Monday, May 28, 2012


When I first read in The Telegraph two months ago that a group of grannies who called themselves the "Buranovo Grannies" had won the right to represent Russia in Eurovision 2012, my curiosity was stirred. I just had to give these grand old dames a listen. Well, I have to say they are good.

Then I read that BBC had picked Engelbert Humperdinck, 75, to compete in the same contest, now in its 57th year. My first thought was, goodness me, is this a sign that the contest is ageing as well? I remember Cliff Richard coming in second with "Congratulations". That was in 1968, and he was a young 28 then. The only reason for my interest in the song contest was Cliff. He was one of my pop idols at the time.

Well, the results are out. At the contest held last night in Baku, Azerbijan, the grannies emerged second, and Engelbert second-last with his ballad "Love will set you free". The ladies would love it though. The eventual winner was Loreen from Sweden with her song "Euphoria".

After viewing the videos of some of the top finalists, it is pretty obvious that Eurovision is a song contest for the young.

So what on earth prompted BBC to pick Engelbert Humperdinck? At least the grannies were smart enough to add a dance beat to their song entry "Party for Everybody", along the lines of that other party rock hit by LMFAO. European countries seem stuck in the techno-pop genre.

Lesson for ageing crooners - it's best to stick to your age group in song contests. You can't compete against the young, only collaborate with them. That's exactly what Tony Bennett has been doing, and quite successfully too with Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Josh Groban, and others.

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