A real shame that Malta didn’t win the Eurovision Song Contest this year — with its “On Again, Off Again” the only entry, I thought, which really entered into the spirit of the competition.

Nick Barlow’s already delivered the definitive verdict on the geopolitics of the contemporary competition. I’ll just add that while a significant Eastwards shift in the centre of Euro-culture is a generally welcome thing, it was the absurd decision to let the defeated semifinalists cast votes which intensified to a ridiculous degree the regional biases on display on Saturday night — most of these countries being Baltic, Balkan and/or ex-Soviet countries. (Actually, I could check this by recalculating the results after stripping out these 12 countries’ votes. But, strangely enough, I’ve got better things to do with my time.) It’s also unsatisfactory from an ethical point of view, being a kind of prerogative-of-the-harlot situation: these countries have power over the outcome without the awesome responsibility of having to showcase the awfulness of their own musical offering in the final show. (Yes, yes, they were eliminated in the semi-final. But nobody watches that.)

I’m also confused about eligibility rules. I thought the deal was that it was the songwriter’s nationality that mattered, not the performer’s. But I’m pretty certain there were cases on Saturday where it was the other way round. So perhaps it is the other way round. Hence my confusion.

For what it’s worth, after Malta, I would have placed Sweden, Greece and Bosnia/Herzogovina in 2d, 3rd and 4th places respectively. Make of that what you will.

Next year in Kiev!

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