03 July 2016


Eurovision Song Contest Country Smackdown, Interval
(Revisit Round 1 and Round 2)

After this, I'm going to stop feeling bad about Ireland's performance in my bracket. I promise.

Speaking of Ireland, I once scandalised a friend from there when I said there was a time I didn't stay for the results. I simply watched all the finalists' performances, went to bed, then looked up the winners the next day. (LOL!) My friend argued that the tallying of the votes is the best part--and well, now that I do stay up for it and scream along, I agree it's kind of essential.

It is the interval act that comes between these two main parts that remains hit-or-miss--and it is both a joke and a fact that many people choose this point to leave the room for some errand. Yet while no two Eurovision fans ever seem to agree on the results, there seems to be some consensus that Ireland's interval act of 1994 was a true highlight of ESC history. And now that I've told you that and shared Riverdance's Eurovision video, I do feel better. =)

Better enough to throw another mini face-off at you after the jump . . .

Greece vs. Russia

From the way the smackdown has been going so far, you'd think that only Western Europe and Scandinavia have had much to do with Eurovision. And while they have historically dominated the ESC, each decade it has run has brought more debuts and more diversity. Greece first joined the contest in 1974 and has since climbed the ranks to be one of the most consistent participants, in terms of entries, results, and its relationship with Cyprus. (What?) It wasn't until after the Iron Curtain fell that Russia decided it wanted in as well--but no one could have guessed, back in 1994, that it would have the next decade's most successful numbers. I'm personally not crazy about their winning songs, but I promise that whichever country is voted back as a wildcard pick has more fantastic stuff for me to feature. So go by their respective musical traditions and tell me whether you swing south or east.

If you haven't voted in the mini face-off of at the end of Round 2, there's still time. We currently have a tie, so I hope for at least one more comment. =)

And remember that participation in the Eurovision Song Contest Country Smackdown gets you points in the Philippine Literature Giveaway.

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Itinérante said...

The Irish one is pretty!

I vote for Greece- I didn't know this song was a Greek entry for Eurovison! It's one of my favourite songs of the type! ♪♫

Brandon said...

I confess I didn't like either, but I think my dislike is less for Greece, so my vote goes to Greece. Better having a bit of fun with the song, as the Greek entry is certainly doing, than taking oneself too seriously, which the Russian entry seems to be doing.

Enbrethiliel said...


Itinerante -- My Number One did become a commercial hit in its own right. =)

Brandon -- I think I could write an entire post on Believe and why it is the greatest Eurovision moment of the 2000s! That it's a mediocre song is a given, but the way it was staged and the way they pulled it off is near-epic. Did you hear the booing at the beginning of the clip? Russia was already pretty hated at the time; "nobody" wanted them to win. And they responded by throwing one of their most famous pop stars, a classically-trained violinist with a Stradivarius, and an Olympic gold medalist figure skater onto the stage . . . and then winning. With a mediocre song. I may never again see the bird as gloriously flipped as it was then.

Brandon said...

Yes, I did notice the booing -- and wondered whether that was just the usual thing!

Enbrethiliel said...


It had been the usual thing for Russia, at least since I started watching the contest--and last year, the host Austria used some anti-booing technology to keep the sound from the live broadcast and the official record. Knowing this in advance, the audience just waved a lot of "pride" flags during the Russian performance . . . which may or may not have led to this year's regulation about the sizes of flags the audience could bring. (But one journalist who was there did say that Polina Gagarina actually did win the crowd over and that the number of huge flags of all sorts blocked enough of the stage for the live audience themselves to be annoyed.) Anyway, I was very pleased that this year's Russian entrant, Sergey Lazarev was highly popular among the live audience.

And what does any of this have to do with music? Absolutely nothing! =D

Brandon said...

Actually, your posts about Eurovision always make me think of athletic and dramatic contests among the ancient Greeks -- the Olympic games, or the plays at the Dionysian festivals, were there to bring people together as a city (or as Greeks, in the case of the Olympics). So perhaps the whole event is a display of the fact that music, while not reducible to the political, is also not really separable from it -- in which case these issues of popularity and prejudgments are part of that particular kind of music.

(Do you think Eurovision songs are usually 'detachable' from their Eurovision context without major change, or does the fact that they are part of Eurovision make a significant impact in how you hear the song?)

Enbrethiliel said...


Interesting question! I had to give it some thought . . .

There was a time when I would have found Eurovision songs hard to detach from the contest; but ever since I started looking up what their singers or songwriters have done beyond the ESC, it has been easier to give them some distance from what is really a one-time context. It's true that some songs were all but engineered to be points magnets and some singers were selected for similar reasons, but as long as there's an alternative frame on which to hang a Eurovision song, it doesn't have to be "just" a Eurovision song.

cyurkanin said...

Sorry, late to the party - Greece! Can I still count my vote in the giveaway?