Eurovision 2012: 12 Days to Go
It was unthinkable. Turkey, the country which - along with Greece - was really doing rather well at this Eurovision thing since the turn of the century, did not qualify for the final last year. There was nothing especially wrong with the song (I seem to recall a lady trying to break free from the Panorama logo on stage) and it backed up the short-standing 21st Century Turkish tradition of getting loads of guitars out on stage and rocking things up a touch. For whatever reason it just didn't turn people on. So this year, the Turks are determined to get back in to the thick of things with Can Bonomo and Love Me Back. It's an odd choice for a nation which wants to show off its songsmithery in grand style as it's an unusual wee number. As the promo backs up, Love Me Back has a touch of the sea shanty about it. Which is fine if you like sea shanties. But I'd be prepared to bet that a fair wodge of those tuning in to the Contest find shanties a load of old panties. Can is not the most engaging of performers either (or is that just me?). He reminds me of one of those leftfield contestants you get on X-Factor who have an arty background, wear really long chunky knit jumpers that skim the knees, a trilby, and are constantly praised by the judges for their quirkiness when they're really just irritating. There is nothing especially wrong with Love Me Back but I think I was expecting a tune many notches higher on the oomphometer for a Eurovision heavyweight returning a year after a Contest disaster.
Thirteen months ago I'd have said that Turkey was qualifier-proof only to be proved wrong on the night of the first semi final. Now we live in a world where Turkey's campaign can grind to a halt on a weekday night there is a real chance that for the second year in succession, the only part Turkey plays in the big final is the announcement of the votes from Ankara. We know that the Turkish music industry is capable of far more impressive stuff than this and this could wind up being the reason why they are forced to be more impressive than ever in 2013.