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Music |

Eurovision

Wednesday 23 May 2012
Words Amy Lavelle

Welcome Europe!

To Eurovision: Europe’s most celebrated tradition and all time favourite show.

The institution that first gave us ABBA, so much more than just another music competition, Sir Terry said it best when he called it an ‘Event’.

In other words, off-key singing, spectacularly hideous outfits and dance routines that would make the choreographers behind the Macarena cringe. Royal weddings and the Olympics can sod off: Europe does it best when it does its worst. Oh Eurovision, how we continue to suffer through you.

As a child, Eurovision meant a chance to stay up late on the sofa to enjoy in all its glory the sequins and sparkles, clouds of dry ice billowing across the stage and the drier ripostes of Sir Tezza, as we watched the finest examples of what Britain’s music industry has to offer and felt the waves of patriotism wash over us.

Remember the glory days of Bucks Fizz or Sandie Shaw’s bare feet?

Nope, me neither, because I’m of the generation that brought you Scooch.

Let’s face it, unless you were watching from the finer shores of pretty much anywhere in Europe other than the UK, in more recent years you’d be confronted with the likes of Jemini: an act so terrible that not even turning up the volume of their backing vocalists’ microphones could save the situation or sufficiently drown them out. That year, we couldn’t even rely on the customary vote of neighbouring Ireland and walked away with nul points, making Malta’s loss in ’72 with 48 points look not so bad.

Oh Malta, how we make you feel better about yourself. (You’re on your own with that dress this year though; that was unforgivable).

And then there was this year, when the only way was most certainly not Essex with (Essex born) Josh Dubovie’s performance another exercise in the cringe. It didn’t sound good to anyone, Josh.

Unfortunately, none of these contestants were available for comment.

Luckily, though, Boogaloo Stu, host of the BBC’s interactive commentary, was.

Oh Stu, why do we unceasingly choose such irredeemably crap acts?

“I’m not sure really if it’s the acts to blame. In recent years the addition of so many new countries who all vote for each other has skewed the voting perspective. I’m not sure that anything will change until the powers-that-be actually change the way that songs are voted for. Having said that, I think the UK has had some terrible choices in recent years.”

And of course he’s right, it is all politics. Sir Terry himself sounded off to the BBC about this voting issue; with certain countries consistently voting in blocs, as a lonely little island housing a nation of people who believe the best way to get the rest of Europe on side is to speak louder and slower, we can hardly expect much of a look in. And while, yes, most of the time it is in fact definitely the act to blame, it’s easier on the patriotism to blame it on the corrupt political voting alliances at work. It’s just all so un PC.

Stu, however, remains positive that success is within reach.

“I really think we missed out on Eurovision success with Justin Hawkins and also a very pregnant Katie Price- can you imagine how amazing that would have been, just for the spectacle? I think the board need to consider which stars, British or otherwise, are very successful in Europe and Russia, and choose accordingly. Sophie Ellis- Bextor’s career may be in freefall here in the UK, she has recently had two number one hits in Russia… Get her to represent the UK and she could quite possibly steal the crown thanks to all those Russian and Eastern European fans…”

Let’s face it Britain: drastic measures need to be taken now. It’s time to shape up our act and become something more than just the entry that makes everyone else look good. It’s time to find a genuine talent to represent us come May; finally, we have a chance to validate the existence of the X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.

Or failing that, we should at least be able to get the Cheeky Girls.

Illustration: Ben Jensen