It’s a sad. sad day when the GFC leaks into song and I fear that this year’s black clad, down-beat, disappointing Eurovision is an indication of the mood. Where is the joy, Europe? Where are the crazy costumes and the onstage bread-baking and sand painting? Are things so bad that even Eurovision has woken up to economics? Perhaps this year’s travels should be planned around counselling and comforting.
That said, the number of mermaid-inspired diva gowns is heartening. And the Balkans did not disappoint bringing culture (CROATIA), costumes (MONTENEGRO) and comedy (SERBIA) – except that no-one voted any of them through to the final. Fairytales, space travel and nostalgia are clearly not where Eurovision is at in 2013. Instead it’s all about cleancut song-boys and divas poured into gowns. And drumming, lots of drumming.
The one real ray of light is ROMANIA. If the whole world thinks of you as a pack of vampires roaming around the Transylvanian mountains then why not fuel the fantasy. Cezar sang opera from deep within a Dracula cape then rose majestically into the air surrounded by flaming, writhing dancers. Magnificent. I will be there as soon as I’ve strung this garlic and whittled a wooden stake.
If we can read national identity and intention by Eurovision, then MONTENEGRO has big plans. They’ve gained independence now they’re ready to conquer space, in helmets nicely lit from the inside out, so the aliens can see them coming perhaps and be distracted from their singing. Who thought it was wise to let these people govern themselves? But I’m too curious about the state of their nation not to head over there. Beam me up and let me have what you’re having.
ICELAND sent in a Viking to conquer hearts and minds. I think the song was boring and there was no performance to speak of, but my, he is handsome and manly. I’m coming.
This year THE NETHERLANDS seem to be taking things seriously. Perhaps to impress their new king. Anouk’s a star, she can sing, she’s Dutchly gorgeous. The only thing missing is some crazy staging to fit with her lyrics – so much Eurovisual potential in a song about birds falling down the rooftops. I shall take her some feathers.
Crimes against fashion are this year committed by RUSSIA, UKRAINE, ISRAEL, and SERBIA. At least Serbia are going for a comedy angle (I hope) with their interpretive take on Grimm’s fairytales. But Ukraine redeem their bad sewing with Igor, a giant of a man, literally a giant: 7 feet 8 inches tall.
To ALBANIA I simply say: Your denim is distressed and so am I. No.
And never, ever, ever get a haircut in ARMENIA. No.
LATVIA teem fashion crimes with the sin of not learning from others’ mistakes. Did they not see how badly Jedward did? Why on earth would they send two bouncing shiny boys with funny hair in 2013? You do not deserve a visit to your probably fine country until you learn from history.
A country that has tried to learn from history is GEORGIA. They have watched and watched Azerbaijan’s winning performance of a few years ago and done a reinterpretation complete with an homage to Titanic (wind-machined hugging) and royalty (sashes, jewels, diamonds falling from the sky). I want to go there and catch some of that sparkle. Perhaps all of Europe could benefit from a trip to the fantasy-realm of Georgia. If they win we all might be going.
SWITZERLAND has put on stage the oldest Eurovision contestant ever: he’s 95. So, they are trying to outdo Russia’s popular grandmas. One flaw in their plan – the Babuskas didn’t get the votes. They’re also trying to lure us over with chocolate. That might work.
GREECE brings a genius piece of marketing with a song titled Alcohol is Free and a performance akin to Zorba sampling that free product. The planes are going to be booked up heading there, perhaps empty coming back, I mean why would you ever leave such fun?
I will not be visiting NORWAY this year. Their song is called I Feed You My Love which just sounds like a stalkery threat. Also I hear it’s really expensive there. The Swedish presenter Petra told us that, or were you too mesmerised by her mermaid gown, Segway and the cups of tea to be listening?
HUNGARY is going for some intriguing sort of growling, whispering singing style. It’s a little like open mic night at the local pub. They even seem to be boring themselves. I will head there when I need a wee nap.
MALTA you just seem too nice. If I want nice I can stay home (really, you ask). I travel only to the crazy and the brave. Hello, AZERBAIJAN – just why are you enclosing your men in glass boxes?
When it comes down to it in 2013, I may well be spending a lot of the year in FINLAND. In their offering Marry Me we have frothy catchy pop with performance and costumes, masks, red plastic aprons and a blatant threat to the groom that if he runs away she’ll hunt him down. She seems like fun.
In summary, tickets booked: Romania, Finland, Greece, Switzerland, Iceland and Montenegro.
Cheer up, Europe. You can sing your way out of this depression if you’d just remember the heady days of ABBA, colour and bouncy inane pop. I look forward to next year.