‘Celebrate, oh celebrate, everybody let’s celebrate’…ugh, no.
‘Celebraaaaaate, every single step you take’…nope.
‘Congratulations, and celebrations’…yeah, that’ll do.
Via the wonderful words of Piero and the Music Stars Daria Kinzer Sir Cliff Richard, I welcome you to what is officially the 300th post I’ve made here at EBJ, since way back in 2009.
That’s 300 installments of mildly amusing Eurovision ramblings, occasionally read and commented on by you (yes, that’s you. I love that shirt you’re wearing, by the way). Coincidentally, I’ve also recently reached the big 50 000 hit mark, so I’d like to thank you for making the decision to read me more than once. I mean, I’m assuming that 50 000 isn’t due to 50 000 individual people landing on this blog, reading a post, finding themselves instantly bored/disgusted/confused because they thought Eurovision was something else, and clicking off, never to return. So thanks, merci, danke schön, hvala and all that jazz, for motivating me to get to these milestones of bloggery.
As you may or may not be aware, another milestone was reached on Saturday night when Sweden’s Melodifestivalen was won by Robin Stjernberg and You. His win is the first by an act to come from the Second Chance round, which has been running since 2002, and was made even more spectacular when it was revealed that he’d been the second-placed qualifier from Andra Chansen, below Anton Ewald (who ended up placing 4th in the final). I’m still reeling from this victory, but in-between my extended periods of disbelief I’ve been contacting T-shirt printing companies, asking if they can make me a TEAM ROBIN WOOHOO! shirt to wear during the final. I’ll let you know how that pans out.
Yes, I was thrilled to see this adorable, vocal demon of an underdog win MF (not so thrilled that I almost cried or anything. As if…) and to those peeps who won’t stop yammering on about how Yohio was the real Swedish winner, I say, remember how things went the last time the Swedish votes and the international jury votes disagreed, and the Swedish choice went to Eurovision? Two words: no qualification. I realise that having an entry represent your country is about more than raking in the points – it’s also about having a home-grown song you’re proud of. But Sweden, do you really want to embarrass yourself on your own turf? The Robin + song package obviously has more international appeal than the Yohio version (as beautiful as he is) and that will translate into votes at Eurovision. So thppppthhhhhergh.*
* The highly mature sound of me blowing a raspberry.
Anyway, what with the EBJ achievement/s and Robin’s amazing win, I’ve had milestones on the brain over the last few days. So I thought I’d compile a list of some of the ESC’s latest and greatest firsts and records, some serious and some not-so-much. I hope you like it, and I hope I can keep talking about Eurovision long enough to keep you entertained to post #600!
2003 | The year the UK realised that Nicki French’s 16th place in 2000 = not too shabby
When poor old (not quite in the Humperdinck sense) Nicki only managed to score 28 points in Stockholm, she gave the United Kingdom their worst result of all time. The people despaired – what had gone so wrong? It could have been the BBC sending a badly-dressed female with a dated dance song that was the problem, since that’s what they chose to do again in 2001, coming 15th. But after coming back to form the following year, it seemed such a lowly ranking as 16th was all in the past.
And then came Jemini. Oops.
2004 | The first year audiences were terrified by somebody on stilts jerking around on stage, having no obvious relevance to the song itself
This particular stilt woman was used to “compliment” France’s Jonatan Cerrada during his performance of A Chaque Pas. Now, I know that song title translates to ‘with each step’, but nowhere in the lyrics does it say ‘with each precarious step I may come crashing down and break my nose on the fibreglass stage’. I’m all for spicing up a dull ballad with something or someone, but this was just distracting. A similar thing would happen again in 2009 with Bulgaria, but in that case the distraction was appreciated. By EVERYONE.
756 | The approximate duration (in hours) of the 2005 final (this figure also applies to any Maltese national final)
Alright, that was a slight exaggeration. But at 3 hours and 26 minutes, the final in Kiev was the longest Eurovision episode in history, mainly thanks to the voting sequence. Whoever thought it was a good idea to keep the ‘1 point goes to…(ten years later) and fiiiinaallllly, 12 points go to’ thing going obviously had no issues with getting a numb bottom after sitting on the couch for too long. I’m just grateful that Helena Paparizou’s winning song was a danceable one, because it gave me an excuse to stand up. I hate to think what would have happened to my rear end if Chiara had won.
999 | The entry number of Kate Ryan’s Je T’Adore, performed in Athens in 2006
Everybody knows that Ireland’s Brian Kennedy presented the 1000th Eurovision song during this semi final, so I thought I’d acknowledge Kate, who not only just missed out on such an honour, but also failed to qualify to the final against all betting odds. When you think about it, 999 is a much cooler number than 1000. I bet Brian was super jealous that he didn’t get drawn in her position.
43 | The record number of countries to have participated in any year, set in 2008 and 2011
Malmö 2013 had the potential to be the biggest, fattest contest ever in terms of participation, but one thing led to another…and so that title remains with both Belgrade and Düsseldorf. It’s incredible to think that that’s more than seven times the amount of countries that showed up for the first ESC. Life in general is supposed to be about quality, not quantity, but I do hope the 43 is eclipsed one day.
11 | The number of seconds Rona Nishliu managed to scream for during Suus (in every chorus) without taking a breath
I say ‘scream’ in an affectionate way, as someone who still adores Suus and Rona’s ability to yell for spiced beverages. The second “chai” is the most impressive, just edging past Pastora Soler’s epic money note as the most jaw-dropping vocal display heard on the Baku stage. In fact, if a vocal gymnastics category happens to be introduced to the next Olympics, Albania has a gold-medal contender right here.
2012 | The first time someone managed to simultaneously win and lose the contest
If you’re thinking ‘WTF? Loreen was actually Tooji in a wig?’ then allow me to clarify: it was songwriter Peter Boström, co-responsible for both Euphoria and Stay, who achieved this applause-worthy feat. It was an undeserved feat, in my Tooji-loving opinion (it’s been almost a year and I’m still not over it), but it’s still so unlikely, you shouldn’t expect it to happen again anytime soon. Until about 2025, when I expect Thomas G:son to be writing and composing every single entry.
5 | The number of times Azerbaijan has placed in the top 10, over 5 years of participation
Everything seems to come so easy for some people, doesn’t it. Azerbaijan is like that when it comes to Eurovision. They may make an effort when it comes to choosing their artist, but more often than not their song is an off-the-shelf Swedish job that somehow impresses its way into the top 10. I’m not trying to diss them – they’ve found a formula and they’re sticking to it (namely consistently good pop songs). But I would like to see them fail just once, just for the shock value.
4 130 000 | The viewing figure for this year’s Melodifestivalen final
And that’s not including all the people on the planet (like myself) who tuned in to the web stream…or the extra few hundred thousand who dropped by for the results. To put it into perspective, the Swedish population currently sits at 9.5 million, which means nearly half the country plonked themselves down to cheer the ten competitors on. I can’t think of many TV shows that would get 11 million Australians watching – although if we had our own version of Melfest, I would watch it with enough enthusiasm for 11 million people. FYI, the rating at result o’ clock was the highest ever.
2 | The number of times Malmö will have been the host city of Eurovision in the near future
The third largest city in Sweden will join an exclusive club consisting of Copenhagen, Stockholm, The Hague, Oslo, Jerusalem and Cannes by doing a double. It’s not that impressive when you consider Luxembourg and London, both five-time hosts. Then there’s Dublin, a capital that has seen not one, not two, not even three…but SIX contests, mostly thanks to Johnny Logan. Showoff.
Which Eurovision milestone (mine or not) has impressed you the most?