Review: Eurovision Song Contest

Emmelie de ForestThe 58th Eurovision Song Contest took place in Malmo on Saturday night with 26 countries vying for the crown in a spectacular Grand Final. Hosting nation Sweden infused the slickly staged proceedings with true Eurovision pedigree and an arch sense of humour. 

Denmark, the bookies’ favourite, triumphed with Only Teardrops, performed by 20-year old Emmelie de Forest.  The simple folk-pop song finished at the top of the leader board with 281 points and received full marks from UK judges.

Last year’s hosting nation Azerbaijan missed out on taking the show back to Baku, placing second with power ballad Hold Me. It featured what seemed to be a slightly confusing love triangle involving singer Farid Mammadov, a lady in red, and a man in a perspex box.

Romania divided opinion with Cezar and the Eurodance/opera fusion number It’s My Life.  The counter-tenor’s high pitched vocal stylings and strange vampiresque staging certainly made the song stand out, so if you’re going to YouTube to look for bizarre entries from this year’s crop,  this is the one.

Attention grabbing didn’t bring a win for Finland either, whose Marry Me (performed by Krista Siegfrids) had seemed destined for greater things.  The Katy Perry-esque performance featured Krista in her wedding dress, a chorus with a ‘ding-dong’ refrain (surely always a good thing at Eurovision?) and a kiss with a female backing singer.  Unfortunately the highly infectious pop track stalled in third from last place.

Bonnie Tyler

Bonnie Tyler

Elsewhere, the Ukrainian entrant was inexplicably carried on stage by a giant while Moldova’s representative was upstaged by her astonishing dress that rose metres into the air. There were more mash-ups as traditional Greek music was mixed with ska and performed by men in kilts giving the financially beleagured nation a respectable sixth finish with Alcohol Is Free.

Noughties dance giants Cascada failed to light up the scoreboard for Germany with Glorious while Ireland’s Ryan Dolan bafflingly finished last with a strong slice of Euro-pop, Only Love Survives.

The United Kingdom’s Believe in Me,  performed by eighties soft rock queen Bonnie Tyler, hovered worrying close to the very bottom of the scoreboard at times but thankfully pulled itself to 19th place.  It’s hardly a return to those heady days of Bucks Fizz and Katrina and the Waves but there is hope.  After last year’s second from last position we’re at least heading in the right direction!

Words: Russell Iliffe, PRS for Music