Sunday, May 27, 2012

You have never been to my show, you haven't seen before how looks the trumpet

Well, I think that may have been one of the best ever Eurovisions. The average standard of the entries was higher than usual, the staging couldn't be faulted, and the presenters were only very mildly irritating, so it doesn't get a lot better than that. The only ingredient that was missing was tension in the voting, but that can't really be legislated for.

Although I wasn't a believer in what seemed to be blindingly obvious to 70% of people, ie. that Sweden would win, I do think it's a great result for the contest. The dance track hoodoo has been lifted at last, and in some style. And it hardly bears thinking about what the consequences would have been had the top two been reversed - with a Russian win, half the entrants next year might well have been novelty acts of some description.

Sweden now join France, the UK and Luxembourg as the joint second most successful country in the contest's history, with five wins. In fact, it could be argued that Sweden now have a slightly better record than the UK, because one of the UK's five wins was the four-way tie in 1969, at a time when it hadn't occurred to anyone to dream up a tie-break rule!

I don't know if we've learned to accept it as a fact of life, or if it just seems less noticeable when there is a western European winner, but there doesn't seem to have been as many complaints about political voting this year. The problem was still very much present, though, and once again has only been slightly diluted by the presence of the juries. There were a few occasions when a country that I assumed was destined for a neighbourly twelve points only received eight or ten, which was presumably the jury influence. But more often than not the expected twelve arrived on cue. It's probably more of an issue at the bottom end of the leaderboard, where some countries have a natural 'buffer' of guaranteed points that leave them more or less immune from finishing bottom, whereas countries like the UK clearly don't.

It'll be fascinating to see the split between the juries and the public vote. It always seemed inevitable that Russia would do much, much worse with the juries, which leaves open the possibility that the public vote may actually have been quite tight, in spite of Sweden's landslide. I'll also be intrigued to see how the UK did with the juries, because it's become known that Engelbert Humperdinck had a shocker during Friday night's dress rehearsal, which is what the juries based their votes on. I've never liked that system - it means that the result is to a significant extent decided by something the viewing public never actually get to see. "The Hump" was in much finer voice tonight, so it's possible that if that had been his definitive performance, he might have had a better result (although probably not much better).

Either way, it's back to the drawing board for the United Kingdom, for approximately the 794th time. Luckily, if all goes according to plan in 2014, this won't be Scotland's problem for very much longer!

As always seems to happen on Eurovision weekend, Scot Goes Pop received its highest number of visitors of the year so far on Saturday. Thanks to everyone who dropped by from all over Europe and beyond, and apologies that my prediction was so rubbish for the second year in a row! My only crumb of comfort is that at least I noticed that Serbia was an excellent song and was likely to have a good result, something that seemed to be a source of utter bafflement for Graham Norton throughout the voting...


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I can't fault Englebert's performance in public, but he was singing a romantic ballad which is an intimate genre; one to one.

    So seeing the great big bloody stage and the dancers prancing about kind of destroyed that intimacy.

    Englebert is a really nice guy and I used to go drinking with him, before he changed his name.

  3. Yes, he always comes across as a decent bloke in his interviews.

  4. James, thanks for the reply but I was setting you up for a joke!

    You should have said, "changed his name? and I would have said Yes he was Englebert Humphyerdrink, when I new him.

    Old joke, sorry.

    Carry on!

  5. I thought in fairness that the UK's song deserved a better position than it got, but choosing a 76 year old singer, who was popular in the 1960s and before most of the watchers were born, was probably not the best idea they have had... although admittedly, when you get back to the drawing board for the 793rd time, you must needs be clutching at straws.

    Of course, had they managed to persuade One Direction to appear for the UK, I suspect that they would have won, regardless of the fact that people do appear to vote against the UK on the basis that they hate IT, rather than the song of the artiste.

    I hope that someone somewhere is preparing the ground for a future Scottish entry, because I'm sure BBC Scotland won't be.

    I suspect that pretty much regardless of what we put up, we would win, for the same reason that pretty much whatever London puts up, loses. But I'd suggest Mànran, singing partly in Gaelic and partly in English.

    Their "Latha Math" (which got to No 6 in the Scottish chart in January 2011, and the completely knock-out "Oran na Cloich", which I featured on Munguin's Republic, and which tells the story of the Stone of Destiny, show what kind of work the do. Winners without a doubt.