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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Even the Lord will struggle

The two texts sent by my brothers last night during "Your Country Needs You," the Eurovision song choosing programme, speak volumes.

"Why don't they give us nil points and just let us go on with it" and "absolute shite."

In a strange show that had a useless Moneypenny type character and saw Andrew Lloyd-Webber having silly conversations with Vladimir Putin and various ambassadors about voting for the UK, the "cream of British talent" was rounded up and ceremonially forced to caterwaul to Lord Webber and his companion, a "famous music producer."

The Public and its video entries clearly hadn't passed muster (the talent pool exhausted by X Factor and Britain Hasn't Got Much Talent), so a few West End understudies known by Lloyd Webber were roped in too.

The resulting six acts are depressingly similar to the standard we expect from the BBC and should be binned along with Scooch, Jemini and Andy Abrahams. And here lies the rub. In Lloyd Webber's tour of Eastern Europe, he discovered that a) they all take it a lot more seriously than we do, b) they accuse us of not taking it seriously enough, and c) they don't vote for us because we field amateur singers and bad songs.

Simple. And before you smirk and laugh at the standard of other Eurovision entries, at least the Russian winner last year is a huge act in his own country. Not someone who sings badly in dingy clubs, a rip-off of The Stylistics or a couple of twins who cry at the slightest provocation. Can we seriously imagine them holding that huge Moscow arena, and a hundred million viewers in thrall? A ridiculous notion.

For such a big show we need not only The Song that Lloyd Webber is going to write, but The Act to do it justice. A proper group or singer, not has-beens. Plus, instead of begging Eastern Europe to vote for us - which is as likely as a snowstorm in June - we should be forging an alliance with Germany, France and Spain. We four fund the Eurovision and we're all in the same position with lowly scores. And if we all have another bad year, I vote we withdraw our funding and exit the damn thing.

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