Eurovision Review – 1978: The best seat in the house

Posted: 30/10/2011 in Eurovision Song Contest Reviews

After the disappointment that was 1977 we at least got the consolidation of being welcomed in Paris in the spring of 1978. Paris has to be my favourite city in the world (of those I’ve already visited) and the introduction movie, filled with the most beautiful buildings and places in the city, filled my heart with joy. Not an easy challenge, as I was in a really foul mood due to a situation at work. Contestants beware!!

The French were clever in swapping Cannes for Paris but they made some rather odd choices when it comes to the practical execution. I love the basic concept of the stage, which is a rudimentary version of the lay-out we saw in recent years, although the lighting is really off in some places. And then you have that giant seat on stage, holding the entire orchestra which is just very odd to see – even though it provides a certain dynamic it is really distracting. Biggest hick-up in the entire set-up however are the introduction movies, where all contestants enter the dullest lift ever before appearing on stage. This is unworthy of such an international event I say!

Amongst those contestants, 20 in total which makes up for the largest bunch to date, we welcome back Denmark and Turkey. Next to my wooden spoon (see the end of the article) aka last place a couple of countries needn’t have bothered showing up for me however. The United Kingdom was once again very off track, this time pulling a circus theme out of their hat. That includes ludicrous outfits, yes. Just when you thought they had indeed hit ‘rock bottom’. The Portuguese did not manage to convince me either, with their eternal swaying to an empty chorus while emphasising their bat-like dresses. There were of course a couple of countries who got lost in Eurovision’s past and went for outdated melodies (France, Monaco, Sweden), while others got inspired by well known colleagues. We got a bleak version of Simon & Garfunkel from Austria and a Greek parody on Cabaret. What good is singing about Charlie C. when we don’t understand? And let’s not forget Jahn Teigen, the erratic ADD patient who had simply beautiful verses that got ruined by a baffling chorus. A worthy nil pointer, although one of his competitors did worse for me.

Not the recovery I would have liked after 1977, but a decent enough year in the end. Here are the points of the Dimivision jury:

1 point: Turkey – Sevince

First off, Nilüfer is wearing what must be the worst dress ever in the history of the Contest. It’s an oversized nighty which makes her look like a dwarf – nay little person – and doesn’t do her image any good. I feel she’s too present and it’s a clever idea to integrate her in the Nazar group so it comes across more poised, even though in the end it’s all a bit too chaotic. But strangely ok, thanks to the strings.

2 points: Belgium – L’amour ça fait chanter la vie

I’m always a bit baffled when I realise we came second with this as I feel this is not really the most impressive representative we’ve had. There’s a modest melancholy to it that makes me dream a bit but I still find it too traditional to give me goosebumps all over. Jean Vallée is a great performer but feels a bit old skool and he still sounds as if he’s 52 even though he’s a mere 28. Still outclasses the similar entries from France, Monaco and Sweden by miles.

3 points: Switzerland – Vivre

For someone who claims she wants to live life to the fullest Carole Vinci‘s struggling too much to convince I’m afraid. It’s all very sugary and sweet, I again adore the strings, but also sadly a bit middle of the road. A bit of pepper please!

4 points: Denmark – Boom boom

My toes start to curl at the first notes so I really have to clinch my teeth until the first chorus comes before I start to review – and it’s worth it. I actually quite fancy a bit of countrypop and they have the right approach: it’s not silly at all but rather a drawn out campfire song and plays out the tongue-in-cheek feel well. Are you reading this, UK? A nice comeback from the Danes!

5 points: Luxembourg – Parlez-vous français?

Yes sir, they can boogie! In the same feel as their two big hits and the Baccaras really deliver: they sing well live and I adore the dancing. But. How ironic is that title? My mother tongue is Dutch and I admit my French isn’t parfait all the time, although I do need it on a daily basis here in Belgium, but even I get cold shivers down my spine from their accent. They are simply incomprehensible at times and that’s their downfall. Better to have done it in Spanish me thinks!

6 points: Germany – Feuer

Now I’m not Irene Sheer‘s biggest fan. I find her a bit plastic to be honest, but she does a great job with this intriguing piece of drama. I adore the opening sequence with the spacy effect and the build-up of the music. Irene’s a bit sharp at times but does a good job and at least sings without accent unlike her previous attempt. And is that the very first reveal-striptease we saw? Somebody call the fire brigade!

7 points: Netherlands – ‘t Is OK

A bit of a lame choice to avoid the language rules, including OK in the title. But it’s just so damn happy and catchy! I love the waterfall effect in the music and the way the strings take over the chorus. Harmony sounds quite harmonious indeed, even though the female voice is a bit too loud in the sound mix during the chorus. And the one on the right with the moustache outgays every single one of us, including Deen. Love it.

8 points: Israel – A ba ni bi

As a teenager this was one of my favourite melodies amongst those early Eurovision sounds and I’m a bit disappointed with this live rendition to be honest. The exciting musical feeling does not translate at all live for me – is it because the percussion is too loud in the mix? The climax from the studio version lacks a bit of power as well. But Izhar Cohen is in a class ofits own obviously, with amazing vocal power, and with Israels track record so far a victory was imminent and I still love this.

10 points: Spain – Bailemos un vals

Right, you’ll think I’ve lost my marbles and yes I realize just how trivial this can sound for some. But this just makes me laugh every single time I play it. With José Velez in all his conviction and with his tooth paste smile, the slightly faulty backings and the happy percussion I simply can not help but love this. Très Dimi!

12 points: Italy – Questo amore

What can I say, I’m just a sucker for that beautiful Italian vibe! A pity they sound as if they’ve never sung together before getting on stage here but it does not take away from the beautiful musicality in the song. The build-up is simply brilliant and very Eurovision and still a bit offits rocker in some places – take the end for example which is a bit roughly constructed after such a great melody. But I could listen to it over and over again.

The wooden spoon for the last place goes to the leprechaun on coke from Ireland. Awful.

A third win for Italy, well done! This of course shakes up my all time top ten quite firmly, where UK keeps sliding down unlike the surprises that are Germany and Spain.

1             Netherlands 117 (1970 – 1971)
2             Italy 104 (1958 – 1964 – 1978)
3             France 101 (1960 – 1977)
4             Belgium 97 (1968)
5             Germany 91 (1959 – 1975)
6             United Kingdom  86 (1961 – 1965)
7             Spain 82 (1973)
8             Luxembourg 76 (1956 – 1967)
9             Sweden 74 (1974)
10            Finland 72 (1962)

Let’s undertake a Reise nach Jerusalem, shall we?

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