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Eurovision 2005 – Kiev

Last night’s Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev was a spectacular success, despite earlier concerns that dodgy dealings over ticket sales might spoil the event.

From my perspective (sitting in London watching it on tv) the show, held on a fanstastic stage and in front of a raucously enthusiastic crowd, seemed to go off perfectly.  When Greenjolly came on the stage to sing ‘Razom Nas Bahato’ (‘Together We Are Many’), the anthem that for many has become synonymous with the Orange Revoultion, the cheering of the crowd damn near brought the roof down. 

A few downsides, though, notably the boos that greeted the Nataliya Podolskaya, singing the Russian entry.  It was a crap song, but it would have been far classier if the crowd had saved their boos for the end of the performace.  Russia got the last laugh though as, despite its general awfulness, Russia finished 15 out of the 24 nations competing, five places ahead of the shockingly under-scoring Ukrainian entry.

For me though, the most interesting about Eurovision 2005, was that all creativity, energy and innovation – the things that really enthuse people about music – came from the East of Europe, and not from the West.  Rap from Ukraine, a Moldovan grandma banging the drum, and an absurdly camp glam rock outfit from Norway brought the contest alive, much as Ukraine’s winning cavewoman act did in 2004.  All of this was in such stark contrast to the songs from France, Germany, Spain and the UK, the four major sponsors of the event.  They bored us to tears with their effortlessly bland songs and, fittingly, shared the last four places between them.  Eurovision certainly isn’t high culture, but this year’s event really does seem to be indicative of a real political and cultural shift in Europe towards the East.

Update: It had to happen – somebody liveblogged Eurovision.

Update 2: Oh my God! They’re all at it!  Has the former Soviet Union gone Eurocrazy???

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