Eurovision is just as famous for its elaborate voting system and the host of conspiracy theories that go with it as it is for its intriguing music. Telephone and text-message voting may give the process an air of democracy, but it's political alliances that often dictate. Greece routinely awards maximum points to Cyprus. Yet Cyprus will be lucky to receive a single point from Turkey. In the east of the continent, new Eurovision nations such as Estonia and Latvia can count on generous support from former Soviet Bloc neighbours. All this has left friendless Old Europe sulking in the corner of the party.
Britain, a dominant Eurovision force in the 1970s and 1980s, has been left floundering at the bottom of the scoreboard, even suffering the ignominy of nul points in 2003. It will be left to Scooch, a group of thirty-somethings dressed as air stewards and pushing drinks trolleys, to restore British national pride in Helsinki.
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