This time last year, with the Eurovision final just hours away, we were resigning ourselves to the fact that the UK was probably going to come last again, sighing about the fact nobody in this country was taking it seriously but vowing to support poor old Josh Dubovie anyway because, damn it, our national pride was at stake. Fast forward to this year and things could not be more different. For once there is actually a real sense of interest and excitement in the UK about Eurovision – despite all the bleating naysayers going on about it all being political and biased towards the East (of course, that’s why it’s in Germany this year, hmmmmm?)
Except of course it’s not just because the UK has finally decided to take it seriously and field a well-known act. It’s because for the first time in as long as we can remember there are two acts on tonight who will be very familiar to UK viewers – quite remarkable given that we’re usually lucky to even have heard of one. And in recent days the focus has switched from ‘can Blue bring Eurovision back to the UK?’ to ‘the titanic battle that is Blue vs Jedward’. Both have a fighting chance of bringing home the gold tonight, and even though the latter might be representing Ireland there’s still a huge groundswell of support for them here. The whole notion of ‘are you Team Blue or Team Jedward’ has sprung up without warning, and everybody you ask seems to have an opinion on it (we have yet to meet anybody who has said ‘Team Kati Wolf, actually’. But anyway….)
So let’s just look at this from both sides of the coin for a minute. Team Blue supporters vehemently argue that Jedward are a silly novelty act and that Duncan, Lee and co have entered a proper song and it’ll bring glory back to the UK if it wins and maybe enable us to start taking the contest seriously once again. Team Jedward fans will inevitably tell you that Blue are old and past it and have a dull song and that the wacky Irish twins are, well, more Eurovision somehow (although the people who say this last bit are clearly the people who still have a preconceived idea of what a Eurovision song should sound like and henceforth are the reason we ever sent Scooch in the first place).
It’s true that Blue probably have more at stake here than Jedward do. A lot is resting on how they fare tonight given that it is, after all, their big comeback. And given the UK press’s perception of our Eurovision prowess (having conveniently forgotten the period between 1967 and 1997, it seems) nothing short of a victory will be any good whatsoever. Remember how they denounced Andrew Lloyd Webber as a Eurovision failure when Jade Ewen finished FIFTH in 2009? Er we’d say that was far from a failure (do these same people also call their children a failure if they finish fifth in a spelling test at school? Er, I think not). We can hear the sound of venemous pens being sharpened as we speak and can picture tomorrow’s headlines – ‘WE CAN’T’, ‘BLUE’S EUROVISION FLOP CONTEST’ etc etc which would no doubt be applied even if the UK finished in second place with 400 points.
On the other hand Jedward probably don’t have quite so much to lose since their bizarre career seems to be on the up anyway and not winning Eurovision probably wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference to their many advertising deals, personal appearances and general habit of hanging around and being annoying. Granted, the song is probably what those aforementioned people would call ‘more Eurovision’ but that’s not necessarily the key to victory these days as we well know, while the Blue fans hoping for a victory will happily denounce it as throwaway rubbish. The question you have to ask yourself at this juncture though is – is it the song they are not keen on or the fact it is by Jedward? If Lipstick were by any other artist in the whole of Ireland would people be so hesitant about admitting they liked it? Somehow we think not.
We are the first people to admit we were very sceptical about the whole Jedward business when we first heard about it. But we also hold up our hands and admit that they have a very catchy, memorable tune on their hands – and being less of a worthy, serious song than Blue’s effort doesn’t make it any less of a worthy candidate for the title. And we can’t help but be impressed by the way they have won the rest of Europe over with their mad personalities and frankly bizarre performance – which actually looked as though they were making it up as they went along. More importantly it is a song which suits them perfectly – there would be no point them trying to do something a bit more staid any more than there would be a point to Blue trying to do a song like theirs. Everybody would get in a muddle and end up with the dreaded ‘nul points’ and then there would we be?
The point is whoever you are supporting tonight, both Blue and Jedward deserve to be up on that stage for the simple reason that they’ve brought Eurovision fever back to the United Kingdom after years of ennui. And if either one of them triumphs, you can guarantee Eurovision Blog will be celebrating on their behalf.
And on that note, we shall offer our usual vote of thanks to our lovely readers and every person who has helped us with content during this Eurovision season, and rest assured even after the season is over we’ll be back here offering salient comment whenever there is something of interest to report before the whole thing kicks off again around Christmas 🙂 And don’t forget to join us back here later on for the liveblog or Tweeting for Virgin Media at TVonVM…