Three to watch at Eurovision 2016

Jamala at a Meet & Greet during the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 in Stockholm.

With just a few hours to go before the 61st Eurovision Song Contest, money is being placed on Russia and Australia. Oddschecker suggests a three-horse race with Ukraine also attracting sizeable bets.

UK newspapers have tended to focus on Jamala, with The Guardian calling 2016 ‘the most politicised Eurovision in recent memory.’ The Telegraph notes that  she is ‘all but guaranteed “Nul (sic) points” from at least some members of the judging panel.’ Many news sites pick up on comments said to come from the head of the National Television Company of Ukraine Zurab Alasania, suggesting that if Russia wins, his employer will boycott the 2017 competition.

A few newspapers have picked up on off message statements made back in 2014 by hot favourite man-totty Sergei Lazarev.

The Ukrainian song, 1944, is about the year when Stalin deported almost all of the ethnic group from its native region of Crimea in what was then Soviet Russia (later to become part of Ukraine).

A number of newspapers and online media outlets have quoted an interview Lazarev gave two years back: “This joy that everyone – or the majority – feels that Crimea has returned to us, I don’t share this euphoria,” adding that he had refused to take part in concerts celebrating the annexation.

He has also previously spoken out against his country’s climate of homophobia.

The more cynical might suggest that these comments have come at just the right time, but one thing is sure the return of past indiscretions won’t do his career a huge amount of good back in Mama Russia if he doesn’t actually win.

Meanwhile over at vile xenophobic rag The Daily Mail, someone has spent five seconds researching Lasarev on line. Their focus is on what they laughable call a ‘porn scandal’. As well as reproducing photos without permission, a tired hack makes up some guff about how since naked pictures emerged online, Moscow officials are furious.

It matters not, for his Eurovision by numbers entry is, for many, the one to beat.

Australian Dami Im is also in the running, despite a static performance where she looks to be stranded atop a giant box of fancy hotel tissues. It’s prompted fan message boards to waste the hours leading up to the contest insisting they know of a secret tryst between Australian and German TV to host the show next year.

Australian media outlets are very excited. Many suggest that Im could benefit if her two biggest competitors split the ‘local’ vote.

Scandal newsletter PopBitch has something more interesting on its mind:

    >> Big Euro Question <<
     Who's asking what this week?

   One country's delegates have
   been shamelessly trying to
   cut Eurovision deals in the
   green room at Stockholm.
   Someone from the UK was sounded
   out, but did the honourable
   thing and turned it down. The
   question is: will we still see
   our usual friendly points from
   them this year? Or will we now
   be frozen out?

The Sun (and Daily Star) report that UK Eurovision hopeful Joe Woolford is ‘being stalked’ by Serbian entrant Sanja Vucic. he’s beating her off with a shitty stick by all accounts.

On Twitter, UK spokesman Richard Osman gives his opinion:

Amir touts for votes:

The interval act is ready:

See you later for my first ever live blog!