Thursday, May 10, 2007

Big News! 

The big news is that Tony Blair has announced his retirement.

The bigger news is that tonight we had the Eurovision semi-final. The ten to go through to Saturday's final were exclusively Eastern European countries. Rumours of fixing abound.

What will this mean for the countries already in the final? Favourites such as Switzerland and Denmark didn't make it so the countries tipped as favourites in the final itself could come anywhere.

I liked Sweden but I don't think that will appeal to Eastern tastes. I rather liked the Ukrainian entry, which, on the face of it, should garner support from the other EE countries. However, it is an incredibly camp song and I suspect that will not sit well in the pantheon of Eastern Euro-ness.

However, although I have a bet on Sweden and another on Scooch to finish in the top eight, I am going to stick my neck out and declare that I think the Ukraine will win this year. It's popular and its Eastern, gaining both the camp and the political votes in one go.

I do hope that all of this continuing controversy will result in a change in the way the whole thing is organised. As I think I suggested last year, there should be regional heats and then a big final for the regional winners.

Also, voting by phone needs to go as well. Yes, it's fast and cheap but it's open to fixing and is hugely statistically biased to whichever country has the most voters with phones.

I hope it will all change but it won't. Regional semis will take a huge organisational change and voting by phone generates income to pay for these huge extravaganzas so they are extremely unlikely to get rid of it.

There was an episode of Father Ted where the ESC featured. The Irish organisers of the event wanted Ireland to lose because they couldn't afford to host it anymore. There is truth in that. These things are expensive; having a sizable proportion of the world calling special rate phone lines must help a great deal.

Perhaps I should get out more.

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