Eurovision on TV: a feast of fun - or a nightmarish hell?
It's fair to say that the UK has a bit of a mixed relationship with Eurovision.
We struggle to get more than a few points each year. We moan about the political bias of it all. And we're as likely to tune in for the sarcastic commentary as the songs themselves; an enduring marriage of British cynicism and Irish wit.
Yet for every avowed hater of the continent-spanning music competition, there's an enthusiastic fan throwing an irony-filled viewing party - drinking deeply while howling at the more outlandish entries.
'A third rate pantomime'
Not everyone can stomach the marathon telethon's bright, shiny outfits and twee euro-pop.
"I hate it," says Donald Grant, simply. "It's become a third rate pantomime."
"I used to tolerate it," adds Simon Webb, "but now it’s a political gauge. Can someone explain where in Europe Australia is?"
Mark Taylor, meanwhile, "honestly believes people are just pretending they like it".
Israel's Netta performing 'Toy' during the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 (Photo: Getty)
As for Gus White, his appreciation for all things Eurovision went rapidly downhill once a certain TV legend left us.
"I used to enjoy it a lot when Wogan did the commentary, but have not liked it since. Really can't warm to Graham Norton."
Torn between love and hate
When debating the question of entertainment versus living hell, Les McCallister and Sarah Freebury sum it up as a "bit of both".
"It starts off fun," Freebury elaborates, "then begins to get tedious".
It's the opposite way round for Robert Chow. "Call me a weirdo, but I only like to watch the the end part when scores are being dished out. The music is dreadful, but I’m still curious to know who’s winning."
Others find themselves more severely conflicted.
"Personally, I like Eurovision as a bit of laugh," notes Steve Wilkins. "But it’s all become a bit of joke with the 'block vote' thing. It’s like politics with songs."
Sorry Graham - not everyone appreciates your commentary (Photo: BBC)
Brexit may have complicated matters even further, Wilkins feels.
"Why bother even entering? Eurovision hated us before this. We’ve just imploded as far as they are concerned. Expect 'nil points' this coming competition...."
Rachel Plachcinski definitely sees the contest as "fun". But even so, some of the entrants fail to impress.
"I watched the first semi-final and was appalled that the Israeli chicken song got through. And the last one - I'm sure that was due to the skintight jumpsuit and hair tossing."
"There will always be some terrible songs but at the same time, you will also find some gems."
'Don't take it too seriously'
For others, the bizarre appeal of Eurovision remains undiminished. Even if not everyone shares the same opinion.
"I love, love, love it," says Linsey McQueen Carson, though "nobody else in my house feels the Eurovision love".
"Absolutely love Eurovision," states Dave Watkins, who has a tip for the naysayers.
"These days, I think the Brits just need to enjoy it for the entertainment rather than getting wound up when we finish down the list. We all know some of the voting is hilarious and that certain countries always give each other full points.
"There will always be some terrible songs but at the same time, you will also find some gems. Don't take it too seriously and it's a good evening's TV!"
As for Darren Carson, he's holding onto a very specific dream.
"I'll never give up on Eurovision until 'My Lovely Horse' by Father Ted wins it..."
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This article originally appeared on our sister site, iNews.
[Main image: BBC]