To be perfectly honest I more often than not give the Eurovision Song Contest the miss. If the show was rebranded as the Eurovision Kitschiest Performance of the Year Contest, then maybe…
As it is, the Swedes are mad about the ESC, which is known as Schlagerfestivalen in these parts of the world, and they take it so seriously that they have their own mini-series of Schlagerfestivals. This means that a) the tabloids write about the events from January through May and b) there really is no need for a grand European finale: The Eurovision can save the money and the trouble and just hand over the trophy to this year’s winner of the Swedish contest.
Okay, it was a well-laid plan and as all best laid plans, it failed spectacularly. The Swedish entry, performed by local superstar Charlotte Perrelli, sunk without trace. As did the UK, the German and the Polish entries. Instead, this year’s competition was won by a Russian speed-skater.
Part of the attraction of the ESC are the rituals before and after the Grande Finale. There are always complaints about the winning song being a rip-off of some obscure song written by an even more obscure has-been or never-was. And the British sulk when they don’t win – boy, do they sulk. Your average 5-year-old couldn’t throw more tantrums than the British media, but then again: To work in British media, having the mental age of a 5-year-old often looks like a requirement to me.
Anyway, discussions about the misfortune of the British and the unsportsmanlike behaviour of everybody else thanks to semi-anonymous commentator at Crooked Timber, abb1, gave me this link to a table of European neighbourly love.