Eurovision 2016 live blog: Who will win Europe's wonderful, bizarre mega-show?
Eurovision 2016 is finally here!
They are live in Stockholm, Sweden, ready to crown a new singing (entertaining?) champion of Europe (plus Australia). We're just here for the costumes, oversized props, excessive smoke machine and magnificent light shows anyway. Oh, and the jokes.
In the United States, you can watch on Logo Network (hey, it's the first time they've broadcast this thing in the U.S.) or on the internet, which I hear is a handy tool.
Before you dive it, read this explainer so you know how it works.
Now let's Eurovision.
(All times Pacific)
12:10 p.m.: The semifinals on Tuesday and Thursday qualified 20 contestants (countries?) to today's final. They are Belgium, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Israel, Bulgaria, Poland, Australia, Cyprus, Serbia, Lithuania, Croatia, Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Malta, Georgia, Austria and Armenia .
Those countries are joined by "The Big 5" of the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, who qualify to the final automatically every year. Sweden also qualified to the final automatically as the defending champion and host.
12:13 p.m.: Belgium is starting this thing with lots of shiny silver and super pop. Please let this be a sign of things to come.
12:21 p.m.: The Netherlands' contestant has a neck tattoo and is singing a country so no, you don't know a damn thing about the Netherlands.
12:29 p.m.: WHISTLING CONTROVERSY.
The announcers are questioning the legitimacy of Hungary's whistling. The contestant said he thinks his whistling will give him an edge (his bigger edge is probably that he is a very handsome person), which is almost as bizarre as whether he should get credit for whistling when he's not going the whistling.
The judges better step in and make a ruling here. The sanctity of the competition is at stake.
12:34 p.m.: Italy is the first to sing in anything other than English. She's singing in (I assume) Italian, but this is boring. Very boring.
She likes pizza and movies, though. That's nice.
12:36 p.m.: Israel is up now. The announcers say he's like the Israeli Adam Lambert, which I assume means something.
Importantly, he has a very cute dog.
12:40 p.m.: Everyone has been pretty wack so far, but the announcers say Bulgaria is a real contender to win so let's hope they're right.
The announcers also inform us that this is the msot expensive costume in Bulgarian history. I don't know how anyone would measure that, but I would trust these announcers with my life so I'm in.
AND SHE'S KILLING IT.
This is the perfect combination of pop music, slightly absurd, ridiculous costume and notable hair. Bulgaria came to play.
DAMN HER COSTUME LIGHTS UP AND GLOWS IN THE DARK GIVE HER THE TITLE RIGHT NOW.
12:47 p.m.: Sweden's strategy is apparently "look like a Jonathan Taylor Thomas knockoff."
12:58 p.m.: Poland said his style icon is Marilyn Manson. Then the announcers said that it was "a little Kenny G thrown in." He also has some very whispy facial hair. It's all very overwhelming
1:03 p.m.: Australia is up and she is another favorite.
How did Australia get into this competition? No one is quite clear. I mean moeny, obviously, but why Australia? Hopefully it's just because the organizers recognized that Eurovision is a super bizarre party and nobody parties better than Aussies.
Anyway, I'm not sure if her dress is just very sparkly and reflecting the lights on her or if that dress has lights in it. Either way, it's a winner, especially since she has a glove made of the same thing so she's part robot. Never bet against the robots.
Her dress is so poofy that i looks like it could be inflated and act as a hot air baloon, lifting her up above the crowd. Why hasn't anyone done this yet? This is entertainment gold, people.
Also, she sings well. She wasn't as much fun as Bulgaria, but she was a better singer. They have to be 1A and 1B right now.
1:08 p.m.: Cyprus sent a rock band that tried to pretend they were hard. It's freaking Eurovision and you think you can pull off rock and being tough? Get out of here.
Ban Cyprus from Eurovision for a decade.
1:15 p.m.: The announcers, who love everyone, react to Serbia with "that was nice" and "I like the outfits. They were flattering to an extent."
Still better than Cyprus.
1:18 p.m.: White leather jackets are a terrible idea 99.8% of the time. Congrats to Lithuania on recognizing that Eurovision is that 0.02%.
1:22 p.m.: WHAT ARE THOOOOOOOSE, CROATIA.
1:24 p.m.: Here comes Russia, who everyone is calling the favorite to win.
He's very good. He can sing and the song works, but basically, he's leaning on technicality here. The special effect are unreal and whoa, he just got eaten by what looks like a rose. Now is he the rose?
Now there's a sun. Or a star?
That was nice to look at, but the announcers rightly said "I thought he was going to fall" and then rooted for him to fall. I mean, I love when people fall, but if people are rooting for you to fall then you probably shouldn't win.
1:29 p.m.: Here comes Spain in a gold dress with the number three on it. Does that mean she's a big Gerard Pique fan? Speaking of Pique, can we get Shakira out here?
1:45 p.m.: Another rock band, this time from Georgia. They are slightly better than Cyprus, they should only be banned from Eurovision for seven years.
1:53 p.m.: The UK wins the Staying On Brand Award for having a boy band as their contestants. And like all boy bands, they had well-coifed hair, leather jackets and music that you will never remember.
1:56 p.m.: It's time for the last contestant of the night: Armenia.
She's using fire so she's going to get votes and she deserves them. Fire is dope.
2:03 p.m.: VOTING TIME!
This is the part of the show where you realize that people have terrible taste.
Let's explain how the voting works:
People in Europe (and Australia) call, text and go online to vote. That account for 50% of the vote and the other 50% is from the professional judges from each country.
2:07 p.m.: The announcers just said that the France contestant "looks like the eggplant emoji."
As a dead person, he can no longer win.
2:14 p.m.: Justin Timberlake is there! Finally America is represented.
Sidebar: Seriously, can we get Americavision going? State vs. state for the championship of corny American singing. If we all pledge to watch it, we can get this going. So what do you say, everyone. Do I have your word?
2:27 p.m.: They're doing a performance for the many refugees in Europe who had to flee their war torn countries. I'm not exactly sure how this helps them (awareness?), but it's a nice gesture regardless.
2:45 p.m.: Voting is now closed. Now it's about tabulated the votes and how Eurovision can kill time while that happens.
2:46 p.m.: Mans Zelmerlow is singing "Heroes," which is the song he won Eurovision with last year. Unsurprisingly, the crowd is loving it.
2:51 p.m.: They're changing the way votes are presented this year. First, we get the professional judges votes, with the fan vote results revealed later.
Each judge hands out points to nine countries. Their favorite country gets 12 points, 10 to the second best then eight, seven, six and all the way down to one.
2:52 p.m.: The Iceland profesionally judge is holding a dog while announcing the results, qhich is important because dogs are very good.
2:54 p.m.: The biggest rapper in San Marino is representing that country as their professional judge. So now you know San Marino has rappers.
3:04 p.m.: There are only two acceptable winners: Australia or Bulgaria.
Remember that. If anyone else wins, we're going to Stockholm and staging a Eurovision coup.
3:24 p.m.: The professional judges' votes are in so we're halfway to crowning a champion and AUSTRALIA IS DESTROYING EVERYONE.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!
3:30 p.m.: They're reading off the fan votes. The top 10 have not yet been released so the 10 not highlighted, their votes are still to be added. But the winner is coming from those two and both Australia and Bulgaria are stunting so we're looking good.
3:34 p.m.: Poland was dead last in the judges voting with only seven points and are somehow in the top four of the fan vote. This is ridicuclous. It must be a conspiracy. I demand an inquiry.
3:35 p.m.: Bulgaria finished fifth in the fan vote, further confirming that people are bad. RESPECT THE FLASHING LIGHT DRESS.
3:36 p.m.: Now Australia only finished fourth in the fan vote?
NEVER. TRUST. PEOPLE.
3:37 p.m.: Ukraine jumped Australia for first place? What the hell? Everything is bad. Concel the competition.
Only Russia haven't gotten their fan votes yet so they could still win, but whatever. The system is broken. An injustice has been served.
3:38 p.m.: UKRAINE WINS!
That's nice for them, but it is very wrong and very bad. Australia and Bulgaria were the two best and yeah, they finished second and fourth, which is very good, but it is not first and second.
3:40 p.m.: Is it possible that Europe conspired to keep Australia down? No, they're not in Europe and probably shouldn't be in Eurovision, but the Europeans are the ones who invited them and they need to show some damn respect for the Aussie brilliance.
Now, next year's Eurovision will be in Ukraine. It could have been in Australia, WHO THROW THE BEST PARTIES IN THE WORLD. But these conspiring Europeans don't deserve that kind of party.
3:42 p.m.: Eurovision 2016 is over.