I’ll be joining in with the fun of the preview posts very shortly, but for now I’m going to be self-indulgent. It was on April 6th 1971 that a disconcerted midwife announced to my mother that she’d been safely delivered of a NickD and briefly explained that it would probably be as well to keep the receipt, just in case.
50 years of NickD. Good grief. That’s almost too many years. But I bet there’s a load of great songs that have scored exactly 50 points in that time, right?
Indeed, there’s a load of songs that have scored exactly 50 points in that time.
We begin in 1977 with a chilly song of reindeer, plywood insulation, and one of the highest notes ever heard on a Eurovision stage. To this day, nobody is entirely sure which note Monica intended to hit so it’s entirely possible that it was the one she did hit. Either way, when Monica hits a note, it stays hit.
In 1981, Bjorn “I’m Still Too Good For This Contest” Skifs took to the Dublin stage with a complete rip-off of Oot Voimani Mun from the 2000 Euroviisut. I don’t know how he did that. Nobody knows how he did that. All the same, he did it and received a virtually bang average return for his troubles.
In 1987, I sat in a French O-level oral exam fully prepared to explain that “la chanson Suedois est tres vivant, et il va gagnant tres simplement”, but instead found myself discussing the history of the World Cup. I somehow passed the exam, but not for the first time my assessment of qui va gagnant was plusieurs terrible. Though ACTUALLY, it was everyone else’s assessment that was plusieurs terrible, because this is still the moral winner and I am unanimous in that.
Betting people being complete idiots is not a new concept to Eurovision. Legend has it that back in 1989, word got around that the voting had been recorded in advance, that Israel had won, and it got backed in to a very short odds favourite. Dear reader, suffice to say that the voting had not been recorded in advance and Israel had not won.
Foolishly I bet the farm. Thankfully I was still young and my farm consisted solely of an Airfix model cow, which after I’d constructed it didn’t look remotely like the box image of a four-masted sailing ship. They never do.
It was another ten years before anyone else would pitch up with a 50-pointer. Darja Svajger from Slovenia enthusiastically and indecisively performed either Se Tisoc Let or For A Thousand Years according to her mood at any given moment. Who knows, perhaps if she’d sung For Fifty Years instead then she’d have got 1000 points and broken all records, the scoreboard, and Christine Marchal-Ortiz’s will to live.
Now, I’ll be honest, I’ve not looked at semifinal results. Ain’t nobody got time for that. But the very first semifinal held on the same stage as the main contest as part of the same event (TM) yielded not one, not three, not nought, but TWO entries that tied on 50 points in the final.
I occasionally forget about Julie and Ludwig from Malta, which is very unfair on them because they were perfectly ridiculous in all the right ways. It’s the sort of thing someone like Jacques Houdek should never, EVER attempt a solo cover version of and if you’re reading this, Jacques – no. Please no. I’ve also spent nearly twenty years absolutely certain that it wasn’t the first time I’d ever heard the line “touch your piece of sky” used, but maybe it was.
Meanwhile, there was only one song that could possibly follow Wild Dances on stage, and the draw gods did us proud. For sheer contrast in the running order, we needed something lifeless, unexciting, drab, staid. Competent. Nice. Staid. Probably a bit staid. Step forward Ivan Mikulic, who delivered a song that fitted beautifully in the memory hole. I think.
It’s very easy to write 50 to 100 words about a song when the song is called Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao – They Can’t Take The Fun Away From Me like Spain’s 2011 entry, because by the time you’ve written Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao – They Can’t Take Away From Me a couple of times you’re near enough there and don’t really need to write anything much about Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao – They Can’t Take The Fun Away From Me to meet your word count.
I took Georgia seriously in 2013. Everybody did. They themselves DEFINITELY did. Packed with ingredients, they arrived in Malllmurrrrr with something really suspiciously like several other things. Every step, every pyro, every gesture, every look of pure and genuine love was as precision-crafted as one of those BULLY bookshelves you get from the big local furniture store (which I will not mention, even though it would possibly get me a free BULLY). The jurors and televoters of Europe were not having it one little bit. Well, 50 little bits. They were expecting several hundred more little bits in the box, but you know how these things so often work out.
Changes to the voting rules mean it’s now very hard to score in that 50-ish points range. It’s not impossible, SuRie wasn’t a million miles away from hitting a 50 in 2018 so it could still happen, but it would need the eagle-eyed shooting accuracy of a Guy Tell to do it in the live show.
So anyway, I’m off to drink a ton of Fanta, eat some cake-free cake, find a party hat, get old and get ready to start work on 2021! With you starting later in the day…