Do you remember it? I do. Monaco. 2006. Severine Ferrer… Eugh…

I’m the sort who wants to see the ‘little guys’ do well. But “La Coco-Dance”—a 3-minute repetition of ‘eey-ooh’ and pseudo-tropical exotic dancing—was both baffling and upsetting. The whole song and presentation was void of anything remotely Monegasque. And, adding insult to injury, the presentation ended with what sounded like a heavy expulsion of phlegm from Severine’s oesophagus. Charming.

Monaco’s folly—ending its Eurovision career with that—raises plenty of questions…and not only about the dodgy costumes. Is there any hope for microstates at Eurovision?

These small nations, no matter how (little) they try, have been the underdogs of the contest ever since the addition of the Eastern Bloc and the semi-finals. Poor Valentina and San Marino just missed the final of this year’s show. Now there’s optimism that her participation AGAIN next year might bring about a trip to the final for the Republic. But there is always a bit of sadness and despair from people like me.

Yet, I think there is hope. There can be hope – but only if these nations follow these helpful suggestions. I think we can learn a lesson from Monaco’s terrible copy of Bombularina’s Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini in 2006 and the progress and determination shown by San Marino’s delegation to push for a qualification.

Malta is obviously an exception to this. We expect them to come out every year either with something like a large busty (literally) Chiara number or a smooth dance song. They are no longer an underdog. One can learn from them too!

1) Realise that if you don’t have a music industry, at least do something with dignity. If anything ‘La Coco-Dance’ mocked a genre of music with the faint shimmer of hope that perhaps Europe would vote for something from the outside. Oooh, exotic! But really, this exposé was pathetically unprofessional – there was no context and the song had nothing that was particularly convincing. Andorra, for example, nearly qualified with something radio-friendly in 2007 (‘Salvem el mon’). But shaky vocals let it down, especially the “aaaaaah”-ing at the back. This brings me to my next point.

http://youtu.be/_vICCdON-wA

2) For goodness’ sake – if you can’t do anything else, sing well! Don’t make me comment on the poor vocals of Severine and her backing singers. Microstates with fan support such as Valentina’s “Crisalide” were not only potentially disadvantaged by the alleged vote-buying of their rivals, but also by the flat live vocals. The same was seen with Andorra in 2009 (‘La teva decisio’) and to a lesser extent Andorra again in 2004 (‘Jugarem a estimar-nos’). Some voters, like me, are picky. If it is openly flat, then I am hesitant to vote for it. We have to realise that if a country is generally unknown, like the microstates, the diamond has to be polished. We’ve yet to really see this.

3) Finally, give off the impression that you want it. I think this is most likely solved through a large budget. Now, I know that there is a recession, but pyrotechnics do help (just as long as you don’t do an “Identitet” and nearly give third degree burns to half of the standing fans). If you need a boost, then do it. Camera angles are also great. I don’t want to say it, but perhaps the involvement of Ralph Siegel in the San Marinese delegation is a problem (the contest has changed). But if Valentina qualifies next year, you can discard this comment.

But think about it – Monaco and Tahitian dancing? Where’s the link?!

San Marino and delicate butterflies and Italian bravado? I think there is more of a link here than anywhere else!

There’s no doubt a challenge. But I think that by really giving it one’s best, there is no reason why one shouldn’t be able to qualify.

Coco-Dances do not work. They are embarrassing. They are unrelated. They are crass. I want Monaco to come back – it’s terrible that they left us with that mess…. and, well, they can afford it.

Naturally, though, even if this doesn’t work, I’m sure we’ll be backing the little guys. Especially San Marino – you all love Valentina. Don’t deny it.

James Puchowski contributed this report from the U.K. Follow him on Twitter at @Puchowskijk and visit his web site at ESCZorgen. You can follow the team from WiwiBloggs.com on Twitter @wiwibloggs and keep up with the latest news and gossip by liking our Facebook page.

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Anthony Ko
Editor

Aufrechtgehn’s comment is basically like saying “Let’s give the San Marino football team a free pass to next year’s World Cup in Brazil, just so they can be the group stage whipping boys.”

I’d rather see those microstates send a very good song and have the underdog’s reputation, rather than making complete fools of themselves.

However, as much as I want a microstate to do well at the Eurovision Song Contest, depending on which ones, you can’t just get the EBU to give them all a slight advantage. It is a competition after all!

Jorgen F.
Guest
Jorgen F.

Hi Diane,
The populations of Iceland is less than Malta.

Diane
Guest
Diane

I don’t think that sending trashy acts is a microstates’ duty, because it’s not fair. In Eurovision, microstates considered to be equal as the others, so they have to be as good as them.

And for Kristin, well maybe your population is lesser than the others, but at least Iceland has their own music industry, not like San Marino or Monaco which their music scene are highly influenced by their neighbors. It could be a small state, but not a ‘micro’ state.

Harriet Krohn
Guest
Harriet Krohn

This is really the first time I have ever seen Iceland referred to as a microstate. 😀 Small population or not, Iceland is not a microstate. Neither is Moldova. There’s a difference between ‘small’ and ‘micro’. Oh, and I’m very much not in love with Valentina Monetta, even if the author of this article would probably just tell me I’m in denial. It’s not really my problem though. The real issue is of course with neighbours/block-voting, not so much with the quality of the songs. Russia or Ukraine for example can pretty much send the most awful of songs (I’m… Read more »

Aufrechtgehn
Guest

Don’t you dare insulting the fabulous ‘Coco-Dance’! It’s one of my dearest held Eurovision songs and Monaco’s best entry ever! This is what I watch Eurovision for! (Okay, the vocal performance was somewhat… underwhelming. Who cares? I surely don’t!) So, no. Please don’t bring microstates to take the contest serious and enter decent songs. With all these over-earnest, written-for-juries ballads and stuff, we (well, I) desperately need someone to deliever the trash. This is what the smaller states are there for. They couldn’t host the ESC anyways, so why should they aim for a win? Take a look a Austria,… Read more »

Kristin Kristjans
Editor

To Diane.
Yes, Iceland is bigger in km2, than Belgium and Denmark, but our population only counts aprox. 320.000, which doesn´t even add up to the population of Bruxelles or Copenhagen, thats why w are considered to be a microstate 🙂

Ian Davis
Guest
Ian Davis

The only small countries that do well now are the ones that have participated in the contest for many years; Malta, Iceland, Cyprus ect. As for the ones that came in after the semi finals; San Marino, Andorra and Montenegro (separate from Serbia), I think it’s unlikely any will qualify anytime soon. The fact that the old ones do well but not the newer countries suggests to me that it’s because these countries don’t have a reputation in the contest so many individual just ignore these countries entries. I have talked to quite a few people who saw the semi… Read more »

Alex
Guest
Alex

Dude, Valentina performed better than the majority of the other entrants. She missed a couple of notes, but ByeAlex missed almost all the notes and still qualified. Additionally, it wasn’t live vocals that let down Andorra in 2007. If you watch a clip of Dancing Lasha Tumbai’s live performance, at the end of the clip you’ll see people holding up a large sign that says “WHERE IS ANDORRA?” The performance was extremely well-received, but the problem in 2007 was the failed voting procedure that led to almost entirely Eastern European countries in the final. If the voting system were the… Read more »

Gavin
Guest
Gavin

WOW – The ammount of people who sprang to their feet and mouthed ‘coco dance’ at a recent Euro party may not agree! Hey I still get a kick from this… Ok maybe the live performacne streches my love, but hey. The sad part of this is the voting. People do vote for Neighbours (microstates dont have that many) or songs that are familiar to their country. Jurys dont seem to be paying a whole lot of attention. A good song is absolutly key. Which is why i am suprised that San Marino did not make the fianl. A good… Read more »

Diane
Guest
Diane

Everyone in this commentary column should give some criterias in determining this ‘microstates’ term. Is it by size? Well somebody in this commentary column has mentioned Iceland as one of the microstates, but Iceland has more than 100.000 km2, larger than Netherlands and even Belgium, so why don’t you consider them as microstates as well? Why should Iceland? Or is it by their voting experiences after the introduction of east bloc & the balkans which put them on a huge expense? Someone should clarify this..

takecare
Guest
takecare

hey, reading this it crossed my mind…why dont you make a history of each country – different articles, in the past few years?:D naming their songs and wiwiblogs opinion of each song that country had or something like that

David Thielen
Member

Look at Moldova. They’re a micro state. They didn’t put a lot of money into their production (basically just Aliona’s dress). And they placed 11th. A well deserved fully earned 11th.

Micro states can do well.

Jorgen Rasmussen
Guest
Jorgen Rasmussen

You forgot this: Andorra, Luxembourg and Monaco has given up. Completely. Luxembourg and monaco won in the past, and ever since they have found themselves incompatible with the contest. Luxembourg earlier in 1993, Monaco 2006, Andorra 2009. Malta has been the only successful Microstate, for its status as former British colony makes the population full of English speakers allowing better reputation and comprehension. The other four constantly sings in France, Italian and Spanish, which is rarely used. Finally some people consider Cyprus, Iceland and Montenegro as Microstates too. Cyprus and Montnegro have the language problem too, Iceland is a successful… Read more »

Ian
Guest
Ian

Yes – I think they can win it – but – they do need a very good song ( only good songs win anyhow these days ) and they must approach the competition in a determined way. The song is very important these days – the juries like ’em like that – and you must be able to sing – and well. Simple – do that and success will eventually follow.