I bloody love the Eurovision Song Contest, me. Always have. I love the campness of the event, the absurdity of the voting and the way that any song which isn’t 100% Eurovision gets swept under the carpet. I love how people get all worked up about the fact that decent songs from unloved countries (like the UK) get no votes, while dreadful 90s-influenced disco tracks from tiny eastern European states get a whole string of douze points.
There are rarely any songs which live on in the memory more than a few days after the event. But who cares? Probably the last great Eurovision song was Fairytale by Norway’s Alexander Rybak in 2009. This is great not because it’s a mainstream hit, but because it’s the kind of joyous, catchy song which you only get in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Anyway, with just over a week to go until the 2013 finals, and a Spotify playlist to hand, I can report that this year’s contest isn’t going to provide the soundtrack to the summer. As usual. But it is going to be fun. As usual.
Runaway favourite with the bookies is Only Teardrops by Denmark’s Emmelie De Forest, which is quite unremarkable. The best thing it’s got going for it is that it’s from a Scandinavian country, one of two regions of Europe which have enough local solidarity to stand a chance at the final hurdle (Sweden won last year). She looks presentable enough. Oh, and the song sounds like Shakira, so nobody will find it too alienating.
The main competition – according to the bookies – is from Ukraine’s Zlata Ognevich with Gravity. Again, not exactly distressing on the eye.
There’s a standout song for me, however, which is none of the above. No, it’s not the UK’s Bonnie Tyler, bless her. I saw one of her early Top Of The Pops appearances on BBC Four the other day, and wondered what she’d have thought back then if she’d known she’d be in the Eurovision Song Contest thirty-five years later. Best of British and all that, but the song I think is worth looking out for is Birds by Anouk, representing The Netherlands. It’s got an almost sixties psychedelic vibe about it …and it’s really good. Whether it’s happy-clappy enough to win the competition is another matter, especially as The Netherlands doesn’t have a strong voting bloc of countries behind it. But despite its handicaps, the bookies certainly aren’t writing it off, and nor am I.