MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – At this late stage in history, the Eurovision Song Contest remains the most reliable method we have for judging which country in Europe is the best, which is why Australia is so enamoured with it. As a nation which yearns to be European but lacks the dress sense, we cannot get enough of this most prestigious and spangly mode of musical warfare. So it is only natural that we should wish to issue our own points to our preferred competitors.
Of course, all the countries of Europe give their own scores, but the Australian system for assigning Eurovalue is a little different. Whereas other countries make their judgments according to criteria such as musical merit, estimated bra size, and who their former communist overlords are, we Australians prefer to cast their votes on the basis of bafflingly random stagecraft, inexplicable enthusiasm, entertaining idiocy and general bug-molesting insanity.
With that in mind, it’s Melbourne calling. Here are the official points from the Australian judges.
Belarus – adzin punkt: “I’m not Patrick Swayze, you’re not Jennifer Grey,” sang the central member of the Belarusian Backstreet Boys, and in that moment, I believed every word. To be honest I wanted them to provide details of more famous 1980s screen couples that they were not members of, but they were disappointingly unforthcoming. There was also a bit where I think he said he was a cheesecake.
Ukraine – dvi tochky: The song itself was not especially bizarre, and the singer a fairly standard Rihanna knock-off. Ukraine’s entry distinguished itself, however, by the fact that while the young lady in question was fondling herself and having her skirt blown almost off her body by a giant fan, there was a man behind her in a hamster wheel. Later in the song she began addressing the song to the man in the hamster wheel, a development which he accepted with quiet equanimity. Then he got outside the wheel, and she got on top of the wheel. In Ukraine, no doubt a man in a giant wheel is a powerful metaphor. The song was called “Tick Tock”, but there were no clocks on stage, just the wheel. Possibly in the former Soviet republic, they use men in wheels to tell the time.
Azerbaijan – uc xal: Experts are still divided on whether Azerbaijan is a real place or not, but its residents are doing their best to prove that if not the most well-known of nations, it is at least a world leader in interpretive acrobatics. The limp ballad droned by a lass who I believe to be Gloria Estefan didn’t really deserve to be translated in the language of the human body by a woman on a trapeze, but maybe that was the point – when you’re a songwriter, sooner or later you compose a song so boring that the only way to maintain anyone’s interest is to hang a lady from the ceiling and tell her to spin with all her might.
Romania – patru puncte: They sing about magic and miracles, and indeed it is miraculous the way an unconvincingly superimposed woman disappears in a puff of animated sparkles and then – WHOA – she’s actually on stage in person! She then illustrates the theme by spending much of the song seemingly pretending her right arm is actually her left arm. But nothing can misdirect our attention away from her partner, who is playing a piano that is a big circle. Not really of course – he’s just fiddling with a big shiny ring with piano keys drawn on it. Amazing effect, though – you really believe he’s actually playing a fake piano. Plus there’s the symbolism of time, like the keyboard, being circular – by the end of the song you’re back at the beginning of the song again.
Russia – pyat ballov: Russia has hot twins on a seesaw. Really makes you wonder what you’ve done with your life.
Switzerland – sechs punkte: Switzerland has gone for an unconventional entry, basing their hopes for victory on the public appetite for watching Six Feet Under’s Jeremy Sisto whistle. After a bit of that, he picks up a violin and brandishes it at us as if threatening us with bodily harm. Which, as it turns out, he is. Basically Switzerland’s entry is what you get if you make Mumford and Sons watch Disney cartoons backwards.
Iceland – sjo stig: Each member of the band wears a different coloured suit, the colours reflecting their individual personalities. Probably. I really have no idea. I just know that their suits are immaculately garish and they wear beards forged in the fires of Eyjafjallajokull itself. They play funky guitars and do a little dance in the middle. Imagine if the Wiggles’ big red car crashed into a pick-up truck full of Vikings, after swerving to avoid an exploding Red Bull and No-Doz delivery truck, on a road that exists only in one of David Bowie’s cheese dreams.
Montenegro – osam bodova: Montenegro’s song begins with a girl on roller skates and what I’m fairly sure is the theme to Titanic. A man who I assume is her father comes out to sing, she falls in a heap, gets up again, skates about a bit more, shows everyone her underpants, and that’s it. It’s possibly an avant-garde representation of the English Civil War, but we must not fail to consider the possibility that actually it isn’t.
Poland – dziesiec punktow: The puppets from The Sound of Music are shouting at me and I don’t know why. There’s also a girl walking around with a bucket and one churning some butter, but I don’t think they’re part of the act, they’ve just wandered in from the strip club next door. The main message of Poland’s song is that sex is a thing men might like to have sometimes.
And finally, maximum points from Australia go to…
France –douze points: France has always been known as the home of mental patients who get their clothes from bins, and this year’s entry is no exception. The frontman is a gigantic five-year-old who hasn’t noticed that his hair has recently been caught in a pencil sharpener. The guitarist is an African tribesman in apricot shorts. The bass player is Weird Al Yankovic’s registered-sex-offender son. The song is about moustaches. The overall effect is akin to what you’d get if you kidnapped three tramps, hit them on the head with fire extinguishers, and forced them at gunpoint to form a band using only items found in an underfunded crèche and the Wikipedia page on “Music”. It is quite unstoppably wonderful.
TELEVOTING IN AUSTRALIA
12 points to Austria (74,434 votes)
10 points to Sweden (53,562 votes)
08 points to The Netherlands (33,900 votes)
07 points to Finland (29,702 votes)
06 points to Iceland (24,106 votes)
05 points to Poland (23,928 votes)
04 points to United Kingdom (23,154 votes)
03 points to Switzerland (18,934 votes)
02 points to Malta (18,884 votes)
01 points to Ukraine (18,392 votes)