When it comes to themes for Eurovision entries, education may not be the top of the list for most people but over the years there have been several songs that may well serve an educational purpose both for the viewer and for prospective Eurovision songwriters. Let’s look back at some of them.
Ireland’s Liam Reilly sang about Somewhere In Europe in Zagreb in 1990, namechecking some of the most famous landmarks of various cities along the way. His message resonated with the juries and he finished second on the night. If his song doesn’t help with Geography lessons then it surely would help in a pub quiz!
Nina Åström represented Finland in 2000 with A Little Bit and followed Liam’s formula of naming countries and cities. However, she failed to repeat his success and finished 18th in Stockholm. Of the countries name-checked in her song, only The Netherlands and Sweden awarded Nina any points.
A lesson in (lost) translation
It is often said that humour does not travel well and that can certainly be seen in the UK’s entries in both 2006 and 2007. Daz Sampson’s entry for the UK in 2006, Teenage Life, had an educational theme and saw the rapper appear with five school girls. The song was a retrospective look at Daz’s school days and the relationship between students and teachers. The effort went largely unappreciated by televoters and Daz finished in 19th place.
The UK’s Scooch were ‘flying high in Amsterdam’ in 2007 with their tongue-in-cheek song Flying The Flag (For You). Like Liam and Nina’s respective entries, the group listed the names of several countries whilst dressed as flight attendants. The song received 19 points in total, including 12 points from Malta and 7 from Ireland, neither of which were mentioned in the song.
Ireland famously sent a turkey called Dustin to Eurovision in 2008. The comedy character first appeared on TV shows towards the end of the 1980s and famously won the national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest in Ireland. Dustin’s parody song, Irelande Douze Pointe, was a comment on the Eurovision voting system. Like Liam, Nina and Scooch, Dustin went on to name several participating countries and indeed former Eurovision entries. Essentially the song was a comment on the view of the Eurovision Song Contest held by some in country at the time.
What did you learn at Eurovision Summer School today?
There are two lessons to be learned from all these songs. One, naming places in your Eurovision entries rarely does you any favours when it comes to votes. Two, when it comes to humour, it really does get lost in translation.
Prospective songwriters thinking of entering in 2018, take note!