Eurovision Song Contest 2014 – a new dawn
As 2014 draws to a close, we can look back at one of the stand-out Eurovision Song Contest year’s of the competition’s 59 year history. Austria’s victory marked more than just a second win for the small landlocked nation at the heart of Europe, it made a statement about Europe’s acceptance of people, no matter what their ethnic origin, gender or sexual preference may be.
Conchita Wurst’s victory in character as the glamour lady with a beard somewhat overshadowed her achievements as a quality vocalist with a powerful musical piece. So too is the race for victory with The Netherlands’ Common Linnets pushing her all the way and Swedish superstar Sanna Nielsen claiming perhaps a disappointing third place. No countries from the former Soviet Union or Yugoslavia featured in the top three, Turkey’s diaspora did not automatically turn to Azerbaijan and the Greek and Albanian diaspora deserted their traditional antics.
Eurovision Song Contest Returns to Showcasing European Music Talent
The 2014 Eurovision Song Contest marked a watershed and the possibility of a new dawn where political voting was barely mentioned, the musical quality was widely seen as more than satisfactory and interest in the competition reached an all time high with the top three songs achieving strong chart success across Europe. It was in fact the Dutch entry ‘Calm after the Storm’ by The Common Linnets that overshadowed winner, Conchita Wurst in terms of global music sales. Whilst Conchita even managed to chart at 13 in the UK, The Common Linnets hit number 3 on the British chart and received substantial airplay on some radio stations.
Check out a recap of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest entries here:
UK Realises the Eurovision Song Contest Is A Commercial Opportunity
What of the UK where Eurovision is still trapped in a Woganite haze of mockery and fearful defeatism? The BBC Eurovision team, back under the helm of Freeman took a different approach. After years of poor quality national finals made up of songs donated because writers felt that they could not be used commercially, and then giving up on national finals and selecting artists with up to 30 years of chart absence, a change of direction was desperately needed.
This year, rather than looking at artists whose career has long since expired in terms of setting the world on fire and significant record sales (Humperdinck, Tyler, Blue et. al.) the BBC came around to my view that with an audience of 135million or more, the competition is a huge opportunity to launch a new talent or at least give them a showcase to build a career on. Why can’t we launch a superstar along the same lines of Abba, Bucks Fizz, Gina G, Celine Dion or Lara Fabien? For those who say it can’t be done in this day and age, please google “Conchita Wurst” and your argument ends there.
Using the BBC Introducing platform, the British Eurovision squad reviewed some of the country’s best unsigned talent, approached it’s potential targets and worked with them until one came up with a song that ticked the BBC’s boxes. Molly Smitten-Downes was hired and promptly scored a record deal with Warner Music and picked up more points from across Europe than the BBC has achieved for many a year. Despite misfortune of being selected to sing last, and her lack of experience performing to a huge arena of 12,000 fans or on live television, Molly has made a career out of Eurovision. There’s at least one reason to pay the license fee!
Is the Eurovision Song Contest Stronger than Ever?
So with excitement at an all time high, music quality driving record music sales and downloads, and a changing reputation and approach to the Eurovision Song Contest in the most influential European country for the music industry, we look forward with baited breath for the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2015. The road to Vienna has already started with five songs already chosen, there’s sure to be plenty of debate, promotion and headlines coming your way a 34 more are chosen.
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