Wednesday, 15 May 2013

It's Eurovision time!

Yes, it's that time of year again. The 2013 Eurovision Song Contest is almost upon us and I, for one, am quite excited about that. I've always loved a bit of Eurovision, and I'm one of those people who isn't ashamed to admit to watching it, and enjoying it. There's just something about Eurovision that I'm addicted to. So much so that my build up to Saturday's final in Malmo, Sweden, began last night with the screening of the first of the two semi-finals to decide who joins Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and Sweden in that final. 

I know a lot of people really can't stand Eurovision - maybe they think its had its day, that it isn't necessary anymore, or maybe their "street cred" just prevents them from admitting that, just like millions of others on Saturday May 18th, they'll be sitting there in front of their TVs getting caught up in the whole camp, over-the-top atmosphere that only Eurovision can create. Because I don't think its had its day. No way! I'd be gutted if there was no more Eurovision!

The UK's behind you, Bonnie!
Having said that, I do think that the UK will struggle to ever win the competition again. We've done it with Brotherhood of Man and the quite unforgettable (well, I suppose that depends on who you're talking to...) 'Save Your Kisses for Me' back in 1976, and who can forget Bucks Fizz's win in 1981 when those skirts were whipped off during 'Making Your Mind Up'? Katrina and the Waves and 'Love Shine A Light' was the last time the UK won the competition, and that was sixteen years ago in 1997, and to be quite honest, I really can't see us taking the title of Eurovision winners home again any time soon. When it comes to getting the votes, it would appear that nobody seems to like us. And I don't think it has anything to do with the song choices, not really. 

Voting in Eurovision has always been slightly "political". I remember my dad shouting (and swearing) at the TV back in the 70s when we used to watch it. In fact, he used to get himself quite worked up over it, and it is quite hard not to get carried away and feel slightly cheated by the quite obvious bias voting that does go on. Allegedly. But it does. Eastern Block countries voting for other Eastern Block countries, Cyprus voting for Greece and vice verse... you get my drift? It could be the worst song in the world but your neighbouring country will more than likely drop you a few points anyway. But when it comes to the UK it would seem we're the "Billy No Mates" of Eurovision. We should just put out a song called "Everybody Hates Us and We Don't Care"! Because it doesn't really matter who we stick up there on that stage to sing our entry, I just can't see us ever getting enough points to bring the competition back to Britain. These days we're lucky if we even make it into the top half of the voting table!

However, as always, despite the usual pessimism the UK carries with it during Eurovision time I, and I'm sure millions of others, shall be fully behind our entry. And this year - after poor Engelbert Humperdinck failed to make much of an impression last year in Azerbaijan - we've got the fabulous Bonnie Tyler flying the flag for the UK with 'Believe in Me'. I only really got a good listen to this track yesterday, but I actually quite like it. Is it good enough to win? Yeah, in terms of it being a good Eurovsion song, it's good enough. But we won't win. And I'm not being deliberately pessimistic here, I'm just stating a fact. Bonnie is a fantastic singer, a legend who can belt out a rock ballad like the best of them, even after all these years. But, even though she's also incredibly popular over there in Europe, I just don't think we can do it. But, stranger things have happened... just, not that strange... Oh, what the hell... Come on, Bonnie! You can do this!

Anyway, after watching the first semi-final last night I think Denmark stands a good chance of winning with 'Only Teardrops', and the Belarus entry is pretty catchy, too. 

And the Netherlands entry may just throw a bit of a curve-ball at the competition. It's a strange little song, called 'Birds', and I didn't really take to it on first listen, but, after a few listens it could really start to grow on me. We'll see.

To be quite honest, though, I don't really care who wins - although that's actually a complete lie because I have been known to get quite vocal during the voting - I just love the whole spectacle of Eurovision. And I really did think it might just lose a little bit of that magic once (Sir) Terry Wogan hung up his commentating crown - his dry wit during the show was one of the main reasons for tuning in. But, give him his due, Graham Norton is doing a sterling job of keeping up the tradition of making sure Eurovision stays full of the tongue-in-cheek humour it's known for. It doesn't take itself too seriously, and that's what makes it so addictive! I love it, and I will always love it. 

So, roll on semi-final number two on Thursday night. Let the Eurovision band-wagon roll on and let's get ready for Saturday! I can't wait!

Before I go though, I just thought I'd share one final Eurovision memory - one of my favourite past winners. Norway's entry from 2009, Alexander Ryback with 'Fairytale', a fabulously quirky Eurovision song, and a well-deserved winner that year.

Is it Saturday yet...?

1 comment:

  1. We slate it every year for whatever reasons... but yet we still watch it year after year.

    I have to admit that I really liked last years winner Loreen with Euphoria... but them I'm a bit of an ageing technohead