Very much counter to my expectations, last weekend’s Eurovision Song Contest, which my girlfriend insisted on watching despite my protestations, was almost enjoyable. It has been some time since I’ve seen one, but the organisers in their wisdom have introduced a number of tweaks which have made it more endurable than in years gone by.
The number of countries participating on the night has been reduced to 24 (with another dozen or more eliminated in the ‘semi-final’ on the previous evening), the time taken for individual countries to ‘call-in’ with their votes has also been greatly truncated and the overall show seemed to rattle along quite speedily.
Of course, the quality of the songs and performances left a lot to be desired in most cases, with dross like Bosnia/Herzegovina’s entry supposedly favourite to win (presumably due to the suspect voting patterns and the recent influx of eastern European members of the EU). But there were some participants that chose to take a cynical, even sarcastic approach to their entries; the Germans went all country rock on us, a bunch of Latvians in white suits sang acapella and danced with a bizarre robot contraption and Lordi from Finland (the eventual winners) treated us to some sanitised death metal.
My own personal favourite was LT United from Lithuania , five immaculately black-suited men, looking like ex-Russian mafia with disturbing fixed grins on their faces, singing in football anthem style, “We are the winners of Eurovision.” Wonderfully ironic and quite catchy too – the only other lyrics appearing to consist of, “We are, we are” and “Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote for the winners.” They were also quite clearly booed by much of the Greek audience throughout the event for some unexplained reason. My all-time favourite Eurovision moment.
It seems the Europe-wide phone-voting audience were equally cynical, with the Lithuanian song coming sixth and the Gwar-lookalikes Lordi coming top by some distance. One wonders what will happen next year. Every other country entering death metal songs? I can’t wait.