Novelty value wears off as Jedward come to a watery end
FINISHING 19TH out of 26 competing countries, with a final points total of 46, was probably not the Eurovision outcome that Jedward were looking for this year, but it seems unlikely that this low result will slow down the Dublin duo’s career trajectory.
They are due to release their third studio album next month, have tour dates booked in Ireland and Germany through the summer and – crucially – have the support of an avid fan base which they cultivate through canny use of social media. Performing in Eurovision for a second time running was a further means of promoting and extending the Jedward brand.
That said, it is worth pondering what it was about this year’s performance that led to a result a full 11 places down the scoreboard from last year’s eighth place finish.
Many have opined that last year’s song Lipstick was more innovative and musically superior to this year’s, Waterline. This may have led to relatively low scores from the professional juries whose vote forms 50 per cent of the result. The production values this year, though fun (working onstage fountain, anyone?) were not as lavish as in 2011: the red, black, and white video projection design and liberal use of a glitter-confetti cannon made Lipstick one of last year’s most visually exciting Eurovision entries.
And, if we assume that many Eurovision viewers (and jury members) are repeat offenders from year to year, there may have been a reaction of “been there, done that” to this year’s Jed-model, as was apparently the case last year when 2010 winner, Germany’s Lena, competed again and finished 10th.
Sweden’s Loreen had been the bookmakers’ and fans’ favourite in the weeks leading up to the contest, and was Saturday night’s resounding victor: she earned 372 points, the second-highest score ever, with a healthy margin over second-place finisher Russia’s 259 points. The song received votes from every country save Italy, and earned the maximum 12 points from 18 countries, a record number of top scores.
The song, Euphoria, is a club-style up-tempo track that has been in the top four in the Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Estonian and Israeli charts. Loreen sings it while performing a dance routine on a foot-high raised platform which allows for haunting backlighting effects, and hers was the only performance that made use of a slow-motion camera effect in its final seconds. This emphasis on unique production values clearly paid off, and underlines the importance of visual presentation to 21st-century Eurovision success.
The gnashing of teeth and pointing of fingers has already begun across the pond about Engelbert Humperdinck’s second-to-last-place finish with only 12 points. For the Guardian’s Mark Lawson, this result is evidence that “the UK may again have made the mistake of believing that the event has much to do with music”, and leads him to wonder if the UK should pull out of Eurovision (a question that has been wheeled out almost annually since the UK’s Eurovision fortunes turned in the early 2000s).
Such an argument, however, fails to acknowledge the musical excellence of many of this year’s Eurovision entries. A more practical question seems to be what went wrong with Humperdinck’s act, and the answer seems to be that – however classily staged and sincerely delivered by the 76-year-old musical legend – it simply didn’t speak to the judges or the public.