Let’s get the Eurovision 2020 show on the road!


As mentioned by others on here, we’re in need of a bit of joy!

(I am for SURE, because I’m freelance, so if I have to isolate, I don’t get any protection/pay, and if the events I’m meant to be working on – which feature large crowds – get cancelled, I still don’t get any protection/pay)

So what’s the one thing that can usually put a smile on my weary face?


Lads, I’ve some bad news. I’m not even sure Euro is going to keep us grinning at this early stage. Every year we joke that it’s not a vintage year of tunes; this year, I think it might be true.

But there’s really only one way to find out if that’s an accurate assessment, and that’s by casting our ears and eyes over some of the declared runners and riders.

RECAP! The Netherlands won last year’s ESC, so this year we will be heading to Rotterdam (we WILL) with the first semi-final on 12th May, the second on 14th May, and the grand final on 16th May.

One thing we are sensing so far is a lot of ballads. You know I only got time for about three of those! Maybe none will qualify from the semis, come on guys! So let’s have a look at one or two of them.

Here’s one I like, Italy’s Diodato, with Fai Rumore:

One thing that I’m also a very big fan of this year is entries that are in native languages (or at least a mixture), rather than English, and there are plenty like this! Really making a comeback and that’s a good thing.

Back to the ballads (or OK, slower tempo songs!), and here’s one that’s very popular, albeit not with gnidrah! It’s Albania – this is Arilena Ara, with Shaj:

Meh, she’s a great singer but it doesn’t do it for me. Perhaps it will grow on me over the next few weeks.

Let’s take a moment to look at what the UK has put forward. After a lot of speculation – and an in-house decision by the BBC, rather than a public vote – it was announced that James Newman (brother of John!) will sing My Last Breath in Rotterdam:

I know that this is not going to win. But I do feel, strangely, like this is a step in the right direction for the UK. It seems to be a small recognition of the direction the ESC is moving in, and we can but hope it’s the start of some better years for the UK.

Why don’t we look at some stuff I actually DO like?!

So let’s start with my other mother country, Greece!

Stefania is just 17! She’s so little! But it’s a cute song, pretty different from the rest, and I think they just need some clever staging – like, she has to fly, right?! – and it will do OK!

Here’s a late drop from Austria, which hopefully will also do well for them:

Now I know you’re all very sensible people and not gamblers at all, but let’s say you DID want to put a few of whatever your currency is on a dead cert winner? Well firstly I’d laugh at you, we all know there is no such thing as a dead cert Euro winner (except for probably Mans Zelmerlow’s Heroes a few years ago, even Netta was given a run for her money by Eleni Foureira in Lisbon in 2018); but then secondly I would say, well, there are probably two front-runners right now. And it might not be who you were expecting (shhh, you were expecting, you were)

I give you Lithuania, and Iceland.


I still have to be convinced by Iceland, but a LOT of people think these are the champions-elect. I see that. I do. It’ll probably just take me a bit of time to come round to it, I was the same with Duncan Laurence last year – didn’t love it at first, now I can’t stop listening to it.

Other notables: there’s a lot of love for the German entry Ben Dolic, Belgian pop stars Hooverphonic have a track for their country (but a bit of a disappointment, I fear) Ireland are sending Lesley Roy, Australia’s Montaigne is “subverting the clown aesthetic” – her words not mine – and I do like Norway’s Ulrikke with her song Attention. As I write, I’m catching up with Serbia’s Hurricane, and their track Hasta La Vista – it’s a hot mess of just the right Euro kind.


About gnidrah

Television, books, music, sports, cooking. I only get paid for one of them. (Update: two of them!)
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12 Responses to Let’s get the Eurovision 2020 show on the road!

  1. Tracey says:

    Augh I hope you don’t have to isolate and lose your income!

    I have to admit that I still don’t “get” Eurovision. Is it like the Olympics of American Idol? But I do very much enjoy your previews and recaps!

    • gnidrah says:

      I guess kind of. The idea came about in the 1950s, based on Italy’s Sanremo Music Festival, the thinking was that they wanted to find ways to bring the nations of Europe together to rebuild in the post-war era. Obviously there were only a really small number of countries involved to begin with, but it’s grown and grown! Hence why we now have semi-finals etc. Now each country enters a song (sometimes the local committee picks, sometimes there’s a big regional competition, etc), and Europe votes (and Australia, long story) and someone wins.

      But the fundamental aim now is really not so different, it’s a way of uniting even though on the surface we all appear to be so different. It’s really just a big ball of fun and I’ve been to so many contests and contest-related events, and it’s one of the few places I never feel unsafe or uncomfortable. So I hope this one doesn’t become a coronavictim too!!!

    • gnidrah says:

      And THANK YOU for humouring me!!

  2. hotspur says:

    ICELAND IS LOOKING GREAT HERE. Honestly I laughed all the way through that Napoleon Dynamite video, and I would put the song into my personal rotation. All in on #TeamIceland, here. The Lithuanians sound Pet Shop Boysy to me, which is decidedly not my jam, like, PSB is one of those bands that people have tried to tell me are legitimately great and it doesn’t matter, three notes in I am speeding for the nearest exit. Sorry, Lithuania, you will always be my #1 Baltic State, but we must never speak of this song.

    The UK one is fun. Whew, Brexit is panning out! I watched the Albanian because she was pretty, but she just stood there, like, Kid, ya got a whole stage, WWBD? (Beyonce.) The Greek girl is a charmer, I agree with everything you say about her.

    SPEAKING OF GREECE, this weekend I thought of you because I tried a Greek restaurant and it was amaaazing. I had a grilled halibut with a subtle tapenade of olives and artichokes and who know what — saffron? — on a bed of black lentils and every bite had about 12 flavors rolling across it back and forth and I didn’t even want to sip the wine (from Santorini!) because I wanted the flavor to go on and on uninterrupted. BUT WAIT because then came dessert, which was an item I’d never had before called Kataifi. FIRST GREECE INVENTS THINKING, NOW THIS?? It was like eating a dream. I will be looking for Kataifi for the rest of my life. Jeez, Greece, give it a rest with the peak civilization moments. Gnid, and everyone else, if you are ever in San Francisco, go to Kokkari. (It is not cheap, but even so, invite me.)

    • gnidrah says:

      Ha, so that’s VERY interesting, and makes me think Iceland’s chances are really high. It’s good to know what people think coming to it “cold”, as it were, as so many viewers will that week, so hmmm – could it be Reykjavik 2021?!

      Oh that restaurant sounds amazing. Such wonderful things going on in Greek cuisine right now. Welcome to kataifi. Mama gnidrah is very pleased that you’re with us. It’s so good, I’d almost say better than baklava if done correctly.

      • hotspur says:

        I’d choose kataifi over baklava any day of the week. But I got the sense it might be very hard to do correctly, like key lime pie is.

      • hotspur says:

        IMPORTANT CORRECTION: I was just googling images of the dessert, and it turns out what I am talking about is Kataifi Ekmek — Ekmek! The last name makes it very different from just Kataifi. Which I am sure is also good.

        • gnidrah says:

          Oh my days, far too complex for me, that one. I’ve seen it in the patisserie in Athens. I think it’s the one I always wanted to have as a child, but was never allowed 😂

    • gnidrah says:

      Oh AND – today Albania published its final version of its song?! Apparently that’s a thing. So they have made quite a few changes to the orchestration and the language. I need to listen again, but it’s good to know that you can essentially rework the entire thing, provided you get it in by the deadline 😂

  3. mordonez says:

    Errrrr….I hate to show up for the first time in like 2 years to be a bummer, but it seems like the blessed event will not happen this year. On the plus side, seeing the sad story about Eurovision 20 DID get me to show up here, where things must be better than they are on Twitter, right? Hello, Monsters.

    • gnidrah says:

      HA! well it’s a pleasure to have you back! And it’s definitely better here than on Twitter, but I think it could be true that everywhere is better than Twitter? I don’t know. Too scared to look.

      Yeah so material is dating really quickly at the moment… I work in broadcast news and to be honest with you, we can barely plan a programme, because everything will have changed within the hour. I didn’t bother doing a follow-up piece because I a) knew you would all know, and b) not really sure I can talk about it yet. Good news is, at least no one will come last this year. By which I mean, at least the UK will not come last this year. As you would imagine, there’s a lot still to be decided – not in Greece though! They’ve already confirmed ickle Stefania will still represent!

      Now back to working out which of the summer jobs I had lined up still exists (fun clue: it’s less than three and possibly also less than one)

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