And finally, twelve points go to… Nah, I’ll save that one for the end of this article if you don’t mind but I just wanted to emphasise the biggest change ever to the Contest – and in the meantime one of its main trademarks. Twelve points, douze points, tolv poäng: thàt’s what you want to hear during the voting, is it not? So that’s the voting procedure finally sorted. Now let’s see what damage ABBA has done, if any!
Having known only the winners of the Eurovision Song Contest before I decided to blog every single one of them I assumed that with a winner like Teach-In right after ABBA the influence of the Swedish quartet was enormous. Imagine my surprise when I got to the end of the ’75 contest and had only spotted one entry that vaguely resembled the previous winner – incidentally its successor. Not that it was absolutely necessary for me, on the contrary I like some diversity in the field, but I was flabbergasted to see and hear so many countries keep things quite traditional. I must have overestimated ABBA’s short term effect.
A lot of countries gave us the same receipe that had already reared its ugly head during the years before and somehow got to be a standard: moody interesting verses that are completely overshadowed by a clashing cheery flat chorus. I don’t get it, to me a song needs to be one harmonious idea and not two pieces that definitely won’t ever fit in the same puzzle. Luxembourg, Switzerland, Portugal & Sweden: I’m especially talking to you. I won’t even begin to discuss Monaco, whose Sophie claimed that a song is a letter. If that’s the case I’d rather get an e-mail, thanks. Other countries stood out for different reasons. Finland went for the country feel by giving us an Old-man fiddle but got lost along the way and ended up with a bunch of banjos. Needed a bit of spice, the likes of Alexander Rybak (who hadn’t even been born, I know) would have done this a world of good. Still, better than Malta I have to say, who finally showed their true colours after two rather demure entries. It takes a lot of guts to try and pull off that outfit (nobody ever could) and that terribly simplistic song. It’s all a bit clumsy, a bad omen if ever there was one.
Not my favourite contest ever I have to admit. Not only on a musical level but organisational as well. The backdrop is boring, the camera work could have been better and the idea of having a group of backing singers on stand by for countries that couldn’t/didn’t want to bring their own would have been OK had they not been dressed in the same boring Sister Act outfit every single time. I expected better from the Swedes, but perhaps the local commotion (a protest against ESC and its worldly commercial influence) left its marks. But without further ado, let’s see who made it to Dimivision’s top ten!
1 point: Israel – At ve’ani
Schlomo Artzi looks like Cliff Richard’s little brother but still has a way to go in terms of working the stage and camera’s. I quite like the song but the orchestra doesn’t seem to be able to keep up and it all leaves me with a feeling there could’ve been done a lot more with this. Still, a nice flow and after three attempts it’s very clear Israel is an impressive addition to the contest.
2 points: Belgium – Gelukkig zijn
Now this is a real classic over here and Ann Christy is a legend, partly due to her tragic life story but mostly due to her incredible sound. She does an impeccable job here vocally but she comes across a bit awkward for me with all the arm gestures – especially when she places her hands on her loins at the line “this feeling I get from you”. Ok ok, perhaps I’m taking it too far but I was surprisingly a bit underwhelmed by this.
3 points: United Kingdom – Let me be the one
Right, I absolutely HATE the ‘tonight, tonight’ bit, at the start as well as the end. But. The Shadows do a great job and give you the feeling they’re a group that knows what it’s doing, unlike some of the cometition (looking at you, Malta!). I like the very British way in which Bruce Welch recovers from forgetting a line at the beginning. Not the most dynamic entry ever, but a solid one and I certainly prefer this to any of the UK’s childish themes.
4 points: France – Et bonjour à toi l’artiste
Et bonjour à toi, Nicole Rieu. The close-up at the beginning was not the best of choices, wonky eye and overly curly hair alert! Together with the fragile vocals it completely misguides us until the chorus starts and you realise she’s actually singing this VERY well. I love the vocal interaction with the backings and the musical build-up towards the end, and this could’ve finished higher had it had less of a catholic hymn feeling to it.
5 points: Turkey – Seninle dir dakika
Again a new flavour to the Contest and a very nice one at that. I adore the first seconds of the song which immediately set the dramatic mood and Semiha Yanki does a great job in reinforcing the mood with her interpretation. It’s almost a crossover between Un jour, un enfant and De troubadour, which could’ve been a bit heavy at hand. I can understand Europe had to get used to this new vibe but a last place is incredibly undeserved. Unless they only had eye for that terrible outfit.
6 points: Netherlands – Ding-a-dong
As one of the only songs with a fitting concept from A to Z I can completely understand why this has won. It’s just so infectious! But. Those outfits are just a trainwreck, starting with Getty Kaspers shirt and ending with the sci-fi like suits for the band. I think the lyrics are awful as well (and the line “maybe it’s a big hit” on top) and Getty really isn’t the best singer of the bunch. But it ís infectious.
7 points: Norway – Touch my life with summer
A Bendik Singer again, this time on her own – let’s call her the Frida one instead of Ellen Nikolaysen! She sings, not really a surprise, fantastic but she’s got her work cut out for her with this fickle composition. It varies from threatening to soft to moody to sweet and is too all over the place to make the impression it could have if they’d only stuck to one idea. But I do like it somehow.
8 points: Italy – Era
Finally a song with one idea that’s very well executed. Mid-tempo is a bit of an odd choice I feel, but the chorus works extremely well. The low sounds of Wes Ghezzi and the sharp soprano that is Dori Ghezzi blend together beautifully but in the verses I feel Dori does not stand too well on her own. I also feel this could’ve done with a better ending but the total package is certainly one of the best this year.
10 points: Spain – Tu volveras
Without knowing Sergio & Estíbaliz had been part of Mocedades I already wanted to write down how much this reminded me of Eres tu – thank God for Wikipedia so I don’t make a fool of myself! Not that this song is a copy-paste version but it does have the same soft sugary feel to it and I love her voice. I even think Sergio is a bit redundant really, he should have joined the group of backing singers. Lovely dreamy, and the only point of criticism to come to mind would be her outfit which screams Pocahontas.
12 points: Germany – Ein Lied kann eine Brücke sein
Not the most controversial of choices amongst fans I suspect. How the hell did this only get to 17th place? The song itself is perhaps not the most brilliant one ever written, and I personally think the title is simply shit but this live rendition is a lot better than the studio version with the orchestra giving it all. And of course there’s Joy Fleming herself, firing on the orchestra and the backings with unseen passion and drive. She was never going to be miss Germany really, but she’s a sure contender for miss Eurovision with that amount of power. Unparalleled.
And the wooden spoon goes to the very plain and boring song from Ireland. And I detest their blue suits.
So a second German win which prevents them from tumbling out of my all time top ten, while Italy and Spain move up at the cost of UK and Finland:
1 Netherlands 110 (1970 – 1971)
2 Italy 88 (1958 – 1964)
3 United Kingdom 86 (1961 – 1965)
4 France 83 (1960)
5 Belgium 79 (1968)
6 Sweden 74 (1974)
7 Spain 72 (1973)
8 Luxembourg 71 (1956 – 1967)
9 Germany 70 (1959 – 1975)
10 Finland 66 (1962)
Long ways to go yet, though!