With the dawn of a new decade we can’t seem to shake the ghost of the old one and we’ve mainly got Massiel to blame – although many tried to universal language of sheer nothingness before her. The lalala’s and papapa’s were present aplenty that spring evening in Ireland, but luckily they got balanced out occasionally by some genuine poetry. Who’d have thought?!
The Contest was in full expansion now after the raging success that was All kinds of everything, bringing back three of the four Nordic countries ànd Eurovision’s sulking child Austria. We even got the first taste of Malta, which I dreaded from the start I have to say. Eighteen countries threw themselves into the arena and what a diverse arsenal they’d use. There was the odd big belter (France), the copycat (Norway with a miniature version of Mary Poppins), a hand-me-down Tom Jones (Malta) and a lead singer who made himself redundant by bringing twin backing singers who totally outshone him (Finland). None of which are in my top ten of course.
Finally people started to embrace colour television and put its use to the fullest. Though I have to say I had the occasional longing for black and white (I’m looking at you, Yugoslavia – Nina Garcia wouldn’t even glance at you with that vest made out of Von Trapp curtains). Fashion would soon appear to be vital, but using it to your advantage is not everyone’s strong point. Spanish Karina obviously thought those holes in her dress made a statement. Not the one she had in mind I bet. And after seeing Portugal I’d like to impeach Barbara Dex and make it the Tonicha award. She deserves it. You’ll see.
But all mockery aside: I quite fancied this diverse year. And no, not because Katja Ebstein returned. She looked too much like Hugo Weaving in Priscilla, Queen of the desert to cut it for me. But these ten did:
1 point: Ireland – One day love
Mixed feelings about this one. I love the tragic lyrics, dipped in cotton candy (and I’m NOT talking about the dress but rather the fluffy romantic music) as if it’s trying to sneak into the back catalogue of Dusty Springfield. Doesn’t quite cut it though, and it’s mainly due to Angela Farrell who’s sadly not that good of a singer. Oh, and I hate the hair starting in the middle of her forehead covering the side of her face.
2 points: Italy – L’amore è un attimo
I just want to pick him up and put him in my pocket, don’t you? Cute as a button, Massimo Ranieri, and he does give it his all. I love the melody in this, but I feel a female voice would have done it more justice.
3 points: Belgium – Goeiemorgen, goeiemorgen
Certainly not the best song of the bunch, but the lyrics are so lovely silly and serve their purpose extremely well – I can imagine waking up to this and being instantly awake and happy. Though I’ve never tried it, what with my three coffee minimum routine. Or perhaps I just need a quick glance at Jacques Raymond‘s attempt to move smoothly to make me smile. Considering they fell in for the legendary Nicole and Hugo at the very last moment I think they did a rather splendid job. And now I’ll stop before I’m accused of nepotism.
4 points: Monaco -Un banc, un arbre, une rue
There’s something about this that puts me off a bit. Perhaps it’s the fact that Sévérine‘s relentless belting makes it a bit unpersonal for me. Perhaps it’s the lyrics that are too pageantry. Or perhaps it’s the lalala’s towards the end, however effective they might be. Anyway it’s certainly not the winner in my book. But well done nonetheless.
5 points: Switzerland – Les illusions de nos 20 ans
Starting of with a bunch of lala’s that surprisingly did not manage to put me off but build a nice vibe. Sue has got a lovely voice and I love her pronounciation of the word monsieur, making it sound polite and reprimanding at the same time. Melancholy aplenty so right up my alley, from lyrics to instrumentation. Love it, and in a weaker year a sure contender for a top three spot.
6 points: Luxembourg – Pomme, pomme, pomme
Seriously, how can anybody NOT love this? Monique Melsen is the perfect choice for this silly ditty, too often put in the same league as Lulu and Co whilst being much more tongue in cheek. Granted, Melsen is not the best singer ever to have graced the Contest but fits the song well and this simply screams Dimi.
7 points: Sweden – Vita vidder
This one confuses me a bit. I’m not too keen on the chorus but I’m in love with the verses and the bridges. The baritone is impressive to say the least but the rest of the vocals are too much on the demure side. All in all it’s like a Bridges of Madison County version of ABBA, isn’t it? Hate the scarves by the way, makes them look like they just got off from their day job at Air Sverige. But a great atmosphere all in all.
8 points: Portugal – Menina
The first seconds are genius, with the brilliant backings setting the dramatic scene. But then we get the actual drama as Tonicha appears in that god awful dress. Looks like she swallowed a collection of oil-paint, got sick and barfed all over her dress. What would Michael Kors say? Nothing we’d care about come to think of it. It all takes too much attention away from the excellent song which is drenched in drama with lovely instrumentation. Tonicha sounds fantastic as well and this could have given the top two a run for their money had it not have been for the dress. Tsk, gays can be sooooo superficial!
10 points: Austria – Musik
Well I certainly did not see that coming. The intro is genius and I’m happy to hear it reappear in the chorus while Marianne Mendt gives it her all. I love the way she bends her voice in the strong parts and keeps it on the down low in the soft verses. She’s got a lot of power and often flirts with the edge but never goes overboard. Not too keen on the cheers towards the end, but by then I’d already been sold. The drama, the drama!
12 points: Netherlands – De tijd
Such a shame about those first seconds but those are soon forgotten by the time Saskia takes over. The woman sings divine and gives the medieval atmosphere even more dimension, supported well by Serge who covers the backing vocal more than adequatly. Everything blends beautifully and the Dutch lyrics are dreamy, with poetic diamonds such as (roughly translated) “and storms are built of breath, sigh by sigh”, “and those who’ve never shed a tear don’t recognize a real laugh” or “and anyone who wants to move faster only makes it twice as long”. Ethereal.
The wooden spoon goes to the insufferable Jack in the box for the UK which scored 25% in my book – all 25 of which went to Clodagh Rodgers‘ fantastic pink outfit. I loathe this.
So those pesky Dutch score their second win in a row, how dare they! Doesn’t seem like they will lose the top spot in my all time top ten anytime soon. Or will they?
1 Netherlands 102 (1970 – 1971)
2 United Kingdom 73 (1961 – 1965)
3 France 71 (1960)
4 Italy 70 (1958 – 1964)
5 Belgium 68 (1968)
6 Luxembourg 63 (1956 – 1967)
7 Germany 55 (1959)
8 Sweden 55
9 Finland 54 (1962)
10 Monaco 45
But something tells me we still have some French belting to survive…