Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Eeee! It's almost time for Eurovision again - that time when gays and kitsch aficionados alike join together to listen to 36 countries battle against each other in a talent contest with incomprehensible rules and no such thing as a foolproof strategy. We learned last year that nothing brings out the fun of Eurovision like trying to explain it to an American Eurovision Song Contest virgin and watching them sit there looking progressively more baffled as the night goes on. The United Kingdom (or Royaume Uni, as we should get used to calling it) has a lot to prove after last year's fiasco, though still no one appears to know whether our humiliating defeat was due to an Iraq conflict-related backlash, malfunctioning ear monitors, or Jemma Abbey's utter inability to pitch a note if her career depended on it. Which, erm, it did.

So this year, in an attempt to regain some national pride, the BBC completely rebranded their Song for Europe process to become Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up!, which, following a primetime television show and a nationwide search to find the cream of the nation's as-yet-untapped talent, left us with Fame Academy also-ran James Fox as our entrant. For shame, Great British Public. It is one thing to send an act like Jemini who, despite their obvious shortcomings, had an air of knowing naffness that sometimes works in our favour at Eurovision, and were as camp as Jack McFarland sleeping in a field. It is quite another to send a James Fox, a rapidly balding bland metrosexual whose preferred stage stance leads us to think he can't keep his fridge door closed and whose song is so anodyne and dull that it could be bottled and sold as an anaesthetic.

We're convinced that James Fox's presence at Eurovision is one of those administrative errors the BBC is renowned for, like the one that almost deprived Ricky Gervais of a BAFTA. When the Head of Eurovision said "let's get that Welsh bint who made it midway through a televised talent contest", he or she did not have James Fox in mind. Oh no:

That request was for Rosie Ribbons, and we at Panda Pops wholeheartedly approve. We believe that Rosie could be the one to restore our national glory. Let's look at the evidence: she's used to performing live in front of large audiences. She's not averse to wearing skimpy skirts. She enjoys choreographing inappropriate dance routines. Her renditions of Abba classics are always memorable - and what's more Eurovision than Abba? Rosie's tragically never-released album Misbehaving was full of pop classics that would have been a thousand times better than all six of the final songs from Making Your Mind Up! - James Fox may have got through on the grounds of his song being "more typically Eurovision", but this is a strategy likely to be followed by several countries, and there is very little about Mr Fox that will distinguish him from all the other grandfathers with acoustic guitars and an invisible recalcitrant fridge behind them. In contrast, no one would forget Rosie performing 'No Space To Rent' with its unusual Egyptian-tomb music samples in a glittery skimpy frock, or 'Deadly Sin Number 8' with its mock-industrial sound that would fit in perfectly with every Eurovision set design since 1992, complete with Rosie and a couple of barely-attired buff hotties.

We've missed the deadline to get Rosie entered for this year, obviously, but the "Rosie For Europe 2005" campaign starts here. Anyone wishing to volunteer for badge-making duties, sign your name below.


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