This year’s Eurovision Song Contest was hosted at the Wiener Stadhalle in Vienna, Austria. Last year, the drag queen Conchita Wurst won with the song “Rise Like a Phoenix”, so Austria were able to put on Europe’s favourite TV show. The contest was one of the most exciting in years, but these days it’s still the “favourites” that often end up winning the day. To be fair, though, there were many great acts up on the stage. As Europe is in political turmoil, Eurovision reminds us that we can forget about it all for just one night and enjoy ourselves. Graham Norton commentated for us on the BBC, and hilarity ensued.
This year, a couple of countries returned to the Eurovision fold. Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Serbia all came back to Eurovision after a year or two of not participating in the contest. However, Ukraine pulled out this year, because of the difficult political situation there. They would find it difficult to take part this year, as the country is undergoing a violent internal conflict. Russia’s involvement would also make it difficult, but surprisingly Russia’s entry was one of the favourites to win, even though Russia is hugely unpopular at the moment.
So Eurovision has the “Big 5”, which are 5 countries that automatically qualify for the final. Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain make up the 5, because they pay the most money for the contest. However, they pretty much perform consistently badly. France entered Lisa Angell, singing a song in French. This can spell disaster for many countries, as if songs are not sung in English there is the risk they won’t be understood by TV audiences in other parts of Europe. France’s entry sung against an apocalyptic backdrop of destruction, which reminded viewers of the First World War.
This was followed by Israel, who entered a catchy and upbeat tune. It started off as a sad ballad, but then the singer gets over his breakup and gets moving. Fire was used, backing dancers were going wild, and there was a Balkan/Middle East feeling to the music.
Then came Britain’s entry, Electro Velvet. Britain mostly has its acts chosen by the BBC, and not a public vote. The set looked like something out of Strictly Come Dancing, as it has similar swirling steps on stage. The song itself has been described as heavily influenced by 1920s music, and modern artists like Dutch singer Caro Emerald. However, it was also a bit futuristic, and the start of the song sounded like something you might here on an alien spaceship. Lots of neon lights flashed as the singers came down the steps. The singers talk about how they worry about each other when they’re away, which makes sense because the song is called “Still In Love With You”! There’s a really weird bit in the middle where the lights go down and the fluorescent lights on the ladies’ dresses light up, which looks a little bit odd. There’s another weird bit where the man who is singing starts saying gibberish, which is called “scat” singing.
Next up, we’ll have a look at the winning entry, and some of the other highlights of the contest!
Image from: http://www.phoenixartistclub.com/event/eurovision-2015/