The Eurovision Song Contest; that annual event that is Marmite to music lovers all over the world. With two semi-finals and a grand final being hosted every May in the country that won the previous competition, it has found it’s popularity in the UK rise and fall over the years since it began in 1956…
When May comes around each year, I start posting my blogs on the Eurovision Song Contest. I have always liked this competition and I think it is something that a lot more people, particularly in this country should give a lot more support to. It splits opinion every year and every year I try to justify its existence in today’s entertainment industry. Here are my reasons why.
Firstly, I enjoy the voting at the end of the whole process. Some people say that the whole thing is politically motivated and I have to agree that there is still an element of this. Cyrpus and Greece always exchange good points, as do Moldova and Romania. The re-introduction of the jury voting has stemmed the amount of neighbourly voting that went on in order to get a winner, but in the end when it comes down to it, there is no way you will ever stop that from happening.
Secondly, I enjoy writing about the contest. It gives me an opportunity to express my opinion about music that might not otherwise get read or listened to. I have blogged about Eurovision for the last four years on my own blog Smurfin’ the Web and although I do sometimes feel rushed to get my posts done on time due to a busy work and home life, they are there for all to read and its interesting for me to see if anyone has the same opinions as myself. I would like some more comments though 😉
Thirdly and this is probably the nub of the matter – I enjoy the music. Finding some music from other countries is an enjoyable experience for me. There are always about half a dozen songs from the whole contest that I really like and will continue to listen to well after the Euro-fever has abated. Eurovision is simply NOT the “cheesefest” that many people think that it is, but that opinion is mainly saved for the UK public who think that because we haven’t won it for years then we shouldn’t enter it again or even consider backing it financially. That attitude is saved for those people who think that other countries aren’t capable of producing good music and that right is reserved for Great Britain and the USA alone. They could not be farther from the truth. There is PLENTY of great music elsewhere in the world and Eurovision is one way for these artists to gain some publicity for themselves and also their country.
If more people would even just give one listen to all of the songs in the Eurovision Song Contest, I bet that there would be at least two of them that they liked, and that for me, is good enough. Yes, there are still countries that enter the “comedy” act and they have their place, but for the most-part, I think most countries take the contest very seriously and so do the fans that watch it and blog about it like myself. On the subject of my own country, the UK, the reason we haven’t won it for so long is quite simply because we have entered utter garbage into the contest. Scooch, Gemini and Daz Sampson are three very good examples of this and in more recent years we have tried other avenues like the stars of yester-year that are famous, but not current enough to be considered popular enough to win the contest for us. This year, for the first year in a very long time, I have high expectations for our entry “Children of the Universe” by Molly and it marks a step in the right direction for the UK.
Anyone who thinks Eurovision is filled with cheesy pop need only go and listen to the winner of the 2006 contest. That year, Finland romped all the way to the winner’s podium with Lordi performing Hard Rock Hallelujah. That’s right, a hard rock band wearing laytex monster masks won it. You don’t get any further from cheesy pop than that!
OK, so they were a bit of a novelty, but nobody could deny that Finland took the competition seriously and sent their A-game – they were represented by an established and popular group with a totally rockin’ tune and they gave a top-notch performance on the night. Don’t forget, the songs are performed LIVE in front of a huge audience right there in front of them, as well as millions of viewers tuning in worldwide.
That’s right, MILLIONS of viewers. All over the world!
Yes, some of the acts that are entered are cheesy. Yes, some of them are novelty acts. Yes, some of them are utterly crap. Unfortunately, it’s usually the UK entry that embodies those *ahem* qualities.
Still, sometimes we get it right, In 1997, we hooked Katrina and the Waves to perform Love Shine a Light on behalf of the UK and it was fantastic. It was the last time we won, and we’ve been languishing, ever since, near the bottom of the score board, occasionally being awarded the dreaded Nil Points *shudder*. This year, Molly is giving us our best chance since then with Children of the Universe, and it’s been marketed all over Europe, and proven quite popular, so for once, I think we’ll be finishing on the left hand side of the board, and possibly even in the upper half of it!
I love Eurovision. In fact, I’ve not missed a single final since the early 90s, and since the introduction of the semi-finals, I’ve only missed a couple of the precursors, and only in the last couple of years when I was working evenings and could only get one or the other night off as well as the final (which I would never miss if it could be helped!).
In recent years, Eurovision has seriously upped its game and has become a great showcase of European music, and it’s a chance most people in the UK don’t usually get, to sample that music and perhaps find something new that they will enjoy.
When Dale and I had only been together a couple of months, Eurovision was on, and when he said he watched and enjoyed the show as much as I do, it was kind of a deal-maker for me. I was already crazy about him, but we moved in together a few weeks later. I don’t think I could be with someone who didn’t like Eurovision, because to discount Eurovision is to discount the music offered up by the rest of our continent, and that’s a very close-minded view to take.
To anyone who worries that it’s all a bit camp and cheesy, I say, embrace the campness, chow down on the cheese, and look beyond the surface. Give it a try this year and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised!
THE VERDICT: For once, we are in happy accord. We both love Eurovision, both for the camp fun of it AND the serious musical side of things. And I don’t see that changing any time soon. Long live Eurovision! Best of luck to Molly as she represents the UK this year!
So, the Eurovision Song Contest – love it, or loathe it?
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