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Eurovision Song Contest 2007

May 11, 2007

I’m starting to understand that the Eurovision Song Contest isn’t about entertainment or talent, but is instead about something mystical, something unfathomable – something European.

Two years ago, I watched my first Eurovision Song Contest. We were in Greece, and Elena Paparizou won with “You are the one.” Elena is in fact Greek and competed for Greece, despite the fact that she is also Swedish.

Elena

Looking back, my first Eurovision (2005) may have been the best one I’ll ever see. The Greek announcer was so excited I nearly cried. Every time the votes came in she thanked the voting country in their native language and Greek, so excited she completely abandoned the normal presenter’s objectivity.

“You are the one” was subsequently used for every cell phone’s ringtone and on several TV ads. If that wasn’t enough, the Greek news managed to string out Paparizou’s win for three months. Naturally, every time they ‘reported’ on her, they played that song. Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water, Eurovision 2006 came along and the Greeks revived “You are the one.” I did learn from that song, though, what ‘capricious’ means.

Last year, Sakis Rouvas and Maria Menounos (a Greek-American) presented from Athens and the European populace, seemingly sick of Euro-pop, elected Finnish monster heavy metal group Lordi as their European Song Contest winners. Weird.

Lordi

I’m starting to wonder if Lordi didn’t win last year because they were the worst possible choice. Last night in Helsinki at the qualifying round, several people/groups who could actually sing were passed over for acts which push the definitive boundaries of the term ‘music.’ I actually wondered if some people, in a bid to reduce the competition for the automatically qualified acts, voted for the absolute worst acts of the evening.

Who didn’t get in?

Andorra – a Green Dayesque punk group (called ANONYMOUS) admittedly from a place which is a nation by a hairsbreadth. Andorra obviously doesn’t have the social/political alliances necessary to secure a Eurovision win. They were good – really good for punk. They got sent home. Sad.

Anonymous

 

Switzerland sent DJ Bobo with a song called “Vampires are alive.” There are several remarkable things about this act. First, they were considered front runners to win Eurovision and didn’t make it past the semis. Second, DJ Bobo can’t sing, not that this seems to have any bearing on winning. Third, this act reminded me a lot of Cats or Phantom. It had a distinctly Andrew Lloyd Weber feel to it and seemed to be yanked from a musical stage show – or I could simply be searching for a context in which this song would make sense. They went home and I’m glad.

The Netherlands sent Edsilia Rombley. She reminded me of Toni Braxton. She could sing, even if the song was boring and unremarkable, she sang it with a voice. Bye-Bye Edsilia.

Edsilia

Iceland, Croatia and Czech Republic all sent what I would call hair bands in a bid to repeat Lordi’s success. Of the three, the Czechs were the best. It was like high school all over again. But it didn’t work, they’re all going home.

Belgium sent The KMG’s with a reincarnation of Kid Creole and the Coconuts called Love Power. It was fun, it was silly, it’s going to stay in Belgium.

Who got in?

A lot of crap acts.

Belarus sent Koldun with an act that, while not close to the worst of the evening, was bad enough that I was laughing audibly by the end. Work Your Magic, indeed.

Incredibly, Bulgaria had a drumming/really bad singing (wailing) act who qualified for the final. This was so bad I am bewildered by their qualification. Their song was an actively unpleasant experience, Water.

Georgia’s Visionary Dream was crap, but I guess having swordfighting backup dancers meant something to enough people. She hurt my ears.

Magdi RÚzsa from Hungary gave us a reincarnation of Crystal Gayle’s Don’t it make my brown eyes blue and did it well. She called it Unsubstantiated Blues. She’s in.

Latvia sent Bonaparti.LV with operaesque Questa Notte, a song which would have been far more effective if they’d left the accompanying music at home. Still, they’re in and they’re okay.

Serbia sent the ambisexual Marija ŠERIFOVIĆ, who performed her act in a mannish suit which obscured her body to the extent that she might have been a badly drawn cartoon. Add to that her backup singers, who looked like Texas beauty queens from the late 80’s and spent most of their time touching her meaningfully rather than, well, singing backup. What you get is a boring but not awful song which somehow beat out other people to make it into the final.

Serbia

If Eurovision is anything to go by, I’m never going to understand Europeans.

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One comment

  1. A study of the pathology of Eurovision necessitates a study of how it comes about. For example: it’s not traditional to let real people vote, Europe being dominated by government owned media companies and the people there traditionally being the ones who pick contributions and the winners. And few of them graduate from musical academies. After ABBA’s victory singing in other than one’s native tongue was disallowed as it was understood some countries had an unfair advantage; this was recently reversed – unfortunately as we witness the ‘lyrics’ written in ‘English’ today, You Are The One being an extreme example. It’s a lot of rules and apparatchiks and today a lot of money. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with people. And even if there today is a popular vote – who is voting? Who stays home on a Saturday evening? No one cool enough to know what’s good music and what’s bad, what’s original and what’s plagiarism. For most people who suffer through it, Eurovision remains an earsore.



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