January 27, 2023


It’s my favourite time of year, when all the nations of Europe sing and dance so I can decide where to take my travels this year. This is the moment when 42 nations send their brightest talents to perform one song, which basically says: please come to our country and bring us lots of fame and fortune – they pretend it’s a music competition, but clearly it has little to do with music. They are ambassadors, asking us to esteem them. On that basis, I present my travel plans for 2012:

Countries I will be visiting:


Just a one woman disco. A party in ridiculously long white boots and a reject from the Star Trek wardrobe department with Wonder Woman’s wrist cuffs and belt. I am so there for Bulgarian fashion week.


White fringing, huge pink floral headdress, trumpets, men in coloured togas and white boots playing trumpets (but clearly not playing those trumpets), and then dancing mean. In Ukraine it seems, the women are always feisty and yelly and the men slightly ridiculous. She beat her chest! Ukraine – redefining feminism one song contest at a time.


For their inventive employment programme alone I will visit them. This is a country that put all the old people out of work when one regime fell and then tried to make them useful by propping them up as security for priceless works of art in the national museums. The new regime has clearly decided babushkas will make useful singing ambassadors and sent them off to sing for their supper in a country that was once part of the USSR. As an added piece of solidarity/propaganda/vote winning, they were singing to raise funds to restore a church Stalin knocked down. It might have looked like a bunch of grannies baking but it was a complex political agitation and for that I salute you, Russia, never taking your eye off the main game. See you for the bake sale in Red Square.


Oh my, your performance was so wonderfully shambolic. Non-sensical, pinkly-lit, a perfect Eurovision confection. Yet despite the very singalong, chipmunk chorus, you didn’t make it to the final. I’ll pop over to discuss how unfair this was.


I’m not sure what your angle was Finland: you sent someone from your Swedish-minority to sing a song in Swedish. Were you trying to create unrest? Are you ashamed of your own Finnishness? Or had you heard that the bookies had tipped Sweden to win so you thought this might confuse enough people into thinking you were in fact Sweden and thus you would win. Dreadful song, cunning strategy. See you soon.


Can anyone explain to me why she was leaping on and off a table made of books? Don’t get me wrong – I loved the table and I want one. And I loved her hair. And her surprisingly strong backing singers. I also liked the way she reverted to that great mainstay of Eurovision singing: Hey Hey Hey. But mostly I loved the table and I will be heading to Cyrus to buy one for myself. Perhaps everyone there has one! Which begs the question, do they actually read the books or just make furniture out of them? Their music offering would suggest the latter.


Brave or foolish, you decide. The song was called Never Forget and it is indeed unlikely that Europe will forget just how much money Iceland owes them. Perhaps the handsome bearded men they sent to sing back up was meant to make us forget their sins. It worked on me. Reykjavik, here I come.


Really, Malta? One yellow glove? And just what was that foot shuffling? I will be visiting just to stop you ever doing any of this again. Call it a mercy mission.


So you kidnapped all the 80s haircutters. And the people who make chain mail. I was wondering where those trades had gone. Question answered and plane ticket booked. Easyjet won’t like the weight of my luggage coming back, though they’ll be mighty jealous of my hairdo.


Just what is it that you have going on, Mr Sexy Serbian Man. You are really not that hot, your song is really not that good, your performance was really not that electrifying yet the votes flowed in. And not just front your fellow Balkanites. For a song called Love is not a Thing. Perhaps it’s a bit lost in translation or perhaps the whole of Europe was nodding sagely and thinking: that is so true, then picking up their phones to vote. Whatever it was, he came third. And actually, he is quite handsome. And I’ve never been to Belgrade.


Look Georgia, if we see a red robed monk appear at Eurovision we know that the cowl is going to come off to reveal something spangly and inappropriate. Georgia took Eurovision 2012 right back to the stupid fashion and bad singing and gratuitous dancing (in a one legged lace onesie) that we expect – dreadful … actually… I’m on my way.


I hate you, I love you, I hate you, stop singing your annoying catchy song in my head. Were Jedward the only ones who read the job description for Eurovision which is: little talent, stupid energy, catchy song, spangly outfits? It sorrows me to say, but well done, lads.


Countries I will definitely not be visiting:

I think they need a new rule for Eurovision 2013: no black clothing. They are all wearing black this year and it is just not the Eurovision spirit. Eurovision demands lairy colour to match the pastel smiles and bubblegum singing. And definitely no sending heavy metal bands who have been shaved, plucked, tanned and given brand new black leather outfits – you know who I mean Hungary, Turkey and Switzerland.

Slovakia, pull up your pants – we see that you manscape, okay, we got it in the first 30 seconds, the next 2 minutes were just nerve-wracking wondering if we were to see more of the topography of Slovakia than we’d bargained for.

Estonia, this is not serious, no one else is taking it seriously, clearly, so lighten up a bit. You are no fun.

Sweden, I think you mistook this for an interpretive dance competition. Yes, you won, but only by singing a song which had already topped the charts in most of the northern hemisphere.

Lithuania, you are not Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut, you are not Michael Jackson, and you are not on Pop Idol. This is the best you could come up with Lithuania?

The Netherlands: a native Indian headdress, really? I think you misunderstood the concept of inappropriate wardrobe. It’s time to reverse your new drug policy excluding tourists from sharing your weed – clearly you’ve already had enough.

Slovenia, were these your bridal gown hits of the 70s, 80s and 90s? And Latvia, are you people still producing satin prom gowns of the 70s, 80s and 90s? Or did America drop a bad shipment on you? This is not what we mean by retro cool.

San Marino, if you write a song about Facebook (which is bad enough in itself) and then the competition rules ban you from using the word Facebook, do you think it might be time to find another song rather than replacing the word Facebook with the words Social Network Site – it didn’t really work out for you, did it.

Greece, yes the only thing you might have left to sell is sex, but you know that you can’t afford to host next year so put your pants back on.

Albania, cut off that dreadlock before it strangles you and go home. If it was the Olympics of Vocals you’d win. It’s not. You didn’t.

And UK, my UK, what is going on? Did Eurovision 2013 not seem a perfect reuse for the Olympic stadium? So why did you self-sabotage so horribly. Look around: isn’t everyone else having so much more fun? Next year, let’s play the game properly and win that hallowed crystal microphone. Then I won’t have to travel anywhere.

Philippa Burne










2 Comments on TRAVELS BY EUROVISION 2012

  1. Hilarious and informative, Ms Burne really has a way with words. Sweden. Why oh why did that woman win? Love the fashion, political and music reviews in this review.

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