I have never really understood the Eurovision Song Contest (Melodifestivalen). Here in the UK it’s not really a big event. Each year one artist is chosen from a list of rather poor entrants who will take to the stage to embarrass our nation that has produced some of the best musicians ever.
In my lifetime we have won in twice with Bucks Fizz (think a poor Abba tribute band) and in 1997 with the rather dull “Love Shine A Light. Recent entries included Gemini who famously scored no points and last year Jade Ewen whose solo career lasted about five minutes before she joined the Sugababes.
Back in February I was in Sweden and I watched one of the rounds of Melodifestivalan. I could not really understand the hype and popularity of this as it was only a regional round and not the actual night where the winning song was chosen. So on Saturday night through the technology of the Iphone I watched the final.
I’ll be honest not many of the songs really struck a chord with me. The Eurovision has become something of a European institution that lately has been tainted with reports of regional voting pacts and even political intervention but for some countries winning it is as important as an Olympic medal.
As the night went on I found myself warming more to the charms of Dolph Lundgren and then began to root for my favourite song. After several rounds it was fairly clear that there were four songs that were in with a chance of winning and when Stockholm gave no points to Timotej I found myself shouting at the TV. It went to a nail biting finish, who was going to take the last set of points?
In what was a close finish Anna Bergendahl was the winner with her song “This Is My Life”. After it was announced I felt somewhat out of breathe. I don’t think that I have felt that much emotion outside a game of football. When all the flag waving was over, when the banners had been rolled up I finally understood Sweden’s obsession with the Eurovision.
For us in the UK it’s an event that we look at as being somewhat comical a chance for us to embarrass ourselves against Europe’s finest. For Sweden it’s more than an event, it’s simply part of their heritage.
Long may it remain!