Friday, January 30, 2009

Eurovision déjà vu

I don't want to puncture anyone's enthusiasm for the UK's selection process for Eurovision this year, but long-term followers of the contest will surely back me up on one point - haven't some of the phrases we've heard from Graham Norton, Andrew Lloyd-Webber and the contestants sounded startlingly familiar? Like "with people of this calibre on board, it's just got more credibility this time". I think I remember Gina G using a variant of that line in 1996! In rather the same way, just about every actress to play a Bond girl in the last twenty-five years has at some point uttered the words - "ah, but she's not your normal sort of Bond girl, she's a real match for him".

Another one is "let everyone know we're taking it seriously this year". Michael Ball in 1992, anyone? In fact, we've heard that line every single time (and it's happened quite a few times) the selection process has been given some sort of makeover. Most recent was the introduction of the Making Your Mind Up format in 2004, leading to the bold selection of (ahem) James Fox. Which brings me on to to another moment from the most recent show on Saturday that really made me wince. It was Norton and Lloyd-Webber groaning their way through Albania's entry and then declaring that if Lloyd-Webber couldn't beat such rubbish, he might as well retire. But unfortunately I seem to remember an 'expert panel' saying much the same thing in the wake of James Fox's selection - they reviewed a handful of other countries' entries and smugly asserted they could already say we'd beaten those. Imprudent words as it turned out, and Lloyd-Webber may similarly live to regret being quite so quick to write off Albania. Of all the Eurovision countries, they seem to have had a particular knack in recent years for getting the best out of what initially sounds like quite a ropey song.

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