Cleo—Poland’s Eurovision 2014 singer—is a master satirist. In “We Are Slavs” she and her scantily-clad back-up dancers sent up Polish stereotypes by washing clothes, churning butter, and flashing a bit of breast. European televoters got the joke, and they placed Poland fifth out of the 26 finalists. Sadly the juries went all prudish and ranked Poland 23rd, resulting in an overall placing of 14th. In the UK, the public ranked Poland first and the jury ranked it dead last. The same thing happened in Ireland. It all leads to one conclusion: the jurors are total boobs.
jury-televote split for Poland
Note: The Georgian jury vote was declared invalid because all jurors awarded the same scores from 3 to 12. The EBU determined that this was statistically impossible, so only the televote was counted. In Albania and San Marino, only the jury score was counted. Within each country the EBU must receive a certain number of votes, and those votes must go to a minimum number of countries or they are deemed insignificant and invalid.
Albania – 22 jury
Armenia – 11 jury, 16 televoting
Austria – 24 jury, 3 televoting
Azerbaijan – 11 jury, 12 televoting
Belarus – 8 jury, 5 televoting
Denmark – 18 jury, 10 televoting
Estonia – 26 jury, 17 televoting
FYR Macedonia – 12 jury, 3 televoting
Finland – 24 jury, 11 televoting
France – 15 jury, 3 televoting
Georgia – 13 televoting
Germany – 4 jury, 3 televoting
Greece – 17 jury, 5 televoting
Hungary – 15 jury, 7 televoting
Iceland – 23 jury, 2 televoting
Ireland – 26 jury, 1 televoting
Israel – 18 jury, 12 televoting
Italy – 6 jury, 3 televoting
Latvia – 24 jury, 10 televoting
Lithuania – 24 jury, 4 televoting
Malta – 18 jury, 9 televoting
Moldova – 12 jury, 8 televoting
Montenegro – 7 jury, 11 televoting
Norway – 19 jury, 1 televoting
Portugal – 23 jury, 16 televoting
Romania – 23 jury, 21 televoting
Russia – 24 jury, 13 televoting
San Marino – 23 jury
Slovenia – 10 jury, 14 televoting
Spain – 15 jury, 6 televoting
Sweden – 17 jury, 3 televoting
Switzerland – 18 jury, 7 televoting
The Netherlands – 25 jury, 2 televoting
Ukraine – 8 jury, 1 televoting
United Kingdom – 25 jury, 1 televoting
In defence of Cleo & Donatan
We said it back in February, and we’ll say it again now. This song is genius. You have to read it in the context of Poland’s economic miracle, and its 10th anniversary as a member state of the EU. We’re re-printing our analysis of the music video below. We seriously hope the jurors are reading!
What did you think of their performance? Did it deserve to be treated so harshly by the juries?
The opening scene of the video shows Donatan—lazy and clearly oversexed—struggling to get out of bed. His antiquated mobile phone and rural farmhouse smack of a man—indeed, a nation—behind the times. The suggestion that Warsaw is stuck in the dark ages continues with the video’s depiction of women, who churn butter while men rate their performance. Milk running down their cheeks and over their thrusting cleavage isn’t just there to titilate. It plays on the supposed role of women in traditional society: to be angels in the kitchen and wantons in the bedroom.
In Britain, where I’m writing this post from, Poles (and Romanians and Bulgarians and any other immigrant from Eastern Europe) are too often portrayed as scroungers who come to live on benefits. It’s a tired storyline born of fear and xenophobia, and frustration over Britain’s own economic shortcomings. In fact, in recent years Poles have actually been fleeing Britain and returning home in search of better opportunities. Poland 2014 is not the Poland of ten years ago. Much of the world already knows this: Businessweek recently described Poland as “Europe’s most dynamic economy” and Poland is among the nation’s leading the economic recovery in Eastern Europe.
That puts a different slant on Donatan and Cleo’s clever stage show. It’s slick, colourful and well-choreographed. And the song, produced to perfection, gets stuck in your head, regardless of whether you’re into hip-hop or not. Given all that, the strongest message of their act is an implicit one. You can’t call a nation backwards when it produces something as strong as this.
Willy Lee Adams contributed this report from London. Follow him on Twitter @willyleeadams. You can also keep up with the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following wiwibloggs.com on Twitter and Facebook.