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Absolutely The Last Final Word. Possibly…..

Posted by DINRIL on May 30, 2010

So once again, entirely as most people predicted, the UK slumped to a resounding defeat on the Eurovision stage (granted we didn’t finish quite bottom of the heap, having seen the number of points scored by both Slovenia and Switzerland in the semi-final – which when combined still wasn’t more than the paltry 10 scored by Josh on the night – but anyway….). And once again we can hear the sound of cynical vitriolic pens being sharpened, all too ready to trot out the usual reasons why the country no longer does well at Eurovision.

Of course in any other year those reasons might have stood up – Europe doesn’t like us, it’s all dominated by the East, it’s become a vote for your neighbour contest, the West never gets a look in anyway, nobody likes the Big Four countries because they qualify automatically, and so on and so on ad infinitum. Except something happened last night which renders all of the above null and void. That something was Germany – a Big Four automatic qualifier, a Western European country, and one of the longest standing participants in the contest – taking top honours for only the second time in Eurovision history.

And the mere fact that happened does in fact prove just how much the above have been used as scapegoats to justify the UK’s constant ‘poor little us’ bleating over their lack of success in the last decade. Because (and let’s leave the issue of jury voting aside for a minute) Germany proved that with the right song, with something fresh and modern and contemporary that appeals to a wide audience, it is perfectly possible to win Eurovision regardless of who you are. Not only that, but it’s even possible to win the contest even if you have been lucky enough to get that golden ticket into the final, that nobody is actually going to resent you for it if your song is good enough.

But leaving aside the German triumph for a moment, let us consider the case of the other Big Four countries, France and Spain. The latter, while not exactly helped by the stage invasion of Jimmy Jump, still had a sweet lilting song which appealed to many while France was one of the biggest surprises of the night for us – yes, the song was complete Eurotrash but it was performed with such energy and drive as to become a real crowd-pleaser. No surprise to us, then, that both countries – while not exactly setting the scoreboard on fire – achieved perfectly respectable scores, certainly far from the 10 points awarded to our Josh.

So ultimately (and as Graham Norton said last night) there’s a lesson to be learned in all of this for the UK, namely that the fact we came last has nothing to do with the Big Four countries being unpopular and everything to do with the fact that our song was complete and utter nonsense, and that frankly we can’t carry on hiding behind the ‘nobody gives points to Western Europe’ excuse any more. The mere fact that we did so well in 2009 should prove just how different things can be when we make a little effort and take the whole thing seriously – but just why, exactly, did we feel the 2009 effort was sufficient enough for us to go back to our bad old ways in 2010 and just submit some random old trash, thus only further fuelling the public perception of the UK as singularly useless on the Eurovision stage?

Listen folks, if a Eurovision nation as long in the tooth as Germany can win this whole thing, there’s no reason why we can’t too, but we HAVE TO START TAKING IT SERIOUSLY EVERY YEAR, not just do it once and assume that’ll be enough to set things straight.

Here’s a good idea for starters. How about next year, instead of trying to come up with what we consider to be a typical Eurovision song, we put our heads together and come up with – well, a song? After all, how many of the winners of the last few years have sounded like the kind of camp, cheesy, boom bang a bang-esque Eurovision winners of the past? Er, none of them actually. Lena’s winner certainly didn’t. And come to think of it, with the possible exception of Denmark, nor did any of the other songs in the top five. It’s just a thought, but it would be a start at least. And then we might find that in fact the rest of Europe does quite like us after all.

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6 Responses to “Absolutely The Last Final Word. Possibly…..”

  1. elizabeth said

    *standing ovation for this post*

  2. armando said

    Agree completely. One could write a similar criticism of Ireland’s entry – the Titanic-castoff Celtic ballad hasn’t been a good Eurovision strategy for at least a decade now.

    Let’s see what happens next year!

  3. Pervie said

    Very well put. Correct me if I’m wrong, but is it so that in Britain there are no preliminary heats, just the final? You could take example from Sweden although they have the same problem: their entries have come out of the same conveyor belt for years and look what happened.

  4. Caroline said

    We did have a sort of preliminary heats type set-up in 2009, the year that Andrew Lloyd Webber did it, basically an X Factor-type show over four weeks to find the performer who would represent us. It was all done and dusted by the end of January thus giving Jade several months to make her mark round Europe. And look at the difference it made – not only did we have a decent song and singer but months of publicity must surely have helped too. Quite why we didn’t do the same thing this year I cannot think…..

  5. Sunshine said

    Very well said!

    Actually, I think it’s that attitude that helped us to win this year. Our results became worse from year to year, in 2009 it was a disaster I will not talk about anymore, and the whole public was irritated by the ESC and hated our song and/or artist. And, uhm, that’s wrong. The ESC is an entertainment show, but you still should take it seriously, because the whole of Europe will watch it and see what your country sent there. We tried so hard to find the right formula that in the end we didn’t even come close, because we were trying too hard.

    Not saying that the countries shouldn’t make an effort, but you need the public and promotion behind you. You need to take it seriously. We had that casting show to find “Our star for Oslo” and the song as well. Stefan Raab, kind of an institution in German television and with a sense for good music (or what the public likes, see his ESC performance with “Wadde hadde dudde da” *g*), initiated all of it and knows how to promote someone. He got the public excited and interested in the contest again, and that’s how it happened that the whole of Germany was backing Lena all the way – it kind of felt like the Soccer World Cup again.

    I think that’s it what’s needed – the enthusiasm of the public, their support for the song and the artist. And it helps the artist so m uch to know that the country supoorts them.

    I’m really sorry for poor Josh, he tried his ass off, but the song was… forgettable. Not really bad, I mean, you can listen to it, but while you’re listening you’re already forgetting it. Lena liked him and felt very sorry for him, because she thought he was good (yes, he was.). I did vote for him, though, because I promised a friend that.

    I really hope that this result helps the UK to take the ESC serious again. Even a Big 4 country can win (and believe me, I didn’t think it would happen). It defintely helped us. Now we can lean back for another 28 years. *g*

  6. Liz said

    Love your blog and I hope you will continue to treat us all to things Eurovision even though the season has ended! Completely agree with what you wrote; if Germany can win it, anyone can! No more ‘they hate us’ etc. I’m Irish and there is also much of a post-mortem this week, bleating of hearts, where did we go wrong….. Though Niamh is a fine singer, she looked SO out of place, so passe. Ireland thinks they can just churn out celtic twilight revisited this past 20 years. I loved the German entry from the moment I heard it and always suspected the ingenious Mr Stefan Raab would do it one day for Deutschland…..My only disappointment is that the gorgeous Tom slipped down to 6th place… It is about time a contemporary sound won ESC – it will get many more folk interested in the competition and that can only be good. Think Josh is a lovely guy, he deserved a better ditty than that cheesy Waterman thingy. He has nothing to be ashamed of, hope he still enjoyed the experience.

    Please keep up your blog, love your style and wit!!!!

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