Sunday, 10 March 2013

It was 20 years ago today (give or take)

It only occurred to me the other day that for half of Europe, their Eurovision adventure started 20 years ago. From those wobbly days of 1993, the eastern half of our fair continent has now provided six winners, all in the last 12 contests (plus six runners-up in 13 contests). While some of the purists out there may argue that Eurovision is not as good as it once was, I think the gradual expansion was the best thing to happen to the contest. 

It’s become a far more dynamic beast now, and once my beloved Eesti became the first ‘New Europe’ country to win on that balmy evening in Copenhagen, the game was most definitely raised. So much so, ‘New Europe’ came to dominate the show, catching most of ‘Old Europe’ napping a little. Indeed, amongst the first ‘oldies’ to get the hang of the new order were those perennial also-rans Turkey and Greece. Yes, you can argue that the ‘newbies’ all gang up, but you need more than neighbourly voting to win Europe’s favourite TV show. It’s only more recently that ‘Old Europe’ has started fighting back.

I think the contest this year in Copenhagen junior (sorry, Malmö) will be an interesting affair. All of Europe now wants to win. Since three of the last four shows have been won by ‘oldies’, even a certain pessimistic island off the coast of France that used to run the world thinks it’s in with a chance. It’s going to be a close show this year. I’ll put my thoughts about the songs down on virtual paper over the coming weeks, but despite all the nay-sayers, this year might just be a vintage contest.

Anyways, to celebrate those early 'New Europe' days, here’s the little gem that represented Eesti from the innovative Kvalifikacija za Millstreet. It wasn’t my favourite from that year (the brilliant Amnestia na neveru was robbed, partly through Slovakia’s odd voting), but it’s pleasant enough to get an airing.

Keep on believing. 

R x

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