It’s no secret that the Eurovision Song Contest has been dogged with controversy over the years, be it supposed collusion between certain countries in the voting process or simply the artists chosen to represent the participating nations. This year Australia’s own Guy Sebastian was ‘invited’ as a kind of wildcard entry, heavily promoted by the local broadcaster SBS TV.
The contest itself has always been a kind of glitzy, kitsch, musical theatre and whether Guy was the most appropriate ambassador to send from this country is open to debate. Certainly the fact that his record company Sony was prepared to get behind him and help stake the visit was a deciding factor. In other countries the choice of a representative has been more democratic, sometimes decided by a popular vote.
In Finland the people’s choice was clearly Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat (aka PKN), the ground breaking punk band from Helsinki, made up of members with varying degrees of learning difficulties. Sadly after winning the country’s public selection process they were knocked out in the Eurovision semi finals. The scenario sounds like something out of an Aki Kaurusmaki movie in its bleak poignancy but we’re sure the lads in PKN will take their rejection with the usual punk nonchalance.
As it eventuated on the weekend, Guy eventually finished fifth. Had he actually won it could well have created a major diplomatic stink with our intrusion into the once exclusive Euro cultural zone. We could well have been be asked to become a de facto member of the European Union and cough up millions to help ward off the imminent Greek bankruptcy.
We were a bit disappointed to read last week that Guy was toning down his on stage performance and canning most of the proposed pyrotechnics. Good Lord – what would Clover Moore think? Australia is the home of big budget fireworks – we love to see those millions go up in smoke – and if Guy was not prepared to at least evoke NYE, Sydney Harbour style, then maybe he should have stayed at home. Positively un-Australian if you ask us!
Then again we would be prepared to overlook the absence of flower pots and catherine wheels if Mr Sebastian had injected some real, down home, you beaut Australiana into the act – not the modern LA hip hop hipster look that he currently employs. Souped up, tinsel decked folklorica has always been an essential part of Eurovision shtick and Guy should have embraced the tradition rather than shunning it with yet another tatt on his biceps. .
Why not some back up dancers or singers resplendent in super fluffy, LED decked Koala suits, disco synching to every beat of his chosen Euro anthem Tonight Again. Sounds good? Then why not Guy himself, unashamedly Aussie in a pair of skin tight latex stubbies, Aussie blue singlet and a cork string hat, doing the stompy wompy in a pair of genuine sheepskin Uggs.
SBS was certainly cashing in on a bit of old style Aussie jingoism with Guy’s entry this year at Eurovision and no doubt it boosted the local ratings just like the garbage trucks that barricaded their studios prior to Struggle Street. Maybe we shouldn’t be so cynical about an event that was essentially a bit of light hearted entertainment, albeit with nationalistic overtones. It’s just a shame that punky PKN have missed the final and the chance to share a slab of good old VB with hipster Guy backstage.