Thursday, May 26, 2022

What we learned from the 2021 Eurovision Grand Final.

Eurovision 2021 was an audacious experiment to overcome the coronavirus – but it was much more than that. What else did this tell us?

Manskin’s victory with “Zitti e Buoni”, a song full of off-color lines and lyrics about smoking, was not the only sign of a rock revival. The Blind Channel of Finland came in sixth with an angry nu-metal song called “Dark Side”, while the Black Mamba representing Portugal came in 12th with “Love Is On My Side”, which took place in the 1970s. Kay was a piece of classic rock music. Paul McCartney is out of place on the previous list.

Over the years, Spanish-language pop has increased in the American and European pop charts due to acts such as Bad Bunny, Rosalia, and C. Tangana. Is now the time for French? On Saturday, Barbara Pravi finished second for France with “Voila” – a traditional piece of chanson that many critics compared to songs by Edith Piaf. Third place was awarded to Gjon’s Tears from Switzerland with “tout l’Univers”, also in French.

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James Newman, Britain’s entry, suffered the biggest embarrassment of the night – receiving no points from the judges, nor anyone from the public. This is the first time since 2003 that Britain has ended with zero. Could it have anything to do with Britain’s departure from the European Union?

But, also, perhaps it is not so. Germany, the dominant force in European politics, – received only three votes on Saturday, coming in second to last. The Spanish entry received just six votes; Netherlands, 11.

The voting process for Eurovision is complex and takes hours, involving juries spread across 39 countries – some not anywhere near Europe, such as Australia – as well as a separate vote by the public. But the counting of votes was the main attraction of the competition on Saturday. As the votes were announced, the lead switched between acts several times, with Iceland and Switzerland likely to be the likely winners before Iceland got into contention, and Italy raised the storm with overwhelming public support. This can be complicated, but perhaps other major award ceremonies, such as the Grammy Awards, should consider adopting such systems and engaging the public as well.

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