So the Eurovision circus has been and gone, and a mixture of delight and disappointment has surrounded the results. So here are my answers to the questions that seem to be dominating the chatter.

Q1 Did the right song win?

Well, yes and no.

On the yes side, Eurovision has always on the surface at least been built around unity, tolerance and triumph. Conchita Wurst connected with all these themes and more. Gimmick or not, the ‘bearded lady’ was always the biggest story of the week, and the tale of beating adversity and being yourself is an easy sell to a crowd that are only intolerant to intolerance. To paraphrase Jay Rayner’s tweet, Wurst’s victory was liberalism flashing two fingers at an increasing conservative political elite.

On the no side, I personally didn’t think the song was the best of the night. Of course this is always subjective, as I wasn’t impressed by the Netherlands or Armenia either, two songs that were seen has the greatest musicality. My favourites were Iceland (similar subject matter to Austria, but less worthy and not so much about ‘look at my triumph’ as it was ‘stop being mean to those who are different’), Hungary with its catchy drum ‘n’ bass chorus, and France, which although clearly tacky and ridiculous at least brought some fun to what at times was an over-emotional night.

However, overall I think it is a positive that Austria won, not only for exposing some interesting contradictions amongst the former Soviet-bloc – the strong struggled with the juries but won over an apparently homophobic public – but also because they have a dire record in Eurovision, and of they can turn it around, so can we. Which brings me to question 2….

Q2 Should we have done better?

Absolutely. I can’t think of a year where we worked so hard on our entry and got so little in return. The song was strong, we had a contemporary singer, and the performance on the night was great. This was easily on a par with Jade Ewan’s song in 2009 when we managed to place 5th. We deserved at least top 10. However, there were things that cost us, so let us turn to the final question…

Q3 What went wrong?

This can be broken down into 4 areas:

a) the draw: we were on last, which if there was only about a dozen songs would have been excellent, but when you have 26 means you are facing a wall of viewer fatigue who have already chosen a winner. I know that I was hard to be won round by any of the songs after Iceland, and they were on 4th. Even just 2 or 3 songs earlier in the draw and we could have doubled our points.

b) the staging: whilst visually strong, it may have lacked relevance to those east of Vienna. The theme was very New Age, Molly as a yogi/hippy, none of which really connects with a lot of Eastern cultures. Going down a more Florence + the Machine route would have helped, placing her as some kind of minor deity or tribal princess, a much less restrictive theme.

c) the opening: the first 30 seconds of the song were too quiet and subdued. Coupled with a late slot, I can imagine a lot of viewers running to the toilet or topping their drinks up thinking the song was going to be a duff.

d) the promotion: I have to admit my knowledge here is a little hazy, as I don’t really know how much the BBC promoted¬†Molly in the build-up to the contest in other countries. The fact that outside of the Eurovision fan communities there wasn’t much of a buzz about her suggests not a great deal was being done. Also, our automatic final spot means that she got less exposure during the week than many of the other front-runners, with no semi-final performance to whet the appetite. Maybe the Big 5 could actually gain a big advantage by competing in the semi-finals with everyone else.

Disagree with me, or want to add any insight? Please do comment!

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