55º Eurovision Song Contest
Satellite (Lena) - Germany
The 55th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Norway the country that won the 54th edition in Moscow. This was the third time for Norway to host the Eurovision Song Contest and the second in Oslo after 1996. The first one was held in Bergen in 1986. A total 39 countries participated in this edition, 4 less than the record still held by the 2008 final in Belgrade.
Georgia returned to the contest (it had been banned in 2009 because of the lyrics of their song) while Andorra, Hungary, Czech Republic and Montenegro withdrew apparently for financial reasons. For the first time ever the public could vote from the very beginning and throughout the competition until 15 minutes after the end of the last song. Germany and Azerbaijan got to the festival having been labelled by the euro fans as favourites for weeks. Denmark and Turkey joined also the group after their semi-finals and so did Iceland and even Israel, the later eventually winning the press prize.
It seemed to be a lot of competition and that this year's winner was going to have a tight victory. Iceland and Israel, however, did very badly in the end, Azerbaijan scored 145 points and was 5th, Denmark was 4th, Romania was 3rd and Turkey, the only country to enter a rock group was second with 170 points. Germany won this 55 edition with 246 points, not a tight victory at all, 28 years after Nicole's celebrated victory in Harrogate, UK in 1982.
Germany is the country that has participated more times in the Euro Song Contest, it has always been in the final since the first contest in 1956 and it was only missing in 1996 when a pre-qualifying round was introduced for the first time to cope with the increasing number of countries willing to participate. The German song did not qualified for the final and Germany, which has always been one of the leading financial contributors to the contest, felt so aggrieved that new, more complicated and tricky rules were made in the coming years to ensure that none of the five biggest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union (France, Italy, Germany, Spain and The United Kingdom) were ever left out of the final. Italy, however, withdrew from the contest in 1997, never to return again (or so they said) and the so called "big four" group was finally officially created in 1999. No country from the big four had ever won the contest since this status was given to them. The UK was the last one of them to have won Eurovision and that was back in 1997.
2010's was Germany's second victory. Lena's fresh pop song, simple and non-transcendent, genuinely immature, gained people's hearts. The most noticeable colour on the stage as she was singing was the dark shiny read on her lips, absolutely sensual on her otherwise pale and fragile childish face. Alone on the stage she won a contest where only two more performances did not have fireworks. Though the songs were on average good and probably better than in previous years the array of special effects, impossible choreographies, moving platforms and visual tricks was overwhelming and made our eyes sore and our brains explode by the time Denmark's great song put an end to the show. Well, not quite...
A spectator went on stage during Spain's performance disturbing the choreography and because of that Spain's song was performed again at the end of the show after the last song. This was the second time ever that a song had to be performed again. In 1958 Italian singer Domenico Modugno had to repeat his now world famous tune "Volare" after a power failure prevented some countries from picking up the song. We learned later that the man wearing the red typical hat from Catalonia (barretina) who invaded the stage was the already famous pitch invader Jaume Marquet Cot, from Sabadell, supporter of the Barcelona FC who calls himself Jimmy Jump, has its own website www.jimmyjump.com and was already well-known for his pitch invasions of many major events, including the 2009 final of the French Open at Roland Garros when he attempted to place his hat on Roger Federer's head.
Spain has gained a reputation among Eurovision fans already. It was in Madrid, when they were hosts to the 1969 contest, that there were four winners, and not enough medals for all the composers. No rule existed to untie two countries with the same number of votes then and Spain gave Europe, not two but four winners, including itself. The video of 1969 voting is worth watching. It is hilarious and one of the most sought after by the Euro-fans. Then in 1990 in Zagreb Spain's song opened the festival but there was a problem with the sound and the duet Azucar Moreno had to return to the back stage and start from the beginning again after the problem was solved.
2010's Spanish entry "Algo Pequeñito" (Something Tiny) didn't get many votes and ended up 15th but it will probably be always remembered among Eurovision fans because of the stage invader who went on stage and so will perhaps the 55th edition itself as it was by far the most remarkable anecdote of the evening. Apart from that, and as in 2008, the UK unbelievably ended last. Their song, to be honest, wasn't wonderful but, it wasn't definitely as bad as Russia's appalling entry which had not only undeservedly reached the final but ended 11th helped by a constellation of countries from the ex USSR that still seem to love mum much and with their votes put Russia ahead of some of the favourite entries, such as Iceland, or the beautiful Irish ballad sung by 1993 winner Niamh Kavanagh. But this is the Euro Song Contest after all and if there is something it is not it is an example of fairness. Well, it might not be perfect but at least it's fun.
See you in Dusseldorf for the 56th Eurovision Song Contest in 2011