This is NickD standing in from the press centre - Phil is in the hall watching Karmen Nanana just now.
I'm not sure what was going on with the set we were watching on - we couldn't get any decent sound from the lead singers. I don't know whether that was just a localised problem, and I very much hope so. Ended up watching TV pictures with press centre sound system sound.
Highlights - Alf is still tremendous fun. I can't really see Turkey doing it, simple because I'm not finding Sertab to be attractive-looking. It's harsh, but today I *am* an average televoter.
Portugal still look and sound fab, but like Lou, everything before Russia seems to get forgotten because of Russia. It was still Elena doing half of a one girl show this afternoon - haven't heard for sure whether Julia will be back this evening. Beth also gets overlooked because of the whole tATu thing, but she does look good.
Netherlands are excellent first up after the commercials, but somehow I don't see it being the one people will remember to vote for. UK look professional now, but Chris really comes over as unlikeable on screen.
Ukraine - I don't think it looks as good on a TV as it did in the hall. I may be wrong, but I don't think he'll challenge for the top honours. Mando now looks more tarty than she did earlier in the week - may sound harsh, but you'll see what I mean later this evening. Jostein looks bored by his own song, and Louisa doesn't really come across either. That was one I thought might actually crash and burn in the voting.
Poland would get my televote on what I've just seen. The whole performance hangs together and is truly touching... that's attracting the smart money and rightly so. Must surely be top 3.
Latvia are still going to get the traditional host's good position, as they know how to work the audience *and* the camera. Belgium just gets lost in the crowd, and is now the NICK_AT_ESC tip to come last.
Estonia have the Brainstorm vote tied up, and might get more than that. Will certainly give you a run as an each-way bet. Romania seems OK on screen and will be midtable, I would have thought. Sweden and Slovenia - well, I was en route to this terminal while they were on, but I didn't notice anything that really needed to be said that hasn't been already.
I don't know if the Eighties really are coming back - but I'm pretty sure that Eurovision's coming East again.