“Eurovision is a contest that we love to hate” is a sentence that all Eurovision fans heard of, and the sentence that is often used by people who either hate the contest, or by people who love to make false alibis for their bad results in the contest or simply the bad song selection methods that were used. Eurovision is a gay festival that nobody cares about” is another sentence that we often hear in our every day life. Let’s assume that all this is correct. That it is a gay festival that nobody cares about and that people love to hate it. But one question implies here. If we are really talking about a rubbish festival that nobody cares about and people love to hate it, then how come it managed to be ranked as the most watched TV program in Europe (and not only Europe), not just this year, but for a solid number of years, how come it manages to attract new and new people to watch it each and every year, how come it manages to be so universal, that people of all ages watch it (from 77 to 107 +), and…..how come it managed to survive this long? It is impossible to have a long tradition if the system itself doesn’t rely on good and healthy bases. One of the key things in modern business is that changes in the environment must be monitored closely and constantly and that company must adapt to those changes, or the only destiny it will meet is ruination and liquidation. ESC was also adapting to the current trends in the modern European society. And this exactly will be the topic of this article…..
Let’s start from the very beginning – when our favorite contest was started. 50s were generally marked as the “transiting” years, when the whole Europe was recovering from the impacts of World War II. A lot of unions were formed in many disciplines (such as “The Union Of Coal And Steel” for example), whose main goal was to liberalize Europe and bring
the divided sides and countries together. This is the way in which the Eurovision was invented and created. In 1955 a man named Marcel Bezencon. He used the famous San Remo festival as a prototype for the creation of festival whose goal would be to unite Europe with music. The basic concept of all this was also to promote cultures of the participating countries, and is there any better way to do this, then to promote them through music?
Eurovision was started in 1956 and it was broadcasted only on the radio. There are many reasons why this was the case. One of the main ones was that 50s were the years when households with TVs were as often as Halley’s comet. It would happen that, if a bar in the street would have TV, people from all over the place would gather to stare at that magical box with people in it. That is, at least, what most people thought at the time. The next edition already showed a huge degree of Eurovision’s flexibility. Many things changed from the first edition, among things that are important for the article, TV broadcast was available from 1957 and it became a standard broadcasting format. A presenter was introduced, and with all this, Eurovision became one of the pioneers of long-running TV shows.
Even though many music critics say that Eurovision is a “dated, bland festival of crappy music”, the fact is that Eurovision was always developing in both cultural and technological way, , and that it always represented the current music taste of Europe in general. From the times when the event was hosted in TV studios, when performers couldn’t move on stage, when bands weren’t allowed to take part, when only chansons were competing, the contest was evolving into a competition with more and more music genres competing it (after the victory of ABBA and “Waterloo”, the contest was widely recognized strictly as a pop festival, but today we recognize it as a festival of all music genres and styles, with more and more countries competing and with more and more international stars competing in it).
From the technological aspect, Eurovision today and Eurovision from the 50s have very little in common. From a show being held in TV studios and theaters, we now have a show being held in large venues with all the latest technological equipment being used (spider-camera is one of example of it). Just like music industry, technology and the availability of making megalomaniac shows, Eurovision was also developing in each and every form, and it followed the current trends in both of these subjects, but it also kept some of its traditional elements, and this mix of modern and traditional elements has always been one of the huge trademarks of the contest.
However as always, not all trends that are active are good. For example, in sports, it is now very occasional that people/players from one country represent/play for another, and it is usually a country that has no connection with those people at all. In Eurovision, it also happens that composers, choreographers, etc….basically the whole team (except the singer(s), but they can also be from some other country) is “imported”, and it happened that a singer won the ESC for a country that she has no connection with (Celine Dion). Another thing is that since the language rule was removed for the sake of language liberalization, we have a trend that countries that stick to their native language are rare. Performers don’t care if their song is a type of a song that doesn’t fit to English. They just want to be understood by everyone They also tend to make hybrid two-language
versions for this occasion. Entries being sent are also more and more commercial MTV style, that for half of the participating countries, is not the typical style of music, and it isn’t a part of their culture at all. We see less and less traditional songs and they are less and less valued as well.If all this is good for a festival that was brought to unite the cultures if the participating countries with music, I will let the readers to decide.
So, to conclude all this – Eurovision has lasted for quite long and will last even longer because of a huge level of flexibility and because it always tends to adapt to the current trends in the society which is dictated by both cultural and technological factors that I have described in this article. If all those trends are good and wise is another story, but sometimes it is needed to accept a small compromise. Not everything is white, and not everything is black either. A whole life is a mix of black and white, and Eurovision is also living its life full of various contrasts. In the time that will come we are yet to see what kind of format will our favorite contest evolve to. It better be good.