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Eurovision: Goodbye Terry...?

Reports this mornign are that terry Wogan may quit as the BBC's Eurovision Commenator. Terry has been doing it for as long as I can remember (he got the gig back in the 70's sometime) and whilst he is an institution and I generally really enjoy him he is certainly not the person for the job as the last few years have shown.

He has become increasingly bitter and xenophobic about the various entries into the contest and the way votes are distributed between countries. Sure, there is a certain amount of voting for your neighbours or close political ties - but there always HAS been. It's just that know many of the Western Countries that benefited from this (Scandinavian block especially) are being outshone by the amount of Eastern European countries that are involved in the competition. But even this voting brings some of the better songs to the fore.

Ok, Russia won this year. Terry claims this was political voting but the bookies had it down as the firm favourite to win way before the show and American Superproducer Timbaland (who's worked with Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtdao, 50 Cent and most recently Madonna) has worked with the singer who is a major star in Eastern Europe and also came 1nd in Eurovision back in 2006 when Lordi (Finland) stole the show. Plus Russia was getting plenty of votes from non-Eastern European countries so it was hardly one-sided voting!

As for the UKs entry coming last - well frankly that wasn't a surprise. Whilst Terry was claiming it was the UK's "best song in years" the bookmakers had it down at 66-1 to win and it came 33rd out of 43 in a BBC survery earlier in the week which included all the countries songs before the two semi-finals weeded out a lot of the dross. The UK were only IN the Eurovision Song Contest Finals at all this year (and for the last few) because we get an automatic buy-in along with Germany, Spain and France because of the financial backing we give it. Maybe we do need to go through the semi-final stage as that might make us start putting forward half-decent songs as opposed to the complete w**k of recent years (Scooch, Daz Sampson - arg!).

Our song was so bad that even Malta (who traditionally give points to any UK song - hey Terry, isn't THAT political voting?) gave it ZERO POINTS (Hey Terry, that must mean our song was extremely bad if even Malta couldn't bring themselves to vote for it!!!). Only Ireland (hmm- block voting Terry?) and San Marino gave it any points (8 and 6 respectively) so once again political voting (well on Irelands part anyway) saved the UK from getting a big round ZERO in total (last years contest we only got votes from Ireland (7pts) and Malta (12pts???) which was blatant blok voting and nothing to do with the quality of the song - I guess Malta learnt there lesson this year).

Anyway, I really do hope that this is Terry's last year as Commentator. He was great for years but he just isn't clued in enough with the state of modern music or Eurovision and personally I'm finding his xenophobic and racist comments too much to pallet. He needs to resign/reture (as he's indicating) or the BBC needs to just remove him in favour of a new younger, more 21st Century clued-in, non-racist commentator.

Well done to Russia who won and to Ukriane and Greece (wo came 2nd and 3rd).

Wogan 'May Quit Eurovision Role' (BBC News; Sunday 25th May 2008)


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 25th, 2008 09:16 am (UTC)
The trouble is that most people think that Eurovision is a big joke, though one that isn't very funny.
May. 25th, 2008 09:18 am (UTC)
In Britain that is pretty much true. In much of Europe it's something that's taken very seriously.
May. 25th, 2008 10:56 am (UTC)
Lets try - earlier selection of UK entry, a UK entry that is better known and doesn't suck, and sending said UK entry on some serious touring of the continent instead of sitting back in Blighty and filling up the Sleb pages...........
May. 25th, 2008 11:38 am (UTC)
I think that if you didn't have Terry to think about, there wouldn't be anything to the contest. It's a bunch of second rate songs sung by third rate acts.

I hadn't heard the songs but I knew Russia was going to win and I bet they win next year, unless it's the turn of another of the Eastern Block countries. I say dump the whole thing.
May. 25th, 2008 12:29 pm (UTC)
I'm in agreement with Terry Woga that it is all done on political voting. No one votes for the quality (or as in recent years, the crap quality) of the songs and artists anymore.

The Russian entry was awful and did not deserve to win.
May. 25th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)
I've heard a not entirely convincing argument that it is all down to migrant populations and telephone voting. Eg, the migrant population always votes for their nation , but the votes are counted as being voted by where they live.

An example used in support was why does Latvia vote for russia, most Latvian are don't really like Russia , but there are an awful lot of Russians living in Latvia.

It doens't convince me because I would have thought the would be enough native population watching to mimise this effect. But the gripping hand is that phone voting is now encouraged in the EBU contest rules, so if the votes are a natural consquences of phone voting it not 'political' voting in the sense ambassador's and stuff get invovled with it just reflect the prejedices of each countries popoulation.

Hmm - If that is the case it give some interesting data to mine...

Of course I didn't watch it this year , and haven't for about 10 years,
May. 25th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)
he just isn't clued in enough with the state of modern music</i>

I think much the same applies to Eurovision as a whole.
May. 25th, 2008 01:25 pm (UTC)
I agree strongly with what you are saying. It's a pity there wasn't a switch to mute Wogan but leave the rest of the show running.

If we submitted a decent entry, we would not come bottom. Or at least, not total bottom. Garbage in, garbage out.
May. 25th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
We came to the conclusion that Eddie Izzard might make a good person for Eurovision, particularly as he is very pro Europe and might actually have something to say in the various languages (I was initially thinking he should be in the green room)

I doubt he'd do it for more than a year, though.

May. 25th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
the reason the Russian entry was a favourite was because it was in a block. there are three key block, the Scandinavian block, the former Soviet block and the fomer yuogoslavia block. Political voting is reality because people vote for their homelands, so for in example 30% of the poulation of Bosnia are Serbian, so they will vote for their entry. The Uk will not do well because A0 our songs are crap and B) we are not in a block, unless westermn europe wakes up and decides to fiorm a block of their own.

Whilst some people don't think that migrants vote ,much, I was in a Serbian household last night, and they voted for Serbia' entry 20 times and bosnia and herzegovina twice.
May. 26th, 2008 09:40 am (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with Terry that block voting does happen-though sometimes it may be as much cultural as is it political, and there is still a sense that some songs get more votes because they are also fairly decent/liked. If Russia had done an entry like Ireland's this year would it still have won? What I think can happen is that mediocre songs can be pushed to the front through block voting. A lot of countries outside of the block gave Russia points as well, and enough 5, 6, 7 point votes can make a big difference. Having said that, it wasn't a bad entry at all and certainly better than the UK's.

Something I have observed since more Eastern European countries and several other new ones have been included is that the overall quality of a lot of the songs has been going up and there is more willingness for a lot of countries to be a bit bolder and less traditional in what they put forward. The UK has not really caught up with this.

Turkey put forward a band that have several albums under their belt already http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mor_ve_%C3%96tesi
I guess they are Turkey's equivalent of putting through a band like 'My Chemical Romance'.
The reason we end up with second rate, predictable, old fashioned and dull acts is possibly because our mainstream musicians regard Eurovision as the kiss of death- a joke that they wouldn't even seriously consider?
I think that's now increasingly an out-of-date assumption to make.

Oh-and I am certainly going to listen to some more of Mor ve Ötesi's music now. I liked San Marino as well, and though it was *cough* a bit retro rock Azerbaijan's was a decent piece. Rather reminded me of Crimson Glory.
May. 26th, 2008 09:07 pm (UTC)
I hated the UK entry, it was rubbish 70s soul.

I like Terry though, he is the only reason I bother watching. I didn't think he was being racist, just pissed of at all the ex Soviet states voting for Russia.

There was an acedemic study about block voting and that predicted Russia as the winner, so it was pretty much in the bag.

Azerbaijan should have won!
May. 27th, 2008 09:07 am (UTC)
Terry may come across as bitter and xenophobic, it's true. But when you can sit at home and predict the 8/10/12 votes for more than half the voting countries to about 80% accuracy, there's a problem.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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