x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

The Wurst of Eurovision

The much-mocked Eurovision song contest lived up to tradition by making a bearded Austrian "lady" the winner, but is there a new path for this annual sing-fest?

The Eurovision Song Contest already had a lot to answer for, long before it thrust a bearded Austrian lady into the spotlight on Saturday. Conchita Wurst’s power ballad, Rise Like a Phoenix, is part of a long tradition for the weird and wacky – a term often as apt for the singers as for the songs – in this long running music contest.

If Wurst – the alter ego of 25-year-old Thomas Neuwirth – proves to be like most previous winners, he/she will sink back into the obscurity from which he/she emerged. This is perhaps one of the Eurovision’s saving graces.

The contest has had its moments, though, not least for providing an apogee for those who mock the concept of Euro-unity and for introducing “Nul points” in the common vernacular as the archetypally dismissive phrase. It also launched Abba, who won with Waterloo in 1974.

Now, however, Eurovision has been largely superseded by the wealth of reality television talent shows such as The X Factor and The Voice.

Perhaps Eurovision ought to be replaced by The World’s Got Talent, in which winners of these various shows compete for a supreme title. The question is: would we watch it?