This made it onto Saturday Night Live last night, so it has to be international news, right?
Ah, the Eurovision Song Contest, that takes me back. When I was a kid, Eurovision used to be a must-watch for the entire family. Of course, when I was a kid, when Eurovision was on, nothing else was. We only had two channels worth watching, and Eurovision totally consumed the BBC. However, back then there was a degree of enthusiasm for watching it. How bad would the UK’s song be? How much of a horrendous dirge would the French give us this year? Are we about to see another ABBA? (Yes, for those unaware, ABBA got their start on Eurovision. For those who don’t know who ABBA is: bugger off you Millennial bastards, I feel old enough as it is!)
Then it got silly. See, it’s the Eurovision song contest, not the European song contest. Eurovision is a commercial entity supplying broadcasts to 56 countries across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. So, countries started turning up which were not European, and that was weird. Also, the UK gave up bothering. We used to try. Cliff Richard was the UK entry twice! Then we gave up. Would we win became ‘Maybe we won’t get zero points this year.’ It did not help at all when it became possible to add a public vote to the tally (it all used to be voting panels, and it used to be hilarious watching the presenters worry over whether they could get to all the people they needed to by telephone). The UK hasn’t won Eurovision is 25 years (and often with good reason).
So, what was the massive upset last night? The UK came second! Ukraine won because Putin, but the UK got second! It’s the best result we’ve had in 20 years and, let’s face facts, we would’ve won if not for the war. That’s not sour grapes from a Brit (because I didn’t even know the thing was on until I saw the news video on YouTube), the UK was in first place and Ukraine was in fifth, and then they tallied the public vote to add to the judged one. Basically, Putin put Ukraine in first place. I listened to the two entries just now and they’re both about as good as each other. The Ukrainian one is a bit more my thing, to be honest. Not enough of my thing for me to want to listen to it twice, but a bit more than the UK one.
Next year, the show is supposed to come from Ukraine. The winner hosts next year. It’s an expensive proposition (like hosting the Olympics or the World Cup). Ireland won three times in a row long ago and it almost bankrupted the Irish public TV company. Somehow, I think they may have to switch venues even if the war’s over by then. Wherever it is, I can almost guarantee that the UK’s song will place a lot lower than second. And it’s also pretty likely I won’t know it’s happening until the day after.
This post was brought to you by ‘random thoughts over lunch break.’