The standard of performance had changed significantly. No longer the notoriously appalling, camp, extravaganza of its heyday. More one long, horribly competent, Reality TV show.
Eurovision: Kate Miller-Heidke representing Australia pictured performing live on stage
Eurovision had been ruined by Simon Cowell and his international equivalents: Simon Cowellski, Cowellucci, Cowellasson, Cowelladopoulous etc.
The UK’s representative Michael Rice never stood a chance: the winner of All Together Now up against bigger, better, (proper) series like Latvia’s Got Talent, North Macedonia’s X Factor, and a surprising array of Eastern European Pop Idols.
Chingiz had been crowned Azerbajan’s in 2007 for example whilst winners of Germany’s series included Switzerland’s singer Luca Hanni and Serbia’s Nevena Božović (the youngest-ever if you’re interested).
Things got more confusing still.
Wow: Kate Miller-Heidke had obviously been thinking about performing like this for years – ever since she was a little girl
Tamta from Cyprus was one of the judges in both the Georgian and Greek versions of The X Factor. Likewise, Sergy Lavarev put poor Michael Rice to shame, as an expert on the Russian All Altogether Now.
Another performer, Jonida Maliqi, had not only hosted Strictly in her home country and been in its Big Brother house but was ‘one of the biggest influencers in Albania.’
Michael Rice would certainly never be that – here or there.
The semi-finals format also proved disastrous, having a filtering effect.
The contest continued to make a basic blunder in the way the results of the heats were implemented.
Cyprus: Tamta from Cyprus was one of the judges in both the Georgian and Greek versions of The X Factor
The most popular, palatable (commercial), acts went forward into the final, eliminating the less professional, more bonkers, songs (with the least votes) – rather than vice versa which would clearly be much better. (Or much worse, which we all wanted.)
Viewers on Saturday deprived of seeing such eccentric/unhinged talents as the representatives of Georgia, Romania, and Portugal will never know what they’d missed.
Instead we were subjected to pale imitations of stars still inexplicably adored around Europe that are (and always were) passé here: Shakira, Evanescence, and alarmingly Ultravox.
The gal from Greece was clearly a Madonna fan – or a tribute act from a holiday resort – and the bloke from San Marino its solo Right Said Fred.
Slovenia’s Zala & Gasper seemed to have condensed the soundtrack to Killing Eve into one, insipid, song.
Madonna: She effortlessly upstaged Madonna. Well, not effortlessly exactly. Singing as you swing about in space on a giant bendy cotton bud was not as easy (or comfortable) as it looked
It all meant Tel Aviv lacked a classic contest moment to rival even recent years like 2014’s beautiful ‘bearded lady’ Conchita Wurst or his successor The Makemakes, whose gimmick (unfathomably) was the singer blithely playing a grand piano that had burst into flames mid-song.
Austria couldn’t follow these.
Sadly these days it looked as if nowhere else could either.
Australia came closest.
Kate Miller-Heidke had obviously been thinking about performing like this for years – ever since she was a little girl, saw Kate Bush doing ‘Wuthering Heights’, and concluded it had been a bit…normal.
Swinging around on the top of the earth on a big bendy stick like a piece of human candy floss or an athlete in the Commonwealth Games who’d gone into the after life after an accident with a pole vault, Kate was what the first female Doctor Who should have been like. (Instead of the Plain Jane that Jodie Whittaker gave us: an intergalactic netball teacher.)
Eye patch: Ms Miller-Heidke certainly taught Madonna she’d have to try a lot harder if she’d imagined she could just chip up at Eurovision and create a stir with her idea of what passed for spectacle (basically an eye-patch)
She effortlessly upstaged Madonna. Well, not effortlessly exactly. Singing as you swing about in space on a giant bendy cotton bud was not as easy (or comfortable) as it looked.
When one of her two pals dressed in black up there with her started doing a frantic variation of the butterfly (the swimming stroke not the dance move) you couldn’t tell if she was simply improvising or panicking about being in serious danger of falling off.
Ms Miller-Heidke certainly taught Madonna she’d have to try a lot harder if she’d imagined she could just chip up at Eurovision and create a stir with her idea of what passed for spectacle (basically an eye-patch).
You didn’t envy Kate’s manager when he had to tell her she’d only finished ninth.
‘What?! You mean I spent months up that bendy pole practising for NOTHING?!’ she must have wailed. The thought ‘what more did they want from me?!’ will haunt her.
The pay-off line of her song – ‘I’m going where there’s Zero Gravity’ – is probably how she felt.
We wish her luck.
Winner: Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands was announced the winner of Eurovision 2019