“Eurovision is a nightmare for all Muslims”

April 14, 2012 • 10:02 am

All Europeans know about this, but Americans may not be acquainted with the Eurovision song contest, an annual rite in which dreadful bands in the EU compete with each other for temporary renown. As my friend Grania wrote, who called this piece to my attention:

It is meant to foster a community spirit between EU countries, which it probably achieves in a clumsy way, kinda.  However, it is generally regarded as a bit of a joke, as the participants are often not hugely talented and the quality of the songs is often poor. About the only time that the winners of the competition went on to fame and fortune was back in 1974 when ABBA won.  Hence the fact that most people in Europe on reading this story will have to suppress an initial snigger and mutter, “Aw, c’mon, they’re not that bad!”.

It’s not so funny for some Muslims, though.  As an article on Interfax reports, they’re incensed that the contest is taking place in May in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan:

Religious extremists have claimed responsibility for recent attempts to commit terrorist attacks in Ganca and some other cities and regions of Azerbaijan and threatened to attack participants in the Eurovision Song Contest to take place in Baku in May 2012.

“Vugar Padarov has become the first man on Azeri territory to perform Istishhad [act of self-sacrifice] in his homeland,” the website Ummanews.ru said.

The Azeri National Security Ministry reported earlier that Padarov was killed in a special operation in Ganca last week.

A number of media reported that Padarov had blown himself up along with a lieutenant-colonel of the Azeri National Security Ministry when security forces started storming an apartment in a house in Ganca where the gunmen were hiding.

Some author who introduced himself as Muslim threatened participants in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Baku in an article published on Ummanews.ru.

Eurovision is a nightmare for all Muslims. The forces of the Devil, perverts and homosexuals from across the world should not think that they can so easily come to the land on which blood of faithful Muslims was shed and behave any way they want. They will certainly be attacked,” the author says.

“No Mossad, MI6, CIA, NSM [National Security Ministry] or other three-letter organization can protect them from punishment they deserve,” he said.

This is a great example of how religion tries to enforce a “morality” on everyone else that has nothing to do with real morality.

Dima Billan, a Russian pop singer who finished second in the 2006 Eurovision song contest


90 thoughts on ““Eurovision is a nightmare for all Muslims”

  1. “Eurovision is a nightmare for all Muslims.” Not quite true. Eurovision is a horror inflicted upon the whole of Europe. At least the British treat the thing as a bad joke and allows them to indulge in some mild xenophobia …..

    1. The songs did tend to sound a bit “samey”, a sort of bing bong-a-bong bop bop.

      The first one I ever saw was won by Dana, an Irish singer who sang “All Kinds of Everything”.

      1. Just looking at some of the names of winning songs in the past gives an idea of what was involved. La, la, la; Boom Bang-A-Bang; Ding-A-Dong; A-Ba-Ni-Bi; Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley.

      2. I had a huge crush on Dana when she won it (I was 10 at the time). Just recently I heard she’s morphed into some bizarro right-wing religious nutjob politician. Such a disappointment!

        1. Dana remains famous in Ireland since her 1970 win. (I recall that night also – I was 7!). Ireland won several times up to the point where we assumed that we had not received the memo indicating that the winning nation had to foot the bill for the next contest.

          Horrifyingly bad as it was (is) the Eurovision achieved some of it’s intended outcomes: for one night only Ireland felt like it was part of Europe. After this night we lapsed back into our isolated religious slumber.

          Yep, a real pity about Dana’s politics.

              1. The song was called Diva and the contest was in Birmingham, but that time it was back in Israel where religious circes were making a fuss and wanted to stop her.

              2. Um, it was a joke, Joachim; evidently not a very good one. I live in Birmingham and can’t even remember the ESC being here in 1998.

                That was the year the G8 summit was here. A friend involved in its organisation tells me that only two of the world leaders actually used the toilets at the evening dinner – Clinton and Yeltsin. The next day the cleaners discovered that the specially laid-on soaps had been nicked. Which of the two most powerful men in the world was a kleptomaniac with a personal body-odour problem?

  2. And I’d like to apologize to the world (and I suppose even Muslims) for the “other” person who leveraged Eurovision to fame: Celine Dion. She won in 1988, using her French dual citizenship.

    1. Not sure about her being a French citizen, thought she was Canadian only. In any case, she won for Switzerland in 1988. The performer doesn’t have to be a citizen of the nation he/she represents, for some arcane reason.

      I am actually ashamed I know this.

      1. “THOUGH she was…”

        Sorry. After my third glass of wine my English grammar skills tend to decline…

          1. LOL. Sounds like me when I try to post using my Android tablet. The cursor ends up all over the place for some reason and it’s almost impossible to write lucidly. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

  3. About the only time that the winners of the competition went on to fame and fortune was back in 1974 when ABBA won.

    Secret Garden, who won in 1995, have done pretty well for themselves too.

    You should also remember that far from all of the entrants are tyros — it’s not another American Idol, as it were. Certainly, back in those long ago days when I paid any attention to the contest at all, the UK entries were more often than not performed by well established acts. Cliff Richard, Lulu, Cilla Black are the first three that come to mind.

    1. Sandie Shaw? Puppet on a String?

      I have always wanted to introduce this into a conversation and never found the chance; here goes. Does anyone remember the Cliff Richard song which came second in the 1967 UK public vote to Congratulations? At the age of 7, I thought it miles better. It was called The Sound of the Candyman’s Trumpet and now I’m pretty sure some drug-addled, crypto-hippie of a pop-lite composer was extracting compostable material out of the squeaky clean and Christian Cliff – for our US and continental cousins, a sort of Johnny Hallyday without the talent.

      Competition time: name a good Eurovision song. I’ll start off with Vicky Leandros, 1967, L’amour est bleu, for France, which, but for her haphazard vibrato that improvised more than a quarter tone below the tonic, might have won it for the French. I suspect the composer was standing on the sidelines, thinking, “Vicky, what you’re singing isn’t as good as what I wrote.”

      1. I thought that Vicky Leandros’ “Après toi” winning song from the 1972 Eurovision was better actually. And she is Greek performing in French [rather than say Luxembourgish] while representing Luxembourg ~ very Eurovision

        Also I like to click my fingers to #1 on THIS LIST of the top all time 25 from Eurovision

        1. Great list. Who woulda thunk it? Volare, eh? And only 60 people voted online for the best Eurovision song ever. And surveys on cute cats attract thousands. Tells us something about Eurovision, I suppose.

          I remember Après toi, as I recall, a sort of proto-power ballad, the sort of niche that Whitney Houston and Celine Dion later territorialised, then littered with their OCD for as many trills in as short a phrase as possible – I take the Emperor Joseph II line on WH, CD and their ilk, too many notes.

          On Celine Dion, my mate from ‘The Nightingales’ saw her at the start of her career at a preview show. Afterwards, in the bar, he accidentally sprayed her with a bottle of lager. He apologised profusely. He had to; he thought her two heavies were going to clock him one.

          1. Absolutely agree with everything you’ve written. Whitney Houston & the nasal Celine Dion are poor singers, the ‘technique’ they use is a sub-species of yodelling. Strangers to subtlety & far too sentimental.

            Aretha where are you?

            1. Hurrah, Michael! Why didn’t Cissy, her mum, take her aside and tell her to cut out those daft and meaningless vocal ornamentations?

              If WH wanted to know how to do a power ballad well, she needed to look no further than her mum’s driving version of I just don’t know what to do with myself, as good, but in a completely different way, as Dusty’s. Cissy’s Be my baby is spine-tingling and she has a song – I can’t remember it’s name – in which she sings the line, “Is she prettier than me? Is she?”, which is devastating in the stripped-down pathos of its delivery.

              Karen Dalton once said, “If you want to be heard, sing quietly.” And she is the greatest non-black female singer I’ve ever heard.

              Agreed on Aretha.

            2. In 1998 there was a Dutch entry by Edsilia Rombley called Hemel en Aarde (Heaven and Earth) which I thought was pretty good, but only placed 4th or thereabouts. She has a great voice too.

              In one contest that was broadcast from Israel, Germany fielded an all-Turkish group called Surpriz who sang a passable song in a mixture of German, Turkish, English and Hebrew.

            3. I’ve noticed that the jawbone of certain pop singers – particularly females singing fortissimo with the vibrato kicking in – bobs up and down big time. Very noticeable in WH.

              Is this a habit or affectation, or purposeful?

              I presume to know a thing or two about singing, and I don’t see where and how it’s necessary.

              1. It isn’t. If, as a performer, your primary concern is a compelling interpretation of the music and the control of your physical apparatusthis requires, you perform the motions necessaryfor the production of the music with economy.

                Very, very occasionally a dramatic physical gesture can help the music, sort of like a follow-through in golf or tennis.

                But a performershould be as relaxed as possible. This makes it easier to perform motions that really are necessary.

                Vibrato is not produced by the jaw. It is produced by the diaphragm. The jaw should hang as loose as possible.

                It is probably not an affectation, but a “crutch” that those lacking formal, serious training adopt. The movement is rather analogous to the way children thrash about with their video game controllers, thinking it assists what the character on the screen is doing.

          1. On the subject of relentlessly cheerful pop songs, did you know that the writer of Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile committed suicide?

            There’s a lesson in that for all of us, but I’m not sure what it is.

      2. I think “Volare” was a Eurovision song in the late 50s.

        I love the Eurovision song contest. It raises banality to an artform and the political voting is a hoot.

    2. I don’t think Cilla Black represented us, in fact.

      Sandie Shaw did, although “Puppet On a String” was not her choice: “I hated it from the very first oompah to the final bang on the big bass drum. I was instinctively repelled by its sexist drivel and cuckoo-clock tune.”

      /@

      1. I think better of her for that. Good for her.

        Wasn’t It’s not unusual supposed to be her song until she heard Tom Jones’ singing on the demo? And she said that he should have it?

  4. Was it absolutely necessary that a distinguished US scientist should pour oil on the fire by this blog post, which gives publicity to would-be terrorists? I have no right to speak on behalf of French citizens who happen to be Muslims, but I’m not at all certain that most of them would see the glitzy Eurovision contest as anything more than a harmless and amusing pretext for spending an evening in front of the TV. Is Eurovision “a nightmare for all Muslims”? I hardly think so.

    1. You’re sending your objections to the wrong address. The “Eurovision is a nightmare for all Muslims” is a direct (and unintentionally funny) quote from the group making the threats.

      No-one, least of all Europeans, believes that their spokesman speaks for anyone else but that group.

    1. That would require that said Islamists be capable of sharing the planet with people who don’t share their every crazy belief *without* wanting to spill their blood. Something of a tall order, I fear.

      1. Hey, maybe we (Finland) are just bad at making cheesy crap maximized for mass appeal. Then again Lordi won with the highest margin in Eurovision history… drat.

        1. Hmm… Although the scoring systems were different, I think that accolade still belongs to Sandie Shaw!

          Lordi had 292 pts to Dima Bilan’s 248, a margin of 42 out of a total of 2204, = 2%.

          Sandie had 47 votes to Sean Dunphy’s 22, a margin of 25 out of a total of 174, = 16%.

          You are safe…

          /@

  5. Seriously, who cares? When are Muslims NOT incensed about something? The Religion of Whiners. Furthermore, they’re not extremists, just good little Muslims. Muslims are a nightmare to the world. This blog will not exist if/when Islam takes over. Enjoy it while you can.

  6. And to those irate muslims, may a suggest what most Europeans like me do anyway, that is get the bloody remote and change the channel if you don’t like what’s on? But of course that is a reasonable and tolerant response, not something religious people are known for.

    I never ever watched the song contest. On the other hand, as a kid, I loved “Games without Frontiers”, which in hindsight may have been almost as bad.

    1. Indeed it was! It was called It’s a Knockout in the UK and was known for the cringe-worthy exaggerated guffawing of the presenter, Stuart Hall. I think it fell into the “so bad you have to watch it” category, at least when the alternative was doing homework.

      For a story inspired by Islamo-fascist terrorism, this thread had been quite a trip down memory lane for me!

      1. Actually It’s a Knockout stayed on UK telly for quite a few years, but only in Welsh. Gemau Heb Finau, since you ask.

    2. Wondering the same thing.

      If Moslems find Eurovision offensive, why don’t they just you know, not watch it?

      No one is forcing them to watch TV.

  7. The ESC is anything but a joke in Sweden. It provides meat for the tabloids (“THE WRONG SONG WON [AGAIN!]). And I come from ESC obsessed circles. My sisters are hardcore fans, and so are all my friends from my native Sweden. Me, not so much (although I do have to confess having been in the audience of the Swedish finals more than once!). It provides ample opportunity for people-watching, which is my favourite hobby. 🙂

  8. The Eurovision Song Contest began as a scientific experiment. When television was in its infancy each European country had its own broadcasting network. The ESC was divised as a way to test whether an event could be broadcast simultaneously over the entire continent. At the time it was a huge success. I still find it great fun to watch simply because it is now so utterly naff.

  9. The best part is the part where the points of the juries and televoters (muhaha!) are announced.

    Greece gives 12 points to Cyprus, and vice versa. Been that since when the Earth started to cool down. The former Yugoslav republics ALWAYS give the big points to their neighbours. Never mind the wars in the 90’s.
    Want to know where there is a big Turkish population in Europa? Watch ESC.

    Demography and low-level culture. And it’s free! 🙂

    And Finland once provided a winner. Look it up on YouTube and amuse yourself: Lordi – Hardrock Hallelujah.

  10. Quick Correction: The Eurovision Song Contest isn’t anything to do with the EU – wasn’t created to foster a community spirit between EU countries – many participants are / were not from EU nations; including Azerbaijan and (at the time of Abba) Sweden.

  11. The Eurovision Song Contest, originally the Eurovision Grand Prix, was set up in 1956 to celebrate the founding of Eurovision, the European microwave television network. Eurovision itself no longer exists, being eclipsed by more advanced technology, but it’s offspring, the contest, still carries on. The UK only joined Eurovision in 1957 and that was the first time it participated. It was absolutely dire right form the start and in 1959 there was talk of not holding it again. I vividly remember watching the 1959 contest, when the UK’s Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson came second with “Sing Little Birdie.” My step-grandpa commented “It can’t get much worse than this!” – it did!

    1. We used to come second a lot. Cliff’s “Congratulations” is the earliest Eurovision entry I remember. (I remember the previous year’s “Puppet On a String”, but I didn’t know then that it’d won Eurovision.)

      /@

      1. That’s the second time you’ve used the first person plural in this thread, Ant. You seem to invest a lot of emotional capital in Eurovision.

        Will you be settling down for the long, long hours of Eurovision willing on the orangest geriatric Coritanian in Britain, Engelbert the unique (apart from the dead one, that is)?

          1. Ho, ho. My poem in ‘Got, not Got’ touches on this theme but it’s far too OT to copy in. I can’t imagine Grania would have anticipated getting all the way over to the fan’s alienation from modern football in her original h/t to JAC.

  12. Azerbaijan, really? It seems more “Europe Adjacent”.

    I know I should hate Eurovision, but admit to having a soft spot for the cheesy acts. Plus Eurovision introduced me to Malena Erman.

    This year the Swedish entry Euphoria by Loreen is the song to beat. It sets my gay groove in motion. What is it with the Swedes?

      1. Yeah I hate fulfilling a gay stereotype when I say OMFG I LOVE EUROVISION IT’S TRES FABULOUS! It is good nonsense fun though, and I liked Melana too (though that Loreen song is too commercial dancey and not fun cheese enough for my taste. You’re right about the Swedes though – who can avoid tapping a foot along to Take Me To Your Heaven?

    1. ” . . . cheesy acts. . . .”

      I looked in my dictionary for the definition of “cheesy” in this context. It says, “American slang for ‘inferior.'”

      I also thought that perhaps “cheesy” might more specifically refer to something that “stinks,” like, e.g., Limburger cheese (although the dictionary refers to it having a “strong odor and flavor,” versus “stinks”).

      Any clarifying thoughts on this earth-shattering subject?

        1. Following up in a congenial spirit of exploration, would being “cheesy” include being or appearing (too) “sincere” in ones performance? Would one be “cheesy” if one were not sufficiently “edgy” (as evidenced by, e.g., insufficient grimacing, gutteral growling, gesticulating and ululating ;)) in ones performance?

          Do I reasonably gather that being “cheesy” would include being (even the least bit?) “nostalgic” (for a time when singers performed top-drawer melodies and lyrics, and could be understood)?

          Just curious – if you know – is “Rap” included in the Eurovision competition? Do you consider “Rap” music? I myself figure that “music” can be reasonably represented by notes – an identifiable pattern – a “melody” – on staff paper.

          Cheers!

          1. Perhaps the best catchall definition would be anything that strays too far from authenticity – anything that seems too affected.

            Grimacing, growling and gesticulating are more often than not affected. “Ugly grimaces are, of course, inappropriate and even harmful [to the music]…” – CPE Bach, Versuch über die wahre Art dad Clavier zu spielen, 1753.

            1. “If it sounds good, it IS good.”

              – Duke Ellington

              (per P.D.Q. Bach, aka Professor Peter Schiekele [sp.?])

          2. There are sometimes rappers in Eurovision. They don’t tend to do very well.

            I think Italy is the only country which refuses to participate, on the basis that the music isn’t of a very high standard. Which seems to me to be a prime example of entirely missing the point.

    2. It might have something to do with the fact that the head guy in charge of the Swedish competition is gay. Though, I’m not sure, seems like everybody around here is obsessed with Eurovision, or at least the Swedish qualifying competition.

  13. Eurovision has a bit of an underground following in Australia, it’s pretty damn awful which is what makes it so entertaining to watch.

  14. My favourite song was when Israel won it with ‘I want to be a polar bear.’ Some critics have said that the group/singer was singing in Hebrew and the song had nothing to do with Arctic bear envy.

    1. My 11 year old and I watched that on youtube. Haven’t laughed that hard in quite some time. Awesome lyric! Thanks for the suggestion.

  15. I happened to catch the ESC when I was in England back in the late 80’s or early 90’s. What I found amusing was that the English commentator, translating the (Spanish?) female host, was a little less than respectful of the whole thing.

    eg. The female host was wearing some unusually large earrings, so at one point the guy suggested that she was picking up the scores through her earrings.

    Spain’s entry wasn’t receiving any votes. So when they were summarizing the current scores he said: “Spain…zippo.”

  16. Eurovision is a great tradition which for many years was overseen for UK viewers by the scathingly subtle (mostly) whit of Terry Wogan; and now Graham Norton.

    Many Brits have Eurovision Parties, akin to Superbowl Parties. The purpose boils down to getting pissed (okay, similarity ends there), laughing at the acts and the cutting remarks of our commenting host, laying bets on whether the UK will get zero points, again, and predicting the block votes where East European countries of similar ethnic origin vote for each other. Also side bets on who in the party will fall asleep before the end.

    Our wartime spirit of the blitz lives on in making fun times in the midst of tragic events.

  17. Eurovision is a nightmare for anyone who isn’t deaf, I think. Britain’s entry is – Englebert Humperdinck. Says it all, really. I thought he was dead long ago. Five minutes of his warblings and I’d be, if not dead, at least anaesthetised.

    Though I do think blowing him up would be a bit extreme. 🙂

  18. Personally, my favorite take on the Eurovision contest was Lithuania’s entry in 2006: “Vote for the Winners of the Eurovision!” Gotta love the cynicism, chutzpah, humor, and, heck, I thought it was a great song!

  19. Azerbaijan doesn’t need Eurovision to bring it cheesy, terrible “pop” music. It’s perfectly capable of producing it’s own. Some of the din on the radio in the logging unit last time I was there … got me into the habit of doing my descriptions with earphones in and downloading podcasts from Science, Nature, the Beeb, etc. So some good came of it, I suppose.

  20. Most of the songs are not bad at all, after all one hears worse on the radio! But the contest is a joke with all that friendly cross voting. Eurovision is fun and one big party and is not to be taken seriously!! And the more outrageous the song, the costume or the band (incidentally Lordi of Finland managed to combine the three of them and won) the better!

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