If I had more time, I would have gone into the comments section of every newspaper report outside of the Swedish press. It’s the same every year, the clichés come out, and nobody stands up to take responsibility for a Eurovision loss. Which means the public swallow the media line, and the reputation of the Song Contest takes an undeserved hit.
Let’s set a few myths straight before we go any further, because it’s important to understand why your country failed at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. It wasn’t every other country ganging up on you, it wasn’t political voting, it wasn’t all the voting blocks making it predictable… there’s nowhere to hide. If you didn’t win this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, there’s a simple answer.
Sweden’s song was better.
I think the answer is obvious, but with a huge amount of hysteria (admittedly focused on the UK, but hey, that’s a big part of our audience here on ESC Insight), let’s shoot down all those ‘reasons’ one more time.
Predictable Voting Blocks
Probably my favourite – everyone pointing out their commentator managed to ‘call’ the votes before being announced, which obviously means the whole damn Contest is fixed. Okay, list time. Let’s look back at the Top Ten of the last three years. If it’s all so predictable, then the Top Ten should be pretty static.
- 2012: Sweden, Russia, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Albania, Estonia, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Spain.
- 2011: Azerbaijan, Italy, Sweden, Ukraine, Denmark, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Greece, Ireland, Georgia, Germany.
- 2010: Germany, Turkey, Romania, Denmark, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Armenia, Greece, Ukraine, Russia.
Yep, predictable every year, along country lines, we could call the winner without hearing the songs. Or perhaps not. If you disagree, please list, in the comments, the top ten songs for next year.
It’s All Political
Half the battle here is defining what a political vote is. We’ve always preferred the term cultural voting, where countries with shared heritage and land borders have similar tastes in music. If you grew up listening to Balkan influenced music, there’s every chance you’ll vote for a Balkan song – not because of some misplaced loyalty, but because you like the music.
Perhaps I could accept the idea of countries voting for another country when it was all down to juries, and juries with only a handful of people who are very nationalistic, but are you seriously suggesting that an entire voting population of a country can bear a grudge? That an entire region has a chip on their shoulder?
Exactly. It’s Occam’s Razor again. People are voting for the performances they like.
Nobody Will Ever Vote For Us
Assuming ‘us’ is the United Kingdom.
There’s this fascination that for some reason a country, en masse, will not vote for the UK or any ‘western’ European county ever again at the Song Contest. Which naturally explains how Germany won the Contest in 2010, how three of the big five countries finished in the Top Ten this year, and how the UK managed 5th place in 2009.
There’s also the simple fact that voting at the Eurovision Song Contest is a vote for a winner. Unlike Big Brother, or other reality TV shows that need to remove a hate figure, you are asked to vote on the country you want to win the Contest. That means you vote for the songs you like, not the ones you don’t like. Even with twenty votes per phone number, most people will focus their voting on one of two songs. If your country’s song doesn’t make the grade, then nobody will vote for you. Simple.
What Can You Do?
Funny you should ask that, we have a few ideas here in the ESC Insight office. We’ll bring you those next week. Before then, what’s the best Eurovision excuse you’ve heard this year?
Update: We’ve posted a strategy that we think would bring success to the United Kingdom:
Where’s the UK Stefan Raab? He’s hiding at BBC Scotland
The UK’s Eurovision strategy needs to change. Not when the BBC sit down in January 2013 to plan for Sweden, but right now. ESC Insight has come to a simple conclusion. There is one man who can save Eurovision, who can bring the UK respectability, and maybe even a victory. Who is that man?