For those who see Eurovision as a proxy war, avenging geopolitical resentments under the guise of sequins and tight pants, the odds were still stacked against the UK who won this year’s competition.
Almost every country may have had a reason to blame the UK. Maybe the EU countries have not forgiven us for Brexit. The Russians still can’t believe we haven’t swallowed this story about their secret agents visiting Salisbury Cathedral. Australians could be unhappy with the dispute over trade deals.
But maybe – just maybe – our starter wasn’t very good. “Obviously down-to-earth” is how the Independent describes UK nominee James Newman, a singer-songwriter from Settle in the Yorkshire Dales. Exactly what you don’t have to be to win the world’s silliest song contest.
The winners, Italian Måneskin, were glamrockers who took to the stage in flared lederhosen with their nipples. Their singer, Damiano David, celebrated with a kick that slit his pants and said: “We just wanted to say to all of Europe, to the whole world: rock and roll never dies.”
Newman, who started out alone on a podium with two huge trumpets pointing to his ears, wore his coat, a leather number up to his thighs. with too many zips. The Italians, whose song seemed to channel I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor by Arctic Monkeys, belted Zitti E Buoni (Out of My Head); Newman’s Embers started out as a Daniel Bedingfield B side and went down from there.
But did he really deserve to be the last, the only act out of 26 not to win a single point of the juries? He was beaten by countries smaller than some English villages: San Marino, an enclave in northern Italy with a population of less than 34,500, scored 50 points, courtesy of Florida rapper Flo Rida.
More than 7 million people in the UK have logged in to watch Newman’s underperformance and now, under Covid protocols, he has to spend 10 days in isolation, and possibly in thought. .
And yet, shamelessly, others quickly sought to follow him. Strictly Come Dancing winner Bill Bailey was the first to come out of the blocks on Sunday morning: “I’d be happy to throw my hat in the ring for #Eurovision 2022”, he tweeted.
The offer has gained tens of thousands of likes and an offer from a duo of Count Binface, which recently won 24,775 first preference votes in London’s mayoral election, promising to bring Ceefax back and maintain a price cap of £ 1 for croissants. Already, there is optimism.
The UK is no stranger to the bottom of the Eurovision Song Contest and came in last place in 2019 with Michael Rice’s Bigger Than Us. The 2020 competition has been postponed due to Covid.
Fraser Nelson, the editor of The Spectator, rejected the idea of a rejection of Brexit. “The UK was just outclassed and outclassed by the smaller countries that tried harder,” he wrote, arguing that Britain had stopped trying some time ago. “The BBC chooses our entry and doesn’t care about a contest or trials live on television by voters. So every year Britain sends an unprepared soul to perish on the world stage. “
Nelson said UK, in fact, would never make it to the final on merit: “The BBC is pouring so much money into Eurovision that UK entry will go straight to the final.” The same was true for Germany and Spain, he said, the other two nations at the bottom of the table on Saturday.
As for Newman, he now shines in the unspoiled light of valiant losers. “We love you James Newman,” Bake Off presenter Matt Lucas tweeted. “Well done for having a good laugh,” said Dan Walker, the BBC presenter – the best way to “answer a spectacular European boot in great detail”.