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Summary

  1. Reporter's Diary: Eurovision Song Contest 2016

Live Reporting

By Helen Bushby

All times stated are UK

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  1. Oh what a night...

    Here's my take on the final, with plenty of opinions from some Eurovision commentators I spoke to. 

    It's been epic - goodbye Stockholm!

  2. How did Ukraine beat Russia?

    So Ukraine confounded the bookmakers and Eurovision commentators who had been convinced that Russia - or possibly Australia - would win. 

    Russia's CG effects and the brilliance of Australia's singing weren't enough to defeat jazz artist Jamala. 

    Russia was the bookies' favourite for so long, possibly because it was so similar to last year's Swedish winner. 

    Ukraine appears to have slipped past it under the radar. 

    Simon Bennett, head of the International OGAE Eurovision fan club, told me that former Soviet countries that would “normally vote for Russia” sent it a message by voting for Ukraine instead. 

    It looks like the politics of Eurovision are here to stay. 

    I've written some analysis on the final for the news website, and will link to it when it's published. 

  3. Ukraine is the winner!

    Ukraine Eurovision

    Ukraine has won the Eurovision song contest with a whopping 534 votes, beating bookies' favourites Russia and Australia. 

  4. From where I'm sitting...

    Eurovision press room

    This is what it's like inside the very noisy Eurovision press room...

  5. Justin Timberlake tells finalists they should be 'so very proud'

    Justin Timberlake

    As voting commences, the super-cool Justin Timberlake grooves his way around the stage to his latest single. He knows how to put on a show doesn't he?

    He tells the finalists to be "so very proud" of themselves. And so they should - it's been quite a line-up.

  6. Caped Armenia's catchy chorus

    Armenia

    Armenia Eurovision

    Iveta Mukuchyan is another lady with a cape and a very catchy chorus.

    She sings the dramatic Lovewave while her cape and hair billow behind her throughout.

    You may be interested to hear that having studied linguistics, she decided to pursue music and studied at Armenia's State Conservatory. She went on to take part in the Armenian version of Pop Idol. 

    And another nugget - before she goes on stage she always meditates with her crystals.

  7. Joe and Jake surrounded by selfies

    United Kingdom

    UK Eurovision

    At last!! It's Joe and Jake with You're Not Alone.

    This ticks plenty of Eurovision boxes with a bouncy, catchy pop song performed by singers who obviously love what they're doing. This is a polished performance and their singing is spot on. But is it distinctive enough to win?

    The lads, in case you didn't know, met on The Voice and decided to team up. 

    "We can't overestimate what an honour it is to be representing the UK in the biggest musical contest ever," they say. 

    Check out their set full of selfies, to tie in with the song's title, obvs.

  8. Sweet search for inner paradise

    Austria

    Austria Eurovision

    Zoe, who's Austrian, chose to sing Loin d'Ici in French because she said "it's French I love". Well, it is a beautiful language.

    Her flowing peach-coloured dress and stunning backdrop of trees, leaves and changing seasons make for a pleasant if undramatic rendition. 

    The song tells the story of the search for paradise. She says it's not a physical location but an inner image everyone can find themselves. 

    And rather touchingly, she wrote the song with her father Christof Straub.

  9. Georgia go for it with guitars and drums

    Georgia

    Georgia Eurovision

    Nika Kocharaov and Young Georgian Lolitaz describe themselves as "absolutely different from the usual style of the Eurovision" and "experimental".

    They're basically a rock band with electric guitars and drums and everything.

    Their song Midnight Gold isn't your average Eurovision performance, but it's great for a bit of variety. 

  10. Malta's Walking on Water at Eurovision - again

    Malta

    Malta Eurovision

    Walk on Water by Ira Losco opens with a huge image of her face, which will certainly grab your attention. 

    This song is perfect for her powerful vocals and she looks very at home on the Eurovision stage. This may be because she first took part in 2002 when she came second with Seventh Wonder. 

    Ira is also an advocate of LGBTI rights and supports anti-bullying initiatives. In 2008 she received the prestigious MSRQ medal from the President of Malta for her continued success in the music industry. 

    She also says she "cannot say no to a burger". 

    What's not to like?

  11. Ukraine's emotional song for her great grandmother

    Ukraine

    Ukraine Eurovision

    Jamala is singing 1944, “dedicated to my great grandmother Nazylkhan”.This is expected to finish in the top three acts tonight. 

    She’s the first ever Crimean Tatar to perform at the contest and her song is about Stalin, Crimea and claims of ethnic cleansing. It’s not your usual Eurovision fare.

    It will come as no surprise to discover she studied at Kiev National Music Academy as an opera singer. Her long, sustained notes are greeted with roars of applause in the press room.

    Jamala's song features the duduk, also known as the Armenian oboe, which adds a stirring accompaniment.

  12. Latvia's strong Heartbeat

    Latvia

    Latvia Eurovision

    Justs is singing Heartbeat and his boyish appearance belies his belter of a voice.

    It's quite a rocky number and he commands the stage by himself.

    Justs worked as a music teacher and is training as a vocal coach for popular and jazz music. Not content to rest on his Eurovision laurels, he wants to open an alternative music school.

  13. Spain's tough Eurovision message

    Spain

    Spain Eurovision

    Barei co-wrote her song Say Yay!  and says it’s a "battle cry for fighters". 

    This is an upbeat number and she works the stage with her moves, including a surprise one half-way through. The table next to me is bouncing and clapping - the press room seem to love it.

    But Barei has a serious message. Eurovision means "discipline, hard work and self-learning" she says. 

    You’ve been warned.

  14. Can Russia win tonight?

    Russia

    Russia Eurovision

    All eyes are on Sergey Lazarev, whose song is remarkably similar to last year’s winner, Heroes  by Mans Zelmerlow. It’s also expected to win.

    His song, You Are the Only One, features some amazing computer-generated graphics and is an urgent-sounding catchy pop number with plenty to feast your eyes on. At some points you almost forget to listen to what he's singing.

    "I will do my best to represent Russia in the best possible way," he says.

    "The message of the song is very positive. It is a difficult period for everyone and I believe that music should be a way out for the audience and this is what we have tried to do with our entry."

  15. Croatia's song matched by stunning costume

    Croatia

    Croatia Eurovision

    Nina Kraljic is singing Lighthouse, Ellie Goulding-style. She has an amazing costume, which is truly stunning.

    Her song has the customary Eurovision key-change mid-way through and a beautiful, haunting accompaniment. 

    She won The Voice in 2015 and says: "I have been following Eurovision since I was little and this is a dream come true."  

  16. Lighting explodes under Lithuania's silver shoes

    Lithuania

    Lithuania Eurovision

    Donny Montell is making his second foray into Eurovision, having competed in 2012. 

    "I am ready to live the Eurovision experience to the maximum," he says of his song, I've Been Waiting for this Night.

    His set has some clever lighting which glows under his silver and green shoes and explodes across the floor to match them. It looks amazing when the camera pulls back. 

    The song is pretty catchy, but possibly not enough to blow the judges away. 

  17. Serbia aims to inspire with serious sound

    Serbia

    Serbia Eurovision

    Zaa Sanja Vucic is singing Goodbye (Shelter) and is rocking an impressive pair of tasselled shoulder pads.

    This is a very serious-sounding song with stern-looking dancers and singers to match. There's no messing with Zaa, who ends her song with a raised, clenched fist. The press room seem to like it. 

    She wants to show that "alternative music can be inspiring and a hell of fun".

  18. Watch out for Cyprus's blue beard

    Cyprus

    Cyprus Eurovision

    Minus One, who started as a cover band, provide a change of style and tempo after so many pop songs and ballads. 

    Their rocky song Alter Ego features the band members performing behind bars. Keep your eyes peeled for the guitarist's blue beard. 

    They describe Eurovision as "an incredible musical experience and possibly the best party in the world".

  19. All eyes on Australia's Dami Im

    Australia

    Australia Eurovision

    Dami Im singing Sound of Silence is a firm favourite with the bookmakers. And Graham Norton, who fancies this one as the winner.

    The song has amazing on-stage production and she takes the very effective step of sitting on a huge, glittering block throughout much of her performance. It focuses the mind on her song, I find. 

    It's a punchy pop tune with powerful vocals. 

    Dami has a degree in classical piano but chose to pursue a pop career. She also won Australian X Factor is 2013 and was mentored by Dannii Minogue.

    "All my life I felt like I didn't belong anywhere. I remember the first time I watched Eurovision with my friends, I thought that is where I belong,” she says.

  20. Poland's motto is 'be yourself'

    Poland

    Poland Eurovision

    Michal Szpak, who sings Colour of Your Life, is sporting a bright red jacket and has backing musicians playing red stringed instruments, in a look which is perfect for Eurovision.

    There seem to be plenty of women singing power ballads, so his version here makes a welcome change. 

    He previously performed in the X Factor final in Poland in 2011 with Alexandra Burke.

    "I can show people true emotions and present my motto ‘be yourself whatever it takes’,” he says.

    He's quite a change from 2014's Polish milk maids entry...