Eurovision rehearsals are reaching fever pitch ahead of next weekend’s annual song contest in Germany.
Last year Britain got ten, not nul points, but still came bottom.
This year’s dreams of victory – or at least of salvaging some national pride – lie with Blue.
Despite a string of hits in the past, the reformed boy band are having trouble getting airplay.
Their entry is called “I Can”. But if they don’t – and even they seem to doubt they will win – they joke they will emigrate.
“I’m going straight to Goa,” says band member Simon Webbe.
Blue face stiff competition, not least from Jedward – identical twin brothers John and Edward Grimes – from Ireland.
The pair, known for their stickup blond quifs, aim to have as much fun as possible at the contest.
“We have a really cool song, we’ve got a cool performance, we’ve got a cool attitude,” said Jedward’s John.
In Dusseldorf the Eurovision parades have already started, alongside the rehearsals. Preparations at the city’s football stadium which is to host the event began six weeks in advance, forcing the local team to move out.
There was certainly no lip sync as Turkey’s contestant Yueksek Sadakat treated a news conference to a premature rendition of “Live It Up” – the Norwegian and Swiss contestants did likewise with their songs.
Slapstick Portuguese revolutionaries Homens da Luta already have cult status back home. Their song “A Luta é Alegria” has become the soundtrack to street protests over the economic crisis.
Almost tame in comparison is last year’s winner. 19-year-old Lena gave Germany its first Eurovision victory in 28 years. She is aiming to defend her title with “Taken By A Stranger”.
“I don’t want to think about winning or not winning” this time,” she says, “because if you think too much you’ll be sick”.