Friday, May 15, 2009

Taking Eurovision seriously?

I'll admit that I know little about Eurovision. ABBA, Celine Dion, Lordi. That's about the sum total of my knowledge of the competition. Other than the fact that Bob Dylan apparently never tried to enter the contest.

But I knew enough to smirk when I read the first few lines of this Guardian article:

It's been dismissed as kitsch for years, but Eurovision could be reinvented as a real showcase for British songwriting talent

And one of the former members of ABBA is mentioned in the article:

[H]ow come Benny Andersson, one of the most successful songwriters in the world who got his big break winning the contest with Waterloo in 1974, says that he's stopped watching Eurovision because it "means nothing" for music?

Well, you have to distinguish between performing and songwriting. Or not:

Basca (The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) used to be involved in the production of the UK try-outs for the competition. But as the BBC are in charge of it themselves now, they've become so focused on winning the contest that they completely ignore the fact that it's a songwriting competition.

Frankly, that was news to me. Obviously I know little about the competition, but I always associated it with its performance aspects. Trevor Krueger helped to enlighten me:

Each year all the countries in the European Union enter one song for the contest. Each national song entry has usually been chosen by the nation from a selection of compositions penned by different writers and put to the vote....

The problem has been that, with the exception of ABBA, there haven’t been too many wonderful entries from Europe. A cruel statement, but fairly accurate....

It’s been announced here that this year [Krueger wrote this in November 2008], Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber will write our British entry and then find a group to sing it through a month long TV contest, thus reducing, in my opinion, a song writing competition into yet another televised talent show. As if we need another one of those!

In the end, Webber co-wrote the song with Diane Warren, and the singer will be Jade Ewen.

My my. (Oh yeah.)
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