When it comes to Eurovision I have been watching since 1990. Thirty years of...well, Eurovision. Which is still never enough. Because that is just what Eurovision keeps doing, making you want more.
Spoilers for those who still do not know the results.
Double Duck Egg for UK
Politics rules Eurovision. If you want to know what the other European countries think of each other, watch the voting. Germany and the United Kingdom finished last this year. For the UK this has become the norm. No matter who they send to perform the ‘nul poi’ (zero points in French) from the judges and or the popular vote has been the result.
Brexit was controversial not just in the UK but for all of Europe. The UK had not been polling well before they left the European Union. The UK treats Eurovision with a level of disdain and weird delight. A big camp night full of fun which has no real substance.
UK entrant James Newman’s song Embers deserved a lot more than ‘nul poi’. His response to the double zeros was gracious and defiant. He received great applause from the Dutch crowd. Rewards have come as Embers is at this time the highest Eurovision song on the UK charts.
Germany entered an anti-hate musical mash up with a dancing hand, they scored three points. It was going to flop. Why? To hold Eurovision is incredibly expensive. Though, in the right year it could have won. Especially now that the popular vote is included the way it is.
In Eurovision songs are voted for and given points, the most points wins. Voting consists of National Juries and Televoting from the public. It had been two years since the last Eurovision and I had forgotten how the Televoting was scored.
After the National Judges votes Switzerland led France by nineteen points 267 to 248. Italy were back in fourth 206 behind third place Malta with 208. It was close but the popular vote was yet to come. In 2021 the Televote of each country was translated into the same 1-10 and 12 point scoring system as the judges.
Both the National Judges and the Televote from each of the thirty-nine countries have sixty-seven points each to give to eleven acts. 39 times 67 equals TWO sets of 2,613 points available. The Televote gave four performances ‘nul poi’, zero points. Contrastingly the top eight acts combined garnered 1,664 Televote points.
Not Knowing the Score Equals Tension
While watching I did not know the formula for the popular vote. The tension at the end was killing me. My favourite was Switzerland and I was totally ride of die. Yes France was very good. Italy was a question mark, it all depended on the performance on the night. Which they totally smashed.
Italy were untouchable with a combined total of 524 points. France had to fail badly in the popular vote for my favourite Switzerland to win. France came third in the popular vote. Switzerland drew fourth with Lithuania on 165. Ukraine came second in the popular vote with 267 points.
Regular Eurovision watchers like myself and so called experts were at a loss. After seeing all the acts on the night Italy were in the top four. The performances of Switzerland and France both sung in French were stunning. Italy sung….no they rocked out in Italian.
I do wonder where this win from Italy’s Måneskin takes next years Eurovision. As I pointed out solo acts and duo’s tend to win. This harkens back to the origins of this song contest. One that has evolved over time.
All About The Song?
At its core Eurovision is about the song. Many times a song performed well on the night wins. Conchita Wurst killed it in the Semi’s and the Final of 2014. It was obvious that Austria was winning that year. No other performance came close.
The honesty and power of Portugal’s Salvador Sobral in 2018 was the same. You could not deny him the win. Such a simple presentation of a beautiful song, sung well, and with all the passion that the artist could muster.
I could mention Serbia’s first win in 2017, Germany’s 2010 win with Lena’s Satellite. It happens on the night and the audience as well as the judges get carried away. Everyone gets carried away. Because each of these winners were copied in some way by other acts the next year. Expect a rock band in 2022.
If you did watch the Semi’s and the Final you will notice the gyrating, posing and costuming of a few acts. Cyprus’ El Diablo, Mata Hari from Azerbaijan, Last Dance by Stefania representing Greece. Of course you could not forget the hair and back cracking and twisting of Serbia’s Hurricane performing Loco Loco.
We could deride it and say that its bad music. That they all, including Anxhela Peristeri’s Karma had that same beat. It happens every year. You can take sexiness to Eurovision and make the finals. But to win with it requires being the right act on the right night.
I have seen sex appeal win a few times. Ukraine’s Ruslana’s Wild Dances. Turkey’s Sertab Erener with her Seraglio inspired Every Way That I Can. Helena Paparizou’s My Number One for Greece. Måns Zelmerlöw’s Heroes. Some would include Lena’s Satellite. Depends on what you think is edging out the PG rating.
I Did Not Pick The Winner
I was more than sure that Switzerland’s Gjon's Tears had performed his song Tout l'Univers outstandingly. One person with a series of cgi and stage effects, in French communicating emotively to an audience the passion of the song.
Sigh! Do I think Måneskin had an advantage by being a band? Ummm, it certainly aded to the spectacle. There were other factors. Being one of two great performances in French split the vote for French speakers. Especially with Barbra Pravi evoking the spirit of Edith Piaf with Violà.
Also there is soft spot for Italy due to their Covid experience. Europe gathers around their own. Eurovision is one of the places that the European public can express themselves. Russia, France, and the UK have all felt the ire of the public through Eurovision.
Australia Did Not Make It
Montaigne’s Technicolour was performed here in Australia. This was always going to be a problem. While the song was seen as a contender by fans and commentators it failed to poll votes in the first Semi Final. Only 28 points finishing 14 out of 16.
Iceland’s Daði & Gagnamagnið had to offer their pre-recorded performance due to members getting Covid. They did make it to the finals and finished fourth. The Icelandic act were known and well loved. Montaigne is an unknown, she may have picked up interest but performing live is core to Eurovision. Not doing so cost both acts.
Australia’s view of Eurovision is closer to that of the UK. Not heeding to the passion and pride of the performance. Loving the spectacle and the camp elements. Australia was a novelty to begin with. Dami Im and Kate Miller-Heidke added to that novelty. Hard to see where to go from here.
What we do know is that Eurovision will be in Italy in 2022. Will Australia be invited to enter is always a question. How many chances do we get? Will Covid still be a threat? If this is so will our entry still perform in Australia?
As always I stay tuned and wait for next year. Because next year it all starts over again.
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.