It is always exciting when you get to introduce an American to the wonders of Eurovision. I like to think of these people Stateside whom embrace Eurovision as being the more cultured element of the population. So it makes you think that if Australia has embraced the contest and China’s interest is growing, that it should be an inevitable next stage in the evolution of the contest to break into the American market.
This year’s contest was given a high-profile “Shout Out” on HBO’s ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’. The political/comedian publicised the fact that Ukraine and Russia came face to face in the contest – something that politicians were trying to do for weeks on end. It came to a song contest to actually do that. The American audience got immediately the message of Conchita Wurst and her “unstoppable” winning comment. Our American Brother and Sisters can handle this contest that we cherish.
Yes Oliver’s show on HBO is a political satire but it is a part of modern pop culture and more importantly is watched by a younger generation – the generation that will be shaping social consciousness going forward. Americans love their sporting facts and figures when it comes to their national sports. Commentators are generally brimming with current and historical trivia on their sport. Could we say that about most European TV commentators? Can they remember the song that they had just listened to? Can they remember when a country last won the contest?
With such a huge European diaspora living in America there is certainly a generation that recognises the contest. If Eurovision wants to grow then the entries need to chart globally. Why is that? Well the closest thing that America has to Eurovision is American Idol and The Voice. How many American Idol winners and contestants have charted globally? More than recent Eurovision contestants – yet plenty of the songs are worthy of topping the American Charts.
Not even Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’ troubled the Billboard Top 10 – and it really should have been a cross over hit. Maybe one could argue the fact that as Loreen is signed to Warner Music and not to the EBU’s partner ‘Universal’, that Warner saw no need on promoting a single where the sales would be attributed to their rival despite the artist being a member of the ‘Warner’ Musical Family (but that is another article in itself).
Gina G may have only placed 8th at Eurovision 1996 but ‘Ooh Ahh…Just A Little Bit’ got to #12 in the Billboard Top 100 Chart and #4 in the Dance Chart. It was even nominated of a Grammy in the Best Dance Recording category. We need this Eurovision success again in America and on a regular basis. Thankfully in 1996 there was no Universal Eurovision deal in place as Gina was signed to Warner Music at that time!
Eurovision surely needs to continue on its path of being relevant and become a launching pad for artists Globally. Eurovision needs a hit in America to truly start celebrating viewing figures. With an average TV audience this year of 63 million (up on 2013 yet down on 2012’s) is it time that we invite America to the biggest Musical Sporting event in the world? Eurovision puts American Idol and The Voice to shame when it comes to a TV show and contest. So let’s get the recognition for it I say!
Author/Editor in Chief Garrett Mulhall
Source : Eurovision Ireland