People talk endlessly about the Eurovision Song Contest being all about politics, and it’s hard to deny that. Votes of top marks between Greece and Cyprus aren’t a new phenomenon; chumminess between the Scandinavian countries not uncommon. Despite this, the Real Gone extended family has always made a night of it. It is, after all, a good laugh. Unless you ask our acquaintance from Albania, who actually really told us off, pointing out that we should never take the piss out of the ESC and that in Albania such things are taken very seriously indeed. That said, we’re not sure what Albania were thinking with their 2012 entry, which seemed like three minutes of tuneless wailing.
Something discussed less frequently is that the Eurovision Song Contest is also about tourism. Let’s be honest, here; before the broadcast of the 2012 edition of the contest, how many people knew what Azerbaijan looked like? How many people even figured it would be so modern and beautiful?
With that in mind, Real Gone would like to offer a fairly interesting theory (which may have been bandied about elsewhere, though if it is, it certainly takes a back seat to the political theories): Before the contest every year, everyone gets asked if they’d like to be the next year’s host. Following this, on the actual night of the final, the voting countries are told – largely, if not completely – to award the three top marks to the six or so most willing potential hosts; the rest of the marks are distributed more fairly.
Think about it. Not so silly, is it?
If it is true, of course, we’re not going to let that stop us enjoying the spectacle. After all, it would take a pretty hard heart not to laugh at the fact that Jedward simply cannot do things in sync, despite [presumably] years of practice at that sort of thing. Even the bunch of Russian grannies seemed more professional…
In our second instalment of Eurovision gold, we offer more clips of Eurovision faux pas. In the previous entry, we poked fun at – but ultimately enjoyed – a few European entries. This time, to redress the balance, we’d like to look at the UK getting it more than a bit wrong.
People talk about Britain doing really badly in the “contest” every year, but stats show differently. For the first thirty years, the UK always did extremely well. In the “olden days” we seemingly could not get it wrong [we even came seventh with this piece of crap]. It’s only in more recent years – and again, for political reasons – our Euro-standing has taken a dive.
While the UK probably didn’t want to win the 2012 ESC, since our tourism isn’t doing too badly and the 2012 Olympic Games is costing a packet, crooning legend Engelbert Humperdinck deserved better placing than second-to-last. Yes, the song was more maudlin than most of the entries, but he’s well known across Europe.
No matter what your opinion of the man or the chosen song, he certainly performed better than the following gallery of horrors – a couple of which, bizarrely, scored more points than Engelbert.
1991: SAMANTHA JANUS – A Message To Your Heart
On the surface, this could have been reasonable. The basic arrangement sounds like it’s been cobbled together from late 80s Swedish AOR albums and then embellished with some brassiness, making reasonable Eurovision fare. What could go wrong? Getting a poor singer-turned-actress in to sing it was step one… Step two was getting her to sing a trite lyric about world poverty while smiling and wearing a sparkly pink dress. Just horrid.
2003: JEMINI – Cry Baby
Choosing Jemini for this entry is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, but there’s no way this could be overlooked. Technical problems on the night led to this woeful, woeful performance, resulting in the UK’s only nul points to date. Those problems were not the fault of Jemini, obviously, but it’s unlikely that even a faultless performance would have made this average dance-pop tune a Euro-winner. Interestingly, even though Jemini couldn’t hear themselves, they manage to be a bit more in tune than Sam Janus.
2006: DAZ SAMPSON – Teenage Life
This is the crowning glory of British Eurovision embarrassment: thirty-something year old man rapping badly about teenagers, while some women squirm around behind him in school uniforms. Presenting the worst of white, English rap, this makes George Michael’s efforts in ‘Wham Rap‘ seem credible. Who liked this exactly, and whom were they aiming it at? Perhaps most importantly, how bad were the British contenders that didn’t get through in order for this to be the best? When we first saw this we wanted the ground to swallow us up. Jesus Christ. Proceed with caution, you might get put on a list.