Eurovision - sillier than ever?

Singing pirates, a live chicken and a musical turkey - the annual kitsch-fest has outdone itself

Hero or traitor? ... France's Eurovision contender Sebastien Tellier. Photograph: Alain Jocard/AFP

The scandal France's Eurovision contender Sebastien Tellier caused in his home country by planning to perform his song Divine in English (before capitulating due to protests) is just the latest in a long line of weird and wonderful stories that have surrounded the annual kitsch-fest before a note has even been sung. The main event takes place in Belgrade on May 24, with several of the 43 participants fielding such deliberately daft entries in order to attract the attention of the voting public that Tellier's snubbing of his native tongue looks tame by comparison.

Estonia's extremely silly Leto Svet is performed by comedy troupe Kreisiraadio. Bosnia and Herzegovina's bizarre effort comes across like Eurovision as directed by Tim Burton - complete with quirky dancers and Willy Wonka-alike singer Elvir Lakovic Laka singing to a live chicken (apparently it won't be joining him on stage in Belgrade as he claims to have eaten it). And I'm not entirely sure what they'll make of the Latvians' pirate-themed disco stomper Wolves of the Sea. Others might enjoy Spain's Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, who strums a child's pink guitar during his song Baila el Chiki Chiki.

The Irish, of course, are sending poultry puppet Dustin the Turkey to Belgrade with the "joke" entry Irlande Douze Points - and despite giving former winner Dana apoplexy, they are among the favourites. It's a contrast to last year, when the former Eurovision kings slumped into a dismal last place in 2007, scoring even fewer points that the UK (quite an achievement in itself since we fielded Scooch).

With the possible exception of Bosnia, whose song has a kind of pleasing indie-pop oddness about it, the gimmicky tunes all seem too interested in being daft to be actually any good. Which naturally sets the stage for one of the "serious" entries to take top honours instead, with Russia's Dima Bilan (who finished second to Finland in 2006) and his Timbaland-produced ballad Believing, Ukraine's cracking Kylie soundalike Shady Lady, and Sweden's Charlotte Perrelli - a previous contest winner in 1999 - all in the frame.

There are also debut entries from Azerbaijan and San Marino, while organisers are attempting to stamp out so-called political voting with two semi-finals, in which countries that traditionally vote for each other have been divided up and won't be allowed to vote for anybody who's not in their semi. And whether the UK's Andy Abraham can claw back some credibility for us also remains to be seen, but at least we can be sure he won't dress up as an air steward and leave the nation cringing. At least we hope he won't.


Caroline Westbrook

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Catch of the day: Let's scrap Eurovision

The Europe-wide song contest has descended into a camp irrelevance. Why not replace it with, say, European Idol?

Mark Hooper

23, May, 2008 @2:00 PM

Article image
Will we ever get sick of Ant and Dec?

Stuart Heritage: Another National Television Awards, another three gongs for the duo. But why do they keep winning? And will we ever get tired of their double-act?

Stuart Heritage

23, Jan, 2014 @12:30 PM

Article image
Tellier surrenders to French Eurovision demands

Sebastien Tellier has bowed to pressure from the Francophone establishment to include more French lyrics in his entry for this year's song contest - while playing down the furore with an analogy about a baguette

Sean Michaels

18, Apr, 2008 @12:42 PM

Article image
France's Eurovision entry Sebastian Tellier takes OMM backstage
France's Eurovision entry, pop sensation Sebastien Tellier, takes OMM backstage at the contest in Belgrade, Serbia. WARNING: this gallery may contain silly beards. Photographs by Gary Calton

13, Jun, 2008 @11:43 AM

Can Sebastian Tellier make Eurovision hip?

France have entered this hirsute gentleman as their candidate for the contest. Maybe he can take it in a new, cooler direction

John Burgess

14, Mar, 2008 @1:30 PM

Article image
Emmy nominations 2011: Mad Men and Mildred Pierce lead the pack

Despite the odd baffling omission, this year's nominations seem considerably stronger than usual. By Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes

14, Jul, 2011 @3:09 PM

Who'll win a Perspex brick on March 19?

It looks to me as though a few strong favourites are set to dominate this year's RTS Programme Awards

Gareth McLean

04, Mar, 2008 @12:45 PM

My British Comedy Awards

Update: my nominations were quite wrong then. But was I actually in the right?

Sam Wollaston

14, Dec, 2006 @12:48 PM

Pulling is far superior to Gavin & Stacey

James Corden seems to think he's a comedy genius - but the supremely funny Sharon Horgan is streets ahead

Gareth McLean

24, Apr, 2008 @6:30 AM

You review: the Baftas

How good is Gavin and Stacey - and did you agree with Paul Watson's broadside?

James Donaghy

21, Apr, 2008 @10:45 AM