Eurovision is known for its political themes, but the only obviously political finalist this year was Hungary. A young woman with a funny name (Boggie) stood in a deep red dress and sung about how “our earth is a mess”. She had a very innocent look about her, which might have helped to strengthen the message of the song. The song was called “Wars for Nothing”, though, so it was pretty obvious. As Eurovision began after the Second World War, the song helped spread the idea that Eurovision is about peace and equality.
One place in Europe that is blamed for the instability is Russia. The newspapers publish lots of stories about how human rights are ignored there, and that Vladimir Putin is a very bad man. The entry they entered this year gave off totally different signals – “we are the world’s people” “different but the same” etc. It was a big power ballad, and despite Russia’s unpopularity, the song did very well – it came second! Perhaps this shows that Eurovision is one night where all Europe’s nations put their differences aside and join the party, to choose the best song by musical ability alone. Perhaps…
The closing act this year was Italy, the only country of the Big 5 to be really successful this year. They came 3rd, and had voting worked on public vote alone, they probably would have won. The song was sung in Italian, by 3 men who sounded a bit like opera singers. The song was called “Grande amore” which roughly translates as “great love”. The backdrop featured lots of Roman-style statues and bits of architecture, and the song got huge cheers from the audience. The group are actually famous in Italy, so it was a great way to finish off the night’s performances. Plus, they were incredibly handsome, which is always a good thing.
After everybody had performed, audiences vote in an X-Factor style phone in system. When these are counted, the score is combined with the jury’s vote. Each country has a panel of experts, and they decide who gets what points based on the music. These juries and the audience both have a 50% share of the final decision, which is announced at Eurovision. The contest asked 40 countries for their votes this year, and each country’s vote is usually read out by a celebrity. This year, Britain chose celebrity chef and lifestyle guru Nigella Lawson to announce the results. However, some countries had technical difficulties, for instance Portugal – the connection broke so they had to come back to Portugal at the end!
It was tense, and one of the closest votes in years. Usually it’s a bit predictable – Greece and Cyprus will give each other the maximum amount of points, except this year they didn’t! Neighbouring countries often give each other the maximum amount of points, but this year was different. Italy, Sweden and Russia all got a fair amount of countries giving the maximum amount of support, and the top 3 was changing all the time. Britain, France and Germany all got less than 10 points altogether, which is pretty shameful considering the winner got 365! Britain got 1 point from Ireland and 1 point from Malta, who are the only 2 countries that usually give us anything. However, we got a surprise 3 points from San Marino! Thanks San Marino! Mind you, San Marino didn’t have a phone in vote – it was 100% jury, as the population is so tiny there (it’s basically a town in Italy that’s actually an independent country). Perhaps the jury thought our entry was very good this year…
Though we didn’t do very well (as usual), I’m excited for next year. The contest always brings a huge variety of music and political motives, and is great fun.
Image from: http://www.ilvolomusic.com/