Eurovision Review – 1980: Que le meilleur gagne

Posted: 04/11/2011 in Eurovision Song Contest Reviews

Well they hardly ever do, right? As we are entering the ’80s a crisscross of genres populates our beloved Contest so it gets even trickier to find the best one. Or easier, depends on what gets your juices flowing. I don’t think any field has been this diverse and the differences make for high highs and very low lows. It’s madness, madness I’m tellin’ ya!

Also madness is that giant tulip behind the local presenters from each country – I know the Dutch were/are always keen to emphasise one of their main trademarks (flowers…and other plants) but it’s perhaps not the most modern approach. Striking though that the Dutch guaranteed the existence of the Contest yet again by filling in for Israel due to financial reasons. Too bad they held the 1980 edition on a Jewish holiday so last year’s winner couldn’t even defend its title. Silly silly!

Overall I really like this year but I warn you that these next 2 paragraphs about the ones that lie at the bottom of the pool is quite extensive – there’s a lot to say after all. Let’s start with the elephants in the room, shall we? First off to Luxembourg which left me almost speachless. They have got to be joking, right? An omen if ever there was one, because even though the duo Siegel-Meinunger started off quite well this one shows just how deep they’ll sink in the years to come. The theme, the costumes, the idea: it’s all just so incredibly tasteless and irrelevant! It’s not even sung properly! The only right place for a pinguinman is a Batman movie by the way. Though sometimes real life even trumps fantasy as is proven by Norway. I’m all for promoting local culture, in my opinion one of the reasons for existence of Eurovision, but I’d like to think you’d want to present yourself in a proper and musically relevant way. There’s just no concept here, just a poppy song that happens to cross the path of some local chanting – it does not blend at all. Keep in mind that you’re trying to convince an international audience and this does not cross enough boundaries. Mattis Hætta is endearing yes, but does look and sound as if he’s just escaped from an isolation cell. Epic, but not the way they imagined it. Still, better to be remembered that way than confusing everyone to pieces, right Finland? That jazzpop piece is all over the place! Not that the direct opposite is any better: the Born Again Christians – pop from the UK makes me want to hurl. It’s all so righteous and standard! Well sung yes, but so bland! Too bland to fight against the other two happy group entries this year. And those shirts! Almost as bad as the entire Greek concept!

A tiny bit better would be Portugal, even though I don’t trust people with sunglasses on. José Cid really goes for it, but I get a bit of a casino feel with this. The false ending, a concept I’m not too keen on, works a bit clumsy and overall it’s really a bit pushy. Same sentiments for Italy come to think of it, where I kinda like the song but where Alan Sorrenti is responsible for the carcrash by ruining the low bits and scaring us off in the high parts. It doesn’t really come across at all. Hm, just realised I already covered almost half of the actual top ten, what were the juries thinking! Or eating! Or smoking!
Switzerland gives us the first Cabaret inspired song of the evening and Paola is a bit of a second hand Liza I’m afraid. It’s a Big Number, yes, but she’s not quite there yet and that tap sequence is too forced. And the only Moroccan entry ever is a bit forced as well but on an entirely different level. It’s a bit out of place, with its exotic sounds in both language and song. I like the flow very much and Samira Bensaid is simply lovely but I’m not sure choosing Moroccan over French was the best tactical move in this context.

There we go, out with anger in with love! Here are the lucky ten to receive points from the Dimivision jury:

1 point: Spain – Quedata esta noche

Intruiging start here, which promises a lot of drama – a good sign! It all derails with the men however, who are too beige for their own good, and the repeated start-stop excercise which takes out all tempo. The build-up could have been better, and so did the combination of the singers as Patricia Fernandez is just too powerful for her companions. Still, I like the dramatic vibe here.

2 points: Belgium – Eurovision

Same remark as Norway really but in an entirely different context: if you want to make a point, do it in a qualitative way! Not talking about the music which is nothing short of pioneering, nor the idea of making a parody. It’s simply about the singing which is excrutiatingly bad, on purpose perhaps but annoying nonetheless. I do love the dry manner in which they bring it, especially near the end with the glitter and the camera. Could have been great with a bit of tweaking.

3 points: Turkey – Pet’roil

My, this is a very specific sound isn’t it. Both the song ànd Ajda Pekkan. Love the way the orchestra fills up all the empty holes in the verses and sounds very full in the catchy refrain. Love the way Ajda, what a lovely name, adds an ooze of class to it. And love the way they tackled the political discussion of the year before. Secretly stunning and yet a bit of a weird experience.

4 points: Sweden – Just nu

Yes, mister Ledin, you’re a real tough cookie. Strike another pose, why don’t you. I get the rocky approach but there’s an awful lot of posing which makes it forced although I’m inclined to believe it in combination with the lyrics. I like the musical construction but I’m not terribly convinced by the soft bits that slow down the tempo. And the flute is a hoot!

5 points: Germany – Theater

Life is a Cabaret old chum! Or is it a Theater? The verses and bridges are lovely but the chorus is really grafted on the hit musical. Katja Ebstein does a marvellous job of course and is the perfect ringmaster, bar the aquamarine bow tie. Not too keen on the mimes of which there are too many, I feel only one would have been far more effective. All right, they scare the living daylights out of me, happy now? *drama*

6 points: Denmark – Tænker altid på dig

Obelix in Lapland, singing a happy song by the campfire while the village is roasting a boar. This is just so cute and happy, how can you not love this? The trio in the background is hilarious, the dungarees give it a real down-to-earth feel and give a simple song a quirky edge. Well sung and just lovely.

7 points: Austria – Du bist musik

A pinch of Dynasty in the beginning and the spacy effects in the chorus and I’m sold. Yes, the topic is a bit worn out but it’s just so catchy. Not terribly well sung and they all have the charisma of a tea-cosy (except for the frog eyed brunette) but it’s got a nice sway to it. In the hands of Israel this would have been genius.

8 points: France -Hé he m’sieurs dames

It starts off clumsy, and those glittery rainbows certainly don’t help that first impression, but as soon as the orchestra steps in and the two at the far right take care off the backing lines it becomes splendid. Not too keen on the ‘tututu’ bits though but I love the energy, cheesy as it may be. And how cute is the one on the right! A breath of fresh air in the ballad heavy French resume.

10 points: Netherlands – Amsterdam

Frantic eyes alert! The verses are lovely melancholic but the chorus is too circus and hoempapa for me, something Maggie McNeal manages to make me forget with her powerful performance. They try to make it a bit up to date with the addition of an electric guitar but it’s just a bit too oldfashioned for me to take the douze, though I love the orchestration.

12 points: Ireland – What’s another year?

A bit of an Anixi moment there in the bridge, where my knowledge fills in the blanks left by the saxophone player and/or sound mix. But otherwise this from another planet compared to the rest of the field. So drenched in emotions it’s almost palpable and the sob in Johnny Logan‘s voice is perfect. He sings it really well and that end note tops it all off perfectly. Too sad for the Contest almost but a very well deserved winner.

Imagine that, le meilleur a en effet gagné! Telex had a crystal ball!

The wooden spoon in my birth year goes to – after a close race with Norway – the insufferable Luxembourg.

That makes Luxembourg slide down to tenth place in the all time top ten, where Portugal and Ireland are knocking on the door:

1             Netherlands 127 (1970 – 1971)
2             France 116 (1960 – 1977)
3             Italy 104 (1958 – 1964 – 1978)
4             Germany 102 (1959 – 1975)
5             Belgium 102 (1968)
6             United Kingdom  90 (1961 – 1965)
7             Spain 85 (1973)
8             Finland 84 (1962 – 1979)
9             Sweden 78 (1974)
10             Luxembourg 76 (1956 – 1967)

A great start of a great decade!

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