Saturday, February 12, 2011

One turkey was bad enough: now we've got two.

Friday 11th February 2011. So began a weekend packed with Eurovision action. Due to a change in my social arrangements I was able to follow the Irish national final on Friday night, although after about 5 minutes of it I realised that it was probably not such a good move. If the Dutch final a couple of weeks ago seemed low-budget, then that was nothing compared to this one: buried within the Late Late Show on a Friday night, not exactly peak-time Saturday night viewing was it???? Once upon a time, in the mid-90s to be precise, my three-quarters ancestral homeland, the Republic of Ireland, was once the home of Eurovision. In recent years however, Ireland has not exactly covered itself in glory at the Eurovision Song Contest, with only Brian Kennedy achieving a top 10 position since 2003.

Ironically, Mr Kennedy was one of the panel offering their comments on this year's crop of entries - and despite his pledge to be brutally honest, he fell into the trap of his fellow panellists (including Cheryl Baker) by offering praise where it really wasn't necessary....!

Song 1: "Talking With Jennifer" - Don Mescall
Imagine The Script fast-forwarded about 20 years and voila, you have "Talking With Jennifer". In retrospect it wasn't that bad actually, but on the night it just felt, well, old-fashioned and irrelevant.

Song 2: "Lipstick" - Jedward
Yes, those two from X Factor 2009, the irritating identical twins with, um, rather distinctive quiff-hairdos. Never have two people with so little talent gone such a long way and maximised their 15 minutes of fame, stretching it out to at least half an hour. Lyrics about "car crash" and "hit and run" sums it up really.

Song 3: "Shine On" - Bling
Oh dear oh dear. This took me back to possibly every UK Song for Europe competition between the 70s and 90s, such was its dated-ness. An embarrassing evening just got a million times worse.

Song 4: "Send Me An Angel" - The Vard Sisters
And it just got worse, with this year's contender for the 2011 "You Raise Me Up" inspirational award. I felt as if I'd been transported back to 1995, and not in a good way.

Song 5: "Falling" - Nikki Kavanagh
Finally, to a song by the Gladnikoff/Schilling contingent who have been responsible for a number of national final entries over recent years with varying degrees of success. Whilst "Falling" was arguably the most contemporary song on show in the Irish final, and Ms Kavanagh a strong vocalist, the whole thing came over like a Poundland version of "Drip Drop" and in addition, it possibly boasted the worst use of two backing dancers since any Melodifestivalen in the 1990s.

So then we had interminable debates, ad breaks, an interview with two former ESC presenters from the glory days - Cynthia Ní Mhurchú and Mary Kennedy - and an appearance by three-quarters of the original Bucks Fizz singing "Making Your Mind Up" which won Eurovision 30 years ago in Dublin. Suddenly jag känner mig väldigt gammal...anyway on to the voting which was split between the juries and the televote. It was very close for a while and the juries narrowly favoured Nikki, however despite it being long past their target audience's bedtime, Jedward triumphed in the televote which, when added to the jury scores, guaranteed them an absolute win in the competition, with their "Womanizer"-influenced song which, in the tradition of recent years' Irish entries, is co-written by Scandinavians.

On the plus side they do have a strong image, but....that's all really. Three years ago, Ireland sent Dustin The Turkey to Eurovision: now, in these hard times, with inflation soaring, they (appropriately) send two.


Raquelita said...

This has really confused me.I thought the point of Jedward was that they're "fun" and a bit of "family entertainment"- at least that's what they based their whole X Factor appearance on.But this song sounds like they're actually taking themselves seriously,which is a bit scary.I don't really like the song,but in the right hands (and with backing singers who can actually sing),you could see it as some filler entry in the final for Albania or someone.But this has to get eaten up in the semi-final doesn't it?! I can't really bear the thought of sharing the Esprit Arena with them- especially as we're sat near the front- I might be tempted to throw a chair at them or something!

Laura (EuropeCrazy) said...

I was going to say that they were even verging on professionalism...well maybe not. The backing singers will probably drown them out anyway. As for going to the final, it's probably too early to say, but I really fear for that poor chair ;)