Dear UK: you can win Eurovision (next year)
We need to have a talk. It’s about Eurovision. I’ve heard your entries. What do you think you’re playing at? Don’t you know there are people who care about your reputation? Keep up this work that’s devoid of humour, flare, and talent, and all those jokes about the humourless Germans are going to be about you soon enough. So sit down and listen carefully, we’re going to learn how to win Eurovision.
Win with a great song. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Bring an amazing song, a charming stage performance, and leave everyone thinking, “hot damn, that was good”. This is however, quite hard, and often won’t go over well with a European audience craving camp and flare. Two recent winners have managed this: Lena for Germany in 2010 with the lovely ‘Satellite’ and Emmelie De Forest for Denmark in 2013 with the folk-infused ‘Only Teardrops’. Given the difficulty of achieving a win like this, and the state of your music industry, I wouldn’t try it.
Win with a stupid and great song. These are contestants who already have killer songs, but give performances that are stupid in an awesome way. Norway’s Alexander Rybak had a great song, a great voice, and could shred on the violin. That’s no reason not to add a troupe of bracer-clad men jumping around the stage spin kicking bowler hats. Winner. Austria’s Conchita Wurst pulled out one of the best pop diva performances of recent memory in 2014, performing with the stage name “vagina sausage”. Winner. Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw had amazing lyrics, composition, and artistry in the stage performance. But that’s no reason not to splice cheesy europop in between an otherwise heartfelt and sombre song. Winner. If you convinced a great musician with a sense of humour to represent Britain, this is possible, but unlikely, given the stigma associated to British Eurovision entries.
Win with a stupid song. These entries aren’t great, they’re basic, can’t sing very well, and they kinda suck. But they suck with such passion and flare that everyone loves them. Dima Bilan for Russia, 2008: His song wasn’t very good and he couldn’t sing, but that was no obstacle. Add a thrusting violinist, a gloriously camp figure skater, and costume some middle aged Russian men in the garb of a late 2000’s boy band, and everybody loves you. Give the people a smile and you’re halfway to winning. Finland’s Lordi also pulled off a similar feat in 2006. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lordi. But, if we’re honest, musically, they’re an ok heavy metal band. However, add some monster masks, enormous platform boots, and strap fireworks to your guitar, and again, winning. This is your path. Send some budding or ancient musicians with a sense of humour on, use the crazy resources provided to take the piss, and give everyone something to smile about.
Now Jamala for Ukraine last year provided a new way of winning: annoy the Russians. But I would strongly recommend against this strategy. In my opinion it was the result of unique socio-political circumstances, and Britain doing it probably won’t garner the same sympathy vote.
But, there is another path for you to consider: don’t try to win. Some of the most fondly remembered entries haven’t been the winners. Moldova in 2010 gave us the Epic Sax Guy meme, Poland the infamous butter churning milk maids in 2014, and Ukraine the hunk running in a giant hamster wheel that same year. Lithuania sent LT United in 2006, a group of six blokes, only a few of whom had any musical talent, to perform ‘We Are the Winners’, a self-glorifying piss take that declared, 15 times, ‘We are the winners of Eurovision’. Despite audible booing, they finished a respectable sixth place with a stupid joke born most likely over too many drinks.
So for pity’s sake, stop sending former X-Factor contestants. Send the Wurzels, or bagpipe ensemble Red Hot Chili Pipers. Send someone fun. Scratch that, go ask Alestorm. They’re a pirate metal band from Scotland with hits such as ‘Wooden Leg’, ‘Nancy the Tavern Wench’, and ‘Buckfast Powersmash’, and are known fans of Eurovision.
There’s still time to show us what you got. Good luck.
— Metro Entertainment (@Metro_Ents) May 9, 2017