Eurovision hopes?

If you’re into the Eurovision thing – and who isn’t, at least secretly – then you’ll know that Ireland’s entry has made it into the finals. It’s by Niamh Kavanagh, and I think it’s called ‘It’s for you’. Actually I’m late into the game this year, having been rather busy recently, and it’s only courtesy of Youtube this morning that I have heard it at all. Well to be  honest, at first I heard the wrong thing, having searched for Niamh and found what I thought was the song, only to think that it sounded surprisingly familiar until I realised it was her 1993 winner, ‘In your eyes’. I then listened to this year’s song, and my expert opinion is that the two are exactly the same, with only Niamh looking slightly older (but rather good).

Irish media coverage of all this has been rather breathless, with confident statements that this year we’re in with a chance. Apparently Niamh’s song is well regarded and hotly tipped. Really? I’d have said that it has every chance of winning, but in 1993, not 2010. Nowadays you need three things to win: (i) an outrageous stage act; (ii) a cod glam rock style of song; and (iii) geo-political affiliations, preferably in the Balkans. And what do we have? A rather nice song with a restrained style and big orchestra backing. I’d say that has as much chance of winning the Eurovision as Anglo-Irish Bank has of winning the prestigious ‘Global Bank of the Year’ award.

Anyway, all this talk of winning misses the point of the Eurovision. You really, really don’t watch that because you expect to like any of the songs. Let’s face it, they’re all absolute rubbish. You watch it because once a year you have to let go of your pretensions to taste and style, and just enjoy the spectacle of utter kitsch, absurd songs, ludicrous presenters, political calculations and blatant miscarriages of justice in the voting. This is the best most awful show in the world. For heaven’s sake don’t spoil it by taking it seriously.

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15 Comments on “Eurovision hopes?”

  1. Aidan Says:

    The idea that all of the songs are rubbish is well off the mark. In fact, anybody who know popular music around Europe will recognize many familar faces every year. The British media, in particular, has a very condescending attitude to the contest which seemingly has informed what you have written here (the Wogan factor so to speak). Luckily most of the rest of Europe regards it as a very entertaining contest with some good, some bad and some very ugly songs.
    Given your German background I am surprised that you don’t realize that that they have one of the best songs which has already been a No. 1 in Germany for weeks. It has been played nearly 10 million times on Youtube and not because everybody things that it is rubbish.
    Romania are using Paula Seling, one of their top artists and that song “Playing With Fire” is really good. Again, I expect it to be a big pop hit all around Europe afterwards (just not in the UK or Ireland where artists from the rest of Europe generally get ignored).
    Yes, there are some poor songs but they normally get nowhere. The winning song last year (from Norway) won by a landslide, it was a great song with no glam rock influences.
    Basically Ireland has done badly because it has not entered, decent modern songs lately. This year the song is okay for the first time since Brian Kennedy so Ireland will do better.
    The whole thing is one of the view great European events and I love watching it.

    • Gee, Aidan, I love watching it, too. Wouldn’t miss it!

      By the way, this is how the official German view of the contest is presented: ‘Is Eurovision still flying the flag for the best in European pop or is it a dismal and costly fiasco? Perhaps its appeal lies in the fact that it’s a little bit of both: car-crash TV on an epic scale, best watched through your fingers but with enough genuine musical highlights to keep you tuned in to the end. After all, a TV audience of between 100 and 600 million people can’t all be wrong, can they?’ –

  2. Rob Says:

    Ferdinand, last year you said the following about the Eurovision: “So we can stop thinking about Eurovision success from these islands, and concentrate instead on what the song contest is really for: making fun of the stage props, the presenters and the entry from Norway”. Norway, then went on to win with one of the highest points scores ever!
    This year you state that Ireland has “as much chance of winning the Eurovision as Anglo-Irish Bank has of winning the prestigious ‘Global Bank of the Year’ award”
    Now, after your statement I really think that we ARE going to win! Maybe the government should bet 22 billion on Niamh Kavanagh and solve all the countries woes!

  3. John Says:

    An exercise in mediocrity representing the gaping void at the centre of your very existence.

    • Jilly Says:

      I think it’s quite important to come to terms with the gaping void at the centre of your very existence. It saves a lot of time trying to invent a meaning for it, and leaves you free to enjoy the enormous fun of the Eurovision Song Contest.

  4. kevin denny Says:

    Doubtless many people now are thinking that social scientists are a troublesome lot, writing papers on unimportant stuff, not donning the Green Jersey, questioning the expertise of our taxi drivers etc etc. Fear not, a selection of scholarly papers on the Eurovision song contest is listed below:

    Click to access dp2005_6.pdf

    Click to access R172830748L2H956.pdf

    • Hey Kevin, this is more like it! I want to work on an academic project on the Eurovision also…

      • Jilly Says:

        TCD’s drama dept were doing one a few years ago, too (not sure if it’s in Kevin’s list). I heard them giving a talk about it, it was fantastic fun.

        • kevin denny Says:

          Jilly, I think its not there but, in any event, my forthcoming paper “Derrida, Deleuze, Johnny Logan: towards a critical hermeneutics of popular song” will, I think it’s fair to say, be the final word on the subject.

          [I’m not seriously mocking people who work on this BTW].

  5. Kevin O'Brien Says:

    “Let’s face it, they’re all absolute rubbish.”

    I have to take issue with that. Sebastian Tellier, France’s 2008 entrant, is only deadly. The Azeri one that year was really good too.

    It is just that the quality of the song is neither here nor there when it comes to the voting.

  6. TP Loupes Says:

    Have my reviews done justice to the entries? I’m kind of new with the whole Eurovision thing.

  7. John Says:

    Lena looked good, even sexy at the beginning, then fragile, and in the end I think she just wanted her Mummy.

    My 12 points went to Ukraine on the grounds of artistic merit and – well – I would.

  8. Sally Says:

    Who’d’ve thought karaoke would get this popular?

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