A snog for Europe
Sunday, May 21st, 2006
Never let it be said that elections don't produce representative results. The voting in our household last night exactly reflected the UK Eurovision voting, in that the British 12 points went to the latex-covered Finnish rock Gods Lordi – Beloved Other Half's choice – and the 10 points went to my selection, the besuited and terribly direct Lithuanians whose song repeatedly chorused “We are the winners of Eurovision”.
They weren't, but the Finns were, which is one in the eye for bland white-clad “we are all brothers” Euro-schmaltz (Israel, Switzerland) and leggy blonde plastic pop tarts (far too many countries to name and shame – pictures here from the BBC).
I thought the British entry was actually rather good – a long way from the usual forgettable formulaic pap we usually enter. A bit individualistic, very catchy – the political voting blocks meant its chances of winning were always going to be slight, and Finland and Lithuania were ahead of it in the “quirky gimmick” stakes, but I'm surprised it didn't finish top 10. It deserved to.
It's no surprise Russia, Serbia and Sweden scored so well but I'm astonished Malta was last, the song wasn't at all bad.
I sort of wanted to liveblog the contest, but I feared my brain would melt and blood would start running out of my ears if I tried. But this is what I might have written if I'd tried:
- Dull beyond belief. Deserves to finish with zero points. That sort of 'we are all together' drivel went out years ago.
- Actually quite good. Catchy. Male singer is rather good-looking but the girl's slow strip seems a bit too forced to work.
- Like Switzerland. Only worse. Not a good start to the contest, could be a long night.
- Clearly, Latvia have decided they don't want the expense of hosting the contest again. This is one of the worst songs I have ever heard.
- Some energy here, and the fiddles work well, but overall it's barely adequate. Another bunch dressed in white!
- At least they're not wearing white. But this is a hollow song – good production but dire vocals. Could have been a cracker, instead it's a damp squib.
- Strong performance, I thought. What do I know?
- I love watching Germany – they always put on great big productions that scream “we expect to win” and then fall flat on their faces. No difference this year, though as a pure country song it's pretty good.
- The Danes lost the plot for a while but this is right back to form – catchy, energetic and a possible winner.
- Pretty-boy pop star with existing fanbase and plenty of block-vote support sings classic Eurovision number: will be difficult to beat, and rightly so.
- FYR Macedonia:
- Embarrassing. Just embarrassing.
- Wow. This sounds like a Eurovision winner from start to finish – put it in a lineup of past winners and you'd have a hard job spotting it was the imposter.
- Uh-oh. Sparkly lights and a ballad sung by an ugly, earnest male singer. I hate songs like this but unaccountably the voters often like them. And it's a Balkan country, so there's block votes to be harvested.
- WTF? This is bloody marvellous – similtaneously mocks and celebrates everything Eurovision stands for. Hysterical.
- Never heard it before tonight and it grows on you rapidly, with a chorus out of Oliver and an acceptable rap. Could soar, could flop, but at least it's distinctive.
- Hyperactive overacting. Don't like it.
- The song's not actually as good as it might be, but the overall package is a winner. If Europe keeps its sense of humour and the Baltic block vote falls the right way then this contest is over.
- They won it a few years ago with Ruslana, who blended folk and pop perfectly: this is Ruslana-lite and it suffers for it. Not bad, but could have been so much better.
- The toilet-break, put the kettle on, song. Why did the French even turn up if this is all they can offer? It's not bad like Latvia is, it's just utterly pointless.
- Doesn't quite work – it's so nearly a barnstormer but I can't quite put my finger on why it fails to ignite. An honourable attempt.
- Another ballad, and a powerful one at that. Were it not for the block votes, it could win. Top 10, certainly.
- The Swedes keep churning them out, don't they? This is just like all their other entries and, just like all their other entries, it will score heavily.
- Not quite sure what this is all about – it's like someone took notes from a badly-recorded bootleg DVD of past winners and then constructed this from memory.
- Who knew Armenia counted as Europe? This is good – catchy, fun, energetic. A great debut.
In the end, Finland won from Russia and Bosnia. Not sure who was next, but Sweden, Romania, Ireland and Lithuania did well. We were stuffed – not humiliated, but soundly beaten. Malta, France and Latvia polled badly, and Switzerland would have done so as well if they hadn't fielded a Maltese singer, earning them the Maltese 12 points.
So – off to Finland next year. I'm looking forward to it already!
Edit: 24 hours on, I have two songs – and only two songs – from the contest stuck in my head, going round and round. The first is the Moldovan entry, and it has nothing to do with the singer's bikini – it's actually a very catchy song in a 'lazy afternoon under a coconut palm' sort of way. The other is the poor old Brits. We wuz robbed, I tell you!