Eurovision Blog

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So what went wrong this time?

Posted by DINRIL on May 14, 2007

To be honest, we don’t really want to start harping on about the logjam of Western European countries at the bottom of the scoreboard on Saturday night. The papers have been full of it, Eurovision fans have barely stopped talking about it, and frankly we’re bored now. The point is: political voting or no political voting, the East Europeans just had better songs overall – the West Europeans didn’t have anything even close to the calibre of Serbia, Georgia, Slovenia or Latvia – and as far as we’re concerned, the best song won. End of.

We are, however, starting to think that the UK’s recent run of bad luck at the contest has nothing to do with the Iraq war and everything to do with our inability to recognise Eurovision trends in time. For example, ethno-pop was big business at Eurovision in 2003 and 2004, courtesy of Turkey and Ukraine. So what did the UK go and do? Yes, that’s right, we sent an ethno-pop song in 2005. And it was a disaster.

Subsequently, when novelty and gimmicky songs ruled the roost in 2006, we responded by sending a gimmicky song – complete with requisite silly dance routine and costumes – in 2007, the year that a lady in a black suit standing on stage won with a simple power ballad, and no corny dance routine.

Presumably next year the UK will respond by sending a lady standing on stage singing a power ballad. And no doubt the contest will be won by a one-legged bald chicken in a dress.

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7 Responses to “So what went wrong this time?”

  1. anon said

    “[T]he West Europeans didn’t have anything even close to the calibre of Serbia, Georgia, Slovenia or Latvia…”

    But Georgia, Slovenia, and Latvia finished 12th, 15th, and 16th respectively. I do think some of the western countries had better songs than Turkey (which finished 4th), and several of them gave a better performance than Greece (which finished 7th).

  2. newplanet said

    It’s pointless arguing about the quality/performance of the songs, since it is all subjective. [Uhm… so Ukraine deserved to be in second place and Scooch deserved to be second last? Personally I didn’t see much difference between the two acts to warrant such a divide in the voting.]

    I don’t believe it’s political voting, per se [the Iraq war has nothing to do with this] but there *is* too much “friendly” voting [it’s no surprise that our only points came from Ireland and Malta] and the rise in number of Eastern European entrants in the contest *is* making the competition less fair than it used to be.

    As nations, we all like what we like, and it stands to reason that if one country splits into two, the respective populations are still going to vote similarly. Hence, a song gets two lots of points whereas before it only got one.

    The competition needs to look at the voting system urgently. I’m not sure what the solution is, but surely what’s fairer is to add up all the votes cast Europe-wide and whoever gets most wins?

  3. Tinsie said

    Why is it “fair” when a Western country wins, but not when an Eastern country does? Looking back to 2000, the competition has been won by Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Turkey, Ukraine, Greece, Finland, Serbia – it seems to me that the winning song comes from a different location each time. Sure, the Big 4 haven’t won in recent years, but it’s not as if they’ve tried to win either. For the UK to be represented by the likes of Jemini and Scooch on Eurovision… now that’s embarassing. We should first send a decent song, then talk of political voting.

  4. WLM said

    It was of course perfectly “fair” when there was a “language clause”, and the UK and Ireland could take advantage of the fact that “broken English” was the lingua franca of the continent. Check out their dozen wins, and the years in which they came. Nearly all were when the other nations were stuffed by having to sing in Serbo-Croat or Portuguese or something.

    We didn’t hear too many complaints from the Woganistas back then. “You only sing when you’re losing”, perhaps.

    Equally, while the countries of the West, in particular the UK, wish to square the circle by both ridiculing the entire event AND expecting to win it, we can hardly be surprised that countries who actually send a performer with some ability and with some desire to do well keep winning out.

    All reminds me uncomfortably of US views on the UN. “We pay the most, so we expect it to do what we want”.

    Perhaps everyone would be happy with the return of the Iron Curtain. Life was so much easier when Luxembourg was a shoo-in winner. “Where IS Moldova, anyway, dear?”

  5. Tinsie said

    Hear, hear!

  6. newplanet said

    I’ll say it again, there’s no point in any of us arguing about the quality of the songs and/or the acts. People don’t vote for quality, they vote for what they like, so Eurovision is a popularity contest first and foremost.

    The argument that the Western European nations can only complain when they begin to take the contest seriously and submit good enough songs doesn’t stand up. Your opinion of what is a good enough song to win is only that – your opinion! In Eurovision, the only thing that is actually measured is what is the most popular song on the night. And I believe the method of deciding what is most popular produces bias. It always has done, of course, but that’s no reason not to change it now.

    Believe me, I love the Eurovision Song Contest, but I laugh when I hear claims that it unites Europe. In actual fact, all it does is promote division by actually divulging how each country has voted. If all the votes were totalled up across Europe and the winner was announced without all this rigmarole about who voted for who, nobody would have anything to grumble about. Then, indeed, it would be seen as “Europe’s” decision.

  7. Schlager will return!!

    Glitter, glamour and key changes will never die!! And Sweden will bring back the wind-machine next year….

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