It is only a few short weeks before the campest party on the globe takes part in Kiev, Ukraine. Yes, the annual homage to glitter, greasepaint, nationalism and continental camaraderie that is the guilty pleasure of many a Brit, otherwise known as the Eurovision Song Contest, is soon to be on our TV screens.
Eurovision seems to pop out out of nowhere each year as we tune into the tongue-in-cheek presenting skills of Graham Norton. But for the organisers and the acts, it is the culmination of months of hard work.
It is a little known fact among the less enthusiastic Eurovision fans that since 2008 London has played host to all of the artists appearing in the competition in a glitzy evening of entertainment at the Hotel Paris, which took place last weekend.
Contestants flex their vocal muscles, assess the competition and prime themselves for the jamboree ahead. It is, of course, also a great opportunity for pundits and bookmakers to determine who is best received and therefore who has the best chance of winning.
Of course, it is all a bit embarrassing for the UK and our representative Lucie Jones after the Brexit vote. Her singing talent and her song, I Will Never Give Up On You, are perfectly adequate, but it seems highly unlikely that other countries will vote for a player that seems to have given up on the European Union.
Lucie is not at the bottom of the bookies' leaderboard and while she was well received at the recent event in London, it seems fair that she is currently placed at 40/1 to win. The feeling at the concert was that it was not the power ballads that were in ascendancy as is often the case, but rather that the upbeat, up tempo numbers were most popular.
So, with this in mind it is no wonder that Francesco Gabbani is favourite to take this year’s crown for Italy. Dancing with an ape in his country’s live finals (see below), the video went viral generating some much coveted publicity.
However, even without the gorilla at the recent London performance, the tune has one of those annoying earworms that makes it ridiculously catchy and Francesco certainly was the winner on the night.
Of course Italy, like the UK, has the added advantage of being one of the founding Eurovision nations so is able to avoid the semis and go straight through to the final, a factor that Lucie must be mighty relieved about.
So while Lucie looks to end up mid table if she is lucky and Francesco looks highly likely to win overall, Sweden might just cause an upset. Sweden are now only one win behind Ireland’s record breaking seven, and hunky Robin Bengtsson and his entry I Can’t Go On could just scupper Italy’s chances if his session in London is anything to go by.
However, on this occasion, whoever wins we all know we can count on a great evening of entertainment on May 13, even if we do now feel like gatecrashers.