In recent weeks, our weekly Have your say column has concentrated on the voting policies and practices of the Eurovision Song Contest. This week, we're moving away from the voting theme directly, and looking at the importance of the performances. There is clearly a school of thought that says voting is too influenced by neighbourly/political ties; this week, we're asking you: How important is the song?
Clearly, the Eurovision Song Contest should be a competition to select the best song, but many people feel that this is no longer the case. The argument has become much stronger since the introduction of televoting, and that in the modern competition, the performance, stage presence, gimmicks and what goes on behind/in front/next to the singer is more important than the song itself.
This year's Eurovision Song Contest was won by Lordi, a hard rock band that perform dressed as monsters. The song stormed to victory in Athens, and has gone on to success in the charts in many European countries since their victory. The band have sold out concert halls in every country that they have visted since then, but… If Lordi had performed without masks, would the song have won?
Many people point to Marie N's victory for Latvia, claiming that the costume change and dress dazzled the small nation to victory, rather than the song I Wanna. Would Diva have won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998, had Dana international been born a woman?
Gimmicks stretch back through the years and are unquestionably one of the reasons for the competition's success over the years. Penguin costumes, instruments made from items found in a rubbish tip, yodeling, even children (Denmark 1985, Israel and France in 1999) have been brought in with a view to capturing the voters' attention.
This year, monsters won the competition, a mute ballet dancer climbing out of a grand piano helped Russia's Dima Bilanto gain a credible second place, a break dancer spinning on his head contributed to Romania's fourth place with Mihai, whilst a dazzling array of golden flags helped Carola to fifth place for Sweden. Megaphones helped Lithuania qualify from the semi-final for the first time, whilst Silvia Night seemed to bring half of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory set to the semi-final, although it did not work for her.
HAVE YOUR SAY
This week, we're asking you, is the song the most important issue for determining the Eurovision Song Contest result. Are the gimmicks and performances more, less or as important? Do you think that they detract from the competition or contribute to it. Have your say in the reactions section below!