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That result

As the dust settles and people wake up to realise that for all the power ballads, pure straight up rock and roll defeated everything by a significant margin. And not only that, it wasn't even sung in English. Then again, neither was the second place entry. Or the third place, come to think of it.
We basically had rock and roll facing down Coldplay facing down a schoolteacher doing Edith Piaf. But the Italians, with a pretty blonde on bass, bizarre clothing left undone, and plenty of hair gel pounded their way to the top of the board with enough space between them and the second place entry that there just wasn't a hope.

The United Kingdom, on the other hand, got thoroughly defeated with a zero from the jury votes and a zero from the unusually harsh audience televote; the last time the UK did that badly was Jemini in 2003. And, to rub salt into the wound, it wasn't even the worst song of the night (in my very subjective opinion).

Of course, the serial whingers immediately came out in force. "IT'S BREXIT SOUR GRAPES!" thundered The Daily Mail, while ignoring the fact that non-EU countries such as Israel, and the former colony down south didn't vote for the UK either.
The Telegraph took a more nuanced look at it, saying "James Newman did his best but was upstaged by sexy glam metal Italians - and by countries that actually tried".

And there's the thing. The UK generally doesn't put a lot of effort into what it enters into Eurovision, which was completely the opposite to everybody else who seemed to relish the idea of even having a competition following last year's cancellation. This point was hammered home time and again by both the presenters and the performers. Eurovision was finally back. As were the ridiculously biased and clearly politically influenced votes (I pointed out that Greece and Cyprus were both in the final and that they would give each other douze pwah, and indeed they did). So with that, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the UK was shunned.
Even more bizarrely, the UK's own vote result was presented by Amanda Holden dressed like a reject Dr. Who making a joke out of being unable to tell the difference between Dutch and French.....before awarding 12 points to France.

I'm sure that there is a small amount of anti-Brexit sentiment behind the UK's dismal score, and note that the cruel and unusual treatment of EU citizens by the British border officials has not gone unnoticed, the much bigger point here is that the UK doesn't really put much effort into selecting a song that stands a chance of winning (or at least is weird enough to make an impact), as an auto-qualifier it doesn't really need to bother. It's guaranteed to be in the final, and to a degree this opportunity is being squandered. But also there is the point that much of the British public doesn't consider the song contest anything more than a giant spectacle of fashion disasters fit for scathing sarcasm. Sometimes the sarcasm is justified, the song contest is able to poke fun at itself. But sometimes it just comes across as mean spirited. It's one of the reasons I chose to watch the entire contest on YouTube - I would get it without the commentary.

Steeling myself, I took a look at the commentary section of the various newspapers. Yes, everybody made the point that no matter how much they try to deny it, it is extremely political. And, yes, it is. So if your country is busy trying to be the world's biggest asshole, don't be surprised by the result.
A large number of people said the UK should withdraw, stop funding this rubbish, give the money to the nurses instead.

This intrigued me. So I did a little research. According to The Daily Express, while current figures at not available the UK paid around £310,000 in 2012, which is up from £279,805 in 2009. If we assume an increase of £10K a year, then that would make it a round £400,000 this year. But it would be best to also assume £500,000 in that case as a minor inconvenience in June 2016 screwed up the Sterling-Euro exchange rate in a non-favourable way.
And, yes, half a million seems like a huge pile of coin for around ten hours of television, until you learn that each episode of Holby City costs around £370,000 with episodes of Casualty coming in at £450,000 per episode. Eastenders is cheap in comparison at £130,000 per episode (although The Live One was over £600K), while Dalziel and Pascoe is much pricier at £700,000-800,000 per episode (source).
Put into context, the song contest provides about ten hours of television. If we narrow it down to just the four hours of the Grand Final (as the two semis are pushed off onto a minority channel), then four hours of Holby City is a little under one and a half million pounds. Even four episodes of Eastenders is "about the same price". So if the amount that the BBC pays for Eurovision is indeed around half a million, that's not an unrealistic amount for Saturday night primetime.
As for giving the money to the nurses? Enough with the emotional strawman argument. How much a broadcaster pays for something has no relationship to how much nurses are paid, especially when the fervour over "getting Brexit done" had people voting for a government synonymous with public sector pay freezes, cutbacks, and austerity.
Besides, if anybody actually gave any concern to nurses other than lame point scoring in online newspaper comments, they would be lobbying the state broadcaster to instead donate the undisclosed and undoubtably much higher amount amount that it paid to broadcast the FIFA World Cup. It is estimated that BBC and ITV jointly pay around £5,500,000 for the World Cup finals, but as you can imagine the actual amounts are kept secret. That would buy a PET-CT scanner.
Eurovision would pay for 14 nurses for a year...actually, let's be generous and say 25 taking into account the performer costs, entourage, commentary, transport, hotels, etc.
The FIFA rights, on the other hand, would pay for 161 nurses. Need I say more?

There's nothing wrong with enjoying Eurovision. Where else could we appreciate Bulgaria's Billie Ellish? Or how about Cyprus shamelessly pilfering Lady Gaga? Or even Lithuania's Right Said Fred all dressed in custard-yellow dancing even worse than Iceland's infamous band of geeks? Or Moldova getting so into the dance routine that the microphone goes flying? Or laugh at a giant finger giving everybody the finger? (feel some sympathy for that woman, her claim to flame is flipping off the world!)
Or, finally, watching the UK's contestant gamely whipping up the crowd following the most humiliating defeat in eighteen years. Even the naughty schoolgirls (2006) and naughtier flight attendants (2007) managed to perform better than that. Even Michael Rice (2019) who came dead last in the previous contest managed to scrape together 11 points.
It's all part of the fun of the contest.

Eurovision is back, baby!

 

French Quiche?

I saw this at the supermarket. Surely any quiche made in France and sold in France is, by definition, "French"? What makes this more French? Is it full of onions?
What makes a French Quiche French?
What makes a French Quiche French?

 

 

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Gavin Wraith, 24th May 2021, 11:19
Excellent article on the Eurovision Song Contest. You make a good journalist. The Independent this morning had a good article too, picking up on the now tiresome trope of being proud of not speaking furrin languages. Actually it is shameful that so many English TV presenters cannot be arsed to get advice on how to pronounce Italian or German words. Arrogantia imperii is so out of date now. 
 
I have read your comments on the Eurovision Song Contest over the years with interest. Personally, I find almost anything that happens on stage or before an audience so embarrassing that I cannot watch. I like music, and I do not want to be distracted from it by exhibitionism, which I was brought up to treat with contempt. I guess that separates me from younger generations. But I enjoy reading what you have to say about it.
Rob, 28th May 2021, 00:32
I think that any newspaper that complains about other organisations spending money on frivolities should look at themselves first... Like complaining about 33K of Legal Aid for eventually-acquitted and thus actually innocent "criminals". NewsCorp spent, first google hit I found, (dated 2013,) at least £500M on legal costs defending their past behaviour... That, HALF A BILLION pounds! Now, let's go spend THAT on nurses instead! https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/news-corp-reveals-phone-hacking-l egal-costs-of-238m/ 
David Pilling, 28th May 2021, 15:20
Which Eurovision ones can you sing right now: 
Puppet on a string 
Sing little birdy sing 
Congratulations 
Time for making your mind up 
Save your kisses for me 
Walking on Sunshine 
Waterloo 
99 Red Balloons 
 
Rick, 28th May 2021, 20:15
The French one is really simple - voilà, voilà, voilà, voilà... 😉 
 
As for ones I can sing? None. I sound like a Muppet giving birth. 😱 
 
As for ones that I could probably recognise in the first bar or two and generally know how they go (if not entirely all the words), well... 
 
Hard Rock Hallelujah, Molitva, Husavik, Love Love Peace Peace, Rise Like A Phoenix, Only Teardrops, The Voice, Rändajad, Growing Up Is Getting Old, Better Love, When We're Old, Zero Gravity... 
 
More than a few of them are in my MP3 collection, and Zero Gravity led me to the artist (Kate Heidke-Miller, I think that's how it is spelt) who recently(ish) released a wonderfully quirky album called Vertigo that I bought (as a download). 
Rick, 29th May 2021, 12:55
Test. :-)
(the replacement server does not send me email notifications of new comments, so I have finally gotten around to marking the entry field for email address as disabled)
David Pilling, 30th May 2021, 16:39
Rick - well done for recalling so many Eurovision winners - all different to mine - alas there was a time I could recite the UK top 20, long ago. So it might just depend how much attention one pays. 
 
As to media spending, I worry that weather forecasters get paid more than I ever have been - what do we have in common. He'd not go out today, but he has a big house in the Cotswolds.
Mick, 1st June 2021, 00:24
DP : Which Eurovision ones can you sing right now: Ding-a-dong by Teach in is a great EV song. Got to by my favourite.
David Pilling, 1st June 2021, 23:03
Mick: I remember Ding a dong - I also recall boom bang a bang (lulu) and All kinds of everything (Dana).
David Pilling, 8th June 2021, 22:21
How to work out who’s won Eurovision before it’s announced – using mathematics 
 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/news/work-won-eurov ision-announced-using-maths/ 
 
Rick, 8th June 2021, 22:46
Telegraph link -> paywall.
David Pilling, 9th June 2021, 03:16
"As soon as the 2021 Eurovision hosts announced that France had received 251 phone votes, taking the French to a total of 499, this year's competition became a two-horse race. The only country still to have its phone votes announced was Switzerland, who needed at least 258 points to beat Italy to first place." 
 
But at that point it could be calculated that there were only 165 points left. 

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