The Null Device
A few thoughts about Eurovision 2013 (which I watched slightly later than most people, having had prior commitments on Saturday evening):
- Firstly, Romania were robbed. Their entry (Klaus Nomi Dracula doing giallo eurodance with a dubstep breakdown) was, in my opinion, by far the best of the night, and barely ended up in the first half of the chart. It ended up considerably behind Moldovan Volcano Dress Lady (whose sets were impressive, though) and Belgian Justin Bieber (who was pretty weak tea).
- It's amazing how Russia can manage to make a saccharine song about world peace sound vaguely threatening.
- Bonnie Tyler's song for the UK was a bit bland (as someone else called it, “total eclipse of her art”). She also seemed to be heavily medicated on stage, as if wincing through a haze of painkillers. (The sacrifices one makes for one's country?) The UK didn't come anywhere close to winning, though managed to get the votes of half a dozen or so countries and scrape a respectable middle of the bottom half of the board, which, by UK standards, is good. Last place went to Ireland, whose entry, as far as eurodance balladry with taiko drumming go, was quite good.
- The intro video for the show showed a caterpillar travelling from Baku to Malmö, hitching rides on hot-air balloons (the dominant form of transport in Azerbaijan, not counting bleak Soviet-era trains or oligarchs' limousines), boats, mopeds and trains. The winner this year was Denmark, with a polished but conventional number. Which means that the intro video for next year's one will be a lot shorter, involving only a crossing of the Öresund Bridge.
- The bits between the songs, laid on by the Swedish hosts, were quite entertaining; at about half time, they had a local comedienne playing what is apparently a popular Swedish TV character, Ebulliently Clueless British Lady. After the songs, there was a humorously self-deprecating musical number about Swedish culture, which was quite entertaining. Coupled with the video “postcards” introducing songs being about the entrants' countries, not the many glorious facets of the host country, the overall effect was a lot different from the meticulously polished and vaguely authoritarian spectacles presented by ex-Soviet host nations. A lot more lågom and less arriviste.