It’s that time of the year again! For the 63rd time the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is upon us, with semi-finals tonight, 8th May, and Thursday 10th May with the big final on Saturday 12th May. This time the event is held in Portugal, following the country’s first victory at the 2017 contest in Kiev, Ukraine.
For a long time, ESC was a very good platform for singers and bands and many went on to have brilliant careers thanks to having a win in the contest. One of those bands was ABBA, which sort of says it all. These days the contest has changed shape and form and very few people remember who won it a week after the event. Coming up to its 63rd year you could argue it is time to retire the whole thing. ESC has become more of a cult-happening than a real competition. The platform for hopefuls has brutally been torn away from the ESC stage and been replaced with the spotlights of “The X-factor” and other programmes of that kind.
Still, it’s amazing how much emotion the ESC can stir up in people; the same people that keep insisting that they “don’t care”. Personally, I would be very sad if the Eurovision Song Contest would disappear from the yearly calendar of musical events. I admit that some years I have wondered why the different countries don’t put more effort into the songs they send to represent their countries and make it a competition that contains songs of better quality, but mostly I try to see the contest for what it is; a fun thing that for one week every year, unites Europe and a lot the countries outside Europe through music. It is also a good excuse to throw a party around the telly with friends and family. If I don’t like it, I am totally aware of the fact that I can choose not to get involved in the event at all.
This year I’m a bit more interested than normal for patriotic reasons. Saara Aalto, who is representing my native country Finland, actually got a really strong song in “Monsters” and she is also a very good singer. So far, Finland has only won the competition once when Lordi took part with the song “Hard rock Hallelujah” in 2006.
Another Nordic country, Sweden, is much more used to winning the ESC. They have won six times and very often been in the top five. My favourite composer when it comes to ESC is Swedish. Lasse Holm has written five of the songs that has represented Sweden through the years. He always writes memorable songs in his genre, and Sweden has always done well with his songs.
It was actually one of Lasse Holm’s songs that gave me the first nudge towards lyric writing, even if it took more than two decades after that nudge, before I started my song-lyric “career”. The song I’m talking about is called “Cannelloni Macaroni”. This one didn’t take part in the ESC, but it could have done well, because lyrically it is so different. He sings about his love for Italian food. For me, as a budding writer, it was a wake-up call. For the first time ever, someone showed me that it is possible to write songs about almost anything. The original version of the song was n Swedish, but he made an English version too and I will put a link to that video at the end f this blog, should you be interested.
I will follow the ESC this week. If nothing else, the competition is the only opportunity in the year where I, thanks to social media, can follow an event in real time together with friends in Finland and Sweden. We put comments on FB while we watch the show and guess the winners etc. This social aspect over the borders, means more to me than who wins and I’m looking forward to it.
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!