Auf Wiedersehen Vienna!

That’s it all over for another year. For once I predicted the winner – not like in 2013 when I called it for Georgia which finished 15th! Congratulations Sweden – a deserved victory. On the night though, as controversial as this might be, I was rooting for Russia. I liked the song, Polina gave an amazing performance and it would’ve been incredibly interesting to watch the Russians cope with an influx of gay people (of course not all ESC fans are LGBT)

It was another disappointing night for the UK but it wasn’t unexpected. Let’s not blame politics though – Austria, the heroes of Europe  in 2014 scored zero in 2015! Electro Velvet were a delight all week and I think they did themselves proud. As always a huge thank you to the BBC Eurovision team – always a pleasure working with them and these guys work so hard, I don’t think they get the credit they deserve. That said, it’s time to seriously look at the UK selection process, our music industry is huge and the pool of talent is wide – let’s use it!

One thing that was very obvious though was the canned applause during the voting. I fully appreciate that the EBU don’t want the show to turn into a pantomime with the booing of big bad Russia. However the powerful thing about Eurovision is that it’s based on raw emotion which gives it integrity. I was getting texts from friends in the hall saying that the Russian singer was upset and the booing were very loud and persistent. It was so much so that the presenter interrupted the voting to essentially tell the crowd to behave. On TV all we heard was huge cheers. This does not sit well with me; the EBU is based on values of freedom of expression and essentially what is happening is censorship.

As always Eurovision was a hugely impressive spectacle and it’s absolutely to the credit of the organisers that it has managed to remain at the top of its game after nearly 60 years. Here’s to the next six decades!

5 Comments on “Auf Wiedersehen Vienna!”

  1. As ever, an even-handed review of this year’s Contest which had its strengths and weaknesses. Lessons of the past have been heeded but lessons now need to be learned for the future – both on an international and national level.
    It will be interesting to see what transpires once everyone has both feet firmly on the ground (with the winners currently floating on air; and many others still in the middle of their “knee jerk” reactions).
    I managed to do pretty well.
    My “heart” went with the five songs that I loved; which are on my Ipod; and which I will play for decades to come. (It’s not just about Vienna – for me it’s music for the longer term).
    My “head” successfully predicted the top six (very different from the aforementioned “heart” list) which meant that I didn’t make a “professional prat” of myself.
    All in all – another interesting ESC; lots to think about; lots to look back on; and lots to look forward to.

  2. Did you not find the sheer hypocrisy of the Russians sending a faux peace ballad just a tad nauseating? The audience saw through it and made their feelings known.

    Russia clearly tried to use the competition to bolster their image and I’m very glad they failed. A year spent with them peddling the same bs really would have been sickening.

  3. Please remember that some Eurovision fans are not LGBT. Your comment about seeing how Russia would deal with 15,000 out and proud Eurovision fans seems to forget that!

  4. Thanks Paul, loved your commentary on BBC3 as always.

    Electro Velvet did us proud. I wish them every future success. They deserved better.

    This was the 30th time I’ve watched Eurovision and again I was bitterly disappointed with the UK’s placing. What’s even more disappointing is how the BBC and others just seem to shrug it off and accept a strong of poor results. I just don’t accept that politics comes into it to the extent that some claim (Russia surely wouldn’t have achieved second place if it did). It’s a poor and tired excuse. I can’t understand why so many people are just happy to accept poor UK results. Until this is tackled (and I don’t see any will to do so) this will continue. Let’s face it, the status quo suits to BBC – big ratings, little effort/investment is a win-win. What a missed opportunity though for us to showcase our huge talent and sell the UK abroad. Clearly the BBC simply don’t want the hassle of hosting it, and any return to a Song for Europe style format would presumably just end up giving us the sort of late Sunday afternoon BBC1 show that gave us Jemini. I despair.

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