Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Eurovision 2007: Join The Bloc Party

You can't keep a good Eurovision story down at this time of year, and far less one based on elementary number-crunching and symbolic-geographical stereotypes. BBC News Online rounds up some of the recent calls for Something To Be Done about the contest's east-west division, including Liberal Democrat MP Richard Younger-Ross's parliamentary early day motion to ask the BBC to insist on voting reform, Maltese protest voting and German tabloid sabre-rattling.

Notwithstanding snide columns or the prospect of a Eurovision comedy by the Borat scriptwriter (an almost inevitable combination after the advent of Verka Serdyuchka?), some of the Eurovision blogosphere is having a bash at countering what's quickly become the prevailing myth about the 2007 contest. Even counting only the votes of the less disputably western European countries, or even the remaining participants from 1990, the top of the scoreboard still remains eastern-dominated, although a western-only vote in the semi-final (see comments here) would have sent Portugal and Iceland through qualification at the expense of Moldova and Macedonia.

A possible conclusion: maybe it's currently more profitable to appeal to 'eastern' tastes, since by doing so there's a good chance of appealing to the 'west' at the same time. That might be to do with the various eastern European pop-folk industries' accommodation of contemporary pop/hip-hop production (quite a contrast to the music-for-entertainment-television schlager which tends to represent most of the western entrants), or to do with the glamourised easternness (Turkish, Bollywood, or abstract) occasionally articulated in North American music video.

If the future is pop-folk, at least there's an opportunity for the United Kingdom: British bhangra, a flourishing subculture rarely supported by the mainstream media in the UK (with the exception of the BBC's Asian Network and 1Xtra on digital radio). Angling for the 'eastern' vote, hitting BBC diversity targets and probably scoring higher than the French: it must be worth a go.

If nothing else, it's more ambitious than an air hostess routine...

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