Eurovision: all style, no substance from Sandie Shaw to The Shadows, and Scooch
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I get it’s a spectacle on a massive scale, and to be there must be pretty exciting, but I just don‘t get the hype. It’s always been all style, and no substance.
Strip away the stunning staging, the glitz, and an audience which would cheer the opening of a fire exit and what you are left with is some of the most uninspiring, instantly forgettable music ever recorded. Eurovision is a bit like a McDonald’s meal - consumed and forgotten about in three bites.
As a kid we’d always watch the Eurovision Song Contest, as it used to be known in the days when it was of a size that it could fit comfortably into the Usher Hall in Edinburgh.
Back then it was all very formal and polite - host Katie Boyle in a ballgown, judges in tuxedos, and everyone spoke in that peculiar, posh accent unique to the BBC. Back then, the nation also looked to the stalwarts of what we knew as light entertainment to fly the flag with a catchy chorus and dance routines that would have got you laughed out of Jackie O on grab a granny night. I’m old enough to remember Lulu going boom bang a bang - that was the chorus, not the sound she made climbing the stairs to the stage - not to mention Cliff Richard, The New Seekers, and Clodagh Rodgers all giving it a try.
I always fancied being on the jury, but I don’t think scruffy oiks from Wester Hailes were ever on their radar. I don’t recall ever seeing an ad in the JobCentre - “wanted, jury members, must be free to work one evening per year, tux and lukewarm Chablis provided” - which just reinforced my made up theory they’re all dull Rotarians who met over cocktails at some dire dinner party and Clive, who knew someone in the Beeb, put in a word.
Did their feet so much as tap along before they debated whether Belgium was worth seven or eight marks this year? Or do they do what everyone does, cover the table with crisps and snacks, and down a drink every time they guess a score correctly?
In the end, it really doesn’t matter who wins, because, outwith the Euro diehards, absolutely no-one will remember them 12 months down the line.
Performing to a global audience can have spectacular results, but for every Abba - honourable mentions to Bucks Fizz and Brotherhood of Man, depending on which era you watched - there’s a long tail of obscure names. Take a bow if you immediately recognise Nicki French, Jessica Garlick, Electro Velvet, Love City Groove, Precious, Joe and Jake, Electric Velvet, and Rikki and Vikki - and the latter weren’t a duo, but two separate UK acts.
I guess I watch only to see the UK gathering nul points as the tactical voting gives us a real kicking, and the hope one of the acts goes off script and causes an international incident. Musically, it means absolutely nothing. Eurovision was, and is, and always will be naff . When Sandie Shaw triumphed in 1967 with Puppet On A String - the UK’s first ever win - she said: "I hated it from the very first 'oompah' to the final 'bang' on the big bass drum.” I rest my case.