Post-Script to the Post-Mortem…
Just when you think the competition’s over and done with…when all of the lights have gone down, the last bit of confetti has been swept off the floor, and the last fan has vacated the Telenor Arena…one of the quiet highlights of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place, unnoticed by many casual fans.
Every year since the 2002 ESC in Tallinn, Estonia, the three Marcel Bezençon Awards are presented to singers or songwriters who have made themselves and their nations proud. Named for the man who originated the Eurovision Song Contest, these awards are often awarded to songs were overlooked by televoters or juries. Although they might not have the flash or publicity that the Grand Prix gets, the fact that these awards come directly from the press, the composers, and past Eurovision royalty means just as much, if not more, to those who are lucky enough to receive them.
As I’ve mentioned, there are three awards given. The first is the Press Award, voted on by all of the accredited members of the media who gather to cover the ESC. In recent years, it’s been given to Serbia and Montenegro for “Lane Moje”, Finland for “Hard Rock Hallelujah”, Portugal for “Senhora do Mar”, and last year’s winner, Norway, for “Fairytale”.
The second award, the Artistic Award, was previously decided by a poll of previous Eurovision Winners. However, as time has passed, many past participants either were unavailable or unwilling to vote. Starting from now on, this prize will be decided by a vote from the individual networks’ commentators, many of whom are rabid fans of the ESC, and have listened to the songs many times. Previous winners have included Ukraine’s “Wild Dances” and “Shady Lady”, Greece’s “My Number One”, Serbia’s “Molitva”, and France’s “Et S’il Fallait Le Faire”.
The final award, the Composer Award, is voted on by the individual composers competing in that year’s competition. It’s gone to Bosnia and Herzegovina for “Lejla” and “Bistra Voda”, and Hungary for “Unsubstantial Blues”, among others.
Until now, no single song has ever won more than one of these prestigious awards. This year, one song has taken all three of the Marcel Bezençon Awards, and it didn’t even place in the Top Ten of this year’s Eurovision Final.
Congratulations are in order for Harel Skaat from Israel and his song “Milim (Words)”, a song that nearly made me cry when I watched it being performed live yesterday. Here’s the live performance from the ESC Stage: