We listened to the end of the Eurovision song contest on Radio 2 on Saturday night, having spent the afternoon in Manchester. Ken Bruce easily matched Terry Wogan’s commentary, but I found the songs all blurred into each other.
It was depressing to see Scooch get so few points, and even more depressing to read the vitriol of those in the media. While I don’t believe Flying the Flag deserved to win, compared to the rest of the field it was fun, melodic, and contrary to Justin Hawkins moans, it was an actual song.
Mike Reed, former radio 1 disk jockey, comments that the song was weak with appalling choreography. Yes it wasn’t the pop equivalent of Stoppard, but did any of the detractors listen to the stuff it was up against?
I think though the fact the Ukraine and Turkish entry scored so highly in the UK illustrates our predicament with Scooch. We selected Scooch because of their silly campness, and how that fits in with our opinion of the contest. And perhaps rightly so. We voted for the Ukraine, whose song was awful (yes I agree Will) because of the extremeness of the drag act. And we voted for Turkey because of the British belly dancers.
You can’t eliminate the voting for your neighbours aspect, without getting into a silly level of blind voting that will spoil the whole thing, or looking like a petulantly sore loser. We all have our prejudices and that will affect how we perceive the quality of the entrants. There is also the argument that cultures blend across borders and that neighbouring countries will have similar tastes in pop music. Indeed if a country put up an act with an existing high profile, they will be instantly popular with the voters just across the border.
At least Serbia won and not that silly act from the Ukraine. Even if that means someone lost money.