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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Find us the song and we can win Eurovision again

Across Britain today over the Sunday brisket the conversation will be dominated by one topic: Eurovision.

We narrowly avoided the dreaded "nul points" last night thanks to Ireland and Malta, but we still finished second from bottom.

Serbia won, so I'll be going round to the bookies to collect my winnings tomorrow. A surprising winner really; the singer looked like Jeanette Krankie and she was accompanied by women in suits who looked like jailers. It was a powerful ballad of lost love (or something), as were a lot of the eastern European entries. Distinct schism between their songs and the puerile formulaeic nonsense of western Europe.

Of course today there will be a lot Meanwhile of angst and hand rubbing across western Europe. "We can never win", "It's the Eastern bloc vote," "we should pull out," etc etc.

Tosh! The new reality is that the countries which have joined Eurovision do tend to vote for neighbours rather than the song, but that doesn't mean that a song with breakthrough can't win. Look at Finland last year. They'd never won before and they're not the sort of country normally backed by any others than the Nordics.

If you look at the songs from the western European countries present - a pathetic number - they were largely terrible. Terrible. Ireland had a weak stereotypical song and the worse performance of the night. The singer was flat: it was like Jemini (nul points) all over again. Germany was a little Frank Sinatra-esque and actually not a bad song, but too sophisticated for the show. France, well, let's draw a veil over that one. Spain with a boy band could potentially have been good but it was very naff.

The UK's was so outdated, so cheesy. It may have been ok in the times of Bucks Fizz, but not in 2007. And it's no use being outraged, people. When we chose the UK song, the BBC fielded a panel of young Europeans and NONE of them said they liked Scooch. Maybe next year you'll listen.

So if we want to improve our chances, we need a better quality song and performer. Let's stop these endless TV shows that bank roll the West End productions of millionaires like Andrew Lloyd-Webber and turn the format into finding a song for Europe. This would be a great showcase for songwriting talent.

Let's stop trying to revive the careers of has-beens and again let's choose who sings in a week-by-week talent competition for song and performer.

Meanwhile, to restore the balance to Eurovision, have two semin-finals, one for western Europe and one for eastern Europe. It won't mean the end of the bloc vote but it means a more representative blend of countries, and hopefully the likes of Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Malta and Norway will return: it was sad without them.

When all's said and done, last night's show was wonderfully staged and very entertaining. Drawing 300 million viewers, it must surely have one of the biggest audiences of the year and as such should be taken seriously by the UK and the BBC. We brought the world the Beatles: we should not limp out cowed by the defeat of Scooch. I'm off to collect my twenty quid.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great summary Gail!!! The pundits and critics are so much more entertaining I think! Glad that your little flutter yielded results as well!!!! Roll on 2008.


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