Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Sunday 30 May 2010

The world's most expensive karaoke night

Well, that's over with for another year.

Despite the attempts to add a little local folk touch to their songs, this year more than ever, the finalists all seemed to come from the mysterious world of Popland. Forget Molvania - this is the land that time didn't exactly forget, it merely distorted, in a way one could only explain in one of those warp-speed pseudo-scientific gabbles with which Dr Who gets over an impossibility in the plot.

This is a land where the most banal of sentiments requires firework displays, wind machines and striding about self-importantly. If, that is, one can actually make sense of the sentiment. Almost all the songs are now sung in something that sounds like a Babelfish translation into English; the phrases make a sort of sense, but somehow don't belong together. To add to the phenomenon of Chinglish, you could call it Ponglish.

But never mind, the spectacle has taken over. Leather catsuits, double-keyboard perspex pianos (eat your heart out, Udo Jürgens) and the usual complement of fey young men and fine big women (I could have sworn that Armenia's backing singers included Montserrat Caballé's stunt double) to add to the succession of identikit magazine cover models in interchangeable floaty dresses.

And the BBC's instant subtitling had its moments. According to them, the commentator described the Icelandic entry as "a big blubing anthem", and its singer (a classic Fine Big Woman, in a volcanic explosion of maroon chiffon) as dressed "to go to a welding".

The UK entry, competently about twenty years behind the times, left us once again in Millwall mode (for non-British readers, that's a football team whose supporters regularly chant "No-one likes us, we don't care").

The result was less incomprehensible than in some years - the winner's already been a big hit across the continent, it seems:

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