Flashback: Why Australia needs its own Eurovision
With the excellence that is Eurovision upon us again, here’s a flashback piece from shortly after our Punch launch last year…
What is there not to love about Eurovision? This year we had breakdancing Albanian midgets cavorting with a man in a sequinned aquamarine bodysuit and the winner was a fiddle-wielding Norwegian boy-singer. Plus, the Warsaw Pact still seems to be in force but nobody cares.
What is there not to love about it? Oh yeah, the music.
But then, music is to Eurovision what midgets are to Albania – not a defining feature, just a small part of the mix.
Eurovision is the world’s longest-running television show, and not without good reason. It’s a compelling mix of kitsch, pride, self-deprecation, passion and, for the final act, some score-settling politics.
This year’s final was what we have now come to expect – performances that range from the mediocre to the outrageously outdated, all heading towards that brutal voting process where we know the Greeks will swap 12 points with the Cypriots, the Balkans will uneasily help each other out, and the ex-Soviet states will all vote for Russia.
The new voting system (juries have been introduced to offset politicisation of the competition) has watered it down some, but Eurovision is still a winning formula and there is nothing like it in world entertainment.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Australia could have its own – Aussievision – in which the states and territories battle it out. State of Origin, an AFL Grand Final, a COAG meeting – none would compare for vicious interstate rivalry. Here are 10 reasons it should happen.
1. Civilised vengeance
Queenslanders fed up of all the Victorians moving into the Gold Coast? Award them zero points. The Eagles have won the premiership again? Stiff WA in the voting, even if they’re being represented by The Waifs.
2. Excellent parties
Aussievision Song Contest bashes would be a highlight of the social year. Attendees could go dressed as their states, bringing a six-pack of their state beer (or wine, as long as you’re not from Queensland).
3. We’d learn a bit
Here’s a question: Which states have deep-rooted, festering hatreds or secret loves for each other? Everyone ribs on each other from time to time – Tasmanians, Victorians, Territorians and Queenslanders getting more than their fair share - but how deep do these enmities run? We’ll solve this pretty quickly in Aussievision when states have to rank each other, starting with the least hated first.
Aussievision would be a chance to build a bridge of music to the Apple Isle. We would also have fun trying to guess which members of the band were cousins.
Studying the voting patterns could become an area of research for bored academics. The European contest has given rise to Eurovisiopsephology, which has been described as “a small cross-disciplinary field … incorporating insights from politics, sociology and computer science”, and its researchers model voting collusion between entrants. It’s so bizarre it deserves another research field. Plus it produces brilliant graphs like this (taken from the study linked to earlier):
6. Terry Bogan
7. Making up the rules
Eurovision has changed its rules through the years – one of the major battlegrounds has been whether entrants should sing in their national language. Aussievision could, for example, force entrants to have at least one lyric rhyme with the state’s capital. So South Australia would always have to mention lemonade to rhyme with Adelaide, there would always be a kidney for Sydney, and the ACT would never win.
8. Nul points – or, “nuffin”
Nul points is far too pretentious a term for Aussievision. The Australian version would be simply: “Nuffin”. The vote reporter from Perth could say: “We give 1 point to the Northern Territory. The rest of yiz get nuffin.”
Only a handful songs have managed to tank this badly in the history of the Eurovision – the voting allegiances and sheer numbers of countries make it almost impossible to get zero. It’s hard to disgrace yourself on Eurovision, but when it happens it is a truly horrific thing to behold. Take this British entry in 2003 – their ear monitors weren’t working so they were out of key. Watch it here (advise turning your speakers down a notch):
9. The build-up
The minute it would finish, Australians could start to plot next year’s event. Notes would be taken for an entire year on unbecoming behaviour by state premiers and footballers. The anticipation of being able to unload a year’s worth of pent-up rivalry would be feverish for a month before the event.
10. I could enter it
Aussievision would give me a good chance of getting on TV with my guitar and the leopard-print suit pants and cowboy boots I never get to wear. Give me a go. Please.
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