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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > Summer 257 > WHY CAN’T WE WIN EUROVISION?

WHY CAN’T WE WIN EUROVISION?

AS THE 60TH EUROVISION SONG CONTEST APPROACHES, WE ASK WHETHER OR NOT THE UK CAN REIGN SUPREME AGAIN. WE’VE WON FIVE TIMES, COME RUNNER UP 15, BUT IN RECENT YEARS WE’VE BEEN A LAUGHING STOCK, AND THIS YEAR’S ENTRY ELECTRO VELVET DOESN’T LOOK LIKE THEY WILL FARE ANY BETTER. WE ASK THE EURO EXPERTS HOW WE CAN CLAW BACK SUCCESS...

NUL POINTS ?

PAUL JORDAN [DR EUROVISION]

“Europe hates us!”

“We’ll never win because of politics!”

“It’s Eastern Europe’s fault!”

These are just some of the explanations that are put forward for the UK doing badly when it comes to Eurovision. It’s fair to say that we’ve not exactly set the scoreboard alight over the past decade or so. Gone are the glory days of when the UK was a force to be reckoned with on the Eurovision stage. The UK hasn’t won the contest since 1997, narrowly missing out on the double in 1998. Since then we haven’t really come close to winning again. Over the past 15 years we have only been in the top five twice and have finished last three times including the dreaded nul points in 2003. So where did it all go wrong? Is there any truth in the arguments that we are disliked by our European cousins?

The short answer is no.

Arguments that Europe doesn’t like the UK and that the voting is political are largely misinformed and fail to take account of the major changes that have taken place in Eurovision. The contest is bigger than ever, nearly 40 countries compete every year. The UK isn’t the only country who hasn’t fared well in the modern Eurovision era; the difference is that other countries don’t consistently bleat about how they’re hated.

Language is also an issue. Before 1999 the UK, Ireland and Malta were the only countries permitted to sing in English, providing us with a massive advantage. Since free language was introduced, the majority of countries opt to sing in English, putting everyone on a more equal playing field.

The rise of the public vote has highlighted voting patterns, and yes there is neighbourly voting. However that has always been the case in Eurovision with juries as well as the public. The UK and Ireland are just as guilty of this as anyone else. We gave 12 points to Ireland in 2011 not because of politics but because Jedward were known here and were popular. Why is it okay for us to vote for our neighbour and not, say, Serbia for Croatia?

The turnout for European elections is usually poor. Do we really think that people across Europe are sitting at home thinking politics on a Saturday night and casting their votes accordingly? Unlikely.

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About Attitude

The new issue feature former child star turned Bates Motel psycho, Freddie Highmore – who is all grown up in our exclusive shoot and interview. We also have a feature looking at why gay men love horror movies so much. On the eve of the UK general election we look back at party voting records and ask can we really trust the Tories? And as the Irish marriage referendum approaches, we look at the country’s road to equality, and how Colin Farrell is supporting his gay brother. In other voting matters, we ask experts if the UK can ever hope to win the Eurovision again. We have interviews with pop prince Will Young, American TV guru Andy Cohen, music mogul Pete Waterman, and that absolute babe Alexandra Burke. We also give you the run down on all the best prides and festivals of the summer.
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