Sunday, May 13, 2007

Eurovision 2007 over bar the shouting

Finland's presentation of the 2007 Eurovision song contest started with a new high-production value video of last year's winning group, Lordi, performing the incomparable "Hard Rock Halluljah." Doubtless there will be complaints from those who object to zombies warming up the Arctic with flaming computer effects, but I thought it was a great investment.

I won't add much more about the quality of the commentary on Irish television channel RTE. It remained abyssmally low.

The show itself was disappointing for the average quality of most of the songs. It seems that many of the harder rock numbers which had been entered in the semi-final stages had not been voted through and so the final 24 acts were generally pop acts. The Eurovision has traditionally tended towards pop music and if voting in the semi-final is anything to go by it seems to be going back in that direction.

Ireland's entry, "They can't stop the spring," has had its music score revised since it first appeared on the Late Late Show "competition" from which it sprung (sorry!). One is reminded that competition judge Frank McNamara almost told Pat Kenny how bad the song was at that time. Europe didn't spare the Irish any blushes last night putting the song in its proper place: given 5 points by Albania and not a sausage by anyone else, Dervish's attempt to make John Waters out-of-date political dirge seem remotely entertaining failed utterly. We finished in last place for the first time in the competition. Already the post-mortem denials are starting this morning on Irish radio: the contest is "no longer a song contest, but a spectacle," etc. But the fact is, Dervish's singer is, to be kind, a niche singer and in a contest of this type appeared out of place and in the unforgiving live performance she sounded annoyingly nasal.

The contrived pulp-pop UK entry didn't fare much better and finished joint second-last.

For me, two acts stood out of the ordinary: The Moldovan entry, Fight, performed by Natalia Barbu, who gave a masterly live vocal demonstration, and the entry from Slovenia, Cvet Z Juga, performed by Alenka Gotar. And no, I have no idea what Cvet Z Juga means...

Internet rumour has it that Finnish metal band, Nightwish, may be interested in inviting Alenka Gotar to join them to replace estranged lead singer, Tarya Turunen. I hope it's true.

The interval act was an entertaining mix of heavy rock music played by cello, acrobatic trapeze artistes and circus performers.

Countries whose entries had been eliminated in the semi-final stage were still qualified to vote, and so the competition had the potential for going on interminably at the voting stage. This was avoided by the instant application of the lower votes to the scoreboard and the calling out of the 8 point, 10 point, and 12 point awards of each country. While it meant the logistics of the competition were improved it did require a little mental and visual agility among viewers as the scoreboard rapidly changed.

In the end, Serbia, entering the competition for the first time, won with its ballad, Molitva, performed by Marija Šerifovic. It sounds like a traditional Eurovision winner and it has to be said Marija Šerifovic has some pair of lungs on her... whatever it is she's singing about..(!)

So, all over bar the shouting, the hangovers, the accusations, blame, and most of all the lack of any lesson learned. Will I be watching it again next year? I hope so. Will RTE produce something likely to win? Not without taking the courage to NOT send something sub-standard. Quality WILL win out over bloc-voting.


Holler said...

Thanks for the rundown!

I see I was proven right with my theory that the UK entry would bomb! You never know we may come last next time!

Anyway I had a good night out! Lots of cocktails, pop over to my blog to see my favourite.

Hope you enjoyed the spectacle with a few drinks!

Jo said...

Ah yes, But Ireland bombed into last place ! England was second last. To tell the truth, I did not watch any of it. I turned it on when they were giving the scores. It has become a farce over the last few years.

Fitz said...

I'm re-entering 'We Are The Mutants' next year.

Stand by.

Bojana said...

Hey, nice to see another fan of Alenka and I'm glad to put some light on the matter. Cvet z juga means Flower of the South (or Flower from the South if I translate it literally).

Marija's Molitva (Prayer, not Destiny) talks about someone who she loved (and still loves) and how she can't cope with the fact that he (or she) is gone. In the refrain she explains that the name of her beloved has become her only prayer, repeated countless times.

If anyone likes to check my blog on ESC 07, here's the link.

Willie_W said...

Hi Bojana! Thanks for stopping by and letting us know about the translations. I'm sure everyone will be delighted to take a look at your blog.