Let’s chat about the concept of the Eurovision Song Contest Big 5, shall we? France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom get to bypass the nuisance of actually competing to make it to the Final because they are major financial contributors to Eurovision. Don’t read this as an unfair advantage: Germany is the only one of those countries to win in the 15 years that this system has been in place and Italy was in the midst of an extended hiatus when this decision came about.
Of course, Germany and Italy seem to be the only ones in this group taking the competition aspect seriously. Both use a highly competitive selection process in devising their entries, rewarding songs with critical praise and good placement in the overall standings. France, Spain, and the United Kingdom tend to favor internal selections that lack any sort of strategy or relevance in the modern pop music landscape. Take, for example, the UK’s entry this year: “Still in Love with You” by the duo Electro Velvet:
This entry angers me. First, faux-1920s nostalgia is not a thing, no matter how hard Baz Luhrmann tries. Lyrically, the song doesn’t tell a story and is filled with simple rhymes lacking any sort of wit. The calls to dance are going to make staging a challenge for this track, as the six-person limit for stage performers may force the backup singers or Electro Velvet to pull double duty—which has a high train wreck potential. The worst part of “Still in Love with You” happens at the 1:50 mark, in what could best be described as audible blackface. So no, I do not like this song.
Turkey may have a point in staying out of the Contest if countries are advancing to the Final with songs that have zero chance of winning. My proposal: the lowest ranking Big 5 entry from the previous year should be forced to compete in the semi-finals. This would spark some competition among the auto-qualifiers, which would in turn make the entries more competitive in the overall field.
Whatever you do, United Kingdom, please stop sending entries like this to Eurovision.