It’s February, and that means that the new Eurovision National Final season is in full swing, or will be very shortly when the main event, Melodifestivalen, kicks off. But a few obscure countries have done their finals before February, like my traditional favourite Eurovision country, Finland, and my traditional least favourite Eurovision country, my home nation. Which is the UK, I don’t live in Georgia, as interesting as that would be.
Those three, along with Albania and Belarus, make up the five selected entries so far, and the semi final draw has just been revealed, so it seems a good time to make the first post on Eurovision for this year. I am quite the unusual fan of Eurovision, I like rock music more than pop in general, I am not gay (I say that because of the large gay following it has), at yet I am such a fan of this contest that I feel involuntary haunches rising whenever I see people (often on online forums) trivialise it as something crap and trite, or just trot out tired old ‘jokes’ about sending Father Ted on a horse, make an “insightful” comment about how ‘it’s all political innit’ or how it’s impossible to win even if we, the British, sent Elton John and Adele or <insert huge artist here who would never consider Eurovision worth their time> in an (un)holy collaboration. I bet you’ve thought those before and you’re wrong. That second one is especially annoying and I predict it will be even more so this year because of certain political events.
Why I like it is largely because it’s a huge arena where countries battle out their best music – or at least it should be, an arts equivalent to international football competitions. And there’s a whole pre-selection process to get involved in as well. A huge, in-depth one, I don’t watch all the shows because I just don’t have time for that (Lithuania alone does tens of heats over months of buildup for what is most of the time a rubbish outcome) but I always watch Finland and Sweden and any others I feel interested by.
So on to what’s happened so far. The UK had a show that was pretty dreadful, made up of X Factor contestants blandly singing the bland song they’d been given and getting huge praise from the judges for it, and the end result was a dreary ballad that has netted me the feeling of not wanting to support my country in the slightest. It may yet grow on me but right now I really hope we continue to hold up the bottom of the board with this snoozefest. Finland had a show that was well below their standards too, a load of “decent” entries, mostly the worst thing you can be at Eurovision, and the end result being another dreary ballad. However I give a lot more props to Finland than I do to the UK, they had a much better show this time around and I bet they can use that to get some great entries in the future – it being very much a ‘loving homage’ to Melodifestivalen. The Finns deserve some love in Eurovision lately so I’m going to allow that.
Now you might say that that looks pretty negative but thankfully, although I didn’t see their selection shows, the other three entries are a lot better. Georgia has a stunning Bond ballad that looks pretty good to go for May, Belarus have chosen for the first time a song in Belarusian and I hope it stays in Belarusian as it’s upbeat and fun enough to overcome that and the last few Eurovisions have been really lacking in language diversity. And Albania has a song that’s basically a slightly worse Georgia at this point but will surely get revamped into something good. And best of all, Melodifestivalen is starting this Saturday and I think I’m going to have to take up my Saturday slot to write what I thought of the shows each night. It has been far too long, almost 12 months in fact, since I sat down to watch some Swedish pop battles.