Category Archives: Member article

TOP 10 EUROVISION ARTISTS DUETS

By Steve Humphreys (Australia)

One of my favourite moments from back in Vienna 2015, was seeing just how well contestants Mans Zelmerlow (Sweden) & Guy Sebastian (Australia) got on together during that week. Then this great freindship even transcended onto the Eurovision scoreboard, when both countries gave each other 12 points. There was even talk of a future duet between Mans and Guy, that would be special. This has got me thinking how many times has two stars of the past Eurovision Song Contests have actually got together to make a duet? besides covering a Eurovision entry, itself.

So  I did some searching around and came up with my own

Top 10 Eurovision artists duets.

1. Maria Haukaas Storeng & Måns Zelmerlöw- ‘Precious to Me’

2. Christer Björkman & Shirley Clamp- La Vie/ This is My Life

3. Agnetha Faltskog & Tomas Ledin- Never Again

4. Johnny Logan & Nicole – No One Makes Love like You/Niemand liebt so wie du

(composed by Ralph Siegel and Bernd Meinunger)

5. Elisabeth Andreassen & Tor Endresen- All over the World (MGP 15)

6. Olivia Newton-John & Cliff Richard- Suddenly (From Xanadu movie)

7. Timoteij Feat Alexander Rybak-Vända Med Vinden

8. Malena Ernman & Sarah Dawn Finer – Sancta Lucia (2013)

9. Jan Johansen & Jill Johnson- Let it be me

10.  Anita Skorgan Med Jahn Teigen- Friendly

If you know of some other Eurovision duets, let us know in the comments,

Footnote: When putting this Top 10 together I realised that just one artist that actually technically should not be on the list, as they have not appeared on a Eurovision Song Contest stage, Who is that?

 that’s Timoteij. I think this is okay as I recon they will make it to Eurovision one year in the not too distant future.(fingers crossed) (also the fantastic Sarah Dawn Finer made it as an interval act in Malmo)
 agneta

ONE OF MY BEST DISCOVERIES

Article by Nathan Mountford (Australia)

This is my story of conquest to enjoy the music (by any means) of one of my favourite artists, who happened to represent France at Eurovision. From JB HiFi Narre Warren to Borders Chadstone, iTunes Australia, a music store in Paris and ebay twice. It may take time but I will find it, eventually!

 

I was 20 going on 21, young and still innocent! My other half was house sitting and I was there often. Back then most people owned Compact Discs and stored them in a display cabinet. I decided to fill in some time one day and listen to the house owner’s collection. He was older, white and lived in Indonesia for the most of any year.

 

I’ve always preferred female singers so it was no surprise that one CD stood out. It was SNOW ON THE SAHARA. The sound coming from the speakers was so unique. I fell in love with this husky, strong and masculine voice. One of the songs initially stuck in my mind – a cover of LIFE ON MARS by David Bowie. I went to various music stores as soon as I could to hunt down the CD. Eventually I purchased my very own copy. I was so happy, like a kid at Christmas. A ROSE IN THE WIND became my anthem and to this day is one of my favourite songs.

 

From then on, whenever I visited a music store, my sight was focused on the ‘A’ section. I would request help. “How do you spell that?” they would ask. One day I was in Borders (some of you may remember them) trolling through music. I found a CD in the soundtrack section with “featuring songs performed by” printed on the cover. How did I not know about this? The CD was the OPEN HEARTS original soundtrack. I played it in my car on the way home from work. I WANNA HURT YOU was good for me at the time. I found the movie at the video store (remember them) and rented it.

 

In Australia we don’t have many places to buy or even listen to foreign music. My next conquest was the album CHRYSALIS. I couldn’t find it anywhere and had to order it at JB. I waited and waited but it never came. I was so upset. Fortunately this was around the time that iTunes was taking off and luckily it was available to download. My favourite song from this album is BROKEN DREAM.

 

I was watching a movie one day called Transporter II and recognised a voice. I slow motioned the credits and sure enough it was the song SAVIOUR. By this time music videos started to become popular on YouTube so I started my quest to watch all of her music videos. I downloaded the videos IN YOUR MIND and SAVIOUR from the LUMINESCENCE album. I knew that one day I would visit Europe. In Paris I found an International version of the album and purchased it without hesitation. This album probably has the best mix of songs, which sound great in French and English. How many artists release albums in three languages?

 

ELEVATION released in 2007 has a more R’N’B sound. I have the English version and also the CRAZY music video.

 

One day at the supermarket I heard A ROSE IN THE WIND. I was so happy that other people could hear it and she was getting some airplay in Australia (even if only in the supermarket)! On YouTube I found a few live performances of her with my favourite Australian artist Tina Arena. Hopefully Tina will do Eurovision (either for Australia or possibly France)!

 

I was more on the ball now and watching the Internet for new album releases. I knew in advance that ECHOES was going to be released. I didn’t know the person I had been supporting all these years would take part in the competition I had been supporting all these years! ECHOS (YOU & I) was a surprise, I didn’t know what to expect and for the first time I didn’t really care. She really couldn’t do wrong in my eyes. The film clip is super hot. And although I too was disappointed when I watched the rehearsal video I think she did a great job on the night. This was my first CD ordered on ebay!

 

Since then I have downloaded a few other single releases on iTunes. FLY MY EAGLE is one of my most played. My other half doesn’t really like her sound so I secretly listen to her albums whenever I can. I hope one day I will get to see her live. Until then my next CD/DVD DESIGN OF A DECADE is on its way from Indonesia. And a new album is to be released in November (hopefully with an English version not soon after).

 

I grew up with a stereo that had a radio, record player, double cassette and compact disc player. You could only order music from a music store not from someone overseas through the Internet. Now you only need a phone and music is downloaded instantly! But sometimes you do have to wait. I think the wait makes me appreciate it even more. I like the tactility of a product and visual artwork of the album sleeve. But thankful I have many ways to access music by an Indonesian born artist who now lives in France and still sings in English.

 

I discovered Anggun by accident in 2001. One of my best discoveries.

SOLVING THE BIG PROBLEM

Article by Michelle Stigwood (Australia)
It is the subject that comes up each year in our home, as we wait for points to be given and eventually tallied from around Europe in the final of Eurovision. How may points will the UK get this year? Will it be null or maybe just a lonely 1 point. Will they finish at the bottom of the table? Which countries will somehow overlook the UK entry? Which may give the UK a token point( not Ireland!) Such a unceremonious fall from grace for an entrant that has won 5 Eurovision contests, is a member of the BIG 5, and until 1998 has reached the finals so many times.

But while I have been brushing up on some of the Eurovision history I have discovered something that may assist the UK to victory…well … a small sort of victory anyway.

I see that Monaco has once again declined to participate at Eurovision 2016. The reason could be many: financial ( too costly) technical ( no broadcaster) political ( bloc voting) or perhaps all of these reasons combined. This is a shame because actually Monaco had a very good track record of reaching the finals at Eurovision until recently. And of course we all luv a song in a language other than English- don’t we? It is so cryptic, so mysterious.

Monaco’s last win was in 1971 when Severine (a French citizen) directed by a French Director performed  “Un banc, Un abre, une rue” ( written by a French songwriter). This win was memorable for the fact that Monaco was eventually unable to host the competition in 1972 and after a long hiatus where France, Spain and Germany all declined to host Eurovision, the UK came to Monanco ‘s and Eurovision’s rescue by accepting to host the competition in Edinburgh in 1972.

So that “Good Samaritan” act started me thinking…maybe the UK could sponsor entries from Monaco (or other countries that are unable to participate because of financial or political constraints) and just keep it all hush hush…

At least this way, when Monaco or another sponsored country wins, the UK can at least host Eurovision again and savour the taste of success that has eluded it in the past 20 years.

 

UKRAINIAN SUCCESS AT EUROVISION

Article by William Fedor

Unfortunately the mere mention of the country’s name conjures up images of war and destruction for many people. Though there is fighting going on in a few corners of this vast fertile country, business is usual in most of Ukraine. Ukrainian people can be extremely patriotic of their country as highlighted during the Orange Revolution and the Euromaidan crisis, but they also love their music. Apart from giving speeches during Euromaidan, they would sing. Sing to keep warm and sing from their hearts because that’s what Ukrainians love doing, but both can always work together hand in hand. Ukrainian artists’ participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, has made Ukraine one of the strongest countries in the game. This has happened in the relatively short time frame since they first entered this nutty and outlandish annual competition so dear to all our hearts. But why have they been so successful, winning the votes of so many viewers every year?
It all started in 2003, when Oleksandr Ponomarinov took the stage. The performance stood out from the crowd with their ballet dancer in a music box, and operatic vocals. This was not enough to gather up enough attention to bring them even close to a win that year. However, Ukraine’s second attempt brought them much more success. Ruslana brought the trophy home the following year with her song ‘Wild Dances’. It was a proud moment for the country. She may have looked like a Xena clone to many onlookers. But many do not know that the performance incorporated elements of Ukrainian culture, specifically of the Carpathian Mountains. Ruslana is born and raised in the beautiful city of Lviv, not far from the Carpathian Mountains themselves. From the crazy outfits of both the singer and dancers, to the’ trembita’ (Alpine Horn-like instrument used in the opening of the performance). All of these are based on Ukrainian traditions. Since her win, Ruslana has not only furthered her career as a performer, but also gained popularity as an activist in her home country, especially during Euromaidan.
Ukraine’s status as the host country in 2005 was in jeopardy for a short time preceding the contest. The ‘Orange Revolution’, in which the newly elected president Victor Yanukovych was accused of rigging the votes, causing some uncertainty of the country´s ability to organise a large international event. They pulled it off however. At least as far as hosting goes. Their entry ´Razom nas bahato’ (Together we are many, we cannot be defeated) by GreenJolly was also the unofficial anthem of the rebellion. It’s highly relevant and politically charged lyrics may have been dear the hearts of many Ukrainians, but the international stage was not as receptive to this. Perhaps most of Europe, not understanding the language, could not fully grasp the point. Or perhaps Eurovision fans is not equal to hip-hop fans?
Years 2006 and onward have generally been quite successful for Ukraine. They have never failed to qualify for the Final. They have sent a string of solo female/female impersonating artists ever year, and have even come very close to winning on a couple of occasions. But what else do the most successful of their songs have in common? Well let’s look at all of their songs placing in the top 5.
Ruslana with ‘Wild Dances’ – 1st place in 2004
Verka Serducka with ‘Dancing Lasha Tumbai’ – 2nd place in 2007
Ani Lorak with ‘Shady Lady’ – 2nd place in 2008
Mika Newton with ‘Angel’ – 4th place in 2011
Zlata Ognevich with ‘Gravity’ – 3rd place in 2013

These songs do not necessarily fall into the same genre, nor are they even a similar tempo to each other. It’s probably not the fact that none of them have LOVE in their titles, which appeals to the crowds either. They all have a catchy tune however. A melody which someone could sing to in the shower, hum on their commute to work, or even Wild Dance to at their Sunday afternoon Zumba class.
The stage performances of all of these top placing songs are also all memorable, and not for the same reason. Ruslana was memorable for her great costumes and dancing, Verka for her over-the-top craziness which even snuck its way into the popular movie ‘Spy’ eight years later, Ani Lorak for her great props and smooth moves, Mika Newton with her sand painting and Zlata for the great implementation of computer graphics and of course the larger than like man carrying her onto the stage. One may conclude from this that a catchy tune and a memorable performance makes a promising Eurovision entry. But that’s not exactly new information. So what is it about this country that makes their artists so appealing? Perhaps it’s because of their love of music.
Unfortunately Ukraine were not able to participate in glitz and glamour of the 60th Eurovision contest in Vienna due to the current situation, much to the dismay of many fans. They were able to send an entry to Malta for the Junior Eurovision Contest with a symbolically charged entry highlighting their love for Ukrainian traditions, and they have continued along with a similar trend with their entry in Bulgaria this November.
Will the situation in Ukraine influence what type of entry will be sent to Stockholm in 2016. Could it be along the lines of patriotism and the love of Ukrainian traditions that they will sing from their heart and give us a performance that will allow them to claim that top spot. I guess we will have to wait and see.

HARD ROCK HALLELUJAH

Post by Aaron Paraiso (who has lived in Finland for some years)

 

Hearing neighbours’ screams of joy in the middle of the night, cracking open the champagne and staying up till dawn waiting for the next morning’s news broadcast. These are all some of the experiences I had in 2006 when Finland won the Eurovision Song Contest.
One would assume at first that I, a Hawaii-born person, wouldn’t know much about Eurovision. Especially since most Americans don’t really know what it is. “Eurowhat? Oh I don’t really follow the soccer”. But I have definitely had my fair share of exposure to it, having lived in Finland a large chunk of my life and the last several years in Australia – a country with a large following and growing interest in the contest.
Finland has competed in Eurovision almost every year since the competition started. The acts sent to the contest by this small Nordic country have always appealed to the population within its borders. Many of the songs of past entries have even become classics in the country, heard on Easy Listening radio stations, Tango functions and karaoke nights alike. But the songs were never considered memorable by the rest of Europe, often failing to qualify for the Finals since the introduction of the Semi-finals in 2004. Not even creating an English version of the Finnish language entries gave them much of a boost.
To be honest, when I first heard that the band Lordi was competing in the Finnish National Final, I thought it sounded like a joke. ‘Of course they won’t win. They couldn’t be further from the Eurovision norm’ I thought. I wasn’t alone on this either. The group was well known within Finland before this time. Popular in some circles with their hard rock songs such as ‘Would You Love a Monsterman?’ and ‘Devil is a Loser’. They were not however, what anyone would consider as mainstream music.
In the months leading up to the National Final, both the song and band grew on me. A lot. It went right from the bottom of my list, to the top. I didn’t see that one coming. Perhaps it was partly due to the heavy media coverage and the so called ‘controversy’ of them competing. Although those factors may have played on my subconscious to make them more appealing, nothing could have beaten seeing them perform live on that dark winter night in Turku, Finland. The magic of the live performance, along with their monster-like costumes and pyrotechnics won me over. Apparently it also worked for public watching the show on television, because that night it was announced hard rock group from Lapland was headed to Athens!
Over the following months, their media coverage increased. Both on a national and European level. There was lots of hype about the uniqueness of the current Finnish entry, and whether it would appeal to the continent as a whole, or flop like a dog’s ears with its head out the car window. One thing was sure though, it was not going to be easily forgotten. You can never plan to be in the winning country at the moment when the live votes come through and we see who gets all the ‘Douze Points’. You can double your chances if you live near a land border and are able to pick up and go on a moment’s notice, or perhaps you may rely on betting odds. But you can never be absolutely sure until the time comes.
Being in my adopted home country when they took home the title of Eurovision Song Contest Winner 2006 was incredible. Of course I envied my fellow OGAE counterparts who were in Athens at the time to cheer them on. But just experiencing the atmosphere and mood of everyone around in the winning country, and putting an end to that joke ‘Hell freezes over, Finland wins the Eurovision Song Contest’ where it was most relevant, is an experience they will never have. I can’t wait to see what happens next year when I’m in Stockholm.

EUROVISION RUSSIA: BEHIND THE SCENES….

Eurovision: behind the scenes and life after the spotlight
Written By Alexey Zavalov and Vladimir Aptovtsev

Russia began participating in Eurovision since 1994. The pioneer in this was the singer named Maria Katz, having taken the pseudonym Youddiph. She was very memorable to all due to her original costume and beautiful live performance. However, she has been rated only 9th, which is still good enough when you try first time. Many may wonder how Masha’s career is going after taking part in such a prestigious contest. Pretty good, in fact: she was awarded at home many times (“Lady Blues”, “The Voice of Russia”). She was working as back-vocalist of famous artists, currently participates in “The Voice” project and even opened a recording studio. Maria is also often heard in dubbing of children’s cartoons.
Unfortunately, the 90s were not particularly successful for Russia as a participant of Eurovision. It was simply a series of failures: Philipp Kirkorov, which was sent there having no preparations; Andrey Kosinski, whose talented song has not passed through the additional selection; Alla Pugachiova, whose performance had been considered too pathetic. Then Russia has been deprived the rights of participation for two years.

New round

Considering all the mistakes of the past and the successful experience of the foreign performers, Russia in 2000 takes an approach to be more responsible to the preparation of its contestant for Eurovision. Alsou was chosen, and experienced designers were used in the organization of her stage show, as well as arrangers and authors. Much attention was also paid to the dance and back vocal. The result was a 2nd place, which has become a real breakthrough for Russia at this contest.
After reaching such a high result at Eurovision, singer managed to release the album «Alsou» in English. A CD with it was released in more than 7 countries. Career of Alsou went up rapidly and she has released several more solo albums. Three times she has won “Golden Gramophone” prize. Even acted in some movies. Today she is broadly known singer and happy mother of 2 cute daughters.
Quite popular artists were sent to the Eurovision in subsequent years: “Mummy Troll”, “Prime Minister”, “t.A.T.u. “, Yulia Savicheva, and Natalia Podolskaya. However, their shows did not make the desired effect at European audience.
True success has been brought to Russia at Eurovision by Dima Bilan. He went there twice, in 2006 & 2 years later, bringing the country long-awaited victory. His career evolved quite rapidly before that, and received a new round after participation – he was invited to various international projects and gave prestigious awards (e.g., MTV Europe Music Awards). Between performances of Bilan, in 2007 Russia was represented by the project of MaximFadeev named “Serebro”, which took 3rd place and had good commercial success both in domestic show business and also abroad. Their song “Mama Luba” did not descend from the top of charts of the largest European countries long after. The girls were on promo tours in Italy, Spain, France. They have been on TV and radio. Their English album became platinum in Italy at the number of sales. Members of the group performed a duo with popular Dutch band Yellow Claw, been in Mexico and Japan with tours.

Participants of recent years: life after Eurovision

After Russia’s victory in the contest, it had entered performers, whose fame not yet had time to grow. Past years shown sending of the “big stars” is rather dubious decision. The best way is to give a road to new voices. And some of these contestants actually achieved considerable success. Nice try to win the European audience was the performance of Petr Nalitch, whose video for the song named “Guitar” gained much fame in RU.net as of 2007. However, at the Eurovision he was ranked only 11th. But Peter did not fall into despair. He released 4 more albums after the contest. Began to try himself as an actor of Studio Theatre of Gnesins. Alexey Vorobyov had conquered the Eurovision after Nalitch, but his performance has ranked Russia even further below – to the 16th place.
Buranovskie babushki have been remembered around the world, who struck all with their Udmurt’ colouring. This brought them on the second place. And in the semifinals they had full chances of winning. What is the life of grannies after the contest? Back home, in Udmurt Republic, they immediately possessed the People’s Artists pedestal. In 2012, when they carried most fame, the band was actively participating in commercials. They also had projects with well-known performers. However, in 2014, “Buranovskie babushki” went through changes. Producers haven’t renewed the expired contracts and all members were fired. New members were hired to replace the previous line-up and now that name belongs to the very different performers. The old line-up is still doing occasional local performances under name “Babushki iz Buranovo”.
After grannies, Russia was represented at the Eurovision with Dina Garipova, who managed to win the 5th place. Immediately after participating in ESC, she has released the debut record and went to tour on Russian cities.Dina married in 2015. Today she is an actor of Musical Theatre of Gradsky.
In 2014, the European audience was pleased by spectacular twins, Tolmachevy sisters. However, not everyone knows that this is not their first appearance at the famous contest. The girls had previously participated in a children’s version of Eurovision and even won it. Sisters were seriously prepared for an adult competition. They had to make their English better, hard to study singing, carefully keep nice fit. As a result, Masha and Nastya gained seventh place, although initially they were intended for a much better result. Despite this, the public accepted the twins warm enough. Their song «Shine» was memorable to listeners, as the bright images of girls.
However, after some time after the competition it was almost nothing heard of girls. The first time they made several tours in Russia. But today’s interest to girls fell. Someone name them as one-hit wonders, someone predicts the superfast rise of careers and they are simply gaining strength for that. Sisters repeatedly informed us about plans to storm the Eurovision again to win. Life will show.
Polina Gagarina took all the attention at the competition in 2015. She managed to gain the second place. After Eurovision Polina stopped the contract with her manager Konstantin Meladze. She shifted herself to the project called “The Voice”, where she took the role of a mentor. It was another pleasant surprise in Sept. of same year, GQ magazine named her Woman of the Year.

Bright foreign Eurovision contestants

From the artists represented here over the past 10 years, it is impossible to forget about Alexander Rybak. Norwegian of Belorussian origin won the audience with virtuoso violin playing and rhythmic song. He participated in the “Slavic Bazaar” festival after Eurovision, performed on Concert for Nobel Prize in Oslo, acted as honorable guest at many events and has published 4 albums. He acted in some motion pictures and videos.
Many wonder whether there is life after Eurovision for young and not so famous artists. Or they are gradually forgotten after a year or whatever? The answer is different. Circumstances vary. In any case, this competition allow viewers discovering new bright names and sonorous voices!
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ALEXANDER RYBAK – THEN AND NOW

Written by Eric Andersson

If you’re like me, you remember the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, held in Moscow Russia, as one of the best shows ever. Moscow pulled out all the stops that year and created a truly amazing stage, using almost a third of the entire planet’s supply of LEDs. The competition was fierce, with amazing acts like sexy Sakis Rouvas of Greece singing This is Our Night, stunning Chiara of Malta singing What if We, Denmark’s incredibly dreamy Brinck singing Believe Again, and the absolutely fantastic Svetlana Loboda from the Ukraine giving us naughty Roman soldiers and her dance song, Be my Valentine! (Anti-crisis Girl). It was a Grand Final to remember!

But when the voting started, it was soon apparent that a very young, very adorable Alexander Rybak from Norway was going to sweep the points with his song Fairytale. Wait, Alexander who? What was going on? I’d barely heard of this guy, and I tend to keep my ears open when it comes to ESC contestants. But here he was scoring the highest number of points in Eurovision history.

Recently, I invited some friends over and we watched that show again, and I enjoyed it almost as much as I did the first time. Afterwards, when I’d sobered up, I decided to do a little research of the then 23-year-old history maker. Here is what I found:

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Alexander Rybak was born on May 13th 1986 in Minsk, Belarus, to parents, Natalia and Igor, both professionally trained musicians. He was taught the violin and piano at a very early age, but decided to focus his attention on the violin. At the age of ten, he enrolled at The Barrat Due Institute of Music where he not only studied the great classical masters, but also began playing jazz and popular pop hits.

In 2005, at the age of 19, Rybak joined the Norwegian talent-contest “Idol” and at 20, he competed in another talent-contest, Kjempesjansen, where he won playing a song of his own composition, Foolin. After that, he was cast in a production of Fiddler on the Roof, which earned him a Hedda, the highest award for Norwegian stage actors.

Later, he traveled around Norway playing for food and lodging. During this time, he wrote his now popular song, Fairytale. In 2009, he performed the song on stage at the 54th Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow where he earned a stunning 387 points, winning by a landslide.

Two weeks after the ESC, Rybak released his debut album Fairytales, which reached triple platinum in Norway, Gold in Sweden, and Double Platinum in Russia. A short time later, he went on tour in Norway, Sweden, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Poland, and the United States. Later that year, he performed at the Nobel Peace prize concert in Oslo.

According to his online biography, Rybak’s interest in acting has led to a character-role in the movie “Yohan- the child-wanderer” and the voice-dubbing part of the lead characters in the animated movies How to Train Your Dragon and The Moomins and the Comet Chase.

In June 2010, his second album, No Boundaries, was released, and in December of that year, he also released a Christmas-EP, God Jul. In June 2011, he released his 3rd album, Visa vid vindens ängar, a collection of poetic ballads all sung in Swedish by Alexander.

In 2011, Rybak got his bachelor’s degree with top grades as a violinist, and in November 2012, he released a Christmas-album “Christmas-tales” with new versions of his favorite Christmas songs as well as some of his own composition.

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Last month (September 2015), Rybak released his first book called Trolle og den Magiske Fela (Trolle and the Magic Fiddle), a partially autobiographical children’s adventure about being different, bullying, and accepting what is different in others. Born in Minsk, Rybak felt ostracized at times for practicing the violin most days after school. In his book, Trolle, who has no tail, feels lonely when he is teased and bullied by the other trolls. It is a tale of a friendship that overcomes everything – even the darkest magic of the forest.

Currently, Rybak and actor Dennis Storhøi are on tour promoting the book. Storhøi uses voice and facial expressions to create the appropriate mystical atmosphere when reading the book to audiences, while Rybak fiddles a magical tune.

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UNITED KINGDOM – A BIG EUROVISION PROBLEM

Article by Christopher Cobb – United States of America

What is the UK problem? Well, look at its ESC results for, oh, almost
the last twenty years. At the same time, the UK has produced a
reliable stream of popular music. Here are just a few that come to
mind: Adele, Amy Winehouse (RIP), Arctic Monkeys, Atomic Kitten,
Bastille, Booty Luv, Calvin Harris, Coldplay, Culture Club / Boy
George, Dead or Alive, Duffy, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Elton John,
Fatboy Slim, Florence and the Machine, Frankie Goes to Hollywood,
Garbage, George Michael, Gorillaz, Groove Armada, Iron Maiden, James
Blunt, Jamiroquai, Kaiser Chiefs, Kate Bush, Kelly Osbourne, La Roux,
Leona Lewis, Little Boots, Morrissey, New Order, Oasis, Olly Murs,
Paul McCartney, Paul Oakenfold, Pet Shop Boys, Robbie Williams, Sam
Smith, Spice Girls (individually or together), Susan Boyle, Taio Cruz,
The Pogues, The Prodigy, Tinie Tempah, UB40, and Utah Saints. Even
Rihanna (Barbados) or Kylie (Australia) could help!

That’s a pretty good variety: new comers to old timers; groups to
solos; producers to over-produced; safe to edgy; pretentious to
ironic; photogenic to good personalities; men to women to gender
non-conforming; and even a few that might be willing to give it a go
if asked. What is the problem?

Here are some ideas:

1. Are there too many big fish in a tiny pond. Is going to ESC viewed
by the UK music scene as too small-time? Is it like a big movie star
doing television? Other nations don’t seem to view ESC that way. It’s
not a sign of weakness to represent your country. Even worse, do the
other nations see this snobbery and punish the UK when it comes time
to vote?

2. The block has crumbled. The big five still offer some support to
each other. England and Ireland still exchange some votes. But, maybe
it’s time for the UK to enter as three or four separate nations. In
other contests (e.g. FIFA, IRU, ICC) the individual nations are given
their own berths in the competition. Why is Eurovision any different?

3. Could it be the “special relationship”? Lots of people resent the
US and its pushy ways. Is the UK punished because of its close ties to
the US? There is a lot of inbreeding between the US and UK music
scenes. Madonna doesn’t even know which accent to use anymore. Calvin
Harris owns Vegas. Does this make the UK an Extraeuropean interloper?

4. Has the UK selection process been dominated by a handful of greedy
producers who are looking to introduce the next big act? A newbie is
easier to manipulate. The producer of the act takes a bigger cut of
the earnings. So, the people deciding who goes to ESC don’t pick from
the sea of proven talent but instead hope to get rich quick with a new
discovery. Except, they aren’t very good at the discovery part and
occasionally have to send an act hoping to make a comeback.

I’m an anglophile by birth. It’s just part of being American. Most of
my European friends are from the UK. We cheer for them every year. We
even have a “nul point” drinking game (our UK friends don’t find that
amusing). I would love to see the UK do better. What needs to change
for this to happen?