So Eurovision 2016 saw Eurovision go back to Sweden, after last year's eminently deserved song, "We are the heroes of our time", won.
The overall winner was Ukraine, but Australia spent most of the time leading, giving rise to questions like "what does
happen if Australia win?" and, more importantly "why
Australia?" (to which the only sane answer is "because magic Eurovision reasons").
There was also a strong showing by Russia, Sweden and France. In fact, this year distinguished itself by just how few bad songs were in the final. There were no bad translations, no songs solely trying to sell themselves by pretty dancers and sex, and though there were several attempts to go for the Alexander Rybak "I'm in love with a fairy tail" award for sheer smouldering cuteness in a male singer, only one was marginally painful, the rest backing up their claims with decent songs. Apparently, he bet on himself winning. He did not.
Cyprus went for a great rock song with people in cages, Austria went for a lovely twee ballad sung in French.
There was also some good staging from a lot of the acts, with the winner of the "We are the heroes of our special effects" award definitely going to Russia for a brain-bending and slightly mind-blowing moment when the singer start interacting with the projected background in a "who broke reality" way.
However, the real story of Eurovision 2016 will, undoubtedly be the Ukraine's song about genocide triumphing over Russia. That's not entirely fair, because for one thing, the Russian singer tried to build bridges and it was a good song, but it also discounts the emotional impact of the Ukrainian song. It was a moving and affecting song and, well, it definitely made me think of the stories my grandparents told about getting deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan.
Outside of the music itself, highlights included the absolutely hilarious interval song Love love peace peace
in which the hosts tell us how to win Eurovision by mashing up a whole bunch of tropes. Burning pianos and Loreen scuttling across the stage, as well as the "milking" maid are all represented.
The Swedish presenter of a few years ago, Petra, made her no nonsense come-back, making sure that the Eurovision song contest would go smoothly, dammit. Or else. He double act with the last year's winner was a joy to behold.
This year also included the first time the song contest was showing in America, and the song contest had Justin Timberlake do some of the acts, presumably to ease our American cousins in gently.