Sunday, May 22, 2005

Eurovision song contest; what's not to love?

First, I need to quote from the brilliant Terry Wogan, the British commentator for the eurovision Song Contest:

"The Eurovision Song Contest is rubbish," he declares. "It is a piece of huge, grandiose, magnificent rubbish...and I love it. The British are the only people in Europe to have got the joke, while everybody else takes it terribly seriously. Even in Ireland, where there is wonderful cynicism, they think it's a song contest rather than an exercise in foolishness."

"Anyway, it's no longer a song contest. It's a dancing contest with scantily clad girls galloping in the background while the presenters paw each other."

Last night Rich and I stayed up until 1:30 am to watch the most stunningly cheesy event in worldwide television, the Eurovision Song Contest. 600 million people watch this soul sucking event. It's like a train wreck you can't look away from. We are lucky enough to get the BBC broadcast of it, complete with Wogan's guffaw inducing commentary. (My favorites? When the show first started and the announcer was about to talk, Terry quips, in his deepest baritone, "And now, here is a man with a very deep voice". I also giggled at his comments on the dancers, usually along the lines of "And look, not a bit of cellulite on that stage at present". )

If he did not comment, I know I would not be able to stomach it. It's just bloody awful. And bloody wonderful. I want to make a drinking game out of it. Do they even show it in the US? I know I never saw it. If they do, you can bet that when I get back to Austin, I am so having a party and everyone will get plastered. You almost have to be drunk to watch it properly. I mean, if you are gonna throw up, you might as well at least be drunk when doing it.

They've been doing the contest for fifty years. The Eurovision is where we first met Abba and Celine Dion. (Whether that is a good thing or not, is entirely your choice.) Eurovision is where you get to see some of the most humdrum, plastic, pre-programmed and robotic acts in the world. Where you see costumes so bad, you really just have to wonder who the hell came up with them. (Like the Hungarian act. Could they not afford the other half of her pants? Surely they could have come up with the 50 forints need to give her two pant legs, and not just one?) Where you see that pop music is truly only about how you look, and apparently this year, about how many drums you can fit on a stage a la Stomp. Every act had a big drum number. Do they all have the same manager? And the same, apparently one-eyed, costume designer?

The show was broadcast from Kiev, Ukraine, and I gotta give them big props for doing a great job. The Ukraine has been through so much in the past year, it felt like this was their big celebration of freedom. Too bad their "hosts" were wooden androids with the spontaneity of a tree stump. My God they were bad. Hilariously, wondrously, impersonate-ably, bad. They are supposed to act like they are hot for each other, this man and woman, but you could tell they could hardly stand to be near each other. Absolutely no chemistry, but lots of fake smiles and oh-so-stilted witty banter.

And why is it that though the broadcast is in English, and all the bands and the presenters and everyone speaks English, the French and ONLY the French get their own translations? At the end of the show, all the residents of all countries in Europe (39 of them!) call in and vote for whom they think should win. These votes are tabulated and then a representative for each country calls in to the show (via satellite) and announces which act gets the points from that country. Everyone does this in English EXCEPT the French. And the announcements/point awards from each country are also translated into French. How come the French get special treatment, and not the Germans? I think there might be more German speakers than French in Europe. And what about Italians or Spanish? That has always bugged me. The French are the ONLY ones to not speak English. And after you have heard the French word for "points" repeated 9 times for each of the 39 countries voting, you really start to hate that damn word.

"Un Pwaah" " Deuh Pwaah" "Twah Pwaah".......... AAAGGHH! Up to the number 12, 39 effing times!!!!!!

Greece was the winner. As for who I was rooting for, it was, in order of preference: Latvia, Moldova, Malta, Ukraine and Norway.

Norway wins, hands down, for the most cheesy retro silliness ever. A pseudo-ironic yet also serious faux-80's hair band called "WigWam". Wow, it was just mind boggling. Only in Norway would these guys ever get as far as they have. Like the Darkness mixed with Rat, Poison and Guns n Roses, with a little Spinal Tap all rolled in. One of their songs (I see ads on TV for their album constantly) is entitled "It's Hard to Be a Rock n Roller".

Overall, though, I give this Eurovision a 10. Or, as my nightmares will remind me, "Dix Pwaah".

By the way, Tracey over at Studio Zoe posted on Eurovision last year. Here is her post. What a stud she is...she even VOTED! But I would have voted for Germany, too. Is Schlager like kitsch?

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