What we learned from the 2021 Eurovision grand final.

Eurovision 2021 was an audacious experiment in overcoming the coronavirus — but it was about more than that. What else did it tell us?

Rock ’n’ Roll isn’t dead — in Europe at least

Maneskin’s win with “Zitti E Buoni,” a song filled with off-color lines and lyrics about smoking, was not the only sign of a rock resurgence. Finland’s Blind Channel came in sixth with an angry nu-metal song called “Dark Side,” while The Black Mamba, representing Portugal, came in 12th with “Love Is On My Side,” a piece of classic 1970s rock music that wouldn’t have been out of place in Paul McCartney’s back catalog.

French could be the next language to conquer global pop

For the past few years, Spanish-language pop has surged in the American and European pop charts thanks to acts like Bad Bunny, Rosalía and C. Tangana. Is now the hour for French? On Saturday, Barbara Pravi came second for France with “Voilà” — a traditional slice of chanson that many critics compared to the songs of Édith Piaf. Third place went to Switzerland’s Gjon’s Tears with “Tout l’Univers,” also in French.

Europe hates Britain. (And Germany. But a bit less.)

James Newman, Britain’s entry, suffered the biggest embarrassment of the night — receiving no points from the judges, and none from the public either. It’s the first time Britain has finished with zero since 2003. Could it have something to do with Britain’s departure from the European Union?

But, also, maybe it doesn’t. Germany, the dominant force in European politics, — received only three votes on Saturday, coming in second-to-last. Spain’s entry won just six votes; the Netherlands, 11.

Eurovision has the world’s greatest voting system

The voting process for Eurovision is convoluted and takes hours, involving juries spread across 39 nations — some nowhere near Europe, like Australia — as well as a separate vote by the public. But on Saturday, the ballot tally was a highlight of the contest. As the votes were announced, the lead switched several times between acts, with France and Switzerland seeming to be likely winners at first, before Iceland came into contention, and Italy stormed through with huge public support. It might be complicated, but perhaps other major prize ceremonies, like the Grammy Awards, should consider adopting such systems and getting the public involved, too.

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