Hooray hooray, it's Vidbir day! Yep, it's the Ukrainian national final show tonight (well, this late afternoon in these parts), and despite being just six songs fat, the show is scheduled to take around three-and-a-half hours to complete - and it always runs on a bit, too. Expect short bursts of activity, followed by an awful lot of talking from the panel, twelve minute commercial breaks, and an ever increasing run of previously unannounced guest acts at the end. Then they'll drag all the artists back on stage for an overcomplicated voting process on a screen you can't quite see. It's like Sanremo, only without the occasional incursion by the cast of Inspector Montalbano.
But if you can be bothered sitting it out there some joys to behold among all the endless chit chat. Tvorchi is the show's implausible favourite, and we've rather taken to the lads' bouncing about in the bits between the singing. Khayat seems to be the next most likely to drag out a win, and seems popular among fankind, despite its unruly mash-up of genres and fabrics, and Jerry Heil has the zeitgeist song that they really ought to send but almost certainly won't. And don't rule out Go_A's slightly terrifying folksy rave track, or even David Axelrod's dark brooding eyebrows - if there's going to be a shock winner on the night we fear that it's going to be him!
But the one song that almost nobody seems to be talking about is the sublime 99. I mean, what's not to love? An etherial glam pixie warbling out a new age jangle folk groove while strumming along on an instrument so obscure that even the locals had all but forgotten its existence (it's a 65-stringed bandura, pop spotters!). It's the kind of thing that any good Eurovision needs at least one of, and its delightful atmosphere and slightly terrifying cartoony backdrop makes it an ideal evocation of Ukraine in 2020.
Although hang about...99? All dressed in white in a Mr Whippy frock? Hang about, this song's all about ice cream vans and she's calling plaintively for her lost flake, isn't she?! (Viewers from outside the UK may just want to skip over that last paragraph...)