So What Happened In The 2012 Eurovision Song Contest?

I am glad you asked.

A brief recap: the Eurovision Song Contest is an annual television event that dates back to the early ’50s. Various countries across Europe (and a few other places) enter a song each in a big competition, and then they all get to vote on a winner. As you’d expect with an event which crosses so many cultural and political borders, the results are always highly contentious. There’s a suspicion that certain neighbour states, particularly in the Eastern Bloc, tend to vote for each other so’s not to increase tension, and of course everyone who doesn’t win claims it’s rigged.

Britain has a very interesting relationship with the competition, because we already win at pop music on a global scale. So for a long time we just sent untested performers, the kind of people you’d find round the back of a holiday camp, and hoped for the best. However, in recent years there have been definite signs that the UK has decided to try quite hard.

This year, for example, we sent Englebert Humperdinck over to Baku, Azerbaijan, with a big power ballad called “Love Will Set You Free” as our great hope for victory:

I know, after a performance like that, how could we lose?

Well, what if we only got votes from four of the squinty-bazillion (OK, 42) countries in the final? And what if our final grand total amounted to no more than 12 points? That’s a lot for a soccer match, but bearing in mind that the winning entry from Sweden managed a startling 372 points, it does look rather puny. And this is not the only regard in which the Swedish entry, a song called “Euphoria” by Loreen, is startling. Look:

And I’ll make you a prediction, next year there is NO CHANCE of getting a British singer with any kind of profile to represent Britain. Even Adele would struggle to win, and she wins everything.

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2. He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage. Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic
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