Mae was even beaten by the untipped entry from Moldova, which featured the manbun-wearing Pasha, alongside a person of short stature in rabbit ears playing the Moldovian flute and two backing singers who had horns instead of hair; all of them performing a pagan folk song about Pasha meeting his wife.
‘Dense leaf forest, I think I’ve found my bride,’ they chanted. Totally fabulous, of course. It certainly showed up Mae and her Lily Allen-lite number I Wrote A Song – about taking revenge on an ex-boyfriend who left her to work on his mental health issues.
Dear God, who cares? Not when Croatia were in their baggy underpants making a ‘condensed anti-war rock opera’ called Mama ŠČ! and Austria were in leather chaps singing about Edgar Allen Poe. As always it is the genuine, the authentic and the eccentric in this musical barmy army that form the true glory of Euro.
In the run-up to the final, 25-year-old Mae certainly talked a good game and her dynamic acrylic manicure spoke for itself. Yet on the night, up on the big stage in Liverpool, the truth is that she made about as much impact as a broken cuticle.
Devastated: Mae Muller (pictured), the entrant for the UK, came second last in the Eurovision final last night
Disbelief: Mae looked disappointed last night as she sat near the bottom of the leader board
All the fireworks had come beforehand, when Mae ungratefully used her national platform to tell the world that she ‘hated’ Great Britain and planned to move to Germany asap and get a German passport. Auf Wiedersehen, pet! Once there perhaps she will learn the meaning of the word schadenfreude, and not a moment too soon.
Yet the darling duds of Mae was just a small element of this pretty damn glorious Eurovision Song Contest: The Grand Final (BBC1); a technically complex, totally terrifying 254-minute live broadcast that dominated the schedules on Saturday evening. A thousand things could have gone wrong, a hundred calamities could have befallen the show and its performers, but what a triumph for the BBC that it passed off almost without a hitch.
Yes, there were a few sound problems amongst the cavalcade of bombast, disco smashers and weirdly overdeveloped men from Cyprus singing about re-breaking broken hearts, but the flow was impeccable, the staging supreme, the atmosphere electric. Although, yes, some may have their doubts about rap-tastic presenter Alesha Dixon, who brought a lot of energy but not much clarity. ‘Time flies when there are this many bangers,’ she said at one point, and I remember feeling exactly the same way about my Brownie pack sausage sizzle back in 1975.
Once more, Graham Norton was the slightly overbearing chief host. I love Graham, but wish he wouldn’t indulgently venture his opinions on the Eurovision entries as he introduces them, because viewers at home quite like to make up their own minds, thanks all the same.
Defeat: Mae was even beaten by the untipped entry from Moldova, which featured the manbun-wearing Pasha
Winner: Loreen for Sweden looked thrilled as she took home the trophy for Eurovision 2023
And it’s not as if the old fool knows what he is talking about.
‘France are going to have a good night,’ he confidently predicted, before a woman in sequins called La Zarra stood on top of a pillar and came 16th with an overwrought number about a ‘hell garden’ where ‘the plants are watered with dreams and tears’. We’ve all been there, darling. Begonias can be a bitch. Graham was also keen on the Swiss entry, a song called Watergun by a young man called Remo Forrer. ‘Such tone and depth, I hope that comes across on screen,’ he purred. Can I be honest, Graham? It didn’t.
In his see-through gauze blazer, moaning about not wanting to be a soldier, soldier, Remo sounded like a third rate Hosier. It wasn’t long before he depth-charged to 20th place.
Hit host: Hannah Waddingham (second to right) was glamorously self-possessed last night as she stood with Alesha Dixon, Julia Sanina and Graham Norton
Still, there was a great deal to delight. The arch commentary from Mel Giedroyc was a joy, while the ferociously professional performance by Loreen from Sweden – the ultimate winner – was as precision honed as a Volvo. Hats off to Blanca Paloma for Spain performing inside a giant fringed lampshade to a flamenco beat, and of course to the wondrous Finnish rapper Käärijä, whose bowl cut, lizard tongue, green nails and neon bolero made his Cha Cha Cha even more unforgettable, perhaps not always in a good way.
Despite all this showbizerama, the absolute star of the show was not a singer nor a performer, but presenter Hannah Waddingham; so funny, so charming, so glamorously self- possessed amongst the mayhem.
The actress was such a hit in this new role that not only has her celebrity stock just soared into the stratosphere, had she been carrying a sword she would be a shoo-in for next prime minister, too.
Last word goes to the German band Lord Of The Lost, who came last with their song Blood & Glitter. ‘Two things that are very hard to get out of the carpet,’ joked Graham Norton. I forgive him everything for that.