This weekend I am going to live my dream. A tick of my bucket list. This weekend I am a judge for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. I am so proud and honoured to be given this opportunity and delighted I have a chance to finally make a difference after decades of sitting there with a pen and paper giving my own marks to each contestant.
I used to joke that you need a gimmick. Whipping off a skirt perhaps, wearing a mask while you play heavy death metal or having elderly Russian ladies sing for your country. And do you go with a classic ballad with beautiful words with themes of peace and love or do you do something upbeat, perhaps with a sixties twist or at least something that has the classic arm movement from Cliff’s ‘power to all our friends’. No, I am not going to judge like that. It is a song contest so I am judging purely on the song. The lyrics and the tune. Of course, delivery of that will help as any good presentation would, but at the end of the day I have to be fair. I have 41 songs to choose from and need to narrow that down to a final 12.
I am representing the United Kingdom and have been proud of their successes over the years, even if now they feel a little dated. I like Brotherhood Of Man’s Kisses For Me, Lulu’s Boom Bang-A-Bang and Katrina And The Waves’ Love Shine A Light. I have seen Katrina perform this live and she blows it out of the park. I still have Coco’s The Bad Old Days from the year I bought it (no it didn’t win) and of course, Cheryl Baker went on to have success with Buzz Fizz in 1981. But in Eurovision terms, there is only one international success that has eclipsed any other and that is Abba. Abba were so successful and had such an influence that they continue to influence music decades later. (Steps, S-Club 7 etc). I adore Abba and know their back-catalogue word perfect. Waterloo is still one of my personal favourites. They are musical geniuses and at the time were rebellious as they not only performed their song but had written it too. But still today there seems to be a separation between writers and performers. Certainly, its much more current now and I believe the turning point was in 2012 with Loreen’s Euphoria.
I will not comment on who should be in the Eurovision song contest, despite some countries being questionably not European. Australia is there but not New Zealand? Should both be there or neither? Recently it’s almost a rest of the world except the USA song contest. But it doesn’t matter. I am judging only on the song and how good it is. I am not political and do not care what country the song is from as long as it hits my criteria for tune and lyrics. I hope that equally, the UK will be judged on the song’s merits and not anything to do with Brexit or how close we are to our neighbours. So good luck to all contestants and may the best song win.
*Small disclaimer: This is the Eurovision Song Contest that is being held in an Abba Facebook group and not the real Eurovision Song Contest.
This is my personal winner... Denmark. This is new country...same ball park as The Shires. I said Yes!
But I also want to share my top three... at number two is Azerbaijan. Its fun and catchy. You will find yourself singing it without realising.
And at number three...Its Belgium. This could easily be a new bond theme.