Hello & welcome to a celebration of the finest pan--European annual musical jamboree known to man, the Eurovision Song Contest. Now you may find the whole idea of the Eurosong a touch passé, a bit old fashioned, uncool perhaps, or maybe a tad too much for your sensibilities. You'd be utterly wrong of course because in these unheralded times, even a Balkan ballard could never be as damaging as what we are faced with in the real world. I think that a low-rent mildly nostalgic mince through the continent provides a welcome opportunity to offer up a much needed guffaw.

Terrible events towards the eastern edges of the EBU have impacted the contest like never before. After last year's statement victory for Ukraine, second place UK (yes, it wasn't Spain) eagerly answered the call to step in as hosts. So after the imperious efforts of Sam Ryder to pump the rusted UK Eurovision locomotive into life, its up to Liverpool to do Ukraine proud, hit the right tone in presentation, and maybe more than all pray the UK will let the event breath freely, safe from unwelcome misplaced public demonstrations and all that trouser jazz.

With Russia (& Belarus) not on the invite list aswell as Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro & North Macedonia dropping out this year, a relatively sparse 37 are off to the Mersey estuary to seek out long haired lovers and avoid exorbitant car hire excess charges. The semi finals are on the 9th and 11th of May,with the Final on Saturday the 13th.

Its been over two decades since the contest landed on my shores when an Israeli took 15 minutes to get changed. This time the Beeb seem to have everything on a tight lease and have come up with a funky screen laden stage in a cosy arena. It'll certainly need to be top drawer to make a spectacle out of a significant wedge of this year's entries. There's more dogs than in Battersea, and not all of them will be culled in time for Saturday.

Only a couple really stand out to my battered ears; two ladies from Österreich with a fab pop stomper about a gothic writer, and (gulp deeply) Australia with such a stinkingly cheesy soft rock monstrosity it also provides an unctious creamy aftertaste. The ante-post favourites are Loreen, a previous winner who is back in 2023 with a much less impressive effort, and neighbours the Finns with a memorably unstable k-pop cry for help. Difficult to make a case for much else really taking home the plexiglass microphone; next best is likely to be France doing the usual French thing, Spain doing the usual Spanish wail, Israel doing the other usual Spanish thing, Czechia doing women making a point, & Croatia doing..well you decide.

This year has been briefly summarised with weakly researched & dubiously unhelpful opinion here (or indeed by clicking on the 2023 logo above). Also in an attempt not to let my paltry labours of the last 20 years go to waste, below are two decades of mildly derogatory musings that have no place in a progressive society. And after 20 years, it seems appropriate to consider stopping this annual flight of fancy. I'll probably drop a final awards show drawing together the not so great & downright awful from the archives, and after that head off into the sunset in my Tellier golf cart, hand in hand with Gabbani's gorilla.

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