When you turn on the telly and see men in skirts, a lesbo pash, a lot of mediocre dancing, mullet dresses a go-go and acres of big hair, it can only mean one thing now that Big Brother’s no longer on the air.
But from the outset, there was something faintly disturbing about this year’s Eurovision. Dare I say, it was almost professional. Almost.
Sure, there were those classic Eurovision moments, like the lurching giant Igor clumsily depositing Ukraine’s singer on stage, a young Belgian lad’s insanely cheerful rendition of a song called Love Kills, the chintzy camera work and the interminable voting process. Let’s not forget the Donald Trump-inspired hairdo of Lithuania’s Aliona Moon. Or the disco ball containing a leggy Belarus singer whose spectacular limbs were always half a step behind the action. As if anyone cared. And was that a velour suit on Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov?
But at times, Eurovision 2013 went dangerously close to being classy. On the whole, the outfits looked only a couple of years out of date, barring the orange jeans donned by Malta’s singing doctor and the stonewash denim the Armenians bought in bulk. In some instances the choreography resembled actual dancing. The wind machine and pyrotechnics were kept in check, though Albania clearly didn’t get that memo. We even had to wait till the very last number to see bare-chested men (thank you, Ireland). And the host was, I can’t believe I’m saying this, competent.
Maybe it was because this year’s competition was held in Sweden, home of Eurovision’s ultimate super troupers, ABBA. Still, I see no earthly reason for this outbreak of dignity.
Neither, mercifully, did Greece’s kilt-clad contestants, whose dancy ska number, Alcohol is Free, put a new slant on the economic woes in that part of the world. Or maybe they were trying to drum up the tourist dollar. Either way, I want to go there. I also wanted Greece to win but I’m not sure they could have hosted next year’s competition without another bailout.
Finland’s Krista kept the Eurotrash vibe alive, wearing a mullet wedding dress that wouldn’t be out of place on tackyweddings.com. She wrote her song Marry Me as a subtle hint to her boyfriend to, you know, propose. Apparently he still hasn’t come to the party. So Krista kissed a girl. And she liked it. Maybe there’s a song in that.
Also embracing the age old over the topness that is uniquely Eurovision was Romania’s Cezar. Dressed in let’s call it a black sequined Star Trek evening gown, he went from baritone to soprano in one miraculous note, without even adjusting himself. I’m thinking there was room under his outfit for someone to give him an almighty wedgie at the right moment but it was an astonishing feat nonetheless. He was my personal favourite.
Once again, the Poms got their Eurovision mojo all wrong. They insist on sending relics, with Englebert Humperdinck and Bonnie Tyler tanking badly over the last two years. I guess we should just be thankful they haven’t unleashed Cliff Richard. Yet. Next year they should go with David Beckham now he’s at a loose end. Especially as Cezar has paved the way for men with high-pitched voices. Maybe he could do a duet with his missus. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
I’m counting on Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov and Lithuania’s Andrius Pojavis to be offered roles on The Bold and The Beautiful for their staring into the camera abilities. Pojavis sang about wearing two shoes, one called love and one called pain, which is exactly the kind of twaddle that passes for dialogue on TBATB anyway. Also up there in the incomprehensible lyrics department was Malta’s singing doctor, who trilled about Jeremy who works in IT. It sounded like the theme from Packed To The Rafters. And yet it did quite well. The doctor smiled so much, my face ached. I wondered what he’d been prescribing himself.
So Eurovision was not without its cheese. Enough to warrant a warning from your doctor, provided he’s not from Malta, but not as much as in previous years. And this is a bit of a worry for Eurovision devotees.
As to the winner, Denmark has given me an earworm with their middling ditty Only Teardrops. It’s the kind of anaemic anthem Eurovision loves. It was the favourite going into the final and never looked in doubt. A very excited Emmelie de Forest took time to text all her friends before accepting the audience’s adulation. Honestly, kids today. But the victory highlights an emerging trend in Eurovision – if you want to win, don’t wear shoes. Expect Eurovision to be universally barefoot next year. And hopefully a little less schmick.