Eurovision Song Contest 2014

Hopefully my little countdown to the 2014 song contest served as some kind of tension builder for you over the last few weeks? If not, perhaps the short review of the losers from the semi-finals was of interest? If it wasn’t, then I’m sorry!

Well, as we learnt last year, my opinion of the Eurovision Song Contest – or as the Germans confusingly like to call it, the Grand Prix – really doesn’t count for much, but here are some of my observations anyway…

Not everybody hates Russia

It will come as some relief to future empire builders that indiscriminately annexing part of your neighbour’s country will not only illicit absolutely zero interest from the UN, but it also doesn’t completely destroy your chances at the Eurovision Song Contest either.

They did get booed a bit, but Russia’s The Tolmachevy Sisters‘ Shine wasn’t total drivel, and still managed to end up in seventh place, primarily thanks to their friends in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Greece.

Even so, the lack of votes from western Europe is notable – Portugal gave them a couple of points but nobody else gave them even the time of day (I’m not sure how you do that when voting in a song contest anyway). It’s also notable quite how many countries voted for Ukraine this year, perhaps because they had actually heard of them.

Ukraine gave them four points which seems slightly begrudging until you remember that the Crimea counted as part of Ukraine for the purposes of this contest. It’s probably some consolation at least that they weren’t singing about peace.

La pauvre France

Oh mon dieu, qu’est-ce qu’il s’est passé? You ‘aven’t made ze top ten since 2009, or the top five since 2002. In the last three contests you’ve struggled to get a single vote. Why exactly do you still bother entering? Do you somehow think that a daft diagonal haircut is going to get you some votes.

Well, apparently not – especially if you forget to bring a song with you. In fact, Twin Twin‘s performance would have fitted nicely on Eurotrash back in the 1990s…

Britain – still very average

Propping up the bottom end of the results table at number 17 is Molly, with Children of the Universe, whose main claim to fame seems to have been being somehow involved with something that was once mashed up with Sash!‘s Encore une Fois.

The song isn’t too bad actually, particularly compared to some of the other entries, but I’m not sure it deserved to win (did anything though? Really?)

Hardly anybody sings in their own language any more

This did come as something of a revelation to me. Of the 26 finalists, only three had non-English titles, and actually only another three contained non-English lyrics. The semi-finals booted out a couple of potential non-English entries, but essentially, English has become the lingua franca of the contest. Coupled with the fact that nobody likes France any more (despite the results being read out in French still) and you have the beginnings of a very strange trend.

Roll back for comparison to 1994, when the UK entered the entirely forgettable Frances Ruffelle and Ireland won with a song called Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids. France ended up in a very healthy seventh place, and one can only assume looking at the entrants table that everyone was being forced to sing in their own language. Which surely made things rather more interesting than just voting for the one with the best beard?

The Polish entry We are Slavic was obviously a particularly poignant call to unity for the Slavic people. With a totally daft name.

A bearded drag queen called Sausage

Having won the second semi-final, Austria’s Conchita Wurst went on to win the whole thing a day or two later. Good for him/her.

I have to say it’s a bit of a mystery to me why it won – it’s not a particularly good song, even by Eurovision standards, so it really does just feel as though everyone just went, “Oh, a bearded drag queen… that’s funny.” Or maybe I’m missing something fundamental.

Anyway, this is the first time Austria have ever won the contest, so congratulations to them. Douze points from Belgium, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. Most of whom, incidentally, are either neighbours or near-neighbours of Austria, so this definitely must be an example of bloc voting.

Let’s enjoy the performance again.

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