Thoughts on Eurovision's new revision
Published May 15, 2017
The Eurovision Song Competition this weekend was a fun evening of drinking wine and watching a variety of singing acts doing their thing, but despite the enjoyment of the evening, it left me a little flat. I thought at first it was because a serious song had won the whole thing. Portugal’s guy was clearly very talented but it didn’t really feel in the spirit of Eurovision – this is a competition about sassy gorillas and yodelling rappers after all.
But then, as Twitter quite graciously reminded me, it’s not about who wins. I can’t remember the last time I voted for an act that ended up winning the whole thing.
I think what really left me downhearted was the way the voting takes away all of the tension that I used to enjoy. I can see what they have tried to do – the last few years before the change saw runaway winners so that you didn’t even need the final few countries to pass judgement, we already knew who was taking home the trophy. This new system means that doesn’t happen.
But it also means sitting through 40+ countries announcing the results of their jury vote, which are absolutely meaningless. The big conceit is that we get to the end of the jury vote and “it’s all still okay, anyone could win it, your votes mean more.” So… what’s that all about then? It’s fun to laugh at the presenters and wish they would just get on with it if you know their announcements are crucial. If they are just filling time for the votes to be counted then I’m really less bothered.
And don’t get me started on the fact the juries cast their vote based on a previous night’s performance. They’re not even judging the same thing as us! The act could have sung totally out of tune, fallen over and ripped their costume, and still get ALL the jury votes. So bizarre.
Once that pointless exercise is out the way, you rip roar through the viewer votes with barely a chance to blink. The existing table is completely turned on its head, and you can only root for your country until it is booted out with a low score at the very start of the process. They are announcing countries without context, so I can’t remember which act is which, and in the end the result is the same as everyone predicted, no matter how much X-Factor style tension the presenters try to create.
I remember very little from one Eurovision to the next but I do remember disliking this format last year too. Perhaps I am the only one, because most of what I have seen online and on the night was superbly excited about the new version. Still it doesn’t matter because I will forget this in twelve months’ time and still sit down ready and waiting for a new batch of bizarre belters.