It took them over 25 years but finally Germany managed to give us a herzlich willkommen from the metropole that is München. Eurovision was becoming slightly less of an influence on the contemporary music scene and started to exist in a bubble of its own so it seemed a bit of a crucial time for the evolution of the Contest. A date with destiny it seems, for the Contest ànd for some of the contestants…
I can’t say I’m all that impressed with the set-up for ’83, with that enormous and rather static backdrop. I see what they tried to do, it’s quite modern an sich but I prefer something diverse and more flexible. Plus it drew away a lot of the attention and took up a lot of space. Presenter Marlene Charell was charming enough but seemed to think it was The Great Charell Show. It wasn’t, my dear.
Over to the contestants then, amongst which we find a couple of faces that will prove to stand the test of time – for better or for worse. Of course there’s the inevitable Carola with her first of many attempts (in both ESC ànd Melodifestivalen). While I think her vocal talent is beyond recognition and she’s got a diamond throat (and please don’t take me for a fan which I am absolutely not but the evidence is just there for everyone to see) I fail to see the attraction in Främling. It sounds outdated, even for 1983, and the fact that this made top three tell us something about the mindset of the juries in those days – or perhaps they were just impressed by La Häggkvist of course. Something I can’t suspect with Spain’s Remedios Amaya I’m afraid. While I admire her confidence and think the musical build-up in Quién maneja mi barca is very interesting I simply loathe the way she sounds, to me she’s just out of tune the entire time. Another one that cannot be erased from the history pages is definitely the Turkish group Çetin Alp & The Short Waves with the chaotic Opera, three songs for the price of one. I really did not see it coming! A rather peculiar way of avoiding the language barrier.
Besides those and a couple of names in my top ten there was a lot of middle of the road stuff happening. The likes of Cyprus (boring), Austria (the outfits! the choreo! the wink!), Switzerland (just empty really) and Norway (do re mi fa *snore*) had nothing in store to excite me. Greece could have been great if they had kicked out the casino intermezzo by that sax and Germany could have made my top ten if it wasn’t for their ghastly outfits and insipid rhyming. So let’s see who did, here are the points of the Dimivision jury:
1 point: Yugoslavia – Džuli
Just for the sake of childhood memories really, as this was a hit in Belgium and it must be one of the first songs I can remember. Not too convinced by those high notes but it’s got this nice flow to it, a bit of a mix between country and carneval. Makes me happy really, without really thinking it’s thàt qualitative.
2 points: Italy – Per Lucia
Riccardo Fogli sounds a bit old in the verses but does a nice job in the chorus which has got a nice sway to it. Not a big fan of the Glockenspiel there! Very Italian and I man that in the nicest way possible. I really do!
3 points: France – Vivre
The nerdy version of Tom Cruise that is Guy Bonnet is back with some more heavy drama, sung with his fantastic voice. It’s a good idea to pull the female backing into it which softens the charged atmosphere which I can imagine might be a bit too much for some. As is the end note which I’d label Cheesy. But I like this.
4 points: Israel – Hi!
There they go again with the eternal prancing! Somebody make them stop! It just doesn’t fit this happy song and it drives me crazy. Ofra Haza is of course one of those timeless performers I was referring to at the beginning of this post with such a clear sound. Pure class this one but I’m afraid a bit wasted on this happy but rather empty song. Catchy yes, but empty.
5 points: Portugal – Esta balada que te dou
I seem to like that Portuguese hint of melody because I’m immediately swept away by the music. Enough to ignore those extra syllables in the title that weren’t supposed to be there. And the solo by the electric guitar that’s compeltely out of synch with the rest of the musical flow. And that awful haircut on Armando Gama.
6 points: Netherlands – Sing me a song
Good lord, how high does Bernadette commence here? She keeps it up all the way through so extra points from me. Too much fuss going on on her dress and I hate the way the song stops and starts a couple of times, I would have loved for this do just thunder on until the end. Could have been achieved, the canons were already there and give a nice bonus to the flow. I also like the ABBA-esque vibe here without being too obviously influenced.
7 points: United Kingdom – I’m never giving up
Fame! I wanna live forever! Those outfits are really dreadful (especially Carrie Grant‘s diaper) and distract from the happy poppy song, as do the barstools which I feel are too forced. With a bit of finetuning this could have been better, but I think they do a terrific job even if they are a bit too – here it comes – Star Academy for me when it comes to the rendition.
8 points: Luxembourg – Si la vie est cadeau
Now, while I think this is the wrong winner for this year because it seals the fate of Eurovision (another French ballad, give it rest already – the rest of us have moved on to the ’80s you know) I have to admit I can see why the juries went for it. It’s just so powerful! Hate the ending though. And Corinne Hermes clearly studied for hours in front of the mirror and gives a couple of forced hand gestures and head nods too many. And those pink vests on the male backings make them look like waiters.
10 points: Finland – Fantasiaa
Time to get my inner Craig Revel Horwood out and claim: fashion disaaaster darling. And what on earth is going with those side steps? Less is in fact more. The music is nothing short of fantastic and I love the smile and confidence on Ami Aspelund. Too bad Finnish sounds so out of this world for the rest of Europe. There is a solution though…
12 points: Belgium – Rendez-vous
…which is hardly including any lyrics at all. One of the timeless songs in the Eurovision universe for different reasons. It’s like mutiny really and I love the fact that it’s Belgium, the grey mouse in ESC, that’s thinking out of the box. The music is genius and whether you love it or hate it you can’t deny that it’s fascinating. And it sparks controverse, which is exactly what music is about: action and reaction. Little footnote: the blonde one (Hilde Van Roy) on the right appeared to be a professor at my college (though she never taught me) – a fact I found out the week before graduating. Bad fanboy! Didn’t even have the chance to tell her I loved the way they leaped into the image at the start! I’ll go punish myself now by listening to Främling over and over again, argh!
The wooden spoon goes to the wood elves from Denmark with the wannabe Blondie that is Gry and the wannabe The tide is high that is Kloden drejer.
A couple of changes in the all time top ten, where Luxembourg makes a surprise comeback at the cost of the Swedes who are by now disappointing me (surprisingly) and I’m stunned by my top 2 – never realised how patriotic I really am (though I’m sure that’ll change soon enough):
1 Netherlands 133 (1970 – 1971)
2 Belgium 121 (1968 – 1983)
3 France 119 (1960 – 1977)
4 Germany 110 (1959 – 1975)
5 Italy 106 (1958 – 1964 – 1978)
6 United Kingdom 97 (1961 – 1965)
7 Finland 94 (1962 – 1979)
8 Spain 88 (1973)
9 Portugal 86 (1972)
10 Luxembourg 84 (1956 – 1967)
Curious to see whether the ’84 edition will be as laughable as the last time Luxembourg organised it in ’73!