21. Ireland – Brian Kennedy: “Every Song Is a Cry for Love”

And now, the moment I’ve been dreading. I think it’s Eurovision tradition for Ireland’s song to suck. That they’ve won so many times blows my mind. Brian is a decent enough singer, but the song is in a battle with France’s for overreaching earnestness. Brian gets down on his knee to sing a verse at one point, for Pete’s sake. Awful, awful, awful. But in tune, unlike France’s number, so I guess Ireland wins the earnestness battle.

20. Croatia – Severina: “Moja Štikla”

Eurovision, from what I understand, was originally started to promote the traditional music in each participating country.† Aside from some local flourishes in some of the numbers, the contest is nowhere near that anymore. Croatia, however, is going for the traditional gusto. The main gimmick: the female singer’s long dress detaches to become a short dress so she can line dance with the back-up performers. This was lots of fun.

This is not even remotely true.

19. France – Virginie Pouchain: “Il Était Temps”

France’s entry is very, very earnest. Virginie is clearly singing live, because if this were pre-recorded, you’d think they’d make sure she was singing in tune. Smile through it, mon petit chou. She’s not even horribly out of tune. She’s just slightly off on every high note. The song is bad, made worse by her performance.

17. Finland – Lordi: “Hard Rock Hallelujah”

And now, Lordi, who is, as mentioned during the semis, Finland’s answer to Gwar. The crowd sounds like they’re kinda digging this. I love the singer’s Finnish flag top hat. This is third-rate pop metal, but it works just for pure theatrics. And the singer’s Finnish accent when he sings.

The audience seems to like the singer’s bat wings, which pop up halfway through the song. They used a TON of fireworks during this set.

16. Greece – Anna Vissi: “Everything”

Time to tear the roof off the sucker. Greece is up next. This sounds like ABBA. “Winner Takes It All,” specifically. It’s nice to see Anna just singing by herself without any cheesy back-up dancers or metal puppets. Classy performance, although the song is a relentlessly mediocre Eurovision ballad. The crowd is eating it up, of course.

15. United Kingdom – Daz Sampson: “Teenage Life”

The stage is filled with women in schoolgirl outfits sitting at desks. They’re singing in thick, Eliza Doolittle accents. Daz is wearing a bright yellow jacket and is rapping about his school days. This is silly (he name drops Mr. T, for crying out loud), yet still way better than The Streets. Imagine “Gangsta’s Paradise” in a major key and you’ll get an idea of how this sounds.

Daz finishes by saying, “Thank you and vote for the music.” Take that, LT United!

14. Lithuania – LT United: “We Are the Winners”

The crowd is booing LT United a bit. There’s just no room for such cynicism as “We Are the Winners” in the Eurovision competition. Although, honestly, this is nothing compared to Iceland’s entry, which fortunately didn’t make it out of the semis.

I love this song, though. It’s a lot of fun, and the performance is pretty darned playful.

Now the crowd is booing LT United even more. Awesome.

13. Bosnia and Herzegovina – Hari Mata Hari: “Lejla”

As mentioned, I really like this song. I should point out that I like this as a legitimately good song, and not a playful goofball song, like Finland or Lithuania. Hari is a really good singer. The song is a touch Eurovisiony, but has a catchy riff and a lot of class. Hari Mata Hari is an unfortunate stage name, though.

Since each country is not allowed to vote for its own song, I’m hoping that a Balkan bloc of voters put this one over the top. Yeah, I like this more than Germany’s song.

12. Romania – Mihai Traistariu: “Tornero”

Pure Eurotrash pop. Points for what look like Chuck Taylors on Mihai’s feet. The streaming video is a bit pixallated, which makes me wonder if the Norwegian singer actually was impossibly cute. Ooo, bad falsetto. Like Ace Young bad. And a key change. Wow, all the goodwill from the sneakers is gone.