Congratulations to Ukraine - winners of the Eurovision Song Contest 2004!!
The winners this year are Ukraine, with 280 votes. Next year Kiev!
The 24 songs in this year's final were all, at the very least, not unpleasant to listen to, and indeed most were quite 'catchy'. The points awarded to each entry were as follows, in the order in which the songs were performed:
Spain - 87
Austria - 9
Norway - 3
France - 40
Serbia-Montenegro - 263 (2nd)
Malta - 50
Netherlands - 11
Germany - 93
Albania - 106
Ukraine - 280 (WINNER)
Croatia - 50
Bosnia-Herzegovina - 91
Belgium - 7
Russia - 67
Macedonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of - 47
Greece - 252 (3rd)
Iceland - 16
Ireland - 7
Poland - 27
United Kingdom - 29
Cyprus - 170
Turkey - 195
Romania - 18
Sweden - 170
- no country, pleasingly, received 'nul points';
- 36 countries voted, including the 12 countries eliminated during the semi-final a few days ago.
The usual amusing voting took place, with certain countries awarding the maximum 12 to one, responded to with 12 votes back from the other - the same routine they follow EVERY year. However, with my bottle of champagne (referred to in an earlier posting!), I passed a reasonably harmless and very enjoyable evening.
Now, passing to slightly more esoteric territory, some subjective comments about a very few of the contestants. Amongst the female contestants (leads or solos) I'd say the prettiest/most beautiful included Malta, Albania, Belgium (a stunner), Ukraine ('Xena' warrior princess!), Poland, Romania (in a slightly 'scary' way) and Sweden. Amongst the male contestants (leads or solos), and remember that I am a gay man, definitely Spain (wow!!), Austria (nice!), Iceland (very nice!!), United Kingdom (nice smile, twinkly eyes!!) and Turkey (wow!!). The male Slovenian presenter who announced their votes wasn't bad either!
So, to summarise this 'off-topic' part of my evening, the most beautiful female was for me the Belgian entry - a very attractive young woman indeed. Amongst the males, well for me it is a difficult choice between the Spanish singer, a very attractive and typically-Spanish good-looking man and the Turkish lead singer, who was a mixture of rugged good looks, tattooed and camp and with his tartan (yes,really!) pants well I think it has to go to him (and my telephone number is ...)- sigh!
A reminder, if you want to watch any/all of the songs, click on any of the links from here. Or you can visit the official Eurovision website here - this has a lot more detail of this year's and past winners.
The Turkish television production was generally excellent and one of the interval acts (after all the songs had been performed and when the votes were being made and collated) was very enjoyable, a sort of Turkish version of Irish line-dancing - all the performers, male and female, were very 'easy on the eye' - definitely the champagne talking!
A reminder - next year it's Kiev, the first time it will come from beyond what used to be the 'Iron Curtain'; that will be interesting.
PS/ In the interests of 'full disclosure', I decided not to exercise my telephone vote this time, mainly because I was too engrossed with the spectacle and 'forgot'. If I had voted it would have, for me, been a choice between Netherlands, Germany and Greece - I'm pleased to see that at least one of my choices (Greece) was in the top 3, although I gave Serbia-Montenegro a reasonably high vote, too, but I confess I am surprised that Ukraine won, although it certainly wasn't a dud! Ah well, after all it's only a bit of fun ...
PPS/ For conspiracy theorists, the explanation for the date stamp of 9.46pm on this post is as follows - this website uses GMT, whereas of course the UK currently follows BST - British Summer Time - (GMT+1); the competition ended at about 11.15pm BST (10.15 GMT), but I started to prepare this post, mainly the list of contestants in the order they sang, about half an hour earlier, in other words prior to the final votes having been cast. I was able to take the final votes from a still image from my video recording of the last few moments of the voting.
UPDATE: (15MAY04 09.15 BST) Here is the BBC's own report on the competition with, at the end, comments from a variety of viewers worldwide.