Friday, 20 March 2015

Heja Sverige!

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we might have just seen the winner of Eurovision 2015; Sweden!

Last weekend I went along to the Duke of York pub in central London where Sweden's selection show for Eurovision, Melodifestivalen, was being shown. What an atmosphere, the pub was absolutely packed. The Swedes really do know how to stage a thoroughly entertaining TV show and the production values of MF are almost as good, if not better, than the ESC itself. Bravo SVT!

During the evening I got chatting to a bunch of Swedes who were on holiday in London and were loving the enthusiasm that the crowd had for their national selection. One of the girls even told me that she was in the audience for Eurovision 1985 and recalled how the audience were shocked when the presenter's skirt was pulled off since they didn't realise it was a stunt! All in all, a lovely night with lovely people.

Back to the music, whilst Sweden's "Heroes" isn't the best song they've sent, it's so effectively staged and in a rather mediocre year, I think it's going to take something very special to beat it. Looks like an expensive Eurovision again next year...

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Some thoughts on the UK entry for 2015

Well the BBC has finally revealed who is representing the UK at Eurovision in Vienna. Alexandra Burke? Lulu? Kylie? Er, no.

It's fair to say that Electro Velvet has received mixed reactions from fans with many loving it and others absolutely hating it. That's Eurovision for you!

The Charleston vibe isn't really my thing but I do quite like this, it's quirky and different. In a year where most of the songs chosen have been a bit of a snoozefest, this stands out. Saying that, I don't know if it will woo the voters. The key is how it'll be staged - with a maximum of six people on stage it won't have the impressive impact of the video. Then there's the slightly trickier issue of the live performance - can they pull it off?

What struck me has been the vitriol directed towards the BBC, Electro Velvet and even some huffy tweets directed at me. If I didn't like the entry I would say so. It's not my favourite but we've sent worse. I imagine it'll come across as fun on the night.

There is a question here about how the UK act is chosen and that's something the BBC should review. I do think we need to be bolder and send more daring choices or even something which is more reflective of the UK music scene.

The UK song might not be everyone's cup of tea but I think a sense of perspective is needed. If another country had entered this song I doubt the criticism would be as prominent. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Eurovision is a TV show, it's not for the fans. It's harsh but true and time we all accepted that.

The BBC have got it wrong in the past. I can understand disappointment and wanting to rally behind the UK entry. I'm a Eurovision fan, unashamedly so, but the fan community also does itself no favours. There's a slightly manic element of our community which leaves me a little uncomfortable - as highlighted in Roy Delaney's excellent article on ESC Insight. When people are dropping the c-bomb on public forums, over a difference of opinion in music, it's time for a reality check.

Now, where did I leave my dancing shoes?