Sunday 11 May 2014

If the Austrian entry had been sung by anyone else would it have won?.....I say YES, actually (although I doubt anyone would sing it as well as Conchita!)

So, I had not intended to post about Eurovision as I tortured my Facebook friends with a running commentary on Saturday evening and figured they had suffered enough, however, this Diary Entry's title question has been bandied around in the aftermath of the 59th Eurovision Song Contest and I thought it worth discussing (although, at the same time, I wish it wasn't). Had anyone other than Conchita Wurst sung the Austrian entry; would it have won?

Of course the short answer is, we will never know. There has been much said during the past few hours about how Eurovision is a "song" contest so only the song should be judged. This is impossible. Eurovision has almost always been as much about the act sent to represent their country as the song they are performing. If we are to only judge the song then Eurovision must move to the radio or we, the television audience, must be banned from voting and a panel of representatives should be ensconced in a darkened room for the duration with only a small transistor for company in order to cast their vote. Alright they can have a box of wine too.

You could add another element here, to stop political voting, that no one knows which country is performing each song (that, I realise, is a ridiculous idea as all competitors would also HAVE to sing in the same language). Nobody, though, today has been talking about political voting (well, not as much as in former years) just the fact that a man in a dress sporting a beard won. Very few have mentioned the fact that he is a very good singer and the song, in my humble opinion, is excellent. The thing that actually prompted me to put fingers to screen (I type these things on a tablet) was the fact that Paul O'Grady just played last night's winning entry on his radio show and I did think that it is the sort of tune I would happily listen to over and over.

Fun fact: Conchita Wurst is no stranger to Eurovision she tried her luck to become Austria's representative in 2012 but came second. This, some might say, proves the song is more important than the gimmick. The offering in 2012 was pretty good though. Have a look here to see for yourselves. Definitely not a one trick pony.

The Swedish entry, I understand, was the bookies favourite before the contest began and I did hear it, on the radio, beforehand. Another excellent tune. However, the fabulous lady who sang it did not do it justice live, as part of the contest itself, whereas Conchita sang her song as well live as she did when she recorded it. This, to me, is the mark of singer who knows what they are doing and that impresses me more than any fancy frocks, beards, circular pianos, conjoined ponytails, trampolining or rollerblading dancers ever will. If the song is good all the extras are just that, extras. No amount of trickery will make me vote for a bad song.

Having said that, as a seven year old, in 1981 I don't think I would have loved "Making Your Mind Up" nearly as much as I did, and still do, had the boys of Bucks Fizz not whipped off the skirts belonging to the girls of Bucks Fizz. Hows about we relive that moment here. 33 years later, though, I for one don't care a jot what a great singer wears when performing a song. Perhaps it is naive of me to think we, as members of the human race, are becoming more appreciative of talent no matter what form the vessel takes. I certainly like to think I am.

Only right we finish with Conchita's winning performance. Click here to see her in all her glory. Enjoy.

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