What’s Eurovision all about?

May 29, 2007 at 3:00 am 2 comments

Photo taken by Kim in PortugalLast year, I watched the Eurovision song contest, which is held amongst 42 active members of the European Broadcasting Union (since when did Turkey and Israel become part of Europe?). Australia doesn’t compete in Eurovision but I know of Australians who have Eurovision parties when the competition is broadcast and they take it all very seriously. So in 2006, I decided to settle down for a few hours and watch it. I came away very confused!

The Finnish heavy-metal band, Lordi, won in 2006 with a song entitled Hard Rock Hallelujah. I thought I was experiencing some sort of 70s flash back because Lordi looked a lot like Kiss to me (albeit a more horrifying version). You can see them on You Tube if you’re so inclined. Apparently, this was the first time Finland had won in over 40 years of participating. Eurovision seemed very kitsch and the theatrics, glittering costumes and drag queen spectacle of Eurovision appears to be more important than the national songs. ABBA was the Eurovision winner back in 1974 and went onto world glory and of course Australia’s Olivia Newton-John also participated in 1974 but was eclipsed by the ABBA phenomenon. I think Spanish swooner, Julio Iglesias, competed during the 60s or 70s (Eurovision’s been held since 1956) and Celine Dion won in the 1980s. So there’s some truth to suggesting that good music results from Eurovision – although I haven’t quite forgiven Celine for My Heart Will Go On or that white suit worn backwards at the Oscars with matching fedora. Lordi will soon inflict themselves on cinema screens with their flick, Dark Floors. Members of Lordi include Amen the Unstoppable Mummy, Awa the Vampire Countess, Ox the Hellbull and Kita the Alien Manbeast (not sure what a Hellbull or Alien Manbeast is all about!).

Anyway, I vowed not to watch Eurotrash, sorry Eurovision, 2007 but along came the May 14 finale on SBS (Australian TV station) and I succumbed. And this time I think I understood what Eurovision is all about: politics! ThinkingShift European readers can correct me but I noted a distinct tendency towards bloc voting.

But first to the entries: this year, there was an awful lot of cleavage on display (Moldova’s entry for one) amongst the obligatory drag queens sporting more plumage than a peacock (Denmark and Ukraine); swarthy, gyrating Latin boy-bands; and belly-dancing (I think that was Turkey). The Swiss entrant caused a few ruffles with the Satanic sounding entry Vampires are Alive (hoping to duplicate Lordi’s effort I suppose). Serbia’s Marija Serifovic won Eurovision 2007 with a ballad called Molitva, or Prayer, which I actually quite liked but I did think Sweden’s song was the best.

But it was the voting that was most interesting. Neighbouring countries voted for each other. The Scandinavians all stuck together; former Warsaw Pact countries voted for Russia; Serbia benefited from the votes of the former Yugoslavia – Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia (guess any memories of war have been forgotten); and in a cringe-worthy moment, no-one seemed to be voting for the UK (well, Ireland did vote for the UK, which ended up with 19 votes, embarrassingly behind the resounding 268 Serbia received). This seemed to highlight how Eastern Europe snubbed Western Europe (represented by UK, France, Germany, Spain) – no Western European country ended up in the Top 16. And I’m not sure what to make of Germany giving Turkey 12 points – perhaps they were impressed by the belly-dancing.

This all got me thinking: what if Australia could enter Eurovision (yes, I realise that Australia isn’t in Europe). Would we prop up the UK and give the “mother country” our 12 votes? And what band or singer could be our entry? I can think of no better Australian entrant than the 1970s glam rock band Skyhooks – their debut album was Living in the Seventies, a time warp Eurovision seems to be stuck in. You can see a photo of them here and I reckon they would have given Lordi a run for their money with their spangly costumes and make-up.

But of course, there’s also Maria Venuti who normally displays plenty of heaving cleavage and colourful plumage as she belts out a tune. Australian ThinkingShift readers are invited to submit other suggestions for an Australian entrant for Eurovision; or perhaps we should just go out on our own and have Australvision 2008?!!

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Entry filed under: Eurovision, Reflections.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Matt Moore  |  May 29, 2007 at 8:10 am

    As Clausewitz would no doubt have said: Eurovision is politics by other means. Whilst it is now something of a camp icon, winning Eurovision actually used to actually mean something esp. if you were a small country (e.g. Sweden or Ireland) or a poor one (anyone from Eastern Europe).

    I think an Asia-Pacific version of Eurovision would be fantastic and would strengthen relations with our Northern neighbours. Frankly I think we would struggle to match raw sexual energy of Indonesian Dangdut or bright, shiny teeny pop of Korea but one lives in hope.

    Reply
  • 2. Martti Immonen , Eurovision Club FINLAND  |  June 1, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Hi there…
    well I do hope, that keeping the right vision is the answer here. There is no politics, thus it is an easy way explaning the results. If you look only the TOP 16 countries of the final, yeah, most of them from the eastern europe.
    Did anyone bother to see WHY that is so?
    No… blaming the politics was the easy way!

    Countries from the East, if we call it like that, have real passion for making it BIG in Eurovision. Eurovision Song COntest is not just a songcontest for them. It is a nationalistic pride and making the PR for the country. Getting the place from the EUROPEAN MAP once again for their own country. As you might be familiar with the history, most of them are “new” nations and that´s why they try harder.
    Best artists
    Best songs
    Best choreographers
    Best looks/clothes etc. which suit the song
    PR-tours,gifts and promotional package
    and most of all
    RIGHT attitude.
    If you do not care to do you best and be proud of what U are doing
    and standing behind your “product”, then it is like looking at any the desperate Western countries as the “parts” doesn´t fit at all.
    Sorry to say… some do it better and thats the case
    and all can do it and raise the quality level inside their own countries and kick the old “farts” out from their seats.
    Indeed… you may be old or young, it´s not about the AGE, but it´s HOW you look into things. Best of luck next year and by keeping the right attitude you can make it and if something goes wrong.. it´s not politics… go and look what U see from the mirrow… yeah, someone to blame is far closer.

    Long live eurovision 🙂

    Reply

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