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. This year's event will inevitably now become a focal cultural show of European defiance against aggression first, and a cheesy barrage of inconsequential sounds second. And whilst I will not be churlish enough to downplay the impact that a showcase single transmission across all of the region can achieve, part of my focus has to be on the usual production line of ingenues & walloppers.

So Russia (& Belarus) are out, Ukraine are in, and 40 nations will be heading to Northern Italy for the semi finals on the 10th and 12th of May,with the Final on Saturday the 14th. The last time Bel Paese hosted the event in 1991 is resplendent in the history of the event for the wonderfully amusing shambles of the forever hosting. Toto "Mr Neff" Cutugno spent much of the time either eyeing up the ladies or turning a 2 hour show into a car crash 3. I reckon the EBU managers still occasional sit bolt upright in cold sweat at 3am in their Geneva Ibis discounted rooms just at the thought of going back to Italy. But times have changed and the behemoth that is the Eurosong certainly no longer accepts any off script jollity. That's why the Swedes run it.

A specific rare mention for the stage in 2022, a piece of kit that every year seems to take 3 months and thousands of man-hours to construct. So imagine the pride the hosts took in unveiling their bespoke revolving Event Horizon sun, a huge mechanism which takes a mere 40 seconds to re-set after each song. Unfortunately they failed to take into account that there are only 30 seconds between songs, basically rendering it useless and causing an outpouring of damp skandal. Watch out for a black mass at the back of the acts with delegations who couldn't be bothered to refine their stage direction at the last minute.

A quick word on the 2021 contest just gone, a year which is already been looked upon devotedly as one of the very best. It ticked all of the boxes really, with a surprise winner, a chunky handful of quality entries, and an understanding host country who put on a seamless production under trying circumstances. It had everything I could have asked for, and any expectations for something close this year will need to be massively tempered as politics could (& probably should) explicitly raise it's head this year.

As usual the full set of songs will be relatively easily whittled down to the 25 less likely to set your teeth itching, and as the contest approaches I find myself strangely drawn to a couple of efforts, most notably 3 anonymous Georgian circus rejects and a group of Portuguese young maidens. The favourite is unsurprisingly Ukraine, who are taking part with an ethnic hip-hop melange. I know songs are subjective but there's no way this is the bookies favourite for musical merit alone. Whilst it's inevitable this year’s contest will have pockets of purely conscience/tactical/anger voting, I'm still not 100% sure that both juries and public alike will simply down tools. I think there's still a chance that the music will decide, and if so then chances are that entries from Sweden, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, & (whisper it so quietly only a wax moth can hear) perhaps the UK will be there at the end.

This year will be covered off in all its weakly researched, low-rent opinion by clicking here (or indeed by clicking on the 2022 logo above). Also in an attempt not to let my paltry labours of the last 17 years go to waste, below are well over a decade of mildly derogatory musings that have no place in a progressive society.

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