Greece's planets must be aligned. After winning the Euro 2004 Soccer, hosting the 2004 Olympics, Greece won Eurovision for the first time last night. Helena Paparizou managed to beat out 23 other contestants and rack up 230 points to take home the Eurovision title. In 2002, she was part of the duo, "Antique" and managed to place 3rd, with the song "I Would Die For You". Although, I believe that song was much better than this year's entry "My Number One" but she didn't have much of a stage presence then and subsequently lost out to the Turkish entrant, Sertab who had a great stage show. This year's competition saw a much more seasoned performer with a strong voice, good performance and dance routine even if the song wasn't as impressive as her first one with Antique.Malta
's entrant, Chiara came in second. She had the best voice of the evening but unfortunately, Eurovision fans wanted more than just a good voice and Chiara, alone on the stage during her performance, had to settle for second place. I guess Europe has had enough of Celine Dion-Titanic wannabe songs.
As for the rest of the entrants, they looked like auditions for the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Campy routines, bad english and the overuse of kettle drums (which I blame entirely on Ruslana's "Wild Dances" 2004 win) ensured that the majority of them will only be remembered on Eurovision's "Worst Of" clips.Highlights of the EveningVoting-The Importance of Having Friends
The Balkan countries made maximum use of their voting power by supporting each of their neighbours when the points were handed out. Germany
's Gracia was left virtually friendless with only Monaco and Moldova giving her two points each. I think Gracia thought she was competing for the Yodelvision award
with her completely forgettable song "Run and Hide". Turkey and Albania, long-time targets of Greece's national wrath, supported Paparizou by awarding her maximum points.Performances-Substituting Kitsch for Talent
From the sublime to the ridiculous. On one end of the spectrum, we have a tasteful, if not bland performance by Israel
's Shiri Maimon, to Norway
's Wig Wam--the answer to the question of what happens when Kiss meets the Village People. My favourite song and performance of the evening goes to Denmark
's Jakob Sveistrup. He had a great voice, great song and a good routine and didn't include kettle drums in his performance. Spain
's entry, Son de Sol a.k.a. the Los Mustard girls, should have won the Peacock award
for their colourful costumes. The Best of Mediocrity award
goes to Cyprus
. The rest of the entrants were either completely boring or frighteningly horrible.Languages
Most of the songs were performed in English...or an attempt at English. Some of the worst lyrics ever written in the history of music, habitually find their way into Eurovision. I prefer contestants to sing in their own language if they can't sing a song which makes sense in another. Call me crazy, but it's Eurovision, not "Americavision" (as my 11 year old son remarked), therefore having songs in a variety of languages makes it that much more European.
Here are some examples:Switzerland
-Cool vibes, why don't you kill me? (If they're cool, then she wouldn't ask to die)Greece
-You will be the sun into my raining season. (One of her lyricist's obviously didn't pass the Cambridge Proficiency exam)Albania
-Spread your voice (The song lyrics say "raise your voice" but she was singing "spread your voice". The raising I could do, maybe she can explain how I can 'spread' a voice.)Romania
-I can find you anywhere, you're not there. (If she can find you anywhere, then it stands to reason that you should be there to find.)Russia
-Her lyrics were grammatically correct but the song was political in nature (singing about America's lax gun controls) and since Ukraine
was told rewrite their lyrics to make them less political, I would think the fact she singled out America to criticize would have subjected her to the same rules. I guess that's because it's open season on America as of late, so it doesn't count.Hosts
Ukraine's DJ Pasha hosted the event but after two hours of listening to him audition for the US Boxing Federation's announcer position, I was more than happy that the Greek commentator drowned him out. A word of advice Pasha...not every word spoken in English needs to be an attempt to get Mike Tyson back into the ring.
So that's it for another year. I'm quite happy NOT to blog the fact that Greek wasted the 700,000 euros budgeted
to bring Helena to the forefront of the competition. Her win made good use of that money. I just hope Greece doesn't plan to build another stadium to host the event in 2006!
**Check out www.eurovision.tv
if you're one of the 14 hardcore Eurovision fans out there.