1. Serbian sensation
Larger than life Serbian sensation Bojana Stameov brought the audience in the Wiener Stadthalle to its feet with her rousing anthem of empowerment 'Beauty Never Lies'. The Austrian press describe Bojana as a “Powerfrau with a Powersong”… quite! The Serb was easily the audience’s big favourite on the night and goes into the final with a shot at taking the whole shebang. She’s different and we loved her!
2. Julia’s doppelganger?
The antithesis of the Serbian entry, Hungary’s quiet yet profound song of peace was an unexpected qualifier which walked a fine (and dangerous) line of being too political. Also, was that Julia Zemero’s doppelganger on stage singing back-up for Boogie?
3. Your luggage can be collected from Carousel No. 3
Semi Final 1 was battle of the bands with three outfits taking to the Wiener Stadthalle stage. Unexpectedly, it was Romania trumping the more fancied Denmark and Finland to move through to the Grand Final along with a trolley-load of unclaimed baggage.
4. Balls from heaven
Descending from the Wiener Stadthalle ceiling to create the fabulous wave you see on screen are a series evenly spaced small white spheres. On first descent, the small orbs had the audience mesmerised… but that’s not the first time in the contest history that attendees of the song contest were transfixed by balls at Eurovision.
5. Orchestra return
The reprise of Conchita Wurst’s 'Rise Like a Phoenix', accompanied by a full orchestra, was the perfect way to start the show and begin the 60th anniversary celebrations. It's fitting that Austria had the orchestra return, being an optional feature for the host broadcaster since 1999. Bravo!
6. George Michael would like his backing dancers' returned
It’s with sadness that we won’t be seeing a reprieve of the Moldovan entry in the Grand Final. Instead, we’ll have to take comfort in the shirt ripping, pyrotechnics and man-cop dancing on repeats of Semi Final 1, airing 7:30pm Friday on SBS ONE.
7. Pet cam
The voting “filler” clips have always proven problematic, yet necessary, and recently they've become a bit hit and miss. This year’s “Pet cam” falls into the miss category. Fortunately for us, we did not get “Cow cam”.
8. Russian relations
The event's warm-up hosts pleaded with the audience to be inclusive and celebrate every entry as it hit the stage – and fortunately there was no repeat of the booing Russia's entry was met with last year. Eurovision is an event based on diversity, inclusiveness and tolerance – let’s hope we can all make it stay that way.
9. Hostesses, there were three
The glamorous hostesses quickly won over the audience. The fashionable trio of Mirjam Weichselbraun, Alice Tumler and Arabella Kiesbauer were pacey and personable…and an Austrian/Australian slip is easily forgiven when you look that good.
10. Europe (and Australia) start voting now!
Surely the biggest moment for the contest did not happen in Austria at all… but in Australia. For the first time in 60 years our votes counted, and in the wee hours of the morning folk from all over the nation were furiously voting for their favourites.