Sunday, May 15, 2016

A great improvement from Spain.

The UK may not have faired well in the Eurovision song contest but English became the chosen language for the majority of the songs.

When the competition started in 1956, there were no restrictions on the language that contestants chose for their songs. In 1966, the rules were changed and everyone had to sing in their own language. A change of heart took place in 1973 which allowed the Swedish group, ABBA, to sing Waterloo in English. The rule was then reinstated between 1978 and 1998.
  • This year, 21 out of the 26 entries were sang entirely in English. Out of the rest, only the Austrian entry was sang in anything but English and she chose to sing in French.
  • Of course, the reason why so many chose English was to maximise their chances of winning.
  • In the past, the competitors' English was often so poor that it was impossible to understand.
  • Last night, all those who chose English seemed to me to be word perfect.
  • Quite what those countless millions of viewers who have no understanding of English made of it though is hard to fathom. If you can't understand the lyrics, then a song is just a melody with a pleasant sound sang well.
Eurovision became unfashionable and even a bit cheesy at one point. More recently though, the staging, the presentation and most important the music have improved tremendously. However, I still have fond memories of the time when Ireland hosted the competition and staged a performance of Riverdance in the interval. I can't remember any of the songs, nor the winner but I still recall being blown away by seeing  Riverdance for the first time.

PS Imagine how good it would have been if, instead of Justin Timberlake, the Swedes had managed to get ABBA back on stage to perform Waterloo! Now that would have been special.

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