Sunday, 30 May 2010

Germany reclaims Eurovision for the big 4

Another year, another Eurovision. Last night was actually my 4th since I moved to Europe. I think I'm going to start counting my years here based on the number of Eurovisions I've watched.

This year's entries performed in Oslo were ok, but not as good as the very solid entries of last year's competition in Moscow. Still, I thought the winning entry from Germany was very good and deserved to win. It's a catchy tune and it sounds very modern. It's very much in the Brit pop mold, and the German singer even adopts a sort of faux-British accent for it. But it was cool that Germany won, it's the first time they've won as a united Germany. West Germany last won the competition in 1982 with Ein Bisschen Frieden.

Though the quality of the entries wasn't as good as last year, the contest was a bit more exciting to watch because nobody knew who was going to win. Last year NOrway was guaranteed to win, so it became really just a contest for 2nd place. This year the announcement of the votes was quite suspenseful, and it wasn't until about halfway through that it became clear that Germany was likely to win. Belgium scored quite high, 6th place, which is good for them. It's the first time they've even made it into the final since they started doing semi-finals.

So I was pleased to see Germany win, particularly because I voted for them. It was the first time the country I voted for won. Lena, who sings the song, is very sweet, if perhaps a little annoying. She's also very young. Amusingly, Germany's other winner from 1982 was also a young girl with just one name (Nicole).

It was also good to see Germany win because it shows that the voting system has been successfully reformed. Back in 2008 when Russia won, there was lots of speculation that the contest had turned into an Eastern Europe lock-out because of loyalty voting. People were predicting that Western European countries would never be able to win Eurovision again, because all of the smaller Eastern European countries would always vote for each other. Which didn't exactly seem fair since its the big 4 - Germany, France, Spain and the UK - that pay for the contest. There's still a lot of resentment over Russia's 2008 win, which was in evidence last night as the crowd booed the Russian entry.

So they changed the voting system. Starting last year national votes were decided only 50% by the public, and the other 50% was determined by national juries comprised of music industry experts. Germany winning this year shows that Western Europe is still in the game, and that the contest is still relevant for them.

The UK came dead last yet again, for the third time in a decade. Today there is the usual moaning about it in the British press, who are still sticking to the same script complaining about block voting and anti-British feeling. They don't seem to have gotten the memo that the voting procedure was changed, nor do they seem to remember that the UK came in a very respectable fifth place last year when it bothered to field a decent entry, penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber. When the UK puts some effort in, it can still do quite well in Eurovision. Unfortuantely it usually doesn't, and there's no denying that this year's British entry was absolute drivel. If the UK doesn't want to take the competition seriously that's fine, but then there's no sense in whinging when they come in last place!

Needless to say, I think Eurovision in Berlin next year will be amazing. I'm definitely going to go, if I can. But who knows where I'll be in a year. Hopefully I can be in Berlin next year to celebrate Eurovision number 5.


Teresa said...

I thought Romania had the best song, it seemes the most musically advanced and they are very talented. But they came in third, which is not so bad. Bravo Romania!

Emre said...

Turkey should have won, it is a very well known band and was the most modern. And it was the only song of the whole night that had good staging

EUrise said...

This was a boring year in Eurovision, you can really see the effect of the crisis! There were no big sets or expensive gimmicks

Captain Kid said...

Horst Köhler resigned - I think Lena is free to become the next president.

martin said...

Although it's unlikely at the moment that the ESC 2011 will actually be hosted in Berlin as the broadcaster is located in Hamburg where almost everything tied to contest is done, even the public events.

At the moment both cities are trying to become host. (Also in the race are Cologne and Hanover)

We'll see!