Newest Review: ... pleasure. Unfortunately, the UK has grown increasingly out of step with the contest as it has evolved. Former presenter Terry Wogan used... more
Eurovision or Europolitics
Eurovision Song Contest
Member Name: mjc121
Eurovision Song Contest
Date: 15/04/09, updated on 08/12/09 (150 review reads)
Advantages: Can be a good laugh at times
Disadvantages: the music
As was once said on BBC radio 2 '30 seconds of Charpentier's Te Deum followed by three hours of Eurovision tedium." Well we love it really don't we?
The Eurovision was first staged to unify Europe through music and now the annual smorgasbord of pop involves over 40 countries. I have watched it each year since 1991, however, more recently it has only been due to Terry Wogan's rather acidic commentary on it. Now he has quit acting as the BBC host I may reconsider. Graham Norton has been given the job this year so it may be worthwhile watching it to see how he does. Whatever happens I will have the odd bottle of wine on standby.
The UK did very badly last year (so what is new?) but due to the fact we along with Spain, France and Germany contribute so much money to the EBU we get a "pass directly to the final" card.
The definition of Europe in the contest is rather unusual as it does not go on geographical lines but on whether or not the country is a member and pays money to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Hence, for example, Israel whilst not strictly a European country geographically, is able to take part.
The contest its self has spawned some very successful artists. The best known are ABBA who won in 1974 and Celine Dion (yes really) who won for Switzerland in 1988. Notable failures at Eurovision include Cliff Richard (Twice!!) and Julio Iglesias (yes really, him in 1970)
There have been many rule changes to the contest but the biggest was the 'native language' rule. Whilst it was in place it meant that each country's entrant could only sing in a language native to their own country. This rule was not in place since the start but it was introduced in 1966. This rule was dropped in 1973. However, it was reintroduced only a few years later. The rule was dropped for the second time in 1999. Since then there has only been one winner which was entirely sung in another language than English (The 2007 winner).
For me it has long since ceased to be a music contest and has become a political love in and a vote for your neighbour contest. I have lost track of the number of times Cyprus has given Greece the maximum 12 points and the same for Germany to Turkey. The biggest problem has been the phone voting which was first introduced in 1997 when 5 countries used this in place of the traditional jury. The following year it went entirely over to phone voting. This system is flawed as for example any Brit living anywhere else in Europe can still vote for the UK. This year the national jury is being re-introduced and the results will be a 50-50 split between the jury and the phone vote.
Last year, well Russia won but they certainly did not have the best song yet got massive votes from Eastern Europe countries. My personal favourite in the final was the Ukraine which came second. My belief is that Russia won because it was 'their turn'.
There were also some quite ridiculous entries which really should not have made it past the semi-final but still came higher than some of the better entries, with the Spanish entry being the worst of the lot. Whilst the UK has had some really bad entries in the past few years (e.g. Scooch - what were we thinking voting for them to represent the UK?) Andy Abraham certainly deserved more points than he received. Whilst he certainly shouldn't have won a mid table finish would have been a more realistic result for the song.
This year the final will take place on 16th May. The UKs entry "My Time" is a product of Andrew Lloyd-Webber whilst it is better than some of the entries in the past it is far too repetitive and as it stands when it was performed in the final of 'Your country needs you' it was too long by about 8 seconds. (there is a 3 minute limit, and not one second over is allowed- but it can be shorter). Of the entries I have listened to so far my long standing 'banker' for putting a top ten place bet on is normally Sweden well this year I think they will be lucky to get out of the semi-final. It is not a good song and the singer sounded off key. Greece has a good up tempo number which should break into the top ten on the night. Estonia could win it for the second time, it is an unusual entry with the group playing their string instruments as well as singing and the unusual does at times do well (remember the entry from Denmark 4 years ago which was sung in a made up language).
Still roll on the 2009 contest, the Eurovision party and the laughing at the political bock voting.
Well it's all over for another year. Norton did a good job and the UK came fifth. However, I was not a fan of the winning song from Norway. I much preferred the Icelandic entry. Although they are probably happy they did not win as the winner gets the dubious pleasure of hosting it the following year.
Summary: It may be awful but I still watch it.
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