Editorial

Editorial : The Myths of Eurovision….Debunked

myths 1

I wonder how many times we, as a Eurovision fan, have to endure the same conversation with the ‘less initiated’, shall we call them, on the subject. I don’t know how many times people have said to me “Of course, there’s no way we’ll ever win again, we should have stopped entering years ago because…(insert reason here!)” and nine times out of ten it’s just simply not true what people believe about Eurovision. So here are some of the common myths that surround ESC and just a little bit of debunking too…

It’s all just about politics

The most common myth and complaint that I hear about ESC and quite frankly, no it’s not! Well, that’s not to say that politics doesn’t have a part to play, and it’s fair to say that political voting was certainly more of a thing in the late ’90s and early 00’s. But the EBU took measures to try and solve this issue and since then it has been far less about politics and more about good songs and great performances. This is the hardest thing to try and convince people of as it’s so ingrained in the national psyche that the reason people don’t vote for their country is because the world doesn’t like them, this is especially true of the UK, a belief that we don’t get votes at Eurovision is because we invaded Iraq. Actually it’s worth noting that whilst on the brink of that infamous Iraqi war the UK came 3rd in the contest – I’m pretty sure that the two things are not and never have been linked.

No political reason to vote for Denmark in 2013, just a great song and stunning performance by Emmelie de Forest..

 

Everyone votes for their neighbours.

Well, kind of but this is not what is determining the end results. It’s true points will usually be exchanged between Greece and Cyprus for example, but usually this has far less to do with the border and far more to do with the singer and the song. Russia for example is sending Sergey Lazarev who is a huge star in Russia and in its neighbouring countries, chances are they will pull some big points on the night based on the fact that Sergey has huge appeal, his song has been played on radios across the former Soviet Union and, quite simply, it’s a good song. There are five countries in Europe who have more than 8 international borders, four out of five (Russia, Germany, Austria & Serbia) have won ESC in the past ten years, that leaves six winning countries with only a few borders and in fact 2009 winner Norway has only one border, the one with Sweden*. I’m pretty convinced it’s not about the borders.

Azerbaijan has only three borders with Eurovision voting countries yet still won the contest in 2011…

*since writing this it has been pointed out that Norway has a border with Finland and a tiny bit of Russia too, whoops, my mistake – anyway I’m still convinced it’s not about the borders!

It’s all about the gimmicks.

In my experience most people who reckon this is true for ESC are talking about Bucks Fizz whipping their skirts off! 1981 people, that was 1981 – 35 years ago!! Of course there have been plenty of gimmicks in past years but very few of them have resulted in the big prize in recent years, the Polish milkmaids, the Russian grannies and Dustin the Turkey yet none of them walked away as the winner, although I did love the Russian grannies! The only gimmicks that have paid off recently are Conchita’s beard and Lordi’s monster costumes, but I question if either of these two things are really gimmicks in the first place, Conchita and her beard were around long before Eurovision success and Lordi have been ‘monsters’ as long as Lordi have existed nothing to do with putting on the act for ESC. Both those acts went to Eurovision with good songs and performed them brilliantly and that is what made them winners.

No gimmick for 2012 winner Loreen, just a great performance of an awesome song..

So there are three of the common myths of Eurovision (hopefully) debunked. There’s more to come soon. What common myths do you constantly have to debunk in conversations with your non-Eurovision friends? Tell us in the comments…

 

Author: Lisa-Jayne Lewis
Source: Eurovision Ireland

 

 

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2 replies »

  1. Martin said it all: it’s not “only” about the borders, it is rather about historical and cultural ties. Greece and Cyprus have no shared borders, but they have the same language and multi-millenary shared cultural links. Sweden hasn’t got many borders physically shared with other countries, but the Baltic cultural area is a reality and that is why Scandinavian and Baltic countries very often vote each other.
    And as you said it, some artists are especially well-known in such areas, so naturally they should get points from countries where they are supposedly well-known.
    As the vast majority of songs are sung in English, we hardly know where they are from, but still people watching their TV set and the contest do pay attention to the country these songs are from (after all, Eurovision is not “only” about music, but also about the countries involve ; if not, it would just be another song contest with no big interest).
    But in the end, all these often biaised but not necessarily always undeserved votes do not make a winner, as the article recognises it. But trying to deny that “cultural” votes do exist does not make it easy to convince the “less initiated” of the relative rightness of the final results and overall of the goodness of the our favorite contest.
    Cultural votes do exist but they don’t decide the winner. That’s how I would explain the game.

  2. Nice article there, Lisa-Jayne. For the more open-minded of non-Eurovision fans, your first two points can be summed up in one word – culture! Shared culture works for everyone – I normally point out how many points the UK gets from Ireland and Malta over the years due to our shared language and in Ireland’s case, shared pop artists. Strange how it’s okay for us and not for the rest of Europe, eh?

    The one thing that has made all of this more of a level playing field as far as which country might win is the number of songs in English – my other half (not a fan) listened to all of last year’s songs and couldn’t tell where the vast majority came from. How can anyone have a problem with a country winning now when most songs could originate from anywhere?

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