Archive for May, 2011
So another year passes without me seeing the Eurovision Song Contest winner coming. I had thought that Ell/Nikki might stand a chance of a reasonable result but it didn’t sound like a winner to me. The promo video was a bit sickly too and the song didn’t seem to have any notable features. Indeed someone on Twitter posted that it sounded like a rip-off of an Atomic Kitten track. I was following Twitter throughout the event and it was good to see all the trending topics being ESC-related. One wag posted that this was payback for all the American #superbowl-tagged tweets from earlier in the year.
My own favourites had been the acapella Belgian entry, which I thought was really different, and Netherlands, whose entrant 3Js were somewhere on a line between U2 and Del Amitri which is very much my ballpark. Both were eliminated in the semi-finals. Another I thought would do well was Nina for Serbia, a really catchy tune and on stage last-but-one in the final was a good slot – but no. I also thought Lena would have a good shot at the double for Germany and the chance to come back for a hat trick next year – wrong again. Anyway all my favourites are on my iPod and if you follow my last.fm profile doubtless you will see them popping up there from time to time as they are pulled out in a random playlist next time I’m driving somewhere.
I put a few quid on Blue to win, more in hope than anything else, but boyband songs full of stutters and “woahs” are not really my cup of tea. The new voting announcement algorithm, which delivered an early lead for the UK meant we should have foreseen a mediocre performance very early on. The later-announced results were more clustered around the universally-approved countries like Sweden, Italy, Ukraine and of course Azerbaijan. If they stick with this algorithm that hopes to string out the suspense for as long as possible, then unless you do an Alexander Rybak and score top points from virtually everyone, an early lead in the voting most likely means you are toast.
I was disappointed to see the novelty acts of Ireland and Moldova doing so well, after all this is supposed to be a SONG contest and the singers’ ability in jumping or riding about the stage shouldn’t be a factor. The Australian unofficial televote had Jedward as winners, in fact, and Ell/Nikki came last. Indeed the lead singer for Denmark runs almost to the halfway line of the football stadium and back during their song, and seems rather out of breath afterwards as he completes the performance. Then again, good songs sung well, and standing still, such as Lithuania, Austria and Hungary didn’t fare any better.
But something else I noticed after the event was the demise of what might be termed traditional Eurovision-fare songs. Those with choruses containing significant amounts of la-la-la (Switzerland), da-da-dam (Finland), wo-wo-wo (Spain), boom boom (Armenia) and ding dong (Israel) were shown the door. So maybe there is hope for the future of the contest, and properly crafted songs with sensible lyrics will become the order of the day?
So, Baku in 2012 then. I remember studying that area in O level geography in relation to its oil reserves, and apparently their relative wealth means Azeris are keen to host and not fazed by the cost of staging the event. It will throw up an interesting challenge regarding the timing of the event, because Azerbaijan is three hours ahead of Europe and four ahead of the UK. Since I can remember, Eurovision has always started at 8pm on a Saturday in Britain, but to do this in 2012 that would mean a midnight start for the Azeris. Seems a 4pm UK / 5pm Europe start would be more likely, so that will play havoc with that Saturday’s evening TV schedules. A fun scheduling job for someone at the BBC!