Eurovision 2024

Eurovision 2024: United by Music

The annual Eurovision Song Contest has returned, this year hosted in Malmö Arena, Sweden, Loreen’s victory last year with the hit song Tattoo. BBC’s coverage of the final, hosted sarcastically by Graham Norton as usual shows this year’s competitors, interspersed with archival footage and the usual artistic shots of the artists at national landmarks. It’s no Wadstock, but it’s certainly one of the camp music events of the year.

Follow our coverage throughout the night and hear the OxStu’s thoughts on this fun, fashionable, and sometimes even musical event!

First stop: Flag Parade

The night kicks off with the flag parade, which sees each act traverse the stage carrying their national flag in a show of European pride.

1. Sweden

Eurovision 2024 kicks off with Unforgettable, a song by Norwegian twins Marcus and Martinus. They deliver a catchy pop song which, while generic lyrics-wise, is really sold by the ambitious futuristic, matrix-esque staging and light effects. It’s a promising start to the night. Watch here.

2. Ukraine

Ukraine’s performance equally takes on a futuristic aesthetic, but more in the style of Dune than the Matrix. A rap interlude makes things more interesting and the undulating vocals and deeper rapping makes for a strong pairing… Watch here.

3. Germany

ISAAK’s raspy voice throughout this English-language song, Always on the Run, is reminiscent of James Arthur crossed with Rag’n’Bone Man. The vocals were crisp and strong, not a note out of pitch. Lots of pyrotechnics were involved.

4. Luxembourg

Incredible performance by Tali. The hair, the outfit, the song: Luxembourg may finally have a shot at winning this year. Watch here.

6. Israel

Great performance by Eder with a noisy audience and some audible booing as well as cheering and clapping throughout. The EBU’s anti booing technique made this not as heard on the live broadcast, but people at the contest claim it was more pronounced.  Watch here.

7. Lithuania

A strong, compulsive beat leads to a foot-tapping performance, as Lithuania opts for a contemporary pop approach with yet more flashy lighting effects. If anything, the strobes of light are a bit sporadic – might I say headache-inducing? – but hey, this is Eurovision, and more is more, right? Watch here.

8. Spain

It’s refreshing to have slightly more mature performers as Spanish singer and keyboard duo Nebulossa, take to the stage. Some raunchy backing dancing meets with an iconic song, is audibly greeted by enthusiasm among the audience. Watch here.

Spain treats us to a raunchy performance, reclaiming misogynistic slurs

9. Estonia

It wouldn’t be Eurovision without a comedic act featuring some wielding of fiddle-like musical instruments – and yes, I am reminiscing about the iconic ‘Fairytale’, up there with my favourite Eurovision moments. Anyway, Estonia put on an entertaining show with some impressive alto notes. There will inevitably come a point this evening when such comedy will wear off, as the overstimulating tidal wave that is Eurovision starts to overwhelm. For now, though, we can appreciate the humour. Watch here.

10. Ireland

Ireland embraces the villain-era aesthetic, with Bambie Thug donning a Maleficent-esque look. To be honest, this performance was unsettling, but that’s clearly the intended effect. Frenetic changes in tempo kept the song endlessly riveting and unexpected, before it descended into full-on, vocal-shredding screaming. Terrifying. Watch here.

11. Latvia

A futuristic, but not over-the-top, set design accompanies the English-language ballad ‘Hollow’. Latvian singer-songwriter Dons is undoubtedly vocally gifted and delivered a confident, seamless performance. An underrated entry, this was actually surprisingly decent. Watch here.

12. Greece

Sadly, fashionably late to the part as usual, Greece feels like a good way to start. A slightly bizarre instagram live filter seems to be over the screen half the time, and Marina Satti seems to be wearing a survival bag as a skirt (Graham Norton said he would hoped it would turn into a paddling pool), but her song is classic Eurovision fare: slightly camp, upbeat, and a bit of a groove. Probably won’t win, but should be in with a shot of a high placing. Watch here.

13. UK

Now time to avoid the bias: THE UK!!!! Olly Alexander was heavily criticised for performing, but seems to have taken it on the chin and pops out with a bit of a tune. Probably not going to win any awards, and likely to be found on Capital FM in the middle of the afternoon when the only people listening are driving instructors and lorry drivers, but fun enough that we may avoid another last place. Watch here.

The UK’s Olly Alexander

Interlude

Can someone tell me what’s happening? The EBU seem to have sent a spokesperson (Linda Woodruff apparently?!) to do an 80s inspired rap with the words: “a heterosexual man in a homosexual world”. I don’t know why they did it, but it was ridiculously camp, utterly stupid, and completely hilarious. 

14. Norway

Now this is what I signed up for: a random string instrument that looks like a sideways viola da gamba starts us off, and then a bit of Nordic rock follows. Dressed all in black, with some sparkly sleeves for the drummer, and dance moves that resemble a badly made Titanic remake, I would be willing to bet my student loan that this won’t win, but it was fun (while it lasted!). Watch here.

Sidenote: Graham Norton is slaying as usual. I want his job. 

15. Italy

Angelina Mango starts us off lying on the floor on a backdrop of what could generously be described as a tree, and ungenerously described as blood vessels. The song, however, is immaculate. Latin pop inspired, and sounding like a track straight off a Camilla Cabello album, I will have this in my mind all night. Oh, and also, her dress is very sparkly. Very Eurovision. Watch here.

16. Serbia

Apparently singing in a polystyrene rock (according to the man, the myth, the legend, Graham Norton), Teya Dora’s song has promise as a Billie Eilish tribute, but sadly her singing slightly lets her down, and her stage presence is lacking. Unfortunately, she’s the long-shot in the odds race for a reason. “Heartfelt and sincere” according to Graham Norton: he really does have a gift to make everything seem positive. Watch here.

17. Finland

Finland’s song No Rules sounds like It’s Friday Night from the X-Factor a decade ago, but i’m so here for it. Windows95Man (yes really) have the maddest costumes i’ve ever seen – one of them looks like an American 1980s TV fitness instructor, and the others look like they’ve been dressed in grey-painted newspaper strips, but it’s a strong look. Norton summarizes: “So Stupid”, and it probably won’t win (inevitably i’m going to look so stupid in 2 hours), but it’s fun. Watch here.

Eurovision
Finland’s Windows95Man at Eurovision 2024

18. Portugal

A-Capella to begin (with a slightly disconcerting view of just her head and shoulders, with the top half of the screen totally empty. She, however, can properly sing. Dressed in white, with backing dancers in white masks, she is serving up a tune that has totally displaced Italy from my mind. Downbeat, yes, but a banger. How Iolanda is 4th bottom of the odds slightly baffles me. Very beautiful and deserving of more. #JusticeForPortugal. Watch here.

19. Armenia

Armenia bringing a bit of a twist: the song sounds exactly like a song from the Prince of Egypt that I listened to as child. A touch of the Middle Eastern/Caucasian in there. A lot of fun: hugely improved by Jaklin Baghdasaryan’s joyous shout at the end. Watch here.

20. Cyprus

This would go hard in ATIK. Again dressed all in white (is there a memo I’ve missed?), Silia Kapsis brings a bit of the Single Ladies energy. Let’s be honest: it’s not going win, but it’s good. Hang on, she’s 17????!!!! 17? She’s not even allowed in ATIK, but a bit of a tune nonetheless. Watch here

Silia Kapsis performing on stage

21. Switzerland

A favourite to win for a reason. Very macabre, but Nemo, dressed like a flamingo and occasionally adopting a Gollum pose, can actually sing, and even chucks in a rap in the middle. The staging is bonkers, and the song even more so, but it’s so Eurovision and the horns in the chorus really make this for me. I am singing along already. The spinning wheel is one final mad touch: this feels like a proper classic, deserving of a high placing. Watch here.

22. Slovenia

The third last placed in the odds: let’s see if it lives up to the low billing. Norton comments that she isn’t wearing many clothes (blame him for that please): Raivan seems to be wearing a see-through lycra bodysuit, and I’ll be honest, that is the most memorable part of her performance. It’s … fine. The song is very forgettable, and the staging isn’t the most interesting, but at least there are some hunky back-up dancers. Watch here.

23. Croatia

Croatia are favourites to win the whole thing, and Baby Lasagne really shows why. The song is a bonkers rock number, but they have worked out that the Dng-dng-du-gu-du-gu refrain is the most catchy bit of the song and are milking it for all it’s worth. The whole arena is screaming ‘woah-oh’ back at them. Hardly subtle songwriting, but unashamedly stupid and has clearly gone down a treat with the Malmō crowd. Watch here.

24. Georgia

I suppose a song called Firefighter needs something to put out, but Nutsa Buzaladze is doing a better job of dampening my passion for this live text than the extensive pyrotechnics that accompany her on stage. “A hard job to follow Croatia” according to Norton: particularly with the slightly boring number she came with. It’s distinctly average, and I would be astonished if it really threatened the top. Watch here.

25. France 

This year, France has pulled out all the stops with this performance by Slimane. Already a well-known star with an existing fanbase following success on the TV show, The Voice: la plus belle voix, Slimane’s Mon Amour is a heartfelt romantic ballad. A performance at the Arc de Triomphe a few months ago already met with an admiring crowd. The choice for paired-back staging, with no back-up dancers or choreography, allows Slimane’s rich voice alone to shine through with emotional verve. Boy can he sing. Towards the end, he totally abandons the microphone and belts with a rawness that clearly pleases the arena. If France has a tendency to put ballads on the Eurovision stage, this is certainly one of the better ones. Deserving of a properly high showing. Watch here.

26. Austria

The final song of tonight’s show, Austria are dead middle of the odds table. Graham Norton says that this is “such a closing song”, and I think he is being a little generous. Kaleen isn’t bad, but this song really belongs in Plush at about 2am: long after everyone is far too drunk to care what’s playing, but before the pressure to end the night on a high starts. Her outfit makes her look like a robot, and her backup dancers look like they’ve just come from Berghain, but it’s fun, if distinctly forgettable. 

Eurovision
Kaleen performing for Austria in the Eurovision final

The performances are over for the night, so now we get the recap with all the numbers to call to vote. For me this is usually the time to revisit old favourites, and be reminded of the more forgettable numbers. At least the artists look enthusiastic, surrounded by dancers and national flags, relieved to be off the stage.

Alcazar

We thought ABBA would turn up here, but they give us another Swedish band beginning with A. Tight pantsuits, and not as good as ABBA, they nonetheless bring some vibes to Malmō.

ABBA!!!

ABBA have turned up from London – I think it’s their ABBA-tars, but still cool. It’s the 50th Anniversary of their Eurovision win, and they sing Waterloo to celebrate. Unsurprisingly the best song of the night: and proof that Eurovision isn’t completely terrible. 

Loreen

The final act of the interval – last year’s winner, Loreen. She seems to spend most of performance sitting on a fancy bar stool, and the song is frankly a bit forgettable, but the crowd seem mildly enthused, and it kills some time before the votes are announced

THE VOTES

THE COUNTDOWN HAS STARTED. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! The Eurovision winner has been decided: now we get to spend the next hours finding out who’s won.

Ukraine, UK, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan have voted on the juries. Switzerland storm away to an early lead – getting three 12s. Ireland are doing pretty well, but the UK is yet to score..

San Marino, Malta, Croatia and Albania have voted and Switzerland are still winning comfortably – 3 more 12s for them, but Portugal are getting the odd points: I seem to have convinced the juries. 

The UK wins some points

Czechia, Israel, Australia and Denmark vote next, then THE UK SCORE FROM AUSTRALIA. AUSTRALIA WE LOVE YOU. Switzerland are still in the lead – the 12s keep rolling in, Ireland second and Italy third. Ireland are predicted to do well in the popular vote: so keep an eye out as a big score there could take them to victory.

Spain, Norway, Germany and Armenia give their jury votes: Spain give us two more: this looks tolerable. Switzerland gain 12 more from Spain and Norway, and Sweden get 12 from Germany (I did not see this coming). France are awarded 12 by Armenia, which helps them overtake Italy. This is very clearly Switzerland’s to lose.

Slovenia, Georgia, Switzerland and Moldova go. I said it was Switzerland’s to lose, but France are suddenly having some success: they get another 12 from Slovenia and overtake Ireland to 2nd place. Switzerland then get another 12, but they’re up next, so no points for them here! They do however give the UK three points and sing their own song, before awarding 12 to Greece (I wonder if they conspired to give their 12 to a country who wasn’t threatening on the leaderboard). Moldova give Ukraine the 12.

Big points and big controversy

The jury voting has resumed after a brief break after a brief break. Onto Greece who award 12 more to Switzerland followed by another 12 from Estonia. Ireland drop to 5th place. The Netherlands decide not to appear in protest of their acts removal – the EBU head juror appears to very loud boos. 12 more for Switzerland from Austria. If they do well in the public vote, this is theirs to lose.

France now. 5 to Switzerland – they’re clearly salty – and 12 to Portugal, who move up to 5th ahead of Ireland. I’m not going to lie: I smashed this. DM me for the lottery numbers. Italy give 12 more to Switzerland, as do Finland. I’m debating making a key shortcut for ‘Switzerland get 12’: I have to type it so much. Portugal give 4 to the UK: placing us 4th last ahead of Norway, Finland and Estonia. Then 12 to the Switzerland. What a surprise. Belgium give us 6. We are now 8th last – this is comparatively pleasant. 12 to France.

Iceland now. 8 more for the UK and 12 to France. Another surge?! UK is nearly on the left hand side of the board. This is highly respectable. 3 more from Latvia for us, and 12 for Switzerland. Switzerland well over 100 points clear: this isn’t a done deal, but they’re doing well. Just remember two years ago though: we were ahead after the jury and then Ukraine smashed us in the popular vote to win. Ireland sabotage themselves with 12 more for Switzerland. Poland give 12 more to Switzerland as well. 

Iceland now. 8 more for the UK and 12 to France. Another surge?! UK is nearly on the left hand side of the board. This is highly respectable. 3 more from Latvia for us, and 12 for Switzerland. Switzerland well over 100 points clear: this isn’t a done deal, but they’re doing well. Just remember two years ago though: we were ahead after the jury and then Ukraine smashed us in the vote to win. Ireland sabotage themselves with 12 more for Switzerland. Poland give 12 more to Switzerland as well. 

Cyprus now: Croatia get 12. Lithuania give 12 to Switzerland. Amazing jury results for them. Serbia give Croatia their second 12 of the night. Sweden give their jury results (I have definitely missed someone), THE UK GET 8. WE ARE ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. (Switzerland get 12 as well – total of 365 from the juries). Graham says anyone on the left hand side could win. We are on the left hand side. We could win. Ireland are in 6th. UK are in 13th. Switzerland in the lead.

The public vote begins

Now for the public vote. Here. We. Go. They will announce from the bottom of the jury vote leaderboard: totalling up all the votes for a combined total. Estonia get 33. Finland 31 – surprisingly low. Norway get 4. Shocking. Dire. They lose. Slovenia get 12, and Georgia 19: Norway will finish last. Austria get 5: I really have smashed this. Graham: it was not great. Spain get 11. 

Serbia get 32: not super shabby, and on the left hand side for now. Lithuania get 58 – the largest total tonight. Cyprus get  44, and Latvia get 28 (I think?!).

Greece get 85 which is huge for them tonight. THE UK are announced to loud cheers… WE GET 0?! What. On. Earth. Definitely left-hand side for us then. Israel get 323 points – they are in the lead. They probably won’t win, but that is definitely significant.  Luxembourg get 20, Germany 18 and Armenia get 82 for their banger. Portugal get only 13 – very low. Ireland now: 136 points, but they are well short of Israel, who are in 3rd place at the minute. Ukraine get 307?! Where did that come from. They take the lead. They can’t, surely?!

Italy are awarded 104 points: respectable, but not enough, placing them in 5th for now. Croatia expect a huge score and are rewarded with… 337! Massive. They take the lead by nearly 100 points: it’s surely them vs Switzerland, but Graham says this is hard for the Swiss. France, Switzerland or Croatia are the only possibly winners. France now, gain only 227 – they are behind. It will probably be 4th for them, but they are 3rd for now. Will the Swiss do it? 183 or more and they win (if my maths is correct). They have confirmed my maths is correct. What will they get? 

Switzerland get: well over 200 and win!! I can’t hear the total as the arena erupts in applause. Switzerland win. UK place 18th and Ireland in 6th.

Nemo gets the very snazzy microphone trophy. Looks like it’s made out of glass. Glad that’s not me: I would definitely drop it. They’re crying: fair enough, and the hosts are now wrapping up the show. Nemo’s playing us out with The Code: I think he mentions La Boheme by Puccini in the lyrics and anyone who does that is someone after my own heart so I am supportive of the choice of winner. The rap comes back out. It’s a great song, and a great way to finish a great evening. Graham signs us off with a few thank yous, and I’m going to do the same: thank you all for following with the OxStu tonight!