Sunday, May 25, 2008

euro TV scene

The big event on European televisions last Wednesday was Manchester United's taking of the Champions League league trophy from Chelsea on penalties. England's dominance seems to extend beyond just where soccer clubs are based, however.

The Scandinavians and the Dutch have been universally fluent in English for decades. There is enough material available in German, however, that the rationale for learning English in Germany is more limited. As for the French, well...

But the times, they are a changin. Swiss miss Stefanie Heinzmann shot up pop charts in the German speaking countries with the English "My Man is a Mean Man", an odd occurance given that we have a native German speaker whose primary market is German speaking. There's also the fact that Germany's Eurovision entry was in English.

Most noteworthy, however, is the fact that France's Eurovision song is 90% in English, something that was caused to small amount of hand wringing in Paris.

But if any conclusions could be drawn about last (Saturday) night's Eurovision final, it's the fact that the language is one thing and the style another. The French entry remains distinctly avante garde (by Eurovision standards) while Norway's "Hold On, Be Strong" is typical Scandinavian pop and Ukraine' "Shady Lady" is perfectly at home in the eastern European club scene.

In end the, Russian entry won, apparently due to lingering Soviet nostalgia. The fragmenting of Yugoslavia into a bazillion independent countries greatly assisted, since each country is weighted equally in the voting.

I'm no longer surprised that Westlife and Boyzone emerged out of Ireland, given that country's votes for Poland's ballad "For Life". The astounding number of Poles living in the UK and Ireland may have played a role, however...

Is there a typical American song? For white America, I'd say the analogue is easily Carrie Underwood's "Inside Your Heaven".

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