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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another Night of Hurt

Swedish winner Loreen
Oh dear, another disappointing Eurovision. So much for hoping that Engelbert would bring us the first of many triumphs this summer.

I'm sure the papers will be full of analysis, earnestly discussing tactical voting and the misfortune of singing first, and what do we do next year?

We all know the Eurovision is a kitsch festival of the ludicrous. Yet we love it for its irony. Twitter was ablaze last night as everyone gave their opinions on each act, some very amusing.

Engelbert may have been first in the draw to sing but he still had to wait a while. The host nation, Azerbaijahn, decided to show off for a good 20 minutes at the start, with fireworks and whirling dervishes, leaving the interval curiously empty.

Engelbert did us proud with his performance; he brought all his charisma to bear and there was no hint of nerves or losing the voice as inexperienced Eurovision hopefuls have done in previous years.

The song itself was, as Graham Norton kept saying, a pretty ballad. I liked it so much I downloaded it. A poignant, haunting song,. it would have been perfect as the last song of the evening, as an antidote to the usual excesses of Eurovision. There will always be camp acts in fetish gear; minxy girls in short dresses; novelty acts with folk costumes and howling soloists. Engelbert's song would have soothed the soul after that little lot.

But it was not to be, and when I saw the Swedish favourite, I immediately knew she would win. The evening usually gives us one act that is different. The Russian grannies weren't different: there is always an act like them, even if they were older than it usually is. But Loreen was a throwback to Kate Bush when she memorably burst on the scene 30 years ago. She had a spellbinding aura and her song, Euphoria,  was a pleasing disco number of the sort we will hear pounding out across European resorts for the next few months..

So what do we do next time?

Well, having a known act is good, and we have done that in the past two years. Loreen is apparently quite big already in Sweden and has been no 1 in several countries. So perhaps we need a  young, currrently successful performer. I can only imagine that a Voice or X Factor loser would fit the bill - who else would want this poisoned chalice?

I don't buy the argument that we'll never win because no-one likes us. We don't, it's true, have neighbours we can rely on. Ireland are quite stingy with their points. But it doesn't matter who you are, if you have the stand-out act  (eg Lordi from Finland; Dana International from Israel), you'll win.

It's a bit of fun and it's over now until next year. I hope Engelbert hasn't taken it too badly -- it's a shame that he finished unjustly second to last, behind many really dire acts, but I haven't heard anyone in the UK criticise him, his performance or the song. C'est la vie.

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