Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: Eurovision 2014

Every year I make a promise that I will avoid the Eurovision like the plague and every year, I usually fail in actually living up to that promise. It probably doesn't help that I also choose to go on Twitter during the time as well. Even Ireland not actually qualifying didn't manage to deter me from watching it this year - mostly by myself and then with my father and oldest sister during the voting bits. So live from Copenhagen, Denmark and all that ...

First of all - the winner. By the time even a third or two fifths of the 37 countries that could vote have voted, you'll have already sussed out which country had this in the bag. I did think briefly that Hungary had it with their stirring song Running by András Kállay-Saunders but by the time we had gotten past the halfway point, the clear winner materialised as Conchita Wurst with her song Rise Like The Phoenix, which while a little Bond influenced, turned out to be a solid song and a rather deserving winner as well with 290 points. I like that Conchita won and that audiences both at the actual event and on social media proved that their support was there in spades and even the idiots who did resort to tiny bits of transphobia and homophobia were rightly put in their place by the majority of people showing their support to Conchita. Like most Eurovision songs, we'll have perhaps forgotten it in a week but a great victory should be applauded though.

It's hard to deny that this year's Eurovision certainly seemed to be more politically charged than previous years but I have to admit that while I loathe Vladimir Putin as much as the next person, even I thought the booing that the Russian contestants got was beyond excessive and misplaced to a point. The twin girls - Anastasiya and Maria Tolmachevy had a reasonably okay, if not remarkable song with Shine and I do think that should've been the focus. I also think that despite some good intentions and justified anger towards Russia's current political system, the booing should've been left out.

However something that pleasantly surprised me this year was the slew of pretty good songs we had as well. Along with Conchita's winning number, Switzerland also gave us the rather dapper looking Sebalter and his song, Hunter of Stars, while both Finland and Greece went boyband crazy with the former having Softeengine singing Something Better and the latter with FreakyFortune/Risky Kidd singing/rapping Rise Up, both of which were pretty decent. I also have to admit that Norway's entry - Silent Storm by Carl Espen was quite nice as well. I'm also probably one of the few people who was non fussed by Poland's rather cleavage-y performance of My Slowianie by Donatan and Cleo, though the appeal wasn't lost on the general audience though but at least it fared better than France (who came last position with two points) and their pretty embarrassing Moustache by Twin Twin. I can't help but feel relieved that Ireland wasn't in this year's Eurovision now. Speaking of which ...

Yes, let's talk about Ireland, shall we? I think (and no disrespect to Kasey Smith here) that we didn't deserve to be in this year's contest. RTE have become ridiculously complacent with choosing people each year and perhaps this will finally give them the kick up the arse they did and they'll actually come up with a better process for picking contestants. Hell, we might even get someone next year who might have an actual fighting chance of doing well in 2015 but it'll only happen if RTE finally get the hint and make more of an effort. Otherwise, we'll probably be sitting out more Eurovision contests in the near future. You'd almost forget with our string of dire luck and acts over the recent years that we actually won the bloody contest six times.

Overall though, it was actually a good night and better compared to previous years, though the male presenters did grate a little at times and the contestants looked bemused when the female presenter was giving them their favourite foods. And I could've done without the Twelve song as well but yeah, I actually enjoyed the Eurovision this year.

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