As an artist you will have times when you have to create within a defined framework. This could be a commission or a contest with a theme. Honestly, broad boundaries can aid the creative effort. Then there is the weight of Eurovision.
The Eurovision Song Contest has grown and developed over time. The original rules once required the songs music to be played by an orchestra. Instruments are still used in Eurovision songs. Though often as props.
There are only six people allowed on the stage. When it comes to Eurovision this was a wise restriction. It is an event that is prone to excess. Often that excess creates a performance that is more stagecraft than song craft. The performance becomes the main event, while the song itself is pushed aside.
Commissioned to Win
Italy won in 2021 with Måneskin’s song "Zitti e buoni". Which translates as ‘Shut up and behave’. All of the creative teams are searching for that edge to get the win. Some teams look to the previous winner. San Remo’s entry ‘Stripper’ by Achille Lauro was ‘styled’ after Måneskin’s performance. But there are other assumptions on how to win.
In 2022 Spain, Romania and Albania went hard for the sexy. Albania failed to make it out of the first semi-final. Spain on the other hand won a cheeky third place. Polling well with both judges and the popular vote. Romania was ok too.
Moldova followed a tried and true method using Violin and Accordion. Add either or both of these and you should poll well. Alexander Rybak won singing and playing violin with ‘Fairytale’ in 2009. Start the violin, the crowd begins to clap, watch the votes pile up.
Going Solo Wearing White
2022 had a number of solo performers. Put a singer out there, maybe with a dancer or two, some good staging effects and you could be winning. So does wearing white. No joke. Wearing white at Eurovision is so common its part of the drinking game. Israel tried white and a lot of sass. Greece, Armenia, Australia and Serbia also went for white.
Serbia’s Konstrakta with ‘In Corpore Sano’ hit a very political subject, mental health versus physical health. It featured the continued washing of hands. Was it seen as a protest against sanitiser and mask mandates? It certainly gave off that feel. Serbia came fourth in the popular vote behind, Spain, Moldova and winners Ukraine.
Politically Eurovision is a form of soft power. A way to tell certain nations that they are in the wrong. Ukraine are in the minds and hearts of so many all around the world. If Ukraine falls, Moldova is considered next in Russia’s sights. They both polled very well.
The Weight Of It All
Copying past winners is a dead end. If you are Sexy and you know it, go for it. Though in Eurovision you have to get past two sets of judges. After you win the home contest you have to win enough points from the public vote and each national jury. Ukraine won the public vote easily with 439 points but they only got 192 points from the juries.
Can you feel the weight constricting your decisions. These creative teams have to know their own country and Europe as a whole. Ukraine were obvious winners. There was no easy market on anyone else to win. BET 365 had Ukraine at $1.25 thats an 85% chance to win.
Australia’s Sheldon Riley with “Not the same” had no chance to win. Sheldon is very a good performer and did Australia proud. The Jury votes had Sheldon in the top ten. The popular vote only gave him 2 points. Sheldon was applauded by the audience immediately after this was announced. They knew politics and the soft power of Eurovision was at play.
Too Great an Opportunity
So imagine you are a song writer, lyricist, choreographer, singer, musician. One or all of those. Think about how you would create a song and a performance to win Eurovision. Only six people on the stage, only three minutes long, to a set but flexible theme.
Tailored to a Europe that is still very angry at Russia. Still dealing with Covid. Where do you begin? Do you go hard or go home? As an Australian do you give them our idea of Eurovision? Or, do you give them some good Aussie originality?
Despite all the pressure. It is too great an opportunity. Just to get to Australia Decides would be an achievement. Then imagine you have a shot at Eurovision. Why the heck not? I’m sure that’s what Michelangelo thought when offered the Sistine Chapel.
Phillip Hall has been too long in Melbourne to see AFL in the same light as those back in Fremantle. East Fremantle born and bred, he would love to see the Dockers back in the eight. But would settle for just beating West Coast twice a year.