It’s that time of the year when we start to lose our minds. When the country begins to entertain ideas that only weeks before would have had us rolling on the floor laughing. It’s that strange belief that because someone or something is British, it stands a chance of winning. Acute cases tend to occur during the Ashes, the World Cup (any kind of football cup actually) and reaches its zenith with Wimbledon. For the past several years, there has been a mass delusion that this could finally be the year that Tim Henman is victorious (now I suppose it?ll all be Murray, Murray, Murray).
But this week brings a belief that we can overcome odds so huge, even Las Vegas won’t work them out (oh, I’m sure they actually have, but I don’t know why anyone bothered). Yes: perhaps this year we can win Eurovision. We can’t seem to get it that we will never win again – unless we become some kind of Baltic republic overnight. We only get into the final because we pay for a large percentage of the whole deal and are responsible for afflicting this celebration of kitsch on Europe.
But can we not just sit back and enjoy the contest for the gaudy entertainment that it is? I’m with Terry Wogan (who now starts reaching for the Bailey’s after just three songs – admirable restraint, I’m sure you’ll agree) who declares: ‘I love it for its foolishness, the cheapness, the tawdriness and even the madness of the voting.’
After a few years of being an activity on a par with seal clubbing, it’s now fashionable to have a Eurovision party. But I’m afraid I can’t shake the habit of drawing the curtains tightly and having a large bottle of something alcoholic to hand, laughing at the ridiculousness of the entries, boggling at the interval entertainment and guessing who’ll vote for whom as the scores mount (it doesn’t take any degree of psychic ability).
My predictions for this year? France will do a big ballad; Germany something bizarre; Malta will have a strong showing but not win yet again (they’re desperate to); and there will be a whole raft of bouncy Euro pop. Watch out for the transsexuals (there are several this year), particularly Verka Serduchka for Ukraine (imagine Lily Savage or Dame Edna entering for us and you’ll have an idea of how popular she is there).
And Britain? I doubt we’ll have nul points, but the primary-coloured, camp air stewards of Scooch will either do really well or really badly (top five or bottom five). It should do well, having a daft dance routine, sly references to capital cities and previous winners, and being catchy as anything. But I don’t think it’ll set the contest alight. The only winner this country will see will be Terry Wogan for his always entertaining and affectionately acerbic commentary.