Well it’s not exactly easy to be a British fan of Eurovision. Ridiculed is one form of flattery you’d be described as. A lunatic. Quite possibly deranged. Even deluded. Years of derision and mockery from the arty-farty brigade and Joe Public has given the impression that it is nothing more than a sheer damp squib of political cock-a-hoop.
As calls from some quarters in the UK are calling for a referendum from the European Union, do we really need one from Eurovision? We have a very disfigured and complex relationship with the Song Contest don’t we – it seems a fabulously great idea on paper and in theory, yet when it comes to it, should we really be doing this again?
Does Britain really give two hoots about a Hungarian love song with the lyric “she makes a carriage or rosemary, pulled by crickets, soothing me quietly’? The honest answer is no. But do Brits like a good old-fashioned entertainment show packed full of nonsense, glamour, hilarity and tension? Yes they do.
But do we actually belong in a European singing contest? Well, let’s face it, politics is said to play a massive part in the voting. Ukraine awards Russia douze points: Russia awards Ukraine douze points…YAWN. Greece routinely gives the full twelve points to Cyprus, and Bosnia tends to throw their weight behind Croatia.
Geographical neighbours doesn’t really mean anything; it’s shared culture, similar values. With 40 countries voting, not one country has enough neighbours win simply by location.
Studies carried out recently have suggested that voting patterns do exist; former-Soviet, Balkan and Scandinavian countries do vote for each other. What hasn’t been proved is voting is intrinsically ‘political’. A decade ago, Baltic countries were at war with one another, now they’re all voting for each other. That isn’t politics, it’s called culture.
The UK gave Jedward 12 points and 10 points in 2011 and 2012 respectively, not because we are neighbours, but because Jedward are stupidly popular. There is a large Irish vote in the UK, but is that political? No, it’s culture.
This year’s contest will feature a lesbian kiss for the first time from Finnish entry Krista Siegfrids. Why? Because it’s part of her act.
Europe doesn’t hate the UK. It’s quite simple why we haven’t done as well as people would like; when you send the likes of Daz Sampson, a singing binman and a group of trollies dollies then you’re going to be ridiculed. What wins well is the simple gimmick. Last year’s winner Loreen’s monster hit ‘Euphoria’ was to stand-alone on stage and sing a perfect, modern pop song. The Russian grannies didn’t do well, and I don’t think a group of dancing Cockneys or Morris Dancers would win either. We simply don’t send people with credible songs. It’s the harsh reality for UK Eurovision fans, we aren’t rubbish, but if we want to do better, we have to be better.