Eurovision – The Aftermath

When typing up these blogs I usually put on some tunes to get me in the mood and as I type this one up, there can only be one song to choose from – this year’s Eurovision Song Contest Winner – Finnish rock band Lordi and their “Hard Rock Hallelujah.”

I know the yearly debacle that is Eurovision has long since faded from memory but just what did you lot make of proceedings this year?
Of course the whole thing was as farcical as ever, with its terrible songs, awful hairstyles, wooden presenters, blatant favouritism in the voting, awkward uncomfortable pauses during terrible link-ups and of course, the obligatory embarrassing, cringe worthy, gay Dutch presenter making a fool of himself.

And it all most ably presided over by Mr; Terry Wogan as we followed him on a rollercoaster of emotions from genuine amusement to increasingly bemused, exasperated and then terribly agitated (the main focus of his agitation being the aforementioned, Dutch TV presenter.

Some of the highlights for me included the sexy combination of short skirt, dazzling smile and long blonde hair of the Ukranian entry, the mulletted Russian entry with the dancer crawling out of the piano, the wooden Polish presenter struggling through his countries voting results in English before delivering a dead pan joke at the end when he announced that Poland had given Poland the maximum 12 points.

Hilarious indeed.

What a wonderful show it was from start to finish.
I watched it with friends in an Irish pub in Geel, where we all scored the entries out of 5 in three categories: performance, song, costumes. Needless to say, I gave Lordi, the eventual winners, a resounding 6,6,6.

History has shown me to be right and fair play to the rockers from Finland. It made a refreshing change to the usual tack performing on the show – and there can be no denying the effort that they put into their performance.

The last time 3 hours of make-up and 12-inch high boots graced a Eurovision song contest stage, it was Michael Flatley and look where that got him.

At any rate - it certainly beats the pants out of Ireland’s nemesis, Mr. Johnny Logan – a guy who rather worryingly for the future of Irish-Belgian relations has been spending a lot of time here in Belgium in recent years.

Speaking of the white-suit-wearing, mullet-sporting, Irish tosspot, I’m reminded of a performance he was giving a few years ago in my ex-girlfriend’s home town of Kontich. Apparently he was performing in a church hall and had to change in a room at the side of the stage.
‘Unfortunately’ it seems he was locked in the room for two hours before they were able to release him.

It wasn’t me.


Upon his release, stories of him tearfully clinging to an unspecting church volunteer tea lady sobbing "Hold me now" have, until now, proven unfounded...

But the night in Geel wasn’t just about this year’s competition – it was also about a celebration of all Eurovision competitions.
It was certainly a shame that the Belgian entry, the lovely Kate Ryan, didn’t qualify for the final stages, amid rumours that the Greek TV company deliberately sabotaged their entry after her manager complained that she wasn’t given enough close ups.

Whatever the reason, the voting didn’t go their way and it was an early trip home for the much fancied entrant.

Well, I say much fancied but to be honest I think that was just the Flemish media saying that along with the massive PR machine that was behind Kate Ryan – before the festival she embarked on a whistle stop tour of over a dozen countries to promote the song and – it has to be said - to promote herself.

She was even wearing a dress that cost somewhere in the region of 20,000 euros.
Money well spent indeed.

We had a little giggle at the pointed “We love you Kate Ryan” comment on the back of the Belgian juror’s score card when she was reading out the results of the Belgian vote.

But without the Belgian interest in the competition, what else could the bar organise to get people in the pub and to keep them there drinking?

Well, how about Belgium’s one and only ever Eurovision song contest winner, Sandra Kim performing live and exclusive on stage?
I kid you not. Sandra Kim won Eurovision in 1986, when only 13 years of age with the song “J’aime la vie” in 1986, 1 year before Johnny Logan won it with “Hold Me Now”.

So this was going to be a chance to see another Eurovision song winner in the flesh, having already struck Niamh Kavanagh off my list, when she performed in The Dubliner Irish pub in Antwerp a few years ago.
I figured that I should quit while I was ahead – making a mental note to self that two Eurovision song contest winners were more than enough to admit to having met in one lifetime.

This meeting turned out a bit special because on this occasion, I actually shared the stage with her, accepting the bar owner’s somewhat unexpected invitation for me to be the compeer for the show. And so it came to pass, that I found myself on stage that Saturday night in a town called Geel, in the Flemish countryside, with the lights shining brightly into my eyes, and the sweat trickling down my back, welcoming onto the stage “the beautiful, the lovely, Miss Sandra Kim!” Come on folks – if you had a choice between Johnny or Sandra – who would you choose?