Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Huit Points: Iceland

For the benefits of our non-European readers: the Eurovision Song Contest is an annual event for all countries in Europe (plus some that arguably are not, like Armenia, and one that definitely is not - Israel). Each country performs a song on which they all vote to decide the winner.

It has been going 50 years or so and at one time would feature acts that were already established (like Lulu or Cliff Richard), or would go on to greater things (like Abba or Julio Iglesias). These days it is mainly characterised by terrible music and very dodgy voting with every country favouring its neighbours and political allies, and everyone giving Russia a few votes so we don't get our gas cut off. But despite that there are still good reasons to watch - the costumes, the choreography, the ethnic folk instruments, the belly dancing and, very occasionally, a decent tune.

This year's event is on Saturday and to mark the occasion over the next few days we will be featuring my top three Eurovision moments from the last five years.

For third place we go back to the 2006 contest in Athens, which was a bit a vintage year by recent standards. Not only did it have a deserving winner - the Finnish metal monsters Lordi with "Hard Rock Hallelujah" - it also included "We Are The Winners" the Lithuania, which consisted of six men shouting "We are the winners/ of Eurovision" over and over again with a fiddle break in the middle during which a baldy man in a suit danced dementedly.

But I haven't chosen either of those. Instead I have gone for the Icelandic entry: "Congratulations" by Silvia Night. Here is a download and a clip of the performance.

Despite having perhaps the catchiest tune in the competition, Silvia never made it past the semi-final stage (there are now so many countries entering they have to eliminate half of them in order to keep the final show down to three hours or so). The reason was nothing to do with the tune, or even the fact that she upset the organisers by including the f-word which went against the rules of the competition (and if they understood the golden shower reference they probably weren't mad keen on that either). Mainly it was because she behaved appallingly from the moment she arrived in Athens - slagging off the other competitors, swearing at the stage hands and abusing her Greek hosts.

And she carried on in the same vein after going out (Warning: this is not for those of you with squeamish ears):

Now it transpired afterwards that "Silvia Night" was in fact not a real person but a sort of Icelandic Borat, a character developed to parody pop divas. The subtlety of this was rather lost on the rest of Europe who understandably came to the conclusion that if it looks, sounds and acts like a diva it is probably a diva. It appears that the Icelanders were trying to be a little too clever for their own good (a trait that unfortunately seems to have extended to the management of their economy).

To cheer you up after that depressing observation, here is a bonus video from the Lithuanians I mentioned earlier:

1 comment:

  1. Excellent, missed most of "Silvia Knight" as I didn't sit through the semis, so hadn't appreciated the "joke" before.

    Eurovision fans may also like to read this analysis of winning entries: