• Spain's news in English

A victory for bearded men in dresses

The Local · 11 May 2014, 11:33

Published: 11 May 2014 11:33 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Sometimes they use these mad props – a fire extinguisher, for example – for literally no discernible reason. Samuel Johnson said a man who is tired of London is tired of life – well, a person who is sick of Eurovision is either lying to themselves, or in the midst of some kind of nervous breakdown.

Speaking of people who don't like Eurovision: apparently the neo-Nazis hate it, my German friend told me so. And you can kind of see why, I thought, as I watched the winner of last night's show singing away.

Nobody who loves Conchita Wurst – and Europe really loves Conchita Wurst – could hate black people, or Turkish people, or gays or anyone else the neo-Nazis want us to hate.

I don't think this is specifically to do with Conchita being a beautiful skinny man in a glorious dress with a huge beard and skinny men in dresses with beards being something which requires a lot of tolerance, although that surely plays a role.

But there was an even greater, almost spiritual vulnerability about Conchita, I thought. You couldn't really hate anything or anyone while Conchita was singing.

This year was actually, for Eurovision standards, surprisingly non-camp. First up were Ukraine, with a cheerful song called Tick-Tock, followed by Belarus with Cheesecake.

Eurovision really does have educational benefits too – if it weren't for the song contest, I'm sure most people would never have realized that Azerbaijan, who were represented by Dilara Kazimova singing a slow number and had a person wriggling about on a trapeze in the background, is (kind of) in Europe.

Iceland came on with a jolly, rocky little song with a nice anti-prejudice message. And then Norway went for melancholy and moving – Carl Espen, a former UN soldier in Kosovo who works as a doorman at a heavy metal disco and was incredibly sexy sang “Silent Storm”, a song that had been written especially for him, apparently.

It was a bit depressing, violins and sadness are usually a bad combination. They could've done with a few props, I felt, to liven things up a bit, distract us somewhat. Maybe someone in a tiger costume on a fire extinguisher or something?

Romania sent Paula and Ovi, who, by the way, came third the year Lena won for Germany in 2010. All the Germans who were so snide about sending Lena twice, take note.

The duo's song was called Miracle, and it kind of sounded like a Tampon advert soundtrack, although my best friend and viewing companion claimed that tampon ads sound catchier.

Armenia's was a bit boring, Montenegro had ice-skating. But I was just starting to think that this year's Eurovision was the least camp, the least gimmicky, the least fabulous of all the years I'd ever seen when along came Poland.

Their song was in Polish but the title was “We are Slavic!” It was a rumptious, bombastic number involving very beautiful women with gorgeous figures doing housework chores in an almost painfully arousing way.

It was brilliant. They used props. They used props very well. They had old-fashioned washing implements and everything. It was everything your heart could ever desire.

Next up was Greece, with Freaky Fortune performing Rise Up, featuring a rapper from London. I thought this was genuinely quite good, almost like a normal song, possibly just the London connection shining through though.

Austria's Conchita Wurst performed Rise Like A Phoenix and the whole of Europe fell in collective love. Germany followed Austria with a nice enough song from a nice enough girl – not the worst thing anyone has ever sung, but nothing special.

Sweden were my favourites to win with their generic love song and Celine Dionny vocals. I bet my son ten cents they'd win. France's song was – yay! In French! Almost absolutely everyone else sang in English.

“Is it racist that the only black guy is half-naked and has tribal stripes on his face?” The best friend asked. I chewed thoughtfully on my lip. “Surely not?” I said. “Maybe it's meant to be sending up racism in French society!” The best friend said generously.

Russia sent along two ridiculously tall 17-year-old identical twins who did a mirror-performance and had their hair stuck together. It was fairly high on the fabulous-o-meter. Also at one point it sounded like they sang “Shine into my tardis!” This is exactly what it sounded like, and probably the first Doctor Who reference in Eurovision history.

Italy's entry was fairly boring, she had an incredibly short skirt on, though. Slovenia's was barely worth mentioning. Spain sang in Spanish – a soaring ballad. Switzerland performed a cheerful, bouncy number – Hungary, though, offered up a sad song called “Running”, telling the tale of an abused child. The lyrics were depressingly detailed, I quite liked it though.

Malta's entry wasn't very catchy or interesting – but next up was Denmark, my favourites of the night. I bet my son 20 cents they'd win and stood up to dance to their Cliché Love Song – the only song I stood up to dance to, by the way.

The Netherlands followed with a duo on guitars, singing a country ballad and staring lovingly into each others' eyes. I was majorly bored but the German commentator really, really loved this song, he was a huge fan.

Eurovision's educational benefits continued when San Marino performed. “I have literally never heard of this country,” I told my best friend. “I have,” she said, knowledgeably. “It's in Italy. It's about the size of Neukölln in Berlin.” Geographical discoveries led to me not taking any notice of the song whatsoever, but they ended up coming third, so looks like Europe agreed with me.

And last but not least: the United Kingdom. I really think they don't want to win. Every year they send the worst song of the night, or thereabouts: Children of the Universe. A total embarrassment. Even more embarrassing: I voted for it twice, purely on patriotic grounds.

The voting was totally exciting, because although Austria zoomed into the lead, it was pretty close almost all the way through.

Lots of booing for Russia – I was a bit surprised at that. Was there booing in the 90s during the Yugoslav Wars? I'm too young, I can't remember.

The Netherlands came second and Sweden, my second favourites to win, came third. France came last – maybe they'll sing in English next year? Germany came in at Number 18 – one place behind the UK. Not bad.

Austria won, and they deserved to, too – it was a victory for vulnerability, emotional songs and also for the right of men in beards to wear dresses if they want to.

By Jacinta Nandi

SEE ALSO: Relive Eurovision with The Local's live blog

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man rescued from bin after climbing in find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain's Socialists lift veto on Rajoy to break deadlock
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
jobs available