The annual Eurovision Song Contest took place in Düsseldorf nearly two weeks ago, so I’ll clarify why it’s taken me until now to write about it.  It’s not because I’m an avowed hater of this musical extravaganza and just didn’t want to talk about it – I generally find the whole spectacle very entertaining and a great excuse to have a few drinks – but on 14 May I was sitting in a motel in Missouri, USA.  There may have been a TV in the room, but all efforts to locate a channel that might be broadcasting Eurovision proved, unsurprisingly, futile.

Thanks to BBC iPlayer, I watched most of the entrants a week later on the day of my return.  That is, I semi-watched sleepily until jetlag set in halfway through the Ukrainian effort.  By the time I woke up on Sunday afternoon, the programme was no longer available.

Moldova at the Eurovision 2011 Finals
Moldova at the Eurovision 2011 Finals

Eurovision always has its fair share of critics, but I’m still glad I saw most of the show, even if it couldn’t be amongst the company of friends eating over-barbecued burgers.  The yearly dose of musical madness was delivered; from Jedward ‘dancing’ around like twin yo-yos for Ireland, to Moldova’s wonderfully random staging of their entry ‘So Lucky’, which put me in mind of a modernised, musical breed of garden gnomes.  By contrast, French tenor Amaury Vassili gave a refreshing performance that showcased true vocal talent, heightened by dramatic clouds that billowed across the screens behind him.

I’ll assume the usual cynicisms were voiced during the voting, but I’m pleased that Blue finished in a fairly respectable 11th place for the UK.  Somebody out there must have written a thesis on the wider political implications of the contest, year on year, but even in my jetlagged state, all that mattered was that there were still performances that didn’t take themselves too seriously and proved Europe is home to a wide variety of musical cultures.  Not that I’ll be travelling to Moldova any time soon…

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