Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Why-on-myou-nee nul pwoins

As you probably can't tell by my attempt at phonetics in the title, this is about Eurovision.

I managed to miss it as a televisual event for the first time for ages, but have iPlayered it... well, the bits I could manage to sit through. Favourite part: Lord Terrence of Woganville's line when a rather, er, hefty lady singer came on stage. "Just so you know, it's not over when she's finished", or words to that effect.

As usual with Eurovision, it was lavishly staged, stunning to watch and full of hilarious singers and the compulsory Worst Costumed Act Ever (pirates!) thanks to Lordi's win a few years back. And Sir Wogan of Irony was on top form, gently poking fun at something that has long lost any sense of being an actual song contest.

And then the voting. Ah yes, the voting.

Now it's true it's always been stupid and arbitrary, the Scandis all voting for each other, Greece and Cyprus shenanigans, and our pact with the Irish. But there was always a chance anyone could win. Not now. The block voting of the new Eastern Europeans means, realistically, no Western European country can ever win now.

But I don't think it was a mistake to let these countries in. It's good that everyone is there, even those bits of countries that no-one can remember, especially if it provokes Duke Wogan of Terrytown into even more splutters of indignation.

Singing in English is also mentioned but, if anything, that evens things out more as neighbouring countries tend to have similar languages. Err, well, I have no actual fact to base that opinion on, but it's a blog so fact isn't really required.

I've even heard the war in Iraq blamed for making the UK even more unpopular. Hmmm. I don't think people boogeyed to Andy Dustmanthing on Saturday then decided to vote for the Russian lad with his shirt undone due to deception on WMDs or our policy in Helmand province.

(Although I've also read interweb gossip that lots of the newer democracies in the east are known to have 'issues' with race, and the UK being represented by a black man would have influenced their votes. Disgraceful, but there you go)

Here's my solution. I think the rot started earlier, with letting the public vote on the whole thing. Let's face it - the public can be mighty stupid. Lordi and 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' prove that conclusively.

The public can also be very canny. Azerbaijan are more likely to vote for the Huge Powerful Neighbouring Former Superpower Wot Provides Their Heat And Water than, for example, Belgium. Who provide, um, some chocolate they can't afford.

Bring back the juries of 'music experts' I say. Scrap the phonelines and go back to the way it always was. Or, simply, ignore the country that comes top in any vote. That is almost always the one the block vote goes to, and it's too hard to fiddle them to come second, so leave out the one that gets the most.

OK, OK, it's totally undemocratic but neither was the old system. And I agree with Woges that block voting will end up pissing off the major funders of the competition - ie us - and that the competition will die. It will be dead for me the day our beloved Irishman decides he won't commentate on it any more, even if the ratings-hungry BBC won't scrap it as, yet again, it reached a massive audience for them on a Saturday.

There are more important issues at stake here than viewing figures, oh BBC highups. And, yes, I do realise the ridiculousness of using the word 'important' in a sentence about Eurovision.

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