A Romanian Vampire, a Ukrainian giant and a same sex kiss – together they are not the plot of the Doctor Who season finale but performers in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest final – both on BBC1 this evening.
Rock legend Bonnie Tyler will battle for the UK against Denmark, the competition’s first odds-on entry.
The party started in Malmo in Sweden earlier in the week with live semi-final broadcasts.
Ardent fans, including a lively Yorkshire contingent, have enthusiastically lapped up Eurovision fever. Beckie Senior, a 28-year-old marketing manager from York, said she enjoys “seeing all the different cultures”.
But Nicky Teare, a 37-year-old Sheffield accountant, will not be enjoying the culture of the tiny Italian principality of San Marino as next year’s winning hosts.
His favourite got the “nul point” treatment despite having “ all the dramatic elements from a ballad to an up tempo pop song” during one of the two semi-finals that whittled down the entries to 26.
With the UK being one of the “big five” countries that cover most of the production costs, Bonnie Tyler has been spared the humiliation of early elimination.
She got an automatic entry into tonight’s final beside France, Germany , Spain and Italy.
Ms Tyler is asking Europe to believe she can win with her rock ballad Believe in Me. “I’d love to win” said the 61-year-old best-known for 80s hits “Total Eclipse of the Heart and Holding out for a Hero. The Welsh performer has a strong European following.
“I hope my loyal fans will enjoy it and vote,” she said.
Classic Eurovision gimmicks are unlikely, she said, adding: “I haven’t got a surprise. I do walk down a catwalk and step up on a podium, it rises very gently ... and a lot of lights come on around me.”
This year’s show opens with a new Eurovision anthem written by Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. In its 58 years they are the competition’s unrivalled global success story.
Sadly, last year’s UK hopeful Engelbert Humperdinck met his Waterloo when he came second to last with Love will set you free.
Sheffield fan Mark Taylor, a 48-year-old psychology student, thinks Ms Tyler will do better, adding: “last year we had a bad song, this year we have a good song but I don’t think it’s great”.
Block voting could still occur, despite the reintroduction of national juries beside public votes. While Balkan nations have been eliminated, several Baltic countries survived to compete tonight.