Where’s Harrogate indeed! Wrapped in that typical fantastic British humor lies a very to the point question: what the hell? Surely there must be more attractive places in a wonderful country like the UK? Or at least one with a big enough location to provide a stage that’s provides sufficiant space? Not a patch on the Irish the year before I’m afraid, and a lot of countries were clearly counting on a bit of room for movement!
The age of the ballad has clearly come to an end with only three out of eighteen not being up-tempo, which ironically meant the age of the ballad wasn’t over at all as they, and particularly one of them, eventually stood out from the crowd because of it. We were submerged in dazzling choreographies and busy ideas, no wonder a girl with a sugarsweet ballad-with-a-message managed to sweep the trophee from under their noses.
Though I have to say I’m not too fond of Nicole‘s song and performance. It all feels too calculated and sterile, I like my dish with a bit more spice. And a bit less world peace. Germany was long overdue for a victory but in my opinion they’ve got a couple of gems who deserved it far more than this one. But I understand. Though she does bleat instead of vibrate.
There were far worse attempts of course. Switzerland gave us the robot that is Arlette Zola, with a song that must have the worst chorus to date. Songs like these are responsible for the negative image of the Contest, with old fashioned hoempapa that makes me break out in red spots. The UK didn’t deliver either, with the overexcited duo Bardo that seemed to audition for a bad version of Glee. The move were they sit down on hands and knees and start to shake at the start of the song is simply not ok. The entire thing really annoys me basically. Much like Denmark, the prototype of uncool despite the leather pants and bright colours. Luxembourg (dead hair) and Sweden (a young Bettan and a skinny Kiki!) on the other hand were so dull I even forget they’re existing as I’m typing this. And dear Netherlands: worst wink ever.
But enough negativism! Let’s see who did manage to convince me, here are the points of the Dimivision jury:
1 point: Israel – Hora
Receiding hairline alert! Avi Toledano and his group of ever prancing backings come straight from the Kibbutz and give us that typical Israeli sound we’ll hear much more of in the years to come. The non-stop jumping makes me very nervous and the song itself is a bit too repetitious but mister Toledano certainly knows how to find the notes.
2 points: Yugoslavia – Halo, halo
Weirdest pants ever. Too bad for them the Portuguese backings wore the same and they got on first. But I’ll have one anyway, thanks. Dee Wallace‘s sisters and their Hobbit like friend with the bouncy curls are almost as nonchalant as their little song, sjubiduwapping their way through the simple but slightly weird choreography. This does have a nice ring to it but is a bit too simple to end up higher I’m afraid.
3 points: Spain – El
Now wouldn’t you knock that dancing couple off stage? There’s no space to begin with and they distract too much from Lucia and her fabulousness. Her love interest is a bit too theatrical for me as well, it’s Spain’s classic mistake of wanting to do too much. Then again, they are passionate people and Lucia translates that very well. I love her attitude and posture which fit the dramatic atmosphere. She sings fantastic even though at times she sounds as if she’s reached the top of her range. But so endearing!
4 points: Austria – Sonntag
How ironic is that name? Because it really is kind of a Mess. Pinching myself every time I see this. They are perhaps the most pumped up performers I have ever seen, perhaps even too much so. He’s just an inch away from head-butting her in excitement and is really too gay for words. And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse they start kicking and swaying any way they can. So retarded it’s fab again. Es geht richtig los ja!
5 points: Turkey – Hani
From one pumped up performance to another. Neco really goes for it and inspires the orchestra, which goes over the top near the end in the brass section. I simply hate the green lighting which distracts enormously but I love everything else about this. Fantastic rendition in an incredible high tempo.
6 points: Belgium – Si tu aimes ma musique
You’d never tell Stella is Dutch by her accent which is flawless, so a great start. I adore the verses which are very modern and moody but I’m a bit let down by the somewhat flat chorus. She sings and sells it well, but did she really have to dip herself in lace? Not the best marketing for Belgium I fear. But what a class act she is anyway.
7 points: Ireland – Here today, gone tomorrow
As a child of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman generation I can’t help but love this. It’s just so Bananarama! I’m betting the girls are only in it to fulfill the little boy’s dream of one day standing on the Eurovision stage. Loving the yellow outfit, not too convinced by the blue ones. And the choreography’s a bit forced as well. But I love it.
8 points: Cyprus – Mono i agapi
It’s quite a shock to know how she’ll return 24 years later when you see and hear this Greek angel with dito voice! Miles better than her 1980 attempt and lovely in all its simplicity. Anna Vissi is a real class act and the song is just beautiful. Could’ve done with a signature end note though.
10 points: Portugal – Bem bom
The first time I watched this I was just flabbergasted. Isn’t this outrageous in every possible way? It’s almost Japanese with those outfits and wigs and the dance and the bass and the HEYs. Slightly demented and simply quintessential Eurovision. Viva Doce!
12 points: Norway – Adieu
Bless his heart. After his disastrous attempt in ’78 Jahn Teigen is clearly nervous about getting a repeat result but he needn’t worry. I love this in all its simplicity and their interaction is really cute. His nerves strangely give this an extra dimension and make me all weak in the knees. Hate his sweater though but I’m glad Anita Skorgan is sitting at the piano so I don’t have to look at her eyebrows all the time and she definitely delivers the best vocal performances of all her zillion attempts. The lyrics are fragile and almost poetic and I love the fact it’s the bare essential, no forced repetition or extra lines. Almost magical.
The wooden spoon for the last place goes to Finland which deservedly got a fat zero from the judges as well. So out of tune, so shouty. Not rock’n roll at all, just AWFUL. When they get it right they’re fab, when they get it wrong it’s really hopeless.
Again no points for the leader in the all-time top ten but in the absence of France nothing really changes drastically. Lovely to welcome Portugal though, I’ve got a hunch they’re here to stay. They bump out Luxembourg, which I fear will never return again:
1 Netherlands 127 (1970 – 1971)
2 France 116 (1960 – 1977)
3 Germany 110 (1959 – 1975)
4 Belgium 109 (1968)
5 Italy 104 (1958 – 1964 – 1978)
6 United Kingdom 90 (1961 – 1965)
7 Spain 88 (1973)
8 Finland 84 (1962 – 1979)
9 Portugal 81 (1972)
10 Sweden 78 (1974)
Wait, is that the sound of a windmachine I hear? Oh no!!