Why Your Favourite Song Won’t Win Eurovision – 2023 Version

It’s that time of year again when I look closely at the panoply of songs coming at us from this year’s Eurovision hopefuls, assess their chances, and conclude that not a single one will win. This piece features the same old recycled jokes that I’ve been rolling out for decades – but heck, I got a book deal out of it!

Because this is an international pop music competition, not an argument at a family wedding.

Because after talking to him online for some months, Brunette’s future lover turned out to be a 61-year-old truck driver from Lithuania called Ramunas. She only discovered this after wiring a considerable amount of money to help his apparently sick mother. She still awaits the sound of his big rig pulling up outside her city centre apartment. Hopefully. Expectantly.

C’mon, even prog fans think this is some weak-assed shit. It’s a job to work out who’s the most dated – the car on stage or the bloke sitting in it.

You diss the streaming overlords at your peril. All of a sudden, all electronic access to this song evaporated overnight, and the live broadcast got a cease and desist notice posted all over it. It wasn’t so much the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe causing the problem, but the living anger-sprite of Daniel Ek. (Spotify in-joke, non-techie types. Yep, if you have to explain a gag, it’s probably not worth bothering with in the first place).

“Hello, is that the National Song Agency of Azerbaijan? Yes, this is Mark Moriss of The Bluetones. Yes, yes, that flimsy third-division 90s Britpop band – a bit like Shed 7, that’s right. I was just wondering, could I possibly have my song back? Two vague-looking floppy-haired kids of yours are making a terrible mess of it.”

Because he’s kinda like what you get when you order Michael Ben David on Wish. He looks like he’s much the same sort of thing, but the feel of the fabric is totally different, and all the malevolent edges have been rubbed off into a right bland old dollop.

C’mon, do you really think Putin’s Ministry of State Sanctioned Funbots is ever going to let this get anywhere near winning?

Wait, so Greece AND Australia are both getting two goes now? That doesn’t seem terribly fair. And anyway, can any of you sing this instantly off the top of your head right now? This minute? Anybody? We can’t even remember how it goes when it’s playing.

Because Pan-Slavic sisterhood only seems to go down well when there’s a butter churn involved.

Because after a terrible storm in The Faeroes, the portrait in Reiley’s attic fell off its easel and smashed to pieces. Instantly the fluffy-haired boy singer began to age visibly before our eyes, revealing him to be the 95-year-old man we all secretly suspected he was. To be fair, it was great telly but not exactly a vote-grabbing moment.

Because that pianola got so distraught at Alika’s on-off dalliances that it just snapped its lid shut, shattering her poor young finger bones to pieces. By the song’s end, her hands were so swollen that she looked like she was in that sausage finger moment in Everything Everywhere All At Once. And that really didn’t match her frock.

Because whoever thought that getting a bloke in a bowl cut to sing a fifty-fifty mash-up between Rammstein and J-Pop – in Finnish, mind you – was anywhere near close to a good idea?! Wait a minute that sounds like the best idea ever. Hmmm, we’ll have to reconsider our position…

Because after a stunning opening third, it sadly descends into a whole load of eighties cruise liner disco pop blandity. You may rabidly disagree with us now, but in your heart of hearts you know it’s true.

This is a medley, isn’t it? Is that allowed? I mean, we quite like the song in the middle, but the ones at the start and the end drag on a bit.

Two things will happen when this song is playing. Small children will run screaming to hide from the scary men on stage, distracting the usual voting population as they dash to their attention. Meanwhile, any true metallers watching will be laughing so hard at the song’s weedy chorus that they’ll fall through their glass coffee tables, resulting in a need for urgent hospital treatment before the voting kicks in. Yep, it’s Schrödinger’s Goth Metal – simultaneously terrifying and laughably unscary. And that’s quite an achievement.

It’s like someone asked ChatGPT to create a teenager, and Victor here just plopped out on the carpet. It’s clear for all to see that he’s not real? He’ll evaporate into the ether if there’s a powercut during his song, and Greece’ll be done for.

Diljá seems like the kind of girl you meet at a party and instantly bond with over the funny cat picture on her t-shirt. It was great fun for a while, but within fifteen minutes, she’s crying on your lap because someone looked at her a bit funny, and she ends up telling you it reminded her of everyone she’s ever known who died. I’m sure she’s a lovely human being IRL and is actually not remotely anything like that, but her on-stage vibe gives off slight ‘back away from the telephone’ vibes – and that’s no good if you want to garner any votes.

To be the least likely band to succeed when you’re in competition with Piqued Jacks and The Busker should surely tell you everything you need to know. And are people really going to go for a singing baby in a glittery gimp suit? I’m not sure that’s even Eurovision’s voting demographic. Not just yet, at least.

Nope, you’re not getting our points unless an actual live unicorn is involved!

Because the second he turns those smokey eyes to the camera, every Nan on the continent will turn to liquid. And liquid Nans find it very difficult to operate a phone and vote.

Because sometimes you can be just that little bit too classy for anyone to actually understand you.

It’s that annual moment when I identify that one song that no one can find a bad thing to say about, but that you also can’t think of a single reason why anyone would pick up a phone to vote for it. This one. Right here.

Is a song entirely based around one really poor and unfunny rhyme actually a song?

You and I know that the flute player is a pretty well-regarded folk musician around those parts, but will the people watching the telly across Europe? They’ll be spitting their tea out so hard when he first appears – either in indignation or comedy delight – that their tellies will be too damp to operate for the rest of the show. A sad indictment of the human condition we know. But still very likely to happen, sadly.

Because even the singers don’t appear to, especially like the song. Or each other…

Doing a song with a dolphin note is never a good plan when the arena is this close to a major waterway. Every muddy chub in the Mersey will leap from the water, thinking Flipper’s about to get them, only to cascade onto the venue, blocking all exits and causing a panic amongst security that’ll lead to a stampede of punters before the song is done. Hey, wait a minute… didn’t we do this exact same gag about Eden Alene? Almost certainly. We ran out of ideas years ago.

It was all going so well until Blanka started to sing…

1963 called. I think it wants its song back – although it’s incredibly confusing that it’s not in black and white.

Sadly Theodor’s period of work experience as a pop star expired just before the contest, and he had to go back home to Bucharest to complete his studies and fill in his log book. And even if he manages to get an unlikely extension, it’s a bit rubbish, right?

San Marino
Because everyone will feel so dirty after the sleazy delivery of THAT lyric that they’ll immediately dash to their showers with the wire brush and Dettol to scrape all that filth off their skin.

It’s great fun, but really? Even Luke looked mildly embarrassed by the result when he won his national final. And anyway, the changeover between the massive props of Malta and this one will take soooo long that they’re just going to bypass Serbia and go straight to Latvia. Always remember that it’s the crew who runs this thing!

Kind of what I said for Italy, only with teenage girls instead of Nans.

Intelligent and cultured viewers like you and us understand that this is one heck of a classy song. But we do this kind of thing all the time. The folks back home, though? They’re just going to hear a discordant clappy slab of a song with no evident pop direction and nothing much to hang their coat on as far as melody goes, and vote accordingly. The juries? Yes, they’ll love it. But the punters? Utter confusion and bewilderment.

Because somewhere in the stadium roof, Johnny Logan sits poised with a set of bolt croppers, waiting…

Seriously? Who thought singing a cynical song about the horrors of war to an arena packed with Ukrainians was actually a good idea? Mentioning bodybags in the lyric? Really? It’ll probably appeal to the well-meaning, but there’s a very good reason why the Ukrainians went for something more like a defiant pop banger than one of the more battle-worn songs in Vidbir this year.

Yep, it’s the real tester of all that sympathy vote nonsense. Is there THAT much sympathy in the world to drag this mediocre song over the line? I’m not sure there is…

United Kingdom
Because when was the last time a host nation actually won? 1994? That doesn’t count because that’s Ireland, and things were weird in the nineties. Before that? 1979? I rest my case!

So there we have it. Thirty-seven songs, and not one of them even stand a remote chance of winning. How can this keep happening every year? I’m sure someone will want to win one of these days. Surely?

Roy D Hacksaw is an author, journalist, TV producer and international punk rock star. But he still spares some time for the little people like OnEurope. Kinda like charity, only more patronising. He’ll doubtless return next year to trot out the same old tired gags. But in the meantime, buy his novel Worst. Eurovision. Ever. and see what actually goes on behind the scenes. Possibly.

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1 year ago

My 10 qualifiers

Ireland(for reasons I don’t really understand and its quite a pedestrian song)

I would love Latvia to qualify. It has a very strange structure but it is just a damp food song. Deserve a final space and would be very happy if that happens.

1 year ago

Damn good song, not damp food song, sorry