Tim Walker: Blame the music, not Graham Norton

Tales from the water cooler ...
  • @timwalker

A couple of years ago, against my better judgement, I agreed to attend my first "Eurovision party". It was to be my last. Some people dress up in silly outfits every year to watch this transcontinental turd-polishing show; we just had a few funny-coloured drinks and a buffet dinner. That was bad enough. If you're a Eurovision virgin considering a deflowerment, let me dissuade you. Eurovision, like so much of 21st century pop culture, is supposed to be consumed ironically. An episode of TOWIE requires just 30 minutes of ironi-watching. Eurovision takes more than three hours. That's twice as long as a football match.

After about 60 minutes of ear-melters from Moldova, you'll get a bit bored and decide that either you're not quite drunk enough to enjoy it – or that you're precisely drunk enough, and it's simply not enjoyable. At around the same time, someone will claim it used to be better when Terry Wogan did the voiceover. Do not believe them. Graham Norton isn't the problem. The problem is that Eurovision is an event which celebrates bad music. And there's no worse kind of bad music than bad pop music, except maybe jazz.

Given that the contest's early winners included Abba, it must once have encouraged and rewarded quality. (Presumably, before the break-up of the USSR, it was a whole lot shorter, as well.)

Now, it rewards grating novelty, political inconsequence, and Russian grannies.

Half the countries involved are suspected – by me – of submitting awful tunes to avoid the possibility of winning and thus being forced to host the following year.

Not Great Britain, though. Great Britain seriously wants to win, because Great Britain wants to host everything. Luckily, Humperdinck hasn't a hope.