If you haven’t heard of the Eurovision Song Contest some might say you have been blessed, others would definitely say you have missed out on a great contest that celebrates song writing at an international level and which draws millions to their TV screens every year to pay homage to the spectacle.
Let me explain just a little about the event.
Each year all the countries in the European Union enter one song for the contest. Each national song entry has usually been chosen by the nation from a selection of compositions penned by different writers and put to the vote. Then each song goes on to the main competition and competing countries vote for each other to result in an overall international winner. The country that wins, hosts the competition the following year and it’s seen as a great honour and a chance to “big-up” your country with a PR campaign running right through the show. That’s it in a nutshell.
The problem has been that, with the exception of ABBA, there haven’t been too many wonderful entries from Europe. A cruel statement, but fairly accurate. For many the competition is something to ridicule, for others – something to celebrate. But regardless of opinion it goes on year after year and seems to get bigger and bigger.
Personally, I love the show. The songs are often very good. It’s only the cynics who seem to think they have to rubbish everything all the time. Most importantly the competition is glamorous and entertaining and a great “bringer-together” of nations for a bit of fun. What’s wrong with that? Well, nothing if being friendly with your neighbours allowed you to maintain impartiality. But, of late, the competition has become a bit of a farce simply because you can almost predict the voting as each nation votes for its nearest and dearest neighbour, or snubs another they are in conflict with. It has become more about politics than music and it is that fact that mainly leaves it open to criticism.
The great part about Eurovision for many of us was that it gave every song writer a chance to “have a go” and enter his song for the national selection process. You don’t have to sing it yourself, a group or singer will be found for you, but your song has a chance to hit international markets – good stuff huh? My first published song was an entry for Eurovision and even though it never got selected to represent our nation, it was great fun and very exciting.
Not anymore! It’s been announced here that this year, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber will write our British entry and then find a group to sing it through a month long TV contest, thus reducing, in my opinion, a song writing competition into yet another televised talent show. As if we need another one of those!
But, let’s not worry about all the songwriters who live for the chance to win Eurovision each year, let’s just worry about winning. We’ll wheel out our big gun composer and he’ll write something to blow the opposition away completely and bring glory back to good old blighty! He’ll look pretty stupid if he doesn’t – but then again, another composer will look great if he knocks Sir Andy off his pedestal. An excellent reason for watching in itself.
So, let’s see what happens. No doubt we’ll all watch it anyway. But there will be plenty of would-be composers watching from home, shouting abuse at the TV and claiming their song was better and should be there representing Britain instead... Well, I know I will be!