The Eurovision Song Contest: Malmö 2013 saw the final 26 acts battle it out to take the crown. After an opening montage featuring a caterpillar making its way across Europe before metamorphosing into a butterfly once it reached Sweden, we were taken to the arena where 11,000 Eurovision fans eagerly awaited the start of the show.
[Related article: Bonnie Tyler claims her song is "too good" for Eurovision]
France kicked off the contest with 'L'Enfer et Moi', sung by Amandine Bourgeois. As one of the so-called Big Five, France did not have to compete in the semi-finals, and that, combined with it being the opening song, meant the chances were high they would struggle when it came time for voting.
Lithuania was given the dubious honour of slot number two. Although Andrius Pojavis' 'Something' was never likely to win, they were disadvantaged by being given the worst time of the night and since the running order was decided by the producers rather than random draw, they would be justified in feeling that they were undermined.
Finland's Krista Siegfrids' 'Marry Me' was apparently written as a hint to her boyfriend, who has yet to propose, and her controversial staging is what caused Turkey to pull out of the competition this year. Graham Norton commented that "if two girls kissing offends you, you need to grow up" and Sweden's not-so-subtle response was to have two of their male dancers kiss in the final choreography during the voting process.
I watched the competition with two friends who are not Eurovision fans and I'd been raving about Malta and Greece's entries. They were sceptical, but when Gianluca took to the stage to perform 'Tomorrow', they found themselves agreeing with me that it was a sweet song. Gianluca really worked the crowd, who were audibly singing along with the refrain.
Likewise, when Greece performed later, my friends couldn't stop themselves tapping their feet. 'Alcohol is Free' by Koza Mostra was one of the highlights of the night and thoroughly deserved its top ten placing.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Bonnie Tyler of the United Kingdom. She might have been asking us to 'Believe in Me' but poor vocal technique and a lacklustre presentation had us believing that if we scored 'nil points' it would be perfectly reasonable. Those responsible for choosing the UK representative need to seriously rethink their selection process.
Greece took an early lead when the votes were announced, which was heartening, but they were soon overtaken by bookies' favourite, Emmelie de Forest from Denmark with 'Only Teardrops', who maintained first place until the end.
[Related article: Eurovision 2013 - Second Semi-Final]
In a shocking turn of events, Ireland came last. Ryan Dolan sang 'Only Love Survives' better than he had in the semi-finals, a song which in other years might have scored very highly.
After Macedonia gave Denmark the 12 points that decided their win, it seemed that Sweden almost forgot that there were still a few more countries left to announce their votes. Rather charmingly, Lithuania's host announced "I love you Bonnie Tyler" and certainly 19th is an improvement on last year's 25th, but there's a long way to go if we are to have any chance of winning again.
So next year's Eurovision will be going to Sweden's neighbour, Denmark. It was not as easy a win as was predicted, however, with Azerbaijan and the Ukraine nipping at Denmark's heels as they jostled it out for second and third place and the final results will have many countries rethinking their strategy for next year.