When six men from Finland, dressed as ogres and monsters from a fantasy horror film, won Eurovision in 2007, they were credited with “breaking” the trend and going against Eurovision. status quFr. With their eclectic metal hit Hard rock Hallelujah, the band is hard to call a typical Eurovision artist. And yet, 15 years later, their image forever entered the DNA of the competition and became synonymous with Eurovision itself.
And when the annual ESC2022 is on our doorstep again, everyone falls back into the Eurovision fever, wondering what surprises this year’s edition will bring. And with that in mind, I thought about writing on the subject – in part because of my own passion for the show – and in part to help readers understand “why all this noise”.
What is the fuss with Eurovision?
For most of the past 30 years, the leaders of major labels and radio executives have decided that the “average” listener hears in public, on the radio, in supermarkets, on streaming platforms, and, of course, on television. .
Hidden in the boardroom, they made decisions calmly, without emotion or personal preference and based solely on numbers. So they would divide the artists into banks, like lottery numbers, and choose the ones they would like to click like “List A”, “List B”, “List C”, “Best Beginner”. and so on.
These decisions will determine how many times you will hear the track in public during the day. Hearing your favorite indie band playing mainstream radio in prime time would be unheard of if, of course, they didn’t become mainstream – Coldplay – one such example. And hearing a dance track played after a glam-rock song and then a chanson, would mean instant dismissal for any radio DJ who would dare to go against the radio station’s recommendations. This is the model of modern music capitalism to which we are so accustomed.
Eurovision: the day when bets stop
Given all this, imagine that you get one day a year when all bets are canceled, when labels and radio bosses get a day off, and the music world plunges into complete anarchy (from a musical point of view). You will feel like Alice in Wonderland or a character out Cleaning film – any analogy you prefer. You can literally pick any track you want and it will get aired. Wouldn’t that be fun?
For me personally, Eurovision is just that, and watching it on TV makes Charlie feel like he is in a chocolate factory. There are no restrictions on the genre of the song or the language in which it must be performed. There are a few rules: songs cannot exceed the three-minute limit, they must be sung live, there can be no more than five participants on stage, and the song cannot have a direct political message. Other than that, in any fair game (sort of).
A brief history of the ESC
The first show aired in 1956, and since then it has featured some world-renowned artists, including Celine Dion, Aba and – um – Blue. While Eurovision’s popularity was still relatively low in the early 2000s, the show had an almost amateurish feel that sometimes made it almost unpleasant. Poorly written songs combined with horrible backing tracks, amateur vocalists and a staging reminiscent of a school play will dominate the show, giving viewers a lot to laugh at and inadvertently creating a great evening for the audience.
The lack of financial incentive at ESC has always been one of the main reasons why labels and big names have generally avoided the platform. But over time, that is likely to change.
Indeed, as Eurovision’s popularity grew, so did its quality on and off the stage, reaching the same hallmark of quality as professional mainstream productions. Suddenly, both artists and labels turned to Eurovision, seeing it as a potential springboard to start a career or restart the old one. Well-known producers also started participating.
Lorin, who won in 2012 at the ESC for Sweden with her song Eurodance Euphoria, is one such example. Produced by Peter Bostram, the man behind classic Eurodance bands such as Etype, the winning number was also a co-producer of Coral and other Swedish and European “90s stars”. Another example is Max Martin, a guy whose plan has dominated Anglo-American charts for the past 20 years.
In fact, by 2018 it has become too much, bordering on ridiculous. If I remember correctly, at least four songs in the finale sounded as if they were made from the same template by one producer (because they were).
In the past, the voting process has been painstakingly long; mainly due to the fact that each participating country would distribute scores from one to 12 to its favorite performers and then broadcast them one after the other live on television. It caused a yawn. Many presenters also saw in this productive moment an opportunity to capture the spotlight by turning to comic episodic events that no one wanted to hear or see. Obviously, it took an eternity to complete this, and the show dragged on and on.
However, since 2016, with the help of a new voting system, the organizers have reduced the score segments to the three highest scores for each country (eight, 10 and 12 points). Other optimizations included placing the results of televoting at the end rather than at the beginning, all in one fell swoop, from the lowest to the highest score. This led to more excitement and greater climax by the end of the show, as well as to solving a problem in which some votes were irrelevant when the winner had already scored more than enough points to win.
Last year, Italian glam-rock band Maneskin won TV audiences across Europe with his original song Zitti e Buoni. Revival of live performance with a full team on stage, great energy and youthful passion; one that Axel Rose could be proud of.
What about Germany’s participation in Eurovision in 2022?
This year, German hopes are pinned on German-American singer Malik Harris, who won the selection process and the final of the live TV show with his mainstream rap hit Rockstar. The selection disappointed many German fans, who felt that the overall pre-selection of German finalists was too safe and too “middle way”, little to do with the spirit of Eurovision and much more related to the labels that push them to grow. and close beginners.
It was especially frustrating because Germany really had gemstone – something that excited the fans and felt really fresh. An electro-metal band called Electric Callboy and their latest hit We have steps ticked all Eurovision contests, not least for the perversity and courage of the clip.
Unfortunately, since the initial selection was made by a group of “experts” appointed by the NDR, apparently they felt that a mix of catchy electric sounds with heavy metal growls was not needed by the European public.
Watching Eurovision can be a great experience for those who want to expand their musical horizons beyond what is happening in the English-speaking world. There are many similar items that appear from year to year.
For example, Eurodance as a genre has always been popular. Many countries include this along with local elements such as bits, percussion, various languages and traditional instruments.
Other popular genres include power ballads, pop and chanson. Indeed, the songs chosen by each country often testify to the local musical taste, their culture and geographical location. And so over the years there have been certain clichés based on repetitive elements. I decided to laugh at some of them, but obviously don’t take them too seriously.
- Finland – Heavy metal, English, big unshaven wildebeest.
- Albania, Georgia and Azerbaijan – Singers in skimpy clothes, Eurodance with the spirit of Central European and Eastern percussion elements.
- Greece – Old men and women sing another performance of the dance “Syrtaki”.
- Armenia – An amazing combination of adult songs with pajama party costumes.
- Sweden – Mainstream dancing or pop, unless you turn to three big moms (in which case they can sing whatever they want).
- Denmark – Teenage bands singing about hope and love.
- The Netherlands – Usually a love duet or a song about flowers (beautiful, but never at 10).
- Germany – A positive message, socially responsible, but often very soft.
- France – “I’m sorry I’m French” or something like that. Mostly chanson and in French, of course.
- Russia – Everything that the state decides to repay.
- Ukraine and Moldova – Self-deprecating Eastern European disco.
- Portugal – Chanson, in Portuguese, real skill, jazz.
- Great Britain – I never want to fit into the rest of Europe, I have high hopes for soul artists. Be overly proud of your musical success as a nation, and this is inevitably always a serious RIGHT.
- Ireland – Folk pop tunes with accents that most people who do not speak English will not understand.
- Israel – Something Hallelujah, sung in Yiddish.
- Norway – What does the fox say? still reflected in their sometimes outrageous sarcasm. Make love!
- Baltic countries – Bad imitations of Sweden from last year.
- Spain -Eurodance and pop in Spanish. Women with swords.
- Iceland – Amazing computer botanists and Will Farrell.
- Belgium – Music that your parents listen to (old) in French.
- Switzerland -Tall, large men are probably related to Arnold Schwarzenegger, dressed in black.
- Australia – Great vocalists, artistic songs, but what does Australia have to do with Eurovision?
What to expect at Eurovision 2022: forecasts of winners and losers
The most interesting thing about watching ESC is that you never know which way the vote will go. Although I am a professional composer and a profound music analyst, I have not been able to choose a “winning horse”. However, like every year, I’m going to go.
Of course, there are favorites and those who expect fame depending on their popularity during the semifinals and rehearsals, but because the show uses a 12-point voting system, part of which is determined outside the theater performances, it is difficult to immediately choose a winner. Despite this, there are some safe bets that have been maintained throughout the ESC competition and could give you an idea of this year’s competition:
- Ukraine will get all the votes: It is difficult to bet that Ukraine will get votes from almost everyone, so my money would go to make this year’s show a vote of solidarity.
- The UK will failA: As one of the founding members of the competition, the UK is guaranteed a place in the final, whatever it is. Unfortunately, the complex of their musical superiority combined with a strong reliance on soul as a genre has so far not impressed anyone.
- Sweden will be fineA: No matter what happens, it’s always up there. Their music production giants combined with their ability to write good tunes have not deteriorated since the ABBA and are always a good bet.
- Portugal is a good bet: Saudade definitely this year’s dark horse; a restrained song with a relaxing atmosphere that is immediately recognizable.
By the way, this year I also submitted a song to Eurovision. A mixture of Boni M and Rammstein with lyrics about Greta Thunberg. Even though he was not selected by the jury, I am still very proud of him (there is always next year).