Leaders of the pack?

I often get asked why the UK doesn’t have to go through the process of qualifying each year. Automatic qualification is given to the members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) who are known as the “big four”. You see it’s these countries – France, Germany, Spain and the UK – who put the most money into the operations and innovations that the EBU develop for broadcasting around Europe. I do quite a lot of work with my students in relation to what the EBU do for us – and most of it is the invisible technological and telecommunication frameworks that have shaped our everyday experience of television, for well over 50 years. Without starting to actually sound like a media lecturer here, that is part of what is fascinating about the operations of the EBU and the importance of this media event to Europe.

I know some will roll their eyes when they think of some of the dreadful songs and laughable entries that go to Eurovision each year (and the semi-final last night) but that, for me, is the charm of the Eurovision. The invisible innovation that the EBU introduce each year largely goes unnoticed (see previous point).

If nothing else, participating European broadcasters demonstrate their strengths as public service broadcasters by throwing their hats into the ring each year. For many countries it would be too expensive without the financial investment in the technological infrastructure that the “big four” provide – and it is for this reason that they are given a by into the final.

There have been grumblings for sometime that this is unfair, but each year the EBU steering group recognize the investment that they provide, for all our enjoyment.

That’s the science bit over. Simple pimple.

So, with that in mind, here are the automatic finalists, whom we shall see perform on Saturday night.

FRANCE: Et S’il Fallait Le Faire – Patricia Kaas

GERMANY: Miss Kiss Kiss Bang – Alex Swings Oscar Sings!

SPAIN: La Noche Es Para Mí – Soraya

And finally, 12 points goes to

UNITED KINGDOM: It’s My Time – Jade Ewen

We’re off to the UK delegation press conference on Friday afternoon, where we will see Jade Ewen (singer), Graham Norton (presenter), Dianne Warren (songwriter/lyricist) and Andrew Lloyd Webber (‘Lord’). See if I can snag my mum some tickets to see Oliver! …

…add them to the million Russian dolls that I have been asked to bring back, for pretty much all the female friends and family I have seen in the last month!

It looks like the “big four” countries have got their acts together this year, after an embarrasing run of terrible songs and terrible positions at Eurovision.  The buzz is building around Germany and the UK particularly.  You might already have heard that world renownded burlesque performer Dita von Teese will be joining the Germany entry on stage to shake her ‘marakas’ – now that’s got *everybody* talking and it’ll make it pop on stage (no pun intended) .


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