AS IT HAPPENED: Eurovision Semi-Final

It's Eurovision. Triana Park is (are?) competing on behalf of Latvia. It's happening in Kyiv, capital of Ukraine, under the slogan "Celebrate Diversity". Let's see if they do and more importantly whether Triana Park makes it to the final!

(Most recent post at the top of the list below. You may need to press refresh every so often)

GOODNIGHT EVERYONE: Hard luck to Triana Park, you gave it a decent shot.

LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: You will save the cost of a phone call on Saturday night and more importantly I don't ever need to do this again. 

CONCLUSION: EUROVISION IS A LOAD OF RUBBISH, as I have always maintained. We should never enter again. FFS the Moldovan Sunstroke Victims made it to the final!

One to go... and it is... BELGIUM!

The results! The following countries are in the final: MOLDOVA! AZERBAIJAN! GREECE! SWEDEN! PORTUGAL! POLAND! AUSTRALIA! ARMENIA! CYPRUS!

JON OLA SAND: He's essentially the accountant who appears on our screens once a year and says: "Yes the votes have been counted". He says "Yes, the votes have been counted."

MORE INTERVIEWS: Italy seems to be represented by Roberto Meloni's twin brother. He is accompanied by a man in a gorilla costume, I kid you not. Actually has anyone seen Roberto recently?

INTERVIEWS: A Spanish guy who will get a free pass to the final says love is all you need. Appropriately his song consists of just saying "Do it for your lover." The UK entrant, Lucy, comes across as slightly bossy, like Theresa May, who incidentally has helped ensure she stands no chance whatsoever.

PAY! The pretty boys are giving it the hard sell in their attempts to separate you from your cash. "You could change a performer's life," they urge, as if the singers are starving to death or they all urgently require a rabies shot.

ATTENTION FOREIGNERS: Vote for Latvia. It's good for your karma.

MEMORY LANE: We get a reprise of last year's winning song, which I have spent most of the last 12 months trying to forget. It seems to last hours. Still, at least it wasn't that Russian chap with the special effects, eh?

HAHA! Wonderful moment as we get a recap of the songs, after which the acts bounce around for the cameras - except Portugal's Salvador who does a fantastic deadpan misery-face which he absolutely nails! It's worth voting for him for his comic timing alone.

VOTING STARTS: "Remember you can't vote for your own country," says pretty boy #3. Dream on pal, you've clearly never heard of the Latvian diaspora. Our demographic crisis is about to come into its own!

LATVIA: This is easily the best song of the night, and possibly the best since Schubert died of typhus. The first half sounds a bit underpowered as a result of the TV production but they go for it in the second half and a touch of Xenia Warrior Princess theatrics will always go down well in Kyiv. Big round of applause! They should make it to the final. 

SLOVENIA: I've already been to Slovenia several times. I once met Laibach (true). But tonight NOT Slovakia is represented by a dude called Omar Naber, which sounds like it should be an item of stationery. "On my way, I'm never going back!" says Omar. I guess he must be from Trbovlje. Craven key change.

ARMENIA: I admit I have a soft spot for Armenia. They have a nice flag, great food and my favourite writer Evelyn Waugh said if he believed in reincarnation he would come back as an Armenian as all the Armenians he had ever met were incredibly resourceful. Oh, the song. It's by Artsvik, who has a fine voice and it's not bad in a laid-back vaguely trip-hoppy way. Please someone send me on assignment to Armenia!

CYPRUS: Hovig is a Cypriot Ricky Martin impersonator with a yearning to explore Newtonian principles. "Let me be your gravity," he implores, seemingly unaware of the post-Einsteinian revolution in theoretical physics. Maybe in one of the parallel worlds allowed by quantum and string theory he would win Eurovision.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Martina is wrapped in foil and ready for the oven, presumably because the song is a bit of a turkey. Plus she looks nothing like she did in the intro clip - are we sure this isn't an imposter? "You know I love it when you call just to say 'hello'," she claims. That could actually be quite sinister, a voice just repeating 'hello' then hanging up.

INTERLUDE: Two of the pretty boys tell us to download their app. No thanks. Five acts to go. One of them TRIANA PARK!

ICELAND: All Icelanders are crazy and Svala is no exception. Her dress is playing tricks with my mind that I don't appreciate. "Paper... I'd cut through 1,000 words for you," she sings, which suggests we should hire her at LSM as an editor. After this liveblog there will likely be a vacancy.

MOLDOVA: The band is called Sunstroke PRoject, which is perhaps too honest. One of the three members looks suspiciously like Julian Assange. Check the Ecuadorian embassy in London, quick. This song is just annoying. Intensely annoying. The stage dancing turns into some sort of Moonie wedding ceremony. Singing "Hey mama" at the same time makes it sound vaguely incestuous.

POLAND: Kasia drives into the middle of a forest in her all-wheel drive utility vehicle, then inexplicably jumps in a puddle. Turning to the song something or other is "like a bullet from a smoking gun" which implies it is not the first shot. However, this lumpen effort is firing blanks as far as I am concerned.

GREECE: Well, they invented it, after all. No, I must be confusing Eurovision with the Olympics... or something. Anyway, Demy from Greece has the nicest dress of the evening so far which is lucky as it takes your mind off her truly awful song. That and the two muscle men splashing in a paddling pool at her feet.

INTERLUDE: Two of the pretty boys (Same ones? I can't tell) read out some tweets.

PORTUGAL: Portugal's Salvador hangs out in bookshops and seems like a nice young man, if slightly scruffy. He has a sweet voice, idiosyncratic delivery and a clear love of tea dance type orchestration, all of which gets him a round of applause from me. It's perfectly charming, not Eurovision at all. On a side note, why are all those people filming it on their mobile phones? IT'S ON THE TELEVISION, YOU TWITS. 

AZERBAIJAN: One can only interpret 'Skeletons' by Dihaj as a searing indictment of the authoritarian regime of President Ilham Aliyev, who would undoubtedly lock me up if I was writing this in Baku. Light relief is provided by a mafioso holding a horse's head atop a ladder.

FINLAND: Norma John (!) have got something against birdsong, it seems. "Blackbird, don't sing," Norma (we assume she is the female) crows. We knew the Finns had a tendency towards depression but seriously, Timmo, don't blame the blackbirds! Now John (we assume he is the male) tinkles the ivories so hard, smoke comes out of the piano. One way of keeping warm during a Sami winter. Frankly, after that I find it hard to go on.

INTERLUDE: Two of the pretty boys do a brief and painful routine before we are told about which advertisers have agreed to back this beanfeast. Prominent among them is the city of Ventspils. Go to Ventspils! See the floral clock and the world record breaking snodrop plantation.

MONTENEGRO: New NATO member Montenegro is represented by camp-as-a-row-of-tents Slavko, though he looks like he could easily punch my lights out as he "rocks it to the stars". He must spend hours perfecting the best "I didn't shave" look since Don Johnson in Miami Vice. "I have my suit on," he fibs. He has a fishing net on. Fun!

BELGIUM: Blanche reads books and is on speaking terms with a piano. The song is a blatant rip-off of that American woman whose name I forget, who never smiles. Lana Del Rey. But Blanche has a weird Nico-meets-Bjork voice. She doesn't look like she is actually enjoying being Belgium's representative "all alone in the danger zone".

ALBANIA: One of those "I've been jilted at the altar" efforts. She does nail her big climax though... then adds about six more, which is just showing off. Actually I'm almost ashamed to admit it but I really enjoyed that!

LTV livestream: try it HERE, though it may be geo-blocked depending upon where you are.

AUSTRALIA: Aussie Isaiah is probably named after Riga-born philosopher Isaiah Berlin. Or something. He sings a so-so ballad but has a good voice. He may well win because after all, who wouldn't want to go to Oz next year. "It don't come cheap," he sings, as if to confirm the suspicion.

GEORGIA: Curly headed Tamara is sad. You would be too if the Eye of Sauron was hovering behind you. Massive on the minor key chord progressions. Her dress appears to have been sprayed on by a graffiti artist.

SWEDEN: Robin Benson, a decidedly un-Swedish name. He's singing a song called "I can't go on" which is a lie, as he does indeed go on. And on. He says the word "freaking" a lot when presumably he means "f*****g".

Cliche alert! "The stakes couldn't be higher" says pretty boy 2. Ahem. Yes they could,

Things begin with three pretty boys explaining the rules. 

Okay you know the formula: bright lights, key changes and a Byzantine voting system that makes the US electoral college system look like a French presidential runoff.

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