Letters: East-west divide over Eurovision

Letters: Perhaps the Eurovision should start to arrange colluding countries into small groups rather than giving each an individual entry

The annual debate about collusive voting in the Eurovision song contest is being expressed with particular force this year (Eurovision contest voting is no laughing matter, says Wogan, May 26). I was in Belgrade last month for an international conference of musicology, at which there was much discussion about the forthcoming Eurovision and its voting patterns. Not wishing to offend my European colleagues, I diplomatically ventured that the reason certain geographically proximate countries tend to award high points to one another is purely artistic - only to be told by the Greek and east European delegates that it was indeed politically motivated!

Given that there are now far more participating countries than a single event can accommodate - hence the need for a semi-final - perhaps the Eurovision should start to arrange colluding countries into small groups rather than giving each an individual entry. It would certainly be infelicitous if a competition that has done so much to bring Europe together in the past were ultimately to end up dividing east and west.
Christopher Wiley
Lecturer in music,
City University, London

Terry Wogan may have more experience of the Eurovision song contest than most people, but he needs to look beyond these shores to see the real reason why Russia won this year's contest, while the UK came last. The winner, Dima Bilan, has had No 1 singles in 13 different European countries, including eight in Russia. We sent a failed talent-show contestant.

Wogan has to accept that Eurovision is no longer solely a west European competition. The east European countries treat Eurovision as a serious contest. As a result, the range of music in this year's competition is far greater than the uniform dross served up in the 1970s. If we want to win again - or at least finish in the top half - we should start by selecting a decent song which will appeal to a wide audience. This year we entered a song which isn't even very popular in the UK - it sold just over 2,000 copies last week.

Yes, a lot of countries voted for their neighbours and near-neighbours. But that does not necessarily mean voting was political. It could just as easily be because, for instance, people in the Balkan states have similar tastes in music and voted for something familiar. Perhaps it is time for Wogan to carry out his threat and step aside.
Simon Gamble
Poole, Dorset

If scoring "nul points" in Eurovision 2003 and coming near bottom ever since was the only price we had to pay for our idiotic and illegal invasion of Iraq, we would have got off quite lightly. However, we have had 7/7 and there are other less tangible penalties that we will pay for many years to come.
Peter Nicklin
Newcastle upon Tyne

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