Eurovision 2012: Congratulations Sweden, you may just have a hit on your hands...
I have to be honest. I never got Euphoria from the moment I heard it. At Melodifestivalen it just looked and sounded like a woman mumbling in her pyjamas while doing yoga. My appreciation for it never exactly sprouted from there.
However. When I first saw it performed on stage at Thursday's semi final with the intimate camerawork and unexpected outbreak of flakes (you can get a medicated shampoo for that), something suddenly made sense. I still didn't reeeeeally like it but I suddenly understood why so many other people loved it. And if a song that's loved by loads of people goes on to win the Contest that's fine by me because that's what it should be about.
But the best thing about Eurovision is that even after the show is over there are still stories to tell. As I type, Loreen and her Euphoria has gone all the way u-u-u-u-u-up-up to #1 on the iTunes charts in the UK and bags of other European countries too - including Luxembourg who don't even enter the Contest anymore.
Although the official UK Top 40 from Radio 1 has her at 85 (it was compiled before the Contest aired) and it will need to maintain its momentum for another seven days to make the maximum impact there. But whatever happens, this is still an impressive achievement from a song borne out of a competition the mainstream radio stations refuse to go within 20 miles of. If those same stations can swallow their pride and embrace the winner then we could be looking at the first Eurovision champ to top the British charts since Nicole in 1982. It matters not one jot what I think of the song, it will do my favourite musical competition the world of good if a genuine worldwide hit springs out of it again. It's even doing the business in Australia.
And I have to mention The Hump. I'm not going to backtrack. I still think that choosing him to sing for the UK was an inspired choice and that Love Will Set You Free was/is a brilliant song. Sadly, the publicity surrounding him was quickly mopped up by the selection of the Russian grandmothers in the days after he was announced and then he had the misfortune of being drawn to sing first. It is still the best entry we have sent to the Contest in many a year but it just wasn't meant to be. I don't think there is any need for a lengthy post mortem or calls to withdraw, we just have to take the result on the chin. I doubt it will affect Engelbert's career and he has already graciously acknowledged his enjoyment of taking part in the biggest circus Baku has ever seen. If Loreen goes on to be a big hit then perhaps, just perhaps, it would inspire the BBC to hold a decent, proper national final where every song comes from an established, credible songwriting team performed by acts that can sell a song in an arena (ie. no Scooches). The Danish way of doing things would be a good place to start (I can't see the UK instantly launching into a six week Melodifestivalen extravaganza - and I doubt we'd get 32 songs which justified a place in the line-up) have about 10 songs in a smallish arena - similar to how Sports Personality of the Year is handled - and take it from there. I'm fairly certain there are enough fans out there, from the UK and beyond, who could fill the place.
Go on, BBC, dare you. You may even end up with an annual hit on your hands.