The final: live!

by Richard West-Soley 85 views

With a final verdict almost upon us, join esctoday.com as the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 takes place.

Twenty-five songs will battle it out over the next couple of hours, and finally 43 songs will become just a single winner. You can follow the action live via the web feed at eurovision.tv, and share your thoughts and opinions online right here at esctoday.com!

Marija Serifovic kicks the whole thing off to a crowd going crazy with excitement, and treats us to a remix version of Molitva after an impressive a cappella chorus.

The hosts are confident and secure – not a hint of nerves as they share a cheeky three kisses.

Romania

Nico is now in a silver little number as she bursts into song after a very competent, strong start by Vlad. A big Eurovision duet, and a nice start to the contest. Romania sent two seasoned professionals to Belgrade, and it has paid off with a sensitive, strong performance.

UK

Andy’s jubilant cries as the song starts say it all – he is giving this performance his absolute all, 110%. And those excellent lungs of his are at full power as he sings a note-perfect, soulful rendition of the entry. Kudos to the excellent support group with him on stage too, for a sterling job. The stage is an explosion of colour, showing off the Belgrade set to its fullest.

Albania

Olta once again stuns with a performance far, far beyond her 16 years. The camera angles show a real sensitivity, too, with the wind machine gently adding a huge dose of atmosphere. Once again, the stage is impressive, Olta’s huge heart proving a really effective and appropriate backdrop.

Germany

A competent pop performance from Germany, of a really contemporary number. Solid, if not sparkling vocal performances, although the girls look a million dollars.

Armenia

A brilliant showing from Shirusho, who looks fantastic on stage. After an explosive end, the audience erupts in huge applause and cheering; this one looks set to do well.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Fabulously zany and as comically strong as it was in the first semi-final, Laka and family / friends pull off the entertainment piece of the night. Veritable screams of delight from the audience… Unforgettable to fans and televoters!

Israel

Emotive and spine-tingling as in the first semi-final, Boaz sings from the heart, and the crowd are cheering before the beat kicks in. A strong finish for a highly regarded entry.

Finland

There is no faulting the Finns’ experience and skill; a perfect performance is turned in by old hands. The pyros work well with the song in a set piece of heavy rock staging.

Croatia

A captivating and comic performance, with a family party atmosphere and a touch of the classic Eurovision accordion-led folk. A smooth, strong showing.

Poland

Isis pours her heart out again in one of the most emotive performances of the night. There is something instantly likeable and credible about this performer; a faultless performance.

Iceland

If the audience needed any waking up, then Iceland do the honours… A hugely energetic performance with yet another strong vocal from tonight’s performers; the standard is certainly high in the performance stakes this year. High impact and the first real club track of the evening.

Turkey

With a crazed mien to the camera throughout, the lead singer certainly takes the title of his song Deli – crazy – seriously. Again, a team of seasoned professionals show how to carry off a true rock track.

Porugal

Sprinkled liberally with crowd cheers throughout, it is clear that Vania has picked up a huge amount of support over the past two weeks; and rightfully so, given the consistently moving performances she and the support group give. She belts out those big notes, and the audience lap it up. A sensational build and finish.

Latvia

Cheeky and knockabout, in its genre this is a classic – fun, pantomimic tomfoolery which actually comes across very well on screen. Here is more of the ‘show’ element we saw from Laka earlier; the TV audience are certainly not being short-changed in tonight’s night, so full of variety.

Sweden

In lucky fifteenth place, Charlotte takes the microphone in the same position that brought her victory in Jerusalem back in 1999. And she looks like she means it tonight; not a note out of place, she blows the audience away with her vocal. Predictably, it’s a smash in the hall.

Denmark

Simon has confidence by the bucket load, and it’s just what this song needs. He carries it proudly on his shoulders to the finish, and it will have feet tapping all and viewers singing along over Europe, having this year’s catchy hook.

Georgia

Arguably performed more strongly than in the semi-final, the anthem comes across very well tonight. That costume change continues to make the mind boggle; in the blink of an eye, they pull it off perfectly.

Ukraine

Ani pulls out all the stops, giving an even more breathtaking performance than on Thursday. It all really comes together in the final. She gives us everything she has, and it shows at the end – she knows she’s done her utmost and best. An amazing show, with one of the best choreographed pieces of the night.

France

The odd camera angles all scream ‘different’ throughout France’s appearance, and this entry is certainly that. The backing vocals sound a little rawer than in the studio version, although otherwise it sounds together on stage. Self-conscious craziness – but how will Europe react to it?

Azerbaijan

A debut entry which defies Europe to forget the name Azerbaijan! It ends big in the hall, too, with a great cheer; a good version from the Azeri boys.

Greece

Kalomira is dazzling tonight, and doesn’t disappoint on the vocal front either. Proving that she has a good fight in her in tonight’s battle of the divas, she leaves the stage having given her very best shot.

Spain

As far as joke entries go, this one comes across very successfully on screen – the comic timing of the dancer in pink actually is funny. A good three minutes of fun!

Serbia

Obviously, anticipation and appreciation are not in short supply in the hall for this one; the frisson of excitement quickly builds into a major buzz long before Jelena has begun. The singer herself performs solidly, with the gentle sensitivity that the song demands. The staging is reminiscent of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 2007 entry.

Russia

The big favourite take to the stage with a lot of crowd support behind him. Dima gives the passionate, expressive performance everyone expects of him, and Russia can be more than proud.

Norway

Maria sizzles on stage, and turns in as sultry a performance as she gave on Tuesday. Vocally, any worries are quickly quashed as she sings a beautifully soulful rendition of Norway’s entry. An excellent end to a contest full of great performances, and the cheers are warm and in plentiful supply.

And that’s it – in a night marked by some of the strongest performances of recent years, it will be hard for Europe to whittle them down to one. But that they must now do, as the phone lines open. With a little time to go before the vote, Europe shall soon know its victor!

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Richard West-Soley

Senior Editor

Richard's ESC history began way back in 1992, when he discovered the contest could fuel his passion for music and languages. Since then, it's been there at every corner for him in some way or another. He joined the esctoday.com team back in 2006, and quickly developed a love for writing about the contest. In his other life, he heads the development team at the learning resources company Linguascope, and writes about all aspects of language learning on the site Polyglossic.com.

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