So it's viszontlatasra from them Revealed: Euro-pop convergence

the week on television

Share
Related Topics
Gerry Adams embraced electoral triumph on the Friday with a speech delivered in Gaelic and English. A day later you realised where he got the idea from, when Carrie, uber-presenter of the Eurovision Song Contest (BBC1, Sat), made part of her keynote welcome in Gaelic. It was either that or staggeringly bad Danish. (Although no worse, in fairness, than that of the Danish entrant himself, who sang a song about a man who falls in love with a telephone operator, delivered in the rap idiom; sort of Hans Christian Muthafuckason).

The co-presenter was that little blond leprechaun from BoyZone. He was so short he made Carrie, towering over him, look like a drag act. There was something too perfectly feminine about her. You kept on staring at her neck for signs of activity from an Adam's apple. Her real name's probably Fintan.

You wouldn't put anything past the latest instalment of Eurovision. The Icelandic entry was a notably frank paean to the joys of sado-masochism. The dancing girls, basically contortionists, had done their shopping at Ann Summers. This being the show it was, and held in Ireland to boot, the camera sensibly kept its distance. Terry Wogan, who was on supremely good form all night ("I want you to keep an eye out for a man playing a bunch of grapes"), was shocked. So shocked that he breached Eurovision protocol by lobbing in a quip mid-song. "Are we sure this is not Channel 4?" Not if Michael Jackson, who this week jumped ship from the BBC to the Big Four Os, has anything to do with it: the song contest is one show to which he'll happily bid adieu, adios, viszontlatasra.

1997 will go down as the year the Eurovision Song Contest discovered sex. This cheap entertainment was invented in 1963, but no one told Eurovision, which for 40 years has provided its own alternative brand of cheap entertainment. But this year, the Austrian choreography broke the strict Euro quota on eroticism. And in pursuit of the teenage crush note, there were at least three BoyZones entered, one of them a Hungarian outfit optimistically called VIP. Plus a couple of GirlZones, including a risible gaggle from Holland.

These days, of course, the entertainment is not so cheap. Like the Conservative Party, or Manchester United, Ireland had won four out of the last five contests. Yet again RTE blew most of its annual budget on production - this time, the punts were plunged into a gigantic blow-up of the set of Blake's Seven. To help foot the bill, they'd clearly rigged up some sort of funding arrangement with the Irish Tourist Board, who used the show as a four-hour advertisement with short musical breaks sewn in to let viewers go off and brew tea.

Ireland's yearly attempt to court failure has not been a success. Next year they could do worse than enter BoyZone, whose interval song was every bit as formless as the Swiss entry. Over the years, Britain, the only other country in Europe that knows about pop music, has been somewhat unneighbourly in this area, annually submitting hopelessly crocked entries. Bucks Fizz, our most recent victors, "won it in 1862," advised Wogan, "just after the Corn Laws were repealed". This year, for once, we sent over quite a good tub-thumping anthem, and duly won by a (quaintly cobbled) street.

The result seemed suitably in keeping with the new national mood. Britain has voted to rejoin Europe, and Europe welcomed us in as only Europe knows how. "Have one of these." Thanks. After an election where politicians struggled to deliver on the Vision Thing, here was the next best Thing: the Eurovision Thing, a wafty philosophy of peace and harmonies.

And barriers are tumbling down all over the Continent. Whereas entrants used to sing in English or jibberish or a winning combination of both (ladies and gentleman, a big hand for "Boom Bang a Bang"), they now abuse their own languages. Apart from Russia, that is, which fielded a well- preserved woman who didn't look a day over 60 singing a song called "Primadonna". The Italians, rather rudely, failed to reciprocate with a song called "Babushka".

It wasn't just the rapping Danes who plumped for an American genre. Norway unburdened itself of a song called "San Francisco", a charming if cheesy hommage to the Beach Boys. It got nul points. The Eurovision Song Contest may be changing but, as they say in Murmansk, Rome wasn't built in a day.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: Financial Accounting Manager

£300 - £400 per day: Argyll Scott International: I am currently recruiting on ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Based Sales Surveyor - OTE £40,000

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Field Based Sales Surveyor is...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: UI Designer/ User Interface Designer (UI, User Flow, Design)

£6000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: UI De...

Investigo: International Finance Analyst

£270 - £300 per annum: Investigo: An exciting opportunity to join an internati...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Are we really to believe that the mansion tax would stop Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie moving here?

John Walsh
 

Daily catch-up: stupid questions in opinion polls, in the House of Commons and in job interviews

John Rentoul
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?