Yet again the UK entry, ‘Love Will Set You Free’ by Engelbert Humperdink, performed poorly, finishing 25th out of 26 songs. But people shouldn’t have been surprised. Long before the contest many people in the UK were saying the song wasn’t very good, it was boring, dated and that they didn’t like it. It was similar to when we sent in the utterly crap song that was ‘That Sounds Good To Me’ in 2010. Really, if even we didn’t like why should we expect other European countries to? Performing first wouldn’t have helped, but the song failed to make a mark or stand out among all the others. The thing is, the last couple of times we made an effort with the song that we sent in, we did alright. Last year Blue managed 11th place, and in 2009 Jade Ewen got to 5th place. The last song we sent in that I really liked was ‘Come Back’ by Jessica Garlick, which I always seem to mention every time Eurovision comes round again, but as it is now ten years since we sent it in in 2002 I suppose now is a good time to discuss it.
Now it’s nothing groundbreaking as songs go, it’s just a nice ballad performed very well, but it finished 3rd. For all the talk that performing first caused this year’s entry to fail, this song was performed second in the competition, which is even more of a ‘cursed’ position to perform in. But even in this case, as was the case for Jade Ewen and Blue, each time the response from the press and the British public wasn’t that they did well, it was how they failed to win. The problem with the UK and Eurovision is that there is a sense that its beneath us and we can (and often do) send any old crap in… but we still put a lot of money into it, and always expect to win. It’s not enough to do alright in the competition, we have to win the whole thing. Fair enough, we all know it’s all a bit of silly camp fun, and everyone who’s seen even one contest can predict that come the voting time neighbouring countries will reward their highest points to each other, but that still doesn’t mean we can send in just anything AND expect to come out the winners. Further to this, the winner of this year’s contest, ‘Euphoria’ by Loreen for Sweden, is doing well on the UK iTunes chart and is a possible contender to be a number one single on our official chart, which is more than can be said for ‘Love Will Set You Free’. So it looks like we too like the winning song better than the one we sent in. Maybe if we want to win this contest we should, I don’t know, make an effort to.
As for this year’s competition itself, it wasn’t exactly the most exciting year. I certainly think that ‘Euphoria’ is a worthy winner, as it is catchy as hell and it’s a good summer pop-dance track. I’m pleased it stopped the Russian entry, the performance of which amounted to a bunch of old biddies sinisterly hanging around an oven like the witch from Hansel and Gretel. Why on earth did that terrible SCREECHING from the Albanian entry do so well? Then there was the one entry we did beat this year, from Norway. While I have to feel sorry for their singer for being unlucky enough to come last representing his country on an international competition on his birthday, selfishly I’m glad it came last, not just because it meant we didn’t, but because it was awful. It was one of those dance tracks that sounds like a million mobile phone ringtones and a few car alarms all going off at once. Jedward were back representing Ireland, and hey, at least they seemed to he having fun. I have forgotten most of them. I don’t remember how the Romanian entry went, but I do remember it included an Elvis impersonator playing bagpipes.
I often love Iceland’s entries. Some of my favourites songs from past years have included Euroband – ‘This Is My Life’ in 2008, Yohanna – ‘Is It True?’ in 2009, and going way back Selma – ‘All Out Of Luck’ in 1999. I also liked this years entry, Gréta Salóme & Jónsi – ‘Never Forget’, for the vampirish vibe and the violins. My favourite from this years competition though was Italy’s entry, Nina Zilli who looked very fierce performing her Amy Winehouse-ish song ‘L’amore è femmina (Out of Love)’.