x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

The same old song

It's been a long time since the Eurovision song contest was taken seriously by the public.

The circus that is Eurovision has packed up its tent and moved on for another year. Those of us who live outside the competing nations are left, once again, to scratch our heads in wonder at the appeal of this 56-year-old parody of a contest. For some people, it's a guilty pleasure; something they enjoy even though they know they shouldn't. For others, it's not a pleasure at all.

Hardly anyone has taken the competition seriously for many years. With few exceptions, most notably Swedish superstars Abba, no act has achieved real fame on the back of a Eurovision win. Many competing nations have obviously abandoned the aim of discovering and promoting new talent, and have decided instead to enter carnival side-shows, some of whom are propelled to victory through dubious bloc-voting tactics.

Thus audiences this year could only gape at acts such as the hyperactive Irish twins Jedward, the Russian Grannies, and the superannuated British crooner Engelbert Humperdinck, who surely deserves better than to be remembered for coming second last in Eurovision 2012.

While taking nothing away from the runaway winner, Swedish singer Loreen, recent history suggests that in years to come her name will not be uttered in the same breath as those of her compatriots from Abba.