In a word: disappointed. For better or worse (and it was definitely for the worse) I sat through the whole thing in a feat of endurance rivalled only by the ascent of Everest. Possibly. It was not a pleasant experience. For whole chunks I was tied to a chair with my eyelids forcibly open like Malcolm MacDowell in ‘A Clockwork Orange’. In short, it was tough going. In long, I am yet to recover.
I’ve always loved Eurovision. I like the colour, the culture, the fashion, the movement and the positivity. Granted, I have mixed feelings about the music, which generally covers the full spectrum from ‘inspired’ (albeit in a fairly polite kind of way) through to a disaster on par with the Hindenburg, if the Hindenburg involved choreography and a rapped bridge section. But this year’s Eurovision was sheer drudgery. Even those involved looked bored beyond belief.
What used to be great about Eurovision was its pace. If one entry coughed up a song that made your ears want to escape from your head and hide under the couch, they’d be replaced by another entry in moments. You barely had time to make a cup of tea before the next act was on stage and (hopefully) producing something approximating music rather than inflicting a full-frontal assault on your ears.
The venue wasn’t ideal. In a perfect world, the competition would have been held in Ukraine, given they won it last year, but as the world remains stubbornly imperfect it had to be relocated to Britain. It’s a compromise, for sure, and one that’s understandable in the circumstances. It’s ironic, though, that a competition designed to promote peace and harmony in Europe was transplanted to accommodate a war. But of all the locations in Britain, why did they hold it in Westminster Abbey?
As venues go, Westminster Abbey isn’t very festive. Whether it’s the seating, the lighting or the architecture, it’s not the kind of place that welcomes a glow-in-the-dark headband. It’s too solemn. I suspect any attempt to start a conga-line would be immediately shot down with a withering glance. And the chairs are pointing the wrong way! To have the seating turned in on itself is a rookie error of Titanic proportions. Then there’s the matter of the host.
Graham Norton looks entirely different. I don’t know what kind of work he’s had done, but he should definitely consider switching surgeons. And his decision to wear a Jedi-inspired robe may have been a well-intentioned tribute to last year’s runner up, ‘Space Man’ by the amazing Sam Ryder, but it looked ridiculous. And, if I’m honest, he was really flat the whole way. No energy.
I fear the wheels on the Eurovision dune buggy have fallen off – I watched for three hours during which time the only contestant I saw perform was from the United Kingdom. Who’s in charge? I hadn’t read much about Britain’s representative. At first I assumed that the powers that be had finally surrendered and allowed Morrissey to perform. But no, this was somebody named Charlie W.
Although I’m highly critical of this year’s Eurovision as a whole, credit where credit is due – his costume was pretty good, even if faintly ridiculous. Whilst his performance can generously be described as glacial in nature, he did bring a bit of bling to the occasion. Which, as any viewer of Eurovision knows, is essential. Not that I entirely understood it.
Firstly, there was the bit where he wore a gigantic glove. The commentators referred to it by name, but I’m going to call it the ‘Oven Glove of Destiny’. White around the hand with a golden sleeve that tickled the elbow, it looked ideal for plucking a tray of chicken wings out of the oven. It’s not what I’d choose to wear when singing, but each to their own.
After the Oven Glove of Destiny, Graham Norton handed the contestant a massive Ferrero Rocher and, unbelievably, Charlie W held it for a bit rather than peel away the golden wrapping to get to the chocolate within. Maybe he didn’t want to share it. But what could have been a show-stopping moment of chocolate-fuelled anarchy was, instead, a total letdown.
Costume changes are a big part of Eurovision. Think of the epic performance of ‘Making Your Mind Up’ by Bucks Fizz in 1981 as just one example. This year, Britain tried to take it further. Part way through, the world’s most decrepit looking back up dancers shuffled onto stage with screens so the singer could undertake a costume change. Put simply, it was lethargic. The singer then emerged wearing a spectacular golden cape. It wasn’t enough.
In the end, even a magical golden cape couldn’t save Britain. Ultimately, it finished second last on a measly twenty-five points. Only Germany fared worse. I’m not entirely sure how. Given I didn’t see them, I very much doubt Germany performed at all. Better luck next year.
I’m not sure what can be done to save Eurovision from itself. Come back, Bucks Fizz. All is forgiven.