Monday, May 23, 2005

Notes on Eurovision

With all of the enthusiasm that Kyiv greeted the Eurovision Song Contest 2005, it is great to report that it seem a great success. There were many people who thought that it was going to be a fiasco, highlighting Ukraine’s inability to hold a major an event of its size. There is an illusion Ukraine is incapable of managing events. Many expats have a very limited view of the capabilities of the nation. While there was a great deal of last minute rushing around with Eurovision, this type of last minute activity is common with any large scale human endeavor, especially in the entertainment industry.   There were hiccups in the hotel industry with Eurovision that was to be expected due to Kyiv lack of tourist infrastructure.


Some notes on Eurovision contest itself. The contest and its voting are a great gauge of the unstated cultural divisions within Europe. The voting always seems unfair and the best performers never win, at least in the view of this English native speaker and North American. If I ran the contest I would make a few minor adjustments:


There is a trend towards the homogenization of popular music in Europe. Eurovision should not be a vehicle for it. I would give any country that performs in its native language a 10 to 20% point’s bonus. English songs dominate in the contest and badly sung English does not promote good music. Giving a bonus to native singers would promote diversity.


There seems to be a disconnect between popular voting and Eurovision. A small country, Andorra for example, has the same voting weight as larger countries, say Germany. Every country used televoting this year, thus allowing the direct totaling of results. It does not seem to be a major jump from the current country points system to one based on actual votes. To prevent the larger countries from dominating the contest voting, some merger of the current system of equal country voting and a more popular system might be created.


In the end, Eurovision is seen as goofy event in Western Europe and a serious competition in the East. This diversity of viewpoint is a large part of the charm of the event. It the end, it is a fun event with average music and lots of drums.


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