A Eurovision post-mortem

Denmark win Eurovision 2013
Denmark win Eurovision 2013

So that’s that. Eurovision over for another year.

And what a show.

Sweden did an excellent job demonstrating that you put can on a fantastic Eurovision without breaking the bank. You just need some style, humour, lashing of irony and avoid the need to sell your country like a commodity. Take note, Azerbaijan.

I really warmed to the host, Petra Mede, as the show progressed. I admit I was quite dismissive of her style during the semi-finals, but by the time she was singing during the interval act and joking about horse meat in Ikea meatballs, she had me eating from the palm of her hand.

If I had my way, she’d be presenting every year. And the way she handled the show-boating vote-monkeys later in the show was priceless.

That is how you leave an international audience with a good impression of your country. Leave out the earnest speeches about how technologically advanced you are and how your civilisation stretches back to the bronze age.

Poke some fun at your own foibles and the rest of the world will laugh along with you.

I’ve been to Sweden a couple of times, but after last night’s show I know I’ll definitely be back for more.

Oh yes, the music.

I thought several of the acts really did themselves proud. Anouk for the Netherlands was a prime example. She took a technically very difficult song and brought the house down. Netherlands ended up in the top 10 after failing to qualify for the final for the last nine years.

A number of the others stand out for me in terms of performance: Estonia, Italy, France, Malta. All did a great job. The voting public failed to agree with me, but I’m used to that.

Denmark won, for example, with a song I never warmed to and an act that was a cross between “Les Miserables” and “High School Musical”. But it raced ahead within 10 minutes of the votes being announced.

Estonia, a song I loved, fared very poorly in terms of votes. But she can walk away with her head held eye after an excellent performance. And then, have that baby she’s been carrying around…

Now. Ireland.

W T actual F? A slick (literally – check out the baby oil!) performance and a decent vocal. A thumping base that will be heard in clubs in this summer, accompanied by hot, tattooed dancers. And we came last.

Is there no pleasing you, Europe?

I hope RTE don’t take this as a sign to recycle some old has-been and send him/her next year. Look what happened to the UK with Englebert and Bonnie Tyler. It’s transparent and desperate. Please don’t.

Incidentally, Bonnie looked and sounded like she’d enjoyed a considerable amount of Swedish hospitality all week. Just saying…

I’m just glad the contest wasn’t won by a gimmick or a dictatorship, which was quite likely based on feedback from the semi-finals. I had wondered if all of Europe would collectively (and ironically) vote for Romania, just to see the song again at the end of the show.

Or Greece, to try and completely bankrupt the country.

Instead, we’ll be back in Denmark next year. Who I hope will put on an equally fun, but unassuming show.

Nice design, combined with quiet confidence. A very Scandinavian approach.

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