Swiss reactions to the dance 'debacle'

by Steve Holyer 101 views

Switzerland made Eurovision history again last Saturday night when it became the first country to earn “Null points” in the first ever Eurovision Dance Contest. Of course the country also holds the prouder record for receiving the most points – and winning – Eurovision's first Song Contest fifty-one years ago. For their part, the Swiss media has re-acted with (mostly) stoic silence – or perhaps mere disinterest – to the new contest and Denise Biellmann's and Sven Ninnemann's disappointing result.

Can Swiss Television consider the Dance Contest programme to be a success in some way? That's what asked Swiss TV spokesperson Marco Meroni who answered, "Of course the result is disappointing, but nevertheless it was a good experience to participate in the first Eurovision Dance Contest. After all, the whole delegation had a good time in London, even if Denise's problems with her shoulder made training the last days before the final almost impossible."

Both the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and the Tages Angzeiger, two of Switzerland's most respected newspapers, failed to mention the results of the Dance Contest at all (at least in their on-line editions). But to be fair neither of the newspapers wrote about the Contest beforehand either; in fact the only time either of these publications gives much ink to matters Eurovision is when Switzerland is represented in the song contest by one of its favoured sons and most popular entertainers like DJ BoBo.

Only the tabloid-style daily newspaper Blick spent any time covering the Dance Contest, reporting on Olympic figure skater Denise Biellmann's "extremely painful" shoulder injury which took place during rehearsals in Zurich just five days before the competition. Looking forward to the new dance competition Blick wrote last Thursday (in German), "It would be nice to make an Olympic-style showing. After DJ BoBo's debacle at the Eurosong Contest and Lys Assia's at the Grand Prix der Volksmusik, we want to finally be able to crow again!"

Today however the newspaper was only tasting crow, it carried a quote in German from Swiss representative Biellmann saying, "Compared to the competition, we weren't bad." According the Blick's reporting the skater turned dancer also said, "It's like with Eurosong – it's only about politics."

Blick missed an opportunity to discuss the effects of Diaspora voting – the term, coined by last year, refers to the idea that voters who have immigrated away still cast their votes for their homeland (though they would not be allowed to vote for their own nation if they still lived at home). Blick frequently writes about "waves" of Germans supposedly "storming" across the Swiss borders after recent changes to immigration laws, but the paper did not cover Switzerland's 10-point award to Germany as a "German Diaspora" vote organized by German citizens living in Switzerland (Germans recently displaced Italians to become the largest group of foreigners living abroad in Switzerland). However more true to form, and in keeping with Blick's tabloid-format, searchers on the paper's website will be rewarded with (tasteful) nude pics of Biellmann.

Alternately the unreciprocated 10-point award from Switzerland to Germany could be an example of the more official explanation for neighbourly voting. As reader Kathrin Schmidt wrote in this site's reactions section yesterday, "The Swiss (and Austrians) are watching German TV channels and are influenced by this," but she explains the situation is not the same in reverse. (Kathrin also mentioned the potential effects of German Diaspora voting in Switzerland and Austria.)

As far as the voting (and neighbourly voiting) is concerned SF's Marco Meroni told that the situation is difficult to analyse. "Compared with the other performances, Denise's and Sven's wasn't bad at all. But we can't complain that we didn't get any points from our neighbours if we criticize other countries that do."

Finally, blogger Gerry Reinhard who writes the sometimes inflammatory "Adventures of a Radio Moderator" blog, wrote "Entweder lassen wir das Ganze endlich ganz sein wie Frankreich und Italien oder wir lachen es weg, wie es die coolen Engländer tun."

That might be best translated: "Either we should let the whole thing go – like the French and the Italians, or we should laugh it all away – like the cool Brits do."

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