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The Eurovision Song Contest is an occasion to treasure

If you have plans for Saturday, cancel them

By on Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Paradise Oskar of Finland performs a global warming-themed song at a Eurovision semifinal this week (AP photo/Martin Meissner)

Paradise Oskar of Finland performs a global warming-themed song at a Eurovision semifinal this week (AP photo/Martin Meissner)

Some years ago, just after touching down in Guadalajara, Mexico, I was asked what I thought of Sarah Brightman. I had heard of the lady, knew she had been married to Andrew Lloyd Webber, and that she had in the dim and distant past had something of a career as a pop star and dancer. What I did not know was that La Brightman was a huge star in Mexico, her concerts widely anticipated events, which regularly filled venues the size of Wembley stadium.

Something similar had happened to me in Beirut where I once spent an evening listening to Samantha Fox’s Greatest Hits.

In the Middle East Ms Fox is a serious artiste, and not known for anything else.

I mention this because it drives home a very simple point. Tastes in pop music are very localised. And just to prove that point, here comes the Eurovision Song Contest 2011. Once more we shall all be delighted by this truly staggering celebration of musical diversity.

In Britain we are (well, most of us are) blessed with a sense of irony, so the Contest is something of an occasion to treasure. Last year there were some superb live blogs of the event. So, if you have planned anything for this Saturday, now is the time to throw over that plan in favour of a night in with the telly and the computer.

This year – and I apologise if this seems a familiar assertion – it is said that the Royaume Uni stands a good chance of winning. This almost certainly means that it is going to be an evening of national humiliation. The group flying the flag for Britain is Blue and you can see their performance here.

The song is entitled “I can”, which may sound like a hollow joke by Sunday morning.

British viewers traditionally vote for the Irish entry, which this year is Jedward. You can hear these winsome performers here, if you really want to.

Malta has already been knocked out, so I am uncertain whom to vote for this year. The only song I thought had any merit, actually, was the Finnish entry, which is about global warming, amazingly. There are no funky costumes, just a rather sweet song. I expect it will win a resounding nul points.

  • Annie

    We’re having popcorn to celebrate. As the joke goes, ‘What’s blue and can’t sing?’ Nul points is a badge of honour.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    Way to go, Annie! Celebrate diversity!

  • Anonymous

    My kids are still crying foul for 2007 – reckoning the Ukrainian drag act should have won

    So it’s definitely a question of celebrating diversity…

  • Please Leave a Message

    The Eurovision is a celebration of the vapid and the lowest common denominator. There are no saving graces for this “competition” for the talent-challenged.

  • Martin

    I’m with Terry Wogan on this one. Its too political now with very little consideration for real talent.

  • Ken Purdie

    AAAAAHHH Its absolute torture. I d rather go to the dentist.

  • Ratbag

    Jedward all the way!!!!

  • Confused of Chi

    Thanks for the warning, will take the dog for a long, intelligent walk.

  • Who

    Hilarious. Eurovision being promoted on a Catholic website. The only thing camper is a cardinal in a cappa magna.