ESClopedia cuts from Jedward to Salvador Sobral, and continues with a demonstration of dancing on stage. The BBC deigned to show this interlude, but shorn it of all context.

Eight for Thursday

Goodbye – TVR – The Humans

This entry is named after "Romania"'s favourite part of The Weakest Link, and answers the question: what was on the back of Anne Robinson's head? The band are joined by lots of mannequins, and perform a lovely poodle rock number, the band Heart would have wanted this. They'd probably have made a better video, the band looks strange on the crowded stage, though the vocals are spot on.

Who we are – SMRTV – Jessika & Jenifer

"Don't get sad, don't be bitter. Don't give up and be a quitter"

Eurovision Song Contest Insert meme here.

The one with the dancing robots, and Colin from "San Marino" became a meme before the first commercial break. Jessika is first to sing, she's by far the weaker of the vocalists, and the rap break comes as a merciful release. It's like on Victorious when Cat's fey vocals are relieved by Jade's confident holler. Indeed, we can imagine Hollywood Arts High using toy robots as a staging trick.

I won’t break – C1R – Yulia Samoylova

'"Russia" don't qualify for the final, meaning that the Eurovision voting system is harder to hack than the national elections.'

That's one way to read it. Another way is, "this was their plan all along". The theory goes: send a singer in a wheelchair, singing one of C1R's trademark ballads about peace and love. Anyone who doesn't vote for her would be heartless, kicking an innocent cripple to snub "Mother Russia".

Eurovision Song Contest This staging is hackneyed and clichéd.

A piece of news for C1R: you're not living in the pages of Bunty. Viewers and jurist will judge your performance on its actual merits, not on compensatory prejudices of "be kind to someone who uses a wheelchair". 2 Up 2 Down was a satire. This performance had very few merits.

"Wings" was not eligible for Senior Eurovision. It's good to see the backing dancers from that song have grown up, and perform here tonight. Yulia sits atop the Projection Dress from Tuesday, with three very visible backing singers stage left. For the final chorus, they're the lead singers, Yulia does the backing notes. C1R doesn't have faith in their dance performance, constantly cutting back to the vocalist just to show her; RTÉ did the "soundtrack to dance" so much better.

For you – GPB – Iriao

The rule of Senior Eurovision appears to be "one for 'Georgia', one for Europe". This is one for Tbilisi, not Tipton. Six men in sharp suits stand around and sing close harmonies to each other. A poor jury performance may have put the kybosh on this song already, notwithstanding the Pyro Curtain of Qualification. We would love to hear the jazz group mash this up with Mariam Madashvili's "Mezo".

Light me up – TVP – Gromee & Lukas Meyer

The biggest contemporary pop group competing this year, radio in "Poland" falls for Gromee's hits all the time. Lithuanian radio always ignores 'em, and guest vocalist Lukas Meyer. This should be a clue. The dance sound is modern, perhaps a little behind the latest fashions. Lukas's vocals were criticised in the jury final, and he again falls short on the first "where to go" in the second chorus, when he's climbing the stairs on a bridge over the stage. He looks like Jared Leto, and sings with the quality of whoever dubbed "Red". More fireworks around the edge of Hilda.

Taboo – PBS – Christabelle

Eurovision Song Contest

A serious discussion about mental health, through the medium of high-energy pop from "Malta". Christabelle starts at the centre of a big cross, made out of LED screens, which give glimpses of her and other people. There's a CGI projection of the world, and the uptempo song powers on like it's not an unstoppable force of nature. We could see this doing just enough to progress, and appreciated the dancer from Eurovision Young Dancers.

Funny girl – LTV – Laura Rizzotto

Slinky and sultry, and neither here nor there. Laura's in a red dress, doesn't move too much. The vocals tend to get a bit pitchy at times, and the stage (red dress on red backdrop) lacks contrast. On the upside, this is a great song, a slow jazz number that's so not your regular ballad. Someone is going to do a cracking performance; it won't help "Latvia" this year.

Inje – RTCG – Vanja Radovanovic

Whose turn is it for the Massive Balkan Ballad? "Montenegro". Everyone's in shades of turquoise, Vanja emotes like his life depends on it, and his four backing singers add intensity. It's not a confident performance – Vanja looks like he's going to be overpowered by his backing singers as soon as he leaves the stage – but the vocal capacity was excellent.

Early night required

The call for rehearsals was 9.30 on Friday morning, barely 11 hours after the broadcast ended. After the press conference, just enough time to grab a few hours' kip.

"As I said in my Mansion House speech last month..."

Eurovision Song Contest Alexander auditions for Doctor Who.

The violin is fake. The drums are fake. The guitar, the lightbulb, even the question marks are fake. They are digital creations, imposed on the young Alexander Rybak as he sings "That's how you write a song". The jacket thrown into the crowd? That's real, and so is the scat solo. NRK have to lose the scat solo, there's "Norway" that should be on television. It's a flawless vocal performance, though it doesn't sound too demanding for a moderate singer. The real fiddle comes out towards the end, and we almost get the Rybakstomp. Looks like he could win this again.

"Dance you off" was Scandipop by numbers. On this column's generic MP3 player, no SVT entry has lasted the year since "Euphoria". This one isn't going to get on: we cannot be bothered to rip it from the CD and upload it. Benjamin Ingrosso gyrates in front of his light fitting, a gazillion horizontal stripes across the entire backdrop, and on the floor. It's like he's performing in the Tenable set, and might need to buy some help for the final. But this is "Sweden", a name often attached to winners.

Hello, male nurse!

Eurovision Song Contest All aboard!

On "Higher ground", Rasmussen and his Viking cohorts are ready to set sail, and they'll chant and harmonise and stomp their massive feet until you fall under their spell. The rugged effect is completed by waving flags, and it looks effective. DR had to bring their own snow from "Denmark", the stage snow provided by TVP wasn't good enough. Loved the stage show, the song came across as a bit flat.

Hello, "Hungary" House? Yes, can you make my flame-grilled burger extra flamey? Oh, and hold the cheese. "Viszlát nyár" is a screamo rock number, delivered with power and passion by AWS. (The band name stands for Anti-White Sheep, as in black sheep, as in – oh, merry Christmas to you.) No-one's going to understand a word they're singing, but the passion transcends boundaries. The guitarist goes in for a crowdsurf, and the juries will have had to note the clear quality and authenticity of the performance. Europe's rock fans had nothing else to vote for.

Eurovision Song Contest Vote for me, or I'll come round and stick a bat up your nightshirt.

Mélovin starts "Under the ladder" by rising from a coffin, then he comes down some steps. The camera cannot hold focus on him, it continues to swirl around as though it can't quite focus. He looks like Gary Numan, and the whole effect comes across like a Gryffindor abducted into Slytherin and trying just a little too hard to fit in. A decent song – we've heard better from NTU, we've heard far worse in "Ukraine" – and we'll remember the staging for three minutes until the voting. Whether it'll be as effective from 1st on Saturday is a whole other question.


Eurovision Song Contest Top middle two? Oh!

"My lucky day" is like a Butch Hartman cartoon, on the stage. Vocal group DoReDoS appear through the holes in a human-sized Beat the Teacher board. They're all colour-coded, they all lark about. Their body doubles remain behind the doors, until all six emerge for the finale. TRM have paid attention to the staging, the wooden board is exactly the right shape to fill the screen, and only the exuberant flag in the crowd put people off. Didn't have much vocal extension, but the slick performance should do really well with the viewers at home. What's "Moldova" like at this time of year?

Waylon – the bloke half of the Common Linnets from 2014 – has his leopard-print jacket and cowboy hat. Vocally, "Outlaw in 'm" is superb, and we don't begrudge its place in the final. Visually... that's another matter.

AVROTROS's staging has attracted complaint. Waylon is a white guy. He's on a plinth, physically above four black guys. He appears to command them to dance for him. This performance appears to be racially insensitive, we could say that the master is literally lording it over his slaves.

Eurovision Song Contest Oof.

And this problem is multiplied because Waylon's singing a country song. Country is a very white genre, there's Charley Pride and Darius Rucker and... who else? Country music, like Eurovision, is a group of friends who are there for each other, Waylon isolates himself on stage. He's no Zena Donnelly.

What a performance means isn't just what performers for "The Netherlands" had in mind. Their work is going to be interpreted by viewers, and we bring in our own experiences. If we viewers see something and think, "that brings to mind some of the worst racist stereotypes of the antebellum deep south", then we might conclude that the performance is racist.

And three more

Wouldn't surprise us if these were three of the lowest songs to qualify.

There are a million shades of black. Most of them are on stage during "Nova deca": lead vocalist Sanja Ilic is in a sort of red-black, the backing singers Balkanika are in blue-black and green-black, the drummer has a black-black with details to reflect some light. This is very ethnic, very exotic, and – like so many of RTS's entries – catnip to this column. But we have to agree that the first half looks messy; "Serbia" has many friends, most here tonight, but we fear it'll fall flat on Saturday.

Eurovision Song Contest Any way the wind blows.....

Jessica Mauboy looks all alone in the danger zone when singing "We got love". It's a "we" song, it needs more than one person on stage. SBS have brought a massive prop of their own, a glitzy light fitting. The song is relatively bland, a non-threatening anthem of empowerment. And then it clicks: the "we" is Jessica and the crowd and everyone who appreciates "Australia". The sharp cuts while Jessica dances in the breakdown are painful, as are some of the notes in the final chorus.

And now, it's time for a break down. "Hvala, ne" is a very pleasant modern dance number. Wub-wub effect, far too much strobing, backing dancers who make Lea Sirk look like the leader of the girl gang. RTVSLO did need an extra idea for the tricky third minute, but a fake technical fault is not going to work. Surely this was the final qualifier. We don't begrudge "Slovenia" a place in the final, they'll be dancing on the streets of Ljublijana, but who did this squeeze out?

Eurovision Song Contest The girl gang who run your city.

Final preview

The Saturday running order goes from Goff Vampire to RAI's Multi-Lingual Captions. The BBC's "Storm" is in position 9, part of the first half sawtooth. Odd numbers are uptempo, even numbers slower and more introspective. The second half is much more upbeat, RTÉ's "Together" at position 24 is the calm after an hour-long storm.

Positions for the other favourites: "That's how you write a song" 7, "Mercy" 13, "Monsters" 17, "My lucky day" 19, "Toy" 22, "Fuego" 25.

There are going to be a lot of Wrong Sort of Shiny warnings; if you're sensitive to flashing lights, step away after "Mercy", go run a bath, listen to Zybszek and Neil on Radio 2 (or Ken Bruce, if you want commentary in the style of 1988 or are in BBC range) and don't come back for 40 minutes.

This Week and Next

Just enough time for the BARB ratings in the week to 29 April.

  1. This Territory's Got Talent is still the biggest show, and a series-best 11.2m people saw this week's show. (ITV, Sat)
  2. Have I Got News for You the second-top game (BBC1, Fri, 4.85m), with Pointless Celebrities third (BBC1, Sat, 4m).
  3. ITV's supporting cast includes Ninja Warrior (Sat, 3.55m), The Chase (Tue, 3.4m), the final of Brightest Family (Wed, 3.3m), Alien Fun Capsule (Sat, 3.15m), and the challenge of This Time Next Year (Tue, 3.1m).
  4. University Challenge reached its final (BBC2, Mon, 2.7m), with Only Connect some distance behind (BBC2, Mon, 2.25m). The Crystal Maze suffered from an all-lads team (C4, Sun, 1.1m). It was level with clip show Most Shocking Talent Show Moments Ever! (C5, Sun, 1.1m).
  5. Also on 1.1m: Celebrity Juice (ITV2, Thu). Stephen Mulhern's Got More Talent broke the million (ITV2, Sat, 1.02m), and a Sunday teatime repeat of Got Talent pulled 495,000. Yankee Next Top Model the next biggest game show (UK Living, Fri, 420,000).

Also finishing this week: the BBC's Young Musician of the Year (BBC4, Radio 3, Sun). Ore Oduba plays Hardball on daytime BBC1, and there's a new series of Just a Minute (Radio 4, Mon). Next Saturday features a royal wedding, two men's FA Cup finals, and an evening of programmes dedicated to John Motson. Does it include Motty Mastermind? Very much so!

Photo credits: RTP/EBU, ITV Studios France

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