As the Eurovision entrants return home, the home crowds weigh in
Monday, May 18, 2009
Most of the Eurovision entrants have returned home from their sojourn in Moscow, Russia, and the newspapers across Europe have varied opinions. Most national newspapers congratulated their entrants on a job well done, while others trash-talked other entrants, and still others called for their countries to pull out of the Contest.
Here are some interviews, articles and opinions that made it to the front pages of newspapers and to their sanctioned blogs.
Norway's mass media was filled with stories revolving around the winner, Alexander Rybak, but a secondary story that received press coverage was outcry against NRK's Eurovision commentator, Synnøve Svabø, who was criticized for talking incessantly during the event, making leering comments regarding the contents inside the male entrants' tight pants, and making a joke about stuffing sweatsocks in her own bra. When asked for a statement by Aftenposten, Svabø said, "I guess people think I should have put the socks in my throat." NRK did not comment on Svabø's commentating or whether she will be returning next year.
Sweden's newspaper Aftonbladet wrote that the "Swede of the evening" was not Sweden's entrant Malena Ernman, but Malmö-raised Arash Labaf, one of the two singers placing third for Azerbaijan. Markus Larsson wrote, "21st place? Well, this is our second-worst result ever...Malena Ernman fell so far and deep that she almost ended up in Finland. That is to say, almost last." When asked if she was disappointed, Ernman responded, "No, but I am sorry if the Swedes are disappointed." She went on to quip, "Europe is simply not ready for my high notes."
Finland, despite placing last, wrote upbeat stories; Helsingin Sanomat published an interview with Waldo and Karoliina from the Finnish act, Waldo's People, who announced how happy they were to have participated and will be going right back to work with performances and recordings as soon as they return to Finland.
Most British newspapers in past years published lengthy screeds regarding their bad luck in the Contest and whether they should send an entrant at all. This year all that talk subsided, and newspapers published articles congratulating Jade Ewen on her fifth place ranking. Sir Terry Wogan, former Eurovision commentator for the BBC, said to the Daily Express about this year's voting overhaul, "I think my protest about the voting was totally vindicated by the changes that were made to the scoring this year. It made a real difference. It was the change that Eurovision needed." One of the headlines in Monday's Daily Mail reads: "She did us proud." Andrew Lloyd Webber, who worked with Ewen, said, "Jade performed brilliantly. After years of disappointing results, the UK can finally hold its head high."
Spain's newspaper El Mundo published an article entitled "Soraya's fiasco," outlining Soraya Arnelas's failure to receive points from 37 of the 41 other voting nations, with the writer remarking, "After a whole year trying to forget [Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, Spain's "joke entrant" from 2008], Soraya jumped on-stage with strength...Spain's experiment ended with longing [for] Rodolfo Chikilicuatre." When asked about her performance and the result, Arnelas said, "I'll hang on to the experiences I had, the great friends that I made and I'm happy because now I'm known in Europe."
French newspapers and blogs were muted compared to other countries, but the overall feeling was still very supportive of Patricia Kaas, who placed eighth. In an interview with Le Figaro, Kaas said, "Eighth place, that's not so bad. It was a great moment for France, we held our head high." France Soir noted, "[Kaas's] emotion does not seem to have found a place with competitors that have relied on heavy artillery choreography worthy of those like Shakira, and glamorous outfits, to ensure a place on the podium."
German newspapers published lengthy stories analyzing why Germany was in the bottom quartile for the third straight year. Die Welt wrote, "The Germans have become accustomed to it: winning the Eurovision Song Contest just does not work [for us]. [Compared] to the total failure of last place with No Angels last year, [this] result is almost a sensational success." Bild commented, "For years we have had little success. Germany's placement, despite all efforts, will not be better. Why are we still participating in the Eurovision Song Contest?"
Ireland, who failed to make it to the final, led the cry to pull out of Eurovision. In the Irish Independent, Ian O'Doherty wrote, "Ireland managed something quite rare and rather gratifying last week -- we actually managed to produce a Eurovision song that didn't make you want to rip off your own eyelids so you could stuff them in your ears to stop the horrible sounds...[Sinéad] Mulvey's elimination is proof of one thing: we need to pull out of this pile of rubbish as soon as possible."
The Netherlands, another nation that did not make it past the semi-final round, has been very apathetic toward the Contest in recent years, and this year was no different. De Telegraaf conducted an opinion poll of Dutch television viewers, and 90% of them believed the Netherlands should not enter the Contest anymore. Despite the stated apathy, 2.5 million Dutch viewers watched De Toppers compete in the second semi-final, an improvement of 800,000 from last year's semi-final, where Dutch entrant Hind also failed to advance. De Toppers singer Gordon, in an interview with De Telegraaf, said that the Netherlands should continue to compete: "One time, we will succeed."
Who said what about whom?
Apart from judging themselves, the newspapers throughout Europe were eager to throw sarcastic quips and insults at the other songs. Here are some of the highlights from different countries.
- David Gistau of Spain's El Mundo newspaper said of Swede Malena Ernman, "Her song evoked [thoughts of] the victims' cries in 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'." Gistau went on to criticize Russia's entrant for her choice in wardrobe, remarking, "...she was not given time to change before going on-stage and was dressed in a shower curtain."
- Heidi Stephens of the UK's Guardian newspaper, while doing a "live blog" of the event, remarked of Norway, "He's like a little Dickensian schoolboy with a violin and bonkers eyebrows, and it's all very theatrical, with backing dancers in braces doing gymnastics. It's like a stage school performance of Fiddler on the Roof. Could someone please poke him in the eye with his violin bow, please? Fairytale my ass." The comment, especially the final sentence, was repeated in Norway's national newspapers the next day. Popular British radio and TV host Jonathan Ross, in The Daily Mirror, commented on Maltese entrant Chiara, "Malta reminded me of Arnie Schwarzenegger when he is made into a woman in Total Recall."
- Erik Jensen of the Danish newspaper Politiken deemed Germany's entry "Miss Kiss Kiss Bang" "a corny version of 'Aristocats' in Porno Land." After watching Romania's entry "The Balkan Girls," Jensen quipped, "I wonder how many silicone breasts can be on stage without the balloons bouncing off one another?"
- The German newspaper Express commented on Albania's entry "Carry Me In Your Dreams" with this description: "The singer looked like a Barbie from the '80s, long blonde hair and a pink dress with frills....what the mint-colored Spiderman covered with sequins [did] behind her, nobody could explain." Ralf Dorschel in the newspaper Hamburger Morgenpost described Malena Ernman from Sweden as "the queen of the night on speed, a nightmare."
- "After Eurovision win, Norwegians show their patriotism on Constitution Day" — Wikinews, May 17, 2009
- "Norway wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2009" — Wikinews, May 16, 2009
- Heidi Stephens. "Heidi Stephens: Eurovision 2009 Liveblog" — , May 16, 2009
- Dana Gloger. "Eurovision wins Sir Terry's praise" — , May 18, 2009
- "She did us proud: Eurovision song writer Andrew Lloyd Webber praises Britain's Jade Ewen" — , May 18, 2009
- Louisa Pilbeam. "Britain places fifth at Eurovision as Norway racks up record tally" — , May 16, 2009
- Ian O'Doherty. "Right, that's it - -We're off" — , May 18, 2009
- Erik Jensen. "Melodi Grand Prix'et havde sexfactor" — , May 17, 2009 (Danish)
- "'Nooit meer naar songfestival'" — , May 15, 2009 (Dutch)
- "Bijna 2,5 miljoen kijkers voor Moskou" — , May 15, 2009 (Dutch)
- Susanna Niinivaara. "Waldo ja Karoliina: Ihanaa päästä Suomeen ja keikoille!" — , May 17, 2009 (Finnish)
- Fabrice Nodé-Langlois. "Patricia Kaas : "huitième, ce n'est pas si mal"" — , May 17, 2009 (French)
- Magali Vogel. "Eurovision - Patricia Kaas seulement huitième" — , May 18, 2009 (French)
- "Soll Deutschland überhaupt noch am Grand Prix teilnehmen?" — , May 17, 2009 (German)
- Christian Pohl. "Europa hat gewählt" — , May 18, 2009 (German)
- "Deutschland mit züchtiger Dita auf Platz 20" — , May 17, 2009 (German)
- Ralf Dorschel. "Erotisch in die große Pleite" — , May 17, 2009 (German)
- "Rybak hylles av våre naboer" — , May 17, 2009 (Norwegian)
- Mona Claussen. "Synnøve Svabø tar selvkritikk etter kjeft av TV-seerne" — , May 18, 2009 (Norwegian)
- Daniel Utrillo. "El fiasco de Soraya" — , May 17, 2009 (Spanish)
- David Gistau. "Sí, pero añoro el chiki-chiki" — , May 17, 2009 (Spanish)
- Markus Larsson. "Malena var mest ett stiligt pausnummer" — , May 17, 2009 (Swedish)
- Sandra Wejbro and Torbjörn Ek. "”Europa är inte redo för mina höga toner”" — , May 17, 2009 (Swedish)