Eurovision 2013 Review


It’s a never ending cycle when it comes to Eurovision.

The endless speculation of what act we’re going to send. Which leads to the announcement of the actual act representing us. Which then leads us to endless online debate about how good or bad the act is and whether or we’re better off giving up now.

All whilst the BBC kids themselves that “this is our yearâ€? and congratulate themselves about what a great job they’ve done. Meanwhile the song debuts to the crushing disappointment of Eurovision fans, goes to [insert country] and Scott Mills follows them like an obsessive stalker with a sinister plan.

When the live performance finally arrives Graham Norton says it’s “marvellous” and “fantastic” and pleads with the UK to vote for it (despite the fact they can’t), before wrapping up the grand finale of a disappointing result with the usual platitudes. This then begins the debate about whether to pull out of the competition, before the BBC announces that they will compete again this year, thus beginning the entire process all over again.

Tiresome isn’t it? Well that’s been the case with our entries in Eurovision for the past few years now, and I for one have found the process predictable and dull. Our efforts to compete for Eurovision glory have been indolent and incompetent

Throwing Bonnie Tyler into the mix with what was an average song at best, was not going to change things. What it’s done is continue to make public heads realise that the BBC isn’t trying anymore. The performance felt more like a Bonnie Tyler tribute act than Bonnie herself. Her voice was croaky throughout the song, the staging felt overblown with a finale consisting of the stage accelerating up in the air. Ultimately it left me with the feeling that this was going to be yet another disappointing night for us Brits.

Negatives aside, this year’s Eurovision was one of the more positive contests than previous years. Sweden didn’t decide to throw gallons of money at the contest, and opted for a smaller subtle contest this year, in contrast of last year’s event, which was more colossal in staging, yet empty in song quality. This year’s contest in Malmo had a balance of strong songs, as well as a good atmosphere of passion and admiration for the talent competing in an age old tradition, beloved across Europe.

Hosting this year was popular Swedish comedian Petra Mede, which goes against the tradition of a one male one female pairing. She was a solid host, mixing the importance and pressure of hosting a 100 million audience event, with amusing humour and a punchy personality that resonated well with audiences across the continent. Also gathering up some laughs was Lynda Woodruff, the character of famous Swedish singer Sarah Dawn Finer, who presented various short comedic videos focusing on showcasing the best Sweden has to offer.

Having spoken earlier about the improvement of the songs this year, this was one of the closest Eurovisions in recent memory. With strong showings by countries such as Belarus, Netherlands, and even Greece with a rather catchy knees up whopper of a song. But ultimately, Denmark triumphed with Emmelie de Forest’s ‘Only Teardrops’.

While it wasn’t my favourite, it was a strong song, with Emmelie’s striking vocals mixing with a light Celtic melody supporting her. Part of me however thinks that her win was encouraged by the juries of the contest, which were inserted to shrink bloc voting in the contest. But with stronger showings this year, one must wonder whether the jury’s role in the contest is doing it any good.

This year saw the departure of Turkey for two reasons. While one was the controversary of Finland’s entry containing a lesbian kiss, the other less known reason was the unfair introduction of jury voting as well as the big five getting the automatic bye into the final. The problem with juries is the fact that it limits the public’s power in deciding the winner.

Graham Norton was another nagging negative in the show. His rudeness and snide comments throughout the show didn’t just match the wit of Terry Wogan, but made me physically angry, to the point of actually considering muting the TV. Just to stop hearing his Christ awful voice, mocking the rest of the acts, and constantly making an embarrassment of himself. I’m predicting an angry Points Of View letter in the future.

Criticism doesn’t just come at the UK end. The one flaw in Sweden’s show was the constant visible voting glitches parading on screen, one screw up at a time. The most notable was former winner Lena Meyer Landrut, who messed up the points in her country, and afterwards looked like she wanted to crawl up into a ball and die. Somehow making her adorably cute in the process. Not to mention when they stopped the vote 4/5ths of the way through to tell their obvious winner Emmelie that she won the contest, without the courtesy of showing the last four places.

Despite those nit picks, the contest on a whole was a solid one. Sweden were passionate hosts, who showed enthusiasm and creativity to a 58 year old contest with its die hard fans, and stone cold critics.

Despite the UK’s disappointing result, Denmark were deserving winners and look set to bring their own memories when they host the show next year.

What did you think of Bonnie Tyler? Should the UK enter next year?