Last night brought the annual ritual observed by Brits, but no longer, like the 60s, with any realistic chance of winning: it was the latest incarnation of the Eurovision Song Contest. Gone also are the upmarket audiences yielding dignified applause for the entrants, but in their place has come audience participation, including at home. But until last night, one factor had been constant throughout the competition’s long history.
Don't we know who you are? Er, we do thanks, that's sort of the problem
Praça do Comércio, Lisbon. Without Julia Hartley Dooda
And that was that Portugal had never won Eurovision. Worse, they had never even come close. But all was changed as Salvador Sobral took the trophy with an overwhelming endorsement by both national juries and televote. The problem for some armchair judges, though, was that they hardly noticed the song. So when it won, there had to be suitably creative excuses at the ready to show they were right all along.
This brings us to self-promotion specialist Julia Hartley Brewer, who might not know very much about anything, but in the retelling knows everything about everything. Ms Hartley Dooda was dismissive of the Portuguese entry: “Never date a man with longer hair than you. #rulestoliveby #portugal … I dozed off. What happened? #portugal” she Tweeted, and as Tony Blair might have urged, decided to, hey y’know, Move On.
So it was on to another wrong prediction: “The UK entry is truly awful in true #Eurovision fashion. I will be GUTTED if we get more than nul points. Absolutely gutted”. We got a lot more than Nul Points. But there was a good excuse for the wrong turns: “Now having to do a lot of correcting of Twitter predictive text. Or drunk text, as it's more accurately known”.
Yes, she was on the Falling Over Water. But she was sufficiently compos mentis to make predictions, and so here they came: “My #Eurovision favourites: Sweden, Italy, Australia and Romania”. Would Madam care to be a little more specific? “Seriously, people, how can you NOT be voting for #Sweden?” Sweden it was, then.
But then reality dawned, and a horrified Ms Hartley Dooda realised that she had called it wrong. Very wrong. “Why on earth is everyone voting for Portugal?” Er, perhaps they liked the song enough to prefer it over the competition. Just a thought. And after that lightbulb moment came bad news for all Lisbon residents not in possession of earplugs: “Still, the weather in Portugal will be lovely when we visit next May”. No. Just no.
And she wasn’t finished just yet: there had to be that self-justification that went so horribly wrong that it qualified as Peak Stupid. “It's not a victory for music. It's another victory for the English language”. Yeah, right. The kind of victory where the rest of the EU makes English its de facto first language, we leave said EU in a huff, and all those other countries have so many good English speakers they can take jobs off us more or less at will. And he sang in Portuguese.
When Julia Hartley Dooda is capable of such monumental idiocy, yet is still invited on to the whole range of TV shows as some kind of credible and even authoritative pundit, you know there is a problem. And now she is threatening to inflict her mind-numbing ignorance on the citizens of Portugal. So they get to know Who She Is.