So I reblogged a quote and added my thoughts… and they were very tl;dr for the quote reblogging. New post time!
Here is the post/quote I reblogged. My thoughts are in response to the topic brought up by the original quote/user from YouTube.
I don’t think singing in English makes Eurovision “Americanized”! HELLO American fan with “American”-colored glasses on! If anything, singing in English is Anglocizing Eurovision, following the lead of the UK and Ireland.
In some cases, entries are better in the native language (most recent fave: Estonia in 2009), or even a play on “native language” (best example: Danzig by Ukraine in 2007, which threw in some German, too, for laughs!). But in other cases, singing in English is a reflection of the music industry: in many European countries, the biggest hits are NOT in-language. This is the case in Germany, Sweden, Norway, etc. France holds firm and, just like the film industry, produces most of its music in French. Accordingly, their entries are usually in French.
And, frankly, sometimes the songs are just better in English. Why? Because English is the
official unofficial (better?) second language of pretty much every country in Western Europe. Everyone has to take it in school, and it is the global language of understanding, ESPECIALLY in the music industry. Sorry, but it is (this is obviously Americanization, though you can’t discount the British music industry in the 50s & 60s). And you’re not trying to garner votes from YOUR country. You’re trying to get them from OTHER countries. While some may find your in-language entry charming, if they can’t understand the message of the song because of a language barrier, they WON’T VOTE.
You have to be clever about it. Some countries do a mix — verses in-language, chorus with English thrown in so the audience gets the main message. Others know the music & staging is so powerful, the audience will understand the message despite the language. Best example? Serbia 2007. It didn’t matter that you didn’t speak a word of Serbian. The music was moving and the performance was powerful. Message was delivered loud and clear.
But in other cases, in-language can be the song’s downfall. Look at the 2010 final line-up — only SIX of the 25 were completely in-language. The rest were either all in English or a mix. The in-language songs ranked decently, but only two — France and Greece — cracked the top ten. Neither cracked the top five. How many in-language songs didn’t even make it past the semis?
It’s not about Eurovision being Anglocized (and it DEFINITELY) is not being Americanized!. Even if they sing in English, or a mix, countries need to make sure the MUSIC maintains cultural roots. That is what makes an entry “sing.” And if you’re going in-language, you have to go big.
P.S. France will never go completely English-language. LOL NO.
P.P.S. Love it when people assume that just because I’m American I’ve never left the U.S. and know nothing about Europe. I’m part of maybe 2% of Americans who have lived outside the U.S. for a prolonged period (non-military)… (yes, I made up that percentage, but it’s probably accurate). I lived in Germany, and attended high school there. Half of the countries in Eurovision aren’t even a PART of Europe, or have only joined the EU in the last ten years. They are not traditionally “European.” Those countries often speak Russian as a 2nd or 3rd language (I actually lived in East Germany, where Russian was a 2nd or 3rd language for many). Many of the countries who have been participating in Eurovision for a long time speak English as a 2nd or 3rd language, semi-fluently, and have music industries that have had a heavy English language influence for decades. Think Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland, etc.