Tomorrow night sees one of my favourite televisual highlights of the year – Eurovision.
Oh, don’t act so surprised. If you have been paying even the slightest bit of attention to this blog, you should know by now that I am not exactly a ‘manly man’, and I love crappy mindless TV, so Eurovision is perfect for me. ‘Ah’, I hear you almost certainly not cry, ‘but you also said that you detest musical theatre and ABBA, two things which surely epitomise everything that is Eurovision, do they not?’
And you would have a very good point, were it the case that I loved Eurovision for the music and theatrics. But I don’t. You see, I love Eurovision for one very good reason, and it’s one you may have overlooked – I like nothing more than taking the piss out of idiots.
Nothing, and I mean nothing on television this year, will be as widely open to ridicule as Eurovision will tomorrow night (even England’s performance in the upcoming Euros and TOWIE will pale into insignificance). It is, without fail, an utter car crash of annual entertainment and, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a personal injury solicitor. Car crashes are what we specialise in.
With each passing year, Eurovision becomes so far beyond ridiculous, that it has now been a parody of itself for at least a decade. And, while some might find the joke to be wearing thin, I relish the hilarious predictability and campness of it all.
For example, I know nothing of tomorrow night’s ‘competition’, beyond the fact it is taking place in Sweden (and I only know this, because I checked on Google a few days ago when I started writing this entry, and not because I recall them winning it last year). I cannot tell you whether their winning song was performed by a man, a woman, a group of men, a group of women, or a mixture. It could quite easily have been performed by a midget riding a pantomime horse for all I know.
Even worse (if, indeed, ‘worse’ is the right word), I have absolutely no idea who is representing the UK this year – not that I give a flying fuck, since it matters not one iota to my overall enjoyment of the show. For reasons which will shortly become clear to the uninitiated, despite Eurovision supposedly being a singing competition, the winner is in no way determined by which country has the best song or the best performance.
It is, in short, nothing more than a popularity contest. And, unfortunately for us Brits, it seems we’re not as popular in Europe as we like to think we are. Apparently, drinking to excess whilst on holiday, insisting on shouting loudly in our own language rather than learning any others, and invading countries or getting involved in their political shit without being asked to, has given us a reputation for being a bunch of arrogant twats. It seems we have dined out on the fact we saved the rest of Europe from speaking German, twice, for far too long. Ungrateful bastards.
Anyway, the point is, Eurovision has become so obvious, that I am willing to make the following six predictions now, a full 24 hours prior to the first note being struck (or, more accurately, the first time the ‘play’ button is pressed):
1. The presenters will be woeful
Every year, without fail (and no matter which country is hosting the event), the presenters are laughably hopeless. And I don’t mean ‘slightly rubbish’ either. It has got to the point where I genuinely believe the participating countries have got together, and set a challenge to see who can leave it the longest before choosing their presenters.
More often than not, there are so many instances of forgetting where they should be stood, speaking to the wrong camera, staring blankly into space, or making terrible jokes (even by mainland European standards), the presenters appear to have been dragged off the street, barely moments before the start of the show.
Estonia 2002: Michael McIntyre’s Estonian cousin, and a clueless horse-mouthed blonde dressed in wrapping paper
2. Everyone will try to sing in English….. apart from France
Whilst the rest of Europe clearly hates us, they do at least try to converse and sing in English throughout Eurovision, so that we Brits can understand what is going on and don’t feel excluded. They know we don’t do languages very well, and they try to accommodate this.
Everyone, that is, except the French. They are the only nation who always insist on singing in their own language and, worse, demanding that the presenters use it too, meaning that every introduction and segue has to be done twice, just to keep them happy. I swear this adds at least another half an hour onto an already lengthy show.
I’m not even certain the presenters can speak French anyway, as they always seem a little unsure, but unless they start asking the acts when their birthday is, or if they may please have a baguette s’il vous plaît, I’ll be none the wiser, and I suspect most of the UK will be the same.
France’s 2016 entry – Amir Haddad – being typically arty and French. I dislike him already.
3. At least one country will try to use sex to gain votes
Without a doubt, at least one country will try to appeal to the pervy nature of European men, by focusing less on the lyrics, ballads and uplifting anthems, and more on kissing, boobs and revealing outfits. It’s shameful, degrading and, worst of all, it always bloody works.
The ‘best’ (or worst, depending on your viewpoint) example of this in recent years, was Poland’s less-than-subtle attempt at ‘soft-porn Eurovision’ in 2014:
*shakes fist in disgust, whilst quietly adding to bookmarks*
Poland finished 14th that year, three places above the UK. We’re far too British to try a dirty tactic like this, and the closest we ever got to ‘sexy Eurovision’, was a brief glimpse of Cheryl Baker’s upper thigh in 1981.
4. There will be an old people novelty act
And, at the other end of the spectrum, are the acts featuring elderly people – who clearly have no idea where they are, let alone what they are meant to be singing. Remember Russia’s entry in 2012?
Nice buns, ladies.
This was an obvious attempt by Russia to try and get the sympathy vote, and it was entirely unethical. Then again, when were the Russians ever known for their strong ethics?
5. Questionable voting
For a supposedly good-natured singing competition, the voting system has now become so farcical, and so politically-influenced, that we could quite easily skip straight to the results each year, without having to listen through a few hours of crappy Euro-pop first.
I genuinely believe that there are now only a handful of countries (the UK included), who actually allocate their votes based on the music performed on the night. The vast majority will vote for their geographical neighbours and political allies, through fear of potentially upsetting someone and starting a war. Yes, some people do take Eurovision that seriously.
It’s laughable. What world leader, in their right mind, is realistically going to take offence and invade another country, purely because they received 10 points from them, and not 12, in a cheesy singing contest? The last time I checked, North Korea wasn’t part of Europe (and I think that’s something we can all celebrate).
I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who once quipped: “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain – except death, taxes and the fact that Greece and Cyprus will award each other 12 points at Eurovision”.
6. The UK entry will fail miserably
For many of the above reasons, regardless of how good our song is this year, the UK will fail to finish in the top half of the table come the end of the night. In all likelihood, we will be somewhere near the bottom. Politically, no one really likes us; we’re far too British to adopt underhand tactics; and we’re also far too ethical to use old people, children or boobs in order to try and gain votes.
It doesn’t matter what we do, or who represents the nation, we might as well not bother. We could form a super-group of Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Ian McKellen, Prince Harry and David Beckham, and we would still finish at the wrong end of the table come the end of the night.
Bizarrely, despite this, we continue to take the competition seriously.
So, Eurovision is ridiculously biased, badly presented, full of awful music (which makes no difference to the outcome) and it goes on for hours. Sounds terrible, right?
Which is why, a few years ago, I decided the best way to get through it would be to drink – heavily – whilst watching. I then chose to go on Facebook and start doing my own commentary as the competition progressed and I became more and more inebriated. To my amazement, people began joining in and, by the end of the evening, we had several hundreds of comments.
Such was the popularity of my ‘increasingly drunken commentary’ (as it came to be labelled), there were requests for me to repeat the commentary the following year and, as you might have guessed, I don’t need too much persuading the get drunk and slag off crappy TV.
Tomorrow night will see the fourth of these annual commentaries, and I genuinely love doing them. It is indeed a televisual highlight for me, despite being one of the worst things I could watch all year.
If you happen to be a friend of mine on Facebook, grab yourself a drink by 8pm tomorrow night, and join in the ‘fun’.