- Belgium – What’s the Pressure. Bruno Mars vs Chic, disco basslines and a great pop song. Love the silver outfit, love the record, good vocal and performance, a real contender, it could easily chart and sound like it fitted. Fab. 92/100
- Czech Republic – I Stand. Well hooray for a debut final performance for the C.R. I see she’s recycling her wedding frock. After the fab intro of Belgium this is a real mood-killer. She can sing, and the wind machine tries to make it sound less-dirge-like. Unsuccessfully.
- The Netherlands – Slow Down. So slow, it stops! I like having a bit of Country Music in the final though, it’s nice. Love his fake Vulcan ears. At least I think they’re fake. It’s very good, though not a Common Linnets scale vote-winner. He’s a good singer, though, like the song. 84/100
- Azerbaijan – Miracle. Her golden cat-suit will be worth a few votes. It’s got the 2016 production-values for dance-pop (or EDM as it is called now) but she’s not quite got the vocals, and the song doesn’t quite click enough. Not bad though. 78/100
- Hungary – Pioneer. He still hasn’t tucked his shirt in. Cue whistles. He’s a bit hot, should be worth a few votes, though his constipated vocal style detracts a little from the passionate delivery. Love the Munchkin-style-dancing of the backing singers. Not bad, a good effort. 74/100
- Italy – No Degree Of Separation. Last year’s Real Actual Winners, Italy, always classy. She looks fab, apart from her 1975-era clothes. Love the Italian lyrics sound, and a good ballad, performed with conviction, even if not the best singer in the competition. Grazzi. 82/100
- Israel – Made Of Stars. An accurate enough statement, Woodstock’s we are stardust said it first though. Needs a haircut. I like it’s simplicity (the song, not the act) and the last half pick-up, but it just doesn’t quite gel for me. I think the golden shower behind him might be an unfortunate reference point.
- Bulgaria – If Love Was A Crime. One of the best in the final, this one. She has a great voice, and a 60‘s sci-fi costume what’s not to love!? The production is terrific and the song is really song, catchy, stylish, I actually like the verses more than the chorus. I appreciate the absence of backing dancers. She doesn’t need any distractions. Fab! 95/100
- Sweden – If I Were Sorry. Aww so cute, on a youth training programme I think. Needs a haircut. A little bit too Bieber-ish (only this one can sing) but pleasant and inoffensive. He will go down VERY well with young girls and some boys. A contender, but middling good for me. 80/100.
- Germany – Ghost. Very Lorde. Not Lordi, I stress. She appears to have managed to combine Carmen Miranda with Shirley Temple for her costume. Not to mention The Cat In The Hat socks. Sadly that detracts from the song, which is not bad in a depressing sort of way, should have stuck with the moonlight night intro.
- France – J’ai Cherche. Fabulous record, loved this before I knew it was Eurovision. He’s a handsome smiley chap, a good singer, and the uptempo French/English singalong EDM is very “now”. One of my absolute faves this year, and France’s best of many good efforts since the fab Sebastien Tellier. I hope it beats Russia! 98/100.
- Poland – Color Of Your Life. Missing the “U” in colour. It probably ran for the hills when it saw his hair. Needs a huge haircut. Whiny, with or without the Ringmaster coat. Where’s a lion when you want one… Bet it gets points from the UK, hah!
- Australia – Sound Of Silence. Dami Im is a fantastic South Korean-born Aus singer, with a pretty big career so it’s fab to have her in the final, and with a FAB.U. LOUS. ballad, sung brilliantly. Love it! Love the performance. Now THAT’s how you do a Eurovision ballad. Awesome! Shouts WINNER! to me. I do so hope so! 99/100.
- Cyprus – Alter Ego. Starts off Bon Jovi on one of their better days, like the guitar-riffs, and the chorus is pretty good. Great to see old-fashioned rock surviving in the Med, cos it’s pretty much been wiped out in the UK in 2016. Not gonna get many points, obv. 70/100.
- Serbia – Goodbye (Shelter). Well-meaning song. I feel I should like it more than I do. It’s perfectly decent, sung perfectly-fine, but there’s plenty of better entries. 72/100.
- Lithuania – I’ve Been Waiting For The Night. No blindfold this time, just a horrible jacket. Happily it comes off. He’s also easy on the eye, which won’t hurt his chances with this singalong pop ditty. Again, a reasonable pop song, but not outstanding. Needs a haircut. 76/100.
- Croatia – Lighthouse. I need a cup of tea at this point. That dress is a good enough reason in itself to leave the room…. Dreary.
- Russia – You Are The Only One. Great to hear last year’s winner reprised so well. Russia has spared no expense, hired the best British/Greek hit pop songwriters, great presentation, great Russian pop singer, they really want to win. I hope they come 2nd again. Hah! It’s good of course. 88/100.
- Spain – Say yay. Another great EDM pop song entry, Spain always under-achieve unfairly. This is their most-commercial effort in a while, being in English not least of all. Credible current pop song, great singer, bounding dance beats, love it. 94/100.
- Latvia – Heartbeat. I know a couple of Latvians who used to lodge with a friend. Turned out to be drug dealers. Nothing to do with this OK pop song, and the nice-looking-boy singer’s passionate vocal, but it is slightly more interesting than talking about the song.
- Ukraine – 1944. Another worthy song. Rhythmically interesting, and a serious topic from a troubled country. A grower, it’s quite subtle. 81/100.
- Malta – Walk On Water. The second-best song in semi 2 for me. I hope she doesn’t have 5 backers or she’ll technically break the 6-person limit, what with being preggers and all. It’s a good EDM song, the standard of good quality songs this year is quite high. 86/100.
- Georgia – Midnight Gold. More rock! More contemporary-sounding this time, hooray! Good to see Noel Gallagher joining on guitar, never thought he would do Eurovision! It’s not a “song” in the verse/chorus sense, but it sound fabulous, and is refreshingly energetic and different. Excellent. 83/100.
- Austria – Loin D’ici. Fresh from the Eurovision finals in 1973. I may need to check that fact. Pretty frock. I was hoping Conchita Wurst was going to burst out of it, but she’s much prettier and sans beard. Pretty tune, pretty voice, stands no chance. 73/100.
- UK – You’re Not Alone. Now it’s those 2 loveable Voice chaps, good to see we are still going for talent show hopefuls. They are cute, of course, the song is bouncy in a non-bouncy contest, and that might save them from the dreaded bottom 5. Actual drummers on stage too. Oh it’s good pop, just accept it, better than most of One Direction’s entire career. 90/100.
- Armenia – Lovewave. As everyone dashes to the kettle, as is traditional during the last song, I will hold off for any woman in a cape. She could easily be a super-hero and her legs will be worth a few points. It’s good diva-drama without being memorable in any way. She is quite the belter vocally, though. Good performance. 75/100.
My top 12:
1 – Australia
2 – France
3 – Bulgaria
4 – Spain
5 – Belgium
6 – UK
7 – Russia
8 – Malta
9 – Netherlands
10 – Georgia
11 – Italy
12 – Sweden