Semi-Final one – the aftermath

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Well what a show that was last night! While there were no real shock results (although Hungary qualifying came close to prodding our incredulation muscle), we still lost a handful of strong songs. PB faves Izabo from Israel, SinPlus from Switzerland, plus the fabulous Trackshittaz from Austria all took the early bath, which a damn shame as any one of that trio would have lit up the final.

We’re still not sure how both Greece and Cyprus qualified with effectively the same song – especially as the Greek backing singer appeared to be doing all the work – and Iceland was looking pretty shaky on  the night too. But good news for those of you who didn’t much favour the Hungary song: they’ve been drawn in slot number two in the final – the tradition position of death from where no song has ever won Eurovision. Thank heavens for that.

The big winners on the night were the Russian grannies, who had every last man, woman and child on their feet singing and hollering at the top of their lungs. Just before their appearance we got caught in a camera scrum, with the impossibly tiny nans caught smack in the middle of it. Have a gander at the poor lambs getting jostled about… Russian granny scramble!

The other big winner in the hall was Albania. In all our years of coming to the contest, we’ve never heard the whole room go so deathly quiet and attentive before. As you looked around the hall, people were shedding gentle tears everywhere – and this from a song sung in a language that even most Albanians have trouble with! Tirana 2013 has a lovely ring to it – but will it have the broad appeal to actually win the thing?

The after party was a more sedate affair than we’ve been used to. With Azerbaijan being a whole four timezones away from the UK, the show itself kicked off at midnight, and after all the press conferences and post show faffing about, most folks didn’t get down to EuroClub until gone 3am.

As you’d expect, this late hour meant that few artists turned up. Outside the main door, we saw the poor, freshly unqualified Finnish lass being consoled by her delegation on the team bus, but aren’t sure that she ever made it into the party proper. The Moldovan mob made the most of it, though, and bounded onto the dancefloor with the same fabulously bonkers dance that they left the stage to, while the Icelandic crew finally rolled in at about 4:30 – and by the time that we finally had to make our excuses and leave at getting on for six, the male bit of their duet, Jonsi, was still dancing like a dervish with anyone who fancied joining it.

Jedward were obviously getting their beauty sleep in advance of the Jedgelbert event this afternoon, where our very own Engelbert finally gets to meet the Jedward boys for the first time. We’ll be there to beam it live to your device via the lovely Bambuser (if this country’s notoriously iffy Wi-Fi allows, that is) from 11am UK time right here – PopbitchTV -  Could be a right lark!

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