First, the contest was very well produced and staged - couldn't be faulted.
The songs were more of a mixed bag.
BOSNIA - a drifting and ethereal ballad, but I didn't think as strong as last years Bosnian entry.
SPAIN - Boy band D'Nash were easy on the ear, particularly the blond one with the pecs, and its a stirring song. I thought this should have done better than it did
BELARUS - The voice was missing here. Its a catchy modern pop song, but the singing was reedy, and someone should advise him that one needs to put one's arms fully under the sunbed (or rub the fake tan in more efficiently). This was overrated and did better than it deserved
IRELAND - This was one of my pre-contest favourites and its still one I will play for personal pleasure, but the performance didn't work. Lead singer Cathy veered offkey, and the staging just didn't work - in a cosy pub this would have been fine but it just looked wrong somehow
FINLAND - Loud rock. Next.
MACEDONIA - This came over very well, the singing was strong and she performed it well. Not a worldbeating song though the instumentation was striking
SLOVENIA - The first visit to the world of Popera , this was tipped as a victor by some. I didn't share their enthusiasm - thought it was an overblown bore. It sounded a bit like one of those patriotic songs on the old communist newsreels
HUNGARY - Excellent stuff - though the performance wasn't quite as strong as in the semi. Still a brave and ambitious piece of music, great voice and fab song. real music!
LITHUANIA - Cool and classy, too much so for an event which requires some immediacy, but an excellent entry which should have done a lot better
GREECE - A British singer, and not exactly the most polished performance of the night, but he looked as if he was enjoying himself. Ricky Martin should sue - and what about those jim-jams he was wearing?? Jolly stuff!
GEORGIA - As a total contrast, this one was far from conventional ... fantastic stuff from a singer whose voice I loved from first listen. Great debut from Georgia and I think it should have done better than it did Musically, think Bjork or Kate Bush.
SWEDEN - Just ghastly. Glam-rock which rips off at least two 70's examples
FRANCE - They were wearing pink. Very pink. This simply sounds more bizarre each time I hear it. Its French. Very French, and probably very clever, but I didn't like it
LATVIA - I thought this might have been a front-runner, and certainly it was very professional but clearly it failed to make the impact of the semi. Ballad popera this time
RUSSIA - one of the most contemporary entries, very Pussycat Dollski. Can't remember a thing about it though - sums up a lot of modern pop music all told. Boring.
GERMANY - Cool, cool - but unfortunately, german and jazz don't really make great bedfellows. I liked this a lot but its certainly for a niche market
SERBIA - The winner, and i think well deserved. A big ballad, an unconventional singer, a simple performance - the sort of thing which people would say would never win under televoting. I'm glad it did.
UKRAINE - The crazy song of the night - think obviously male drag queen in Bacofoil singing a cod-cossack chant in german. Bizarre. I'm not really keen on joke entries. This waqs mildly amusing but I'm relieved it didn't win
UK - Oh dear. This was all very british - much like daz last year. All very cliched with double entendres and airline props, but no-one could do anything with a song as appalling as this. OK, its camp cheese and doesn't pretend to be anything else but that doesn't mean I have to like it
ROMANIA - The third novelty song in the night. This was like an outtake from Borat
BULGARIA - Percussion rules. Strangely haunting although there's no tune to speak of - but does create a certain mood
TURKEY - Another contemporary song, and this was about the best of that style. he seemed to be having microphone problems at the start but recovered well. Memorable chorus, not surprised it got 12 from the UK
ARMENIA - Lovely ballad sung extremely well by a very handsome singer! I always thought this would do well - I thought a charming song. Very professional.
MOLDOVA - Upbeat rock - don't like it.