Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Eurovision - complications and casulaties

Emelie of Denmark - in from the woods
I am a little bit upset with Eurovision which took place over the weekend. Not as upset as Vladimir Putin but upset nonetheless. Not because of the song that won - Denmark took it by storm it with a very strong entry by a beutiful young girl with a surprisingly strong voice and a dress that implied she had been found wandering around in the woods.

For those that do not know Eurovision is a song contest where the nations of Europe each send in a song and the best one wins. There are some non-European nations that compete as well and I must admit that I do not know how that came to be. It does not matter anyway as the objective is to have fun watching song and dance routines, sung live from a stadium in the country of the previous year‘s winner.

I will not go into too much detail but there are so many countries competing that there are now two semi-finals held the week before the actual competition. Five nations do not have to take part in in the runner up as they have secure seats in the final competition. This is due to the disproportionate amounts they contribute to the financing of the whole spectacular. These five countries are Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. All others are subject to downsizing if their songs do not charm the voters, a necessity in order to keep the number of songs in the final competition in check.

Eyþór of Iceland - one foreign commentator mentioned that you can't go wrong with the sexy Jesus look 
Voting is done after the songs have run their course and is the cause of my displeasure. As well as that of Vladimir Putin. Turns out that the votes the public cast via their cell phones don’t seem to count very much if at all. The end result per country is supposedly up to a jury which make their decisions the day before the competition, which is ridiculous. Not only are we voting for nothing but also the five countries that are not in the semi-finals have never stepped on stage when the jury decides. No wonder they always do poorly.

The most exciting part of Eurovision is when the votes are announced, country by country. It is a time of very strong nationalist feeling as you get upset at the nations that do not vote for your country and even more so if they got a vote and did not reciprocate. How dare they? I thought they were our friends? But it passes and is just an added spice to the whole glimmering spectacle. Unless your name is Putin and you gave Azerbaijan ten points and got none back.
Russian songstress Dina - counting the points she expected from Azerbaijan
Russia usually does well in the contest. They always get lots of points from countries from the former Soviet Republic and all neighbouring countries as well. But although it is easy to assume a big conspiracy involving pointing of nuclear warheads and severed gas pipelines, in the same vein Iceland almost always gives their 12 points to Denmark, Norway, Sweden or Finland. Here I would be extremely surprised if it had to do with any corruption or hidden agenda, for that we are not clever enough schemers. The most likely explanation is regional taste.

But Azerbaijan is now in the steam cooker. A formal investigation into what happened has been launched by the justice department, just five minutes after Putin phoned to vent his extreme displeasure and request Azerbaijan explain what it was about the Russian song or songstress they found displeasing. The investigation so far has shown that polls before the competition showed that the Azerbaijan people really liked the Russian song and that the public voting on the evening of the competition amounted to ten points for Russia. But the jury gave none. I am sure some of the countries that did get points from Azerbaidjan and are outside of Putin’s political reach can expect jury members to show up soon as asylum seekers.

Cezar from Romania - Dracula in Sequins (great song though)
My favourite song was the one from Romania, the runner up favourite was the song from Norway. Iceland gave Romania 8 points and Norway 10. Denmark got our golden 12. No one fainted from surprise. Usually the Icelandic announcer says: And the 12 points from Iceland go to our friends in Denmark – which is a bit embarrassing as there is always the grumbling about the Scandinavian block and the Eastern block in the competitions aftermath. See what I mean about bad scheming prowess?

But Eurovision is not only dramatic in Azerbaijan this year. On a personal note I managed to break a rib in the festivities when one of my party guests was fooled by the performers on TV into thinking dancing was a synch. He realised too late that this was not the case, to be precise while trying to turn me in circles while himself doing the pirouette. He fell and took me down with him and now my side aches every time I breathe. I never realised I breathed so frequently. Must be a tick.
Belarus - probably what my dance partner was aiming for, forgetting he had no helper
I was reminded that at our party three years ago my daughter broke her arm while rollerblading after the competition finished. She probably tried to dance while at it. And my best friend had to leave in an ambulance last year after falling on the floor and splitting her head open. She was not trying to dance. Just trying to stand up. Icelandic alcohol sales go up by over 50% for the Eurovision weekend.

I am just thankful Eurovision is not an ice dancing competition. The fall would have been ever so much worse had I been suspended above the guy’s head when he fell.

Yrsa - Wednesday  


  1. Yrsa, I suggest you wear ice hockey equipment to next year's 12-for-Denmark vigil. Hopefully you're better by next weekend, for I hear Stan has some dance moves planned involving a sheep's head and its purveyor.

    By the way, thanks for explaining why the streets of Mykonos were virtually empty those weekend nights, but I must admit it still surprises me why folks would stay inside to see a lone Dracula in sequins on TV when there are literally flocks of them wandering about in the flesh on the streets there every night. Go figure.

  2. I will be fine (as long as I don't breathe) - and I have to go to Mykonos.

  3. Glad I'm not the only MIE blogger with Eurovision issues! We used to party with beer from every participating country... enough said really.

  4. Yrsa, you managed to make me laugh out loud at your description of your broken rib. But I am sorry you're hurt. I promise not to hug you too hard when I see you in Bristol.