Eurovision 2015 review

M's resident pop factition Russell Iliffe looks back at the 60th Eurovision Song Contest.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 27 May 2015
  • min read
The Grand Final of the 60th Eurovision Song Contest took place on Saturday night with Vienna hosting the event, following last year’s victory for bearded Austrian drag sensation Conchita Wurst.

As the competition heads into its seventh decade, the Eurovision brand continues to not only endure but get bigger, broadcasting to almost 200 million viewers across 45 countries including first-timers China.

Sweden had been bookies’ favourite this year and fully delivered with Mans Zelmerlow’s slick performance of the contemporary Avicii-like Heroes, a number one smash back home.

Interacting flawlessly on stage with animated dancers, he claimed a sixth triumph for Sweden making the country the second most successful in Eurovision history, bettered only by Ireland’s seven wins.

This left Russia in second place with Polina Gagarina singing A Million Voices, a big Celine Dion-esque power ballad with the themes of peace and unity.

Russia has been a controversial Eurovision presence in recent times due to issues concerning human rights, and in particular the LGBT community, to the extent that mysteriously labelled “anti-booing measures” had been introduced.

However, this didn’t stop the sound of jeering being heard during the scoring at one point, when it looked as if the nation might go home as winners.

Bronze position went to Italy, represented by pop-opera boy band Il Volo with the sweeping romance of Grand Amore. The trio, who have enjoyed a US top ten album and toured with Barbra Streisand, gave a dramatic performance but performed last in the running order, when Euro-exhaustion has set in for many viewers.

Elsewhere, it was another bad night for the UK with Electro Velvet’s 1920s pastiche Still in Love with You picking up just five points from a total of three countries - Ireland, Malta and San Marino.

The infectious track has divided opinion since being unveiled earlier this year, being compared to everything from the Birdseye potato waffle ad to novelty dance hits Crazy Frog and Doop.

One of the most watched Eurovision entries on You Tube, it had triggered much discussion on social media, about both the song and the UK’s current internal selection process.

Frustratingly, despite a great performance and clever Great Gatsby-meets-Tron staging, the duo finished 24th out of the 27 finalists.

On the other hand, those enjoying a top ten finish included dark edgy pop from Belgium and brilliantly cheesy crowd pleaser Golden Boy from Israel, featuring the rhyme “And before I leave, let me show you Tel Aviv”.

Serbia dazzled with a tasteful mid-tempo number that transformed alarmingly half-way through into a top club banger complete with a Bucks Fizz-style costume change, while guest entrants Australia placed fifth.

The scoring featured the usual dubious voting but thankfully also some entertaining technical malfunctions and confused presenters, all an essential part of Eurovision fun! A multi-lingual Nigella Lawson announcing the UK votes was also a nice touch.

Interestingly, 13 of the entries appeared in the UK iTunes top 100 chart on Sunday, showing the immediate impact of the show.

Overall then, business as usual for Eurovision, a bizarre and beautiful phenomenon which defies all odds to keep its old-fashioned charm while adapting to a constantly changing world.

Words: Russell Iliffe