So, from the perspective of the Swedish media, the fiasco this past Saturday night was that Sweden's contestant, Charlotte Perrelli, placed a pathetic 18th out of 25*. Personally, I think the fact that she placed higher than 25th is mostly a sad commentary on the dross that the rest of Europe managed to scrape together. I can only hope that 18th is low enough to stop her insipid song from being played incessantly on the radio here.
But all this is beside the point, which is simply that the final on Saturday was mind-numbingly bizarre. All the entries are up on youtube, so I won't go into too much detail, but instead I urge you to check out a few inexplicable gems. I'd start with Latvia's pirate entry, "Wolves of the Sea," sung by an ensemble including a woman who was just jaw-droppingly off key for the whole performance, and replete with such groaners as:
We're robbing you blind, I hope you don't mind.
Another highlight was the traditional Croatian duo of Kraljevi Ulice and 75 cents. Why an 85 year old Croatian man in a white suit should feel the need to steal a name from a gangsta rapper, I'm sure I do not know. The Croatians had nothing on Spain's Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, whose song I frankly do not believe I can do justice to. Bosnia and Herzegovina had a more straightforward entry involving housework and 4 brides in veils busily knitting.
Those were all intentionally funny to some greater or lesser extent, but the strangest of them all seemed to be deadly serious. Azerbaijan put forward a platinum blond angel boy screeching in a disturbingly high key while a leather boy sprawled behind him on a throne, swilling a goblet of something.
Oh, and the winner? The Russians, despite a lackluster song. Jennifer's coworkers (along with the press, and apparently the whole country) blame this on the fact that regardless of the quality of the songs, people seem to just vote for their nearest neighbors. This doesn't seem very likely to me, but a look at the voting does seem to bear it out. Still, I'm going to chalk up Russia's success to the fact that, for no musical reason at all, the song was accompanied by Evgeni Plushenko figure skating on rollerblades.
*Yes, there are in fact more than 25 countries in Europe. Most are eliminated before the televised final. This is perhaps best viewed as a public service, so that the entire population of Europe is not forced to endure the agony of watching entries like the ones put forth this year by Ireland or Estonia. If you don't believe me, go to youtube and search for Ireland Eurovision 2008, if you dare.