Sunday, May 19, 2013

Eurovision 2013 - The Finals

Congratulations Denmark! Emmelie de Forest is the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest winner with her song "Only Teardrops". It was a relatively closely-fought contest this year, with Azerbaijan coming second.

I’m now officially a Eurovision obsessive. Two friends took me out to dinner in Shoreditch last night in an effort to stem the tide of tweets, all to no avail: all three of us ended up late in the evening on our phones following the fun on twitter, and went back to Paul’s flat afterwards to watch the voting.

My London overground train homewards stranded me at Surrey Keys, and I had to catch two night [Clapham] omnibuses meandering lazily across south London to get back to home base, arriving around 2:30am. I immediately hit iPlayer to catch up on the bits I’d missed.

Of course I was disappointed my favourite Norway didn’t win. I thought Margaret Berger’s final-night nerves showed a little, and sadly “I Feed You My Love” proved to be slightly in advance of current Euro taste, but nevertheless still came a creditable fourth.

Bonnie Tyler gave a heart-warming, engaging performance for the UK but her voice was fragile (too many pre-event interviews?) and the song “Believe in Me” sadly not good enough to do well, although we bettered last year’s dismal second-from-last.

Sweden was never going to win twice running, and Spain’s wasn’t a strong song. I tend to admire France's always sophisticated entries, and Amandine Bourgeois's "L'enfer Et Moi" was no exception - sadly Europe disagreed. Cascada gave a good performance for Germany, but their song “Glorious”  frankly shouldn't have been allowed - it was a virtual aural photocopy of Sweden’s “Euphoria’, even if  officially cleared of plagiarism allegations. A pretty shameful entry from Germany.

Of the big six, Italy did the best (and far better than I anticipated) with a seventh place for Marco Mengoni,  gigolo sharp in a super stylish suit with a massive deconstructed quiff.

But what can one say of the catastrophic results for Finland and Ireland?

Finland’s entry, although cutely and unapologetically bubbly Euro-pop (Krista Siegfrids: “Marry Me”), was nevertheless overtly and politically gay, ending in a lesbian brides’ kiss. Ireland played it straight (Ryan Dolan: “Only Love Survives”) but with backing drummers and dancers who came right out of a gay club night, all oiled muscular torsos and tattoos. Both songs were much much better, with much better performances, than many others that ended far higher up the leader board. Both Finland and Ireland usually do far better in the competition too. So why? Too Queer for Europe?

If so, how ironic for the premier European gay event. Petra Mede, the brilliant Swedish hostess for the night, made knowing, ironic remarks to the ‘Dancing Queens” in the audience who “just haven’t met the right girl yet” - and Sweden’s interval act matched the Finnish Lesbian wedding with a gay male one. As Graham Norton noted, that will give the Azerbaijanis and Georgians something to scratch their heads over.

All-in-all, a triumph for Sweden - terrifically staged. Next year, over the Øresund Bridge to Denmark.

[All photos courtesy EUROVISION]

1 comment:

Jan said...

Agree Ed - brilliant staging.
My fave was Malta (quirky cute medic) intelligent lyrics
but knew they wouldn't win.
Can only hope WE can do better next year.