The Eurovision Song Contest 2006
Thoughts and comments afterwards...


If you are not of a fit mental state to handle freedom
of thought and political opinions that may differ from
your own - click here and go find something else to read!


Best and worst...

These are my opinions. Want to see yours here? Want to defend somebody I've slagged off or slag off one of my 'best' choices? You know the email address...

Best dressed
Bosnia & Herzegovina, followed by Norway. Simplicity is best.

Worst dressed
Cyprus and Portugal; the former was utterly horrible and the latter was just bizarre.

Cutest female
For me, possibly the dark-haired Norwegian violinist. I prefer brunettes, and the big smile does it. Shame we didn't have a close-up.
One of Britain's schoolgirls is quite cute also, but at my age that's kinda pervy... ☺

Cutest male
This isn't really a category I feel comfortable picking, but if I had to choose a male that all the girls would like to date - Brian. Nobody else comes close to his level of class.

Most bizarre costume (human)
Iceland, closely followed by Poland.

Most bizarre costume (non-human)
Take a wild guess! ☺

And the most-like-Abba-this-year award goes to...


Best performance on both nights
While I like Ukraine and Sweden, I think the 'best' award belongs to Ireland...
Let me clear up a little something. I liked Brian's performance and his singing. I would have scored this higher (i.e. #1!) in my personal rankings if I had liked the song as much...

And the worst overall performance(s)
Without a doubt... Turkey!
But there were plenty of close runners-up!

The why-on-earth-did-they-vote-for-that? award goes to...
Russia - I still don't see the attraction of this one!
And, of course, Lithuania, lowering the standards of Eurovision (and I bet you didn't think that was possible!).


The song-that-you-just-can't-get-out-of-your-head award goes to...
Germany - "No No Never"; closely followed by Romania - "Tornero".

What I'd like played at my birthday party...
Denmark - "Twist Of Love".

...and at my funeral
Start weird with Croatia's "Moja Štikla", then descend into anarchy with Finland's "Hard Rock Hallelujah".
If I'm to be cremated, be sure to pack the coffin with fireworks. If we don't end up on CNN, dig out my ashes and do the whole thing over again, only this time try dynamite. If that doesn't work, I'm afraid it'll be time to buy ex-Russian tactical nuclear weapons off an internet auction site...



The most enduring song

I recorded the songs I like into the computer, created MP3s, and downloaded them to my little MP3 player. The song with the most longevity - in other words one I'm not likely to delete after a week of hearing it - is, without a doubt, No No Never - the German entry. [this holds true even a month after the contest, it's a good song]



Good guys come last

Between you and me, I think it is an embarrassment that the horrid song (if you can forgive me for calling it a song) by LT United comes in 6th place with 162 points, while far superior efforts by Germany and Norway have a mere 36 points each.
I think that Lithuania should be credited for trying something new - even if it was awful. I'm sure in the fifty-one year history of the contest, alsorts have come and gone. This... was different.
Having said that, it was unusual to hear the audience reaction. There was, unmistakably, some booing going on.
I had expected that the United Kingdom would have done slightly better, maybe 45-60 points? After the performance, the German announcer exclaimed "vondah-bah" (wonderful), so I guess he liked it. He said some more stuff, but I don't speak German...
I've sort-of been seeing references to the regional and national selections here in France. I wonder if everybody who was not chosen was watching the contest and thinking "Cinq? Cing? M*rde alors! Je fait plusiers fois plus!" (Five? Five? ****! I could do many times more!).



Everybody is crazeeee!

There was the usual selection of electic voting this year - Malta giving twelve to Switzerland, for example. Moray suggests that Malta gave 12 to Switzerland because one of the Swiss entry singers was Maltese. Or how about Ireland's twelve to Lithuania? This is discussed further on.
The United Kingdom gave Ireland eight points, and Ireland gave to United Kingdom eight points. See? They're not as blatant as Greece and Cyprus.
The problem is that the United Kingdom doesn't have any real 'friends' in Europe other than the Irish. They tend to see Europe as "that lot over there", and their foreign policy is more aligned to the insane mutterings of George Bush Jr. than anything that Europe might try to do.
In fact, the American administration made it known that they didn't want a senior British politician around, and so this man was relieved of his position. Yes, if you think I'm being harsh to my native country, read this paragraph twice. The Americans are telling the British who should not be in the cabinet, and - worse - Tony Blair did as they wanted. An unelected official of another country determining how England's elected government should be comprised. There's democracy for ya!
Anyway, people will vote for the United Kingdom on the merit of the song. Or maybe because they fancy the singer. Or maybe because they're pervy and a bunch of girls wearing school uniform brightened their day. Whatever. They won't have voted for the United Kingdom simply because it's the United Kingdom. It isn't Scandanavian. It isn't a Baltic country. It isn't former Yugoslavia. It isn't ex-Russia. It isn't, in the minds of many of the inhabitants, really part of Europe.
Daz, I'm afraid, had an uphill struggle.
I know, I know, too much politics in Eurovision. Never mind. It doesn't actually bother me that much because I have come to expect it, but I do honour the quirky votes from the countries that vote for what they like and not for their 'neighbours'. I still hope for a day when everybody puts aside their alliegences, and votes for the music - but I expect I'll be long dead before that ever happens.
My sorrow isn't so much for who does and doesn't win. My sorrow is for the good performances that somehow manage to drop out of the bottom. A few names in no order - Norway, Greece, Ukraine, Germany - all deserved better, they really did.

I was right about Russia. It received seven top scores (one from Israel, one from their neighbour, and the rest from ex-Russian countries).
Finland's win was helped along by max scores from Scandanavian countries and Finland's neighbours. The only two who can be said to be impartial in this case are the United Kingdom and Greece.
Bosnia gave eight points to Macedonia, and twelve to Croatia. They received twelve from ... go on, guess... That's right! Croatia, Macedonia, and Serbia. (among others)
You know - I don't actually get this. The separation of various countries from Russia was not a pleasant process. We all saw the reports (and the pop songs) about what happened in Sarajevo. It seems almost mind boggling that they'd go through all of that and now be voting for each other like this. I mean - I don't expect them to hold grudges for ever, but they are way over the top with it. I bet a country such as Croatia could enter a cute girl singing, off key, a shopping list in her native language... and Bosnia (etc) would give it high marks... simply because it is Croatia!
Moray has an interesting perspective on the political voting. He suggests that, far from being political, the reason is due to the number of immigrants. People from the former Yugoslavian countries move around within the former Yugoslavian countries, there are lots of Lithuanians in Ireland, etc... These people would vote for their home country to win. So all of the Bosnians in Croatia would probably vote for Bosnia, thus explaining the effect seen where it appears as in the ex-Yugoslavian countries vote for each other; same for Scandanavian countries, ex-Russian countries, and so forth. In the case of Ireland's 12 points to Lithuania, and the UK's 10... that'd be all the Lithuanians living there!
I'm not sure I agree with voting for the home country regardless, that doesn't seem in the spirit of Eurovision. As for the political voting, it would be very interesting to dig up some results given before the age of the televote, like the '80s and early '90s. Did Greece and Cyprus give each other 12's back then? Did Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark give high points to each other? Could be interesting to look that one up...



The end of life as we know it...?

One has to wonder how much the Finnish win was influenced by the vocal puritans who made it known to everybody in earshot that the Finnish entry was... words such as "terrible" and "disgraceful" and "appalling".
"Eurovision will never be the same again". Claims that Lordi are satanists and will "possess 'our children'". We, as a populace, are a bit funny about our kids and we'll do practically anything to protect them, this is something the pseudo-religious puritanical freaks know and play upon.
So maybe your teenaged daughter might jump up and down on her bed while shouting about hard rock hallelujah. This won't last forever, it'll be forgotten when the next thing comes along - perhaps a new Madonna or Kylie track?
I wouldn't call that possession by "satanic devil-worshipping monsters" (I like the need to add "devil-worshipping", as if we're too stupid to know what "satanic" means).
The deep irony is that if they kept their mouths firmly closed and their "oh how terrible" opinions to themselves, maybe we'd all have said "well, that was different" and given the prize to Russia instead? But when have puritanical pseudo-religious types ever kept their opinions to themselves?
So on Viva on Saturday afternoon before the final I saw the German entry performed once and Hard Rock Hallalujah performed twice; so a German music channel was giving more airtime to the Finnish entry on the day of the contest! [quick thought - the live performances were better than the video]
They were talking about it on Radio 4. It got a mention or two on a variety of 24-hour news channels.
You can't buy that kind of publicity, so by saying how terrible it was, they made certain that a far wider audience knew of this song. And it goes and wins, hahaha! ☺ We're all doomed to die horribly and be possessed by monster zombies that look like Klingons...
I could drink a few glasses of wine and knock up a heck of a teleplay about this.
Oh, and just to pre-empt anybody emailing me about the "God-bashing", my first comment will be to read it carefully, because if you do, you'll have noticed I use the phrase "pseudo-religious", because the average church goer is no great problem to me. It is those who use religion as an excuse to vocalise and attempt to impose their own warped impressions on the rest of us that really annoy!


When Dana International won for Israel in 1998, the orthodox freaked out and people said that Eurovision would never be the same again.
They said the same after the PVC fettish entry from Iceland - you know which one I'm talking about.
No doubt it was an awful thing when Buck's Fizz whipped off the long skirts - but now that has become a bit of a tradition.
I'm sure some people predicted that the universe would collapse into its own event horizon when it went 'colour'.

That entry from Iceland... Off with their skirts! Back in the days of monochrome!

So hard rock won. Don't worry. Eurovision will recover.
One thing we can be sure of is that the contest is never predicable. You might get hard rock one year, and a song such as that performed so well by Lisa Andreas winning the next.
In actuality, the difference between the songs in first and second place couldn't be greater...
One other thing - the news articles I heard made several references to Sandie Shaw and Abba. People, please shut up!
Simon and Garfunkel were great in their day. Now nobody sings like that, it just screams its date at you.
When I was young, I liked The Pet Shop Boys. Their sound had '80s written all over it. They're still around, but they don't sound like that any more (remember: What have I, What have I, What have I done to deserve this?).

Sandie Shaw Abba

Likewise it is with the song contest. Now in its fifty first year, who has any right to say that the songs should sound like Puppet On A String from 1967 or Waterloo from 1973? Sure, you'll get some songs trying to relive the 'glory days' either seriously or for comic effect. But, life moves on. The contest moves on. And so should we.
Final thought? Those Brits interviewed about how bad it was to have hard rocking monsters in the Eurovision didn't seem to make much of a mention to the musical style of their own country's entry - what with police sirens in the audio and rap... Yeah guys, that is like so not sixties!
Can you imagine Waterloo as a rap song? Best sung wif an innah-ci'ee accent...
Check it. Yeah, yeah.
Napoleon was a short French guy.
He surrendered 'cos it ain't good to die, yeah, yeah.
The place was Waterloo, it's a train station.
It's where the English battle was won, yeah, yeah.

Who'd vote for that?



Fifty Years Of Eurovision

Not true. The first competition was won by Lys Assia (for Switzerland; l'Eurovision, une idée Suisse) in 1956.
2006 is the fifty first competition.
Certain people in the United Kingdom are saying this is the fiftieth year ... because the UK registered too late in 1956 so came into the contest a year late. But it is only the fiftieth UK entry, not the fiftieth year of the contest. Okay?
Just to further obfuscate matters, Moray suggests it is fifty years between contests. That is correct. I still maintain it is the 51st year because... if you have 51 fence posts then you count the fence posts, not the gaps in between.
Of course, this sort of argument could go on and on. Look at the "new millennium", was it 2000 or 2001? I celebrated both, it seemed like the best solution! ☺



Digital news

From BBC interactive. The film in the background is Where Eagles Dare (I think?). Looks like some kind of WW2 film shot in that saturated colour film stock that they used in the sixties...

Meanwhile, ITV's digital teletext had this to say:


If you thought sitting through 24 songs was bad, imagine fifty:

This could be a heck of a programme to watch - what sort of entries do you imagine would come from... California, West Virginia, Georgia, Texas... they all have their clichés. Then we have "how long will Texas sulk if it doesn't win?". Not to mention that this is the country that is incapable of holding a democratic election. If you don't win, bring in the lawyers!


From BBCi entertainment news, Monday 22nd May:

Finnish Eurovision winners Lordi have been defended against claims of Satanism by their country's ambassador to the UK.
"This is entertainment," Jaakko Laajava told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "Let's not take this too seriously."
"They have produced an album called The Devil Is A Loser and maybe that tells a little bit about this," he continued.
The mask-wearing hard rock band have been accused of promoting Satanism by some conservative Greek organisations.
And the Greek televote gave Finland "doooz pwah"...
I must also credit Jaakko for a class bit of advertising there. We know the band, we now know there's an album and what it is called. Smart!


From Sky News Active, Monday 22nd May:

Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland, is to name a square in honour of hard rock group Lordi, the shock winners of the Eurovision Song Contest.
The small town, which sits on the edge of the Arctic Circle and is the hometown of Lordi lead singer Tomi Putaansuu, also plans to give the star a plot of land.
This is an honour normally reserved for the country's sporting champions.
Rovaniemi, the "official" home of Father Christmas, which aspires to be Europe's cultural capital in 2011, had hoped to be next years' Eurovision hosts.
But as it lacks the infrastructure for the event it is likely to go to the Finnish capital Helsinki or Turku in the southwest.
Dressed as monsters, complete with horns, Death's heads, and jagged teeth, the band re-wrote Eurovision history by becoming the first heavy metal act to win.
Lordi claimed victory with their song Hard Rock Hallelujah, beating 23 other artists from throughout Europe and giving Finland its first Eurovision win.
Finnish President Tarja Halonen and Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen both congratulated the group on their triumph.



Interesting languagey things

One of the fun things is those non-English speakers mangling our language. Having experience in these matters with the French (I live in France, y'see), I think on the whole the British are far better at understanding wonky English than the French are at understanding wonky French. I say things, in French, and they look at me cluelessly. When they finally understand, it sounds to me exactly what I was saying. The British, on the other hand, do a fine job of messing up their own language. From the nice sounding Edinburgh or Southern Irish to the posh-git sounding "received English" to the dialects of the major cities (Brummie, Scouse, Glasgey, etc) which range from 'odd' to 'incomprehensible'. Then you have the country dialects, as heard in places such as Somerset or up in Yorkshire. There is an incredible amount of variation in the language called English.
But, once in a while, something comes along that totally messes with your head. And you can only wonder "that's English?".
To a lesser degree, you have the amusing. The misheard lyrics. Ironically it seems that Russia and the ex-Russian countries (in particular, Belorus) are best at providing these.

Here's Tina Karol, the Rick interpretation (on the left):
Show me your love,
show me how much you care.
Talk to my heart,
and whisper my name.
Show me you love!
I need your muppet there, and
you'll be my God.
That's why I came.
Show me your love,
show me how much you care.
Talk to my heart,
whisper my name.
Show me your love.
I need you more than air.
You'll be my part.
That's why I came.
The 'official' lyrics are on the right. Mine contains a few more 'and's because I did it by listening to the song.
To be honest, I prefer my version - everybody needs a muppet! [gonzo! gonzo! ahhhhhh coooookeeeeeeee!]


Another interesting thing is comparing the lyrics of a song with what is sung. Those who have never had much experience of other languages might say:
  Gir deg gnist, jeg ser du er nær
something like:
  Gear deg gnissed, jeg ser du er naeyr
in other words, as it looks. The above is southern English, a Spanish person might say it as it looks to them, except probably adding the obligatory 'eh' sound before the word 'ser'.
Norwegians, on the other hand, would say it like:
  Gee deh glist, yei serr du ar nar

My favourite song of the year is probably the German entry. I don't need to say much about this here as it is in English.
My second favourite song is Alvedansen (Elve's dance). For the following: Ready? Here goes!

  What she sings:
Bli med meg i sommernatten

Bare jeg kan fange ditt blikk
Vise klør i kysset du fikk
Tirre deg så du blir til ild
Kom hit jeg vet du vil
Bli med meg i sommernatten
Ingenting er skjult i natt
Bare jeg vet alt som du er
Gir deg gnist, jeg ser du er nær
Svev med meg
La alt bli til ild
Kom hit jeg vet du vil
Bli med meg i sommernatten
Ingenting er skjult i natt
Ingen vet
Vinden leker
Månen ser bort
Og vi er alt
Bli med meg i sommernatten
Ingenting er skjult i natt
What it sounds like:
Blee meh mel a summer'na'ten
Bour'eh yei kun fun'er dit bik
Vee'seh kler ee shi'ser du fik
Tear'eh die soh du blir teel ee'l
Kom hee'd yei vee tu vee
Blee meh mel a summer'na'ten
In'gi'ting a shoo tee'l ner
Bour'eh yei vet aal somm du ar
Gee deh glist, yei serr du ar nar
Swee mu mei
Lah ahll blee teel ee'l
Kom hee'd yei vee tu vee
Blee meh mel a summer'na'ten
In'gi'ting a shoo tee'l ner
In-gen veet
Vinden leekah
Moanen say wohlt
Oh vee a aaaaahl
Blee meh mel a summer'na'ten
In'gi'ting a shoo tee'l ner
What it means:
Every summer night has secrets
I can light the fire in your eye
I can hear my kiss make you sigh
I can turn your blood into flame
Come, play my secret game.
Every summer night has secrets
I will tell you mine tonight.
Only I know all you desire
Only I can make you fly higher
Only I can spark you to flame
Come, play my secret game
Every summer night has secrets
I will tell you mine tonight.
Wind and moon
both are sleeping
No one can see
our midnight dance.
Every summer night has secrets
I will tell you mine tonight.



Other people's views - FOR

Here are a selection of views presented in the following days on ITV's digital teletext service, page 143. These are the ones that liked the contest, or Lordi...

Nice one, Lordi!
Math, Wakefield
A 40 & a 16 year old and a nine-year-old watched the Eurovision Song Contest for something to do. Finland came on and we realised the younger generation had taken over. Gone was the rubbish we usually have to put up with. The cheers from this house must have disturbed the neighbours. Well done Finland, you got my vote and would again. Hope Finland have shown Europe how to represent their countries with songs the younger generation enjoy.
Diane, Belfast
I'm nine years old and I watched the song contest and loved Finland. They weren't at all scary, I thought they were great. Why was Finland the only country with a great song? PS. Mum knows I have sent this test, going to bed now. FINLAND RULE!
Leona, Belfast
I don't suppose Leona's mom is called Diane? ☺

Raise your fiery goblets and toast the gods of RAWK! Well done, Lordi, let's have Motorhead or Primal Scream rocking for Britain in Helsinki.
Peter, Stonehouse
Mmmm, isn't Motorhead spelled Mötorhead 'cos they're German?
Not that that's ever stopped other countries from importing acts... you know, like Switzerland!
But, please, no! To enter a heavy metal group next year would be desperately jumping on a band-wagon. Finland did it. It was fresh. It was original. It won. Next year? It won't be fresh, it'll be "so last year". It won't be original, it'll be "so last year". And it probably won't win, 'cos it'd be "so last year".

Eurovision was great this year. I didn't think Finland could win, but their song was catchy! Greece was fab! Must admit Brian Kennedy's song was really nice! Maybe Ozzy Osbourne could be our entry next year! Here's hoping!
Caroline, Belfast
Although Sir Tel surpassed himself with his awful jokes, I fully enjoyed a dream Eurovision in Athens. Well done, Greece!
Eamonn, Swansea
And just before the contest, another Eamonn, while presenting the National Lottery "Jet Set" programme apparently hid pitifully behind a female co-presenter as the radical group "Fathers 4 Justice" stormed the studio. What's wrong with that picture? Answers of no more than 50,000 words to....... ☺



Other people's views - "WHY DID OUR SONG SUCK?"

Here are a selection of views presented in the following days on ITV's digital teletext service, page 143. These are, mostly, the ones that'll happily kick you when you're down. As one correspondant points out, the song was voted for.
I bet if it had won, people would be writing in to say how great the UK's entry was. Jeez, people are so fickle!

There was a time I used to like the Eurovision Song Contest but now it's just political. Our entry didn't stand a chance.
Janey, South London
Janey, the reason our song didn't stand a chance is because it was rubbish. Finland's entry was great and Lordi well deserved to win.
Diane, Inverness
Why is everyone saying our entry in the Eurovision was rubbish? Wasn't it the general public who voted for it to be our entry in the first place?
Jayne, King's Lynn
Political reasons or not, our Eurovision entry didn't stand a chance of winning purely because it was embarrassingly bad. Finland were deserving winners.
Em, Worcs
How can sad people bad mouth our Eurovision entry, as he did a whole lot better than lasy year. Daz tried his best. Well done Daz, I enjoyed you.
Keighley, Wythenshawe
Indeed, apart from being a bit hyperactive, it was a good performance. I didn't like the style that much - but I thought it was an interesting message, and certainly one I can relate to. Before you think the UK's entry sucked - just look at the Lithuanian entry. Not only is there no justice in how the votes go, but there's often no logic in it either...



Other people's views - AGAINST

Here are a selection of views presented in the following days on ITV's digital teletext service, page 143. Here are the no-lifers that crawl out of the woodwork once a year to demand the immediate termination of the competition.
The main thing I have to say in response to these is that from digital satellite it is possible to receive a dozen reasonable channels without a subscription card, so if you can't find time to allow us Eurovision fans around eight hours in a year and go watch something else, you're pretty pathetic. Tell you what. I'll happily give up my eight hours of Eurovision content a year if you give up your four hundred hours a year [*] of football and your five hundred hours of Eastenders and Coronation Street.
* - actually, I feel that I may be rather underestimating this. With the live match coverage, the pre-match discussion and the after-match analysis... it wouldn't be a surprise if the World Cup runs into several hundred hours, never mind the usual televised matches.

Surely now is the time to call an end to Eurovision? The winning song was a joke.
Chris, North London
I won't be watching Eurovision again. Brian Kennedy from Ireland was brilliant. Bad luck Brian, you were too good.
Pat, Wirral
After the drivel of Eurovision, isn't it time the BBC called time on this farce - it's an insult to most people's intelligence.
Alan, Barnsley
People switch on by the million to watch Big Brother, so perhaps television has been dumbed down so much that it isn't possible to insult anybody's intelligence any more?

Eurovision the worst ever. Time to end this embarrassment.
Paul, Bushey
Like, where the heck were you in 2003? For me, 2003 was the worst of the last decade.
This year possibly wasn't as good as the last, in terms of the songs.
In terms of the presentation, it's the best yet.



Now hear this!

Something to add? Email me! heyrick at merseymail dot com

I look forward to hearing from you.



Back to the Eurovision 2006 index
Back to the Eurovision main index

Copyright © 2006 Rick Murray
Images and textual data copyright © 2006 EBU / NDR / ARD1 / BBC / ITV / Sky