Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

Eurovision: It was the beard wot won it

I enjoyed Fraser’s preview of the Eurovision Song Contest; I had not known that he was such a fan. You work with someone for years, oblivious to their dark secrets, their strange peccadilloes. It was typically brave of him to come out, in public.

I watched the thing, again. I thought the entry from The Netherlands was the best song I have ever heard at a Eurovision Song Contest, and by some margin. But that may be because Europop makes me feel ill, and their song definitely wasn’t Europop. It’s the first time I’ve heard a pedal steel in this competition. That being said, the Dutch have form as purveyors of catchy, country-lite, soft rock – anyone remember “Mississippi” by Pussycat?

The bearded lady, or man, won, and would not have done so had he, or she, not been bearded. Or, conversely, had been dressed in a nice suit. An ok song, if you like that sort of thing, delivered perfectly well, if a little too histrionically for my tastes, it should have come – oh I dunno – fifth or sixth. But the beard swung it. The Austrian victory is perceived as a blow for the freedom lovin’ non-discriminatory live and let live West, against the dark homophobic forces of Putin. And it is true that every mention of Russia was greeted with loud boos from the auditorium and the voting (as usual, in fact) and a general south-east/north west divide. But the audience of the Eurovision Song Contest is not, I suspect, entirely representative of the general population. I reckon quite a few Austrians would out-Putin Putin on the merits of their entrant, Conchita Wurst.

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