The show from Baku – a musing

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm

The dust is still settling.

Loreen is still a bit excited, the Azerbaijan president’s son-in-law Emin Agalarov is getting booking inquiries from licensed clubs all over western New South Wales and fears mount that it could be Engelbert the Last.

So it’s time to look at the entrails.

Joy Eurovision’s terrible twins, Hikaru & myself,  have some post-contest podcast action coming up and we are currently working out how to make the rigmarole an ongoing web presence performing key performance indicators to a global level of …. OK, no need to go down that avenue !! Simply, we won’t be going away.

In fact we are back on the wireless on Saturday night with a last rites of the Grand Prix, the Joy 94.9 Radiothon and some CDs on TFC.

Still to come podcasterly speaking, a look at the voting trends and the take out from Engelbert Humperdinck’s dismal performance for the UK.

This blogpost is my take on the 2012 telecast and it begins at the middle and Emin Agalarov.

His presence as the featured performer at the interval was simply a disgrace.

Mr Agalarov may or may not be a decent singer, BUT his links by marriage to the president of the host nation should have excluded him from any discussion of what form the interval act should take.

It looks bad.

It was bad.

This kind of stuff belongs to the late 1950s opening night programs of regional ITV stations in the UK & commercial TV in the smaller Australian capital cities.

“And performing the xylophone solo with the City of Scunthorpe Brass Band for the opening night of Anglia Television is Alderman Harry Trubshaw, Chairman of the Lincolnshire Conservative & Unionist Party.”

There are several questions to be asked.  And they are being asked across the world.

Whose idea was it ?

Who didn’t question that idea from the outset ?

Who didn’t raise concerns after that ?

Who didn’t intervene to prevent the debacle.

The answer to at least two of those questions is: the European Broadcasting Union.

Perhaps Azerbaijan’s national broadcaster İctimai Television was under political pressure, but I choose to favour the SNAFU situation.

The channel didn’t think the thing through and probably hoped nobody would notice the blindingly obvious.

Well, if the majority of the audience didn’t clock the identity of the “musical entertainment” they probably did notice a bloke ostentatiously kissing the Azerbaijan flag at the end of his “performance”.

It was like a pre-election rally warm up.

More seriously, it was crudely nationalistic and played to all the bad vibes about Baku & Azerbaijan.

It was unseemly and some suit from the EBU should have yelled “cease and desist”.

Worse than anything else, it was just plain dumb.

Now to other matters.

The standard of the broadcast was excellent with less rapid fire cutting by the director than we’ve seen in recent years, allowing many of the performers to establish themselves.

The camera positions also meant we avoided seeing much of the aimless flag waving during each song.

Mind you, there were ridiculous numbers of mobile devices cluttering shots of a live show being witnessed by the very people clinging to them. Memo to the world: You can live through your own eyes and memory.

The size and structure of the stage was perhaps a little too large for some competitors to cope with.

But three entrants – Loreen of Sweden, Spain’s Pastora Soler & Rona Nishliu of Albania – owned the stage in fine examples pure and simple performance.

When we got to the results part of the night someone somewhere forget the notion that a scoreboard is to show the score.

Within a nano second of whichever MTV wannabee spokesperson revealing his/her or its “douze points”, the board of the score disappeared from the screen to be replaced by a caption telling us exactly what we had just heard.

In music, pausing a beat creates something. In Eurovision, pausing between voting countries allows Joe & Joanna Public to work out which song is up & which is down.

Just linger on the scoreboard a little dudes.

It was quite a task to keep track of the 1-2-3 until Sweden nuked the field, the grandmothers distressed any one with taste and Željko Joksimović showed his mettle made the picture clear.

That’s a minor quibble, but as Hikaru & I tackled the voting via the TV in Joy 94.9’s Studio One it was a major issue.

The show looked a little too much like far too much event television.

Eurovision is unique and deserves better than some version of every talent show on television.

But overall, a solid effort from İctimai.

I hope Sveriges Television learns the lessons from Baku, although I did hear that the Assistant General Secretary of the Moderata Samlingspartiet (biggest party of Sweden’s ruling government) has resumed his singing lessons.

Be very afraid, his karaoke favourite is “New York, New York”.

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