I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that, as I am writing this, the Eurovision Song Farce, oops sorry, Contest, is playing live on the television, watched with great enthusiasm by She Who Must Be Obeyed, who strictly forbids me to put on anything else.
The voting is on at the moment and it is even worse that the singing (well, sort of…). Why do most of the performers insist on spouting out in English, a language that in most cases they far from master, with poor pronunciation, even allowing for the rather-further-west than mid-Atlantic accent they use? Still worse, perhaps, is that the lyrics are also often in a convoluted version of English: if they don't want to use the language of the country they represent, then let there at least be a test on correct English usage.
Language use is also problematic during the voting sessions, of course, but it's not just the poor language use that is a problem—the representatives in the various countries seem quite incapable of actually speaking: they shout, sing (again, sort of…), blurb and glug, utter nonsensicalities and absurdities before getting round to summing up their voting results.
Even more farcical is the distribution of the votes. Why the drawn-out process of gathering, counting and presenting the votes is necessary is a mystery, as it the allocation of votes is a foregone conclusion, based on the primary-school question of which countries are the neighbours of the country currently voting.
The whole ESC has outgrown itself, it's become too big for its boots. Oh for the days of a simple stage, one or more singers per country performing a song (that's what the contest is supposed to be about), rather than giving a theatre production, an orchestra led by a representative of the country on stage, and the elegance of the likes of good old Katie Boyle to present the show: no exaggeration, no hyperbole, no histrionics, but instead a simple, organised, polite, correct presentation.
And while we're at it, how about a cynical commentary by Terry Wogan?
(And my douze points go to Moldovia.)