The televisual event of the year is almost upon us. Forget the finale of Lost, this summer's last ever Big Brother and that seldom-watched World Cup thingy: there is only one thing that matters, and that's the Eurovision Song Contest.
Without further ado, here's the UK entry: Josh Dubovie with That Sounds Good to Me:
Ok, I've tried to like it for patriotism's sake (long time readers will know Eurovision is the only occasion I swap the workers' standard for the red, white and blue of the union flag), but it's dull. It's duller than dull, it's bland, unimaginative, and nothing more than the aural equivalent of second hand bubble gum. Therefore, with heavy heart, I will be transferring my allegiance this year to a country that's made an effort.
It's been tough. There's the folky, the kooky, the soggy and the awful.
Luckily there's a few stand out entries that grab the attention. Ever wondered what a German singing mockney-stylee sounds like? Then wonder no more! Jena's Satellite firmly parks her panzers on Lily Allen's lawn.
For Lithuania, InCulto's Eastern European Funk edges into political commentary. Check this verse out: Yes sir, we are legal we are, though we are not as legal as you/ No sir, we’re not equal no, though we are both from the EU/ We build your homes and wash your dishes, keep your hands all soft and clean/ But one of these days you’ll realise Eastern Europe is in your genes.
From up the Baltic coast hails the Estonian act, Malcolm Lincoln with Siren. They have the competition's weirdest video, and probably the strangest song too. It reminds me of forgotten alternative '80s tracks you might have once found in a Woolies bargain bin.
In the end I've managed to get it down to four songs. Bringing up the rear of my pop picks is Denmark's Chanée & N'Evergreen's In a Moment Like This. Now the Tories are back in power the cultural ether is resonating with an 80s vibe again - this might win the Danes a few votes on the night.
I also quite like Miro's Angel Si Ti, one of the very few decent dancey numbers in the contest. Bulgaria have played a blinder with this one.
Seems Bosnian entrants - understandably - only ever sing about peace and reconciliation. And this year's Thunder and Lightning, courtesy of Vukašin Brajić is no different. But it's alright and, by Eurovision standards, a bit edgy.
So who will we at AVPS towers be rooting for on the night? Assuming she gets through Tuesday's semi-final, it's this:
That's right, Albania - the so-called stepchild of Europe - receives this blog's weighty endorsement. How can it fail?
Bet tip: Comrades fancying a flutter might like to check out the number of views each video has received on YouTube. Most weigh in between the 170,000-250,000 mark, but Moldova's entry has well over half a million, Turkey's approaching 700k, Serbia nearly 900,000, and Jena's mockney warblings has four and a quarter million views. If I was a betting man I know where I'd be putting my money.