Sunday 15 May 2011

Eurovision 2011

It's that time of year again when countries from across Europe gather together and try and out perform each other musically. The prize (which many countries wouldn't want for reason of sheer expense at the moment) is the honour of hosting the following year's competition.

Good Eurovision songs should be catchy - pop or rock; there should be something memorable in the staging (the group, the costumes or the dancing); and usually they should be partly (or completely) in English. 

My two favourites this year were Estonia with 'Rockefeller Street' (finished 24th) and Estonia with 'So Lucky' (finished 12th). I didn't like the song that won; Azerbaijan 'Running Scared' much at all. I'd rather the UK with Blue (a bit of a bland song) or Ireland with Jedward (enough said) had won.

Over the last half dozen years the popularity of the show has become such that they now have to have semi-finals to weed out the field to make a show of watch-able length. All the countries who entered still get to vote though - whether or not they make it to the final. This means some of the fun of the points giving has been taken away as the lowest points are immediately populated and only the highest points read out by 'London calling' (or whoever).

The widened field and the plethora of countries from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union led to allegations of 'block voting' and unfair advantages (let's face it - the 'big 4' (UK, France, Spain and Germany) are just jealous because they don't have any friends to vote for them!). The voting system was changed so that half the votes came from a public vote and half from a panel. It still doesn't seem to have completely fixed the problem.

It's still a fun evening though. Graham Norton has turned out to be an able replacement for Terry Wogan (who thought anyone could ever replace him!). What amused me was that during the telephone voting part there were repeated warnings that you couldn't vote for the UK - and your vote wouldn't count but you would still be charged. In this case. Why have the number available. Why not just miss that number out of the list. Why not make it so that you get an unobtainable signal if you dial it? I wanted to dial it to see what would happen but I didn't want to waste 15p.

Apparently the good thing is that Azerbaijan (oil rich) were possibly the best placed country to spend the money to host it next - so it was a good thing from that point of view that they won.