So last night it was time for the reason we came to Stockholm, the 2016 Eurovision Grand Final! Decked out in our Eurovision best, we made our way to the Globen to join the thousands of others from countries all over Europe who had descended on Sweden to cheer on our home favorite.
There were no shortage of great costumes on display, with this very authentic Conchita look alike one of my favorites.
We were sitting in the third row to the right of the stage, so had a great view of not only the whole arena but the incredibly innovative way in which the stage was set for each act. Every surface is effectively a screen, which allows each act to look like they are performing on a completely different set with the addition of a few simple props. The change overs between acts were so quick with no gaps between acts at all, the 30 second intro video that screens on TV for each contestant provides all the time needed for a complete set up.
Astute readers may notice that the perspective of the photos changes slightly for those taken after about the third act, that was when we were relocated into the Eurovision officials area to escape the vomiting Swedish girl in the seat directly behind us, who had clearly hit her pre-event celebration a little too hard…. Crisis creates opportunity though, and a few minutes of relative unpleasantness saw us end up front row and also able to observe all of the activity of the control desk.
All of the elements that combine to make Eurovision so special were there. Israel had spinning men in hula hoops,
not to be outdone by Hungary’s back up dancers with the obscure and seemingly disconnected guy beating a giant drum,
and no shortage of fire cannons including these by Joe and Jake who I thought were very undeserving of the scorn Twitter had piled on them in the lead up to the night!
Germany appeared to have brought in a Harjuku girl to sing for them – Twitter afterwards revealed her performance to be vegan inspired, but I have to say that didn’t really translate live.
while Croatia started in a spectacular black and white number only to have the cape ripped off by her hooded back up dancers to expose all her bedazzled silver glory (I hope her sequins weren’t quite as prickly under the arms as mine were, I had quite the nasty rash by the end of the evening!)
Austria was a beautiful Disney princess inspired look
And of course our very own Dami owned the stage not only with her incredible look but an all round amazing performance.
It’s been really interesting to read the tweets and online articles post the event and compare them to our experience not only of being there and seeing the performances live, but also experiencing the crowd reaction to each act. A lot of the spectacular effects are largely lost on the live audience as we can’t really see the floor of the stage and role it plays in the television visuals, so the energy of the performer and the catchiness of the song itself seem to play a bigger role.
I would rate the big crowd favorites of the night from the venue as Dami, who had a huge response, Russia who was amazing and really set the crowd alight with both a great song and spectacular wall climbing integrated into stunning projected effects,
and France, not to mention the home town boy from Sweden. Ukraine really didn’t generate much of a response in the arena, although clearly brought in the viewer votes in a big big way. On that front, what was going on with Poland??? An odd costume, underwhelming live performance but clearly something resonated with home viewers as they scored massively in the voting.
Justin Timberlake rocked the crowd while the votes came in, and we along with the large groups of Australians around us got increasingly incredulous as it seemed like we might actually win Eurovision!
In the end it wasn’t to be, and to be completely honest I don’t think that’s a bad thing- let’s face it, we’re not actually part of Europe and it would be a bit rude to firstly muscle our way into their party and then take home the big prize. It would have been a bit like the uninvited sibling who turns up to your kids birthday party and walks away with the big pass the parcel prize – no one thought it was going to happen so didn’t put any contingency plans around it eventuating.
We had a great night to cap off a fantastic few days in Stockholm, and are both so glad Eurovision gave us the excuse to visit this beautiful city for the first time.
In the words of Sweden’s most famous Eurovision participants
“So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me”