Well, another year of Eurovision has been and gone. It’s been going for sixty years now, making it older than Doctor Who. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
For those who don’t know what Eurovision is – is there anyone out there who doesn’t know what Eurovision is? Is that possible – it’s quite probably the biggest music competition on the planet. It’s been going for sixty years, as I said, and includes more than two dozen countries, not all from Europe.
Eurovision is pretty popular worldwide, and not just in Australia. China, this year, for the first time, had live coverage with their own commentator “dignitaries”.
In the requisite pre-party, we met Lys Assia, the first every Eurovision winner, in 1956.
Okay, I’m just going to get down to it. Australia? In Eurovision? What?
What few people realise is that Australia is actually here. Not part of the European mainland, I grant you, but rather like Iceland or the British Isles. Actually, we’re rather like Turkey – both European and Asian at once.
Why is Israel in Eurovision, again?
The truth is, with 25% of our population born overseas, and most of that in either the UK or the rest of Europe, culturally, we are very European. There has been a campaign for years for Australian in Eurovision. It really started happening when we won the Danes over, and got to enters as a “supporting act” last year. This year, we were allowed to enter and actually complete as a celebration of the 60th anniversary.
If we’d won, we’d have been allowed to compete next year (but not actually host it). As it is, we came fifth, which is pretty good. It’s ahead of the UK, which… isn’t actually saying very much. Although, in my opinion, the UK entry was actually pretty good.
And besides, if we campaign hard enough, we might be asked back next year. It’s back in Scandinavia next year, which is a bonus for us.
The one downside to the whole thing was that our poll answer phone-in was Lee Lin Chin. She’s pretty well-known in Australia, actually, since she’s been the SBS newsreader for the last thousand years or so, but I’m not sure what sort of message this is sending to Europe. (1) Australia is actually an Asian country. (2) Australia’s population is old and ill-looking. (I hope she’s not terribly sick, but she’s been looking ill for about a year now). My family is of the concensus that Australia should have had a young phone-in. Jessica Mauboy, for example, our “contestant” last year.
When it was announced that Australia was competing, I first thought that we should go with something really “ethnic”. Eurovision is about block voting, more than anything, and I thought that the way to get votes was to pick and block and appeal to it. We could have gone with Greek, for example, and got votes from Greece, Malta, Cyprus, and Macedonia.
But then, when our song was announced, I thought that noncommittal might well be the way to go. After all, as a one-off, we’re going to get votes from any country with a significant number of citizens in Australia (which is most of them). We got huit points from most of them. Except Georgia, but go figure. As expected, they gave their douze points to Azerbaijan. But even Sweden, the winners, gave us douze points! We got 12 points from Austria, too… but after all, we’re only two letters different. Maybe they thought they were giving points to themselves.
Australia gave 8 points to Italy (what a surprise), 10 points to Russia, and 12 points to Sweden.
I think my favourite entry this year was probably France, which placed unfortunately badly.
It’s in French, as all of France’s Eurovision entries are. If you can’t understand French… deal with it.
I also liked Estonia’s entry.
Austria came last, which surprised me because, well, they were hosting it, but then again… watch what they did to a piano.
As Sam Pang (the other Australian dignitary) said, “Nothing says Eurovision like a man playing a piano that is on fire.”
I wanted to show you the really well-done opening “building bridges” montage from the final, but apparently that’s not up on YouTube yet.
Here is the full results table: