A serious discussion of Eurovision. No really, I'm annoyed.

There was a bitter tone to Terry Wogan's commentary on the Eurovision Song Contest last night. For the first time in years, he actually didn't sound like he was really enjoying himself -- I think he even said at one point as the Eastern Bloc voting really hit that it simply wasn't as much fun anymore, and you can't but agree. With the western European countries knocked out in the semi final you're left with a vote that, with the winner as perfect evidence, has little to do with the quality of the actual music and more to do with national brotherhood.

It was always thus of course -- the Scandinavian countries always congratulated one another and it'll be a cold day in Athens when Cyprus doesn't fork over twelve points to Greece. But this just seems even more insidious, especially since, with that semi-final system it's a process which is bound to be repeated year on year, until, and I suspect if any more countries join it can't be too long, there are two semi-finals (lord help us) one for each end of the continent.

Of course, you can't take the thing too seriously when an Ukrainian Christopher Biggins lookalike wrapped in bacofoil is the favourite. But there does seem to be some attempt being made of late to at least present some kind of musical diversity, even if the genres on display have little or nothing to do with their origin countries. I love that in the midst of the trashy europop you can hear the likes of jazz, blues, opera (sort of) rock and swing and those entries were perhaps the most credible coming from the last two.

Finland's Leave Me Alone sung by Hanna Pakarinen was less ROCK! than last year's Lordi but the woman had a powerful voice and it was refreshing for there not to be a drum machine anywhere in the track for once. But the most curious and probably success was from Germany, a full on swing number Frauen Regier'n Die Welt sung by Roger Cicero, a name that's difficult to forget, since it was blasted across the massive electronic backdrop.

The reason it stood out is because despite being sung in the native tongue, it actually sounded like the real thing not the synthesised version that can be Eurovision's stock in trade, a real band on stage who could obviously play and there was a practiced cohesion to the thing which other performances lacked.

As soon as this foursome won the song for Europe thing, we were on to a loser. Big Brovaz were obviously the best group there. The problem with the Scooch entry is that like the French entry, it was so carefully crafted to fulfill a formula, an expectation of what a Eurovision song is supposed to sound like, all pop and costumes and high camp. It was silly. It was inane. And in the cold hard light of day it was a mistake.

Since I'm apparently misguidedly taking this analysis seriously, by fielding an entry like this, we were essentially giving viewers in other countries a reason not to vote for us. As has been demonstrated year on year since the turn of the millennium, the rest of Europe hates us. But I have a feeling that if we actually pitched up with something rather good, and importantly sincere, we might have a fighting chance at the top ten.

As it stands when the only marks we get are a seven from Ireland (who came last) and twelve from Malta (because, I have on authority, of the second world war) we're in a hole that we'll never find our way out of. I've always enjoyed the Eurovision Song Contest, but it really is more fun if you have an entry you can get behind, but if we continue to enter the likes of Daz Sampson and Scootch we might as well withdraw and leave the rest of Europe to it.


  1. Be sure that Malta gave you 12 points because you deserved it! Maltese don't bias their votings as most countries do!

    Be sure that no one would have WW2 in mind while wathing Eurovision! :)

  2. I am such a gorm that I didn't even notice the "tactical" voting until my husband pointed it out (the year Dana International won, 1999, I think). Since then I haven't been able to watch it. What's the point?

    (And this from a girl who used to tape it with her cassette recorder and learn all the songs, even the ones in "foreign"!)