Would it work…if only English songs were allowed in Eurovision?

Hi guys! So, I’m really sorry that we haven’t been posting a lot recently, but we are really only able to post articles that we’ve put ourselves into and recently, there just haven’t been many opportunities to find the right topic or time to devote it to the articles. This is going to change now though, as we get closer to the end of the off-season and we start to look for more things to look forward to as we go towards the 61st edition of Eurovision!

To kick things off here, we’re going to bring you the next installment in our “Would it Work” series, where we look at a potential technique a country could use and see whether this would be viable or not. And boy, don’t we have a topic for you today! 😉 There have been a few comments made by a few fans in a couple of Eurovision groups that the Contest would be better off if every country sent a song in English and no song was permitted in another language. Even countries like France and Spain – renowned for sending songs in their national languages – are thinking of sending a song totally in English to try and get them further up the scoreboard. Now, initially this idea sounds incredibly ridiculous and stupid, it got me thinking – would the Eurovision benefit or deteriorate more if only English songs were allowed to compete…so, would it work? Well, first let’s just have a look at a particular year when there were 6 songs in English for every song that was in another language – 2011.

It’s fair to say that since the language rule was abolished in 1999, the amount of countries who continue to send songs in their native language have been steadily declining to the point where even countries that you would think would remain true to their language roots have left them behind for English. For example, Serbia – a country which up until this year, had sent songs to the Contest completely in Serbian and no portions of English whatsoever. Then, in 2015, Bojana Stamenov decided to send “Ceo svet je moj” to Eurovision in English as “Beauty Never Lies”, which is a bit of a bad translation, seeming as “Ceo Svet je Moj” means “The whole world is mine”. Now, I’m not saying that it was a bad decision to have the song translated into English for the Contest, but it does show that Serbia brought its language streak to an end. Other countries have also done the same, leaving only three active participating countries who continue to sing songs fully in one of their official languages – the UK, Ireland and Malta. English has continued to dominate not just the Contest, but the entire music industry, so is it any wonder that all these countries are thinking of having songs totally in English? It would be nice to hear something in another language that could win in this day and age – e.g. something ‘Dansevise’, which triumphed for Denmark in 1963 and continues to be a song that is critically acclaimed and has stood the test of time..which is hard, especially for a song from 52 years ago!

So, to get back to the point; would it work if only English songs were allowed in Eurovision? Well, in some ways there is a good side to it, as in people who don’t know other languages can understand them more than they would had the song been in another language like Montenegrin (sorry Knez, but I had to use you as an example, you’re in the picture!). Another way is that because English is such an international language, people would be able to use the chance to learn the language through the song. However, I’m afraid the cons really do outweigh the pros in this discussion. The point of the Eurovision Song Contest was to unite countries through the power of music and it’s only right to assume that national languages would also be involved in the process. In actuality, every time there is a song that is in another language, I personally get excited because English has been so overused in the Contest, it’s like a breath of fresh air when a country like France sends something in French. Also, another point is that if ONLY English songs are allowed in Eurovision, you’re kind of taking away a part of each countries national identity. For example, if my homeland of Ireland was to never sing in Irish again, that would take away the mystery of the language in the Contest; granted, Irish has been only performed in the adult Contest once in 1972, but it still a part of the country’s heritage. If we were to only have English songs, other countries like France, Italy, Serbia, Cyprus, Romania etc would suffer the same fate and we’d all get incredibly bored with the same things over and over again, wouldn’t you agree?

In conclusion, as much as some countries would like this to happen, as it could have more positive effects for them to get higher on the scoreboard, it would work a lot better if countries sent their entries in the national language, as it brings the ethnicity of Eurovision and injects some life and diversity into Europe’s favourite TV show. It’s better to be individual and stand out than fit in with the crowd because you’re going to get lost if you do that! So would it work if English songs were only allowed at Eurovision? Our decision is: NO, it wouldn’t! But what do you think?

Your views:

Do you think only English songs should be sent to Eurovision?
Do you think only English songs should be sent to Eurovision?

Nadine Glock from Germany: I think the ESC is very close to it. My opinion: I want more entries in the native language/ one of the native languages!

Gary Dunn from Ireland: I like hearing the songs in English. However not all the time the song comes across correctly or the singer can’t quite get the pronunciation right which actually affects the song performance. In this case they should stick to the original language. I do also like hearing songs in the original language I might add. So just now we have a few like that which is really good and makes these stand out alot more in my opinion.

Willem van Altena from the Netherlands: NO!!! If all the songs are in English (and half of them bought in Sweden), Eurovision will become incredibly generic and really no different from watching 25 random songs in a row on MTV. Or one of those boring talent shows where everyone tries to sound the same. I think the world is over-anglicized as it is. How much great music, movies and literature are most people already missing just because of the dominance of the English language and its tendency to shut out all else??

Jack Walker from the United Kingdom: I actually wouldn’t mind but can’t see it happening one year, I also think the amount of songs performed in English recent years have also disadvantaged UK from getting better results.

So, it seems that some fans agree with us, while a couple of others have a bit of a different opinion and think it’s better to hear songs in English? Nobody is right, but nobody is wrong either so we’re all correct and incorrect too, in a way…wow, MUCH PHILISOPHICS! 😀 So, what do you think of the topic? Should English songs be only allowed in Eurovision? Do you think the language rule should be re-instated? Or do you think that the status quo is perfectly fine right now, and we shouldn’t need to change anything? Feel free to tell us your thoughts and opinions by commenting below!!

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One thought on “Would it work…if only English songs were allowed in Eurovision?”

  1. Singing in a national language was not a problem in the old days. We would be given a proficient synopsis of the meaning by our local commentator. Now (in the UK at least) we have the means to see an instant translation on screen. It’s nice to know what the song is about (it IS a song contest and the context is important) but with no translation, the composition also plays an important part, as with ‘Dansevise’. I taught myself 10 languages by translating the songs into English via courtesy of the EBU, but with so many modern means of translation available, let things stand as they are and sing in English, if it helps – though I doubt if Portugal will give way to that.

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