Review: Eurovision 2016

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Image Courtesy of Eurovision

I’ll level with you. After a few drinks, it was suggested that the liveblog during the voting stage of the Eurovision Song Contest didn’t make sense. But neither did the sober, reputable coverage of the contest. Australia – the country most synonymous with Europe – almost won, which didn’t seem like the most popular of outcomes. But then it was decided that Ukraine won.

Of course, it wasn’t that black and white. Nothing ever is monochrome at Eurovision. The hot topic of this year’s Eurovision was the thrilling one of the voting logistics. For the first time in Eurovision history, two separate votes were cast and awarded. Previously, the jury vote and public vote were combined to distribute scores from 1-8, 10 & 12 to the best countries. Now both votes gave separate points, so theoretically double points were on offer compared to last year. I told you it was exciting.

All this revolution did though, was make the whole thing incredibly confusing. Ukraine did not win either the public or jury vote, but scored highly enough in both to overhaul Russia and Australia, who topped the public and jury tables respectively. Aside from the bewildering new form of democracy imposed on us, there was actually some music.

Ukraine’s winning song wasn’t really about the music though, it couldn’t possibly be that simple. It’s well documented the animosity between them and Russia, coming to boiling point with Russia’s occupation of the Crimea in 2014. So what language was the victorious song partially sung in? Crimean Tatar. I’d hardly call it an explicit statement, but the symbolic value of the win will surely mean more.

Russia’s song wasn’t anything special, but it was the impressive stage performances of Sergey Lazarev and his special effects wall that seemed to captivate viewers. As for Australia’s song? It was a nice little pop number I guess, but I’m definitely in the camp of opposing the Oceanic country’s participation in Europe’s singing contest. Call me grumpy, but it kind of defeats the point. It’d be like Peru winning the Africa Cup of Nations.

The United Kingdom yet again managed to disappoint, finishing all the way down in 24th, the only silver lining being that we managed to beat Germany. Joe & Jake’s You’re Not Alone was incredibly run of the mill, as have most of our entries have been of late. You could simply accuse me of being bitter because I got the duo in our sweepstake, and you’d be right.

Unfortunately, Eurovision has become rather stale recently, and there were no bizarre performances that really made you question the concept of sanity. There were of course the weird stage arrangements like Israel’s weird circus spinners (forgive me for my lack of technical terms), and the over-the-top dresses and outfits, but the songs were fairly average.

Belgium’s funked-up version of Another One Bites the Dust was a stellar little number, but only finished 10th. The Netherlands again tried to juxtapose the electro-ballads with another country song, but Douwe Bob’s Slow Down couldn’t do what The Common Linnets managed last year, when the duo finished a surprising 2nd. For some strange reason, the United Kingdom’s jury decided to award the maximum 12 points to Georgia’s seizure inducing rock song Midnight Gold, which sounds more like a blend of coffee than a Eurovision song.

I suppose that’s the beauty of Eurovision though. You still don’t know what’s going on. Even if that’s because of a messy voting system rather than downright absurdity this year.